Simplicity 8040

Now, I just said a few posts ago that I was trying to document a few projects quickly, and I’m already flagging. A lot of that comes from my dissatisfaction with my photography, but I’m going to plunge a head regardless. So without further ado, a1940’s era make: Simplicity 8040.DSCN5386

Overall, I’m thrilled with how this dress turned out. I made it of a nice cotton print. It wasn’t with the other quilting cottons in the store, but it’s about that weight, and I think it works well for a day dress. In keeping with the idea of a day dress, I made a few changes to the pattern. I chose not to interface the collar and I shorted the sleeves.DSCN5387

In retrospect, I would make a few more alterations. The dress is a little loose in the waist, and given the desire for a trim waist in the 1940’s, I’d grade the pattern down a size from the bust to the waist. Also, this pattern is infamous for a very pointy seaming detail that’s hard to sew. I ended up actually hand sewing the points, as I couldn’t get them to lay properly with machine sewing. However, due to the small, busy pattern, you can’t even see the detail! So it was a lot of toil for nothing! I’d straighten out the seam line to eliminate the point if making this again in a print.DSCN5394 The final issue I had was the neckline. I should have anticipated this, as I saw it noted on several pattern reviews, but the neckline is very low. I ended up adding two buttons, but after I had almost finished the dress, so they’re not really supported properly and cause the neckline to warp a bit. Not enough that the casual observer would notice anything, but I noticed…


On a side note, aren’t the buttons lovely! I salvaged them off a thrifted garment!

Overall, though, I was very happy with how this dress turned out, and wore it to a dance at a local WWII weekend. Thanks to the cotton, this dress was lovely to swing dance in, despite the heat. I will probably make another one next year for the same event, making the changes noted above, and perhaps choosing a dressier fabric!

DSCN4991And now excuse me, as I ride off into the sunset!


Blue Re-do

Recently I went thrifting, looking for materials for a few upcoming events. I found what I needed, and I’ll share that later. But I also found this out-dated dress for 50 cents! I fell in love with the color, and the fact that it was made of rayon, and not some sort of poly-blend.DSCN5377

I did not fall in love with the large sleeves, unfitted waist, scalloped hem, skirt-top combo look, etc. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about the soutache braiding. But again, 50 cents.DSCN5375

I had a free morning, and started to play around. I was originally thinking of separating the top and bottom and making the skirt portion into, well, a skirt. I figured the sleeves would have enough fabric to make make a narrow waistband. But something happened once I removed the sleeves: I started to really like the top half. So I cut off the scalloped edge, and sewed the skirt on the top. DSCN5379For the back, I eliminated the button placket (I forgot to photograph the back before, but it was closed with self-fabric covered buttons) and inserted a new zipper starting around mid-back. DSCN5382I chopped off nearly a foot of fabric from the bottom of the skirt to bring it up to knee length and hemmed it by hand. I added some bust darts into the bodice to help with shaping. Finally, I managed to cut some bias tape from the discarded sleeves to bind the armholes. DSCN5384

I’m so so happy with the results! The Blue Re-do, as I’ve dubbed it, makes me smile and is very different from anything in my wardrobe. Now I just need a party or fancy shindig to wear it to!

Why I Take My Glasses Off…

When I started this post, it was supposed to be about my new dress, yet another simplicity 1620. However, looking at the pics I snapped, it’s just a reminder to take off glasses when taking pictures.


I guess it kinda looks like I’m from the future, walking around with an HUD embedded in my specs!

To be honest, I never really like pictures I take of myself (and really, who does like pics of themselves?!), and I don’t like taking pictures of me, but I do really like documenting the things I make.

So I am going sharing the bleh pictures, because it beats going back out to my tiny apartment balcony wondering if the neighbors are peering out from across the parking lot wondering what the heck I’m doing, which is what retaking them would entail!


Look at the usual print! Ignore my glowing glasses!

And of course the one picture where my glasses haven’t censored my eyes is the one where I said, “Whatever. I’ll just act goofy ’cause I already feel like an idiot!”DSCN4763

Oh, and I do love my new dress! This pattern is a go-to favorite, and at this point only takes me about 2-3 hours to turn out, hemmed and everything! And this fabric is a simply silky knit from Jo-Ann fabrics and is a kind-of-dated, kind-of-steampunk paisley print that I kind-of-love, and which I look forward to rocking for a while ๐Ÿ™‚

And another one!

I may have to find a new go-to dress pattern. Three of the same may be excessive. But I can’t help myself! I love my Simplicity 1620. And each time I’ve made it (4 total, as I gifted one) it comes out different, as I keep using very different fabrics.dress

This time I made it with some steeply discounted silky fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I tend to avoid their simply silky prints, as they’re tricky to sew, but I couldn’t resist this print. But I knew it’d have to be a simply make with such a fiddly fabric, and, well, another 1620.dress-back

I love how it turned out ๐Ÿ™‚

Responsible Refashioning

Hello to any and all of you!

I recently watched the documentaryย The True Cost,ย which is about the impact of the fast fashion industry, from farmers who grow cotton to workers in the garment industry. Overall, it paints a bleak picture of the first world’s obsession with cheap clothing. It was well done and compelling and I highly recommend watching it. I’ve always had a general sense that the current fashion industry is problematic (hence my interest with sewing a lot of my own clothes) but didn’t realize the extent of or the specifics of the problem.

But one statistic in the film really caught my attention: only 10% of clothes donated to thrift stores are sold. The rest are trashed or bundled off to developing countries where the influx cripples the local clothing industry. And so I thought of a bag of clothes I had set aside for donation. I decided to look through it and see if I could refashion anything and get more use. And lo and behold, the two garments on top were perfect! I think there are some more potential refashions, but I’ll start with just showing you one.

This is a maxi dress which I actually got at a thrift store. I’d worn it a few times, but the bodice is honestly too tight, and I never quite got into the long length.DSCN4358

However, the dress also has a different print along the lower edge, with the paisley’s resolving into a crisp design, and I really wanted to save this detail.DSCN4359

So I cut off the bodice and sewed in shoulder seams. I also cut out armholes and defined a neckline. I picked out the black fabric to finish the arm and neck holes. DSCN4360Once belted, I had a fabulous new dress and am so happy with it!

I also refashioned a sweater, which I’ll share soon ๐Ÿ™‚


Stash Busting 4/15: Dress to Skirt

This stash buster is actually the tale of refash busted. In other words, I bought this too-small dress for a dollar hoping to refashion it. 021Why did I buy a too-small dress and think I could make it fit? Who knows. The (il)logic is lost to time.

But in the spirit of clearing my stash, I gave it another go. It fit fine from the waist down, and I loved the buttons, but it was a little to sweet in pastel pink. So I dyed the whole thing! Bright pink! Perfect to counter all the rain we’ve been having.use1

I then chopped off the bodice and cut a waistband from the bodice and sleeve remnants. I used some sturdy fun floral fabric from my stash to line it, and the rest is history!use2

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of it on, due to the rain. However, here’s a bad picture of me wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚003

One more thing rescued from my stash and added to my wardrobe. It kept some of the rain of my parade at least!

1620: V 2.0!

November has begun.

I mean, like, a week ago. Sorry. I’ve been off-line for a bit.

But. Novemeber has begun, and after a morning of quick sewing, I have a dress to wear for this month of changing colors and falling leaves and darker days! I’ve been trying to get more prints into my life, so when I saw this lovely fabric on clearance at Jo-Ann fabrics, I snapped up two yards of it, thinking I’d make a basic sheath dress.dress4Well, the dress I made is pretty simple, but not as simple as I originally thought. As I was playing with my fabric, I remembered how I wanted to try Simplicity 1620 in a knit. You may have seen my post about my pleasant surprise with this pattern. I used a stiff cotton that turned out well.DSCN2825Well, here it is again, with a knit! Not too much drape to this fabric, but decent stretch. And I even had enough extra fabric to make a coordinating sash!dress1I also added a band at the bottom the dress, instead of just hemming it. I like the extra weight and shape it gives. Overall, I’m even more excited about this version of 1620 than the last, and I might just make a shirt version out of a remnant I bought!dress3…not the best mirror pic, and my camera’s hiding my face, I’m grinning as wide as wide can be ๐Ÿ˜€

Frankly Surprising!

Hello everyone! I recently accepted a new teaching job, so I’ve been a bit busy. I’ll try to keep up with posting, but, well, I have over 200 students now, so we’ll see.

Today I’m sharing a dress that turned out surprisingly well! I picked up an old Simplicity 1620 pattern at a thrift store for 50 cents. DSCN2824And then fortune smiled at me, as I accompanied a friend to Wal*Mart, only to find bins of fabric for a dollar a yard! Now I’m not a Wal*Mart regular and try not to go mass produced too much, but I couldn’t pass up this bargain!

I still had the pattern on me, so snapped up 3 yards of a stiffish purple cotton, as well as a wonderfully loud print. I wasn’t so sure how the purple would drape, and I wasn’t so sure if the silhouette of the pattern was right for me. Ignoring my doubts, I pushed ahead and made up the pattern with the purple cotton. I mean, it was $3.50 total, so what did I have to lose?DSCN2825However, when I first tried the dress on, I was sure I’d lost every penny of those three dollars and fifty cents. I wish I took a picture, but I was so dissatisfied, I immediately took the dress off and got back to work. It was way too long (which I actually suspected when cutting the pattern…) and kind of poofy from the pleating around the yoke so it looked like a frumpy night gown. DSCN2815But I preserved, and chopped off a good bit from the bottom. With bias tape finishing, a good pressing, and a nice wide belt, it looked lovely! So nice, truthfully, that I immediately added it to my closet, and wore it out on a garden tour with my sister!010I do think the pattern will work up better in a softer material, and am eager to try a fabric with more drape. Not sure when I’ll get around to it, but I’ll make sure you’re the first to know!

August Round-up

Happy almost-end-of-summer, everyone!Bring the sunshine indoors!Actually, I’m not sure that should be “happy”, but I am enjoying the lingering warmth, and looking forward to all the changes September brings. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been busy with moving, but I’ve also been busy with crafting. I’ve not, however, been organized about it. So rather than a few short posts, I’m just gonna combine a few of the things I’ve been seeing, making, and baking into one round-up!

First up is a dress I altered.Picture1 I made this, and blogged about it here and here, a while ago, but I wasn’t in love with the fit, or the sash. So I seam ripped the whole bodice and redid it, adding darts, taking in the back and lowering the back neckline. I also redid the zipper. Spot the differences: Super Easy edition!The changes are subtle, but I’m much happier with it now!

Then for the apartment, I needle felted some kooky coasters to add some color and protect the table:026I’ve also been cooking, especially after I discovered a farm stand not five minutes from my new digs. I picked up fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts and roasted them with carrots and garlic, all tossed in garlic oil and rosemary. Delicious!018You may notice there’s some bread on that plate. That’s ’cause I baked some, and it turned out wonderfully:007 011The 1953 cookbook prevails again!

One last little thing. When putting together my closet, I had one set of nice hangers, and then a whole bunch of mismatched wire hangers. They were ugly and my clothes kept slipping off, so I paired them off and crocheted over them.029So much better!

Wow! Looking at all these things, I feel very productive! Here’s to hoping you all can make the most of what left of summer too!

The Kind That You [Make From] a Second-hand Store

Hello everyone!purple cone flowers :)

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently, largely because I’m working at a summer camp teaching machine sewing. It’s given me a lot of confidence and inspiration, as well as knowledge. You never really get to know something as well as when you teach it, right?

This week, I made a fun dress out of sheets I got a second hand store. Not exactly a raspberry beret, but raspberry dresses are more my style!DSCN2555The dress is a full circle skirt, attached to a waist-band and then I added a cowl necked bodice. This dress had a lot of firsts for me. I’ve never successfully done a circle skirt, for one. I also drafted a pattern for the cowl rather than just winging it. I looked a several online tutorials and went for it, and it worked beautifully! I can’t wait to make more!

I love this dress so much that I’ve already worn it out twice: Once to visit Chanticleer Gardens, which a beautifully spectacular. Even the restrooms are gorgeous…Sorry it's a bit blurry...But I also wore it to a swing dance. I mean, full circle skirt? How could I not?!swing danceSee? Look how prettily it spins!

So this project was a complete success, and I learned a lot. It was intimidating to start, but I’m so glad I did.

Have any of you recently (or not so recently) tackled a new sewing skill?

ps: Bonus pictures of the gardens ๐Ÿ™‚DSCN2496 DSCN2528