Month: August 2019


It’s full-on spring; the flowers around my valley are in vibrant bloom and the sun is shining. I pulled out a wonderful Japanese Cotton fabric designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji, bought some time ago from Marcy Tilton

It was so much fun to play with pattern placement on this fabric, particularly because I had a limited amount, so I had to be extra creative.

The pattern, once again, is Vogue 1453 by Sandra Betzina; since this is my 4th make, I guess it qualifies as a TNT…

Those little striped circles are “porthole pockets” lined with a black and white stripe remnant…

While I was making this, I listened to The Sympathizer, written by Viet Thanh
Nguyen, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is beautifully written, somewhat difficult to listen to, due to the subject (the war in Viet Nam), and especially interesting to me, as I lived in Saigon for two years during the war, so many of the descriptions of places, and names were familiar to me.

Big news in our family…our granddaughter Stephanie gave birth to our first great-grandchild,
Amethyst Elizabeth…

Mother, father, grandmother and baby are all doing well!

Our next-door neighbor’s farm stand is bursting out in all its glory…I made White Beans with
Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) and Lemon  the other night

and also Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Raisins and Bread Crumbs, a favorite when the fresh cauliflower arrives.

I think this is my favorite time of year to cook, with all the beautiful young vegetables and fruits making their appearance. We’re also enjoying baby potatoes, peas and radishes from Dave’s garden.

Between Dave, me and our housekeeper, we keep Paddy’s grave decorated with flowers all the time….

How we miss that beautiful boy…Thank you for all your kind wishes.

After I finished the vest, I dove into my stash in the studio and managed to cull at least 20% of my fabrics (and that’s A LOT) and found an additional way to organize them, my left brain being in the ascendant last week! Now I have to deal with all those discarded fabrics…

This week, I am visiting BOTH Visible Monday AND Hat Attack…thanks to Patti and Judith for being such wonderful hostesses!


Finished! Denim wide leg pants plus Pin Up Sweater – a most fun outfit.

Are you on the Sew Liberated mailing list? She’s got some wise thoughts, has Meg. Recently she send out some such thoughts on pants, body image and weight fluctuation and one of her pearls of wisdom was that one should have a great, comfortable, well fitting pair of pants in your current size, one size up, and one size down. I’ve spent the last 12 months waiting for the rest of my baby weight to shift, and it’s been slow going. A combination of broken sleep, illness, general mama exhaustion and a reluctance to significantly cut calories in case it affects my (dwindling) milk supply has been my excuse/reason (depending on my state of mind). Recently I came to the conclusion that I (a) didn’t want to buy any more RTW pants, (b) I didn’t want to make anymore elastic waist pants for a while. I decided some wide leg pants would be easier to fit than fitted leg and pondered the options out there. The Persephones look fun for sure, but I don’t like the gaping / pulling that I see across many of the flies and I felt I needed a pattern with a fail safe zip fly draft so that I could practice on and therefore have the confidence to perhaps tweak some future Persephones. I’ll admit that I own the Landers, the Persephones, and the Dawn jeans patterns, but I elected to go with the free Peppermint magazine Wide Leg Pants pattern, drafted by Emily from In the Folds. It ticked many of my boxes – zip fly, full length pocket pieces incorporated into the fly (a bit like a pocket stay – helps keep the tummy tucked in and prevents the waistband stretching out with wear), side seams and darts for fitting tweaks and a curved waistband. And of course it comes with an A0 printing option.

I toiled my first version in calico (muslin if you’re in the USA) cut to shorts length, in a size E, which was foolish. My measurements put me 100% in size F. I don’t know what I was thinking. I added extra seam allowance to the side seams and needed all that extra room. They were way too tight/short in the front crotch. But I could at least see that the waistband would fit beautifully, the rear darts would be a touch long and that I’d probably need (unsurprisingly) a small swayback adjustment.

So size F it was. I still took precautions and added an extra 1cm to the side seams, plus an extra 5mm length to both the front and back crotch lengths at the inseam. Turns out I didn’t need the extra wiggle room of the side seam but the extra crotch length was definitely worthwhile. I shortened the darts by 1cm, made a small swayback adjustment of about 10mm at the centre back, and cut the longest length, and that’s it for pattern adjustments. During pocket construction I sewed a line about 1/4 of the pocket width in in the vertical plane to prevent items ending up at my crotch as the pocket bags are huge, extending across the whole front from side seams to fly. No other tweaks (who am I?!). The fit is bang on – snug in the right places, the curved waistband is terrific – I’d just add some length if you are tall (I am 178cm for reference). 
I think it’s a beautifully drafted pattern and I can’t believe it’s free. There are a couple of errors in the instructions – the fly shield and fly piece are mislabeled in terms of how many pieces to cut, which meant I ended up installing my fly reversed (I think) but I prefer it opening this way (like jeans). A couple of overlocking/neatening steps are missed in the written instructions but the diagrams show it, so I took care to follow both written and diagrams together. Some of the instructions are a bit brief in achieving a really nice finish, but if this isn’t your first trouser rodeo you’ll be fine (you could always look at other tutorials, say for nice waistband finishes etc). I did deviate from the order of construction, leaving the side seams last so I could play with fit.

I’ve read a few reviews that comment the fly instructions aren’t great. It’s really been years since I’ve made a fly zip, so consider myself a beginner all over again for a fly zip, and I found these instructions to be fine. I had really no dramas in getting a lovely fly straight up. Not a single stitch unpicked!

My fabric is a decent quality non-stretch heavy indigo denim from Spotlight. The pockets are cotton scraps from stash and I used the same fabric to make some bias to keep the hem length (the cropped length looked silly on me). I chose to make the inner waistband in the same denim too, which caused a little angst with bulk in turning nice corners and sewing the buttonhole. Probably should have used something lighter but it’s not too dreadful. In case my fly was terrible I went with navy top stitching, which kept things subtle/disguised.
I did consider adding rear pockets, both to break up a big expanse of backside and as I tend to stuff a lot of things into my back right jeans pockets whilst my giant babe is on my left hip, but my advice crew told me they looked fine without. And test driving these has proven those front pockets are ample for hankies, keys, small matchbox Kombis, baby intercoms and other necessities.

I’m so pleased with the fit, and I would be happy to devote a day of alteration to them in the future should I drop more weight – unpicking the waistband, taking in some darts and side seams wouldn’t be too much work. These took about 3 weeks, from toile to finished project, and probably would have taken 2 if winter sickness did not, yet again, visit our little household. I’ll absolutely be using this pattern again come summer for some shorts. But I think I’ll move the zip to the side seam – a fly does add bulk over the abdomen, and I love the look of a smooth flat(tish) front. And I’ve now got the confidence to tackle those cool girl Persephones for summer – some nice heavy linen-cotton in my stash has a tentative reservation on it.
Being a new silhouette for me on the bottom half necessitated much Pinteresting on how to style wide leg pants/jeans, particularly in winter. Obviously one needs balance, and, for someone ample of hips and bum, waist definition. I have a couple of cropped jumpers/sweaters in my wardrobe but nothing that was just the right length. So what’s a girl to do but find a solution. A cropped, fitted sweater/jumper was in order.

I considered the Seamwork Astoria (I do have the pattern) but on close inspection of many many versions, plus the shape of the armscye and sleeve pattern pieces, I decided that it would be too wide across the shoulders for me. It kind of looks halfway between a set in sleeve and a dropped shoulder. I’ve got narrow shoulders compared to the rest of my body. I really should do more narrow shoulder adjustments. Anyway. I digress. I turned to my copy of Gertie Sews Vintage Casual and came across the Pinup Sweater pattern. It was perfect as it had a cropped variation, so Gertie had done all the work for me. I made a size 8 in the shoulder, grading up to a 10 in the bust and waist, with my standard 1.5cm forward shoulder adjustment.
The fabric is a navy and white striped cotton sweater knit harvested from an old Ben Sherman jumper of my husband’s that had a mark on the front and didn’t fit him anymore. I am a very bad blogger/refashioner as I failed to take the prerequisite Before shot (see above first paragraph for reasons similar to slow weight loss). You’ll have to believe me when I tell you it had a navy banded neckline, cuffs and hems with navy patches on the elbows. I would have loved to reuse all of these, plus the elbow patches, but the position wasn’t right, and the neckband was weirdly applied and not salvageable. The cuffs and waistband have gone into my ribbing stash for the boy, and I used some beautiful quality cotton Lycra ribbing from Wattle Hill Fabrics. We are so lucky in Australia to have multiple suppliers of excellent quality ribbing. In addition to Wattle Hill I highly recommend Maai Designs, Seamstress Fabrics and Crafty Mamas Fabrics for an enormous range of ribbing in colours, sparkles, rainbow or stripes. This ribbing behaved like a dream and I feel my neckband is definitely one of the best I’ve ever done.

I just love this little top – I think the fit is great. I know it’s pretty busty but it won’t be forever. I  think it looks perfect with these pants and the whole outfit makes me feel like a million bucks. Which as we all know isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve in the early years of being a mama. I can’t wait to wear this outfit into spring, then start styling these fab trousers with some short sleeve tops as the weather warms up!

No, the Great Central Main Line is not an adequate alternative to HS2

London Marylebone. Image: Oxyman/Wikimedia Commons.

On 3 August, the Spectator published an article arguing that there was a superior alternative to building HS2: reopening the Great Central Main Line.

That line stretched from London Marylebone, through Rugby, Leicester, and Nottingham, to Sheffield and Manchester. It was closed under the Beeching cuts, on the grounds that it was largely a duplicate of the Midland Main Line, but much of the trackbed is still extant.

Reviving this route perhaps would cost less to build than HS2: some parts of it are still in mainline use. But it remains an inferior option, nonetheless.

A map of the Great Central network in 1903. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

For a start, the Great Central route would miss out two of the four key HS2 cities, Leeds and Birmingham. It would thus not fulfil one of the key purposes of HS2 – relieving the West Coast Main Line. Instead it would increase capacity on the Midland Main Line, probably the least important of the three north-south mainlines – something reflected in the fact that it still hasn’t been electrified. (Cheers, Chris. No, we’re not going to stop mentioning you, even though you’ve lost your job. Sorry.)

Also, why go to the trouble of building a new high-speed railway that misses out the UK’s second city (Birmingham) and one of its fastest-growing (Leeds)? Instead, we get Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield. These places are important – and desperately need better transport links – but it seems ridiculous to suggest that they are more important than Leeds and Birmingham.

HS2 will be faster, too. Whilst trains tend to dominate the market share for fast journeys when the journey itself takes less than 2hr30, only a few services – between London and Manchester, for example – are already fast enough to ensure a dominant market share. There is immense potential for onward journeys to Newcastle, Carlisle, Glasgow, and Edinburgh – places from which train travel to London and Birmingham does take longer than 2hr30. (Indeed, it takes longer to get to Birmingham from Newcastle than it does to get to London.)

HS2 services, using the HS2-only route to Manchester or Leeds and then moving onto classic sections of the rail network, will deliver real journey time reductions to these places, making rail travel more attractive for people living in the north-east, north-west, and Scotland. If we’re building a whole new line, we might as well build it properly.

The Great Central would also still require expensive tunnelling beneath Nottingham and Leicester. In Leicester, almost all of the trackbed has been built on; in Nottingham, it’s been taken over by trams. In Sheffield, things are simpler, but the route is also safeguarded for potential tram extensions. In this way, the Great Central route could in fact damage local transport.

To add to this, connections within cities will be awkward. Most of the big city stations on the Great Central route – Sheffield Victoria, Nottingham Victoria, Leicester Central, Rugby Central – have been closed and no longer exist. Transfers from these stations to others will be necessary anyway.

So is the Great Central route really a simpler alternative? The sections from London-Aylesbury and Manchester-Hadfield are also congested, and expensive and disruptive capacity improvements would be vital, probably including two additional tracks alongside these sections for intercity services. This alone would cost billions.

When you also consider that the original terminus, London Marylebone, has no spare capacity – In fact, no London terminus has any real spare capacity – and that land prices in London are astronomical, a London terminus for the new Great Central Main Line will cost more billions.

The final problem with the Great Central route is a less obvious one. The British public has something of an obsession with heritage railways: it’s one of those strangely British things, like drinking tea, keeping vast numbers of pets, or constantly talking about the weather. The Great Central railway is one such heritage railway, with two sections of track still in use – one from Leicester to Loughborough, and another from just north of Loughborough to just south of Nottingham.

A major project has been underway for some years to reconnect the two halves, and the railway is somewhat unique as the only double-track heritage railway in the world operating. This project, with its 18 miles of track, would have to be torn apart. Think the British public are angry at the destruction of ancient woodland? Just wait until you break up a major heritage railway.

The Great Central line may still has a role to play – much of it could and should be reopened. Reopening the line from Rugby to London, for example, would be fairly simple, bar station improvements at both ends, and could increase capacity on the most congested section of the WCML – an easy win.

But it’s not an adequate replacement for HS2, and it wouldn’t end up being much cheaper either, with extensive tunnelling and compensation schemes needed anyway. HS2 is not perfect, and more stations are needed – but it remains the better option for the UK. The Great Central route is no real alternative.


It was never my intent, but I seem to have taken the month of May off! The last few weeks have been busy with houseguests and family, a little sewing, and some cleanup in the studio.

I drove down to Los Angeles for the day, to celebrate both Maggie’s birthday and Mothers’ Day. We enjoyed lunch at a new restaurant downtown and caught up on news…(and took selfies)

I spent several days on what was to be a  new jacket, from a new-to-me Independent pattern designer

I used a fabric I have sewn before, a four-ply Taslan in a particularly beautiful
gray (you can’t tell from the picture, but it has a little green in it, just enough to make it interesting)

HOWEVER…my attemps at using this fabric have been, for the most part, failures. It has no stretch whatsoever, and except for a pair of loose pants I made for Joan many years ago, I have struck out. As I did on this jacket. Pattern to fabric matching not so good!  I abandoned the wadder in my studio and left for a week!

Our grandson Caleb and two of his buddies from Iowa made a quick road trip
after finals and before summer jobs to visit us. They were such fun, lovely boys/young men, we really enjoyed their time with us. They went to the beach a lot, to nearby Vandenberg Air Force base to see the missile launchers, and to
Morro Bay to do some kayaking. (Hey, it was early in the morning!)

Maggie and David came up to see the boys and we had a “farewell” dinner before they left…

My friend Joan returned from a glorious plein aire painting trip in Tuscany with
a side jaunt to Menorca, and we had dinner to catch up.

Then, my dear friend Willie came by for a few days en route to her family in LA,
and we, as always, had much to catch up on…

So…back to our “normal” life…I am making a raincoat for Paris in a beautiful

using V8934 but trying the collar and detachable hood from the Tosti jacket above.

Wish me luck!

ANNNNNND:  This woman I know has a Blue Roan English Cocker Spaniel named Karma,
who gave birth to SEVEN little boys a week ago…6 of them blue roan, one blue roan and tan…

and I get a picture every day of the pups and see how they’re growing…ANNNNNNNND
one of them has our name on it…stay tuned!

I’m off to VISIBLE MONDAY to join up with the highly visible women who frequent Patti’s site…come take a look!



Lots of time in my studio, working on my raincoat for Paris. I used that gorgeous red/black cross woven taffeta I wrote about last time…

gorgeous to look at, a bear to sew on. Because it’s nylon, it doesn’t take a nice press, so crisp edges are not possible. But….I’m very pleased with it!

I used Vogue 8934, Marcy Tilton’s shapely “cocoon” coat, but used the collar and detachable hood from Waffle Pattern’s Tosti Jacket.


I made it sufficiently roomy, to allow for layering over jackets and vests

I hadn’t ever made a detachable hood, so I got to learn a new technique, and also learned how to use my new Goldstar Heavy Snap Press Machine.

I’m wearing my birthday present from Dave, a wonderful necklace from Kathleen Nowak Tucci, made from Harley-Davidson inner tubes and stainless steel brake cables (!)

Cool, isn’t it?

While I was working on the raincoat, I listened to The Atomic Weight of Love, by Elizabeth Church, which I loved, and Don Delillo’s newest book, Zero K, which was just ok. Both are on Audible.

I’m still getting almost daily pictures from the dog breeder…the puppies are alost 3 weeks old, their eyes are open, and they’re SO CUTE.

I will be joining the Visible Women on Patti’s website this afternoon…come on over and take a look!


Made by a Fabricista: Lace and Flowers for a Wedding

Have you tried out any of the Milly designer fabrics yet?  I had not heard of Milly, but really liked the colors in this print and thought it would be perfect for a wedding that I am attending in Germany.  The wedding will be in a very old church, and the bride chose blue as the wedding color scheme, so I wanted something with blue in it.   When I received the fabric, I actually gasped- it is probably the prettiest fabric I’ve ever worked with!

The type of fabric was unfamiliar to me- it was very heavy and fully interfaced on the back.  I quickly googled Milly’s creations, and found this…

$925!!!  Wow, I knew it was nice fabric!  You’ll see that they call it Cady fabric, so I had to look that up too.  According the Threads magazine: “The most useful understanding of cady for a home sewer is that it’s a woven fabric that has the look and hand of two-, three-, or four-ply silk crepe with a bit of stretch. It can be made from fibers such as silk, cotton, rayon, wool, polyester, and acetate-often combined with some spandex.”  Mine doesn’t have any stretch whatsoever though.

I tried to find a sleeveless dress pattern similar to the designer original, and I came across a Cynthia Rowley pattern from a few years back- 1104.  This is a neat design because even though it might look like multiple pieces, the front and back are just one piece each, and they are shaped with pleats and darts.  This was important because I really didn’t want to break up the print any more than possible.

 This is not my normal style- I would normally wear a straight dress like a sheath, but I wanted to use every inch of this fabric, and I had 2-1/2 yards!

I  did a full bust adjustment, and added some length- not much, I can’t remember how much I added, but the pattern itself was pretty long.  I also added side seam pockets.  I think that this pattern is very nice for alterations- you can make the darts or pleats a little larger or smaller, and tweak your fit without too much trouble.

Since you never know what the weather is going to be like, I also ordered a Milly lace to make a shrug.  I think that the shrug really adds a lot to the outfit.    Because the weave so open, I knew that I needed a style with few seams.  I found McCalls 6461 which just has a shoulder seam and an underarm seam.

I used my coverstitch to finish the edges, as it would provide just another row of stitching to hold the open weave in place.  I also added a piece of twill tape to the back neckline, so that it wouldn’t stretch out of shape.

Unfortunately, the fabrics that I used are sold out, but you can find a whole lot more Milly fabrics here. 

Here’s a close up of the fabrics and the accessories.  The blue chiffon clutch was my late Mom’s- probably from the 50’s.  And the shoes were an Italian designer shoe that I found at a consignment shop for $3!   I think that the shrug “bookends” the shoes to pull everything together.

I haven’t made a fancy special occasion dress for a long time, so this was a really fun project for me.  Have you tried any of the Milly fabrics yet?  What did you think?  I just ordered 3 more, so you can say I’m smitten.

Happy Sewing!

How can cyclists protect themselves against air pollution?

A female cyclist attempts to protect herself from air pollution. Image: Getty.

The popularity of cycling in London continues to rise: according to statistics published by Transport for London (TfL), the number of journeys made by bicycle in London grew by 5 per cent in 2018. The transport agency has attributed the upwards trend in cycling to its investment in cycling infrastructure, not least the seven Cycle Superhighways and 12 Cycle Quietways the city now boasts.

Cycling is widely reported to result in health benefits for participants, and cyclists can expect to achieve improvements in both their physical and mental health as a result of switching from public transport or car to a bike. But with air pollution levels remaining stubbornly high across London, should cyclists be concerned that the health benefits they achieve as a result of cycling are actually being outweighed by the dangers posed by increased exposure to air pollution? 

Unlike during the Great Smog of 1952, air pollution today is often invisible to the naked eye. Nonetheless, London breached the European and UK air quality annual limit on 18  March when, for the 36 time this year, levels of pollution particles recorded at a measuring post exceeded the agreed limit. (EU rules allow 35 breaches a year.) Whilst this is a marked improvement on 2018 when the annual limit was broken on the 5 January, it reminds us of the risk that air pollution continues to pose to Londoners today. 

The rise of respirator masks

Anyone who has cycled or walked along one of London’s cycle paths in recent years is likely to have seen someone resembling Darth Vader cycling towards them. Protection masks, which are becoming increasingly popular amongst the cycling community, range from cotton surgical masks to respirators with in-built air filtration systems that cover a significant part of the cyclist’s face. 

But do masks actually work and are they worth the investment? 

Cotton masks categorically do not protect wearers against the inhalation of airborne particles. Whilst they can be somewhat effective in protecting against the spread of illnesses, they will not protect a cyclist from air pollution. 

Respirator cycling masks, which range in price from £25 to over £50, are a more sophisticated option. “N99” respirators are said to remove up to 99 per cent of airborne particles from inhaled air. But the particles that cause air pollution today are extremely small, which makes it particularly challenging for respirators to effectively block them from entering the human body. 

Another complicating factor is the fit of the respirator against the human face. Studies have concluded that under “perfect” conditions respirators do effectively filter pollution out of inhaled air. However, when actually fitted to a human face, respirators are often not able to form an effective seal against skin, which ultimately renders them useless. Features such as facial hair and short noses make is particularly challenging for a seal to form. 

The findings of studies into the effectiveness of respirator cycling masks are somewhat mixed – but point to the ineffectiveness of current designs. 

So what can cyclists do to protect themselves? 

The best intervention a cyclist can make to reduce their exposure to air pollution is to avoid the most polluted streets and roads. TfL’s Quietways are an easy way for cyclists to identify the less busy and less polluted roads (although TfL has announced it will be merging the Quietway and Cycle Superhighway networks into a single Cycleways cycle network during summer 2019). 

Cyclists may also consider reducing their cycling speed to reduce their inhalation of airborne particles. The faster and deeper we breathe in polluted air, the more pollutants are delivered to our lungs. Therefore slowing down and reducing their amount of exertion will go some way to protecting cyclists from air pollution. 

Finally, cyclists should check air quality forecasts and make informed decisions regarding their chosen mode of transport on a particular day. TfL provides daily forecasts on its website. 

So should cyclists stop cycling all together? In a word, no. Although there is currently not an effective way to stop yourself from inhaling air pollution whilst cycling, scientists have concluded that the physical and mental health benefits of cycling continue to outweigh the dangers posed by exposure to air pollution. Cycling remains a healthy method of transport for Londoners. 

If you are a cyclist who is concerned about your exposure to air pollution and you are considering investing in a respirator mask, be aware that research suggests they will not protect you effectively. Instead you may want to consider donating the money you would have spent on a respirator to a charity such as Trees for Cities, whose mission is to transform urban areas by creating Urban Forests.

Made by a Fabricista: Early Fall Separates

Hi all! 
This time of year, I start my fall sewing.  I love the fall colors with the rich darker tones and the not so vivid florals. 

For this month’s post, I chose the Designer linen in Navy.  This linen is the bomb of all linens.  It washes and dries well, wears well and feels like a billion bucks when you are wearing it. 
Here’s a photo of it in all it’s glory. 
Midnight Navy 100% Linen 58W

If you love this as much as I do, I’ve also included the link here: Midnight Navy Linen
The pattern I used for this is a fun one that’s so on-trend right now with the paperbag waistline.  I wasn’t sure how this design would look on me but I really like it! 
Here’s a picture of the pattern. 

Image result for images Style Arc Thea pant

The company is StyleArc and they are know for their pant pattern drafting.  I made very few alterations to the fit.  The biggest one was to take these in about 2″ at the side seams as they were a bit looser than I like.  The patch pockets in the linen worked like a dream! 
For my tank and cardi, I used this amazingly soft (and pretty!) double brushed knit.  I honestly want to wrap myself in several yards of this and I think I’d sleep like a baby.  This is the softest knit and it feels like you are wearing the most elegant silk.  It washes and dries beautifully.  Did I mention that it feels amazing? 
The colorway I used is sold out, but here are some great choices! Double Brushed Knit
The patterns I used are shown below. 
The tank pattern is FREE!  Isn’t it cute?  I love how it fits.  The pattern company is Itch to Stitch. 
Free Pattern Itch to Stitch Lago Tank

The cardi pattern is the uber popular Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet. 
Blackwood Cardigan

I made the shorter length sans pockets.  I am not sure why I waited so long purchase this and make it up.  It’s really fun and goes together quickly.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you’ll check out FM’s linen and double-brushed knits!
Sue from Ilove2sew! 

Made By A Fabricista: Two twill suiting sheath dresses (Vogue DKNY 1809)

Hello everyone! I usually gravitate towards fit and flare silhouettes when it comes to dresses, but this time I decided to fill a blank in my wardrobe and make myself sheath dresses!

I digged into the marvelous Milly collection again and selected two twill suitings for my August makes. When I saw them ‘in person’, I thought they would lend themselves well to that type of dress plus, as a bonus, I think those 2 sheath dresses will transition well into the cooler season ahead!

The pattern: Vogue DKNY 1809

I bought this Vogue Donna Karan pattern earlier this summer on Ebay and could not wait to try it; this is a sheath dress pattern with 3 options. I chose view C, size 10 – cannot be more classic than that!
This is a very well drafted pattern; you can find many beautiful versions of it on internet. The only modifications I made were to add 3 cms to the hem on view C as I could see it was shorter than views A and B which are already short themselves, and to pinch .5 cms at the inner point of the shoulder line and at CB seam, tapering to nothing, to solve a mini gap issue. I must have a small neck base or something ’cause I always experience some gaping in that area.

Dress #1: Made with lucky green/black/espresso floral cady suiting by Milly

I had originally selected this bold twill print by Milly to make something else, but when the fabric arrived the hand was different than what I had expected (much more supple and drapey) so I changed my plans accordingly. 
That fabric is just gorgeous and it would be right for so many projects: dresses, blazers, skirts, dressy pants, etc. It is substantial and has a little stretch widthwise, and the wrong side is white and has a rubber like feel. If you are interested, there is still some left here: Milly floral suiting fabric
My goal was to break the bold print as little as possible, so a sheath dress like Vogue 1809 seemed to be ideal (not too many seams, and front and back darts for shaping).

Some tips to work with this fabric:

1- This poly/spandex twill presses beautifully, but don’t put your iron too hot
2- A Microtex Schmetz sharp needle is a must to get through the texture of the fabric
3- Pin inside the seam allowances; otherwise you risk snagging on the right side
4- Better make a muslin first; unpicking a seam might leave permanent white holes that are visible even after ironing
5- This is a ‘technical’ fabric – scuba like if you will – , you don’t have to finish the seams if you don’t want to
That fabric was very enjoyable to sew, and this garment, although simple, feels like a designer dress because the print is so special. It hugs your curves while allowing freedom of movement, and a big plus is that it doesn’t wrinkle! Just perfect for going to the restaurant, a cocktail or for a corporate type of even somewhere!

Dress #2: Made with red drapey twill suiting by Milly 

I had originally selected this beautiful red drapey twill with nothing specific in mind; I’m like that, I like a fabric, and I order it knowing I will eventually chose something that will showcase its nature and qualities.
Since I had just made Vogue 1809 and it fit so right, I thought I would use that pattern again and make myself a red sheath dress. 
The fabric sewed equally beautifully. This particular color is now sold out, but here are other options that would be great substitutes.

Or why not browse the suiting pages, where you will find plenty of other colors?

I really enjoyed working with those twill fabrics, they were easy to sew, press, and they don’t wrinkle. I know those 2 dresses will transition well into fall (just add some nice pantyhose and a nice jacket) and they really fill a gap in my wardrobe. I have no idea why I waited so long to make myself sheath dresses!
Thanks for reading, and see you for next post in September!


Trend Report – Jersey and Knitwear

Be prepared for the upcoming fall and spring seasons with trendy and warm wardrobe pieces. Regardless if you’re going out to a party or staying home for the day, it doesn’t hurt to feel comfortable and fashionable. Take inspiration from top fashion brands such as Versace, Sies Marjan, Hermes, and more in which knit and jersey fabrics take on an entire new look. You’ll be staying warm all day every day with these uniquely designed pieces! 


Turn up the heat in one of these knit dresses created by designers Versace and Sies Marjan. From neon colors to pastels to stripes, you can rock almost any color and style without feeling limited. Check out this neon green knit dress by Versace that includes sparkling crystal buttons to give the dress some added attention. If you prefer more pastel shades, take inspiration from this Sies Marjan pastel pink wrap dress that can easily be styled for more casual to more formal occasions. These designers show that there are no limits to your options in fashion, so don’t be afraid to dress up and try out something new!

Looking for the perfect fabric to recreate these designer looks? Look no further! Check out out some of our jersey fabrics in green and pink to get started. Also, feel free to take a look at at our striped jersey fabric that is perfect for recreating the chic yet casual Sies Marjan striped maxi dress.

  1. Lime Solid Cotton Jersey
  2. Peach Silk Knit Jersey
  3. White/Navy Striped Stretch Cotton Viscose-Knit


According to the recent Versace collection, neon and bright colors are in style for the fall season. You can match a neon pink or bright knit blue sweater with a leather jacket or dress for a subtle pop. However, Versace paired some neon sweaters with neon bags colored pink and blue to drown out any neutral colors. Try pairing these sweaters under a dress, with a pair of shorts, or with a statement maxi skirt that’s perfect for a fun night out with your friends. Versace’s croc-embossed mini skirt has an added lace trim in the color blue, perfect for all occasions!

Interested in styling a croc jacket with a bright sweater? Our croc-embossed vinyl fabric made from 100% polyester is an ideal choice for recreating Versace’s jacket. We also got you covered with some bright colored wool fabrics that would make for the perfect sweater!

  1. Teal Solid Boiled Wool
  2. Black Embossed Faux Croc
  3. Strawberry Pink Solid Boiled Wool


Feeling casual or a bit sporty? We got you covered. Hermes, Ragbone, and Versace are this fall season’s top athleisure inspiration. For the days when you need a little more comfort than usual, throw on a pair of printed pants, a colorful knit sweater, and sneakers for a completed look. 

Achieve the ultimate fall and spring outfit by styling our designer fabric in plaid print from Rag & Bone. Match a pair of plaid pants with a red or mustard colored wool sweater for a nice contrast.

  1. Rag & Bone Steel Blue, Orchid and Red Plaid Suiting
  2. Rumba Red Solid Boiled Wool
  3. Sunflow Solid Boiled Wool

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