Little Red Dress & Proudest Sewing Moments

I feel smokin’ hot in this BurdaStyle dress! Good thing, since it took me two years to make it. ūüôā

I’ll tell you all about it below, but first, I have a request for you.¬†Helena and I are preparing episode 5 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast, and we want to include you in it! What was your proudest moment in sewing? Maybe you made a complicated dress for your prom? Or maybe you finally mastered a fly zipper? Maybe, like me, it was the first garment you sewed all by yourself that you were actually able to wear out in public. Now, if I could only find that picture of me wearing that skin-tight, crushed-velvet, bell-sleeved and flare-legged¬†jumpsuit back in the early 90s. I hear 90s style is in again…but maybe we can just leave crushed velvet lying in peace, yeah?

Please leave a comment below¬†about your proudest sewing moment, or — even better — leave us a voice mail by calling 401-64MAVEN or recording a message via your computer’s built-in microphone at¬†speakpipe.com/ClothesMakingMavens. We’ll include your stories in our next podcast!

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This is BurdaStyle’s Twisted Cap-Sleeve Dress (06/2014 #102B). It features a neat design element whereby the front and back pieces are cut off-centre, so when you put the dress on you have to twist the bottom to put the side seams where they should be…this results in a subtle diagonal twist around the midriff which I totally love.

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I cut and sewed most of this two years ago, and got frustrated with a too-loose, wavy neckline, so it sat in the basement cupboard with other UFOs since then. Lots of unpicking and resewing later, I’ve got a neckline that isn’t quite perfect but a lot better than it was.

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I’m actually wearing the dress backwards. Wide, plunging necklines aren’t all that flattering on me but I do love a plunging back! Since there are no bust darts on this design, it’s possible to wear it either way.

One of the issues I had with this dress was the facing in the bodice. It’s a full facing, front and back, which ends just above the waistline, like a crop top on the inside. If you look carefully in the following photo you can see the bottom of the facing causing a wonk on the left side. I have since made¬†the facing a little narrower near the bottom edge, but that didn’t solve the problem. The jersey fabric rolls a bit at the bottom edge¬†— despite me finishing it with the serger¬†and pressing the shit out of it every time I wear it. What to do?¬†I don’t want to make a narrow hem as this may be just as visible on the outside¬†as the roll. Any advice? I think if I made this dress again I wouldn’t do the facing and would just turn in the edge around the neckline or do a neckband.

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I wore it out to a nightclub and my friend found this pic they posted on Facebook later that week…which turned out to be one of the tamer photos taken in the club that night. In a stroke of good timing, we called it a night¬†just as others were starting to get their twerk on.¬†There are some things better left unseen. ūüėČ

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Thanks for stopping by for a read. Don’t forget to comment about your proudest sewing moment, k? ūüôā

Belize Skort

What a successful make this has been! I have pretty much lived in this skort since the moment I finished it.

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This is the freshly-released Belize Shorts and Skort pattern from Itch to Stitch, View D. It was one of those patterns I bought as soon as I saw it and got started sewing the very next day.

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The fabric is Cotton and Steel’s Mustang Arrows by Melody Miller. You can’t tell from the photos but the dots are metallic gold. (Squeeee!) I originally bought it as part of a sewing kit from Craftsy to make the Green Bee Amelia dress¬†(sorry, it’s sold out now), but I put it off for a long time because even though Amelia is the perfect dress to show off these arrows on the bias, I kinda knew that the¬†silhouette really isn’t my bag. Despite the extraordinary popularity of fit-and-flare dresses in the sewing community, they’re just not my style.

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I find this so easy to wear…the comfort of shorts but with a bit of extra flair, so I don’t feel quite so dressed-down as I would if I were wearing just shorts.

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I cut and sewed a size 0, and made a couple of modifications.¬†I cut the two front pieces on the bias so I could have the arrows going diagonally, parallel to the bottom front hems. I shortened the length of the shorts so that from the front you don’t really see them. I also¬†had to take it in around the waist a little before attaching the waistband.¬†I find the elastic waistband has a tendency to roll inside the casing, so I sewed a horizontal line up¬†the back to help keep it in place. Shannon of Adventures of a Young Seamstress was a tester for this pattern and sewed three horizontal lines of stitching into the elastic waistband to keep it in place. I may do the same. You can see Shannon’s¬†cute Belize shorts here.

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And here’s me doing some kind of chicken dance in my front yard….you know, as one does. ūüėÄ

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Thanks for stopping by!

Long Cardi

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I really, really am not ready to start thinking about Fall. I’m still sewing summer clothes, abandoning all good taste to sip sickly-sweet fruity cocktails, barbecuing in the back yard, and playing volleyball¬†at the beach on weekends. In fact, Fall can kindly kiss my ass while I continue to enjoy a hot, sunny summer, thank you very much!

But, let’s face the inevitable. The days are getting shorter, and in about four or five weeks the weather here in Toronto will be noticeably cooler. So the¬†Sew Ready for Fall blog tour is timely. (It’s like an intervention that insists you pull your head out of the beach sand and get ahead of yourself for next season.) And exciting prize giveaways know no season! So scroll down for more info on the blog tour and how to enter to win a sewing machine and many other cool prizes!

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This is my contribution to the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour. It’s the Long Knit Cardigan from BurdaStyle (01/2011 #126B). It’s just the drapey, flowing piece¬†I had in mind: a very simple but versatile garment for layering.

Here I’m wearing it with¬†my new Itch-to-Stitch skort, hot off the sewing machine, which I’m pretty much living in since I finished it. (I’ll tell you more about that pattern in¬†another post.)

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Here’s a more Fall-like ensemble. I love this outfit, but I am more than happy to wait quite a long time before it actually becomes weather-appropriate.

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I used a very lightweight polyester-rayon blend hacci sweater knit, which Stylish Fabrics provided to me for free to participate in the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour. They describe it as “soft and durable as well as very light weight. Great for sweaters, hoodies, long sleeves, beanies, and cardigans.” Apparently hacci knits have a more open, loopy texture than regular knits. And it is indeed quite open as you’ll see from some of the pictures below. You can clearly tell the right side from the wrong side, as the tiny purl bumps and knit v’s are visible (if you knit, you’ll recognize this right away).

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I omitted the sleeves from the pattern and therefore cut the shoulders to be much narrower before finishing the armholes with a simple twin needle stitch. It’s a very easy sew — that is, if you’re not a dolt like me who sews the two shoulder seams of the back piece directly to each other, and then carries on with the next steps as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do. (Ah, Burda instructions, you and I have a complicated relationship, don’t we? If only you’d just say what you mean instead of beating around the bush coyly, playing games with my head, we wouldn’t be on this inevitable path to¬†divorce court, now would we?) Anyway, dear reader, if you’d been a fly on the wall you would have enjoyed watching me try to figure out how this deformed piece was going to connect to the front pieces. I admit I spent a shockingly long time on that doomed endeavour. So on second thought, maybe I could do with a little refreshingly cool Fall weather to get the brain in working condition again.

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Overall I’d say I spent more actual time ripping out seams than sewing them. (Ha, nothing new for me there, really.) And this fabric does not like to play very nicely¬†with seam rippers–it was very difficult to pick out the sewing thread without accidentally grabbing a thread from the fabric. In the end, though, I managed to finish with only one small hole I had to darn with some navy thread.

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Ok, prizes! I promised you prizes! There’s an amazing selection of prizes to be won, including a Brother sewing machine, gift cards, pattern packs, and more. To enter, you can add a comment to any one of the blog posts on the tour including this one you’re reading right now, and you can register a few entries here.

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Want to check out all the other lovely creations on the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour? Don’t forget to comment on them for more chances to win. ūüôā

August 1st: Sewing By Ti and Rebel and Malice
August 2nd: Gray all Day
August 3rd: Wild and Wanderful and The Sara Project
August 4th: Doodle Number 5 and Sweet Red Poppy
August 5th: Paisley Roots and Dos Natural Sistas and My Crafty Little Self
August 8th: Made By Melli and Sew Far North
August 9th: Sew Sophie Lynn and Creative Counselor
August 10th: Frivolous at Last and EYMM
August 11th: Lulu and Celeste and Sprouting Jubejube
August 12th: Adventures with Bubba and Bug and All Things Katy and Sewing by Ti

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Check out Episode 3 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast

Hi friends! Just a quick note to let you know that episode 3 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

Clothes Making Mavens podcast episode 3: Sew Small Talk - Fabric Zeal

Helena and I are also happy to let you know that you can know subscribe to the podcast on all your favourite podcatching platforms, including iTunes. See clothesmakingmavens.com for more info.

I’ll be back soon with my contribution to the Sew Ready for Fall blog tour.