Butterick 6446 – Bold Print Sleeveless Dress


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.


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Simplicity 1540 – Fleece Jacket


About 15 years ago I bought a red fleece barn style jacket from Nordstrom. It was perfect for throwing on to walk in the neighborhood or for errand running. The problem was that it pilled like crazy so it did not last long in my closet. I was disappointed because:

A) It was from Nordstrom and I expected better for the price I paid.
B) I liked having a casual warm jacket to throw on that was different than the regular zipper style everyone was wearing.

I knew I could find the non-pill fleece at JoAnn’s. All I needed was a pattern. My first thought when I saw Simplicity 1540 a few years ago was to make it in boiled wool. I still have plans to do that, but for now I would make a fleece version.


The princess seams give this jacket a flattering shape.


The back is also interesting on this jacket.


The pattern is well drafted and comes together fairly quickly. The jacket is unlined so even though the fleece does not fray, I serged the edges. I interfaced the bottom of the sleeves with a medium weight interfacing to give the sleeve a little weight.

Because I don’t like finishing my blog posts with my back to you, here’s another picture of my jacket. The jeans are the Jalie jeans that I made a couple of years ago.


I bought some green fleece at the same time as the red. I made the green jacket first a few years ago. The collar on this version is a great substitute for a scarf. Perfect for walks with my fashion photographer.


Simplicity 1540

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Butterick 6488 – Pussy Bow Blouse


I need to add solid tops to my work wardrobe. I realize that say that quite often. I love sewing pretty colorful prints and often overlook the versatile and much needed solids. This beautiful polyester dress fabric from Minerva was my most recent Minerva Maker project. Minerva often provides videos with their fabric descriptions. I find these very helpful when shopping for fabric online. In this case the video showed me a fabric that had some body yet had great movement.


I had made View A with the ruffle a couple of years ago and it has become a go-to blouse for me. I like that this semi-fitted blouse looks just as nice worn outside or tucked in. The length of the sleeve is perfect for work. I use a computer for a large part of the day and these sleeves don’t drag on my keyboard or desk.


The only change I made to this top was to interface the hidden button/buttonhole plackets. The pattern has you fold the fabric to create the facing. I’ve never been satisfied with simply folding over the fabric. I find that adding interfacing prevents the buttonholes from stretching and adds stability to the buttons.


I’m glad I took the time to sew this blouse in a solid color. I am sure it will be on heavy rotation. I plan on sewing this classic style again some day.


Below is View A that I made a couple of years ago:


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McCall’s 7247 -Textured Knit Top


My friend Lise gifted me with this beautiful multi-color textured knit last year. I knew I wanted to sew a black contrast with it but wasn’t sure what to make, so it sat around waiting for the right pattern to come along. After seeing a few versions of McCall’s 7247 online I decided this was the right pattern for the fabric. I think the front overlay is interesting.


The black knit is a thick jersey with great recovery from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley, CA.  I sure wish I lived closer to that store. They have a wonderful selection of fabric.


I had an issue with gaping with the neck binding. I removed about an inch from the length. Once I made the modification the binding fit well.


The front overlay is hemmed and then sewn on top of the front at the shoulders and right side. This pattern would also make a nice basic knit top without the overlay because it has a great shape to it.


I made this top in December. I always like to have a project going but with the preparations for the Holidays I don’t have much time to sew. This was the perfect project to have at the ready for the amount of time I had available to dedicate to sewing.


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Vogue 9006 – Draped Front Top


A few days before Christmas Eve I decided I wanted to sew a new top for the family gathering. It was going to have to be something where I had everything I needed to complete the project, including a pattern I knew would work without any adjustments. So between work and Holiday baking I carved out some time for this top. I had made View A in the past and felt comfortable moving forward with View C.


The lace for the sleeves was leftover from a skirt I made a few years ago. Don’t you love when you can incorporate your leftovers? The main fabric is a black polyester with a very soft hand that has been in my fabric stash for a few years. I sewed this top straight-up, no changes. It was a quick project and I’m glad I decided to whip this up. At this point my fashion photographer doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when I announce a last minute project. I think he would be surprised if I didn’t 🙂


I had a few patterns to choose from but what got this one selected was the gathered sleeve cap. It’s a feminine detail that I thought would do well with the lace and the simplicity of the pattern. The front and back are cut on the bias. The neck opening is wide enough to not require any fasteners. The top just slips right on. I took the time to do a blind hem because I didn’t want a seam running across the bottom of my top.


This will most likely be my last post for 2019 so I asked my fashion photographer to join me in front of the camera. His camera skills and patience are integral to my blog.


As 2019 comes to an end I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. May 2020 bring you joy and success in your projects, sewing or otherwise. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I started my blog as a way to document my sewing projects and possibly inspire other sewists. The connection to the sewing community has been wonderful. I look forward to another year of sharing my projects with you.

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Simplicity 8014 – Leopards and Chains and Jewels, Oh My!


Manju, who blogs at sewmanju.com and can be found on Instagram @sewmanju, posted a picture on Instagram of a shirt she made with this fabric. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. A few days later I received an email from Minerva with a selection of fabrics to choose from as part of the Minerva Makers. When I saw this beautiful viscose twill I could not believe it was the same print as Manju’s shirt. I ordered the fabric as soon as I saw it. Once I received it I knew the fabric would be perfect for a shirtdress.

I chose Simplicity 8014 and decided to make View B with long sleeves. I also made View D a few years ago.


I added 1 inch to the skirt and a 1/2 inch to the bodice. These are normal modifications for me. Another change I made was to interface the button/buttonhole “band”. I put the band in quotes because it wasn’t a separate pattern piece. The front has an extension that you fold to create the button/buttonhole “band”. I always add interfacing when I encounter this situation. I find the interfacing provides extra stability and prevents the buttonholes from stretching.


I made a 1.5 inch covered belt and buckle instead of the tie belt pictured on the pattern.


This is my second shirtdress in two months. They are not quick projects but are worth the time they require. I’m happy to add this classic piece to my wardrobe.


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And The Winner Is…


Congratulations to Karen Eckert, winner of A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing.  Karen’s number was chosen randomly after the original winner did not come forward.  Congratulations Karen!

Thank you to all who commented on my blog for a chance to win this wonderful book.

Happy Sewing!


A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing – Blog Tour and a Giveaway


By now most of you have heard about the fabulous new book by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr, “A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing”. Can you tell by the picture how thrilled I am  about this book?!!!

The book explores 30 classic garments by providing history, characteristics, sewing tips, fabric suggestions, design variations, styling tips as well as who has famously worn the garment. Illustrations drawn by Beth Briggs add a touch of whimsy throughout the book.

Below is the table of contents that I photographed. The book is published on beautiful quality glossy paper which unfortunately I had issues photographing. The colors are much more vibrant than represented in my photos.


The book includes a Classic Garment Gallery. This section features many talented sewists wearing their timeless creations. I was honored to be featured in this section. One of my garments pictured in the gallery is the Sewaholic Robson trench coat I made a few years ago.

My Trench

Below is the feature page as well as the corresponding illustrations by Beth Briggs for the trench coat section. The pages in-between contain styling suggestions as well as the  information mentioned at the beginning of this post. Here is a quote attributed to Angela Ahrendts that accompanies this garment in the book: “Everyone in the world should have a trench coat, and there should be a trench coat for everyone in the world. It does not matter your age, it doesn’t matter your gender.” I concur!

“A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing” would be a great resource when planning your sewing projects. It would also be a wonderful pick-me-up when you’re low on sewing mojo. I would even recommend the book for non-sewists who are interested in learning more about classic garments.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE… This book is not only informative and visually pleasing, it also has a sewing pattern in sizes 2 through 22 for “The Modern Classic Pencil Skirt”. I have already made two skirts with this pattern and it has become my TNT (Tried ‘n True) pattern for this style of skirt. The curved waistband, dartless front and slight bell shape are details that help create a flattering skirt.

Pencil Skirt

Pictured below are the two skirts I made using the pattern included in the book. The skirt on the left is a boucle and the skirt on the right is wool gabardine. Both fabrics were in my stash just waiting for this pattern to come along.


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 A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing, please let me know by writing a comment on my blog no later than December 7th, 2019. The winner will be announced December 8th on my blog. The winner will receive their book directly from the publisher. If the winner lives outside of the United States, they will receive a digital copy of the book. This contest is closed. The winner is Karen Eckert.

Blog Tour Schedule: The following sewists are participating in the blog tour. Visit them for a chance to enter in the drawing and find out about their thoughts on A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing.

Blog Tour

December 2 Lori VanMaanen
Blog  girlsinthegarden.net
Instagram @girlsinthegarden

December 3 Andrea Birkan
Instagram @andreabirkan

December 4 Anita Morris
Blog  anitabydesign.com
Instagram @anitabydesign

December 5 Karen Helm
Blog  fiftydresses.com
Instagram @fiftydresses

December 6 Alex Florea
Blog  sewrendipity.com
Instagram @sewrendipity

December 7 Cennetta Burwell
Blog  themahoganystylist.blogspot.com
Instagram @mahoganystylist

December 7 Lucy van Doorn
Blog  myloveaffairwithsewing.com
Instagram @myloveaffairwithsewing

December 8 Manju Nittala
Blog sewmanju.com
Instagram @sewmanju

December 8 Dorcas Ross
Instagram @lonestarcouture

I can’t resist including one more illustration. They are magnificent!

Dress Drawing

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McCall’s 7429 – Twist Front Dress


Besides making new recipes for Thanksgiving every year, I like to have a new dress. It’s a busy time of the year so I normally choose a pattern that comes together quickly.  The fabric for this dress is an ITY knit purchased while on vacation last summer.


I have sewn quite a few tops and dresses with twists so I was surprised and perplexed when I came to sew the twist. From reading reviews I saw that other sewists were also baffled by the twist construction. I came upon a You Tube video created by Brittany J Jones that was very helpful. I don’t know how I would have figured it out without her help. Thank you Brittany J Jones for taking the time to explain the construction of the twist.


I didn’t plan for the beige part of my print to land at the twist but I’m glad it did. I think it emphasizes the twist detail nicely.


I made the following changes to the pattern:

  • I shortened the sleeves by 4 inches. I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner and I didn’t want to have long sleeves. Also, I prefer shorter sleeves for work.
  • I widened the neckline by 3/8 of an inch. I also omitted the neck binding. I applied interfacing to the neck edge, turned the seam allowance to the inside and used my coverstitch to sew the seam.

I wish I had added 1 inch to the length. I normally do this but didn’t think of adding the extra inch this time. I’ll wear the dress with dark tights so I’m O.K. with the length but I’m definitely adding an inch next time.


I noticed that the right panel hangs much lower on many of the photos for this pattern that I’ve seen online. Mine does hang a little lower than the left front when I move but when I’m standing still it’s pretty much even with the left panel. I’m not sure why that is but I’ll just accept it for what it is.


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McCall’s 6696 – Pinstripe Shirtdress


My most recent project as a Minerva Maker is this shirtdress sewn with a beautiful   Lady McElroy pinstripe medium weight cotton. The pinstripe is multi-colored in red, blue and yellow. The colors are subtle but enough to add interest.


I’ve made View A (sleeveless) in the past so I didn’t bother reading reviews of this pattern. I ran into trouble when it came time to insert the sleeves. There was a considerable amount of ease in the sleeve cap. I went back to read reviews and I found one reviewer who mentioned having issues with this as well. I didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut the sleeves so I had to make do because I wanted to stick with the long sleeved version. It took me 4 hours to get the sleeves sewn. It’s not my best work but it’ll have to do.


Besides the issue with the sleeves, the dress came together well. The pattern calls for gathering the back at the yoke and waist. I followed the patterns instructions for my previous two dresses but this fabric was too thick/stiff to allow for the amount of gathering called for by the pattern. I decided to sew an inverted pleat instead. I’m happy with the result. I also narrowed the collar by using a collar from a shirt pattern I like. I made this change on my previous versions of this pattern as well.


I’m glad to have added another shirtdress to my closet. They are timeless and versatile.


My two previous dresses from this pattern:

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