Colette Myrtle – getting my sew-jo back

Hello Myrtle.


Soooo…after a couple of sewing fails I finally got my sew-jo back with the Colette Myrtle pattern. I had a disaster with a BHL Flora dress – I used a billowy rayon fabric that was horrible to cut, so much so that none of my pieces were the same and one of the back bodice pieces was 2 inches narrower than it should have been. That experiment will go down in my history as the worst cutting job ever. Seriously it looked like lined up the tequila shots and blind folded myself before cutting. Fortunately I happened to be parousing through Tilly’s Love at First Stitch, and her advice is to drop projects you are not happy with. Great advice!


Smiley came in while I was taking pics.

I also made a McCall’s knit dress pattern that was supposed to be casual and simple, instead it’s frumpy and trampy because of lack of shape and it being oddly incredibly low cut. I also broke my only jersey twin needle as well which topped that experience. Anyway I have been in a bit of a sewing funk because of two sad sewing experiences. Thankfully this dress came together well.




There are some changes I will make the next time I make it, but it was easy peasy breezy to make and I am back on the wagon. Everything came together nicely, this is  a well made pattern. I used my serger for any of the construction that was possible which just looks so much neater. I made the size small based on my measurements but I think the top is too big. Next time I will take out some width in the back neckline as it gapes slightly, this should help also bring the shoulders in as they are a bit wide. The cowell is also very low so the front shoulders will be need to be shortened.

You can see the gaping in the arm circle - the bodice is a bit wide

You can see the gaping in the arm circle – the bodice is a bit wide

The only change that I made was to use a single needle when using my sewing machine my only double knit needle was in needle heaven. And seeing as I was sewing this dress on a Monday of course the only store that stocks these is closed on Mondays (and also closes at 5:30 on weekdays wtf). Seriously someone needs to open a fabric and notion store that has hours for those of us with 9-5 jobs……


This dress is seriously comfy and cute and I think will go work in the fall with tights and a cardy. It reminds me of a ancient Greek-styled dress but with pockets! Every girl needs pockets in her dresses.

Anyway, the next Myrtle I am thinking of making with a silk woven that I purchased on my last trip to Paris. The Coletterie has a series of posts on which changes to make when using a woven for the Myrtle pattern which will be helpful.


Amazing new pattern! No wait, it’s another Anna!


I know what you are all thinking, does this woman own any other patterns?? Yes I do, this is just the perfect summer dress and it fits me like it’s custom made (because it is!). I was recently on a work/pleasure trip to the UK and of course bought fabric on my days off and it only seemed fitting (ha! punny, right?) to use this fabric for a By Hand London dress. It’s a super soft lightweight cotton that is really nice to wear. It’s a summer dress so there was no need to line it. I used French seams everywhere except the bodice side and shoulder seams.


I love the print – it’s mini parasols and reminds me of a birds eye view of a packed beach. You can see here that my facings are off by 1 cm, oh well it’s on the inside so really who cares? I also love the Anna dress pattern. I feel like it’s kind of 40’s/70’s era vibe to it and I love the 1970’s style.


The only change from my last alterations to this pattern that I made this time were opting for the V neck version and a regular zipper instead of the invisible zipper. I find them hard to get out of with higher back necklines and they are flimsy. This fabric is so colourful it was hard to match a zipper to, but it also makes it easier to hide the zipper. Dressew (Vancouver’s notion emporium) sadly and surprisingly did not have a cream coloured regular zipper, so I matched it to the turquoise in the fabric.


Regular zipper – easier to get out of!

This is a TNT pattern, and so easy to make, everything matches up nicely it’s really a dream pattern. I am sure this will not be the last Anna, I am already thinking of making another version with a different skirt….

photo 5

Fabrics from Goldhawk Road and Shepard’s Bush Market

These are the fabrics I picked up in Shepard’s Bush Market and along Goldhawk Road in London. So many fabrics to choose from, so little time!  And money – you have to think of the pound as the same as the dollar, otherwise your vacation becomes sad. I didn’t pay too much attention to how much these fabrics were, except the one on the top in this pic – 1.5 meters for under 9 pounds for a wool cotton blend which was not expensive and not easy to find over here in the colonies. The market itself had lots of fabric stalls as well as a large amount of ugly shapeless women’s clothing made from pretty fabrics. The market has an entrance/exit along Goldhawk Road which has fabric shops lined up next door to each other.

photo 2

Shepards Bush Market

The Lilou Dress becomes a TNT

Lilou July

Despite a minor fitting issue in the back this pattern is going into the TNT pile, I love it. Ok, I haven’t used the actual pattern skirt yet but I will when I get fabric that is wide enough.

Lilou July2

I found this pretty floral lightweight cotton at a discount wholesale fabric store, not only is the print gorgeous it was also only $5.98/metre. I lined the bodice and the skirt with bemberg rayon, and it’s still a very lightweight dress. I decided to leave the serged hem on the lining to try something new. I think I like it. On this dress anyway.

Just hiding my bra strap !

Just hiding my bra strap !

I used the same altered pattern pieces for the bodice as last time, and took the side seams in a bit around the bust line. I lowered the neckline by 3/4 inch as my original alterations did not take into account that I got rid of 2 inches in the shoulder seams. The armpit circle is a tad on the tight. I should open it a bit more for next time (yes, meaning I will be making more).  For the skirt I added the mini half circle skirt from the circle skirt calculator on the By Hand London website. My fabric was just wide enough for the half circle skirt, perhaps another indicator that I need to look for wider fabric when making dresses.

Lilou July

Ever get caught changing poses and everything looks great except one body part forgot to move? I call this the flamingo.

I had a few issues with the invisible zipper – it got caught up a few times in the fabric when I was sewing the bodice lining and also in the skirt. I haven’t quite mastered the invisible part either as the zipper pops through a bit, but I don’t know how much I really like them anyway. They are flimsy and I broke the one for my Delphine skirt (not yet blogged) which was a pain in the arse since it was yellow and I only bought one. I recently read on Paunnet’s blog that she (Ana) also dislikes them which is affirming if a pro like her rarely uses them.


What do you think of the raw serged lining?

What do you think of the raw serged lining?

Anyway, I love this pattern it is so straight forward and easy, and of course cute! If you haven’t tried this pattern yet, or haven’t purchased Tilly’s book, then I really don’t know what’s wrong with you!!



Lireau Dress

Enter Lireau, the love child of the Lilou and Sureau (Deer and Doe) dress patterns.


Have you gotten your hands on Tilly Walnes’ new sewing book Love at First Stitch? It’ beautiful. Oh, and the reason I bought the book was because of the yellow Delphine skirt on the cover. So why did I start with the Lilou? I don’t know, I just did!


Ok so here are my thoughts on the book – it comes with 5 patterns of which I like all of them. This is rare! I paid $30 Canadian including shipping which makes for an incredible deal. I have to admit I have not read much of the book as I am more interested in the patterns. The instructions are fantastic and this book would have been great for when I started sewing. Oh well no matter, this is a great reference book too.


The only negative part of this book is that you have to trace the pattern pieces. That’s ok, I seem to be needing to make a lot of bodice adjustments for my clothes anyway which involves tracing. This also means that I can lend the patterns to my friends. Too bad most of them don’t sew.


Ok so on to Lilou.  Based on the finished measurements, I cut the 4 bust an shoulders and graded to a 3 for the waist and hips. This was not necessary I should have just cut the 3 all the way through. Again I made a muslin (What?? again you say! I know…..) and had to take the side seams in by an inch on each side, tapering down to 1/2 an inch where the size changed to a 3. I also had to take 2 inches out of the shoulder seams which then made the arm openings a bit tight, so I opened the armpit (is there a sewing word for this? ) by 1/4 inch. For the usual upper back and shoulder gaping fitting issue I seem to have I added and closed a 3 inch long and 1.5 inch wide dart 3.5 inches out from the seam allowance on the back seam line.


There is a bit of wrinkling in the mid back that I didn’t notice with the muslin. Could be from the type of fabric, we will see with the next one.

The love making of these two patterns was not intentional…. you know how it is….things just happen sometimes.  The cotton I used for this dress is quilting cotton which is not wide enough for the Lilou skirt. Instead of adding the gathered skirt alternative Tilly suggests, I went for the Sureau dress’s skirt for more subtle gathers. And boom! What a beautiful baby these patterns made together.

I also lined the bodice with the quilting cotton. These photos make it hard to make out the black and white gingham pattern on the fabric it looks grey from s distance.


The construction was easy peasy for the whole dress. I will be making more of these, whether it be Lireaus of Lilous. It was nice to have no hiccups or issues getting out of this dress like the last one I made!



The Saltspring look-a-like



I have already made this pattern before, it’s Vogue 8870. I love the pattern but I wanted to change it up a bit. I wanted a maxi version with the blousing of Sewaholic’s Saltspring dress, without having to buy another pattern. I am trying to keep to a monthly sewing budget and I have lots of patterns I have not made yet so I decided to wing it with the Vogue pattern.


Look at that fabric!

I bought this lightweight cotton print (maybe voile, not sure) with the intention to make this dress. I love the print on this fabric and thought it would be perfect for a Saltspring-like dress. There is a slight sheen to it that stayed even after I washed the fabric.



I lengthened the skirt pattern pieces and removed the high-low hem. I found out during construction the front piece was longer ooops. From what other bloggers have written, I followed their description of the Saltspring’s bodice construction. I cut the lining to be the same as the original pattern and added an inch in length to the actual bodice pieces. Everything was going smoothly until I realized there was an inch long tear in the middle of the front bodice …..grrr! I knew when I bought it there was a tear and the fabric store had added a free 1/2 meter because of it. I was careful to mark the tear so I could avoid it, but apparently there was another surprise tear I didn’t see….So I hummed and hawed over what to do because of course I didn’t have enough fabric left for another bodice piece. I could have cut a piece on the bias but the pattern is directional so that would just look like a giant mistake. I tried machine embroidery over the tear, and it looked stupid and out of place. Then I thought about applique then realized I would need special glue for it which I didn’t have. I was tempted to go buy more fabric, but then I smartened up and decided to add a seam allowance the bodice centre and cut two half bodice pieces and used French seams to join them.


Problem averted. Time to keep sewing. I couldn’t figure out why the side seems were not matching up, and unpicked the seams a few times until I realized I hadn’t added the bust darts…….Back to sewing. But then the brain freeze kicked in again with the lining and I was unsure how to attach the lining at the neck line and keep it as a lining and not underlining….well lets just say it’s a combo. The dress is not the prettiest on the inside. Oh well, shit happens.


The waist elastic the first time I tried it on was too loose so I tightened it. It was still too loose, so I tightened it again. Before I tried it on again, I thought it would be a good idea to tighten the elastic even more to save time because surely it would be too loose again. I swear I was not drinking I have no idea where that brilliant idea came from. The elastic was so tight it barely got over my shoulders and got stuck when I took it off. If you live alone and have gotten stuck taking clothes off then you know the panic that comes over you when your dress is over your head and your arms are stuck in the air with no way out. I was actually so stuck I was thinking of what friend I could call to come over and help me out of it. Finally I got it off, but then had no more elastic left…

Apparently I also published this post accidentally before I finished writing it! Haha.

This dress had sewing issues, but really it’s just part of learning. Fortunately I am also learning that if I am getting frustrated while sewing, just take a break and come back to it later. Have a drink and relax, or whatever. For all the issues I had I am still super happy with my maxi!


I think Smiley likes my dress.


Or maybe not!

Again, Chardon


I wasn’t joking when I said I ran out to get more fabric for another Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt! Here is the second one. The fabric is a black and white cotton with supposedly a touch of spandex in it but doesn’t seem any stretchier than quilting cotton. I would have had it finished sooner but I added a new table (Ikea Norden gateleg if you need to know) to my sewing room and I had to rearrange the whole room. Because this was a no fun task, I procrastinated for a day or two. Ok two.


I trimmed the skirt front and back pattern pieces by 2.5 inches and somehow it’s a lot shorter than my last one. Oh well, maybe not such a good length for work although a stranger complimented me on this outfit today. Good thing is was pouring with rain today so I could justify pairing the skirt with tights, which somehow makes the absence of length for this skirt less of a big deal to me. This would be a great date skirt. Now to find a date!


This time I did not make any changes to the waist and it fits perfectly, nice and snug and breathable at the same time. This is great except when sitting down all day the belt loops pop outwards from the waist band being scrunched a bit. No biggy, I am happy with the skirt. Yes, I know the skirt is wrinkled but it was the end of the day…… know.

I am on a roll with skirts! Can you have too many?

Chardon Skirt

Welcome the Chardon skirt from Deer and Doe patterns to my collection.


This is a full skirt with reversed box pleats, I opted for the longer belt loop option. This is the first time I have made box pleats and the process is satisfying when you realize what is really happening ! For such a fast and simple technique the effect is beautiful and defined and looks more complicated that it really is. I love the pleats and the belt loops make me want to go buy multiple colourful belts.

photo 5

Because there is a 2 inch difference in the waist measurements between the sizes I loosened the seam allowances on the waist to 3/8″ as I am just on the edge of one size. I really did not want to be stuck with a skirt that is too tight on the waist. In the end I did not to make this adjustment, there is actually a bit too much ease in the waist now. The other alteration I made was removing 2.75 inches from the hem line. The hem was originally too matronly for me. Going even shorter would have been super cute, but I want to be able to wear this to work without feeling self conscious, or worried that the goods might get flashed if I am not careful.

photo 4[1]

I chose a Kaufman cotton that looks like a heavier weight chambray. I wanted a grey version of this fabric, however I could not find one when I was getting my pattern fix on last week after a long day at work. That’s ok, just more fabric shopping to look for the perfect grey fabric for the next skirt! Sometimes I just get it in my mind that I need a certain pattern NOW and need to make it NOW.

I had my first serging accident with this skirt. Just above the left pocket I lost focus and sliced passed the seam allowance. Well, this was bound to happen at some point I guess. To cover the slice up and keep going with the skirt I zigzag stitch it back together with a small piece of fabric behind it. It’s not very noticeable however I might use one of my embroider stitches on my sewing machine over it if it frays when I wash it.

photo 4[2]


I am really starting to love fuller skirts, they are so feminine and pretty.

Another Anna – this time I made a muslin !

A muslin??! Yes you read it right, I made a muslin. And omg it worked! I have had a phobia of alterations, until I registered for a fitting course on Craftsy. This course was fantastic, I finally understand how altering patterns works. Now I can actually transfer alterations to the pattern, and it’s not as hard as I thought.  The result: an Anna with no gaping at the neck and I omitted the back darts by making the alteration to the pattern.


Another first for me was using quilting cotton instead of fashion/apparel fabric thanks to the blogosphere. There are so many seamstresses that use this type of fabric and I now see why. So many fabrics to choose from and it is easy to sew. Plus, it’s all cotton so it is comfortable to wear all day.

This time I made the boat neck version of the dress and lined the whole dress with bemberg. The downside to lining the dress completely is that this pattern has so many panels in the skirt that it was time consuming to make the lining. Using French seams (for the lining only) also added to the the amount of time it took, but it’s worth it. I think I will change the skirt next time.


No gaping at the back neckline ! Woohoo!!


The zipper is a regular zipper, my invisible foot still has not come in (WTF??) I am actually getting really annoyed with the store that supposedly ordered it along with another foot for me 2 months ago. Grrrrr….fortunately it’s not very noticeable that I used a regular zip. There is no way I am going to use that ridiculous plastic universal concealed zipper foot again, the only thing it does well is accentuate the zipper. Ok, rant over.


I am pretty pleased with my dress, if I do say so myself. The fit is great and the fabric is fantastic! It’s Michael Miller’s Waterfront Park Flight design in black and white.


Proof I really did make a muslin.

Basically it’s a basic… Simplicity 2451 take two!




After a failed attempt at this super popular skirt I have finally made it again, this time in a light weight denim with zero stretch, and I sized down. The skirt sits where it is supposed to which is 1 inch below the natural waist line, not 2 inches below like my last version. I am learning ! The skirt is so much more flattering in the smaller size, thank you inter-webs for teaching me about the finished garment measurements to focus on.

This skirt is easy to put together, and I realized while making this one how far I have come since last summer: I now know so much more about patterns and the pieces are not a mystery to me. I barely looked at the instructions, but good thing I did otherwise I would have put the zipper in at the wrong time. I machine hemmed my skirt, I thought it keeps with the more casual look of the denim…..and it’s faster!

On the topic of learning – I debated over lining this skirt, and I didn’t to keep it casual. I regret that. Learning: I much prefer lined skirts and dresses. Note to self: line everything.



I am stepping forward to mask the wrinkles in my skirt, really I just look like I am practicing my lunges in a wrinkled skirt. I have said it before, I love the pleats and pockets of this pattern. Extra fabric from dresses that I have made might just end up as this skirt.



2451 front

First attempt

My Sigma Dress!



Ok, I just could not wait any longer for the proper invisible zipper foot I ordered weeks ago to come in so I finished my Sigma dress from Papercut Patterns. The zipper is not a stellar job but oh well, the next one will be better.This pattern is a semi fitted dress with a hem that makes it risky to bend over in. Like everyone warns, this dress is short! I added 2 inches to hem line and look how short it is ( I am 5’3″).



I love this dress, it is simple and there are many possibilities! This construction was simple and easy – a bodice with 4 darts in the front and 2 in the back, and a skirt with a small gathers around the pockets. The instructions were easy to follow, and the paper the pattern is printed on is sturdy (no tissue paper here!). The other dress options is a skirt with no gathers as well as just the skirts themselves. I plan on trying all the variations. I love conservative dresses with short hems, though not entirely work appropriate, but super cute. Good thing I lengthened mine so I can wear it to work.

I would also like to try to make another version of this dress but with a more fitted bodice. I am not sure if I should go down a size or alter the XS size that I used for this one.

photo 1

The adjustments I made:

1. Half inch darts in the back from the neckline – necklines usually gape for me so I didn’t bother waiting to try it on before I made them. I will do this again next time.

2. Added 2 inches to the length of the skirt – I might try for 3 for my next one.

3. Lined the skirt with bemberg rayon.

4. Used 5/8 seam allowance for zipper instead of 3/8 for a closer fit.

5. Sleeves –  I had originally put in the full length sleeve and thought it was too much pattern so I went for the 3/4 length look. Even though I marked and measured the sleeves when I was wearing the dress, somehow I got a bit too happy with trimming them and now they are elbow sleeves. I actually kind of like them!