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Category Archives: Fashion

Vogue 1208 Quick and Easy Elegance

Back of dress

I made this dress for a one day meet-up last year. Due to bad weather the flight home that evening was cancelled and I had to stay an extra day. I had not planned on spending the night so I had to wear this for 2 whole days. Oh boy. I can go for some glamor once in a while but 2 days? That’s really pushing me to my limits.


But I liked wearing this dress and 2 days worth was not a problem. The fabric is a finely pleated black and white polka dot polyester from, and it proved to be absolutely wrinkle-proof. The fit was comfortable and I had the yellow coat I made and blogged about for the whole month of April 2009 with me. That was a great comfy coat to wear, too. And I had brought flats, Yay Me! Disaster averted.


The pattern is to be laid out on the bias but I cut cross grain to take advantage of the inherent stretch of the pleats. I cut a size 12 through the bodice and flared to a 14 below the waist.


I lined on the bias with black cling free poly lining which I trimmed with black lace at the hem. I cut the lining with extra width so that it could relax into place on my body. The bow at the shoulder is black and white silk chiffon as is the simple rectangle wrap I made.

V1208Line Drawing

What an easy and quick but comfy and stylish design. I really enjoyed sewing it up and wearing it. I can recommend this simple but interesting shift for many different body shapes.

We finally got some rain and the humidity and wind is poofing up my hair big time. It’s getting wider and shorter with every passing minute. I was feeling like I might go airborne a la The Flying Nun before I could finish doing this photo shoot :).


M4392 McCalls Sew News Coordinates



Full Length Front

This pattern has skirt, pant,top with side slits sleeves and with sleeves, and jacket in a casual style for wovens. I made the sleeveless top in linen.

M4392 OOP

The pants are again Vogue 8915, shown here over and over for the past 7 weeks.

I lengthened the top by 2″, and increased the depth of the neckline facings to allow for 1 3/8″ deep topstitching instead of the 1″ called for in the pattern.

I cut a 12 through the neckline, 14 for the armscye and 16 through the bust angling out to 18+ for the waist and hipline. I made no other changes.

If I make this again, I need to lower the bust darts and perhaps cut more room through the bust. My weight changes all the time and I am sewing for linen that comes from the dryer without benefit of an iron. This means it will relax and stretch with body warmth and movement. I’ll write these alteration notations on the front of the envelope so I should see it if I make this top again and haven’t dropped in weight.

I like this pattern esp since I lowered the hemline. The armscye is snug but not too tight. Good pattern for me.

B5215 View C

Let’s finish this pattern up and move on, OK? I’m pretty sure I have some friends who are moaning: “not another scrub! Give us something more fashionable!” As well they should. What I’m making these days are my uniforms for daily kicking at the house and running to the store.

So this is the last of the Cheap, Fun, and Easy series, which is not to say I won’t still be sewing cheap fun and easy, I just won’t show you scrubs tops all the time.

Front view and the reason why I bought this questionable fabric with Westies wearing red bows, and apples and doo-dahs: my little photo bombing Westie dog and constant companion of almost 15 years, Gaely GoLightly.

Front of View C

Back view

Back of View C

I was surprised by how this version turned out. It looks almost like a tunic.

I tried not to stray too far from the pattern. I again cut an extra large. I lowered the neckline by 3/4″, shortened the shoulder by 1/2″ and shortened the neckband by .5″. Then I shortened the band by another 1″. It didn’t help much.

Maybe it was my fabric. It has an old feel and I think it’s a 1980’s fabric. It has a stiff hand from the dye. It’s a very stretchy cotton with lycra or elastine. And has a goofy print. Husband really didn’t want me to buy it. LOL Turns out he’s got quite a good eye for classy fabrics. Not this, in other words.

Anyone who makes this pattern will have to make sure they’ve cut any of the version’s necklines long enough to fit over your head and will have to be ready to shorten the neckbands by how ever much necessary to give a smooth finished edge.

Some say they make the band 2/3 the length of the neckline opening. I am the touchy-feely type so I test with my hands. And therefore I knew in advance this wouldn’t work too well. But it’s OK for my purposes and better than what you can get at a yard sale.

Closeup of neckline

So that is B5215, View C. And the end of scrubs.

Putting Pieces Together

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Mingling the old with the new
I’m wearing the lace top and silvery gray tee from McCall’s 6244, made in Dec 2010, and rayon pants purchased in the early 90’s. I have to admit I am so comfortable in baggier pants and higher necklines these days, I am intentionally cutting loose pants and wearing tops backwards 🙂
M6244McCall's 6244
I have shamelessly washed and dried the lace in the machines and wear it without worrying about the fraying edges or ironing it. I like the “distressed” look and find myself wearing it often.

I now wear that lace top backwards because the front hem area was cut too high to suit me. The neck is higher and I’m liking necklines that are higher these days.

New clothes from Summer 2013

The silver gray tee can be worn by itself over the bright colored pants I made this summer. I like it loosely tucked in the top of the new yellow pants best.

The yellow pants are exactly the same cut as the green pants but the difference is in the fabric. The green is a very soft hand, silk twill, the yellow is a harder silk twill and even though the weight of the two fabrics seems to be the same the fit and flow are quite different
Green and olive
Here is the green pant with the Dutch Wax print and I think the match is much better than the olive branch print. There is some of the same green in the olive print but it isn’t seen in the wearing
Because of the cut on sleeve these tops tend to ride up if the belt is not worn

McCalls 6753
I made the dress, View D,
M6753View D
in silk charmeuse. I wore it over the green pants for dinners out to celebrate our birthdays earlier this month. It works over the yellow pants as well
I am tempted to shortened it but at this length I can also wear it as a dress (beware: blindingly pale skin alert!)
The sides of this tunic are closed only to the hip so a very long tee is absolutely necessary
and it is cut very low in the neckline. I know that it is generally acceptable to show a bit of decolletage but this is too much!
So when wearing this tunic out I am more comfortable wearing the silver gray tee backwards as I did in the photos of it with the yellow pants.
Gray top backwards

Well, I think I’ve caught up with all the sewing done in the past few weeks. I’m happy that so many pieces can be interchanged.

More Later
Happy Sewing!

More Fringe on The Fashion Scene

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Brandy Melville Coral Shorts with Fringed Pockets

Fringed pockets, one step closer to the original Sexy Skirt

Fringed Belt: 20,000 Years Later

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Fringed Belt:  20,000 Years Later

They say there is nothing new in Fashion.

Once upon a time, at Georgene’s recommendation, I read a book:

Women's Work, The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber

I loved this book. It was as though my own passion was stretched behind me by thousands of years as I read about the development and wealth of textile craft.

Upon learning that the first skirts were fringed belts mostly likely made of twisted string, I’ve been watching and waiting for this suggestion of seduction, fertility, and childbearing to reappear. How could this potent symbol vanish?

According to the author, string skirts are still worn with the folk costumes of Mordvin; Walachian (Romanian);Yugoslav Macedonian; and Albanian cultures.  They are like half aprons of fringe suspended by a frontal piece with waist strings.

I’d show you the illustration on page 62 but the camera just died.  Kodak point ‘n shoot ‘upgraded’ cameras are not good and why can’t the batteries last??? Take a lesson from this frustrated blogger…avoid avoid!

Ahhhh, Stop the Presses!!! The camera decided to reset itself and work again so now I can show you the more modern string aprons

A fringed belt was carved into a bone Venus figure uncovered at Lespugue, France,from the Gravettian culture circa 20,000 BC.

Venus of Lespugue; Musee de l'Homme, Paris, photo taken from image shown on page 44 of Women's Work

Finally I have spotted a fringed belt in our current fashion world, albeit in half form, and ripping up cultural nomenclature by tagging it as Cherokee Chic.

And now, today, you can buy your very own ancient symbol of female sexuality for $300+. Click on the photo below to see where and how.

Or you can make your own to sit at your hips and in the width and leathers or fabrics you love.


Layering Pieces for Travel

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or What Happens When the Whining Stops 🙂 and gray is incorporated into the wardrobe.

Close up

The rust brown color was really bothering me and I was grinding to a halt. But then I noticed: Eureka! The faux suede (it’s called Peachskin, isn’t it???) has a silver gray in it

Swing Jacket and Skirt with Silver Tee

I thought of the wardrobe I did last winter using McCall’s 6244. A guipure lace topper, a steel gray tee, silver sleeveless tee and a swing vest


Ahhh, much better to combine the two, mix-n-match. That introduction of gray revitalized me.

This morning I jumped into modeling without fussing with hair and makeup and doing that helped me not think about how I looked, just be happy and get the photos done. Just Git ‘Er Done. That’s a good motto for me. Too much thinking can stop me in my tracks.

Gray & Brown

Over the past few days I carefully saved my hands for sewing. No gardening, only gentle housework and little typing at the computer. That helped tremendously. Using my KwikSew TNT turtleneck top pattern I grafted on a larger collar and lengthened it into a tunic with side slits. The wind caught the top just as the shutter closed so the front is poofed out. Really, it was the wind, I tell you.

Cowl Tunic Sweater

Git ‘Er Done Production: 1 knit tunic, 2 pairs of elastic waist pants, 1 swing Jacket with matching short skirt and belt, a cowl neck sweater and two “30 Minute Toppers”. Here’s the short topper:

30 Min Knit

Now, I have been thinking about these 30 Minute Toppers for years. I stashed the fabric long ago and have been thinking and thinking. What a waste of brain power! Took me just a few hours to cut and sew them up.

I held up the fabric on my body to get gage the weight of the knit and fix the cut points and then folded the fabric in half lengthwise and then in half crosswise and just cut. What did I have to lose? Here’s the pattern with the dark one already sewn up and approved, laid out on the flowery fabric


Here’s the dress shape cut

Pattern Cut

And here’s the result, good for a long tunic, dress or bathing suit coverup


So. I think I’m done. Add a few pieces of jewelery, a couple of belts and maybe things will work together and maybe they won’t


I’ll just have to play it by ear.


Fred Bloebaum. Thank you for adding your sparkle to the sewing community. You’ll be missed.

Athena Blouse by Fred Bloebaum

Athena Blouse by La Fred Bloebaum

Orange Plaid Coat: Marfy 1877 Forties Adventure

More bad weather coming so here’s the coat, just a bit shy of finished:

Orange Plaid Coat from the Back

This pattern is a 40’ish style with raglan sleeves and flare at the vented back center seam and side seams, (my hands in the pockets are pulling the side seam forward), bracelet length sleeves with turned up cuff and patch pockets

Side Showing the Swing

It’s straight sided when viewed from the front

40's Style Front View

front darts at the shoulder, folded to the outside of the coat and top stitched,

Dearts on the exterior of the coat with top stitching

and a modified standing collar,

Modified Standing Collar

And lots of top stitching

Saddle stitching

I had to draft the lining and the back neck facing. I added a rat tail piping at the lining/front facing join but it seemed so small and inconsequential that I added a bigger and much fatter half-inch piping next to the first piping.

Interior Piping and Lining

The lining still needs 2 details to be declared Finished!!!: First the hem needs to be attached via French tacks to the coat hem

Bust Ease Darts or Folds

And the front ease tucks need to be cross stitched down.

The main question about this coat is whether or not my vent lining technique will cause pulling. So far, the answer is no, there’s no pulling.

Interior Back

But I’ll have to wear it a while to test it in action

On and Off, Testing in Motion

My next post will be some of the things I’ve learned in my research on adding a lining to a raglan coat. It’s been quite an adventure to discover a new-to-me vent technique using my older tailoring books.

More construction details to come and some explanation of fitting a lining by hand.

Gusseted Magyar & Turban: 60’s Edith Head Pattern

Newly arrived in the mail from Vintage Fashion Library

1950-1960 Edith Head pattern

A boxy early 60’s Edith Head pattern: a skirt, blouse, jacket and … Yes … a turban!

Edith Head Pieces

lined, interfaced and underlined “magyar” style jacket with side panel and gusset cut in one

Magyar Drawing

I got curious about the Magyar draft

Magyar Draft

last January when I bought the book Coat & Skirt Making by Samuel Heath FCI

I’ve never worn a turban much less made one so I feel a great excitement creeping in 🙂

Suggested fabric: cotton suitings, pique, linen, blends, silk linen, faille, satin, silk tweed, wood crepe, tweed, flannel, jersey, blends. Hmmm, quite a bit of variation allowed. Ohhh, the stash will be searched extensively!!!

I’ll have to grade up 2 sizes but i think I can do that without too much trouble. I have a grading tool I’ve never tried before. Our dear Fashion Incubator author, Kathleen Fasanella, ALMOST reviewed it in 2006 in her post on Grading Machines and Rulers and it was ALMOST discussed in 2004 at Pattern Review: Pattern grading ruler: New gizmo!! but it was the Gizmo not to be reviewed so I’ll give it a bit of description here.

(I haven’t used it yet…still slowly finishing up the coat. I used to be able to do many things at once but no longer, it seems…anyway…)

I admit I lost track of this Gismo for a very long time but found it again during the clean out this summer. Here’s some pictures taken before the camera finally died a couple of days ago:



I tried to find an active link for retail purchase of this Gismo but there doesn’t seem to be one any more. Not to worry, I don’t believe it is worth the money I spent on it and I’ll give you links to probably much better sources.

This Grade Master is ridiculously simple and helpful mostly because it shows how the grain line should be lying under the clear Plexiglas. But other than that it is a simple procedure of extending incrementally to the seam line: (measuring visually) it is 6mm at the collar end, center front and back, neck point front & back, and sleeve crown; 5mm at the sleeve head (which, I believe,means at the width of the sleeve cap), 3mm at the cuff and 12mm to the side seams. Calipers would be more accurate than my eye but since this little tool is unavailable I think this approximation should suffice.

Different drafting tools and systems most likely will have different increments and I’m sure most readers would like to hear about your particular system for grading, if you care to share in the comments.

Currently available guides to grading patterns:

Threads’ Making Sense of Pattern Grading

Connie Crawford’s Grading Workbook

Fun Ahead! Happy Sewing 🙂