Simple Floral Cotton Frock (Butterick 6718)

Wow! Look at me – I sewed a newly released pattern from Butterick!  I made View B of Butterick 6718, with a few changes.

Image result for butterick 6718

As busy as November was, I did manage to find time to sew: I finished three (simple) items and am nearly finished a far more complex one.  This is one of the simple ones.

I bought the Lifestyle Wardrobe for the featured view (ACE): the pantsuit.  I purchased the fabric (ivory silk wool satin with red silk crepe for the blouse), but need to muslin everything before I can start that. I started with the dress, it is the basis of the blouse, using a coordinating fabric from my stash.

The dress is fitted, with front  and back fish eye darts and a gathered neckline.  It’s unlined: the neck is finished with self binding and the armcyse with narrow facing. I made a size 14, with modifications.  I find that this style dress to be too fitted in the torso, between the bust and waist.  Rather than lose the darts, I simply added 1/4 inch to each side seam, tapering to the size 14 under the arm.  This also gave me more ease for sitting/ at the thighs.  Though the dress feels loose when standing, it’s much more comfortable to wear all day (sitting, standing, driving) with a tad bit more ease.  Also, hot/humid Florida means tight clothes are not comfy.   I also added 1.5 inches in length at the midsection add/lengthen line – my normal adjustment, but I think I could have done a full two inches here.


The fabric is one I’ve had a while – a stretch cotton sateen in a brown and black floral pattern.  I read recently that dark florals are in this fall. I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2016.  Finally found a use for it!  The dress is not lined, and I really like my dresses with linings, so I used a black silk twill I purchased in 2013 (also from Gorgeous Fabrics).  It was intended for lining an unfinished trench coat I started back then, but at some point cut into it for another project…  It’s a lovely, lovely lining.

I found that I needed to make a few more changes as I fit as I went… first, I had to add shoulder darts/back darts, as I had too much fabric between the shoulder blades.  I think is do to the rounding I’m starting to notice in my shoulders…  The cotton sateen has body, so it was pretty obvious… (the recommended fabrics run the gamut from brocade to challis).

Shoulder dart.

The neckline is gathered, and I knew that between the body in the sateen and the lining,  gathering was not an option.  I opted for a some small inverted pleats at the neck line.  I think it’s a slightly more sophisticated look.

New Neckline with Pleats.

Since my lining is black, I chose not to line edge to edge, but kept the binding and facing.  I did not edge stitch the binding or top stitch the facing.

One last thing, this is shorter than I would have thought (never pay attention to the model picture) even after adding length to the torso. It’s also more flattering in person than my pictures below indicate.

This is an easy make, and your choice of fabric can glam it up or make it office worthy.  I wore it with a black leather blazer and low black pumps to work (the shoes in the pix are not comfy so I ditched them immediately after pictures.)

I probably won’t make the dress again (too many others in the queue), but look forward to making the other pieces from this pattern.

Last, my 8yo son took pictures this morning before work, but once again, out of focus.    The rest were this evening after work.

IMG_4445 (2)


The Halloween Post (Simplicity 8482)

This year, DH and DS went out together to purchase costumes.  They wanted to do Fortnite.  I opted to go as Trinity from Matrix Reloaded.   Simplicity 8482 (B) is almost exactly like Trinity’s duster in the movie.

Simplicity Pattern 8482 Misses' Costume Coats
From Simplicity
From Fandom: Matrix


Sewing on imitation latex (backed with a knit fabric), isn’t that difficult.  But I couldn’t press, ease, baste or other things I deem essential to a quality result.  Oh, and several of the match points (notches) were off in the pattern.

I ordered the fabric from Mood, and they rolled it beautifully and carefully.  Unfortunately, the post office damaged it – and I can’t press polyurethane!  Most of it hung out, fortunately.  And, yes, I did have to cut this single layer.

Top-stitching also proved a challenge – even with a teflon foot, it was hard to get the fabric to move smoothly.  And, even though I tested, tested, tested, my top stitching thread, plus top stitching needle would not go – shred the thread!

Here I am, sweating. It was 85 F (29.4 C) while trick-or-treating with my kid.  I did some nominal fitting before starting, but at the last minute changed out the shoulder pads to much thicker ones (without looking to see how that would add to the already pulled look).  So don’t mind the bad fitting, please.  And, keep in mind that Carrie Moss and I may share the same height, but she was 25 pounds lighter than me in that duster!







Successful Failure? B6554

Summer sewing?  But it’s fall!  Yes, it is even fall here in Florida, but summer warmth is still part of our days.  This dress started as McCall 7745, and ended up as skirt.  Last May I determined that I really liked view D of McCall 7745, and purchased the yellow viscose/linen that became a hi-lo skirt.  When the fabric arrived, I changed my mind and ordered a lovely blue print Hawaiian rayon challis (Tori Richards) to make the dress (fabric from Fabric Mart).

McCall 7745, view D

The reviews for McCall 7745, view D, were overwhelmingly negative, so I made a muslin for the bodice.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the muslin.  It was too big through the bust, but with no wiggle room at all to lift the arms!  I gave up and switched to view B, but wasn’t thrilled about the design.  It had too much flounce for me.

Butterick 6554

Butterick 6554, view B has a very similar feminine silhouette but a little less frilly, so I thought I would try again.  I spent some time tweaking a muslin, and then it was time to leave on vacation for summer – and I hadn’t even cut anything out.  Three weeks ago, I thought I would pick up were I left off, and cut it out for the Luau we were throwing.  I didn’t finish in time for the Luau, but I did finish it for my kid’s school carnival today.  And I hated it!

I must have misread the markings I had transferred from the muslin to the pattern tissue. And I’m convinced that wrap dresses with raglan sleeves are not a flattering look for me.

Without any hesitation, I cut the bodice off and stitched on a grosgrain waistband with hooks and eyes.  Much better, very comfortable, and still feminine without being too girly.

We’re thinking about a vacation in Portugal next summer – so even though it’s cool enough for a sweatshirt here (in the morning), I’ve got something to take with me!


Before pressing. I had a bad feeling about it. Trying it on confirmed it.  This long-waisted gal can’t wear this wrap dress.

Much better!

Stash-busting: Kay Unger Color Block (V1329)

Need a quick, comfortable, easy dress that is also figure-flattering?  Look no further than Vogue 1329. I’m not kidding.  This dress is easy, very flattering, and comfortable. And, if you want the ultimate, it would be easy to add pockets (which I wish I did, as I looked for them several times yesterday).  The figure-flattering torso pleats are easy to do.


I’m afraid I wasn’t very original in my color choices – I just stuck with the envelop design.  My fabric is leftover designer rayon double knit in black and slightly off-white from Gorgeous Fabrics.  Ann keeps these heavier weight double knits in stock in various colors.  In  my case, the fabrics were remnants from projects a year ago.  I lined it with a white stretch silk crepe de chine, also from Gorgeous Fabrics (but from 2017).

I had no issues with the directions. I would warn that there is no provision for above waist adjustment.  I made this straight from the envelop in a 14, and I’m happy with the fit (a bit looser than the model).  For comfort?  I wore this for a 12-hour day yesterday that ended with a recruiting event.  I was comfortable, except for my feet!

The pictures on the dress form were taken this morning, without pressing out the 12-hour wrinkles.  My 8yo son took the blurry photos.  Two things: he has an eye issue, so these are pretty good considering his vision is blurry.  He also turned them into selfies with mommy.  Since he doesn’t want his image on social media, I cropped him out.  It means even less focus, especially since I was too far away.


When did I start this one? Paco Peralta pant & jacket, V1526

I started Paco Peralta’s short sleeved jacket and pant (Vogue 1526) in August after returning from vacation.  I purchased the fabric and planned the project months and months before that. I finished hemming them Sunday, and wore them to work.  I’ve been that busy – just an hour every couple of days. I finished the big white shirt some time ago, but chose not to wear the full combo.  I did wear it with a pale peach linen top from New Look 6483 (modified view e.)

So, a brief post, with comments on construction and fabric, with a picture or five, but as I’d rather being sewing in my all-too-brief break from work, this will be short.

In process, collar.

Jacket fabric/notions:  I used a cotton blend tweed with black ribbon woven in from Marcy Tilton.  I saw it elsewhere, but it was two years ago, and long sold out.  I used a white silk crepe de chine for the lining, and the black silk/cotton fabric leftover from another project for the trim. It was fully interfaced with pro-weft light from Fashion Sewing Supply.  The large glass buttons are from Benno’s Buttons.

Getting that center back seam perfectly lined up.

Tank fabric/alterations:  the tank top is New Look 6483, view e, modified.  I added a shirt tail hem, and bound the armcyse and neckline.  The peach linen is from Gorgeous Fabrics, and I used the same black trim from the jacket to do the binding.

Pant fabric/alterations:  The fabric from the pants is from Emma One Sock, 2018, and is a burgundy/black cross weave wool suiting from Rag and Bone.  I did the Hong Kong finishes (different from directions) and pockets with the same black fabric from the jacket.

Construction notes, jacket:  This is really an easy jacket to put together and fun to make.  I especially like the in-seam buttons and the collar construction.  I’m really proud of the construction work on this one.  I did make a muslin, but gained weight (argh) before finishing, so I probably should have made a 14, not a 12, to prevent pulling at the waist.

Two points/errors in the directions/pattern.  The pattern envelope line drawings do not show a center back seam for the lowest (hip panel), but there is one.  This is only an issue since I needed to patch the “plaid” in the tweed.

Second, I found the instructions confusing when finishing the facing/hem in the jacket.  The directions led me to search around the internet, and my closet, for proper finishes.  I managed to make it work, but the pictures leave much to be desired. In some drawings, it shows one thing, and others, something different. In the last couple of pictures, it shows the facing unfinished.


How I finished it.

Constructions notes, pants: What can I say?  I LOVE these pants.  Perfect fit for me at a size 14, right out of the envelope.  Can I just say that Paco Peralto knew real women’s bodies?  Lovely, lovely faced pockets, an easy to create fly front, and construction like men’s trousers when it came to the center back seam.  You attach the waist facings to the two sides of the pants, then stitch the center back seam from the crotch notch all the way to the facing edge.  This way you can more easily alter the pants to take them in/let them out.  I love these pants and will be making more.


Additional pictures, some with wearing wrinkles:



I have little time, but loads of inspiration!

Well, the new position, along with preparing for hurricanes, means I have had little time for sewing regularly or for any extended periods of time.  I have had the week off because of Dorian, but so has the kiddo.  Still, I began to think about the next few dozen projects.

No really.  When I have no time to sew, I plan.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects I’m working on, or hope to complete:


The good news, some are already in progress.

  1. Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta short-sleeved jacket and pant (I made the shirt some time ago).  This is almost finished, as in hopefully this week.  Details coming up.
  2. The Kay Unger color block is up next, as an easy-do-right-now-option.  I’ll be doing it in black and white rayon ponte leftover from other projects.
  3. To the left of Kay Unger is a Molyneux vintage dress. I’ll be doing this in a gorgeous black/silver bamboo woven.  The pattern is vintage – and too small  – so a little pattern grading is in order.
  4. The Kwik Sew men’s coat is cut out.  I promised it two years ago to DH.  I’ve got to take the time to finish it.
  5. The Patterson Couturier will be in a a gorgeous plaid.
  6. The Guy Laroche suit (top left) is cut out and about half done.  I started it last spring, but it won’t be cold enough to wear it for several weeks.
  7. The Butterick summer dress in a Tori Richards rayon challis print for a Luau in October.
  8. The Paco Peralta zip front in a burgundy denim.
  9. The remaining three (bottom left):  Montana, LaRoche and Edith Head – I don’t have the right fabric for these yet.  And, I have many other patterns paired with projects I can work on until I do…

And, my plans usually get upended. I know there are another half dozen projects awaiting my attention, some cut, some long-desired. And I need a coat.  Hopefully, I get the first four on my list completed without deviating. After that, who knows.

And, no, we aren’t in any danger from Hurricane Dorian, though last week we were prepping in earnest!

Traveling the west, enjoying the scenery

This is a creative blog, even if I rarely post much beyond sewing.  However, I just returned from a month-long road trip with DH, the 8yo, and the dog.  It was something I would do with my family growing up, though then we usually camped.  Here are some of my pictures (no more than one per location) from the trip.  Where did we go?  The western United States (not the mid, nor the far, but the mountain west).  All pictures taken with an iPhone 10.


I took this from a moving car, along I-10, in the Florida panhandle.  It’s not the most picturesque of photos, but shows the power of nature.  This is roughly 30 miles from the coast, and shows the destructive power of Hurricane Michael.  Nearly one year later, they are still making repairs to the infrastructure.  The picture does not convey the devastation – miles upon miles.


We were playing a guessing game with friends on Facebook – where are we?  Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This is East Palace Avenue, just off the Plaza, and is filled with unique shops and restaurants. It’s also where one of the secret offices for the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos.  Buildings on this street date (originally, I don’t think any of these are that old) to 1692.  The buildings today, mixing architectural styles, are uneven, sloping, and beautiful with amazing interior courtyards (especially Sena Plaza). We’ve been to Santa Fe so many times, we mainly went to eat, drink and buy art.


The pueblo remains at Bandelier National Monument outside Los Alamos, NM.  The ancestral Pueblo Indians lived here around 1150 CE to 1550 CE.  They carved homes into the volcanic tuff – cliff homes.  This picture is of Tyuonyi which was once two stories tall with over 400 rooms. It was mainly used for storing food.


Okay.  There is just no way to show the majesty of Great Sand Dunes National Park, in southern Colorado.  I can’t do it!  Just go. We’ve been 4 times now.  This year, we climbed to the top of the first ridge.  When the 8yo was only one, we tried climbing with him on my back.  I didn’t make it, and I was in better shape then.  We made it this time, and the views are glorious, but I couldn’t capture it. These are the tallest sand dunes in North America, and cover 30 sq miles.  Medano Creek (foreground) is usually dry this time of year, but was still running from heavy winter snows.


Jewel Cave (original cave) National Monument, South Dakota.  I couldn’t get any good pictures inside the cave.  We opted for the lantern tour of the original entrance to the cave.  Everyone carried an old fashioned oil lantern for lighting to experience the cave (mostly) in a vintage way.  It was loads of fun, but I didn’t manage any good photos.  This isn’t the cave itself, but a shelter cave on the nearby Hell Canyon hike.


Badlands National Park in South Dakota is another one of those impossible to capture locations – at least not in one photo. And the park changes depending on where you are.  This is on a “non-trail” off shoot of the Notch Trail.  This park offers views of prairie, eroded buttes, bison, prairie dogs, fossils and more.


Close Encounters?  Nah, just Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming.  It’s a sacred place to the Native Americans there, but an American mistranslated the name and it stuck. It’s really a variation on Bear’s Lodge.  This is really an impressive work of natural art.  It’s far larger than you would think!


We were huge fans of HBO’s series, Deadwood, so a stop in the town of Deadwood, SD, was in order.  A whole lot of casinos.  We didn’t like the movie finale. We learned the entire town burned down in 1879, and most of the residents left.  We thought that would be a better ending – everyone watching the fire, and saying, “Well, time to make a fresh start elsewhere.”


We made the obligatory stop at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  We didn’t stay long.  The work is impressive, of course, but we had seen so much natural beauty that it paled in comparison.  We visited at 730am, and missed the crowds (but the sun really washes out Thomas Jefferson).


We discovered Custer State Park (South Dakota) too late to really explore it.  Amazing park, with so much to do.  See those crevices at the end of the lake? There is a hiking trail that snakes between two of the rocks, and down a gulch.  Strenuous, but awesome.


The “jail” at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming.  Fort Laramie played an important role in the westward expansion of America via the Oregon Trail.  Treaties with Native Americans, later ignored/violated by the Americans, were also established here. The fort was originally established by two French fur traders (one named La Ramee).  The transcontinental railroad, and the end of the Great Sioux Wars, brought an end to the fort.  It was closed, and the remaining administrative duties were moved to Fort Robinson, in nearby Nebraska.


We did more, and saw more, and spent time with family as well.  On the way home, we stopped for the night in Saint Louis, to see Gateway Arch National Park.  It was way more beautiful than I expected – I walked the dog around it at sunrise and sunset and saw it in many different lights.

Well, the new job essentially started today.  Not sure when I will sew, but I hope to.  I need to finish some work tonight, and turn in.