Category: finished project

Finished Project: Box Dress with Boat Neck

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I finally had a chance to finish Box Dress with Boat Neck around two weeks ago. This is from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, the dress on the cover page. It’s very comfortable and an easy sew, essentially one front piece, one back piece, facings and two supporting sleeve pieces. The pattern does not come with seam allowances, so it’s important to note that. It’s also not fitted at all which makes it tricky to style, since the looseness can be borderline unflattering. Fabric choice is essential! I chose a drapey geometric cotton from my stash.

I had to walk to work in 30C heat in this dress since the subway stopped running on my morning commute one day and I still managed to stay cool. I’ve already worn this to work around three times and have even put it in the laundry already. I will need to hand stitch the facing I think since it keeps on flipping up. This is partly my fault as I graded the collar and the facing to almost 1/8”, then did not understitch it. Still despite user error, this pattern is a winner! It’s comfortable and stylish and I already have a second version planned.

Project Details:

Pattern: Box Dress with Boat Neck.

Pattern Sizing: extra small – large (Japanese sizing though).

Description: n/a

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

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really comfortable and there are few pattern pieces. However this is not fitted at all and is very boxy, but that is the style.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! I already finished my second Box Dress with Boat Neck.

Finished Project: Colette Violet

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This blouse took forever. I’m not quite sure why it did, either. I started this project around three months ago. Nothing was particularly challenging. I didn’t make a muslin, I made a few practice buttonholes before starting, but I’m still not sure why I’m sewing soooooo slowly nowadays.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this pattern (or maybe my execution?) I didn’t make a muslin for this, and that might be why there are weird diagonal creases. I think maybe I should have gone up a size, but all the reviews I’ve read say that the pattern is too boxy. I’m satisfied enough with it that I’ll wear it out, but that might be the extent of it.

Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Violet.

Pattern Sizing: Size 4.

Description: Button front blouse with short gathered sleeves.

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

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really comfortable and easy to follow.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t wear a lot of button down blouses, so I probably wouldn’t sew this one again.

The Frida Kahlo Pillow

Frida Kahlo + Kalbo. #sewing

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Finished the Frida Kahlo pillow for my neighbor's art opening. #sewing #fridakahlo #frida #kahlo

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I started working on a pillow for my neighbor over the weekend. It was a quick make, only a few hours from cutting to finishing. I used red pom pom trim for the edges and made sure to baste it before assembling the pillow. I hand-sewed the bottom edge closed. I never realized pillows were so easy to make, I definitely might make some for my home now.

McCalls 6095: Pincushion B

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Yet another pincushion.

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I left all of my garment sewing patterns up in Montreal, so until I bring them here I’ll be working on a few arts and crafts projects.

This is a pincushion from McCalls 6095. I used leftover scrap quilting cotton, ric rac and a button from stash. Halfway through I realized my pincushion looked halfway deformed, and I almost threw it out. I didn’t have any felt for the base of the pincushion, and using quilting cotton would probably mean that the bottom would unravel.

Thankfully I didn’t let my perfectionistic tendencies get the best of me. I found some ric rac that distracted from the strange non-round, lopsided shape of the pin cushion, and found a decorative button from my stash.

As I was taking pictures of the pincushion I found some felt in my stash, so I will amend this with new felt the next time I sew.

My sewing machine has been unable to wind a bobbin lately. I had to wind the bobbin by hand until it was halfway full. About a year ago it was already having bobbin winding issues, but I got around it by putting a mechanical pencil underneath the bobbin winding mechanism until it caught. Looks like I have to bring the machine into the shop soon if I can’t figure this out. Has this happened to anyone else out there?

Scout Woven Tee: Burnout Scout, #3

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There isn’t much to say about Scout. I’ve made this two times already, and I’m not about to stop. I love it, and so should you.

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Wearability: I’ve already worn this to work, to social occasions, to a gig. It’s 60% sheer, but since there’s a pattern on it, it’s not that noticeable.

Construction notes: I serged the seams, left the bottom hem raw and the sleeve edge raw because I was too supremely lazy to finish it. Because it’s a knit, it’s very forgiving, and I don’t think it matters much.

By Hand London: Anna

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I finished Anna a few weeks ago and only had time to photograph it now. This is my first time working with sheer chiffon, and it was a pain to cut and to work with. I sandwiched the chiffon with wrapping paper and cut through the layers which made it somewhat bearable, but it was still hard to work with. It also makes the dress look very formal, which means it will probably not get a lot of wear.

I used an invisible zipper in the back, French seams along the side, and serged the hem and folded it over.

This dress was also hard to photograph. Maybe it was the stark white background with the flowers on it, but

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Project Details:

Pattern: Anna, from By Hand London.

Pattern Sizing: Size 2 – 16.

Description: An effortless Summer dress featuring double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves and a paneled a-line skirt. Variations include both slash and v-neck options, plus midi and maxi skirt possibilities and a dramatic thigh high split. Super quick and simple to make, cut it short for the perfect festival dress, or make it worthy of the red carpet with a maxi skirt and thigh high split.

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

Fabric: Sheer polyester chiffon, which was such a pain to cut and work with.

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Yes. I really like long dresses.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None. The sides were done with French seams, and I serged the hem and folded it over, then stitched it down.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely.

Scout Woven Tee: Grey Knit Scout, #2

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Two Scouts in a row!

Not much to say about this pattern, other than it looks like a store-bought t-shirt pattern. This one was made from grey ribbed fabric, leftovers from my McCalls 6559 tank dress. This time I paid careful attention when setting in the sleeves.

I’ve already worn Scout #2 to work, to WWDC (the Apple developer conference), to San Francisco, to go out, to run errands — pretty much suitable for every occasion.

Scout Woven Tee: Grey Knit Scout, #1

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The majority of my clothing purchases are t-shirts, in every kind of neutral colour imaginable: grey, light grey, white, black. I finally decided that I should be sewing my own t-shirts, and it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be.

My first mistake was sewing in the shoulder seams incorrectly, so there is an exposed seam by the shoulder, but I decided to match them, providing a design detail. My second mistake was cutting the centre back in two pieces instead of cutting it on the fold. I serged the centre back shut and ironed it down, and it seems fine.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Grainline Scout

Pattern Sizing: 0-18

Description: T-shirt with capped sleeves.

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

Fabric: Grey knit jersey.

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is my first knit Scout, and it won’t be my last.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made this as a knit Scout.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

Pleated Bodice Dress

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I received some Japanese dress books last year, and only had a chance to try them out now. Most of the dresses in Sweet Dress Book are loose-fitting and basic, and the patterns are simple.

This project was almost a disaster. I cut a size large, according to my measurements, and it was incredibly baggy. I took it in the side seams and somehow managed to make it work.

I really should have ironed this before I started taking pictures. I’ve already worn this once before to work, and it’s very comfortable. I made some adjustments to the fit and inserted an invisible zipper.

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Sweet Dress Book.

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Pleated-bodice dress, the book version.

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Pattern review is below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Pleated Bodice Dress, from Sweet Dress Book

Pattern Sizing: small-large

Description: Pleated bodice dress.

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

Fabric: Microfiber, with an an invisible zipper

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern as is has loads of ease. I do like that it has only two basic pieces.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I took it in at the side seams, made the bodice more fitted, and added an invisible zipper. I used seam binding instead of facings.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This dress is very comfortable. I definitely might make another one.

Colette Laurel: Wool Gabardine Version

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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.

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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.

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