Too many ideas

I went to the fabric store looking for fabric for the Anne Klein dress, but I only came home with this, but it will work for my inbetween wardrobe as a simple but stunning jacket or dress.

blue and white jacquard

polyester cotton blend; Kafta tweed

I started flipping through my stash of Burda magazines looking for a simple jacket pattern – the pattern has to have minimal seams.

This is the only jacket pattern I found that might work by omitting the welt pockets and inverted box pleat.  Like that it has three quarter length sleeves but maybe it’s too boxy.

#129 August 2011; image from

#129 August 2011; image from

If it becomes a dress, the Clean Lines dress could work by eliminating the horizontal seams and centre front seam.

I came upon this.  I love the lines of this dress, but it’s plus size and the smallest size is 3-4 sizes too large.



#137 August 2009; images from


dolman sleeve dress with bubble skirt




But looking at the line drawing, I realized can still use the skirt portion and make a lagenlook skirt a la Kaliyana or Oska. The skirt can be made either knee length or two inches longer. I can add a separate casing for an elasticated waistband. Maybe I’ll make a facing for the hem and stitch it to the right side? The centre back seam has an invisible zipper for the vent.

Summer sewing and knitting plans

Although, I have plenty of summer dresses, I can’t help but make one more. It’s Vogue 1382, Anne Klein sleeveless dress.


Image from

The pattern has been in my stash for about three years so better make it up while it’s in style.  Looking at the very curved front middle panel seams I was quite sure I would need a SBA. I made a muslin to check the bust fit and yes! I won’t need to do a SBA. Now it’s finding the fabric and colours for it.

How about:

  • navy and kelly green?
  • red and  deep pink?

I don’t want high contrast colours like the black (it looks black on my computer) and white because of the invisible zipper that goes in the centre back seam and the potential for colour bleeding with machine or hand washing – no dry clean only dress for me.

The low armhole will be raised by about 1/4 inch.

New yarn stashed:

  1. sport /DK weight cotton and merino wool blend – this will become a vest for my inbetween wardrobe.
  2. tweedy wool blend yarn, an, ahem, unplanned purchase – I was lured by the colours and texture- the yellow looked more chartreuse in the store – for this I may be brave enough to knit a skirt, mostly likely the simple straight skirt. There are several great versions of it on Ravelry in the same yarn.


mc120 trinity lace rib swatch

Merino Extrafine Cotton 120; Schachenmayr

Debbie Bliss Milano

Milano swatch

Blue, white and red portfolio

The dress was started late last summer and then put away unfinished when I couldn’t decide what to do about the contrast bands.

This week I took off the bright orange-red contrast bands, then drafted a new neckband piece based on the fabric pieces since I misplaced the paper neckband pattern piece. New bands were cut out from a cherry red cotton linen blend remnant.

portfolio fabric

close up front

I have another house dress.  It’s a bit twee or childish for work.

front portfolio

Green Field

Finished with pre-made bias tape found in my supplies. If I make this again I would lower the very high armholes by 1/4 inch. —I’ve been smart and lowered the armholes before putting the pieces away.


An action shot courtesy the timer. I tried on the Harrow scarf with the top. Saw a sharp look in recent fashion magazine: deep green sweater, white pants, accessorized with orange purse.


wearing with favourite pants but see awful fit in the back- need to shorten between knee and butt?


Summer green and green field

I liked the Art Teacher dress so much that I had to make something similar, but a bit more shapely for spring and summer.  I came upon Burdastyle 72003.  It has intriguing darts in the back for some shaping and design. I always love three quarter length sleeves and pockets on a dress. Though after more time comparing the line drawing to the Art Teacher, maybe the only big difference is  the kimono sleeves.

I should have listened to the niggling concerns rolling around my brain: don’t like boat necklines (not a very compatible design feature for square shoulders and flat chests), the pattern description says boxy, (atypically descriptive for the often strange Burda pattern descriptions), but I moved ahead fooled by the envelope photographs.



I choose a deep green 55% rayon/ 45% linen blend. It shed like crazy during a brief dryer trip after pre-shrinking in a warm water wash even though both ends had been torn and zigzagged. There was more lint on my hands when I was smoothing it out before cutting out the pieces. I cleaned lint balls out of my sewing machine several times while making it. I wonder how the fabric will wear. It doesn’t wrinkle much.

7203 side front

should have done a SBA to remove some of the volume

sack dress sleeve


sack dress back close up

It looks slightly better when belted.


7203 back belted

Hand sewing the hem will be tonight’s TV sewing

There was enough leftover fabric for a sleeveless top so I traced out the Grainfield top from Ottobre Woman (#1 –2-2015). It’s a square neck hip length top with a shaped centre back seam and flared front.  The invisible zipper in the back seam isn’t necessary!

With the flared front, I lengthened the pieces by 12 cm, the most I could given what was left to make it tunic-like and minimize the potential for a maternity top look with the flaring. I divided the width at the bottom hem into thirds, making an asymmetrical triangular hem in the front. I made a short back neck slit and will add a button and thread loop for a little detail.

Grainfield modified pattern pieces

modified pattern pieces

GF front 2

Bias binding of neck and armholes to be done

GF back close up

Back neck slit is decorative

GF front

The sack dress will end up as a house dress and the unplanned top will get lots of wear.

Decisions, decisions

I’ve been sewing  the darts, seams and seam finishes for the past week. I’m at the point where I need to make critical decisions on techniques and finishing to proceed.

I’ve basted in one sleeve and shoulder seam and sleeve dart  to try it on.  With the semi-raglan sleeve, the sleeves are stitched to the body and then the narrow shoulder seam and raglan sleeve dart are stitched .

Decided to make side slits so  the sides will be open to about 9 inches above the bottom edge.

  • I have drafted and cut a facing for the front opening and neckline – use this or turn under and top stitch the front opening a la  Adri? – I have done this on all vertical seams. If I use the facing the inside edge will be finished with bias tape
  • Collar finishing: use back neck facing or turn under and slip stitch the back collar seam allowance in place?
  • Front closure options: hooks and eyes or bias loops and buttons or add a placket like on  Vogue 1356? Thinking hooks could catch on the loosely woven fabric.  Loops must be put on before the front opening is finished. Placket would only work well with facing. Or no closure?
  • Hem finishing: having side slits affects this and order of it.  With slits should do narrow hem…. which affects front opening finish.


B7114 upper back

Stay taped armhole

B7114 front

Sleeve and shoulders basted, shoulder dart basted.  Sleeve is very slim.


sleeve 7114

Right side of fabric has much more texture than wrong side


french dart and sleeve

Better view of french dart and sleeve


B7114 back wip

Back view; side slit- should have made it higher?

bias loop

Messy bias tube

Putting it aside for a few days to think it over.

But I will be sewing other things: a tailor’s ham – found perfect wool flannel remnant and sturdy plain weave cotton remnant to make it; start work on a new  Bohemian tunic – the pieces have been cut out since last week and waiting to be marked at stitched.


Coral pop top

Here is my first spring 2016 wardrobe item, ready and waiting for vaguely warm and spring-like weather (ie May),  Burda 6633, a pullover top/tunic.  I used the lovely smooth and silky satin weave cotton stashed last fall.  The first photo seems be the most accurate colour representation of the fabric.

B6633 view A


The fabric has, perhaps, a bit too much body for this look and length; from the side it has a vaguely maternity top look.

B633 top side.jpg

Back view  shows some drag lines originating from the underarms – is this due to the extended shoulder and sleeve design or my wide upper back?

B6633 back

“Upgrading” to Windows 10 has eliminated or confounded some of my photo-edting abilities, so you will have to try to ignore the overexposure that I can’t modify in the next photo. Here you get a close up of the neckband and plackets.  It was tricky and required precise marking, basting and sewing to get the top of the plackets to line up with the neckband

close up front B6633

I tacked the neckband facing to the outer piece in several places and omitted the stitch in the ditch to secure.

Looking forward to wearing this in late spring and summer.

The homely skirt

The pattern  was traced out last fall, with the vague idea of it being part of my winter weekend wear. Two of the three ideas became winter wear (see here and here). But the skirt ended up as a three season, spring to fall skirt.


11-2010 #135; image from

I added a fly shield and left off the bottom gathered panel and petersham on the waistband. Instead of the stitch in the ditch on the waistband, I edge-stitched all the way around.

Being the typical confusing Burdastyle magazine instructions,  I looked to other patterns to help make the zipper and pockets.

Only  when the pockets were more or less complete did I come across the “sewing course” dress pattern in the same issue – it has the same pocket style and treatment – the sewing course patterns have much more detailed instructions and diagrams to explain most of the sewing steps.

The pocket pieces are generously sized, yet the marked line for stitching them onto the skirt front is much smaller.  I must have attached the pocket bags lower than marked, so I had to re- trace the marking line lower and draw a new curve at the bottom to catch the lower part of the pocket.

pockets inside 135

outside pockets 135

Looks like I need a bit more room in the back though some of the wrinkling below the waistband could be from the bunched up T shirt.

Front 135

back 135

A spring sewing project should be a coordinating top for the skirt- would I be able to find a abstract print in cream, greyish- brown and blue?




Blocking does magical things to knitted items, especially when it’s made out of linen. Over the last few weeks I knitted up the leftover yarn from Rusty L. Lewis into this scarf. It’s the Harrow stitch pattern from my 1963 Mon Tricot stitch dictionary.

linen harrow swatch

I knit a few inches and blocked it to see if I would like the end result before going farther. As I liked the look, I kept going, casting on 5 stitches at the end of the next two rows to make it wider.

Harrow unblocked

The unblocked finished size was 38 inches x ~10 inches.

Harrow blocked

After blocking it was ~58 inches x 7 3/4 inches. With the drape of the linen and the loose stitches the added stitches don’t form a sharp inner corner.


I think I will sew on a button or two on one end to hold the ends together.

ETA: finally have a copy of Sequence Knitting in my hands – it’s the ultimate book for knitting nerds who love technical details.

Modern Vintage Sixty Five Coat





I made many changes to get to my finished  jacket:

left off the collar – it was too close for my comfort,  so used bias strip to finish the neckline

shortened length, cutting off 5 inches, perhaps an inch too much

side seams and centre back seam turned under and topstitched

edge stitched and top stitched narrow hem at front edges, bottom and side slits

omitted pockets,

no front closure.

It’s an easy to sew pattern and the fabric was easy to handle though I  knew fraying would be an issue while sewing it.  Turning in and basting the narrow hems and then topstitching them has meditative aspect to them that I enjoy.

I’m happy with the end product. My only disappointment is how fitted it is, especially in the shoulders and upper sleeve.   You can see in the photos that it is snug around my upper arms. On the pattern envelope it is called semi-fitted. Now I need to find a vaguely colour coordinated snug fitting sleeveless top to wear underneath.  The fabric is about 5 years old and is a dirty khaki/olive green-brown colour. Most current brown shades have too much red in them and the green shades are too blue to be a good match.  I dug out out this old mustard yellow sleeveless top for the photos – the colour match is okay but not great.

Have to do better pressing of the raglan sleeve darts.



back side

back finished