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Mom’s Maxi Summer Hippy Dress

I sewed my mom a sundress for Christmas. Yes, kind of a silly thing to do for someone who lives in Seattle since it was months before she could wear it. But I had the fabric and the pattern and the vision and it was a fun project to make me dream of sunshine midwinter. And now she’s finally wearing it (and wearing it a lot!) so I can share it. I drafted the pattern myself, making it similar to a RTW dress that she already had and liked. The fabric is a cotton/rayon  batik print that was a gift from a friend (and a stashbuster!). It has princess seams and front and side facings with a smocked back, although the drape of the fabric and the busy-ness of the print hide the construction. The dress gaps a bit in the back now since my mom has lost 20 pounds …

Grainline Archer Shirt-Dress

Another Monday, another Archer. I sewed this out of a heavy rayon challis in forest green that was a gift and in my stash. The fact that it looks a whole lot like the shirt on the pattern envelope was something that escaped me until writing up this blog post. I decided to add 9″ to the pattern so that it could be a dress. The challis was a dream to sew with. I immediately want to go buy a bunch more, just so I have a fully stocked stash (ha! right! like I need anything more in my stash!). I sewed view B of the Archer by Grainline Studio, with the gathered lower back. This shirt-dress is so amazingly comfortable. I want to live in it! The only problem? Without a belt, I think it looks like I’m wearing a nightgown. So please, dear reader, tell me truthfully and …

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Mad Men Joan Dress

I’ve made my Mad Men Challenge Dress. Phew. I used Gertie’s Wiggle Dress as the pattern with only minor fit changes (changed the hip shape and added 1/2 inch to the front at the shoulder). The pattern uses dolman sleeves with an armpit gusset for fit. I didn’t get the shoulders fit perfectly as mine are much stronger than the pattern intends, but I’ve got some ideas about how to make the fit perfect next time.

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1942 Hollywood Patterns Shirtwaist Dress

I now present to you my 1940’s dress for Sew for Victory. It’s from Hollywood Patterns (No. 855), from May 1942, endorsed by Betty Grable of 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I’m not that enamored with this dress. I was talked into the fabric, a quilting cotton, by a woman at the fabric store but I really should have stuck to my guns and gone to another store to find a nice rayon. When I first envisioned this dress, I wanted it to be something I could wear to seduce Sam Spade. I feel like it ends up making me look like I should be out back mucking out a chicken coop. I settled on working for the war effort as a compromise. This was the first time that I have used an original 1940’s pattern (not a reproduction). I thought it was so fun to pull it out of the envelope …

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Cake’s Tiramisu Dress

I think Cake’s Tiramisu dress pattern is great. It’s a wonderful blend of fun and flirty and functional. The construction instructions are clear and the sizing allows for fit on many different bodies. Unfortunately, I just don’t like how it looks on my body. I had misgivings when planning the dress but I so badly wanted it to be cute on me like it is on so many women that I went ahead and sewed it. I finished the dress and, just as I thought, it looks good on every body type but pear, and I happen to be a pear. Oh well.

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Roses on Black Shirtwaist Dress

I made this vintage-style shirtwaist dress form Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Like my bow-neck blouse from the same book (and made from the same stashed cotton-rayon blend fabric, incidentally), I thought I didn’t like it as I was finishing it up. However, I find myself having worn the dress several times already, so, fortunately, my initial opinion has been proven wrong!

Floral Paisley Sundress

My mom gave me the fabric for this dress. It was sitting on her shelf for years. It’s some mish-mash of floral and paisley and I thought it was one of the uglier prints I had ever seen. And then it sat on my shelf for a few years. And the longer it sat there, the more I liked it. Until it grew on me enough that I made a sundress, blouse, and hair kerchief out of it! The dress is totally A-line from the bust. This makes it super comfy in warm weather, albeit rather shapeless. I added a very gathered ruffle to the bottom of the skirt to give it some weight and swing.I think it turned out part hippie, part bohemian, and part muumuu. But I’m okay with that. Sometimes I’ll toss on a simple red ribbon belt. Adding a red belt, shoes, and purse helps to ground …

Dress Re-Make: From Scallops to Greece

I sewed my dress to wear to my step-sister’s wedding last year. The result was tolerable enough that I actually wore the dress, but it just didn’t come together in real life like it did in my head. (Side note: wasn’t my step-sister a beautiful bride!!) The color makes me look washed out. The scallops are uneven if you look too close. The length (just above the knee) seemed not right. And the slight gathers in the waist and the slightly-too-snug hips conspired to make my belly look very, very poochy. So, I cut it apart at the waist. I decided that the bottom of the dress was a lost cause and put it to scrap. I took a length of sage colored fabric from my stash (I believe they were once my mom’s curtains) to remake the skirt. The bodice of the dress ended up rather Grecian in my …