Tag Archives: Dresses

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!


Spring 2012 Sewing for Myself

10 Mar

Sewing is cathartic.  I focus on the sewing and forget about life’s stresses.  I enjoy the focus of it.

I try to sew at least 2-3 projects a week.  And the original idea was to blog about each item separately, but between the time it takes to sew an item and the time it takes to photograph it and blog about it, I don’t have much time left.  And besides, as soon as I finish a project I want to put it out there to show it off. When I try to space out my posts on a per project level, some things seem old to me by the time they get blogged about.

So with all of those issues, I just stopped blogging and kept sewing.  This post is one of a few that will play catch up.  It’s a round up of all of the things I’ve sewed for myself over the last month or so.

It includes 3 skirts, 2 dresses and a pair of pants!

First up, the Apron Skirt from Sew A Straight Line

This is one that I found on Pinterest and was excited to try.  It is essentially 2 pieces of recangular fabric that are sewn together on the sides, hemmed on the bottom, and have bias tape added to the top.  To wear it, you step between the two pieces of fabric and wrap the excess around your waist.  It’s easy to wear and confortable.  And can be worn in a multitude of ways.  I suspect it would create a nice long skirt as well.

Then I created 2 dresses from Simplicity 2363 Pattern. A short version and a long version, both sleeveless. This pattern has many pieces that create the same effect as darts, and helps curve to the body.  The arm holes are not adjusted for size based on the use of or lack thereof of sleeves and so I had to take it in a bit in the chest area.  I also cut it one size smaller than I measured. I will be using the pattern often!

I think it works better with less obvious patterns and without mixing pattern and solid. I like it very much as a maxi dress, and it’s super comfortable!

Moving on, one of the sewing books that I purchased was Diana Rupp’s Sew.  There are many patterns that I like in it and all are sized Small Medium Large, which I also like.  I took the Breezy, Easy Wrap Skirt and made it reversible.  I love it and it reminds me of skirts my mom used to make.

I cut it a little shorter than the pattern called for as well. I like skirts at or a little above my knee.

Then over the last two days, I wipped up some wrap pants and a prairie skirt.  Neither were from a pattern, tho I did follow a tutorial on the pants to figure out the measurements.  They are two pieces of rectangular fabric with a U cut in the middle of each.  You sew the U of each piece together, add some bias tape and hem.  Super easy! My mom used to make these frequently and they very much remind me of her.

The Prairie skirt, is a copy of a skirt by Sugar that I got at the MAGIC show in Vegas, over a decade ago when I worked at Girls’ Life Magazine.  This one was pretty easy and it gave me a chance to use the rolled hem feature on my serger.  And while there is no photo of it, I did try it as a strapless dress and it works.  Not super flattering so it would be used mostly at the pool, but I like the option.  The skirt is a heavy linen that I got from the remnant section at Joann’s when they were having a 70% off remnant sale!

So that’s it for my stuff of late.  Lots of fun and I can’t wait to sew more.  The list of things I want to make keeps growing, so I’ll keep sewing!

Pattern Testing | Jackie Dress from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop

9 Feb


Being on Facebook all day long pays off! The Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop needed pattern testers again and this dress looked too cute to pass up.  Plus it’s called the Jackie and the style is totally Jackie O influenced.

This time she needed a size 5 so I got to make a dress for Isabelle.  I had everything I needed on hand except for a zipper, and this style was on my bucket list of dresses to make for the girls.

When I bought the zipper, I thought I was going to use a solid kelly green cotton with this Dear Stella Wildflower fabric as the collar.

But then when it came time to sew I changed my mind for two reasons. 1) I want to use the kelly green fabric to make a simple A Line Jumper and have it monogrammed in pink.  2) I forgot I had this Dena Designs Taza fabric, which was perfect for a 60’s inspired dress.

I am so glad that I used it, because it came out better than I could have thought and it just might turn out to be their Easter Dresses.

The pattern was easy peasy!  3 pieces: collar, sleeve, and body of dress. Once you’ve cut out the back of the dress and the lining, then you cut up the additional line on the pattern where the piping will go and place it on your fabric allowing for a half inch seam allowance.  So basically, place it on the fold the same as you did before it was cut, but leave a 1 inch gap between the middle piece and now side piece of the pattern.

A note on collars

I once found them incredibly intimidating and would never have dreamt of tackling them. But since I’ve taken the full on sewing plunge, I sewed my first collar with the Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop’s Olivia Pea Coat which I used for the Chevron Coat. And let me tell you, there is nothing to be afraid of, nothing at all. It’s like making a round pocket or something simple like that.  And the addition of the piping on this collar, made it super uber cute, and again, easy!

The sleeves were pleated and not gathered, which while a little time consuming, because they are tiny, was a nice change from gathering the sleeve.

The same sleeve sewing technique was applied here as on the Isabella dress, and once again I don’t entirely get it. There must be an easier way to finish the sleeves. But alas, I couldn’t find one so I sewed one sleeve one way and the other another.  Prefering the second method, which was to only attach the lining to the dress in the pit area.

This time around for the zipper, as it was suggested in the Isabella pattern, I chose to sew the zipper using the invisible method instead of exposed, it just seemed easier to me and since my zipper wasn’t an exact match for my fabric, it worked out nicely to have it hidden.

All around the pattern was thorough, with lots of pictures, and I am pleased a punch with the finished product. I’ll definitely be making one for Lelia.  I’d love to be able to pull this look off myself, but I believe that at 35 I might be a tad old for the adorable peter pan collar.

I made Isabelle pose for these pictures this morning and she was less than pleased with my request.  So she made cranky faces the whole time.  As revenge, I’m posting them here for all the world to see.  Because I’m a kind and thoughtful mother, who might be a tad passive aggressive.



Can This Dress Pattern Be Fixed?

8 Feb


I was all excited about Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2147: Learn To Sew

image from Amazon


It was a simple pattern that looked similar in style to the O Tunic from Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders and a style that I thought would be flattering on me.

I made a test pattern first out of material of which I have copious amounts.  It had pleats in the back that I decided added bulk so I removed them for the actual dress and set out to make a dress out of the Timeless Treasures Catch of the Day Bistro Menu Ecru  to match my kids O Tunic dresses. I made it, tried it on and looked in the mirror, pleased as ever with my results.

So much so that I made the dress again, this time in the long sleeved version using some knits that I had picked up on clearance at Jo-Ann’s.  Again, sewed it, tried it on, looked in the mirror and was happy.  So happy with this one that I was going to wear it to the Opening of the Heavy Seas AleHouse.

Seriously, BAD BAD BAD

And then I had my husband take pictures of me in the dresses so I could blog about them. When I pulled the photos up on my computer I was saddened to see that instead of being kind to my curves, the dress makes me look like I have porn star boobs and am a tad on the large side overall.

I swear that in the mirror I looked fine, but these photos reveal less than flattering dresses.  Needless to say I did NOT wear the knit version to the AleHouse, and instead whipped up my lovely cocktail shift.

But the thing is, I used the last of my Hoodie Catch of the day on the dress and I’d really like to salvage it.  Does anyone who reads this have any ideas?

And if I use this pattern again,what can I do to prevent the porn boobs?  Or should I admit defeat and acknowledge that this just ins’t a pattern for my body type?


Classic Shift from Lisette Continental Blouse Pattern

6 Feb

Remember how I said I had simplified the back of the Lisette Continental Blouse and elongated the whole pattern to make a dress pattern?  Well this is the first iteration of that pattern!

It is a classic A-line shift, with darts.  It is seriously, my most favorite dress and shirt shape ever. Not too fitted so as to hide my middle, and thanks to the darts, it fits my bust line nicely, without bursting at the seams. For this particular version, I stuck with the oval -not quite boat-neck line and used one solid color fabric.  I found the fabric on clearance at Joann’s for a mere $6/yard and since it was a 58″ wide fabric, I used about 1/5 yards to make it.  So that means this lovely dress cost me about $9!!!

I wore it to an event for a client, The Heavy Seas AleHouse, and was complimented on it!  Woo hoo!

Colin and I at the Heavy Seas AleHouse


I can change the neckline and this will work as the basis for a tunic top, and if I add back in the gathered back detailing, will make for a nice cocktail dress, if I find the right fabric.

If I add cuffs to the long sleeves and some button detailing, that would be nice too.  Or shorten the sleeves and add color blocking.  There are so many possibilities for this dress, I’m super excited about it.

And over the weekend I was able to test out the pattern that I scooped up  for a maxi dress at the 99 cent Joann Pattern Sale, on a shorter version, and that turned out great too.

My handmade clothing collection is expanding nicely! And the freedom to create exactly what I want is ever more enticing.

The thing I’ve learned from this sewing adventure, is that it never hurts to try. I could really only sew in a straight line up until a couple months ago and now I can sew sleeves, and button holes and zippers and knits.  If you’re reading this and are thinking about busting out the sewing machine and giving it a whirl, or if you are sewing but haven’t tried things because it looks hard, just try it, and you’ll see.



Pattern Testing | Isabella Dress from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop

2 Feb

As I blog more and more about my sewing adventure, I also follow more and more sewing blogs. If they have a Facebook page than I follow that too. It’s a great way to keep up with the blogs and often, on Facebook you get more than just a link to the latest post. As is the case with Naptime Crafter, and her pattern shop, Peek-A-Boo Patterns. I can’t remember how I found the pattern shop, but I did and she had the pattern for the Chevron coat that I made my girls.

Anywho, she recently posted an adorable pic of a dress and asked for pattern testers. With those cute ruffles, I couldn’t resist!

photo from Peek-A-Boo Patterns Facebook page

I volunteered to test the pattern in the 3T or 5 and she took me up on the 3T.

As is the norm for PDF patterns, there were detailed instructions included with pictures of every step. I found finishing the armholes to be slightly tricky and this was the first zipper that I have sewn in a dress before, so that was an interesting experience. I hemmed and hawed over what fabrics to use to make the dress but settled on Michael Miller’s garden pin dots in Carnation and navy blue. It worked out as a great way to use up the last of the navy fabric and makes it a dress that she can wear now with either a sweater on top or a shirt underneath. Yeah for a a 4 season dress!

Lelia likes it and Isabelle has requested one as well. The basic construction of the dress is a simple A-line and then you slice up the front and insert ruffles. The sleeves are just another piece of the ruffled fabric. And the instructions for the zipper were great and made it less intimidating to try!

Thanks Amy, for letting me be a pattern tester, and for making such an adorable pattern!

As a side note, my mother commented that Lelia always looks messy and Isabelle always has a bow in her and looks nice when I take their pictures. That is because Isabelle is a ham and Lelia is shy so getting her to pose for the pictures is no easy task. I have to bribe her by letting her use my nice camera to snap my pic after she’s finished posing.

Today she was more cooperative and I got to style her hair and clean her face. But I still had to let her take my picture.

My Serger’s in the Shop and Other News

18 Jan

I feel like a piece of me is missing. My beloved serger, hit a snag in the road when I sewed layers upon layers of midweight fabric together around the collar of the Spring Chevron Coat and so I took it into the shop for a little tuneup.  Sadly, I will be without it for at least a week.

Not all was lost though because, my shop is located with a Joann Fabrics store and so I took some time to do a little bargain hunting.  I cam home with 5 patterns that were only 99 cents a piece and a bunch of remnant material that was 70% off!.


I got this gorgeous embroidered light weight white cotton fabric that’s going to make a gorgeous peasanty O Tunic dress with a square neck for one or both girls.  And almost a whole yard of some heavier weight white linen as well as some navy and white poly knits to play with when my serger comes home.


That patterns are all for me! Like Simplicity 2702

image from Joann.com


And this is going to be my adult version of the O Tunic: Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2147

Plus this way cool dress that I love for so many reasons, not the least of which is the oh so lovely maxi version!
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2363



And finally, a Lisette pattern to try! Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2059


I’ve got big plans for these patterns!!! And the remnants!

Oh and I’m working on my first order EVER! Someone (my cousin, but still) is actually PAYING ME to make something! It’s a custom designed tote and wallet in fabrics that she chose! It’s really fun to do and I’m hoping to be able to finish it and share it by Friday!


Here’s a peek: