Monday, December 5, 2016

Mod Farmgirl Look

Overall Dress & Vintage Style Top


I have this love for overalls and overall-dresses, probably because you can’t find them anywhere. Nor can you even find a pattern for them. One of those ‘I want it because I can’t have it’ situations, I guess.

Simplicity 2656

So I finally decided just to make my own by altering a skirt pattern (Simplicity 2656). Well, not altering as much as making additions. All it needs is a bib and some straps and it’s an overall dress.  

I had this black and khaki plaid cotton (with just a touch of stretch to it) in my stash. (I apparently have an affinity for plaid prints as well overall dresses.) Not sure the print turned out to be the most flattering for this cut/style of garment, but I still enjoy it.


As you are probably aware if you follow this blog (or know me in real life), I hoard patterns. In particular all of the vintage  and retro style ones. Always looking for an excuse to use them.  And wouldn’t a vintage blouse pair just perfectly with an overall dress?

Simplicity 1692

I altered the pattern by putting in a shirring effect (casing with elastic sewn to the inside of the shirt) in place of the darts. This makes the top comfortably fitted both in the front and back (and eliminates the need for a side fastener).

The fabric is this vintage-looking cotton (I also had in my stash) with a small floral print in red, blue and goldenrod on a white background. I also used it for this 1930s Dustbowl dress I made.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Star Trek TNG Outfit

Knit Top & Skirt (Butterick 6285)


This is going to surprise anyone who knows how I'm a lifelong sci-fi nerd, but I just went to my first convention this past October. My friend who also sews costuming invited me to be on a costuming panel. (If you're unfamiliar with the con world, this is sort of like a seminar, where we discussed methods of reproducing costuming... a very large topic to cover in just an hour, for certain!)

Anyway, I wore my Alice costume the first day (for our presentation). But I wanted something more casual for the second day.

Okay. I'll be honest. I wanted an excuse to get some of the new line of Star Trek fabric featuring characters from The Next Generation (the Star Trek I watched when I was little).

I also wanted to try out this Pattern by Gertie that I'd recently picked up on sale. The skirt looked like it would be fun. It's very full but rather than gathered at the waist or in circle-skirt fashion, it has deep, multi-layered pleats.

Butterick 6285
It turned out way too large... but I think this was due to the fact that I had to fussy cut and piece the sections (hiding the seams in the pleats) because the fabric was too narrow (I think the pattern calls for at least 45" wide... standard quilters cotton is only 42" -sometimes less with the selvage waste). Also, it's a directional print. However, I only rounded up to the nearest yard from the requirement, and had the perfect amount of fabric.



I had both a black and teal-blue knit in my stash, so decided to just make a simple knit top reminiscent of the Star Trek TNG uniforms. It's a basic raglan sleeve cut with about 1 inch wide collar/neckline yoke.

I pieced the main part of the shirt to have the asymmetrical triangle design distinctive of the uniforms. This is the detail that really sells the look.

Problems with this piece were mainly that the knits were two different types of fabric with a different stretch variable. So it doesn’t lay completely smooth flat at some joins.
I could have also made it a little bit shorter and fitted for a better looking top, but I wanted a comfy one.

 I did receive several compliments. It is definitely a flirty fun style.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bohemian Hippie Dress (Burda 7224)

Bohemian Hippie Dress (Burda 7224)


This was a 'shopping my stash' project and I had a large amount of this soft, almost crepe-like cotton jersey knit that I ordered on sale sort of by mistake before. Even when you're familiar with textile terminology, it's hard to know precisely what you're getting without seeing it in person. However, into the stash it went. And it just happened to be perfect for this project (if not for the purpose I had originally intended).

I can't describe how comfy and soft this fabric is! Lovely to wear. And it has a cute stylized floral pattern, green with purple accents on a cream base.



Quick confession: I am a pattern hoarder. I buy a bunch of them whenever there's a sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Burda has some unique and interesting styles but is rarely on sale, so I have to be choosy with which patterns I get. Therefore, this one was one that I seriously considered making before (not just purchasing as a passing fancy).

What can I say? I love a shirt-dress.

As far as the fact that it's a Burda "Young" pattern, the "young" seems only denote the fact that their designers think the style is more suited to younger women. Not that I believe anyone should ever be restricted in their fashion choices by the opinions of others, but this design especially seems odd to imply only younger woman can wear it. It looks quite universal to me.

Maybe they just meant young at heart. (aka Hippies and free spirits.)

I opted for the long sleeves variation, which features a gathered flare like on medieval dresses. The bodice is simple and not very fitted (definitely needs some extra fit adjustment despite the darts, especially if using a stretch fabric such as a knit). I think if I made it again, I would lengthen the bodice. It sits about an inch higher than my natural waist (likely due to my bust size).

The pattern lends itself wonderfully to use with knits. (Especially with the aid of an overlock/serger.)




I opted for some wooden buttons I had in my stash for the dress placket. This was primarily to match a vintage wooden bead-macramé belt I inherited from another crafter's de-stash cleanse.

Pair with moccasins, sandals, flats or bare feet (seems like the most accurate option), loosely styled hair (or tie-dye bandana) and some eclectic jewelry (my Moroccan wooden bangle and magpie pocket watch necklace here) to finish off the bohemian look.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

STEAMPUNK BABY: Overalls & Hat Sets

Overalls & Engineer/Newsboy Hat

For Steampunks of the Future... Er... Past? Or Past's Future? So that would be the Present, right?

These overalls are 12mo/1yr in size with adjustable straps and elastic in the back for fit. I had some awesome striped fabrics in my stash, as well as the gear print sage colored cotton and gold on brown polka dot.

The sage stripe was an upholstery fabric that I've made a number of things from, but this marks the end of it. And definitely worth the use in this cute design, I think.

The hat is a newsboy/engineer's style in child size, with elastic at the back for fit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TARDIS Baby Quilt

My friend commissioned me to make a baby quilt for an expectant grandchild with Doctor Who fans for parents, because she's a hip grandma, and generous one, too!


It was ultimately far cheaper, and much easier for me to just buy a pattern. Craftsy had a nice one called 'Relatively Dimensional' by Hunter's Design Studio. But the thing is that this pattern is sort of life-size replica in scale, and the standard crib size quilt is like 32"x50" or thereabouts. But if you 5/8 scale the entire quilt, guess what finished size it comes out to be?

32.5 inches x 50 inches!


Except for all the math bits... Oddly, fractions used to be my least favorite type of math to do, even though I generally good at the subject. Ironically, now that I sew all the time, I live in fractions. It is the math I use the most.

Anyway, besides my crazy notion of scaling it all down (taking every measurement, subtracting the seam allowance, multiplying by 5/8 and then adding the seam allowance back in), the pattern was easy to follow and execute. Again, I was working slightly off pattern size and therefore materials wise, but there seemed to be no worry of running out. I assume that means their full-scale calculations were also correct.


Being that the expectant baby is a girl, and the pattern recommends a boring grey for a background, I opted to change that bit (All other fabric recommendations were followed and the colors seemed to be good choices), I went with the KONA cottons, which were all available through Not sure how hunting for specific ones in a local fabric store would've went).

I went with this Magenta fabric called 'Cosmos'. It seemed fitting.
Also, it matched this great Doctor Who fabric that has magenta accents, which I used for the backing.

The most difficult part of this project were the special panels with wording. The 'POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX' banner and the 'INSTRUCTIONS' notice. I'm sure this would've been much simpler, with the possibility of even ordering the spoon flower fat quarter the designer of the pattern created. However, I went with 5/8 scale, remember?

Therefore I had to use the helpfully provided guides (in the PDF) meant for if you decide to trace the lettering, and scale them down, to you guessed it 5/8 their original size. I also had to reverse the color for the POLICE BOX banner and give it a black background. Several test prints later, I got it to measure precisely the necessary size for a 5/8 scale of the pieces noted in the original pattern.

Now we get to the truly frustrating part of working with June Tailor brand Computer Printer Fabric. (BTW, make sure you read carefully and get the washable kind. I didn't notice until I had already driven home the 30 miles from the fabric store that the pack I grabbed was cheaper for a reason despite being the same brand. Because who would sell printable fabric that isn't washable?! You need to rinse the stuff to set the ink, morons!).

Okay, so after you've ordered the washable type of June Tailor Printer Fabric (that you wished had a better brand but you were already ordering fabric and why pay shipping somewhere else when the printable fabric already costs over $3 per page?), you can print out the final (precisely correct to scale) artwork. It prints fine. But this crappy ass brand of printable fabric (which you're supposed to iron for two minutes sans steam) burns when ironed. I've never seen that before. So try again, but remember you only have one sheet left to redo the POLICE BOX, because it took one sheet for the burned one and one sheet for the INSTRUCTIONS panel.

Anyway, print it, carefully iron it. Rinse it. Watch most of the ink wash down the drain. Dry it. Iron it again, sew with it. Finish the quilt. Wash the quilt in abject terror that it will fade further. Dry the quilt. Note how the fabric has faded more. Take out your fabric paints (which you were hoping to avoid the meticulous work by spending $10 on printer fabric) and go over all of the black.

Why is this so frustrating? It is just printer fabric, a concept that can't possibly work, right?

Wrong. I don't remember the brand I got before, but it printed and set fine. Nice rich, dark blacks stayed black. It even had a nicer hand (this June Tailor brand crap was kind of stiff/nasty). Also, it was 5 sheets for $12 or so. I really wish I had kept the packaging. I could've sworn I got it at a Jo-Ann Fabrics, too. And it came in different types of fabric, including silk blends and etc. But our little one only had this crappy brand.


I had enough extra fabric to make a baby dress and bloomers to go with the quilt. Using Simplicity 1205. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

GARDEN SMOCK TOP (Simplicity 8152) 

(Simplicity 8152) 

Pretty self-explanatory. I made this top so I would have something to wear in the garden besides a ratty old t-shirt. 
What's wrong with the ratty old t-shirt, you ask?
Well, you wind up with a farmer's tan, for one. And more importantly, you don't have pockets! 

But surely your ratty old pants have pockets? 

Well, I don't much care for pants. Also, when you put your phone-sized mp3 player (because it is basically a phone just without the cell phone service parts) in your pocket, it tends to jump out. Also, it doesn't bend, like the rest of you does while working in the garden. So, no. Pants pockets are a NO GO! 

You see now, the necessity of convenient and roomy pockets readily available, don't you? Because working in the garden without listening to an audio book is just plain unacceptable. 

I just happened to have the perfect hand-me-down fabric. I believe inherited when my aunt moved house (Thanks, Aunt Kim!). It has vegetables on it. And unfortunately there was not enough of it to make a pair of overalls (which I would've rocked the hell out of). There was, however, the perfect amount for a smock top! 


I had a several options, since I am a pattern-hoarder (or something).
I used Simplicity 2272 View D to make my work aprons back when I worked a real job from 9 to 5 dashing around to keep embroidery machines running. I needed the pockets for similar reasons. Scissors (which you're not supposed to run with) and who could possibly get through a work day without an audio book? Anyway, it was a pretty good pattern but perhaps a little bit too much pocket for garden work (Too much pocket? I know you're shocked.) 

I also have in my possession Simplicty 4282, a 1940s-1950s looking collection of aprons, including one full smock style (view C). I wasn't feeling the pockets on the sides thing.
Finally, I have Simplicity 8152. (By finally, I mean it is the last of the dozen apron patterns I have with a smock variation). Their sleeveless option (View D) buttons up the front. No thank you. Remember how I said there was such a thing as too much pocket. Well, there's definitely such a thing as too little pocket. So ultimately, I went with View C only without the three-quarter sleeve thing they got going on (beautifully accented by that turtleneck sweater -no thanks!) 

I made a Medium (14/16) and the sizing was just right. I usually fit a 14 in Simplicity patterns, so if you usually take a size 16, just be a little cautious. Also, my adaptation made it a little snugger, so you might still be safe. 


I basically followed the pattern on this one, only decided to put ties at the waist, attaching each with a pleat in the front. (A trait that Simplicity 2272 View D had and I liked on my work aprons). 

I ended up wearing my new Smock Top last week when I put my garden in. With a pair of leggings cut off into shorts (yes, I'm that classy). But it was quite warm out and gardening requires some measure on comfort. Don't worry. I rolled around in deet to make sure no ticks got my bare legs and ankles and arms. Oh, and of course the finishing touch of my Pith Helmet. (It really does keep the sun off and your head cool (if you give it a little soak in water).

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Northern Woods Costume

Northern Woods Costume
(One Part Steampunk; One Part Fairie; One Part Folk)

-Elven Shrug Jacket (made from upcycled, vintage and remnant materials)
- Peasant Dress (Cotton Gauze fabric; handkerchief hem)
-Upcycled Sweater Corselet Belt 
-Upcycled Sweater Thigh-High Spats


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


And for those reall cold cosplaying days... 


 This was what I wore for Saranac Lake's Winter Carinval in February. It was a superheroes and villain's theme and a balmy -13 degrees Fahrenheit the day of the parade. So fleece wasn't going to cut it. 


-Wig (eBay)
-Jacket (Wal-Mart with white Faux fur trim added)
-X-Men Arm Patch out of fleece
-Scarf (yellow and green fleece)
-Belt (Black with grommets)
-X-Men Belt Buckle(craft foam)
-Yellow Fleece Gloves (made by me)
-Black Snowpants
-Winter Boots



-Red Pencil applied to my dark eyebrows, which matched the wig pretty well, I think. (It's actually a lip liner because I only have a few supplies I purchased for other cosplays and don't wear makeup regularly)
-Green Eyeshadow (of course!)
-Fake Eyelashes (sometimes they're fun. But never when you're trying to apply them, and your tube of eyelash glue has dried up since the last time you used it two years ago and you have to squeeze the tube so hard to dislodge the dry chunk that it squirts all over the bathroom sink -and wall.)
-The usual Concealer, Powder, Blush
-Red Lip Liner and this Sparkly Lip Whatnot (comes in pencil form)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Spandex a little too thin for your winter cosplaying?
I decided to experiment with fleece, and have to say it worked pretty well.
(It was a cheap as well as warm alternative.)

-Wig (Ebay; I added the black fleece headband)
-Bomber Jacket (Thrift Store with X-Men patch my friend made on her embroidery machine)
-Fleece Jacket (I made, with faux belt.
-Fleece Pants (I made... faux thigh-high boot effect)
-Fleece Shoe/Boot Covers (I made to go over a pair of heel, which you can't see anyway because they sunk into the snow)