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Saturday, September 27, 2014

#43 The Plaid Dress

#43 The Plaid Dress

Well here it is folks, one of my first sewing adventure experimenting with plaids. It’s from Butterick B5852 dress pattern. I experienced some difficulty in the cutting process, due to the matching of the plaids. Overall, I think it came out really nice.

  It’s very comfortable and the fit is great too. I enjoyed wearing it today. It’s a perfect match for this time of the year. The colors of autumn are so bright and colorful. It’s one of my favorite time of the year.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. See you all soon!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Plaid Dress

Hello everyone!
I successfully completed this weeks project, “the plaid dress.” I’m really pleased with the way it came out. It is one of my first attempts into sewing with plaids in years. The hardest part is in the cutting. You have to match all your pieces right on the cutting table. Once that is done, your well on your way as with any other garment.

 Butterick pattern B5852 is a great pattern to work with. I’m sure I’ll use it again sometime in the future. I liked the top more than the skirt bottom. Unfortunately, bias skirts are unforgiving to curves. The other part that can get complicated is the four corner gussets. It requires a lot of patience. I also want to mention that I underlined the neckline both front and back with canvas material. The foundation makes for a great “V” neck fit. And as always I added 4” boning all around the midriff, which I attached to the lining.

Now, for next week’s project. I have some left over plaid material which I cut up a skirt from this “Very Easy” Vogue V8928 pattern. This is such a great skirt pattern to work with.

I’m liking it so much that I’ve transferred it to a cotton fabric to use as the pattern. This allows for me to add several inches to the hemline as well as to reuse the pattern without any alterations and not have to worry about ruining the pattern tissue paper from too much use. Anyone who uses the same pattern over and over again knows how easily patterns can tear. I plan on making several of these skirts.

Many years ago, I had a collection of long skirts with an open slit in the front. I felt so nice in them. You can easily wear them with tights and boots this time of year. They also wear well with just about any style sandals or shoes.


I selected this other plaid material with a snazzy lime color lining. The open front exposes the lining. It’s a nice way to add color or even a fun pattern from underneath. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun exploring with this new pattern. I can tell you the cut itself is a perfect fit. It overlaps in the front and closes with a back zipper. I’m going to add different color zippers in the back to add some fun with the matching underlining.


Well, that’s it for now. I’m hoping to wear my new plaid dress tomorrow and take some pictures of the beautiful autumn changing color of the season. I think it’s a perfect setting for the plaid dress. I’m so happy with it. It thought me a lot about planning ahead, being patient and even with we think that things aren’t going to work because they don’t line up as we want them to, they still fit well together. Sewing is a great connector to life. It makes you live in the moment. You create with what you have and grow from it. I just love what sewing offers. I feel so much better as a person too. Anyways, sewing is a lot of fun. I hope I’m inspiring you to find fun in your own sewing projects. It doesn’t have to be hard. All you need is a little planning, some material and willing hands. Well that’s it for this week’s sewing story. I hope that all of you have a great weekend and as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Plaid Dress

I picked up this incredible beautiful plaid fabric at Bedford Fabrics in Fall River. I got a head start on my new project and have this dress already cut up and ready to go. The only problem is that I forgot that you have to cut each piece separate in order to match up the plaid. I’ve worked with plaids  in the past, but it was always on finished pieces that I was altering. I haven’t made anything in plaid since my teenage years. I had to relearn a few basic techniques fast.

At first, I was so disappointed with my mismatch that I thought I would just stop there. However, I think it’s good to work and grow from your mistakes. As a mater of fact, wearing them is even better. You know you’ll never make that same mistake again. So, I’m continuing on with this plaid dress.
The pattern is a repeat from the previous  weeks. I’m using the patterns skirt this time around. Let’s see how this whole layout works out. Let's see what it looks like in a week. 
Have a great weekend everyone and as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A few items I made this week...

Hello everyone! Here’s a few items I made this week. They include two tops from the same McCall’s Pattern #8781 and a matching scarf as well as a purse. I also revisited a skirt that I made this spring, which I never wore. I made it too big and did not have any matching top in my closet to go with it. I finally brought it out and altered it and made it’s matching top.

I love this top. I’ve had this pattern in my collection for a least a decade. The material from the skirt is a beautiful linen that a purchased at Bedford Fabrics in Fall River, MA. It’s a great fabric to wear this time of year. I like the “woodland” motif. It’s very rich in both color and pattern.


There’s a couple of sewing details that I want to point out on this top. First, I made my own built in bias facing around the armholes. I sew it all down as if it were store bought. I find it holds down the fabric better without any puckering.

 Also, I use invisible zippers on the back neckline. It gives it a cleaner finish and again holds the neckline better than a loop and button. I find it works for me.

These were small projects that were easy and gave me great satisfaction to use fabric I already had and complete projects that were already started. It’s good to reflect back and see what more can be done to make the most of what we already have.
Tomorrow, I’m hoping to plan out next week’s project. I’ll be sure to post it. I know last week I didn’t post any new upcoming projects. That’s because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with the remnants I had. Well, I  hope you enjoy the few items I made and I hope that they inspire you to create something special in your life. It’s a great feeling, even when the projects are small. Have a good day and as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Illumining Dress

Here’s this week’s project. Butterick 5851 top with my own vertical, horizontal sides skirt. This dress was a lot easier to cut than to assemble. Everything was going well, until the first fitting. The top needed some adjusting. That is to be expected. What caused the challenge was getting the skirt to line up with the pleats that I previously created on the fabric itself. Seeing the pleats were made by human hands, meant that not all pleats matched up as a pre-weaved fabric. It was very frustrating, to say the least. Despite the fact that I had to tear it apart and start over again, I kept moving the project forward. I was afraid of losing momentum.

The gussets too, were a bit of a pain. I’ve worked with countless gussets in the past, but usually it’s the “V” kind that connects under the arm and side seams. This pattern required the four corners. After reading the directions and giving it a go, it was fine.

I also worked the midriff with boning. I didn’t want to see any puckering or wrinkles. The material required the dress to be super fitted. I mean “super fitted.”

I was so tired of working on this dress that I took a day’s break from it and made a matching clutch purse just for fun. This is what I came up with. I’ve made many bags in the past. The most important thing is to underline it with some sort of padding. No padding, no life to the bag.

I even went as far as to incorporate an inside pocket with zipper. Anything to keep me happily busy and not have to think about going back to working on the dress. Eventually, I did.

At some point you have to move forward and just finish what you’ve started. I stopped being hard on myself and boy, what a relief that was. During one of my final fittings, yes there were many fittings! I went to my closet looking for shoes to use for measuring the hemline with. To my surprise, I found these. I couldn’t believe it . A perfect fit. All my life I’ve adored matching handbags and shoes. You know the type... you find them at the high end boutiques. The ones I’m afraid to go in. I can’t afford anything in them. Even so, this is the closest I’ll ever come to a perfect matching set.

If that wasn’t enough, I felt the waistline too could use an accessory. I was thinking maybe someday, I would shop for a perfect matching belt, who knew I had this one in my closet as well. I think it’s OK for now. Maybe someday, I’ll find something more exciting.

My first two responses to the dress were great! My mother couldn’t stop smiling and nodding her head in disbelieve and my husband too was so impressed that he offered to take me out to someplace worthy of this new dress. So much joy and life is coming out of my sewing studio. Well, that’s it for this week folks. Next week, I plan on revisiting some material I’ve recently worked with and create something with the remnants. Till then, I hope your motivated to sew and create anything that makes you happy. And as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#42 Dress - Some place and time in India

I’m slowly putting away my summer dresses and brining out my fall collection. Today, I wore this dress, which I made last year. Again, it’s one of the first from the “Love Of Mother” dress collection. This collection is important to me. It’s how I got started in this whole journey of creating dresses while taking care of my mother. It also shows progression of new sewing skills. I used vogue V8764 pattern. I played around with the skirt and added pleats on both sides. This fabric is very unusual and reminded me of some place and time in India. Not that I’ve ever traveled there, but I do have an attraction to it’s people and their culture. The fabric came with wide stripes at every yard. I loved it when I first saw it at Joann’s fabrics.

When I bought it, I had no idea what to do with it. After some fun experimentation, this is what I came up with. I worked the stripes both vertical and horizontal. I also got into pleating and carried the skill into other dresses. I like this dress very much.

  I wore it last season to a few parties. It’s very attractive and colorful. I feel a bit exotic in it. I’m so glad to have worn it again today. It’s definitely a keeper. Hope it inspires you to experiment with unusual materials and create anything you envision. Enjoy, and as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.
This photo was taken about a year ago with some of my colleagues. It was the first time I wore the dress. Great time.

My husband Tony - May 2013 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The year of the “dress illumination”

Here’s a quick update of the current dress that I’m working on. Once again I spent this week sewing the fabric itself into pleats and then sewing down the pleats. This dress is up to seven yards of fabric. Thank goodness I bought it all on sale! I originally bought three yards of this new fall season faux leather at Joann’s fabrics. Two days later, after I started sewing the pleats, I just knew I was going to need more. I made an additional trip to Joann’s and purchased two more yards. After cutting the dress, I realized I had to match the pleat lines and I ran out of fabric again. I panicked thinking that maybe Joann’s fabrics would not have any left. To my surprise, I purchased the last two yards on the bolt. I know they will reorder some more, but I really wanted to assure that I would have enough material to complete my project. So here it is, half way through.

It’s very similar to the previous one. I’m learning so much. It’s amazing. After cutting the skirt, I realized too late that I should have cut the side panels without seams. It would’ve been easer to mach up and more flattering without seams. But, that’s how we learn. I ended up using Butterick 5851 pattern on the top only. The bottom, I just cut it up into what I thought would work best with the top lines. I love this material. I read somewhere earlier that this week that this year is the year of the “dress illumination.” There’s certainly an incredible selection of fabrics out there that have a new shine to it. You can do so much with it. Seeing that I have some material left over, I have every intention of using it. I’m hoping to make a matching purse. Well, I hope you enjoyed the quick update of this week’s project. Certain dresses with this much fabric manipulation are almost impossible to finish in a week. That’s OK. The most important thing is to keep sewing, learning and creating! Have a great weekend everyone. And as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

# 41 Dress

# 41 Dress

This time of year, like most of you, I’m going through my closet brining out my fall/winter clothes. I always find myself with mixed emotions every time seasons change. I like summer, love fall, adore the winter holidays, especially with snow, and finally, I enjoy the re-birth of spring where everything blossoms with such promise. This is life in New England. Forever changing. So now you understand why we have reasons for an extensive wardrobe. I find that clothes too have their lives and moments within these seasons. Dresses have memories.

This particular dress was definitely one of last years favorites. I wore it quite often. The interesting part is when I look back on some of the photos, I was so happy within each occasion that I wore it. I never officially posted this dress, and I found that now is a good opportunity to share it with you.


This is one of the first dresses I made for the “Love of Mother” dress collection. The top of the dress is from Simplicity pattern # 2281 with a trumpet skirt from another pattern. I had extra material and made a simple triangle shaped scarf which I wore several different ways. It’s a very warm and cozy dress. Even in colder days, I didn’t need a heavy overcoat. There’s several details on this dress that are special to me. For one the cameo matched up perfectly. I love cameos. I picked it up from my mother. I have several of them that I have acquired through the years. Nothing expensive, just fun Victorian era accessories.


The other detail is the lace on the hemline. It’s actually some old lace I found laying around my parent’s garage from random leftovers of their fabric store they used to own before their retirement.

And finally, the dress really feels like it’s mine. That’s the beauty of sewing something for yourself. You can create something perfectly fitted for your life. I hope your inspired to sew anything at all. It doesn’t matter what it is, it will always be yours. Go and create memories. It’s a beautiful thing. Enjoy! And as always, thank you for sharing in my sewing journey.


My husband Tony, who is such a support and doubles up as my photographer.
My sister Dorinda took this very unexpected photo. It was such a fun moment.

My sister Dorinda, who actually is a professional seamstress along with my beautiful mother.

This was a special day. It was my birthday and my sister took me out for coffee. Sweet!