The Party Starter

This dress effectively started the sewing party.

It caused the MC (that’s me :D) to change the playlist from projects made with yarn to projects made with fabric.

25/365: Sucess!!

Pattern: Burda 06/2009, Dress 107

Fabric: Sueded Twill in Navy
$1.95 a yard!!

This dress cost about $6, including the cost of thread. That is madness.

My seam ripper was totally my BFF on this project, mostly for avoidable mistakes made when I was zipping along too quickly.
I am happy with everything, except the finishing on the inside collar. I still need to tuck the raw edge under, but I called it done then.

This was my very first Burda pattern. This issue is PACKED with sewing gems. I found it daunting to trace the pattern, transfer the marking, cut it out blah blah blahhhhh.


I love this dress!

I ordered so much of this fabric (7yds and like 60 inches wide) that I still have more left. It was made into the bottom part of a dress that I haven’t even photographed, a failed top from Stylish Dress Book 1, and this bag which is currently cut out and ready to go on my sewing table. I think I have enough for a skirt, or dress…or shorts. Oooh. Sailor style shorts like these! Full disclosure: I would have to wear mine with stockings so as not to be scandalous. Lol!

Some Recent-ish Sewing

UPDATE 6/26: A little more info about the cowl neck top has been added here.

For the blog

For the blog
This sewing frenzy led me to do two things.

1. Reaquiant myself with the Burda Style community. I uploaded the above projects there (along with my first home, Flickr) and was surprised by the lovely, positive feedback my work received.


2. Realize that I needed to invest in a new sewing machine. I threw myself into investigating machines like someone was paying me for it. (Which was true. My husband bought it for me.)

Thing one resulted in Burda Style asking me to be a featured member! As If I’d say no!

And thing two resulted in this!!!


A proper sewing machine! I’ve had it for a few months now and I love it so ;o)

Details on each project to come!

Size 4 to size now


I have had this dress a loooooong time.
So long, in fact, that it is a size 4.
I have not been a size 4 since before I had Missy.
She was 9 in March.

The funny (read-tragic) thing is, this dress was too big for me when I bought it! Which was why it has never, not even one time, been worn.

I have a hard time with dresses, especially shirt dresses, because my upper and lower halves are two very different sizes. As you can see this size 4 top is perfect, but the ‘before’ pic shows you that there was no hope of this EVER buttoning all the way again. Ever!

So, I chopped the sleeves.
Very carefully picked out both cuff seams.
Very carefully picked out the hem seam.
Spilt the side seams up to the fifth button from the top.
Split both sleeve pieces in two where they were already cut for the sleeve detail.
Sewed each set into two longer pieces.
Pinned the hell out those pieces into both side seam openings, tapering towards the top.
Sewed the bits in.
Made some adjustments.
Re-hemmed the bottom.
Made new sleeve hems.
Shortened button tabs and reattached to each sleeve.
Marvel at the fact that I have another dress to wear in my quest to look my age and pretend that I have style ;0)

Chich Knits Beryl

Chich Knits, Beryl

Chic Knits Beryl. Knit in Cotton Ease, my new yarny BFF.
You know what’s even better than LOVING everything about this pattern and yarn?
That I traded one skein of Malabrigo lace (that I would have neva eva used) for 4 skeins! Ravelry destash shopping is the BEST!

Also, the bottom two photos show the “right side” of the peplum. I decided that I liked the “wrong side”, the mostly reverse stockinette side, better. So that’s what I went with. But now that I look at it all laid out in the sun, and in these pictures, I think I like the original way better….

Menswear to my wear


I was stunned at how this came together.
I was fearless because the shirt was free and unworn for over 10 years. I figured I would just cut it up for the fabric if I ruined it too much. This one was given to me in high school. At a time in my life when a huge men’s shirt was my idea of heaven. And plaid, too. Let me have it!

In the end I only cut the bottom of the sleeves and the curved bottom edge. Everything else was achieved with pin tucks. I took in the sleeves, but opted not to cut off the excess. The inside of this shirt is finished so beautifully. All french seams. I couldn’t bring myself to have it all raw and jagged inside. I just folded over the extra when making the new hem.

Real world update:

I wear this ALL OF THE TIME!  It has held up fantastically and I get tons of compliments on it. I’m thinking of making a little spring jacket with the same shape. The possibilities are endless with such a classic silhouette. And pintucks are so versatile, as discussed here on the Colette Pattern’s blog.

How would you use pintucks?

Some Studying

I lucked up on a bundle of sewing texts at one of my local libraries a bit ago.

Free Library Finds: Sewing Loot

1. Copyright 1979, 2. Copyright 1994, 3. Original Copyright 1960, Reprinting from 1975, 4. Copyright 1986

I was carrying three bursting bags of groceries and the libraries in Brooklyn no longer give out bags. The sweet librarian (an anomaly in Brooklyn) who saw me struggling to figure out a way to take these lovelies home with me, came to the rescue! She produced a handful of grocery store shopping bags and off I staggered to the bus stop, grinning like an idiot ;o)

Then….they sat on the shelf. And then the floor when the shelf collapsed under the weight of the half-ton of books I had on it. And then they were packed into a space a foot wide, two feet deep and three feet high by my mother in one of her helpful cleaning frenzies.

I finally summoned the strength to dig these out today (a few of the pamphlets are mixed in with some tightly packed magazines and will be rescued at a later date). Inspired by Gertie’s quest to sew her way through Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing, I aim to actually use them. The softcover ones still being held hostage are handouts from FIT. One even had a few half size slopers tucked in! I will have to get my weight up to dig these out.

I wish I could have met the person who donated them to the library. Clearly, they have no one in their lives who could benefit from their expertise. I would have happily volunteered to be their apprentice. I think a sewing mentor is just the thing. In fact, I’ve been trying to get my grandmother to volunteer for the job. She is holding at no. I think having 5 daughters with neither sewing talent or interest may have crushed the mentoring spirit out of her. Which officially sucks.

Answer: Like a hole in the head.

Question: Do I need another blog?

I have come to a decision.

One that concerns sewing.

And Fashion, with a capital F.

And my skill set where they’re both involved.

Thanks to books like Design It Yourself Clothes, sewing blogs like Gertie’s, Elaine’s and Erica’s, and independent designers like Colette Patterns I’ve set big goals. Goals that incorporate a little of what each lady mentioned above does. Designing it myself, for me (and others). Sewing vintage. Improving on my selfishness and seamstress-ness. Taking steps to work independently.

I hope to use the Sown blog to document my sewing triumphs and mishaps.  My quest for selfishness in not settling for less than my best. My business dreams and realities. I hope that some of my knitty readers will enjoy this content and I hope to make this space lively and informative and real and funny.

Join me?