Thursday, July 23, 2015

Burda Style August 2015

To purchase, go to

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

The ruffles add pizazz to a basic tank top.

This look is a nod to the 70's that are trending this fall.
Blouse #123-Silk Charmeuse-Apple Cider
Skirt #124-Midnight Tropical Weight Wool

When you need a day-to-night look with just a quick change of accessories.
Dress #122A-Daisy Lace Knit-Coral

This is a great transitional jacket for cooler days.

Plus Size
Perfect for work and weekend glam!
Dress #126B-Bamboo Cotton Stretch Sateen

Comfy, cozy and stylish 
Coat #132-Camel/Multi Color Boucle

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It Is Easy Being Green

I'm loving these chic pull on jeans Dorcas made.  They are just perfect for running around town shopping or meeting friends for lunch.  Thank you Dorcas for pointing out this lovely pattern-you look great!!

Jalie 3461 is a stretch pull-on jeans (long or cropped) with a wide waistband. The design features are a yoke, faux fly in the front, patch pockets in the back. It's fitted through waist and hips, straight from the knee down.  And I thought the instructions were very easy. Plenty of pictures. I didn't have any problem following them. 

I have 3 pairs of RTW pull on jeans (more like jeggings) that I really like and I was curious to see if this pattern was constructed in the same way and it is. I had never put a waistband together in this method and I like it. I like where it sits just below the waist but not in the "constantly having to hike" zone. Everyone has their preferences but I like the faux pockets whereas some don't. I like the faux fly front and all the topstitching that give the appearance of jeans. I like that they are straight from the knee down and can be easily modified to skinny, if desired. I don't really have any dislikes. 

My fabric is a beautiful cotton/spandex jacquard (the chartreuse is now sold out but the fuchsia is still available) from Sew Much Fabric. It has the perfect amount of stretch and great recovery. I've worn these twice and haven't had any loss of shape. 

I didn't make any alterations whatsoever, even to the length which is unusual as I almost always have to shorten pants. I struggled with whether or not to do the usual butt scoop that I do when making jeans and I wish I had. The waistband on these keeps it from riding down when I sit but I'd still like that extra bit of room and will do it on my next pair. 

I will make these again and I definitely recommend the pattern.
This was a fun sew and I'm really pleased with how my pants turned out. The gorgeous fabric was icing on the cake!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fabric Sale

Hop on over to Sew Much Fabric ( and stock up now without breaking the bank on freshly markdown fabrics and further discounts on already reduced fabrics.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Orange is the New Maxi

Dorcas did a fabulous job taking a blouse pattern and tuning it into a lovely summer maxi! Thank you Dorcas for sharing this.

Vogue 9109 view C lengthened to a maxi.
The  instructions were very easy to follow. This would be a great pattern for a beginner.

One of the things I like about this pattern are the multiple cup sizes. I love the cut-in shoulders and retro styling. One slight dislike is that the top is rather big through the waist area. I might even add some darts in the back next time in addition to the alterations I made.

I used a cotton pique from Sew Much Fabric (sold out but other piques are here and here). Love both pique and orange! The facing is a poly woven I've had forever.

I made a few pattern changes: I took in the waist area at the sides and back totaling 2.5". I drafted a facing for the neck and armholes rather than using bias tape. I added 24" to View C to make a maxi and left the right side open from just above the knee down to the hem. Rather than a hook and eye I used a button and loop closure. I found a great Susan Khalje tutorial for making a thread bar here. I also plan to make bra strap carriers using this technique.

I will be making this again and absolutely recommend it.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Lace and a 40th Wedding Anniversary

Tanisha contacted me for suggestions on fabrics for a very special occasion-her parents 40th wedding anniversary!  She wanted a formal dress made for her Mother to wear for the celebration. Local sewing engineer, Barbara Cruse, made this beautiful dress using Black Lace with White Backing from Sew Much Fabric for the gala and I must say it is stunning!  Thank you Barbara for sharing your experience on making this beautiful jacket and skirt.  

Photo Credit: Carlton Hamlin Photography
Mrs. Cosby selected Vogue 7963, clean lines with a portrait collar, very elegant.    

The only way to get a perfect match of the lace motifs was to use a single layer layout.  

I started with the bodice center front line of the overlap and underlap and worked to the back.  To make the skirt even simpler I cut it on the fold rather than 2 pieces. She has a flat bottom so it worked out well.  (When the client has a shapely bottom I make it in 2 pieces for the best fit.)

The fitting challenge was that she has a slightly curved back. The center back had to be lengthened a bit and eased into the side seams.   Her left and right side are different sizes, so one sleeve and bodice front were almost a size smaller and the adjacent back larger. This also made the front dip more and that was adjusted at the hem. Now you can’t tell a difference. The alterations for the skirt were at the waistline for a high hip and a low center front waist. The adjustment for this was to lower the hip 1” and center front 2”.

I used stay tape (not listed on the pattern envelope) for the outside edge of the collar and neckline.  She has a slightly curved back so I added an extra snap to eliminate the gap between the snaps called for in the sewing instructions. I also added a hook and eye on the collar center front to keep it closed.

This fabric was wonderful to sew on, I used an #80 Universal needle and didn’t have any problems.

The happy couple Mr and Mrs Hal Cosby
Photo Credit: Carlton Hamlin Photography

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Burda Style July 2015

To purchase, go to
(Sold Out)

All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Cut in armholes are trending this summer. 
Dress-#121-Navy Linen

Updated Boho Chic

Sleeveless moto jacket for summer?!  Check!
Jacket-#112 Blue Denim

Pretty and Feminine
Peplum Top-#114A-Chartreuse Stretch Cotton
Skirt-#118-Chartreuse Stretch Cotton
(Sold Out)

Plus Size
Weekend Glam!
Knit Top-#127-Black/Taupe Reversible Knit
Pants-#130B-Black/White Pinstripe

Night time glam!
Evening Dress-#129B-Black Rayon Crepe (Sold Out)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Shell Top and Polka Dots

Thank you Carla for sharing this recent sewing project for your daughter.  The navy and white polka dot is such a smart and versatile look for work. I know she will enjoy wearing this for years to come!

Simplicity 1692—View D 

After a couple of really busy months, I’m trying to get back into sewing!  I had purchased a couple of Retro blouse patterns that I thought my daughter would like.  I had also bought some blouse fabric from Roz at the April Fashionista’s meeting.  

I made a muslin to fit my daughter.  I knew she would not like the buttons on the shoulders nor the trim around the neck or sleeves. So, my plan was just to seam the shoulders and leave the trim off.  I chose the navy polka dot silk (sold out but other silks are here) thinking it would hang well!  When fitting the muslin, it fit in the bust but was too tight in the hips. Even though the pattern showed it tucked in, it was way too short to tuck!  So, I added width at the bottom and tapered the seam to fit at the bust.  I added 1 and ½ inches length.  One pattern review said they raised the tucks ½ inch—so I did the same thinking it would fit a little better under the bust!

Since I was working with a silk, I wasn’t sure how the invisible zipper would do in the side—especially after I made the seam more curvy by adding width at the bottom.  I thought I’d stabilize the seam before inserting the zipper.  I used an iron on light weight knit stabilizer—it’s just what I had that I thought would work!  The zipper went in fine, but I’m not sure I like the way it hangs.  I’m kind of thinking the pattern and fabric was not that great of a match. And I’m also not sure I like having an invisible zipper on the side when it’s planned to tuck in.  Too much bulk!

My next challenge was the neckline.  The pattern called for facings, but I did not think facings would do well with the silk.  I thought a bias binding would be better.  I stabilized the neckline with fusible tricot hem tape.  Then I stay stitched over the tape.  This seemed to work well!  Roz gave me some tips on the bias and I also found a great you-tube which gave me specific instructions on how wide to cut the bias for a specific width finish!  

All in all, I’m happy with my construction but have reservations on whether my daughter will like!  We’ll see!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Red, White and Blue Knit Maxi Dress

Love it when a plan comes together as lovely as this dress did! Andrea is a professional seamstress and sewing instructor in the Houston area as well as an ambassador for Bernina USA.  Thank you Andrea for sharing this summer addition to your wardrobe! You can follow all of Andrea's sewing adventures, tips and techniques at

Was I thinking of Independence Day when I made this dress, was my mind set on the Stars and Stripes of our country? No, I was being me....just sewing because I liked the look of this fun design.
McCalls 6559

I made the placket front because of an idea I got from some current Michael Kors designs. Grommets and eyelets must be the new exposed zipper.  The star was adhered after the right side seam was sewn and before the lining was inserted.  I used a spray adhesive to secure it before I used a simple zigzag appliqué to permanently secure it in place.  There was no stretching using the walking foot.

Pattern and Construction Notes: 

Listed as a "Very" close-fitting, pullover dresses. E and F: front seam detail, bias upper/middle fronts, and lower front/back (cut on crosswise grain of fabric. All have narrow hems.

Pattern Sizing: I cut a size 14 with a 1/2" FBA and graded to a 16 at hip front and added 2 inches to the "back" hip only.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  I have liked this dress since it came out. The star is what did it for me, it is such a cute whimsical addition to the simple maxi dress. I even enjoyed having the stripes being two sided. This helped keep it from being boring.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I did not follow the instructions, and its not because I sew a lot, its just an easy sew. The neckline was changed substantially.  

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:I lengthened it above the waist by 1" and at the hem by 2"inches. I should have done more at the hem, because it does run very short.  A double placket was added to the neckline to add some pizazz!

June 2015 MWP

Tomato Bisque Brushed Cotton, Silk Charmeuse-Dark Truffle, Summer Foliage 
The long and lazy days of summer have begun but don’t let your style take a vacation!   The mini wardrobe plan (MWP) for June has cool and confident garments that will keep you looking your best. The June MWP fabrics are Tomato Bisque Brushed Cotton, Summer Foliage and Silk Charmeuse-Dark Truffle.  I’m mixing a few classic summer pieces with some trending styles to keep your look current.  All fabrics are available from Sew Much Fabric.

The Tomato Bisque Brushed Cotton is soft and comfortable with a nice drape.  It’s perfect for a chic, on-the-go look.  I’ve paired this fabric with a stylish drawstring pant (Simplicity 1467), a pair of trending culottes (Vogue 9091) and a chic crop top (Burda Style 2/2015 #127).  

I always like a touch of luxury and silk charmeuse in Dark Truffle is just that.  It’s summer so a sleeveless tank top like Simplicity 1467 will work on its own for the weekend as well as underneath a jacket for the office.  And a dress (Simplicity 6169) is always good to have for a last minute night out on the town. 

Pulling it all together is Summer Foliage a beautiful silk and cotton blend.  The fabric has slubs that run throughout adding some surface interest.  A jacket (Butterick 6169) is always good for fending off the chill of the AC.  A pair of shorts in this tropical print (McCalls 6930) is a summer must have, the skirt (Burda Style 2/2015 #109A) is great for Causal Friday and a crop top (Butterick 6183) keeps your summer look updated.  
These garments can mix and match for lots of summer activities.

Family Reunion

Date Night
Outdoor Concert

Backyard BBQ

Lunch with the Girls