Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Dress [Giveaway Closed]

I was honored when Lolita patterns asked me to make a version of their new dress, Gunmetal. I thought it would be an interesting challenge because their patterns, as shown on their envelopes, really aren’t my style. I’m not into gothic, I’m not into super-feminine, and I feel silly wearing most ruffles. But, underneath the styling, lies a nice pattern that can be made simply for a great, casual, comfy, everyday dress. I made a lot of changes to the pattern, but they are all simple things that anyone can do. I rounded up to the nearest size (as they recommend) and found that it gave me a good fit through the bust and shoulders but I had to take a LOT in from the waist to make it fit me nicely (my waist is several inches smaller than their block, which was clear from the pattern envelope, so I …


Little Birdie Bow Neck Blouse

My first blouse for the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong (oh yeah, there’ll be more!). A little birdie told me to make this one (groan. bad joke, I know). It’s the bow neck blouse pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I’ve made it before in black rayon blend with big red roses (the same fabric I used for the shirtwaist dress from the same book). The fabric is a quilting cotton that I bought at Joanns quite a while ago. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and normally don’t like quilting cottons for garments, but it was just too cute to pass up. I made several small changes to the pattern for this go-around. Since I had previously sewn the pattern in a lighter fabric with drape, I went up a size to account for the quilting cotton. I also changed the shoulder shape …


Paisley Pashmina Anna Maxi Dress

This is my first/second Anna dress from By Hand London and I think I may be even more in love with it than the second/first. The second/first was silk, and lined, and hemmed by hand and took forever and I feel so elegant in it. And this second/first Anna fabric came from the super sale table, is an unknown fiber, and looks like a grandmother’s pashmina scarf. But I can actually wear it on a daily basis, and I know I’m going to! I wore it for the first time last weekend for a trip to Guernville, CA. We took part in a lovely gathering of folks to celebrate our friend’s 40th birthday, staying in a set of cabins “downtown”. It was a block from Johnson’s beach, where we took these photos, a couple blocks from a cute town center, and a quick drive to the redwoods where we went …


Little Stuffed Leather Snail

My giant leather snail had babies. I had some scraps left of the leather coat that I used to sew my giant size Shelby the Snail pattern by Abby Glassenberg and decided to sew a couple of snails that were actual pattern size. I gave one to my soon-to-be-nephew Burke (along with the Northwest Baby Sweater I designed for him) and have the other earmarked for another friend’s baby. I thought that leather made for a great baby gift – sturdy, appropriate for teething, and quirkily unique. I sewed the snail on my sewing machine using a denim needle, stitching the stuffing holes closed by hand. On the giant snail, I sewed everything right sides together, as instructed, so all the seams were hidden. For these little guys, I decided to sew them wrong sides together so the that all of the seams are visible, making it a bit more …


Newcastle Cardigan for Adam

I finally sewed Adam a real piece of clothing. I’ve made him ties and pajama bottoms before, but never a  garment that he can wear daily. Every time he mentions needing a new piece of clothing (I need more dress shirt. I could use a pair of chinos. etc.) I offer to make them for him, but he always hems and haws and goes ahead and buys the item. And then I saw the Newcastle Cardigan pattern by Thread Theory and showed Adam the pattern, saying that I thought it would be very handsome on him and I would make it for him. And he liked it and said “Yes. That would be great. Can I help pick the fabric? You’ve never offered to sew anything for me before.” And I was like “Whaaaat????” It turns out, that in Adam’s head, all those “I can make that for you” offers …


Silk Floral Print Anna Dress

I sewed the Anna dress from By Hand London out of a lightweight silk to wear to a girlfriend’s wedding this weekend. It consumed my every free moment last week since I didn’t leave nearly enough time to sew it (since I had a stomach bug on the weekend I had planned on doing most of the work.) But I got it done, and I adore the result! To make sure that the dress would work before I cut out my silk, I sewed the same version of the dress out of a cheaper fabric first, but that version is currently only basted together because, as soon as I saw that it fit and I liked it, I switched to the silk dress. (I will finish it soon). I originally had other ideas for what to wear to this wedding, but the more versions of this dress I’ve seen pop …


White Linen Cropped Victoria Blazer

At first I wasn’t terribly sold on the Victoria blazer by By Hand London. It just felt a little too late 80’s – early 90’s to suit my style, and I’m not usually a fan of boxy clothing on my torso. However, I’ve been swayed by many cute versions popping up on the blogosphere, so when I ordered the Anna dress pattern (stay tuned for a couple versions of it coming up!), I figured I would save on shipping and added the Victoria to my shopping cart. I’m so glad I did! I made up the Victoria in off-white linen, fully lined in the same fabric. (Like many, I opted to add a lining to the sleeves). I actually intended to line it with a fun blue batik print, but I didn’t want there to be any chance of the blue bleeding onto the white linen in future washes, so I …


Almost a Bombshell in My Swimsuit

I’m finally done with my bombshell swimsuit. I simply adore the retro influenced style and started it just after Heather of Closet Case Files released the pattern, but my hip injury kept me away from the sewing machine for so long that I’ve just now finished it up. Although summer is waning elsewhere, nice weather is just about to start here in San Francisco. Just about the only time I’m ever found in a swimsuit is when sitting in a hot-tub, (I don’t like swimming and I’m too pale to tan), but this adorable suit might change that! I followed Heather’s excellent sew-along. This being the first swimsuit I’ve made, I pretty much followed her instructions to the letter. I did grade between sizes, going up one size for the bottom, since I’m a pear. I used the stretch zig-zag on my sewing machine for all of the stitching. I really …


Sparkly Underlined Sewaholic Robson Trench

I’m a bit of a coat junkie, but I rarely actually follow through on my coat cravings because I commute by scooter, so every day I wear my motorcycle jacket. When I saw the Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat pattern, there was no question, I had to buy it and make myself a trench coat. And I happened to have the all the needed fabric, underlining, and bias tape in my stash! I don’t know anything about this fabric other than I bought it on sale quite a while ago, it’s a navy blue of something synthetic that sloughs water, and it has silver paint dots all over it. It has almost no drape which gives great structure for the collar. However, it wasn’t easy to work with the painted fabric. I put together a post of hints for working with heavily embellished fabrics based on my experiences with this fabric. Because …


Giant Leather Snail Stuffed Animal

I sewed a giant stuffed leather snail. Why? I got a harebrained idea and of course I had to follow up on it.  Not too long ago I saw that Nette had sewn a leather pug and I thought that making a giant leather stuffed animal was a great idea. The Shelly the Snail pattern is by Abby Glassenberg, a stuffed animal designer and blogger who I have long followed for her blog posts about running a small craft business.

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 …


Archer Blouse from Bangladeshi Fabric

I’ve made button front blouses with collars and placketed sleeves before but never this well. This blouse is perfection. Seriously. I set myself the goal of sewing perfect things in 2013 and this makes it high on the list. I’m in love. (My new blouse is shown here with my curtain panel skirt.) The pattern is Archer by Grainline Studio. While not typically a fan of oversized blouses for myself, I just had this feeling in my gut that this blouse needed to be made, and I was right. I like it both tucked in as well as draping open. As I was sewing it, I had fears that it would look a little too 90’s (flashback to Fresh Prince of Bel Air), but I think it errs on the side of elegant-hippy-chic and that’s fine by me. I cut the blouse out of a lightweight woven cotton that my …


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!


Red Scalloped High Waist Pencil Skirt

I added scallops to the pattern I made from Gertie’s New Book to make a red pencil skirt, just in time for Valentine’s Day. (Yes, I just posted this picture a few days ago, but that was about the blouse and this is about the skirt, so you get to see it again!) While I’m always drawn to patterns, I think that a solid colored pencil skirt (or a few!) will be a nice addition to my wardrobe as I can easily pair patterned tops with a solid bottom. And the scallops give it a bit of personality that it might otherwise lack.


Bow Neck Blouse

I made the bow neck blouse from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I was frustrated and disappointed by the time I finished the blouse. But now that I’ve worn it a couple of times, I wish I could take back those emotions, because I disagree now. I really like the blouse! The fabric is a cotton-rayon blend (I’m guessing) and a gift from a friend. For being such a simple blouse, it took me quite a while to sew, mostly because of the bound buttonholes. I also had to futz with the neckline quite a bit to keep it from choking me. In all, I lowered the front of the neckline by about an inch and changed the shoulder seam a bit. This left the gap in the neckband in the back larger than I might have liked, but wearable. The buttonholes are bound. They turned out okay, but …


Grey Wool Thurlow Shorts

I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of time to sew for myself this month, even though most of my free time has been full of making Christmas gifts. I made another pair of thurlow shorts to wear for winter. This time I used some grey wool that I pulled from my stash that my mom bought forever ago (25 years?). I used the rest of it last year to recover the seats of our dining room chairs.


Thurlow Shorts in Sage Velour

For years I’ve thought that wearing shorts in the winter is a stupid trend. I resisted it vehemently. And then last year I picked up a pair of wool shorts at the thrift store. And wore them incessantly. I’ve changed my mind. Winter shorts are awesome. I love wearing them over tights and I love wearing tights. And they actually kinda make sense for locales such as San Francisco where winter is so mild (well, compared to what I hear winter is like in other parts of the country. I wouldn’t actually know because it’s milder than Seattle or Portland but apparently they’re pretty mild too).