Instagram brings a lot of things to my attention.  The two latest are the free download of The Orla Dress by French Navy Patterns which has a dress challenge and the maxi sewalong both for the month of July.  I was planning on making a maxi dress with the ridiculous amount of fabric I scored for $7.50 from Walmart. (15 yards of knits) Maxi fabric check! The Orla Dress happened to be what I was envisioning for my maxi. Dress pattern check! The sewing gods are encouraging.

The Olra dress is designed as a short sleeved, knee skimming dress. It has darts in the front and back, gathered waist and zip up the center back. The dress challenge does encourage you to “hack” the dress pattern. (BTW, totally hate that word “hack”. It makes me think of spitting a giant ball of phlegm.) I’m not scared about changing up a pattern so no problem! I decided to lengthen the sleeves, omit the zip, change knee-skimming to maxi, add pockets and tighten up the neckline.

As I was cutting my fabric I re-worked 1 pattern piece in particular. The front piece of the pattern was too wide at the shoulders. As I mentioned, I was going to tighten the neckline. It’s a lower scoop neckline and I wanted more of a t-shirt style. I raised the front by 1″ and redrew the curve. I also had to move in the shoulders. I honestly can’t remembered how much I took it in but it was a lot. The pattern piece looks a bit like Frankenstein now. I did taper both bodice pieces (front & back) by a bit toward the waist to make it more fitted.

When I was sewing the bodice I had a bit of an issue with the darts. I’ve never sewn darts coming up from the waist like this. I wasn’t sure where they were supposed to stop and should they look like they are at the center of my boobs or what? I winged it. I had to do the first one a few times before it looked right. I moved them both more towards the center compared to what was on the original but I guess that makes sense considering all the damage I did to the original piece. What was nice about this bodice is that I didn’t have to shorten or lengthen it!

I added clear elastic into the waist. It’s a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stretch out and lose its shape. Plus it nips it in just a tidbit. 

What you end up with is a boring, grey maxi. And I love it! I don’t normally make plain Jane kind of stuff. I love prints but having something boring that I can accessorize is a nice change.

You can check out more about the Orla Dress Month Challenge and Maxi Sewalong by clicking the images below.orlamonthbanner


Flower Power Reimagined

I noticed lately that a lot of the clothes I made when I first started sewing aren’t getting a lot of wear. That mainly has to do with my sewing skills being at a whole other level so all my new stuff is super amaze-balls. Instead of parting ways with my old makes, why not reimagine it?

I made this maxi skirt out of poly chiffon. (You’ll recognize the fabric from my Granny Chic top) I didn’t wear the skirt a lot because I had a hard time pairing it with anything. What top to put with it? When I did pick a top I would have to wrestle with it to keep it down because the fabric is so slick.

With the big shirtdress craze going on right now, I thought why not? There should be enough fabric to knock it out. I picked my fav shirt pattern, B5526. There is a tunic length version already included (version C) so if I add a few more inches, take it in a bit at the sides up top and add a bit of space for my rump, it should be completely doable. I also didn’t want full sleeves, so that saves what limited fabric I have. This should give me an a-line, 3/4 length sleeve shirtdress.

The skirt came apart quickly and easily giving me two big panels of fabric. I went for the main three pieces first (2 front panels, 1 back). This way if I run out I can modify my original thought. Sleeveless with a mandarin collar would still work. Luckily, I had enough fabric for all the pieces. Even had enough for two tabs to hold up my 3/4 sleeves.

Most of the construction went fast. The collar takes the longest because, well because it’s fussy and I have to read the instructions. I hate reading instructions. I just want to make! I also sewed a few pieces on wrong so seam ripper to the rescue! Once I got the collar on I added the sleeves and a small cuff, which you can kinda see in the pic. I waited to add the tabs until I could properly try the dress on. I ended up placing them 1″ higher than the pattern indicated.  I can button the tab or leave them loose and the tab completely hides in the sleeve.

On the hem of the dress I made bias tape. I could have serged the edge and turned it a couple times. But with this kind of fabric that tiny seam would have flared out and drove me crazy. The tape ensured the hem had a bit of weight and it would hang straight down.

After completion I felt eh. Have you ever made something, put it on and went “eh”? That’s this dress. Is it the fabric? Do I need to add some back darts to give it more shape? Am I not used to wearing this kind lose style?


I did give a belt a go just to see if I felt better about the dress. It’s okay that way too. Oh well, I like it better than the maxi skirt.

So here’s my glam shot of my “eh” dress. Well maybe not glam of me but definitely glam of Freckles. Look at his majestic beauty! I was worried about button gap the whole time I was making the dress. With 10 buttons down the front, no peekaboo. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

You Dirty Rat

Have you ever worked on a project that has crushed you? You’ve cursed it or has it cursed you? I’ve worked on projects that have pushed me to what I thought was my sewing breaking point. All those past moments pale in comparison to this month’s project.

A pattern that has been on my to-do list for over a year has been Vogue 9001. I’ve been in love with the maxi dress. Big, flowy, girlie and I really can’t resist that comfort that maxi dresses bring. One of the main reasons I’ve been putting this off has been the amount of fabric this guy takes. 6 1/2 yards! To put that in perspective to make a long sleeve button down takes 1 7/8 yds and 3 1/4 yds for a pair of trousers . This dress is massive! I can tell you after cutting it, it’s easy to see all that fabric is hid in the skirt. There’s a pleat in the front and back of the skirt where it dwells until you move and it’s unleashed in a swirl of fabric.

Everything sounds pretty pleasant besides the amount of fabric right? I cut out the pieces for the skirt first and put those together. It was quick and it gets the biggest part of the dress out of the way. I decided that since the bodice is so fitted and it has some unwanted seams (more on that in a moment) I would make a muslin. I very rarely make muslins. I don’t like the additional time and fabric it takes. I used cotton fabric I had no plans for. The bodice was a super large size because according to my measurements I needed to 14. I usually do an 8. The only finished garment measurements were the length of the dress. Pretty disappointed in that.

Here’s the first go. The seam I hate is the one right across the boobs. Why would I want a seam connecting my nipples? The straps have a double strap kind of look and the inner piece that curves into the low neck is quite fiddly but I figure it’ll be okay. I made another muslin of the two front pieces that make the boobie border into one. I drew with chalk on my fabric the big piece and then lined up the lower piece below that taking in consideration the 5/8″ seam allowance.

This is my new piece. Instead of having two pieces, there’s a bust dart to bring to fabric around and accommodate boobage. I was really happy and excited about this easy solution. I cut out the bodice pieces and my replacement pieces. The bodice has a lining and I had some leftover black lining that I cut out too. Things are going well so I sewed up both bodices. Now the moment of truth, sewing them together.

Everything went wrong. The fiddly bit of the strap that goes down into the neckline wouldn’t lay flat no matter what I did. I decided to connect the strap down before trying to sew it to the lining. I cut out the bodice pieces again and sewed the lining to the outter fabric. It was laying a bit more flat. I just needed to trim the excess around the turn from the strap to the neck. As if this bodice couldn’t be making me anymore mad from all the ripping, cutting and fussiness, I cut through the seam! My trimming now became a maiming. I cut an inch hole straight down from the neckline into the bodice. I have enough fabric for one more go. This has to be right or the dress was going to become a skirt rather quickly.

If one dart worked well, why not two? I drafted another new piece. This one incorporates 4 of the original pieces down to 1 and rids me of the fiddly bits. I went very slow and thought out every move as I sewed. I had to take the straps in a bit here and there, cut the arm holes lower and take 1 1/2 – 2″ out of the sides. For something that looks decently easy on paper, became the biggest dirty rat in life.

The dress called for 2″ horsehair braid along the bottom. Unfortunately Jo-Ann’s only carries 1″. The pattern calls for 5 1/2 yds. I bought 5 3/4 yds. I ended up being 2-3″ short. No one will ever notice it the 6 yds of skirt swirling around.

The finished product turned out great. My immediate feeling was “meh”. After all that trouble and work I feel that it should have glowed and felt glorious. I think I was more relieved it was finished.  Such an underwhelming feeling.  I started this bodice on May 6 and didn’t finish the dress until May 30. Dirty rat.

Me Made May ’16 Week 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m participating in Me Made May. I participated last year too which you can check out last year’s recap here. It’s never too late to join in which you can do over at So, Zo. Onward with the first week!

Day 1:

Tie-dye patchwork skirt. I made this out of multiple tie-dye shirts. You can also see Freckles little feet in this pic. You’ll see all my fuzzy kids throughout the month.

Day 2:

Granny chic floral top. This is a vintage reprint pattern. It’s comfortable and light to wear on hot days. Pretty sure that’s Felix, one of my ginger twins.

Day 3:

Nerdy Sorbetto top. This was my first Sorbetto (I have 3). The neck is a little wide and I’ve adjusted that for future Sorbettos. Kat, Felix, Freckles (L to R)

Day 4:

Han Solo Jamie Jeans. Unfortunately made out of crap fabric. You can kinda see the Rebel logo on the back pockets. I think these pants go in the holiday category with my pumpkin and holiday skirt.

Day 5:

Blackout Sorbetto and purple Thurlows. This is my most worn Sorbetto. It’s made out of workwear fabric. It doesn’t wrinkle and wicks away sweat. The Thurlows are made out of leftover purple suiting from Mood in NYC. I think I could have went a little smaller but they’re comfy and still look nice. That would be Frankie admiring my me-made awesomeness.

Day 6:

Pink maxi. This is one of my first Jamie-made item and it’s also unblogged. This picture shows what happens when I wear maxi skirts. Someone always holes up underneath it. This time it was Frankie and Felix is on his way to join in.

Day 7:

Denim maxi. This one is one of my favorites and unblogged. It took forever to make because my machine did not like the heavy denim. There was a lot of cussing but I made it through. My face shows I’m already getting fed up with a pic a day. I forget how annoying that piece is.

That’s it for the first week! Looking forward to upcoming weeks. Anyone else have a bit of anxiety every morning? I keep forgetting I have so much me-made stuff to choose from and I worry that it will be the day that I have to wear a repeat.

Maroon Chiffon Flowiness

I bought some chiffon ages ago from Hancock Fabrics. It was the only time I had been there, mainly because it was nowhere near me. I bought the chiffon for maybe a $1/yd. I hadn’t done anything with it because I heard it’s a pain to deal with so I was a little scared. Plus I needed to get a lining for the fabric because it’s see-through. Only wearing panties do not count as something to wear under chiffon. I’m not that kind of girl. I ended up buying a lining, among other things, from I’ve bought other fabric from there before and haven’t been disappointed and I like their free shipping if you spend over $50 (I think). Spending that much is easy to do. Fabric is kind of addicting.


I decided I needed to make a super flowy maxi. Exactly what chiffon is made for, flowy! The plan is simple. Gather the lining and chiffon separately, then sew them to a band of elastic. Not too hard right? Problem is, I hate gathering fabric. I used my serger and set it to the stretchier fabric so it already starts to gather the fabric. Then it’s sit and watch tv while I gather it to the right size.


I serged the lining, chiffon and elastic all together on the edge of my wide band elastic. The hard part of this is you have to stack elastic, chiffon then lining. Why you say? When you flip the whole thing right side out the stitched edge is hid and you have an elastic waistband that shows.


Now I could hide it and make a proper band. That’s just too much for this. Plus I’m not really a shirt tucking kind of person so no one is going to see it anyways so ha!


Lastly, hemming. I did a rolled hem on my skirt but there’s a whole bunch of tutorials if you want to make a tiny little hem at the bottom. I like the extra weight from all the thread and I think it makes it move a bit differently.



I really love this skirt. It’s super girlie and princess like. I had an accident the first time I wore it! 😱 I dropped pasta with pesto on it. That’s oil guys!  I read to put baking soda on it to take out the oil. Well it did but somehow the color was removed too. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not sure if you can spot dye chiffon.