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 ūüôā


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 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
Instagram @girlsinthegarden

December 3 Andrea Birkan
Instagram @andreabirkan

December 4 Anita Morris
Instagram @anitabydesign

December 5 Karen Helm
Instagram @fiftydresses

December 6 Alex Florea
Instagram @sewrendipity

December 7 Cennetta Burwell
Instagram @mahoganystylist

December 7 Lucy van Doorn
Instagram @myloveaffairwithsewing

December 8 Manju Nittala
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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Butterick 5450 – Embroidered Silk Dupioni Dress



I’ve had this embroidered silk Dupioni fabric in my stash for a while. I would take it out every once in a while when I needed to sew something a notch above my work attire but it never quite made it to the cutting table. I love the fabric and was tired of seeing it sit in my stash so I decided to just pick a pattern and go for it. I went with Butterick 5450, a pattern I’ve made a couple of times in the past.


The pattern calls for the dress to be lined. Whenever I make a silk Dupioni project I like to underline it as well. I chose to use silk organza which worked beautifully. I am a sucker for cut-in shoulders.


Everything was going well until I assembled bodice. Thankfully I had enough fabric to cut the front again. I could not believe I did this. Pattern placement is everything. Enough said.


I recovered from this goof and kept on with the dress. I added one inch to the length. I kept the side zipper but you can move the zipper to the back if you prefer as there is a seam in the middle. I moved the zipper to the back when I made a cotton poplin version of this dress (see bottom of post).


I’m glad I finally got this fabric sewn up. I’m happy to add this dress to my collection and look forward to having an event where I can wear it. It’ll be the one time I’m not hemming my dress minutes before we need to leave the house ūüôā


Below are my two previous projects from this pattern. Sewing this dress reminded me what a great pattern this is. There are some beautiful versions of this dress out there sewn by some talented sewists.

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Burda Style 08-2018-118 – ITY Knit Top


I’m continuing on my sewing journey to add casual knit tops to my wardrobe in preparation for our vacation next year. They are lightweight, travel well and are easy to layer.

BS 08-2018-118

I bought this ITY knit while on vacation in Granby, QC last February. The print is a series of tiny squares with teeny flowers in them. I thought it would be fun for a simple top. In my opinion the single crossover panel added just enough interest. I like the shape of the neckline. The V-neck is wide but stays nicely in place due to the fit of the top.


You can’t tell with this print but the front overlaps slightly towards the back over the shoulder seams (see line drawing above). It’s a nice detail that would show up in a solid knit.M_L02973

The only change I made to this pattern was to shorten the top by 1.5 inches. I’m 5’7″ and don’t normally have to shorten tops. There were very few pattern pieces to trace and the top was an easy project. The pattern was featured in the “Sewing Lesson” section of Burda Style magazine so it had detailed directions. This would be a good first project for someone who had never sewn from the magazine.


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Vogue 8998 – Floral Poplin Dress


This is my third project as part of the Minerva Makers Team. I chose to make Vogue 8998 with this beautiful cotton poplin sent to me by Minerva.

VOUGE 8998

I love a floral dress with a full skirt for summer. I added 1.5 inches to the length of the skirt. I’m 5’7″ and that’s a standard alteration for me. The weight of the fabric proved to be perfect for this style of dress.


The princess seams in the bodice are not only flattering, they offer a great opportunity for fitting. The bodice is fully interfaced and the dress fully lined.


The style of the dress combined with the floral fabric produced the feminine summer dress I was looking to create. With this dress I’m calling the summer sewing season done for 2019.


I made View D a few years ago.


Vogue 8998

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