Tag Archives: Button hole

FBA AKA Full Bust Adjustment AKA My New BFF

1 Apr

So many good things going on in my little sewing world!

I finally placed an order for a bunch of knits from Girl Charlee.  I got 8 different fabrics for a total of almost 30 yards.  And spent $5 a yard or LESS!  The order arrived on Tuesday and I whipped up two creations before the end of the day on Wednesday!

And this shipment spurred me to clean up my sewing area and oh how nicely folded piles of fabric make me smile!

Knits on the left, quilting cotton on the right, fabric earmarked for kids or others on top

I broke into the striped sweatshirt knit first and sewed it into a chevron pattern before cutting out a dolman sleeve top and a maxi skirt.

Also I’ve discovered a wonderful camera app for my iphone called Camera Awesome.  It’s by Smugmug and it includes a self timer!

On Thursday, I had enough advance notice of a 99 cent Simplicity Pattern Sale at Joann’s that I scoured Simplicity.com and Pinned the 10 Patterns that I wanted.  The day of the sale, I got to the store mere minutes after it had opened and pulled all but 1 of my desired patterns.  Then I flipped through the Spring catalog to find a suitable substitute.  Just look at all the goodness I scored for $10!!

3 Lisette patterns, 2 Cynthia Rowley, and 5 additional.  Included are 4 pairs of pants, 14 shirts, 17 dress variations and 2 jackets.

On a separate shopping trip I picked up a little McCall’s pattern that was for a simple silhouette and promised the ability to alter it with ease.

Thank you Palmer and Pletsch for McCall’s Patterns M6355 ! You’ve changed my life. With one simple pattern, I learned enough about adjusting darts, to not only attempt it on the provided and fully marked pattern, but to also use is on one of my newly acquired Lisette patterns!

Here’s what the altered Palmer and Petsch pattern looks like.

I pinned the tissue together, held it up to me and cut accordingly.  Then I ironed the tissue onto freezer paper and made my new darts. Even still I was a little nervous with the outcome so I just made a simple short sleeved shift out of Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden Chevron.

And it worked!  So then I added some embellishments to the neck and hem in the way of some fancy stitching.

I feel like a new woman.  It is truly remarkable how much better these clothes fit when the darts are properly sized for my bust!

And upon having such success, I decided to try it out on my Lisette Traveler Shirt dress. And low and behold it worked too!  I also read up on the pattern and as per another reviewers remarks on PatternReview.com, I cut a larger skirt so that it was more gathered.

Other than the FBA and full skirt, I followed the pattern to a T and it is fits beautifully! I added a little striped grosgrain ribbon for a belt and will be sporting this for Easter!


Chevron Coat for Spring

17 Jan

Thanks to Pinterest, I now know that zig zag stripes are officially called Chevron. And I’m obsessed with them. So when I saw this coat in Old Navy, I knew I had to make one in a yellow and white chevron print for my girls.


This required two things, a pattern and the fabric.  Not only did I find the fabric, but it was also in a heavier weight which I wanted.  It’s from Premier Prints on Fabric.com.  And the pattern I found at the Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop, it’s the Oliva Pea Coat. The only change I made was to add the hood.  I traced a hooded sweatshirt and used that for sizing. It’s just two head profile pieces sewn together basically.

I’m in lurve with the coat!  And look, my photo skills are improving! As are my photoshop skills, which is equally important!


Test Bag

11 Jan

I worked all weekend making dresses for my girls, so I rewarded myself Sunday night by making something for me. I have been sketching a bag concept and pinning like crazy, to come up with my idea of the perfect bag.

This weekend I decided to test part of it to see how it turns out.  I took part of the Oliver + S Messenger bag from Little Things to Sew and part of the {LBG Studios} 2 in 1 convertible clutch and combined them to make this bag.  I used piping for the first time too!

I contructed this one properly, so there aren’t any exposed seams. I had to think about the construction and make sure I sewed everything in the right order.  Since I didn’t use binding, I had to sew right sides together, unlike with the Oliver + S Messenger bag.  There were no gussets this time around to get backwards, but I did have to remember which parts not to sew individually (like the flap) since you essentially sew two bags in order to construct a finished inside.

In the sewing journey, my lines are getting straighter, I can sew closer to the edge, and I’m really noticing an overall improvement in my skills.  It didn’t hurt that the project before this bag was the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress, and Holy Details Batman!!

As far as the final product goes, I’ve decided I need to make some changes.  It needs to be a bit wider from front to back and I’d like smallish side pockets, as the front pockets are a hair taller than I’d like for my phone and chapstick. I’ll carry it around for a couple weeks and see how it feels otherwise.


Outside pockets covered by flap


Inside pocket

Inside full of stuff


Adjustable straps using buttons




Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress by Isabelle

10 Jan

I have been so excited to try the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress pattern and this weekend I finally did it!  I fawn over pretty much every pattern on their site and I am in love with their book,  Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children.  The pattern’s aren’t inexepensive so it was a treat to buy and try this one.

Let me tell you, that the price is worth it for so very many reasons.  First and foremost, the patterns aren’t printed on your typical brown tissue like pattern paper but are instead printed on a much sturdier translucent white paper.  Second the pattern directions are thorough and easy to understand. No detail is left undone and the result is a finished product that is of a boutique quality.  Seriously gorgeous stuff.

That being said, I’m sad to say that I let my wild and crazy 5 year old dresser, select the material that would be used for the dress. Over Christmas, the Fat Quarter Shop ran several awesome sales, and I used it to buy some fun material for me and the girls. I could not resist this Timeless Treasure Retro Candy Dot fabric (Seems to have sold out at the fat Quarter Shop so the link is to an Ebay listing) for the girls as they love dot candy. I really had no idea how to incorporate it into a non costume outfit, but I was ready to try! And a while back a purchased some Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, Children at Play Pink Hopscotch fabric that I used to make the girls their American Girl Doll sleeping bags.

Isabelle decide to combine the two for this dress. And boy is she happy with the finished product!



Do you see those pintucks? There are three on the left and right side of the front AND back of the dress.  There are also 6 buttons up the whole back of the dress, a finished hem and that great circular collar!

I’ve never sewn a pintuck before, but I think I did a decent job. My was it ever so tedious.

The collar was not so hard to sew but it took me several reads of the instructions to really understand how it was going to come together.

The finished hem is still a question to me.  First of all, I had seen the dress constructed with a border at the bottom, like my version has, but there were not instructions as to how to do that so I just kind of figured it out.  But what really through me off was this facing that had to be cut for the hem.  I have always just folded a 1/2″ then folded another 1.5-2″ to make a hem.  This had me fold the facing in 1/2″ and then add the facing like you would on a collar, and then sew it down.  I got it kind of wrong and I don’t see the value in this.  If someone would be so kind as to explain a finished hem made with facing, to me, I would be ever so grateful.

I must be honest and say that I haven’t yet sewn the buttons up that back yet. I really dread sewing buttons on.  Button holing is easy, but hand-stitching buttons is a pain.

When Isabelle asked for these fabrics, I agreed and cut out the same fabrics for this pattern in Lelia’s size too, but after this dress took me something like 7 hours to complete (including cutting out both pattern sizes and materials in each size) I’m a little weary about starting in on Lelia’s version.

I’m happy that Isabelle is happy, but I have to say, if I had known how long it would take me to make this dress, I would have insisted on picking a much prettier fabric, one that would have really shown off the details and finish of the dress.


Project Run and Play Junebug Dress Pattern Remix

5 Jan


Since I started on this sewing adventure, I’ve found many, many cool blogs.  Most are written by mom’s across the country and provide tutorials, patterns, how-to’s and lots of support and motivation to keep sewing and keep learning.

One of the coolest blogs that I stumbled upon was Project Run and Play.  It’s a play on Project Runway and the contestants are many of the bloggers that I now follow.  Season 3 kicked off this week and as a new twist, anyone can play along! The first week is a pattern remix.  They provided the Junebug Dress from Craftiness is Not Optional as the pattern, and to enter you have to put your own spin on it.  I decided to go for it and use it as one of the first dresses for Spring that I make for the girls.

I used a tiny floral print, and since I haven’t made too many dresses, I didn’t venture too far from the pattern. I added some ric rac to the top, and only put 2 buttons on instead of 3 per side.  I also made some pleats instead of gathers, and made the dress rather long. For a first time sew along and remix, I thought I did I nice job.

Then to enter, you upload your photos to the  Project Run and Play flickr group.  Let me tell you that my dress truly looks like amateur hour compared to some of the beauties that are included!  Alas, I’ve only been sewing for a couple months, so mine is good enough.

Isabelle got a black eye on a bunk bed this weekend, and then she applied a band aid to her neck overnight. A picture perfect model!




Christmas Dress aka I Made Puffy Sleeves!

11 Nov

I’ve been sewing since home ec in middle school.  When I was 12 or so, I spent the weekend with my grandmother (an avid seamstress and quilter) sewing a dress for myself from a pattern.

In middle school and early high school, I would invite friends over to sew with me and we made nightgowns out of muslin.

When I moved into a house in college, I sewed myself a quilt, stripes on one side and a starry moonlit sky on the other.

After college I sewed trim to the bottom of jeans like it was going out of style, and in fact, it was going out of style.  THANK GOD!

I got my own machine for my 23rd birthday and promptly sewed myself 800 purses and jewelry pouches and the like.

Then life took over and I put the sewing machine away. I got married, I moved, I paid someone to make curtains, I had babies and I moved again. I bought curtains from Target and forgot about my sewing skills.

Pinterest came along and I got the crafting bug and I spray painted some stuff and thought about getting out my machine.  One day my mom said she’s buy my girls American Girl Dolls, and my girls became obsessed with the idea of matching clothes.  So I began scouring the internet for outfits that were nicer than the AGD ones and perhaps more affordable.  I found them  in the form of MakMay Designs, my trusty Christmas/Birthday/Halloween outfit designer.  She’s super talented and equally creative.

But then I wanted clothes for the girls and their dolls that was outside of what Becky creates and I stumbled upon a site that had tunic tops and dresses for girls and their dolls as well as Mom’s.  The catch was that it would cost $60 to dress the girls $20 for the dolls and $80 for me.  Way more money than I was willing to spend.  And then it dawned on me! I could make these tunics and dresses myself!

Thus begun my renewed interest in sewing. I went from an A-line dress, to PJ’s and then got bold and purchased the Precious Dress pattern from the Scientific Seamstress.  I even contacted her to see if she could hold my hand through the process because it seemed a little daunting.  And of course, not only did I want to make the dress, but I wanted to add my own little flair.  She kindly agreed but before I had the chance to visit her, I decided to try it on my own, button holes and puffy sleeves and all.

The pattern isn’t just a pattern, it’s also a full picture laden tutorial with detailed instructions! I started with the skirt, which is where I wanted to add the ruffled faux bustle. I cut out the pattern pieces and freehanded the bustle pieces. I constructed the whole skirt in one night and was super pleased with my efforts.  Last night I set to work on the scary part…..the top with the button holes and puffy sleeves.  I started by watching an automatic buttonholing video on Youtube, that happened to be on a machine similar to mine.  Then I followed each incredibly well written, easy to understand step and before I knew it, I had a gorgeous top. Attaching the skirt to the top was easy and the finished product is better than I had pictured in my head!  The only thing missing is a nice thick grosgrain ribbon sash!

I relate this whole long winded story because I am so glad that I found sewing again and am finding such joy in spending quiet time piecing my patterns together.  It is incredibly gratifying to know that I can do this and I am so happy to be able to give these dresses to my girls.

Without further ado…THE CHRISTMAS DRESS!

Details of the Christmas Dress

Puffy Sleeves and Buttons...yeah I did that!!


Christmas Dress

The front and back of the Christmas Dress with the ruffle accent