What I’m Working on This Week: Pleated Bodice Dress


+ + +

Finally, I’m home long enough to sew.

This week I’m working on the Pleated Bodice Dress from Sweet Dress Book, a Japanese sewing book. It’s pretty simple, with two pieces and some pocket pieces, but hopefully it will be a basic, customizable project.

Sewing soundtrack: “Future Starts Slow”, from Blood Pressures, by The Kills

Colette Laurel: Wool Gabardine Version

+ + +

Finally, proof of sewing! And it’s not even black.

I finished my wool gabardine Laurel late December last year, and only shamefully had a chance to document it today. I haven’t worn it out yet, but it’s only because it is much too cold to wear dresses right now.

In full disclosure, I made two (!!) muslins of this before I was satisfied with it. I also cut it incorrectly the first time and had to sew it twice. I serged the seams, hand-basted the sleeves in, and hand-sewed the hem. All in all a lot more work than I’m used to and with much struggling, especially since I’ve turned to knits and never look back, but definitely well worth it.

Pattern review below.

+ + +

Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Laurel.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18.

Description: Jacket with skirt and peplum.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Wool gabardine, with an invisible zipper.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, had I chosen to read them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is the second time I’ve made this pattern. I really like it, simple, yet versatile.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Yes, many. Lowered bust dart by 2 inches, shortened hem by 1 inch, lowered the neckline by 5/8 inch, removed 1 inch from the center back, made a narrow upper back adjustment, adjusted the sleeve cap and removed all the extraneous ease from it, and lengthened the sleeve to try to hide my sleeve (somewhat unsuccessfully.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. I see many more Laurels in the future.

What I’ve Been Working On This Week: Red Knit Cowl

Red knit cowl.

+ + +

Red knit cowl, photobombed by Bean.

+ + +

It’s been snowing here, pretty badly, at that. My back yard is full of a few inches of unshoveled snow, which has since frozen over with a thin layer of ice, making it impossible to take project photos.

My work commute, from a few days ago.

+ + +

While I’ve been waiting for the snow to ease up, I’ve been knitting.

This knit cowl was made on size 15 Addis, basically two rows of garter stitch, then many, many rows of stockinette flanked by garter stitch, and finished again by two rows of garter stitch. It was made in two weekends while watching The Godfather, a quick and satisfying knit.

+ + +

On the sewing horizon, I have four other finished sewing projects in the queue, waiting to be photographed:

- Colette Laurel, in burgundy gabardine
- Drape Drape dress, in red jersey
- Knit dress, McCall’s pattern (?), in red jersey
- Velvet skirt, self-drafted

More updates to come with proper photographs, hopefully when this inclement weather eases up.

Sewing 2013: Year in Review

1. No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top, 2. Secret Sewing, 3. Simplicity 1819, 4. McCalls 6559, 5. Simplicity 1819, 6. McCalls 6559, 7. DIY Side Tie Top, Side #1, 8. No 1 Loose Drape Top, 9. DIY Side Tie Top, Side #2, 10. Colette Laurel, Gatsby Version, 11. McCalls 5808, 12. Colette Laurel, Gatsby Style, 13. Fabric Bag, 14. Fabric Bag #2, 15. No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top, 16. Bridesmaid Dress

+ + +

Sewing has been very sporadic this year. There’s been loads of Drape Drape knits and a few woven projects here and there. I plan to finish sewing my way through Drape Drape 1.

I still have a lot of projects on hand that I’ve finished and haven’t photographed yet, as well. Hopefully I’ll get to the backlog of project documentation that hasn’t happened yet, including:

1. Bridesmaid Dress, finished sometime around August 2013
2. Drape Drape No 3 Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress, finished around Oct 2013
3. Red knit drape dress, finished around May 2013
4. Colette Laurel, finished around Dec 2013
5. Velvet skirt, finished around Dec 2013

+ + +

Favorite Project: Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top

I haven’t worn this out yet since I started it almost two seasons too late and it’s been freezing cold outside, but I really liked this project. It’s versatile and will make a good layering piece.

+ + +

Most Worn Project: No 1 Loose Draped Dress, Version 2

I wore this out many, many times over the summer. It’s comfortable, can be dressed up or down, soft, and was a quick and easy make.

+ + +

Most Interesting Project: Simplicity 1819, Steampunk Dress

This is still in its muslin stage, but already I know it’s very different from anything I’ve made before. It’s not exactly the most practical of projects, but it’s one of the most fun to make.

+ + +

I received a lot of Japanese sewing books for Christmas, a draping book, and another Drape Drape book, so this year hopefully include a lot more sewing.

Simplicity 1819, The Steampunk Dress: Muslins


Front view.

+ + +


Back view.

+ + +

I know this is only the muslin, but to me it looks really impressive so far. This is my first time doing anything with an underskirt and an overskirt, and my first time doing anything with bustled backs. I did a lot of reading into how bustles are done beforehand. I’m definitely not making a bustle pad since I need to be able to sit down normally in these and I don’t know how to sit with a bustle pad on, and also I don’t want to look like I just stepped out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I was originally just going to do the skirt, but I figured I might as well do the whole project as a dress since I might have a hard time figuring out what will go with the skirt.

The pattern only had a skirt portion, a corset portion, a blouse, and a jacket, and since I didn’t want it to look too much like a costume I figured I’d draft the top myself. I looked in my pattern stash for a simple tank top, was too impatient to buy my own pattern, and ended up drafting a simple top with some gathering myself. This is my first (accidental) foray into draping, and will not by my last.

Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top


Front view.

+ + +


Side view, #2.

+ + +

Back view.

+ + +

I like this project. Quick, easy, a good layering piece. I layered it with a lace top here, but for going to work I’d probably wear a solid-colored top underneath it, and a sweater over it. It was very cold outside when I took these, and it started snowing shortly after.

I think I’m addicted to sewing Drape Drape projects: no finishing the seams, no muslins, fast, easy, soft, comfortable and wearable projects, but I really do miss sewing with wovens sometimes. Pattern information as follows.

+ + +



+ + +

Project Details:

Pattern: Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top

Pattern Sizing: I made a size medium.

Description: Draped tank top.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Black tissue knit.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like this pattern. It’s a good layering piece, and it looks unique.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but I wear mostly black and grey, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be sewing it again.

What I’ve Been Working on This Week: The Steampunk Dress


Simplicity 1819. I’m making the shorter version.

+ + +


Here is the line drawing. I love those ruffles and cascading layers.

+ + +


I spent a fair amount of time tracking down all of the pieces and cutting it out.

+ + +

For most of the year I’ve been sewing things I’m more likely to wear, which are knit tops and dresses. I’ve been wearing almost all of my projects that are knits, but sometimes I do miss making challenging things with wovens. Hence my latest most impractical sew-for-fun project: the Steampunk Dress, Simplicity 1819.

I don’t really have an occasion to wear this to, but I might just start wearing it to work or some other normal activity, just not totally dressed up so it doesn’t look so costume-y.