patterns · Sewing


Since last Thursday I’ve been sidelined with an icky sinus infection, which I get every May like clockwork because of my allergies (I love my city, but we’re the #1 worst place for spring allergies… go us!)  I sing with a number of groups that have concerts in May, so it’s always a struggle to be well for them.  I have a concert Sunday that I have to be well for… luckily, after days of mainlining zinc, sudafed,  and throat coat tea, I am feeling better, and I do have some hope that I will be reasonably well by Sunday.

I’m staying out of the craft room, because something up there is aggravating my allergies (old house dust?  I don’t know, but after an hour I get all sniffley.)  I did cut out my Jenny skirt pattern (I don’t think the taping together is as bad as everyone says,) and I can at least get the pieces cut out for that by bringing the cutting table downstairs, but sewing?  Not so much.  And I’m waiting on my new knitting book, so no knitting either.

You all know about my obsession with planning and organizing.  I’ve mentioned my folder of inspiration garments that I keep on my computer.  Lately I’ve started creating little subfolders in that folder where I match patterns, fabric, and inspiration.  I want to make some idea boards, but I’m not totally sure the best way to do that in digital form.  Suggestions are welcome!

The largest directory is currently “faux-two piece dresses,” which consists of my favorite current trend: the dress that looks like a blouse and skirt combo.  Seriously, this is my idea of a great trend – one that makes it easier, rather than harder, to look pulled together.  I love skirts and blouses, but it drives me crazy how hard it is to keep a blouse tucked in the way I would like.  In addition, I have to have pieces that go together, which often I do not.  Making a dress forces me to fix this!  Here are some shots from my inspirations photos.  Most are from Anthropologie and modcloth, because I stalk those sites the most often.

Kwik Sew has released a pattern that would work great for the last 2 dresses.

I love both versions, and plan to make them up.  It uses a stretch fabric for the top and a woven for the skirt.  It would be easy enough to alter the plain   top to be any number of variations, and it looks like it would work for border prints, though I would have to see the pattern pieces to be sure.

Simplicity has released several of their Project Runway patterns with illustrations showing how they can be combined in this way.  I actually really like the PR patterns, because the variations are nice, and they are sometimes more fashion forward.  I like these:

Of course, this requires coordinating fabrics, and since I have to buy most of my fabric online that can be tough.  Sticking to neturals for 1/2 of the dress should work… we will see.  Which one should I make first?  I’m undecided right now, and I have plans to do other dresses too (after several separates in a row, I want to make a dress!)

More from the inspiration folder:

This Vogue pattern, which has the least inspiring illustration ever,  looks almost exactly like this dress!  I’m actually glad to make it in a fabric that isn’t drawn all over with a spirograph (which is super cute,  but not me.)

These two dresses capitalize on the current trend towards ruffles.  The first looks very much like Butterick 5320.

The second?  Well, the current issue of Sewstylish includes a pattern makeover by Sweet P of Project Runway fame… and the resulting dress is very similar!

It’s missing the neck ruffle, but that might be for the best.  I have been trolling Etsy for vintage patterns (as always) and find myself drawn to 70s era sundresses with bottom ruffles.

I really love this!  The buttons on the straps, the crossed back straps, the buttons in the back… so adorable!  I mean, if you ignore the denim version, which is a wee bit Annie Oakley for my taste, what with the gingham and kerchief.

And… I still love  Simplicity 2497 (again with the ruffles!)  I actually have some  shantung that I might like for this… I mean, with those ruffles it’s pretty much a going out dress, though I could see it looking great in a casual fabric as well.

And… that concludes tonight’s version of “things I like.”  I won’t get to half of them of course, but for me the planning is the fun part (well, and the sewing… it gets me past the cutting, which is the part I hate!)

18 thoughts on “Sniffle

  1. I love how you have matched up patterns with the dresses! I own probably half of the patterns you mentioned too but have yet to do something with them. For that last Cynthia Rowley pattern I actually really like the neckline of the other view more than the ruffled one, something about having ruffles so close to ones face seems like it would be distracting. I love them lower though.

  2. Hope you feel better soon! It’s nice when the things you covet in fashion align with available patterns, isn’t it?
    About that Vogue pattern with the uninspiring illustration (and no real-life garments, which drives me crazy), I am working on it right now. It’s SO flattering and the envelope cover does not do it justice at all. I’d recommend it for sure! And should have it done up to share soon…

  3. I had a sinnus infection last fall and it took a month before I felt better. Hope you feel better soon.
    I love all the choices for your future seweing plan

  4. I think the first dress is really pretty, although it looks the hardest to sew. Well, they all look fun to wear! I hope you get over your allergies/sinus infection soon. I used to get the same thing every spring, and it was not fun! This year, I caved and bought some over-the-counter allergy medicine, since it was getting embarassing to be out in public 🙂 – and it actually worked!.

  5. For your digital idea board, you could try I use it sometimes to keep track of my outfit ideas. It’s free and it’s a good way to keep track of what you want to wear/make.

  6. Sinus infections = they suck. You have my sincerest empathy because I suffer from seasonal (and dust!) allergies too. And I LOVELOVELOVE that Vogue dress pattern! I might have to copy that. I’ve envied your prolific knitting and petite waistline on Ravelry and now I’m very much enjoying your blog. Keep it up! Oh, I caught your wedding dress in your archives and it was darling — so simple and sweet! Loved it.

    1. Oh, thank you! I loved my wedding dress too… it was just what I wanted, though people thought I was crazy not to want a big princessy dress – it was so easy to move and dance in, and I didn’t feel like I was wearing a costume (the way I did when I tried on other dresses.) I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog!


  7. The mention of ModCloth reminded me of another awesome website that you might love for styling outfits: Seriously, go there. You can combine clothing from different stores to make outfits, and you can import photos from websites, so you could have your sewing pattern on the mood board, too.

  8. I fell in love with that same Vogue pattern when I saw Kitty’s adorable version here. I bought it a while ago but still haven’t done a muslin; because that dress totally needs a muslin I’m sure!

  9. I made that Simplicity sundress when I was in high school. I made it in white. I loved the dress. The pattern is just as cute today as when I made it in ’77. I wonder if I sew and wear this dress now?

  10. It’s not really it’s intended purpose, but if I wanted to make a digital moodboard, I’d use Inkscape.

    It’s an (open source and free) vector drawing program that makes it really easy to lay things out, draw ‘basic’ shapes (including stars and spirals) and resize/rotate things. The tutorials are great; they’re in vector format too and you can try things out as you read them.

    Any images you have are probably bitmaps, not vectors (am I getting too technical here?), but since you don’t want to edit the image itself (the pixels), just maybe draw on top of it and move it around, a vector drawing program might work quite nicely.

  11. OMG! The bottom-ruffled sundress was one I wore in the day (I was 9 or 10). Mine was “lovely” too. Polyester knit in a fuscia “patchwork denim” fabric, but I loved wearing it. Thanks for the memory.

  12. Ick, sinus infection! I hope you feel better soon.

    I tried on some of these dresses, and the only way they’ll work for me is if I sew them myself. I’m long-waisted, and the skirt tends to hit halfway up my torso, not at my waist. Then again, women with my measurements are supposed to be short, so that’s no surprise. Maybe I do need to give sewing another try.

  13. HOW is my city not even on that list? Ugh, allergies are the worst! I love the cream vogue dress with the different colored spirals. Not a fan of ruffles, but I saw one with a ruffle down the front from the bust to the knee – very cute.

  14. I hope your allergies start clearing out soon! I know how it is not to be able to sit in your creative space. Mine is on our closed balcony/sun porch and it’s quite hot here. I can’t sit there long before sweating all over the fabric.

    I have the PR 2403 pattern and have the fabric cut, but can’t sit down long enough to get it together. Everyday I get dressed for work I want to wear it. Maybe I just need to suck it up! Can’t wait to see what comes out of your choices here. =]

  15. Wow, you found some great patterns to make your inspiration garments!I haven’t thought much about the dress-looks-like-a-2-piece-ensemble trend, but maybe I will try it too!

  16. There are some great inspiration dresses there. I have that KS pattern (not blogged yet) and I made it up using the top of the 3/4 length sleeve one with the midriff and bottom of another KS pattern. It went together really easily, so I think you’ll like it.

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