crafts · patterns · Sewing

Vogue patterns, Spring 2013

Yesterday was the longest workday known to man.   I got to work at 10 am (hey, that’s early for a musician!) and didn’t make it home until midnight.  So I was super happy to see the new spring Vogue patterns awaiting my return.

I think it looks like a decent crop.  There is a nice basic trench coat (which I won’t make, but it is nice!) and even a few men’s patterns.  There is, of course, some inexplicable posing, but there you go.  I can mock Vogue, but the truth is that they fit me the best out of the Big 4, and they generally have the most current patterns .

I’m thinking of joining Club BMV.  Does anyone have any feedback on that?  I feel kind of bad because I do live in driving distance of Joann’s.  But with my schedule the way it is now, I don’t have any time to.  Or rather, I do, but if I spend the time to do that I don’t have sewing time.  Or they are out of my size, or I can’t make the days they are on sale.  I think I’d rather just spend the postage.  Maybe it would keep me from buying shoddy Joann’s fabric as well?  Because I need to stop doing that.

Let’s start with the designer patterns.  Sadly, Donna Karan has let me down here.  I usually love her designs, but these are too fussy for me.  I do like the red one from the front, but not the back… and besides, I’ve sworn off pencil skirts for a bit.  Here is what I do like:


Vogue 1344, Rebecca Taylor

Go ahead, laugh at the “thinking” pose, because that model does it many more times.  This dress is really cute!  The details are lost in the print, so here is the line drawing:


It calls for light fabrics (crepe de chine, voile) etc.  I think I would use a rayon challis.  I like that it’s lined.  Should make a great summer dress!


Vogue 1343, Tracy reese

I call this her “spying on someone around the corner” pose.  This appears to be a mock wrap style, which I prefer.  The pattern calls for crepe de chine or jersey.  I think this is crepe, and that’s what I would use.  Jersey might be a little loose.

Other Dresses


Vogue 8871

Not that you can tell from the modeled photo, but this dress has cute lines.  I like the middy length and the fact that it calls for a knit!  I’d use a lighter doubleknit or ponte.

V8872 (1)

Vogue 8872

According to the ladies on Patternreview, this dress (with the straight skirt) is a knock-off of a famous design.  I would be more likely to make this version, though I might make the top symmetrical.  I’ll have to see some completed versions first!  It is designed for wovens.  I am imagining a dark gray lightweight suiting for the body, and a contrasting band in the middle (I might use a color, as once I tried a contrast band out of black and it looked super homemade.


Vogue 8873

This is different enough to pique my interest – maybe in a plaid because I have no imagination.  The description reads : Dress has bias overbodice, fitted, lined bodice and back zipper.

What, pray tell, is an overbodice?  I’m assuming that’s the cowl bit, and the piece behind (looks like a dickie, sorry!) is the bodice.  I would assume that the overbodice attaches at the waist and sides to the back, so I don’t really understand the descriptions.

Vogue 8870

Hmm… maybe.  I think this looks breezy and fun as pictured, with cute flat sandals.  Of course, that totally ignores the fact that I basically don’t wear sandals at all, no way.  Especially not that kind, which I think make my feet look enormous.



Vogue 8881

I love this!  I lack tops to wear with skinny jeans and leggings in the summer – I pretty much only have sweaters!  I think you would need to take care and reinforce the neckline and armholes, otherwise the longer piece would stretch unevenly.


Vogue 8880

Guys, this isn’t even the same model, which means they were directed to do that gesture!  Anyway, I like that there are pleats instead of a gathered neckline.
V8877 (2)

Vogue 8877

Not setting the world on fire, but I want it to replicate a top I saw at Saks.

That’s it for now – I will buy the two designer patterns and the last top first.


crafts · patterns · Sewing

Colette Juniper – assembling the pattern.

Back again – thanks so much for your well wishes on my interview.  Not only did it go well, much better than expected,  but it turns out that one of the positions I applied for earlier this year is open again – I don’t know what happened, but they called me for an audition – yay!

I have been giving more thought to pants, and so I’ve printed and taped the new Colette Juniper Pants, to be made in a wool tweed that I bought a long times ago:

This is my first experience using a Colette PDF file.  I chose to make this first because Colette has awesome instructions, and I wanted help with the construction.  The pants printed on around 40 sheets of paper.  I used leftover cardstock because I wanted a sturdy pattern:
Picture 3847

Yes that is packing tape – I didn’t have anything else!  I taped the sheets the same way I do Burda – I cut the right hand side of each piece off at the line, and the top margin on everything except the top row.  You will overlap the cut end over the uncut end, matching the triangles.  This allows for a sturdy pattern, more than just cutting everything and taping.

Here is my number one tip for cutting patterns.  Buy a second rotary cutter and use it for cutting paper on your mat – so much faster!  I bought a basic cutter when I first started but ended upgrading to a Olfa.  The other one gets used for paper.  It will dull blades eventually, but it’s not so bad.

As is typical for me, I ended up with my pieces a little off at the end – I usually make sure to preserve the cutting lines and don’t worry.  It took about an hour to tape and cut.  It is a lot of work, but I didn’t have to wait for my pattern in the mail!  In addition, I’ve used Colette tissue patterns, and unless they have changed manufacturers I wasn’t thrilled – the tissue was very thin, worse than the big 4!  This way I can put the PDF on my Ipad and not have to print instructions.

I am not making a muslin – I measured the pants against a similar pair and they are close.  I will baste and fit.

Thanks to your suggestions I found a pattern similar to the Papercut pleated trousers I loved – Burda 7250.

burda 7250

I will leave off the cuffs and lengthen instead.  Fabric is technically a denim, but very lightweight with drape – more of a trouser style.  I hope they are cute!
burda 7195

While I was going through the Burda catalog I found these pants – Burda 7195 is an elastic waist pant with a cute little assymetrical peplum.  So unusual!  My husband was sort of horrified by these, but the cutting counter girl assured me that they were stylish.  I will use a drapey, lightweight RPL suiting.   They call for really light fabrics like challis, but for fall I wanted a suiting.  If they work out in my cheap suiting I will make them again in black, so I can wear them for concerts.


crafts · patterns · quilting · Sewing

Planning plans

I’ve finally finished my massive closet cleanout (3 bags of clothes and 2 of shoes have gone to the Nearly New Shop, my most favorite thrift store that’s located in a former roller skating rink).  This has revealed the holes in my closet (as I hoped!)  Here is what I’m currently trying to plan:

1. Tops – Once again I find myself short on tops, especially blouses.  I typically avoid sewing with blouse fabrics, but I think it’s time to conquer that fear!  I’m beginning with Butterick 5785 in silk shantung:

I took your advice (from ages ago) and prewashed my fabric in the machine on hand wash.  I hung the fabric to dry, and other than being wrinkled it still looks great!  I’m really paranoid about silks in the wash, but I think it’s best to treat them this way – otherwise I never wear them!  I love this blouse because of the longer shape and belt.  I’ve ordered some other blouse fabrics, so I hope to have more to make soon.

2. Winter coats – I have a ton of short coats, but all my dress coats have given up the ghost.  I’ve decided to join Gertie’s coat sew-a-long:

Is anyone else going to be sewing along with me?  I’m not much of a joiner, but I think this is the only way I’ll be motivated.  I’ve never sewn a coat!  I plan to shorten the pattern by several inches, making it shorter than knee length.   I’m planning to use a wool suiting (because a heavy coating would be crazy with a circle skirt!) but I haven’t bought my fabric yet.  I think I want a red/wine color, but I haven’t found the perfect one just yet.  I may be late getting started, but I can at least try to get my muslin sewn this week!

3. Black performance clothes

know, I know, I say this every year.   But I really and truly could use some good black outfits.  I hate sewing with black, but I can’t depend on running across dresses I actually like.  I’m planning (at this point) to try Vogue 8827, a new pattern for fall.  I’m going to use a rayon crepe.

I’m also planning a few other items – I want to experiment with sheath dresses, and I have a few tunics to make.  I can’t plan those yet – I have yet to get fabric!

Meanwhile, my house project continues.  I’ve finished the living room and hallway, and now it’s time for the bathroom.  At this point I’m planning to replace the floor and add beadboard to the walls.  And paint, of course (I’m thinking icy mint!)  There aren’t any sewing projects in that room (umm… please don’t let me get crazy enough to try to make my own rugs!) but I’m working on two small quilts/wall hangings.  The first (which I’ve already started) is this:

This is the Frosted quilt by Frivilous Necessity.  I bought a layer cake (set of 10″ squares) from Sewn in Cincinnati, and happened to pick up this exact print (Blizten, designed by BasicGrey for Moda).  I like that it’s Christmassy without being kitsch.  In real life the colors are more icy.  I’m leaving off the border – I think quilts look nicer without.  This will be my first time trying applique – the pattern used the fusible web method.  Wish me luck!

I’m also making this hanging, for my living room:

This quilt, Centered, is from the book We love Color.  This book contains only solid colored quilts.  I bought it for my Ipad – my first book purchase, and let me tell you how convenient it is!  I ordered the fabrics called for (all Kona cotton solids) and hope to work on it after finishing the Christmas quilt.  I think it looks like a warp field or something

Until next time!







cats · crafts · Cross stitch · patterns · Sewing

Bits and pieces

I’ve had a bit of a disappointing month (other than the new job, which I love!) which might account in part for my recent silence.  I had an audition for a grad school program, which went fine, but then I was interviewed by 7 people at once, which did not go as fine, leading to me being rejected (luckily I wasn’t attached to this school – I’ll be happier elsewhere I suspect!)  Then I had a job interview for a part time gig, which I thought went really well, but again – they did not go with me, and I didn’t even get to the audition bit this time.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m a terrible interview.  I’m rather introverted – at least with new people – and I really don’t do well with large committees interviewing me all at once (both had 7 people asking me questions).  Heck, I don’t even like to go to dinner with 7 people at once, because it’s overwhelming, much less have to answer questions about myself and pretend to be extroverted!

It’s frustrating because I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with being introverted, but I feel as though I’m at a disadvantage in any sort of quick judgement/first impression sort of situation.  I’m reading the book Quiet, (recommended by Robyn!) which I highly recommend to my fellow introverts – unlike other books I’ve read, it doesn’t try to make me feel like I have a disease that needs to be cured.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing to make myself feel better.  I’m got several projects nearly completed, so here are some previews!
Tie top curtains

My tie-top curtains are nearly complete – they’re just awaiting a hem and curtain tiebacks.  I love the little horses!
Jelly roll floor pillow - top

My jelly-roll floor pillow is almost done as well.  You can see the top above – it wasn’t super hard, but it was a little boring.  I sewed it to the backing and made piping.  Unfortunately, I ran out of stuffing and had to order more.  I’m using a shredded foam mix that I found on Amazon – it arrives vacuum packed and expands a ton, so I couldn’t predict the amount I needed.   The cats don’t seem to care that it’s unfinished:
Floor pillow or cat bed?

It took less than ten seconds for two cats to claim, and it’s not even fully stuffed yet.  I think it’s a hit!

I’m about to make living room curtains, and I’m also working on this:

Garden of Eerie

(not mine – I’m still waiting on my fabric!)  I haven’t done any needlework in ages.  I love this sampler -it’s called “The Garden of Eerie” and is designed by Plum Street Samplers.  Love the little Frankenstein Adam and Eve and the “This Work Rot by” text at the bottom.  This is technically Halloween themed, but I’ll keep it up all year – I have a little collection of macabre/day of the dead items in my dining room.

I also got an Ipad this week – one of my friends wasn’t using his, and was happy to pass it along.

I was reluctant to get an Ipad – I didn’t see myself using it, but it turns out that it works for me.  First, since I work 2 places now, it’s nice to carry with me rather than a heavy laptop.  It’s also pretty amazing for sewing – I used it when working on the floor pillow, and it was so much easier to keep the instructions that way (and I didn’t have to print anything!)  I know, I’m behind on this, but I’m pretty excited about it.  I want to make a case:

e-reader sleeve

(pattern here: by SewCrafty Jess)  It’s for a kindle, but I can adjust the size.

That’s my update for the day.  I am starting to think about my fall wardrobe, but right now I can’t actually access my closet very easily to assess what I need.  Hopefully soon!


crafts · patterns · Sewing

Musings: Indie pattern designers

I’ll admit it: I sew mostly with big 4 patterns.  I’m lucky enough to be a standard size, and they are cheap and plentiful here in the US (with pattern sales!)  I’ve made several Colette patterns and a few Burdastyles (though none from Burda magazine or envelope patterns.)   One Jalie pattern, if they count as indie.  But otherwise?  Nothing!  I found a good list of links to smaller pattern designers at A Good Wardrobe.  I’ve spent way too much time today (on my day off) going through the offerings and dreaming of what I could make.  I thought it might be fun to spotlight my favorite designs!

The Miz Mozelle dress from Jamie Christina designs

This vintage inspired dress calls for knits (my favorite!)  I love the bias binding around the keyhole neckline.



Derby and Chelsea by Christine Haynes

Christine is the author of “Chic and Simple Sewing.”  She wanted to launch her own line of patterns, and ran a successful kickstarter campaign to get it started!  These are the first two patterns, and they are brand new releases.   I like both versions of Derby and the right most version of Chelsea (it has a peter pan collar that isn’t quite visible in the print!)


Marita Knit dress and the Demi Drape top from Style arc

Style Arc is an Australian company.  I actually had a hard time picking my favorites, as there are so many fashion forward designs on their site!  The patterns are very well reviewed as well, which is always good when dealing with an unknown (and international shipping!)  I love both designs – they are easy to wear knits, but they aren’t boring.  I’m picturing the top in a solid drape with a contrast stripe knit as the built in camisole, and the dress in a dark jewel tone.

Chloe and Ava from Victory patterns

I really like the look of the designs from Victory patterns.  They’re retro without being too literal, you know?  I can’t decide between these two – I want a striped Chloe and a pretty top version of Ava.

Scalloped hem shorts from PatternRunway on Etsy

Cute, right?  I like the scallops, and they aren’t too much.  I would make these from a suiting type fabric – something with a little drape, not a stiff twill.  I like the fact that they have a side invisible zip, as flies are my worst enemy (Oh, I can sew them, but I always think they look homemade.)  They have welt pockets in the back, which I haven’t tried before, but I might be ready!

The Eva Dress

This dress is a contest winner from “Your Style Rocks,” a website I stumbled across today. The best part? It’s available to download for free!  Love the cowl and side pleating.  I wouldn’t change a thing – this is pretty much my platonic ideal concert dress!

The Cambie dress from Sewaholic Patterns

I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to make a Sewaholic pattern.   I’d like to change that – Tasia is a sweetheart, and I’m so glad to see her success!  I like the version above, in a more subdued fabric.  I have so many sundresses, you don’t know, but I need more officewear!  I love the sweetheart neckline and the wide sleeves.

Finally, I know it doesn’t count as Indie in the least, but I did mention I’ve never made a Burda pattern.  Today I went out and bought my first, and planned which of the magazine patterns I want to make (I’ll use Burdastyle’s downloads – I don’t do tracing.)

I want to make view A of Burda 7220, the version in the lower right corner.  Yes, the mullet top.  I don’t know – I’ve been won over by them!  I almost bought the new vogue that’s similar, but they were out of my size, so I went with the Burda.  I have a turquoise lawn – it would be lovely with a pair of white pants like the model’s, although of course I don’t own any such garment!

I really love the second dress – it’s so mod!  I will use ponte knit.  I have a red for the center stripe, and dark navy for either side.  I’ll plan for this as a fall project, as I know I’m not getting to it for awhile!

crafts · patterns

Summer patterns

As promised, here are my picks from the summer Vogues (and the summer McCalls for good measure!)

1299 – Rebecca Taylor design.  I love the style of this dress – it looks easy to wear and perfect for summer.  Reading the instructions I realized it actually has 2 fabrics – notice the design on the ruffle is smaller.  However, I think I would make it from a single fabric, as I don’t think I would find such a perfect match!

1298 – Rachel Comey design.  The back of this dress is really pretty, and I like the slightly raised waist and hemline in the front.

8805 – Color blocking!  I’m thinking of a linen for this dress.

1300 – DKNY design.  I don’t like this color, but I think the dress itself has possibilities.  Every year there is a dkny dress that I think looks like an awful sack, which turns out to be flattering to everyone.  This might be this year’s edition, so I think I would make it!

8812 – My vintage Vogue pick.  The other vintage pattern has a really high neck, and I can’t do those.  This one though – love the gathered cups on the bodice!  And it’s not a fabric hog like some vintage patterns, so I could probably make it from fabric I already have!

1306 – Rebecca Taylor.  Three very different summer knit tops – I’m in!  I like this one, which puts lace trim to good use, the best.

8819 – The swing cardigan done in stripes.  Love this!  Of course, I would have to actually do stripes, as I don’t think the lines of the pattern would be as striking in any other fabric.

8804 – Chanel style jacket by Claire Schaeffer.  I actually bought a wool tweed to make a chanel jacket last year, but then I decided I didn’t like the previous vogue version of this style.  Real Chanel jackets have a little shaping and aren’t entirely boxy.  I’m hoping this pattern will go with that style, as the straight boxy ones just don’t work on me.  I’m going to wait for reviews before picking this up.

I also like two new McCalls:

6559: The tank dress I’ve been waiting for!  I have a large scale knit print saved for this one.  I would do the racerback version.

6562: I like the modeled view, although I do hope it looks good when not standing like your spine has been removed!


crafts · patterns · Sewing

Here we go again: spring wardrobe planning

My spring allergies are here in full force, which  must mean it’s time for some new dresses!  I did a series of wardrobe planning in the fall, and I think it really helped me to focus (I didn’t finish everything, but I got through a lot!)

I love warm weather – partly because I am eternally cold, but also because I love the clothes.  I wear dresses in the winter, but it never makes me happy the way that a sundress can.  I love bright colors and prints.  I love that I don’t have to plan my outfits as much, since I don’t have to wear tights!  I’ve spent a bit of time this week ordering a few fabrics, and I’ve created some storyboard ideas.  They aren’t the best storyboards, but what they do is give me a better idea of how something will look – especially if I can manage to get the scale right on the prints!

Thoughts on spring:  I have an overabundance of knit projects, so I want to focus on wovens for a bit (except for one maxi dress.)  I wear dresses more than pants, so I will make more of them.  I want to work with some lighter cottons and rayons, as I tend to default to sateen (I love sateen, but honestly it isn’t always the best choice!)  without further ado, here are my plans (nothing is set in stone – or cut – yet!)

Vogue 8231: The consensus on my last post was that I should definitely go for this pattern!  I thought about the suggestions to turn it into a dress, but I like the back of the top – it closes with buttons rather than a zip.  I had this stretch sateen, which I purchased in the fall from Fabricmart.  It’s on the heavier side and has stretch, so I think it will work for something more structured (I’m glad that I didn’t use it yet – it’s one of the leftovers from my fall plan!)

Simplicity 1877: Simplicity has two patterns in their Spring line designed by Leanne Marshall (the season 5 winner of Project Runway.)  I loved her designs on the show, so I’m excited!  This dress is not likely to be anything slimming, but I’m ok with intentional proportion changes (I like tulip shaped skirts, right?)  I like the other pattern in the envelope too, which has interesting pleated shoulders and a different (more normal) skirt.  This fabric is a rayon/linen blend… I’m thinking the side pieces need a little crispness.

Simplicity 1881: This is a new pattern.  I like the other version of the skirt too – it’s longer in the back than front, or what I call a “mullet hem.”  This fabric is white on the back, so I can’t use it for that purpose.  I bought this fabric quite awhile ago, and then it has sat in my closet due to the fact that it’s kind of crazy.  I think it will make a nice summer dress though – if I’m not traveling anywhere tropical, I can at least feel like I could wear my dress there!

Simplicity 1872: The new Cynthia Rowley patterns are slightly less sack-like than her past offerings, which make me happy!  You know, I want to like her designs (this is for her retail line) but they don’t seem designed for my body type.  Luckily, both of the new patterns will work for me.  I bought this cotton lawn last year – it was a bolt end, so I have tons of it – lucky since this dress is a fabric hog with all those layers.  The top will need to be lined, as this fabric is rather sheer.  I think the skirt, with all those layers, will be fine, depending on construction.

New Look 6093:  I’ve never made a New Look pattern.  This one suffers from an incredibly terrible pattern photo, which seems common for the line.  I think I may have worn that dress to my 8th grade formal… in 1993.  Looking beyond that, the dress is described as “1940s inspired.”  Um… yes, I will buy that.  I plan to use rayon crepe, which should hang nicely on the bias.

McCall’s 6507 is a Tracy Reese design.  I’m thrilled to see her lower end line, Plenty, get reproduced at McCall’s.  I really like the front overlay on  this dress!

McCall’s 6505 is another Tracy Reese design.  I like these better than the Vogues this season, because the Vogues are on the clingy side and I prefer full skirts.  I haven’t actually received this fabric – I bought it from and it should be here tomorrow!  It will likely need to be lined.

Butterick 5744 is one of the new Butterick patterns.  I plan to pick this up tomorrow at Joann’s.  The fabric is a voile, and you know… I have made peace with the fact that I have the same taste in fabric as a five year old girl.  I do manage to restrain myself from adorable puppies and such, but I could not resist stars.  The overlay on this dress is decorative I think- it’s not a wrap dress (note: I don’t have the pattern yet, so I’m not 100% on that!)


I somehow ended up with two heart print fabrics.  Maybe it can be a theme?

Simplicity 1873: I bought this brocade when had it (back in 2009?)  I have since been stumped by how to use it.  I think it has a certain retro 60s appeal, as does this Cynthia Rowley design.  I have hope that it might be cute, and if it’s not then at least it can leave my house!  It is on the stiff side, and I worry how it might work with a full skirt.

McCall’s 6518: I plan to cut this with the skirt and bodice on the straight grain and the ruffles on the bias.  There was a similar dress at Anthropologie a few years ago, and I’ve been looking for a suitable pattern ever since.  I like this one because it’s not too complicated!

Vogue 8791:  I can’t decide whether I should be afraid of the pose or not.  Sometimes a particularly kicky pose means the design looks strange if you stand normally!  I want to try it though – I think it’s a really interesting style!

Vogue 1158:  This depends on whether I can match the stripes in the amount I have.  I have 3 yards, which is more than the dress calls for, but matching stripes can be very tricky!


Whew… that’s enough.  Seriously.  I enjoy making these storyboards because it helps me to narrow my focus – otherwise I spend all my time frozen with indecision!  Now I just have to decide what to make first…

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Winter sewing pt 2

I’m pretty proud of myself for making through most of the projects I cut this fall.  I have two more that I haven’t gotten to yet, but hopefully I should get to them before the thaw (usually March around these parts!)  I think that having the projects cut really saved my productivity with how busy I’ve been.  This semester will be even busier – I’m still singing in two ensembles, teaching a full load, freelancing at churches, and taking a class/graduating!  I also have to make time for my workouts every day (I have started getting up earlier to do them then.)  I should probably state that I actually enjoy being really busy, as long as the stress is all of my own making. Moving on… since I was so successful in the fall I’ve decided to go ahead and precut some winter/early spring projects (speaking of spring, shouldn’t we be getting some new Vogue patterns soon?)  I’m trying not to buy fabric while I’m paying for school, so I went through my bins and came up with these five projects (no storyboards, as Photoshop is being buggy:)

Butterick 5247 in Sweater Knit:  This pattern is discontinued now, but I’ve always liked it.  I’m planning to make this what I call “legging length” – in between the tunic and dress lengths, so I can wear it as a dress (over leggings/opaque tights) or a tunic.  This fabric came from, and is much nicer than I thought it was going to be!

New Look 6071 in ITY jersey: I am planning to make this with sleeves.  Dress length on this one I think.  The color didn’t photograph well, but it’s a deep yet intense magenta.

Simplicity 2406 in ITY print: This fabric is from the last batch of knits I got from  They were really varying in weight and quality, but this was the nicest.  It’s thick with a lovely drape.  I’m making the long sleeved version, and I’m sewing up that back slit (I cannot understand that… don’t people wear bras anymore?)  The pattern doesn’t all for knits, but I think this style (sack with a belt) is suited to knits.

McCalls 5752 in ITY print:   I got the fabric from fabric mart.  I think it was a Maggy London print.  I love it – circles and green, how could I not?  I’m actually planning to make the cap sleeve version of this dress, so that I can wear it more than one season.  I’m thinking of leaving off the ties (as in the black one) but I’m not sure yet.

Vogue 8530 in rayon jersey: I ordered this fabric from ebay, and I ended up being a little disappointed in the colors.  They are more on the faded/southwestern side than I usually go for.  The print is also rather large, so I wasn’t sure what to use it for.  I think I’m decided on this dress, in the short sleeved version.  I have a similar rtw dress that I adore, so I would like to make another.  I think the colors will be good for spring when it gets here!

There you go – I’m trying not to overburden myself, so I think this is a good number of projects for the next few months.  Of course, as always, I may get tired of something, or get a new pattern and have to make it first, but I will try to stick to the plan!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Spring 2012 McCalls and Simplicity

Yes, it’s very early for spring (although never too early for me!)  I’m not making a lot of progress on my winter plans due to being incredibly busy this season, but I never mind dreaming of new things!  I have finished one project that will be reviewed this week.  I wasn’t thrilled with the product so I’ve been avoiding, but I think it’s important to give both good and bad reviews!

Anyway, Simplicity has some decent patterns, but I’m really excited about the new McCalls – they have some new designers, giving the collection a different feel from the last few.   The last few sets of their patterns have done nothing for me, and seemed aimed at teenagers.  There is still plenty of that, but most of the dresses can go either way.  Let’s start with Simplicity:

Simplicity 1913:  Ok, so I sort of feel like they’ve released this pattern before (it’s very similar to several of the project runway patterns… 2473 for example in the 3rd, non modeled view) but it’s cute if you don’t have anything similar!I don’t think either of the modeled versions are very well fitted (they look big on the model) but the drawing to the far left is very cute.  I actually have that other pattern, so I don’t know if I would buy this one.


Simplicity 1915 and 1916 – I’ve been wearing the heck out of my handmade tops this winter, and I need cute ones for warmer weather. I’m not totally sold on the wisdom of the funky hemline in 1915, but I could possibly be convinced!

McCalls 6507 and 6506

I am pretty excited to see McCalls with some new designers – this is from Plenty by Tracy Reese, which I believe is her less expensive line (Vogue gets her fancier designs.)  Both of these dresses are cute, especially 6507.  I will be making both for spring!

McCalls 6518 and 6505 are both designs from Phoebe Couture.  I believe this is also the first time we’ve seen this designer in McCall’s, but I’m not positive.  I love the ruffled dress, which you all knew.  The lace dress is really pretty, though I will not be making it on account of having no call for such a dress!

McCalls 6503  and 6504– I like both sleeveless versions of 6503.   The ruffled version is similar to a vintage pattern that I own, but as that pattern isn’t my size I will make this instead!  I find myself oddly attracted to the weird hemline in 6504 – I like that it’s longer in the back rather than at the sides.  I haven’t seen that sort of hemline before, but I think it might be flattering!   I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with the seaming on these dresses – but I wouldn’t plan to make it in a print that needs matching, that’s for sure!

Finally, I really like the Kay Whitt purses in McCalls 6532

Will I make one?  Based on past experience, possibly not… but I do like the looks of them quite a bit!

I’ll be back tomorrow (hopefully) with a s0-so pattern review!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

The last planning post: Dresses

Finally, we come to my favorite part of my wardrobe – the dresses!  I have done a good job filling my wardrobe with dresses, after years of hardly wearing any.  When I sat down with my friend to weed my cl0set, I knew some hard choices were about to be made.  Not all of my handmade dresses are keepers, but I have a terrible attachment to them!  But common sense prevailed, and we must say a sad farewell to these dresses:

Vogue 8631: Alas, my love for the fabric could not compensate for the lack of adequate closures.  I spent the whole time I was wearing the dress worried about flashing someone (I do not like wrap dresses!)  Then my husband ran it through the drier, and that was that.

Simplicity 2848:  I suspect that I might actually be a bit past the age where jumpers are cute.  I always felt silly when wearing it, so I have given it away.

Vintage Vogue 1219:  Suffered from overfitting (a common affliction for me when I started out!)  Twas also a bit stiff from the underlining.  I gave it away, but I want to make this pattern again!

Vogue 7617:  Didn’t fit well in the chest, and once again I used a stiff underlining.  I have learned my lesson now, and consider carefully if underlining is appropriate.  I want to make this again too!

Sadness!  But also happiness, because it all helps to make room for new projects, especially after a large clean-out of my thrifted dresses (I have no attachment at all to something for which I paid under 5 dollars.)

I tried very hard to evaluate my dresses, with an eye on what I actually like to wear.  I came up with a few categories:

1. Short dresses, which can also be worn over leggings as a tunic.

2. Ponte dresses.  It’s my favorite fabric right now, and I can’t get enough!

3. Updated Vintage. I love, love, love vintage, but I also don’t want to be uncomfortable or feel like I’m wearing a costume.  Vogue pattern magazine did a spread earlier this fall with updated versions of their patterns.  I was inspired to update some of my patterns for fall and winter.

4. Sleeves.  I love sleeves, why don’t more dresses have them in the winter?  It gets cold here!  Having said that, no sleeves at all are better than a short sleeve.

What don’t I wear?

1. Anything that wrinkles excessively. I like to use the damp dry setting on my drier, which I find takes care of most wrinkles.  If something is going to always be wrinkled, the end result will be me never wearing it.

2. Dry clean only.  I only dryclean coats if I can help it.  My husband doesn’t wear dress clothes for work, so I have no reason to go there.  Anything that needs drycleaning will sit in a bag for 6 months before I get around to it.  I can use the wool or handwash settings on my frontloader for many items.  I avoid lining items because I don’t want to wash something with a lining.

3. Overfitted dresses.  I have recently discovered pencil skirts, so I don’t mean that – I mean anything I can’t take a deep breath and/or move my arms freely.  I have started using stretch wovens, and I’m in love with them!

With that list of rules in mind, here is some project inspiration!

Simplicity 2308: I purchased this fabric to copy the Milly dress here.  Milly is currently my favorite brand.  I love the fun fabrics they use, so I was thrilled to find a similar print.  Mine is not metallic, and is an ITY knit rather than a silk chiffon, and the scale is slightly larger.  I think this pattern has a great deal of potential, but it all depends on the fabric choice.  I’m hoping mine is good!

Simplicity 2054:  I plan to make the version with detatchable cowl using this lace print ponte (available at Joann’s this season.)  This is such a plain style htat I think it will benefit from the print.  I’m not sure about the sleeves – articulated elbow or not?  I think the dress is pretty plain without it, but I’m not sure it fits  my style.

New Look 6067:  I adore this dress – look at those fun pleats!  My fabric is a heavier cotton sateen (Jones NY via Fabricmart.)  It’s navy with red dots.  I had considered using this fabric for a trench coat, but to be honest I don’t wear the two that I have.  This dress has a bit of a retro feel to me, without venturing into costume, which I feel is a danger with this sort of fabric.

Simplicity 2145:  Yes, this is the knock-off of Kate Middleton’s Issa engagement dress.   I plan to make mine in red, so that it’s not so completely a copy.  I loved that dress when I saw it, so I must make this!  The red is a beautiful color, can’t you see this for the holidays?

Simplicity 2282: I have really been longing for a peplum this year.  Last year I made Vogue 1209, which has a back peplum.  I wore it Tuesday, and remembered how I love it! I’m planning to use a RPL woven suiting.  It’s navy with a really subtle black pinstripe.  Simplicity 2282 is a good match for the Stella McCartney dress I fell in love with (minus the front bit of peplum.)  I do plan to open up that neckline to a scoop.  Crewnecks are not for me.  Lastly, I plan to use a contrasting piping around the peplum, and possibly the princess seams (the Sew Convert made this dress and used piping to great effect!)

Vogue 8745:  The inspiration dress is from Modcloth (where it is available in gray – I changed the picture to match my fabric.)  I plan to lengthen this top (and cut longer ruffles.)  I’m also planning to make a black leather obi belt (via my trusty Kwik Sew pattern) to define the waist.  I need one badly, as I keep wishing I had one when wearing other dresses!

Vintage patterns: Vogue 9660(1950s,) Vogue 5782 (1960s) and McCall 5336 (1970s)

I’m considering fabric options for these three projects, but I may yet change my mind.  I’m currently feeling very inspired by the 1970s, so McCall 5336 is up first.  I’m looking for a lightweight woolen with drape to make the short hemline/long sleeved version.  My inspiration for this dress is from Diane Von Furstenberg’s Pre Fall 2011 collection (here... there are no exact matches, but the feel of the collection shows what I am aiming for.)  I am thinking of a warm brown or orange-red for fall.

I  am not sure where I am going to start.  Right now I have the McCall’s 6167 on the cutting table (I was convinced by your positive feedback on that one!) and after that I want to make Simplicity 2256 (the ponte jacket.)  After that I will work on a dress.

I am possibly sort of OCD about planning!  It’s curious though… without a plan like this I will go a month without sewing, but with the plan I feel inspired!  I know I won’t get to everything, but that’s not important to me – what’s important is that I have projects ready to go when I get the sewing urge.   It does not often coincide with the planning urge, so I often end up stymied by what to make.   I plan to cut several projects at a time too – it keeps me from using cutting as an excuse not to sew (I hate to cut, even with the rotary!)