Archive for June, 2012

June 25, 2012

Golden Hills Maxi

Pattern: Self drafted (to achieve a similar look, I’d recommend Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi)

Fabric: about 2 yards of Ella Moss rayon jersey and tricot swimsuit lining

Notions: Wooly Nylon

Time to Complete: Weeks… but I’ll be able to bust the next one out in a few hours.


Remember this challenge? The one where we tried to sew a style that we wouldn’t normally wear? The one Ina of Sky Turtle inspired? Even though my first dress skirt left much to be desired, I was determined to make this pattern work. After I returned from vacation, I picked it back up with help from my instructor and finished it just in time for the first week of summer!

I’d say the biggest road block to this garment was the fabric. My first version taught me to avoid fabrics with vertical stretch – no one wants to watch the hemline grow throughout the day. I wanted a lightweight fabric with a nice subtle drape that hugged rather than clung. This meant that online shopping was out of the question if I didn’t want to order dozens of swatches. I headed to Stone Mountain Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley and found this knit but I was a little worried about its opacity.  It’s ever so slightly sheer so my instructor suggested lining it with nylon tricot (think swimsuit lining). I was resistant at first (wouldn’t it be hot or itchy?) but I’m so glad I took her advice. I’m not seeing the static cling that I did with my jersey lining and the tricot acts like a lightweight girdle holding me in without restricting me.

Once I had the fabric finalized, the construction of this dress was a breeze – two long seams later, I was ready to think about finishing the neckline and armholes. There are dozens of ways to bind a neckline and the choice can be a bit overwhelming. I’m no expert and I was petrified that I’d stretch the edges out. I tested several samples but finally chose a simple self fabric binding with a narrow coverstitch to secure. I’m so proud of the work as it’s the flattest binding I have ever done. If you’re interested in the method I used, I’d be interested in doing a tutorial.

I’m so happy with this dress and you’ll be seeing many, many more versions to come. For the last few summers, I’ve enviously watched women in their maxi dresses wishing I could pull one off. At 5’1, there’s little chance of finding a dress with the right proportions in the store. For me, this is what sewing is all about. Being able to create any style to match my shape is a dream. When I came out in it for the first time, my husband exclaimed, “it’s as if it were made for you!” He’s always been good with the obvious.

June 20, 2012

Drape Drape No. 13

Pattern: No. 13 from Drape Drape Vol. 1

Fabric: Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics

Notions: none

Time to Complete: If I added it all up maybe 5 or 6 hours?


I had been in the mood for a high impact but little effort project and this dress delivered! I was a little worried about getting arrested for indecent exposure but it’s surprisingly wearable. I mean, it’s not an everyday garment but it’s not as revealing as I thought it would be. The drape falls beautifully to the back so unless you’re bending down, you’re actually quite covered in the front. While I did end up wearing it over my swimsuit on this particular afternoon, I’m not limiting the dress to the beach. It layers nicely over brightly hued or lacy bandeaus and is perfect for the sweltering weather we’ve been having. While not the most practical garment, it’s so much fun to wear!

The construction is crazy simple. It’s cut from one piece with a seam down the back so the majority of the sewing is in finishing the armholes, neckline, and hem. I finished the neckline and armholes by serging a folded fabric strip to the unfinished edge and then tacking down the seam allowance with the coverstitch. I’m still working on my coverstitch dexterity (especially around curves) but it looks pretty good. There are only two spots (and of course they are front and center on the neckline) that are a little crooked. I also used the coverstitch to finish the hem. I initially thought it might be too sporty for the garment but it blends so nicely and doesn’t interfere with the drape at all.

The book labels the garment as a tunic so I decided to add about 4 inches of length to make it a dress. Absolutely unnecessary! I ended up cutting away all of that excess but it still hits just above my knees. Since the front of the dress is a little shapeless, I’d prefer it even shorter. I’d take it up a few inches but the design tapers and that type of alteration is best dealt with at the pattern level. There’s always next time! One good thing – I’m confident that I’ll be able to fit into any of these designs despite being several inches larger than the XL.

My favorite part of the garment has to be the fabric. This poly/lycra blend is like no other jersey I have ever felt. It doesn’t cling like I’ve come to expect from poly-knits and it has the most wonderful texture that Ann describes as “spongy”. It drapes beautiful with a substantial weight but doesn’t feel heavy to wear. There are only 9 yards left at Gorgeous Fabrics so nab this one while you can. I would buy it in every color if it weren’t a one and only!

I’ve been a bit knit obsessed lately and it’s not going to stop any time soon! I’ve been getting so much use out of my new serger and now that I’m more familiar with the machine I owe you all a good solid review of the Bernina 1300MDC. For those of you who have asked about the machine, are there particular features that you’d like to hear about?

June 19, 2012

Join Me at Dixie DIY!

I’m guest posting at Dixie DIY today. I absolutely love Dixie’s Summer Concert Tee Pattern with its dropped shoulders and asymmetrical hem. I thought the design would make a great summer cardigan and couldn’t resist making a few modifications to the pattern. While Dixie’s sitting on the beach, I’m over on her blog showing you how to make one too!

June 13, 2012



❤ See more pink inspiration on my Pinterest! ❤

June 12, 2012

Two Books


I’ve had my eye on these books for a while and finally picked them up this week. I already have the first two volumes of the Pattern Magic series so it was only a matter of time before I bought Volume 3. The other, Drape Drape, is on of those books that I always thumb through at the store but have never purchased because I’m just a hair too big on the size chart. I started thinking though that the designs have so much volume that I could fit into most. I have the first one on my tracing table as we speak so we’ll see!

Do you have these books? Have you made anything from them?

June 4, 2012

Silk, Cotton, Sand

Pattern: Self drafted

Fabric: Silk/Cotton from Stone Mountain Daughter Fabrics

Notions: Elastic for the waist

Time to Complete: This project had way, WAY too many muslins!


We just returned from Ambergris Caye, Belize. It was a great week of playing in the sun and sea – lots of snorkeling and some scuba diving, too! We hadn’t been diving in years and I had forgotten how much I love it. Since returning home, we’ve visited all the local dive shops in hopes of getting back in the water soon. Regardless, the vacation came at the right time and I’m feeling much more relaxed. It was so nice to get outdoors and spend some time in the sun. While there, I couldn’t help myself and took some pictures of my new sundress. I’ve been so excited to show them to you!

This dress is part of a two dress project at school. I wanted to create a lightweight sundress that’s easy to slip on and off at the beach but could still look put together at dinner. The dress features a scoop neckline, a subtle asymmetrical hem (although these pictures are making me think it’s a little too subtle), and a gathered waist with elastic casing. The neckline and armhole are bound with self made bias tape. This particular one is unlined but I can see including a lining in other versions.

The drafting of this project took way too long for something so simple. It took me a while to figure out that the neckline dart that I added to prevent gaping in the lowered neckline had pulled the waistline and dart apex up. To be honest, I didn’t want to include a dart – I thought it would look bulky with the gathered bodice – but my instructor insisted that one should be there. I still don’t agree because when worn it has a tendency to wrinkle and isn’t necessary for building a cup. Oh well, I can always change this outside of class.

Despite everything being in its right place, I still couldn’t decide if I liked the garment. Muslin is difficult for me to look past and I eventually caved and made it up in some fashion fabric. I purchased this yardage at Stone Mountain Daughter in the sale section for my spring wardrobe but never found the time to make something. I was thrilled that I could make this up before our trip and it was a really lovely piece to have on the beach.

Now for some catching up on my reader – can’t wait to hear what you all have been up to!