Vogue 9166 and the Winner of The Tunic Bible Giveaway


Before I tell you about my first project for Fall 2016 I need to make an important announcement. The winner of The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr is (drum roll please): Amy Mayer. Congratulations Amy! I hope you enjoy the book and all it has to offer as much as I do. Thanks to everyone who commented on the blog for your kind words about my tunics and for participating in the contest.

Back to our featured item, Vogue 9166 – Color Blocked Dress.


This pattern is a VERY EASY VOGUE and I must concur. There is nothing complicated about this dress. What you see is what you get. I chose to fully line my dress. I did this by re-creating the dress in black and white lining and basting it to the neckline prior to sewing the neck binding. The dress is supposed to have a shaped hemline. I wanted a straight hemline so I cut the front and back straight at the longest part of the FRONT.


I wanted to wear the dress with tights. I measured the length and decided I was going to shorten the dress by 3″ when I got back to my sewing the following evening. I even wrote a note to myself: “Cut 2 inches and make 1 inch hem”. When I came back the following evening I didn’t look at my note (Why would I? I don’t need no stinking note). I grabbed my scissors and proceeded to cut 3″ off the bottom of the dress. When I was about 90% finished cutting the hemline it hit me. Egad! What have I done?!!! An inch may not seem like a lot but it makes a big difference on the hemline of a dress or skirt. I was so upset with myself. I knew the dress would be fine and wearable but I hate when I do something as silly as this. There are so many things that can go wrong that are out of my control that whenever I mess up on a simple step I wonder if  I’m worthy of the title “sewist”. I rated my Skill Level as Intermediate on Pattern Review.com. I’m thinking they need a new category: Dork!

The fabric was from my stash. It is a mid-weight woven with some stretch. To get the color blocking to match at the sleeves and dress I basted the sleeves in place AND  used Steam-A-Seam. It worked great as the colors match perfectly at the seams on the sleeves, front and back.



I finished this dress a couple of weeks ago and wanted to get the pictures taken for my blog. My fashion photographer and I waited until later in the day when it cooled down to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to head out picture taking. Yup, lined dress, tights and booties in 85 degrees. This was one of these time when it was better to look good than feel good.

The Tunic Bible Blog Tour – My Tunics and a Giveaway


Earlier this month The Tunic Bible started popping up across the blogosphere. I’m here to add my voice to the chatter about this wonderful book. A year ago I was approached by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr to participate in a photo gallery for a book they were working on together. I had no clue what the book was going to be about but I knew if Sarah and Julie were involved I wanted to be a part of it. The book was about tunics. The concept was clever; a few interchangeable pattern pieces giving you the opportunity to create many different styles. I must admit that I had never given much thought about tunics until I saw this pattern.

The Tunic Bible pattern allows you to unleash your creativity. I found myself very inspired by the possibilities while working with the pattern. This book will have you thinking about tunics in a whole different way.

For the tunic above I chose the following elements from the book:

  • Tunic length
  • Side slits
  • Outside-facing wide split placket
  • Angled collar
  • Split cuffs

I used contrasting piping around the placket to match the cuffs.

The fabric is an Italian cotton panel print from Britex in San Francisco. I should have taken a picture of the fabric prior to cutting out the pattern but I was too anxious to get going. Below is the fabric with a few pieces missing.


As you can see by the picture below, one garment made with this pattern was not enough for me. My next project was a sleeveless dress. The fabric is a cotton faille from Britex as well. This time I chose to use the following elements from the book:

  • Dress length
  • Back darts
  • Outside-facing elongated placket
  • Band collar
  • Invisible side zipper

I added vertical darts in the front for a little extra shaping and narrowed the dress below the hips to the hem. I used piping around the placket to match the decorative ribbon sewed at the bottom of the dress. I also chose to line my dress. The pattern offers a separate cutting line for the sleeveless version allowing for a little more contour rather than just using the block without the sleeve. I think that is a nice detail.


I was eager to try the ruffle cuff sleeve that I had seen on other tunics in the book. This time I chose a cotton voile from my stash. I used the following elements from the book:

  • Tunic length (shortened by 1″)
  • Back darts
  • Side slits
  • Outside-facing V Neck placket
  • Ruffle cuff

Once again I used piping around the placket. I also used matching purchased bias tape to trim the placket.


The back darts provide shaping.


These are not going to be the only garments I make using The Tunic Bible. I’m just getting started. Your imagination is your only limitation with this pattern. No imagination? No problem, Sarah and Julie have you covered with a whole bunch of inspiring tunics.


The Tunic Bible draws you in with its beautiful pictures of assorted tunics but it’s not just about colorful pictures. There’s a lot of substance to this book. The various elements of the pattern (necklines, collars, sleeves, plackets, etc.) each have their own section in the book. The instructions and associated drawings are clearly explained and easy to understand. The book includes a full size pattern and I believe someone with a little sewing experience would not be intimidated by the prospect of making a tunic. The book also includes detailed information on how to apply trim to your tunic. The authors have even provided a list of resources for fabric and trim to get you started.

What stands out for me is the tunics that are featured in the gallery are accompanied by a list of the tunic elements used for that particular tunic as well as where to find each element in the book. There’s no guessing on how to re-create a certain style. Interested in learning more about The Tunic Bible? Sarah and Julie have a website to accompany the book.


C&T Publishing is offering a free book to one of my blog readers. If you are interested in being entered in the drawing for a copy of The Tunic Bible please let me know by writing a comment to this post before 9 p.m. PST on October 11th, the last day of the blog tour. I will announce the winner on October 12th. The winner will receive their book directly from the publisher. If the winner is outside of the United States they will receive a digital copy of the book. This contest is closed. The winner is Amy Mayer.

Blog Tour schedule:

October 3
C&T Publishing  and Pattern Review

October 4
Cloning Couture and Generation Q Magazine

October 5
Oonaballoona and Featherstitch Avenue

October 6
Allie J and Thanks I Made Them

October 7
Sew Busy Lizzy and Jennuine Design

October 8
Inside The Hem and Girls in the Garden

October 9
Sew Manju and My Love Affair With Sewing

October 10
Evolution of a Sewing Goddess and Creating in the Gap

October 11
House of Pinheiro and The Tunic Bible

Burda Style 02-2016-123 – Scuba Knit Top


I purchased a one meter remnant of scuba knit at Tissus Mode De L’Orme in Granby, Quebec while on vacation this past summer. I had never made an entire garment with scuba knit and was not sure how I would feel about it but I was attracted to the print and wanted to give the fabric a try.

I was not inspired by any of my patterns so I sat down to go through my Burda Style magazine binder. Binder? Yes, I make a photocopy every month of the two pages depicting the line drawings of the patterns in the magazine. I find that this makes reviewing the patterns easier. I’m often inspired by the lines of the pattern which are often more visible in the drawings than the pictures.

I completely missed #123 in the February 2016 issue but when I saw the line drawing I dug out the issue and knew this is what I wanted to sew with my scuba knit.



Finding this pattern was timely because Shams, who blogs at Communing With Fabric, recently had a blogpost about J.N. Zipper in South San Francisco. I took a look at their retail website but found it challenging to navigate. I figured out what I wanted and sent their customer service an email. They were very responsive. I placed my order via email and contacted them to give them my credit card information. Click here to read Shams’ blogpost about J.N.Zipper. She stopped by J.N. Zipper in-person and took some great pictures

The pattern calls for a 14″ separating zipper and has you shorten it to the length required for your size. I lengthened the top by 1.5″. I added 0.5″ at the waist to the upper piece and 1″ to the bottom of the lower piece. I ordered a 14.75″ #3 separating zipper with an open teardrop pull.


The design is simple but has some nice features such as the back neckline. The pattern is well drafted and came together well.


You can see in the photo below that my bra is visible. As designed this top has a very low armscye. img_1216

I enjoyed sewing scuba knit and would do so again if I come across an interesting print and the right pattern.

It feels wrong to end my blogpost with my back to you so here’s another picture of the front of my new top.



Jalie 3461 – Last Eleonore’s Of The Season


I’ve posted jeans made with Jalie’s pull-on jeans pattern a couple of times on my blog. I made two additional pair before the warm weather runs out around here. It feels like we just started our hot weather on the Central Coast of California so I’m hoping to get to wear these pants a few times before fall hits us.


I purchased this polka dot stretch cotton at Britex in San Francisco over the summer. I was worried that the polka dots would make these look  like “clown” pants but I love polka dots and was willing to take the risk. I think I can get away with them as long as I don’t have anything with ruffles while wearing them.  I made skinny jeans for this version. I did this by taking 3/8″ off of the inseam from the hem and tapering to nothing right above the knee. As with previous pairs I used 1.5″ elastic at the waist instead of the 1″ called for by the pattern. This is standard for me when making these pants. The top in the picture is  Simplicity 1463.

The next pair was sewn with white denim from Mood Fabrics.


This pair was made without any changes. I’ve made five pair of these pants since March of this year. I qualify this pattern as a “very satisfying sew”. There are very few pieces and the jeans come together quickly. The results are totally Ready-To-Wear.  The printed top in the picture is Burda Style 06-2013-108.


Here are pictures of my previous three pair:

Burda Style 06-2013-116 – Gingham Sheath Dress


Our warm weather is just getting going here on the Central Coast of California. I’m still in full summer sewing mode though I have started thinking of my fall wardrobe.


I’ve had this sheath dress on my list to sew ever since it came out in the June 2013 issue of Burda Style magazine. When I saw this 3-dimensional cotton gingham at Tissus Mode de l’Orme in Granby, Quebec I knew exactly what pattern I was going to make with it.

The dress has front and back side insets. The pattern called for piping between the side insets and the front and back pieces which I chose to omit. I may add the piping if I make this dress again, depending on my choice of fabric. Speaking of fabric, my gingham was thin so I chose to line the dress.


Below is a line drawing from the magazine so you can see the detail better. I chose to cut the insets and the pockets on the bias.


This pattern had bias strips at the neckline and pockets which I thought would be perfect for contrasting fabric.

This is a fun summer dress. I found the pattern well drafted and all of the pieces came together nicely. The patch pockets and insets are nice details for this sheath dress.



Vogue 8742 – Knit Dress

Copy of IMG_0407

My most recent project is a knit dress from a pattern that is now out of print. I made this dress a few years ago with long sleeves and have wanted to make a sleeveless version ever since. Sewists are starting to think of Fall sewing but here on the Central Coast of California we’re about to get our warmest weather of the year and I can’t wait!


I lowered the neckline about 3″ on this version. I also lined the dress with a lightweight knit because my fabric was somewhat sheer. The other change I made was to add an invisible zipper to the back. The dress as drafted has a keyhole opening in the back which works great if your fabric has two-way stretch as recommended on the pattern. My fabric only has crosswise stretch and I was nervous that this might make it challenging to get the dress on and off.

Copy of IMG_0417

I’m always worried when inserting a zipper in a lightweight knit. I fear this may cause puckering. I applied thin strips of interfacing along the edges before inserting the zipper. This worked out great. The zipper lies nice and flat.


The print is very busy and does not show the front seam gathers very well in the pictures. Below are the line drawings from the pattern. The seams on this dress allow for a wonderful fit.

Vogue 8742


Below is a picture of the dress I made a few years ago using this pattern.


Vogue 8742

Simplicity 1612 – Knit Dress


I love an easy-to-wear summer knit dress. I can’t have enough of them in my closet. My girlfriend Lise in Quebec sent me this beautiful textured ITY knit for my birthday. I knew it had to be a summer dress.


I made this version of Simplicity 1612 as a maxi dress last year and loved it. I shortened this dress (View A) by 1″. The front twist is nice but I think the back is what makes this dress interesting. As with my previous version I shortened the back elastic by 1.5″ in order to remove the possibility of gaping.


The bodice of this dress fits very well and is comfortable to wear. The twist front comes together easily. This was a quick sew yielding cute results.


Here’s a picture of the maxi dress I made last summer using this pattern:


Simplicity 1612