Grey Dress from V8787

So much for my moratorium on starting new projects

I wanted a new dress to wear this past Wednesday so I made Vogue 8787 in a maxi length. The neckline is lovely and since I made a version of it a couple of years ago, it came together pretty easily, and the fit was great, I thought “what could go wrong?” A LOT, as it turns out.

Let me tell you where things went left.

The last time I made it, I was about 30lbs heavier. Now most people would take that into consideration, but I didn’t. I cut the same size and it was a hot baggy mess. So my “easy ” dress turned into a nightmare of picking out stitches (no problem with wovens, but a PITA with knits) and resewing pretty much every seam except the sleeves. I ended up cutting a total of 8 inches off the hip area and 4 inches off the waist. All of these changes were because of my issue with phantom weight which I define as the size your mind still sees even though your body has clearly changed physically. I’ll go into this more in a later post because it’s really affecting how and what I sew.

Anyhow, it’s overcast here (again), but I did my best with the pics.



My measuring was also completely off for the dress length AND the sleeve length. I had to add 4″ to the sleeves (you can see the seam in the picture below) and about 6″ to the bottom. There’s no explanation for this one; I swear I measured and re-measured the lengths. I’m chalking this up to being tired.


My zipper was super ripple-y, but I steamed it to within an inch of its life so it flattened out.


Finally, it’s fully lined with a thin black jersey from my stash.




I sewed the last seams on my dress about 3 hours before the event. Even though I took quite a few shortcuts, for the most part everything worked out and it fit very nicely. I was thinking about going back to fix a few things, but more likely I’ll just make a new one with my new measurements. For now, I’ll just be glad that I finished it – and had a good time while wearing it!


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Projects from 2015

Here are a few things I’ve been working on since last June. So for a few minutes, let’s step back into 2015, shall we?

#1 – Hats

I’ve been out of the millinery game for a while, but I never lost my love for hats. I especially love felt hats so when I got the opportunity to make myself a fedora, I jumped at it.

I was a little bit nervous at first because it’s been years since I blocked a hat, but it all came rushing back (big thank you to the late Ms. Albrizio, the best millinery teacher ever) and I was really pleased with the results. It’s a wide brimmed fedora with a telescoped crown and two pinches in the front. It’s all done by hand (except for sewing the lining together) so it took a nice chunk of time, but I prefer it that way because I don’t like to see stitching on hats.

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The inside is lined with pink satin and I added a purple sweatband just because.


I had to break my “no flash” rule for these two pics so you could see the iridescent feathers.

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In the future, I’ll post pictures of the process so you can see how it went from an unformed felt like this


to an actual hat. BTW, I love this color so much and I don’t think the picture does it justice. It’s really a vibrant purple/fuchsia.


I’m thinking about using these feathers, but I’m not sure yet.

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Here’s how they look together.

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#2 The Cape

I also managed to do a bit of sewing. I made Simplicity 8017, a vintage reissue. I left the pockets off, but everything else is pretty accurate. The fabric is a light weight coat material that was in my stash. I think it’s a wool blend and I had a little under 2-1/2 yards – just enough to make the short version. The buttons were from a gigantic bag of buttons a friend game me a few years ago. I may actually have more buttons than I can use in this lifetime.

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The only lining I had on hand was white. I tried to dye it pink; it came out closer to salmon. I also added a small interior pocket to the lining for my Metrocard or a debit card.


I didn’t have any problems with the actual sewing, but the instructions were really confusing in some places so I had to wing it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the reissues do not have the same instructions as the original patterns. The reissues are more like an odd mash-up of vintage and modern instructions which wouldn’t surprise me since through most of the mid- to late-20th century, pattern companies assumed seamstresses were already familiar with basic construction techniques.

I was going to make bound buttonholes, but I changed my mind. Then after it was 80% finished, I remembered the buttonhole attachment for my machine doesn’t work, so I had to make buttonholes by hand. Then I realized I didn’t have the right thread (buttonhole twist). At first I wanted to scream and/or cry, but then I decided to use the opportunity to learn a new skill and I improvised with embroidery floss (I’m not sure how this is going to hold up, so I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, I found a great YouTube video and practiced on scraps for a couple of hours before I tried doing them on my cape. Each one took about 30-45 minutes they turned out quite nicely. Not perfect, but I’m very happy with them.

Overall, I’m pleased with my new cape, but I won’t be making another of these. I mean, how many capes does one person need – unless you’re Olivia Pope?

#3 The Purse

I’ve been DYING to make a book clutch so I finally started one. I bought this book over a year ago

Alice in Wonderland

I was halfway through lining it with felt when I changed my mind. Felt just didn’t seem elegant enough for such a pretty cover. I’m still working out the plan, but I think some balsa wood could create a good frame and I want to line it with velvet. The closure is still up in the air.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my hat and cape as often as possible. If I ever wear them together, I’m thinking about calling the look “musketeer chic.”

Finally, the Coat

So I’ve kept promising pictures, and finally here they are.  Once again, no model.  I’m kicking myself because I found a good quality tripod on one of those flyers people put up but I LOST the number – and it was the last piece of paper. Blech. The search continues.


My bound buttonholes


I wanted to line it in hot pink so that when the pocket was open, it would have a pop of color


I hemmed the sleeve lining and coat lining by hand


And the lining. I love satin, but does the camera have to pick up every single wrinkle?


So there she is.  I learned so much while working on this coat and I’m very proud of it. The only problem I have is that it snags on everything (you can see some of the threads on the left side of the coat in the first pic. I have to figure out a way to weave them back in.) However, that’s a pretty small complaint for a coat that I absolutely love wearing – and might I add, I look great in it too!

Coat Update! – Butterick 5824

She’s coming along nicely. I’m almost finished with the buttonholes (I have to wait until the lining is sewn in before I can make the buttonholes in the facing). Also, for the first time, I cut bias strips of fusible interfacing for the hem because that’s the way it was done in the instructions. My plan was to bag the hem, but it’s too short so after it’s stitched in and tacked at the waist and shoulders, I’ll attach it with thread chains. That’s what I get for not reading through the instructions before starting.

Anyhow it’s overcast today, but I took a couple of pics during the brief periods of sunlight.


Voila, the buttonholes!


Believe it or not, I’ve been pressing while I sew, but because my sewing area is so small that my coat keeps getting wrinkled. When I’m finished, I’ll give it a good pressing and steaming so it looks nice and crisp.

Fall Coat

I swear I’ve been blogging in my head for the past month. Unfortunately my thoughts never made it to the actual blog.  I really need to teach my cat how to take dictation.

Anyhow, I have actually been working on a couple of things. Most recently a coat to bridge the time between now and when I need to pull out my pea coat. I figured I’d make something lined and cute. Enter Butterick 5824. I bought this pattern when it came out last year because it just looked so ladylike and I love fit and flare coats.  I bought the material last year too, but by the time I planned to make the coat, it was already spring and since the material is grey, it just didn’t seem, you know, spring-y.

I love the weave of the fabric, but I have no idea what it is. I bought it from an unmarked bolt in a mystery fabric store. (I probably should write these things down, but oh well.) It drapes well and because the coat’s skirt is so wide, it’s somewhat heavy. The coat fabric is black & white and the lining is hot pink for no other reason than that I love hot pink.I can’t even imagine what a wool coat made from this pattern would weigh. I could probably get in my cardio and weight training just by wearing it.

As part of my ongoing effort to learn new techniques, I decided to zhuzh up my coat with bound buttonholes.  Now, I love the way they look and I’ve made welt pockets, but never a bound buttonhole. I used the patch technique from Coletterie. It seemed complicated when I read the instructions, but it was pretty easy. You just have to be precise. Anyway, here’s the my first bound buttonhole scrap ever.


Now besides the obvious (the “lips” are uneven and I cut the fabric crossgrain – and the unclipped threads), I think it went pretty well.  Now that I know what I’m doing, I’m sure the others will be gorgeous. My other challenge was finding buttons. The coat needs two 1″ buttons and I couldn’t find anything I like so I decided to do self-fabric buttons.  I used a kit from Dritz, but I bought 1-1/8″ because my only other choice was 7/8″. I just have to make sure they fit through my bound buttonhole openings.


Did you see the button at the top? Very “Where’s Waldo?” right?

I’m also contemplating making a sash belt, but I’ll see how it looks when it’s finished.  It’s coming together pretty quickly (though not as quickly as Edelweiss  who made her coat in three hours. Yes, THREE HOURS?!? That’s crazypants. It took me longer than that to just cut out the pattern pieces.) Anyhow, I’ll be back soon with more pics.

Oh, and next time I have to tell you about my MAJOR book score.  I still can’t believe I have a copy in my greedy little hands.