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Monthly Archives: May 2010

I LOVE Colette Patterns!  In case you don’t know they are an independent pattern company based out of Portland.  They make gorgeous vintage inspired dresses that flatter a variety of sizes (it seems like they were designed with curvy girls in mind).  Here is their adorable blog!  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

This dress has 16 buttons down the front, needless to say it was extremely tedious but worth it in the end.  I changed the sleeves to a simple cap, the pattern features a gathered fuller one that I didn’t really love.

I love this dress, its so fresh and sunny.  Thanks for looking!


This is a tutorial for the little lace dress I made a while back.  This time I made it with a purple voile.  It is designed to be easy to make and wear, you can probably bust one of these suckers out in a few hours.  It fits loosely and you can take it on and off without any buttons or zippers.  This dress would work in almost any fabric… knits, wovens, you name it… but I have to say, I prefer how it turned out in the lace.  A fabric with a little weight and drape to it also serves this dress well.

In my descriptions I tried to add links wherever possible for added help.  So here goes…

You will need:

  • some pattern paper (I used some old wrapping paper)
  • scissors, measuring tape, ruler, pencil, pins, etc.
  • roughly 2 yards of fabric (measure the total length that you want your dress to be, from shoulder to hem and double it, add 4″ or so to be safe

Making your pattern:

  1. Measure the full desired length for your dress from shoulder to hem, mark this length on the edge of pattern paper
  2. Measure from nipple to shoulder mark length on edge of paper
  3. Measure your bust at its fullest point.  divide it by 4 and add 1″ (example: 36/4+1=10).  Draw a line this length starting at the point you marked in step 2. (the green line in the picture)
  4. Measure across the front of your chest (armpit to armpit) and divide by 2.  Draw a line this length starting at the top mark you made in step 1.
  5. Measure the top of your shoulder to the fullest part of your hips and mark that along the side of your pattern paper.
  6. Measure the fullest part of your hip, divide it by 4 and add 2″ (example: 40/4+2=12).  Draw a line this length from the mark you made in step 5.
  7. Round out your armhole at the top and the hem at the bottom, connect your lines to create the outline of your piece!  Yay you’re done! Cut out your piece and get ready for some sewing!

Sewing Instructions:

  1. Place the flat edge of your pattern piece on the fold of your fabric and cut out, this will be the front of your dress.  Repeat to make back piece.  Cut out a rectangle of fabric about 10″ x 60″, this will be your collar.
  2. Lay front and back pieces right sides together and sew up side seams. Don’t forget to finish your seams,  Here is a helpful list of options.
  3. Now you need to finish your armholes.  This is an awesome tutorial on how to do a really tidy bias tape finish.  I opted for a more time effective approach of just turning and stitching twice.
  4. About a 1/2″ from the top of your armholes do a short 1/2″ or so stitch to join the front and back at the shoulder.
  5. Take your collar piece and sew the edges together making a large loop.  Gather this down to the size of your neck opening.
  6. Pin gathered collar to neck opening WRONG SIDES TOGETHER.  Stitch.  Finish seam.  The collar will fold down over the seam you made, so it won’t really be seen.
  7. Finish edge of collar, hem the bottom and add in your own creative ideas.  Maybe some applique or embroidery…cute trim… a matching belt (or go belt-less), the possibilities are endless. 

I am new to making tutorials and would LOVE your feedback!  If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment below.  Thank you so much of looking and have fun sewing!

a dollop of sunshine… or something of that sort.  Sewing with knits is one of my favorite things because its so easy and the result is so light and comfortable.   I found this lovely knit amongst a massive pile in a fabric store/basement in San Francisco.  It was about $2 a yard and well worth the hunt.  I think its a rayon blend… its really drapey and soft.  I plotted the back by making fabric strips and tying them in a series of knots.  The best advice I can give anyone sewing with knits is MAKE A FACING FOR EVERYTHING!  Its a really easy way to get nice clean lines.  Here is a link to a site with some good tips for sewing with knits.  Enjoy!

A while back I had to make a garment out of a recycled material for one of my classes.  My group and I made this awesome dress out of plastic bags.  I just found this photo of it on the runway and I had to share.  Here is a close up of it on my dress form…

It was a really cool project.  We made huge sheets of plastic by fusing Safeway bags together (3 bags thick).  The skirt is a double circle, and the top is a basic darted bodice.  We made a braided trim to go around the hem and the neckline.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought to sew with the plastic… I didn’t dare put a zipper in, so there is a Velcro closure in the back.  I hope you like it!

Today I am grateful for my mom and how incredible she is!   (This was her Christmas present…. I didn’t finish those slippers I mentioned before)

I made my sweetheart this shirt from McCall’s pattern 6044.  My experience with commercial patterns has always been that they run big, but this one was completely true to size and it fit him PERFECTLY without any alterations!  The fabric is one of Anna Maria Horner’s cotton voiles that are SO lovely.  I pre-washed the fabric and it came out of the dryer pretty much wrinkle free and virtually no shrinkage, which was obviously thrilling.  I was worried about it being too light for a men’s shirt but it turned out just perfect for summer. 

With a 60″ fabric you only need 1 3/8yds for this project, which made it a relatively inexpensive venture.  This is going to be my new default present for him on any holiday or gift giving event.  I love this shirt and the guy in it!   Thanks for looking!

Every year I get overly ambitious and try to make my mom something crazy and complicated, and every year I fail to finish on time!  Most years she ends up getting her present around Father’s day.  And once again I find myself in the same predicament, less than a week from Mother’s day and I am yet to start anything.  I was thinking about possibly making her a pair of sweet house slippers, maybe something like these… They are a project someone did on here is the URL for the pattern, I’m 85% confident that I’m going to get these done.  I’ll keep you guys posted on how this plays out…