Salvage September Project 2

Remember this dress?

Well, it went into the “remake it pile” when I purged my closet.  I initially cut it apart with the intention of making another dress, but that went out the window once I’d laid out all the pieces and realized only the skirt was really going to be salvageable.  Burda classics 0015 blouseSo I traced off this little sleeveless number from Burda’s 2012 FW Classics issue.  There was just enough to squeeze it out, although I did end up piecing some of the facing.

Liberty Bea

I lengthened the back by an extra 4cm, hemming it with right-angle corners instead of grading it to meet the front length.  It means I can tuck it in securely at the back, or, when it is left untucked, have sufficient coverage when I sit or bend over.

Burda Classics 2012 #15

I’m quite happy with this little top, especially the collar.  And quite happy that I have a garment which will see more wear than the dress ever did.

Tie front blouse


Judy, by Liberty of London

Burda 1-2011-107 blouse

I have long had the intention of adding more shirts to my clothes rotation, but hadn’t had the motivation until this past week… well, two days ago, in fact, when I browsed through the PR website and thought I’d give the Sewing Bee 2015 a try.  What do I have to lose?  And it provided a reason to sew a new shirt.

Enter a vintage Liberty tana lawn called Judy.  I only had about 114_107_bs1101_mf_burda_6_01_065_original_large40 inches of full width yardage with a few decent-sized scraps left from Vogue 7340, which was sewn a few years ago.  I had hoped to make a Sewaholic Granville, or another Vogue 8747, but there wasn’t enough fabric.  So I turned to Burda and remembered I had traced of 1/2011 #107 a couple of years ago and done nothing with it.  So I cut out the traced pattern and after careful tissue fitting, determined the only adjustment I needed was to shorten the back waist.  I didn’t even need to do an FBA, believe it or not.  There is about 4″ of ease just across the bust, even for me, and I usually require a 1.5 or 2-inch FBA on tops.

shoulder detail

I did trim the seam allowances off the top of the fronts, tapering to nothing at the neckline, to facilitate a forward shoulder.

I made a few changes to the pattern.  First, I did not add petersham ribbon down the front bands.  I didn’t like the look much.

collar detail

I shortened the sleeve cuffs by about one inch.  I didn’t think I had short arms.

sleeve detail

But I will probably wear them open and turned up because I like the look of the ‘wings’.

Burda 1-2011-107 sleeve cuffs

The back inverted pleat gave me a little trouble, fitting it over the hips. I tapered it below the waist so that it followed the hip shape without flaring out like a sail.

Burda 1-2011-107 back

The collar gave me some grief.  It has a shaped stand that is sewn into an elongated “c” cut out of the collar.  You can see the pattern pieces here.  I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s “Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp Fusible” because I really love crisp shirt collars/cuffs/bands.  It is v.e.r.y. crisp, and I think this contributed to the difficulty I had attaching the collar to the stand. In the end I trimmed the seam allowances to a mere 1/4″, clipped them excessively, and it came together.

And there’s my new shirt.  (I don’t plan to wear it with these pants, btw, which I usually reserve for wear with the Donna Karan Big Shirt aka Vogue 1038. I just haven’t made a decent fitting pair of green-ish trousers that fit yet.)  I love Liberty tana lawn, so I know this will get a lot of wear, even as the weather cools down.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how warm tana lawn can be over the years.

Impromptu: Portuguese Traditional Dress

IMG_5354DD3 mentioned last week that today was to be Spirit Day at school, and the required dress was her national heritage costume. She reminded me Tuesday evening, and again yesterday morning.

Profound moment of intense silence.  DD3 waits and looks expectantly at the resident miracle-worker a.k.a. MOMMY.  That would be me, still silent while frantically thinking at the speed of light.  “National heritage costume”, I say.  Oh, boy.  Oh boy, ohboy.

That’s a problem.  Which heritage shall we dress DD3 in for Heritage Clothing Day?  I am 5th generation Canadian, and my DH insists that he is Canadian first, regardless of his heritage.  Needless to say, we have a large pool of choices from which to pull the costume:  DH’s family immigrated from Portugal in the early 1960’s; my maternal grandmother’s family is Swiss German (immigrated late 19th century); and maternal grandfather’s family hails from England, with an honorary Scottish tartan apparently bestowed whilst helping some clan or other win their respective war.  On the paternal side:  Scottish, arrived this side of the Atlantic in 1895, to be precise.  I don’t have a kilt.  I don’t have typically Swiss clothing lying around, and nothing traditionally “English” with said family tartan and crest attached anywhere.  Therefore the only possibility is perhaps to make up something on one day’s notice for DD’s special day, since, of course, I didn’t do any thinking, planning or sewing for this most special of required dress!

Heck, why not?  I need yet another break distraction from the SWAP program, and costumes – like ball skirts – are just so much darn fun!  I love sewing completely unnecessary articles of clothing!  Seriously.  I’m not being facetious or sarcastic.  My yearly Christmas ball skirt is what keeps me going.  >_<

First thought – go with Burda’s traditional costumes, since it’s pretty close to the Swiss German thing going on.  But guess what?  The very particular issue of Burda (September 2011) that is chalk full of traditional dress in all sizes, is not anywhere that I can find in the sewing mess.  Botheration.  I refuse to pay to download – do I really want to tape all those damn pieces of paper together and have to pay for something I know is in this house somewhere?

B 9-2011

Second thought – Google Portuguese national dress and see what we can come up with.  Quite a lot, apparently.  Some very expensive on Etsy.  I want this, BTW.  It would be perfect for the family Christmas Eve!  fancy portuguese dress

Some quite simple to pull together from random articles of clothing in various daughters’ closets.  Simply because it’s black and white, and surely we can find gold jewellery in the dress up box.

gold portuguese clothingBut nothing will do for mommy, of course, who, after doing a couple hours’ research realizes that Portuguese traditional dress is very particular to regions.  Hmmm….. DH’s family is from the Azores, so northern Portugal is out.  Minho region is out.  Lisbon area is out.  Let’s Google Azorean traditional dress.azorean black capes

Voila!  I even found Christmas ornaments with traditional Portuguese dress.  Who knew?  Etsy is completely amazing!  And this particular little Christmas ornament was so darned cute, I actually ordered one. portuguese ornamentBut never mind that.  Back to the costume.   I need a black cape, which, apparently was typical of Azorean dress.  I randomly wonder if my MIL knows this.  DH says DD3 will look like the grim reaper in her black cape when I show him my inspiration photo (see Christmas ornament above).  He’s incorrigible sometimes, so I give him a look that Medusa would be proud of and go on my merry costuming way.

v 7110

I have Vogue 7110 in my stash, albeit in XL (for a very tall King David royal robe several years ago), but I can grade it down to, say… oh, I don’t know… a child’s size 134?  Sure! That’s what rulers and pens are for, right?  RIGHT!  Oh, and I need 4 m of black something.  But I don’t want to use any black something from my stash because I want the cape to be wearable in Canadian winter weather.  Actually, the truth is I just don’t want to use any of my lovely stretch black stash wool for a costume.  So off I drive like a crazy woman to the store and discover a wool/poly blend whose price has been slashed to affordability.  Perfect!  I can even wash it, thanks to the polyester, which I do as soon as I get home.

The cape goes together quickly.  It calls for velvet or lightweight wools.  Well, my wool is melton-weight and warm, but I decided to do the double hood anyways.  I trimmed the seam allowance from the self-lining and attach grosgrain ribbon in place of the supposed-to-be-turned-under seam allowance, which will cut down on the bulk.  And obviously save my machine, fingers and sanity.

hood lining

It’s very full.  My eldest “has plans” for it, she said as she tried it on.  Well, it’s warm enough to wear instead of a coat, that’s for sure.


I used grosgrain for the single loop button closure.

cape front

And just for the fun of it (please excuse the mess – it’s garbage day today!) this is a shot of DD3 waiting for the bus with her backpack on underneath the cape.  It was my morning laugh.  Still chuckling as I look at this silly photo!


Referring to the ornament (my inspiration), I see that 2 scarves are required.  I know there’s at least half a dozen scarves in the dress-up box that can be used for the shawl and the headscarf.


I just need a dress.  Should I raid the Liberty stash?  For a costume…… uhhh…. NO.  (See how selfish I am with my precious stash fabrics? It’s shameful, really, especially when there is a lot more Liberty to be had for the paying out there in the big wide fabric world.) Although I do have some French cotton twill that wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  I could use that.  Or some gifted sari fabric, which would work quite well.  But no, of course I find other treasures in the right pennies range while shopping for the black required something, and come home with enough to make a very full skirt and a peasant top (Burda 05-2011-136).


Perfect, but boring.  So into the Liberty stash we dive after all, because I know there’s fat quarters of some blue stuff in there somewhere (purchased to accompany said French cotton twill for a me-made version of a Robert Graham style shirt for DH’s birthday….. three years ago… and never made up for a variety of reasons, mostly, though, because the French cotton twill was so ridiculous).  And, of course, there’s the perfect little ditsy flowers of a print to make the stripes look just right.

shirt trimmings

And for the fun of it, I added little triangles to the hem side vents.  Well, actually, if Claudine hadn’t talked about hers here and here, I would honestly have never though to add this little detail.  But I liked hers, so I thought I’d try it on this.  And of course, did mine backwards!

shirt hem

For the skirt I cut two lengths of a wider striped fabric, pleated the front into a flat waistband that has raw-edged applique in the same Liberty print, and pleated the back into an elasticized waistband for easy dressing and possibly future wearing by other sized people.

pt waistband

DD3 has a petticoat, which I suggested wearing underneath for the additional fullness it would provide and the warmth of the top.  You can see more pictures of the petticoat here.


And off to school she goes for the day!  That was a fun diversion, and now, back to serious sewing. *wink*

pt cape

Angelica Naylah

v8747I’ve made a shirt from a Liberty print in my stash called “Angelia Naylah” using Vogue 8747.  I really hemmed and hawed about this pattern, because most of the ones over at PatternReview are out of solids, and I really wasn’t liking any of them that much.  Then I found one out of a white/celery print, and it sold me on this pattern for this print.  I’m happy to say I probably still have enough yardage to get a sheath dress out of this, too.  What can I say?  I really like tana lawn.Angelica NaylahI really need to work on the fit through the back shoulders on shirts, but I’m afraid to make them too perfectly fit, because I want the wearing ease.  I must say this pattern fits wonderfully.  It’s a Custom-Fit, which I wasn’t too enthused about, because the last time I used a custom-fit pattern from Simplicity, there wasn’t enough room in their built-in FBA for me.  This Vogue custom fit is perfect.  It’s so nice not to have to tweak a pattern endlessly.  I know, some of you are muttering “make a sloper/block”.  I guess I should, but it’s just so much work to get one, y’know?  Don’t ask. My laziness is not always logical.  🙂IMG_2083The nice this about this pattern is that it has princess seams in the back, too, instead of darts.  I’m starting to not like darts so much for shaping through the back of garments for me because I require so much shaping and the darts can be very deep and ugly.  And I’m amazed at how sloping my shoulders are…

Here’s the side view.  I made the long-sleeved version with the full cuffs.  My only complaint is that there is not a proper sleeve placket included in the pattern, so if you want a real sleeve placket, you’ll have to draft your own or borrow one from another pattern.V8747 sideI really like the collar and curved front bands on this shirt. The small gathers at the CF through the bustline work for me, too.  And can I just put in a plug for Pam of Fashion Sewing Supply fame?  Oh. My. Goodness.  That woman is wonderful beyond words.  I used her super-crisp shirt interfacing for this little darling, and it is dream interfacing.  I have always HATED using fusible interfacings, especially on fine cotton shirts, but the the Pro-Woven she sells is divine.  I washed this shirt in my washer – not by hand – and the interfacing didn’t budge.  Didn’t bubble or buckle and there’s no horrid little glue dots that can occur with some interfacings.  If you haven’t ordered anything from her, do!  I just placed a big order the other week and nearly choked on her shipping charges to Canada, but God bless her, she wrote back a very thorough, long and patient explanation regarding weight and US shipping comparisons and I was just so amazed at the customer service she provided!  I am so glad that I used the Super-Crisp on this shirt.  I was a bit worried it would be too crisp for the lawn, but it’s really nice!  You know how many shirts I’ve trashed over the years because of crappy interfacing issues?  Not this one!  Thanks, Pam!IMG_2099

Liberty, how do I love thee!

I’m pre-washing and drying some of my Liberty Art fabrics in preparation for summer projects.  Thrown into the mix are a couple of beautiful batiks and a modern print voile.

From L to R:  unknown (help me out with a comment if you know this print, please!!), Pelagia, Molina, Ros,  Angelica Naylah (wrong side out), blue and brown batik, Mollybish, purple print voile, Mark, Clara and Mabelle

Sounds like a regular family get-together!

A bouquet of dresses

Miss V asked if I would sew up a few garments for her as she is heading over to Asia for the next year and needed appropriate clothes.  She brought three pieces of fabric with her, and a dress to copy.

IMG_0407IMG_0409I’d sewn a hot LRD based on Vogue 9595 a couple of years ago for her, and she so liked the simple empire style that she requested a couple more from the fabric she brought with her.   This orange polyester satin looks nice, but shows every single stitch.  It’s lined with a poly-cotton broadcloth, which I’m sure won’t stick in the heat and humidity, but it’s heavier than the fashion fabric.


Then she asked if she could have a new version of a sheath dress with a mock sarong skirt that she’d had in her wardrobe for years.  I was hoping she would fall in love with something from my stash, and she chose a length of Megan by Liberty of London (who are now called Liberty Art fabrics) in a hot pink colour way.  IMG_0410I am very surprised at how pretty this dress turned out to be.  The one flaw in my copy is very obvious, but I could not correct it because I didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut the skirt overlays.

IMG_0411I completely underlined the garment with cotton voile and piped the neckline and arm openings.  But I didn’t want to line it because she’s going to be wanting very cool clothing for the next year.  So I used a catch-stitch for the edging.  All these dresses have the bra keepers in the shoulders.

IMG_0415And I knew she wanted a white dress.  b 2-2011-101This burnout re-embroidered cotton voile was originally purchased last summer for a dress that DD1 really didn’t like, so I thought I’d use it for this last piece.  DD1 thought it was a wonderful use of the fabric.  (Obviously, her tastes in clothing differ significantly from mine – no big inter-generational surprise).  I used the bodice from  Burda 2-2011-101, which has been made up a gazillion times around the sewing world.  I just so like the bodice despite the reports of fitting nightmares, and thought it would suit my friend.  I chose a circle skirt instead of the dirndl – it’s a more pleasing silhouette.

b 2-2011-101 sitting I took the darts out of the back and put a length of elastic at the waist.b 2-2011-101 back And I’d love to thank my DD1 for being willing to goof off and model all these garments.  If she wasn’t so gracious, you’d have seen pictures of these garments on hangers.

A couple of little things

I’ve not been that interested in sewing lately, it being September and all.  Trying to get into the new school and extra-curricular activities routine for the coming year has been taking up most of my time, thoughts and energy.  I’ve been doing a little  mental planning and thinking for the fall, but I’ve not done much in the way of actually having something to show for myself.  The UFOs on my sewing table are nagging at me, and I have three garments that need to be tweaked or altered for fall.  So, in my usual procrastinating style, enter Vogue 8722.


I’ve been looking at this pattern for a while, wanting to make up one of these with the tie from my Bea dress because I just don’t like it tied in a bow, tied in a knot with the long ends dangling around, or wrapped around my waist (how I’ve been wearing it).  I wanted something else.  I put the dress on my dress form and played around with different styles, but always ended up with the same problem:  the pattern is just too busy to make up a belt for this particular dress.  I needed a complementary fabric.  And then I got an idea!  Why not make two:  one in red silk taffeta (perfect for my Bea dress) and one in dark brown twill from my remnant box.v8722 closeupWhat do you think?  The belt is quite simple to put together.  It consists of two bias bands of equal size crisscrossed over each other and stitched into firmly interfaced ends that are secured at the centre back with hooks and eyes.  v8722 brownThe twill worked brilliantly because of its heavier weight and sturdy weave.  The pattern actually calls for leather if you have it, but I’m trying to raid my stash instead of purchasing new fabric all the time.  I did not glue the edges down as suggested in the instructions.  I used a small catch stitch for the twill. One end of each bias piece is gathered into the extension; the other is pleated at attached to a piece of elastic about 3 1/2 inches in length. One of each end is secured into the extension, with the seam enclosed in a small piece of lining.v8722 interiorI faced the red silk with identically cut bias pieces to enclose the edges nicely and have an extra layer of fabric for stability.  I did not interface or underline the silk, and although it’s lightweight, it is taffeta and holds up well to wearing.v8722 back

Me Made June: Days 12 & 13

P6120013Me Made June Day 12 – Outfit: Vogue 8846 made up in Liberty of London tana lawn.  The print is called Bea.  With my mini poodle, Nuggy Baby.

Activities:  Nothing.  We went to church in the morning, ate fast food for lunch (DD2’s favourite – the Golden Arches), took about 20 pics trying to get this fabric to photograph nicely, finished up Barnaby Rudge by Dickens (I loooooove Dickens), and BBQ’d beef souvlaki for dinner. The 2nd picture accurately captures the richness of the Bea print. It’s hard to P6120020photograph this fabric because of the slight sheen to it.  And, no.  I did not wear this dress for the entire day, in case you’re wondering.  I schlepped around in my pajamas after our morning at church, but I thought I’d spare you the pictures of that, since my PJ’s are not me-made.

Thoughts:  I wore this dress with the sash today, wrapped around twice and tied in a very small bow at the centre back (not like the picture at the right – I changed it up after taking the pics).  It’s the first time I had the brains to try that, as I had tied  it with long tails at the side front like the pattern envelope.  It did not look nice.  I always feel so dressed up in this dress, but it’s really comfy to wear, and the style is so pretty.  I know in my review I mentioned wanting to make it up in a solid colour, but I haven’t done that yet… there’s just too many other projects on my sewing table!

MMJ 13Me Made June Day 13 – Outfit:  RTW capris and Simplicity 2603

Activities:  laundry, sewing, cooking and running kids to dance class

Thoughts:  It’s cool today – only about 14C, so this ensemble is perfect.  But the sweater is loooong, as you can see from the original post.  I’ve tied the ends together and put them around my neck to shorten the sweater for today.   It creates a sort of ruffle effect down the front, which is OK, I guess.  I like the colour, but this is not one of my favourite me-made items.

(Belated) Pattern Review: Vogue 8446


Pattern Description:  Mid-knee or below mid-calf dress with fitted bodice and flared skirt has lined bodice and back zipper closure.

Pattern Sizing:  AAX(4-6-8-10), DD(12-14-16-18) I sewed a 16 – my usual size, and it could be taken in about 1″ at the waist, but what the hey!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes – 100%. Actually, I think it looks better on me than the model at Vogue Patterns website.image

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I had no difficulty following the directions of this pattern, however, I can see where people who are just starting out on their sewing journey could be VERY confused with the directions for the construction of the bodice.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love love LOVE this neckline (closeup here.) It is so amazingly flattering! I was a bit skeptical about the pleating in the skirt and the “dirndl” look since I really don’t need any extra below my waist, but it works very well with the proportion of the dress.

Fabric Used:  Liberty of London tana lawn in Bea from my stash. Lined in bemberg lining. I wasn’t sure about using this fabric for the dress, but I think it turned out so nicely. It’s very vintage looking, and the rich colours are striking.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I only did my usual FBA and waist shortening of 2″. I was too lazy (or overconfident?) to do a proper muslin, as I am getting pretty good at the FBA adjustment using Vogue Patterns Sewing Book instructions. It worked perfectly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it tP6120005o others?  I would definitely sew this again. I’m currently hunting around in my stash for a solid colour in a crepe or faille. I think it would be very dressy in a fluid fabric. I’m just totally in love with the neckline.

I highly recommend this dress. Even if you need to read and re-read the instructions to get the bodice construction just right, it’s well worth the time and effort. You won’t regret the time it took!

Me Made June: Days 8 & 9


Just a quick post today for MMJ’s sake…

MMJ Day Eight

Outfit: Vogue 7340, from Liberty of London tana lawn in “Judy” and a shortened version of Vogue 2165 in olive green linen.   Both patterns are OOP, unfortunately.

Activities:  Bible study with friends in the morning; picking up DD3 for lunch; another meeting in the afternoon

Thoughts:  I really enjoy wearing this shirt. V2165 The tana lawn is very cool and the print is so delightful!  I did an FBA on this wrap shirt and it fits like a dream.   The skirt is bias cut and is really comfortable to wear.   The original design calls for two layers of fabric – one of organza or chiffon over a heavier layer – but it works very well in linen.  This is the second version of this skirt that I’ve made up over the years.  The first one was a dusty yellow linen the full length of the pattern.  I wore it out.  I’ve never actually put the entire suit together, mostly because of the jacket, and I just don’t do skinny pants… nope… no way.  But with the return to longer jackets on the runway, this might be an interesting one to try.

MMJ Day Nine

P6090001Outfit:  My Susannah dress which is Vogue 8469.  I reviewed the pattern last year over at, but I’m not sure anyone can read it without logging in, even if I do add a link.  So I posted a (very) belated review of it here on my blog.

Activities:  Getting the kids out the door to school on time, chatting with an overnight guest who was leaving this morning, the salon, and checking out a karate class for kids with Down syndrome for DD2 this evening.  I’m hoping she will be able to attend this September.

Thoughts:  The waist on this dress really bugs me because it rides up.  It sits high anyway – the bottom of the band is about 1 inch above my natural waist.  I really like this fabric, and I’d be sorry to thrift the dress just because of the waistband, which is something that I could fix if I found some extra fabric in my big box of remnants.   But I think the real problem is not adding enough depth to the bodice when I was doing my FBA.  I’m slowly learning that whenever I do an empire styled bodice, about 2 inches needs to be added to the bottom to ensure a proper fit.  I wonder if I could just add a strip of fabric in below the bust (and above the front waistband) to make it fit properly.  Does anyone have any ideas about this?