I love to sew. I’ve been sewing for years but discovering the online sewing community was a game changer for me. I appreciate the many talented sewists who share their creations and inspire me to improve my skills. In the last few weeks a group of sewists have inspired me in other ways than sewing. I’m talking about black sewists. I was at a loss for what to say or do after the murder of George Floyd. I paused and took time to read, listen and reflect on what I can do to become an ally and a voice for change. I turned to black makers within the sewing community who were sharing their thoughts and personal stories. Once again, I was being inspired by sewists to improve myself. I’m learning what it takes to help bring on the change that needs to happen. If you are on Instagram, I recommend checking out @blkmakersmatter. They are a coalition of black makers united to bring about and implement cultural transformation in the sewing and crafting industry. Their voices are making sure that Black Lives Matter is not just a passing phase but continues to be discussed and receives the attention it deserves.
I started this post by stating that I love to sew. I turn to sewing both in stressful and happy times. I find the creative process brings me clarity of mind.
For the last 3 months I’ve been sewing from my stash. This leftover piece of jersey has been waiting for its turn at the machine for about 9 years. I made a maxi dress with this fabric 9 years ago and had enough for another project. I chose to sew my favorite wrap dress, Vogue 8379.
This is the fourth time I’ve sewn this pattern. For this version I did not include the sleeves. I’ve made the following changes every time I’ve sewn this dress.
Added 1 inch to bodice length
Cut back skirt on fold.
This pattern has been available for a few years and there are many beautiful versions out there. Below are my 3 previous versions:
Remember to be kind to yourselves during these uncertain times. Stay safe and healthy!
I’m always on the lookout for simple knit dress patterns. They are not only great for showcasing interesting prints but they are easy to slip on and go. I feel like I’m ready for nearly anything summer throws my way when I have an assortment of knit dresses in my closet. I have no plans to go anywhere in the near future but I’ve decided to sew as if I do.
This pattern caught my attention because of the wide band along the front AND the skirt. I didn’t have any knit dress that had a skirt with this much volume. I used an ITY knit for this dress and it worked out great.
I added a 1/2 inch to the length of the top. I usually have to add anywhere from a 1/2 inch to 1 inch to the top. I didn’t add any length to the band because I like to cut the band a little shorter than the pattern and stretch it slightly as I attach it to the top. I find this helps the front lay flat.
I added 3 inches to the length of the skirt. This would have been a shorty without the extra length. I like to line my knit dresses with swimsuit lining. I didn’t have enough to line the entire dress so I chose to only line the skirt.
These pictures were taken about 6 weeks ago. It was before my hair started showing its true color. I purchased a good pair of hair cutting scissors so I could at least keep my hair out of my eyes. I sent an email to my hairdresser letting her know that she doesn’t have to worry about losing a customer. I would rather cut the flimsiest/slipperiest fabric than my own hair.
How are you all doing? I’ve been working from home since the middle of March. My work attire has pretty much been knit tops and jeans on a daily basis instead of the usual dresses I wear during the week when I go to the office.
I bought this knit top pattern a while ago after seeing some cute versions online. It is different from anything I have in my closet. The rayon jersey has been in my fabric stash for a couple of years. I thought it would work well with this pattern because it has a nice drape to it.
I added 1 inch to the length of the top because I wanted the twist to sit at the waistband of my jeans and not above it. Adding an inch is a usual alteration for me. I sewed a 3/4 length sleeve. It is the length of the sleeve without the ruffle (View C).
This knit top is a great addition to my assortment of knit tops. I’m not sure when I’ll be headed back to the office but in the meantime this top will be on heavy rotation.
I like sewing simple knit dresses. I find them versatile pieces to have in my closet. When I saw McCall’s 7999, I thought it was just different enough from the other knit dress patterns I had that I needed to add it to my pattern inventory.
The pattern is described as close-fitting. I compared it to a couple of other knit dress patterns that I like in order to determine if the fit needed to be adjusted. I added 1/4″ to the seams starting at the bust all the way to the hem. It was just enough to give me a little wiggle room. The other change I made was to cut the collar in half. As drafted the collar is folded in two. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a folded collar. This dress is part of my spring transition wardrobe so I wanted the dress to be comfortable for warmer days and I thought the folded collar might feel too warm.
The fabric is a textured knit with great recovery. This dress was a quick project and is perfect for this time of year with its cooler mornings. Even though I’m working from home and mostly wearing casual knit tops, I find it comforting during these times to plan my wardrobe around my “normal” routine. Besides, this dress is so easy to wear that I’ll probably wear it to work from home one day.
I hope you and your families are safe and healthy.
This trench coat was on my to-sew list ever since my sewing neighbor Kathy brought the pattern to my attention. When I was about 11 years old, my sister had a midi-length purple denim trench coat. I’ve often thought of that coat over the years and knew I would make a denim trench coat at some point. This black denim has been in my stash for quite a few years. While thinking of what fabric I was going to use for the coat, I remembered the black denim and decided it was time to make my denim trench coat.
I headed to Britex in San Francisco for the buttons and D-rings. Britex is my go-to store when I need buttons that are a out of the ordinary. The selection and customer service are wonderful.
This pattern is well drafted and the instructions are very good. I sewed a size 38 based on my measurements and it worked out well. I added 1 inch to the length of the front and back above the waist. I also added 1 inch to the sleeve length. These are normal adjustments for me. Besides following the directions for interfacing certain pieces, I chose to add interfacing to the lower front facings and the pocket bands.
The coat is unlined. The inside seams are finished by binding them with bias tape. I chose to make my own bias tape using leopard print cotton.
I probably won’t be wearing my coat anytime soon but I’m glad I’ve added it to my wardrobe. I highly recommend this pattern if you are looking for this style coat.
I hope this finds you all doing well during these uncertain times.
This tunic is my most recent Minerva Maker project. I chose this beautiful John Kaldor polyester crepe because I thought the print would look lovely in this simple tunic and these colors were wonderful for spring.
You would never know by looking at the front of this tunic that the back has a deep V. I like a garment with a little surprise in the back.
You can see in the line drawings below that the tunic has straight sleeve. This fabric has such a lovely drape that I chose to widen the sleeves and gather them into a band at the wrist.
The top is quite long. I removed 1 inch from the front and back. My shortened version is plenty long for my 5 feet 7 inches. Another change I made was to widen the band holding the back V in place. The finished width of my band is 5/8 inches.
This pattern is perfect for showcasing an interesting print. The tunic was easy to sew. I didn’t refer to the instructions but if I had, they were very detailed by Burda Style standards. The pattern is featured in the “Sewing Lesson” section of the magazine and features step-by-step illustrations and instructions.
For now I’m content to leave this tunic hanging in my closet until I’m able to wear it out somewhere with my fashion photographer.
I hope this finds you all safe and healthy. Take care of yourselves during these challenging times.
I normally just dive into reviewing my most recent project. These are crazy times and it seems wrong not to check-in with you all. How are you all doing out there? I hope this finds you and your family doing well and staying healthy. We were told to shelter-in-place on Monday. I packed up my work stuff and have been working from home as of Tuesday. I’m set up on the dining room table while my husband is in our office. Why? Because our office is also my sewing room and I don’t have the kind of will power it takes to have a half-finished sewing project going and stay focused on work. I simply don’t! I enjoy my job but I enjoy sewing even more.
Pictured here is my most recent Minerva Maker project. For this top I chose this medium-weight cotton Spandex jersey.The color is called rose but it is a little more on the lavender side to me. I thought it would be a great transition piece for spring.
The cuffs are what attracted me to this pattern instantly. The magazine has this to say about the top “… fine like a blouse but comfortable like a t-shirt”. I think that describes this top very well.
This top was simple to sew and the instructions were fine. I chose to interface the collar facing pieces. I’m glad I did. I think it helps the collar stand up and keep its shape. I like the drop shoulder. The back has a 9 inch invisible zipper. I could not find an invisible zipper to match so I purchased a light pink zipper and painted the zipper pull with nail polish that matched the fabric.
At a time like this I’m glad I have a hobby that can easily be done by myself indoors. I have more sewing plans that I’ll ever be able to sew. A little extra sewing time is welcome. I’m doing what I can to keep my family and my community healthy AND I get uninterrupted sewing. That’s definitely making lemonade out of lemons.
Stay healthy everyone! Feel free to share with me what you are doing for yourself during these challenging times.
When I saw this fabric on Minerva’s website I had to have it for my Minerva Maker project. I had never seen anything like it. The fabric has two layers of fabric with the exact same print. The top layer is an organza and the bottom is a mid-weight dress fabric. Together they create something that has a drape similar to taffeta. Below is a picture of my hand between the two fabrics. The fabric is secured every 4 inches or so. The Minerva website has a video with the fabric description that is very helpful in getting a feel for the fabric.
I made View B without the slit at the neckline. I added 5/8 inches to the length of the bodice and 1 inch to the skirt. The pattern calls for lining the bodice but I chose to line the skirt as well.
I was not sure what color buttons to choose for this dress. Any color I chose blended in with the fabric. The woman at Britex (my favorite store to buy buttons) recommended gold as soon as she saw the fabric and she was right. Matte gold buttons looked the best with the fabric.
I like the fit of this dress very much. The pattern envelope never caught my eye, but I bought the pattern after seeing some cute versions of this dress from fellow sewists. My plans were to make it in a solid linen. I might still do that.
The print looks blurry in the pictures but it’s more of a 3-D effect in person. It’s very interesting to see.
This dress was not in my sewing plans. It seems that has been happening a lot lately. I like having a plan for what I’m going to sew in a season but when a fabric inspires me as much as this one did, I need to run with it.
I never noticed this top when I received my Burda Style magazine last fall. It was pictured twice in the magazine and neither one jumped out at me. Last month when I wanted to sew a simple top using this textured red knit from my stash, this line drawing caught my attention.
I went back to look at the magazine and thought this would be a good style for my fabric. It was simple yet the side tie created a just enough interest. I also liked the bateau neckline very much. Speaking of the neckline, it is finished with facings. I stitched them in the ditch along the shoulder seam. They stay nicely in place.
This is a rare time when it may have taken me longer to trace a Burda Style pattern than to sew it. The magazine lists this pattern as “Super Easy”. They’re not exaggerating.
The side ties can be cinched up more or less depending on your preference. I found that if you tied the ties too closely together the back scrunched up in an unflattering way. After trying different lengths of tying the bow I found this length to be my favorite. It gave the look I wanted in the front and back.
I’ll reach for this top in my closet when I need a casual top with a little something different.
I’m not ready to officially start sewing for summer yet. I still have a some cooler weather clothes I want to make but when I saw this abstract linen and viscose print at Minerva, I had to have it. I am part of the Minerva Maker team which means that Minerva provides me with the fabric of my choice for a project of my choosing in exchange for a blog post on their website. To date I’ve been very happy with everything I’ve received from them.
I chose to make Butterick 6446. I never noticed the pattern until my neighbor Kathy made this dress for herself. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth mentioning again; I’m lucky to have a neighbor who is also a sewing buddy. It’s fun to know that someone else is rocking the sewing machine just a few doors down from me.
I wasn’t sure how the combination of linen and viscose would wash but there was no need for concern. The fabric washed beautifully and was a pleasure to sew. I like how this fabric drapes.
The pattern was straightforward to sew. I added 3/4″ to the bodice and 2″ to the skirt. The pattern calls for only lining the bodice but I lined the skirt as well. I used a cotton voile for the bodice and a cling-free polyester for the skirt. I was worried that the skirt would get hung up on the cotton voile lining while I was walking.
Though this was a simple dress to make it was not without drama. When I tried the dress on to measure for the placement of the eyelets on the belt, the invisible zipper broke. This has never happened to me. I was VERY upset. I took out the zipper but since the dress was completely finished I could not see how I would get an invisible zipper back in. I decided to go with a lapped zipper. I had not installed one in years. It went well and I’m happy with the result. I referenced online tutorials to refresh my memory.
The pattern offers a sash for a belt. I’ve been taken with covered belts and buckles ever since watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I love her wardrobe and noticed that many of her dresses have covered belts. One of the advantages of sewing my own wardrobe is that I can customize my projects. Adding covered belts is my latest customization.