One girl's obsession with needles and thread.

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Despite spending several days away from my precious sewing space this spring break, I was able to finish a Modcloth knockoff that I’d cut out about a month ago (before spending three weeks in Seattle caring for my broken-legged mama).  Before leaving for Seattle, I used the same pattern to make a little lumberjack dress, so I decided to combine the two into one post.

I’ll start with le knockoff.  I first spotted this adorable dress while fantasy shopping a few months ago:

Source: via Joy on Pinterest


Although I didn’t have any boucle, my stash did contain some textured red mystery suiting fabric that I acquired while a member of the Julie’s Picks club at Fabric Mart.  I also had a copy of Burda 7739 that I had already sewn a few times before.  I grabbed some white sateen for the top from JoAnn’s, and I was ready to go.

Et voila!  My version:



Obviously, my version, lacks the awesome waistband of the original, but I’m reasonably happy with the results.





I’m pretty comfortable with this pattern by now, so it was easy to make some simple changes.  I shortened the invisible zipper so it only extends about 3/4 of the way down the bodice rather than down into the skirt.  I’m still refining my invisible zip insertion skills, and in the other versions I’ve made, the zipper shows up horribly where the skirt and bodice meet.  Incidentally, I have a metal invisible zipper foot for my machine that doesn’t seem to work for me at all.  The cheap-o plastic one I got from JoAnn’s works much, much better.  Go figure.

I also made the Peter Pan collar by slightly adjusting the existing pattern piece.  I finished the collar with bias tape using Megan Nielsen’s awesome tutorial.  I also opted for bias finishing rather than facings on the sleeve openings, where I omitted the pattern’s cap sleeves.  I also omitted the faux button placket/buttons.  While the pattern calls for pleats, I gathered the skirt instead to mimic the gathering on the original.

The lumberjack version of the dress followed the original pattern much more closely:



Again, I used some fabric I have in my stash.  In this case, it was some cozy buffalo plaid flannel that I got at Golden D’Or, a giant fabric warehouse here in Dallas.

On this version, I kept the original pointed collar, sleeves, placket, and buttons (although they blend into the plaid pretty well).

The main modification that I made was omitting the back zipper entirely.  I knew from previous versions that I could actually slip the dress over my head without unzipping, so I decided not to worry about it for this version.  I also modified the collar so that it was one piece instead of two.  I thought this worked better given that there was no zipper splitting the collar.



All in all, I’m happy with these dresses, and I’ve already worn both of them a couple times each.  That being said, I think I’m ready to move on from this pattern for a while.  The collar pieces are a weird shape, and on the red and white version they protrude oddly in the back (or maybe I’m just now realizing that I have a hunchback?).  I also don’t particularly love how the sleeves pouf out.  I suppose I could fix these issues, but I’m ready to move on to something new.  Lucky for me, the Archer Sew Along starts tomorrow!  I’ve already cut out my muslin.  I think I’ll follow along this week using that fabric, then try to catch up next weekend.  I did get my two fabrics washed thanks to my dear friend Clare, who also took these photos for me. 🙂

And now, please forgive my cheesy elementary school teacher method of summarizing these makes –


1) The lumberjack dress was my first time working with plaids.  While I didn’t match everything perfectly, it wasn’t terrible (maybe would have been better if I’d use my walking foot???).

2) My invisible zipper skills are getting much, much better!

3) I underlined the skirt on the red and white dress (despite being thick, the fabric was a bit see-through, and it was a loose weave that frayed like crazy.  This is the first time I’ve used the technique and I think it worked pretty well.  I tried machine basting the two layers together, which did not go over well.  Uncharacteristically, I went back and ripped them apart then hand-basted.  If only I could maintain that kind of work ethic with all my sewing.


1) Aargh!  Crazy pointy darts on the red and white dress!  I should have pulled them out and redone them.  I can sew lovely darts, I swear.  I think I was just being lazy.  Same goes for the uneven gathers.  I didn’t want to take my time and redo things that needed redoing (or just more care doing them the first time).  My goal was to finish this dress before leaving for dog-sitting, so I just powered through.  I do much better when I work in smaller spurts and don’t have deadlines.  The same laziness shows on the lumberjack dress on the collar.  I forgot to cut out interfacing.  I didn’t want to go back and do it, so I decided the dress could live without out.  That limp, floppy collar is calling my bluff.

2) I want my makes to be pretty on the inside, too!  The knockoff is a MESS where I inserted the zipper and around the pockets.  The rest are nicely serged, but they could still be better.



I never met a novelty print I didn’t like.  Unfortunately, I also tend to dislike the finished result when I use quilting cottons for apparel sewing.  They wrinkle easily and don’t always drape the way I’d like.  Hence, my love of Spoonflower. I can choose my own novelty prints in whatever sort of fabric I’d like.  Huzzah!  During some recent explorations of the site, I decided to purchase Heather Ross’s Prints.

Heather Ross Prints: 50+ Designs and 20 Projects to Get You Started

It was there that I first encountered her idea that anyone can learn to draw.  It has been my lifelong assertion that I am a terrible artist, but a recent nostalgic foray into Ed Emberly drawing books combined with Heather’s comments gave me hope.  Then, when I saw this post on her blog challenging other drawing newbies like myself to treat drawing like exercise, I decided to give it a go.  Unfortunately, I read the post too late to join the contest myself, but I started this morning with a sketch of my kitty and of a clock in my boyfriend’s mom’s house.  I like the clock a lot better than the cat, but they actually both came out better than I thought they would (okay, they’re definitely not great, but my normal drawing is barely better than what my first-grade students come up with).

IMG_4183         IMG_4184

Maybe I’ll be on my way to fabric design sooner than I thought.

The holidays are here, and I’ve been crafting up a storm.  As soon as I have some decent photos, I actually have some finished projects to share and several more in the works.  I’ve also recently rekindled my love of knitting.  A few weeks ago, I even learned how to make cables!  I made the Rosie pattern from Stephanie Japel’s Circular Knit Lab.  Although I started it for myself, my sister wasn’t shy about requesting it for herself.  Here she is modeling it:


And here’s the back view, where you can check out my newly acquired cabling skills:


With the rest of my spring break, I’m planning on (finally!) making a Meringue and joining in on the Archer sewalong!  I printed out the pattern and I’m hoping to get it put together tomorrow (and maybe even cut out some muslin pieces).  Today, I reached the halfway point of Holla Knit’s Scallop of the Sea pattern.  Speaking of shellfish, I’m happy as a clam with all my progress as of late.