A Small Victory

As I stated on the front page of this blog, I have a dress form that I bought several years ago. When I bought it, it was hard to find one that was the right size for my body. Most of the dress forms were for much smaller bodies than mine, and the full-figured ones were much too big. When I did find one, it was expensive. Anyway, today I realized I hadn’t adjusted my dress form for a while, and went out to take it in all over. Guess what I discovered? After taking in the waist adjustment all the way, it was still too big by an inch! And the bust and hip measurements can only be taken in an inch or two more before they won’t go any further. On one hand it makes me sad because I’ll have to buy a new one if I want to continue using it, but on the other hand, its great because of how many inches I’ve lost. That opens a whole new thing though, because finding one that picks up where this one left off and goes down to a size I know I won’t shrink out of any time soon can be tough. I’ve already started looking around.

I’ve also decided I am going to make a few items of clothing, then wait until I drop another size before making more. I’m also really going to focus on separates and pieces that are more versatile rather than the crazy printed dresses I’ve always favored in the past. In the last few weeks, I’ve made McCall’s 6400, which will fit for a while, Simplicity 3797 (which was a bust for now but will look better when I’m slimmer and can take it in a bit), Butterick 5011 (which needs a little fine-tuning still that I’ll be doing shortly), the circle skirt, and right now I am working on a fully lined version of McCall’s 5330 skirt, the button down view. I have all of the fabric cut, and sewing will go quickly as there’s only a few darts and its very basic, but I’m waiting on buttons to get here so for now its pretty much on hold. After that I’m planning on two more items (thinking a jumper for one )for this Fall/Winter and calling it good until I’m down to a pattern size 18.

I’m also contemplating re-using my Labyrinth Masquerade Ball dress for Halloween. I’ll need to take it in pretty much everywhere, but that won’t be too much work. And I’ll actually do the last few touches of the dress like it was supposed to be, not how my lazy ass did it the first time. Its a beautiful dress, but it makes me sad that I only got to wear it once and that I bought a hoop skirt to also use only once.

I did the dress in a powder blue and a medium purple, and if I remember right the blue has glitter in it too. Basically when I cut the dress, I didn’t measure myself correctly and cut it much too big. I never tried it on until it was pretty much finished, and then I didn’t have time to tear it halfway apart and make the needed adjustments. I also never did the over-skirt pieces up so they have that full-bodied look; they just hang.

I have to go to my Mom’s in the next few days anyway, so will pick it up then and bring it home to adjust it. And then I can be a freaking princess for Halloween! haha

Full Circle Skirt

Yesterday after finishing the halter top, I decided I wanted to tackle a full circle skirt. I had about 3 yards of red fabric with white polka dots, and Butterick’s 4790 has a circle skirt as part of the dress. I cut just the skirt pieces, making them a few inches shorter as I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make them the same length as they are on the dress, and stitched the halves together.
After that I cut a waistband, making it a few inches longer then needed, and started stitching it into place. I ended up ripping out quite a few stitches trying to decide how I wanted to finish off the waistband before deciding to make a button tab to overlap the top above the zipper.
Still the whole thing only took me about 2 hours from start to finish and I’m so pleased with it! I absolutely love it and never want to take it off! I also want to twirl and make it spin out like a little girl… lol. 😛 I did forget to add pockets though, which makes me a little sad, but I can always add them later. Its not hard to do.


This was my first attempt at using a part of anything pattern to make something different and it was so easy! Maybe I should see what I can Frankenstein together from my other patterns!

Butterick 5011 View A Part 2

If you haven’t read the previous post, go back here to catch up. There’s a nice close-up of the fabric in that post too. 8)

I headed out to my craft room after doing the grocery shopping today and got to work on this hoping to finish it today. I followed the directions almost exactly, except where the upper part meets the lower, I used a French seam to hide the raw edges. Everything seemed to be going along nicely, until I tried it on. The back gaped something awful. There was at least 3 1/2 inches of extra fabric back there, even though I had been super careful in cutting everything and had taken my measurements just a days before.

I didn’t want to completely deconstruct the top (those French seams take time to pick out) so instead I ripped out the seam connecting the top to the bottom in an area in the center back about 6 inches wide. I already knew how much needed to come out of the back, and had pinned up the excess and was still able to pull it on and off easily, so I went ahead and cut the excess off from the upper back panel. Then using a French seam, I connected the two sides again.

That left me with a few extra inches of fabric in the bottom portion, and since I hate gathering, I made four tiny pleats to take up the excess and stitched the top and bottom halves together again. The result was very nice, no ugly spots, and it went smoothly. I still think the back sits too low, and if I make it again I’ll use interfacing in the back panel to stiffen it up a bit, but overall this was a quick and easy pattern to do and it turned out really well.
Sashi says she approves of my new top, though she’d much rather be digging a hole in one of the flower beds.


I think the bust could have been a little roomier, but for women who aren’t big on top, its probably just about right.


The back still sits low, but nowhere near like it did before, and the gape is gone! Success!

I would definitely make this again in the future when I need another cute halter top, or I may try the tank top version instead next time.


I started washing all my cotton fabrics in my bins today, which while the first load was half actual laundry, the next two were fabric only. After it was washed and dried, I measured each piece, refolding it, and then pinning a note onto it so I know how much is there at a glance later. Part of my problem with the fabric I do have is not knowing how much is actually there. If its all clearly labeled, I have no excuses for not being able to put a piece to good use, and I’ll hopefully be doing less buying of cuts I don’t really need. I got it done today but it was tough as its hot back there in my craft room and there was a lot of fabric to fold and measure. The plus side is some of the pieces were still sealed in plastic and clearly marked as to how much fabric was there, so I saved the labels and just pinned them back on the cuts afterwards. Of course they all need a good ironing, but I’ll worry about that as it comes up.

While I was folding and measuring all that fabric, I found a dress my grandmother had started making many years ago. Most of the dress is sewn together, but it doesn’t have any facings or a zipper. I wasn’t sure what to do with it right now so I just folded it up and placed in in the drawer next to the pink dress she cut but never sewed together. I still haven’t looked to see what is there or not there in that one- I was about to use the fabric for something ages ago, and when I pulled out the pin holding it into a roll, I realized it already was something.

Anyway, I’ve now got two drawers full of cotton prints, one full of cotton solids, one drawer full of knits, one drawer full of flannel, and one drawer with some specialty fabrics and several colors of satin.

I have also been poking around on eBay looking at large lots of vintage patterns. I found one lot that had quite a few I liked it in, but the largest sizes were two or three sizes below me at this point, especially considering older pattern sizing runs smaller then modern sizing does. I did make a bid, but walked away after making one last one about a minute before the auction closed. The final bid was $13.00 above my last bid. I’m kind of glad I missed out on it, though part of me wonders if I couldn’t have resold most of them later if they were in good condition.

After that I found a lot that had 41 recent patterns in it. There was a buy it now option on it, and the price wasn’t bad at all. It was actually a good mix of patterns, many of which are in my size and are something I’d like to make. Almost all of the patterns are new and uncut as well. This is the breakdown of the patterns in the lot. They’re all Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity patterns.

Will fit now (20 patterns)

  • B4929, B5315, B5455, B5491, ^B5638, B5641, ^B5662,
  • M6116, M6321, M6349, M6518, M5855, M5932, M6318,
  • S2355, S2359, S2365, S2694, S2966, S4080

Will fit when I drop 1 to 2 sizes (4 patterns)

  • M5006, M5400, M5525
  • S2338,

One size patterns, mostly accessories (6 patterns)

  • M6523, *M6090, *M6089, M6045, *M6047,
  • *S2273, S2274

Stuff I’ll probably never use (due to either small size of being children’s patterns) (10 patterns)

  • MP367, M5382, *M6326, *M6118,
  • +B4790, B5555,
  • S2941, S2561, S2692, S2364

The pattern numbers marked with:

  • * Already cut
  • ^ On my favorites list, I was already going to buy these
  • + already own it

Even if I only use 15 of these patterns, I still paid under $4.00 each for them and I can always sell the really small ones. I’m probably never going to fit into a pattern size 12. That’s about a 34″ bust and a 26″ waist. Tiny!

After spending all day washing, drying, measuring, and folding fabric (imagine folding your laundry for 3 or 4 hours, it wasn’t the most fun way to spend an afternoon) I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually do any sewing. I was instantly burned out on the idea of even touching fabric, let alone laying it out, cutting it, and pinning it to sew. That didn’t last long though and by about 8pm I was back in my craft room looking at what cuts of fabric I had enough of to make Butterick 5011’s view A. While the gingham I planned to use was an okay choice, it wasn’t really what I wanted. I ended up finding this cut almost on the top of the first drawer I looked in.



This cheerful fabric is a cut my mom bought when I was a little girl, and I think I remember having a shirt or maybe some overalls in this print when I was about 4. The yellow is pretty bright but the red strawberries and blue stars actually tone it down a little so its manageable. I cut out all the pieces, one of which I had to go back to cut after I started sewing because I forgot it the first time, made the ties, stitched the back to the fronts, did the same to the facing pieces, and stitched the facing onto the outer part. I turned it but I didn’t understitch it yet. I’ll do that tomorrow. So far the only modification I’ve made to the pattern was the ties- instead of stitching down one side and then turning them, I folded the edges to the center, folded it in half, and stitched down the edge. Its so much easier then trying to turn a narrow tube (I know, there’s lots of tricks to do it easily but its something that frustrates me like crazy) and the ties sit flatter that way too.

I am so glad I picked up my Reader Digest sewing book a few weeks ago when I was out at my mom’s. That book is excellent for explaining what different terms mean and giving good detail as to how you actually do them. We had to buy the book as part of our class materials when I took a sewing class several years ago, and it has proven useful over and over.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I should have quite a bit more done and something to actually show you. Maybe I’ll even finish it.

Butterick 5011 View A

b5011My next project will be Butterick 5011, view A. The only difference between the two of them is one is a tank top style (B) and the other is a halter neck (A). The fabric I’m using is a red and white vintage gingham that either came out of my Mom’s fabric stash from when I was a small child, or out of my grandmother’s fabric stash, which was from the 60’s and previous. I’ve actually got quite a bit of vintage fabrics in my stash, and am looking forward to giving them a life besides just sitting in my drawers. Anyway, the pattern pieces are cut and tomorrow I will pre-wash the fabric just to be sure. There are zero frayed edges on this stuff so I don’t think its been washed yet even though its probably older than I am.

I also received the stackable drawer units I ordered from Amazon thinking (wrongly) that my patterns would fit inside them. I was going to refuse the package at first and just send them back once I realized (too late) that they wouldn’t work for what I wanted them for. Then I realized they were pretty much perfect for storing my smaller cuts of cotton fabrics (and larger scraps) sorted more or less by color. I’ve got reds and pinks, yellows oranges and browns, greens, blues, purples, and black and whites.

I’m thinking about using some of the smaller pieces to practice making quilt blocks with so when my fabric order with my quilt picks comes in, I can be ready to start making the blocks for it.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow, after I wash a drawer full of fabrics, I’ll hopefully get started on the cutting and sewing of the new top, and hopefully it turns out cute with no weirdness like that dress had.

Simplicity 3797 – Dress View A Part 2

As you know, I started sewing this dress a few days ago, and was expecting smooth sailing all the way through. I made a few minor changes, adding pockets, (which i had to cut twice… 😐 ) and everything was going fine. Then as I was putting the zipper in, I saw somehow my side edges where the zipper goes were not lining up properly. I figured out where the problem was, and when I started unpicking the stitches to take the top band off of the dress so I could fix things, my fabric decided to rip instead. I ended up cutting the top band off, losing about 1/2″ from the top of the bodice.The I found out I didn’t have enough of the same fabric left over to re-cut the band pieces again, so I ended up using some black and white gingham instead. The two fabrics looked better together than I would have thought they would.

So, smooth sailing again right? I found the problem, I re-cut and I fixed it, right? Wrong. Everything seemed to be going fine. I tried the dress on and it fit. I sew the straps on. The I try the dress on one last time. Erm. I tried to try the dress on, but now that the straps are on it, I can’t open the side enough even with the zipper open all the way to actually get the dress more than halfway on. WTF?!?

I re-read the directions about five more times and quite simply I can’t see where the problem is, and the only way to actually get the dress on is to take off the left strap. From here on out, this dress will be known as Murphy. As in Murphy’s Law. Anyway, here she is. My one strap wonder.



It actually looks pretty good from the front. Of course having both straps it would look better, but that doesn’t seem like a possibility here. The addition of the pockets does kind of mess with the general shape of the dress, but not too much, and I decided a lot time ago I would be adding pockets to pretty much everything that did not already have them.

The side view isn’t so hot. This dress was definitely made for a more slender shape than I have, and having my belly out in front like that does not help the way this dress looks on me at all. I was iffy about how it would actually look on me, and now I have the answer.


I do not like the rear view at all, but its not the dress’ fault. It’s my overweight body packing curves in places where they don’t belong and making the dress sit oddly. But in a way this photo makes me feel good. I’ve lost 40+ pounds and I can’t even imagine how badly this dress would look if I hadn’t lost that weight already.

So, Simplicity 3797, you had some issues but overall you were okay. I just really wish I could figure out that strap issue. Maybe if there was about three more inches to the straps I could have slipped it on with them both in place, but then the straps would be far too long.


I fixed the strap issue and the solution was so painfully obvious I feel like a ‘tard for not thinking of it sooner. Like before I took all those pictures. I realized all I had to do was make that strap detachable in the front so I can undo it and redo it as needed. I sewed the strap back on in the back, added a buttonhole to the front end of the strap, and added a button to the inside of the front of the dress. It took me hours to think of the solution, but only minutes to implement it. Here’s a new pic of the top, and I replaced yesterday’s pics with new ones as well up ^^^ there.

And you know, the gingham is kind of growing on me there. Tomorrow I need to clean up my craft room as there is pieces of red, and black and white fabric everywhere, my tape measure is on the floor, buttons are all over the table, pins are scattered, it looks like a hurricane swept through there. I’m a messy worker when I’m frustrated.

Simplicity 3797 – Dress View A

I decided my next project was going to be the dress from Simplicity 3797. I opened up the bottom drawer of my fabric storage and pulled out the first thing I saw that there might be enough of. That first fabric pick was 3 yards of a deep red floral print cotton I bought about 6 years ago along with a similar blue print and a medium grey/charcoal grey print, the latter two of which I made some peasant type shirts out of that basically required cutting two gigantic vaguely shirt shaped pieces and added lots of elastic to give it the right shape via gathering. I checked the sizing and fabric needs for the dress on the envelope and confirmed I needed 2 3/4 yards. I hadn’t pre-washed this fabric yet, and needed to do laundry so I threw all of our black clothes (which is 90% of the laundry) in with the fabric. I left out the few lighter colors because I didn’t want everything to be pink.I sat down to start cutting out the pattern pieces while I waited.

Fabric washed and dried, I laid it out on the carpet (I don’t have room on my tables for fabric cutting) and starting arranging the pattern pieces.


On 44″ wide fabric this pattern was super easy to layout and make everything fit. I had no issues at all, and actually had about 12″ x 12″ left at the end plus smaller, stringier scraps.


I could actually make a few small zippered bags out of what’s left, or use them for practicing my piecing when I get read to make that quilt. Note to self- Buy more straight pins.


Tomorrow I need to cut out the interfacing pieces I need, and start stitching. I’m hoping to get this at least half done tomorrow before it either gets too hot or I just need a break. There is one pattern piece in this one that I have no idea what its for- I”ll have to read through all of the construction directions before I start and figure it out.

See you all tomorrow!

McCall’s 6400 View B

I’ve had it on my sewing bucket list to work with knits. I’ve got yards and yards of knit fabrics, and several patterns that are made for knits. But I’ve been terrified to try sewing them without a serger, and buying a serger isn’t something that’s likely to happen any time soon. I had asked around from different bloggers who have sewn quite a few knit projects, watch YouTube videos, read tutorials and tips. Then two days ago I said to hell with it and just jumped in.

I chose McCall’s 6400 for my first knit pattern because its simple. The pattern for view B has two pieces- front, and back. I figured the less pieces there are, the less chances there will be for me to really muck things up.

Cutting was easy enough though I did have to make an effort to not allow the fabric to stretch while I was cutting it, and sewing was simple too. I used a straight stitch and stretched the fabric as I sewed it. The only thing that I’m not completely happy with was the hemming. The fabric was a little slick and some of my hemming is a bit wonky, but the print is so busy its really hard to see it.


I’m not totally crazy about the style of this time- its weird and asymmetrical and if you ask me plain old wonky, but everyone else, boyfriend included, really seem to like it. And it was a good choice for my first knit, so I’m going to wear the shit out it. :mrgreen:

McCall’s 5248 Nightgown View C & Shorts View D

I did both of these views of McCall’s 5248 last week, starting with the shorts, then moving on to the nightgown, and back to the shorts again.

I don’t really have photos of the shorts (I look ridiculous in shorts and my dress dummy doesn’t have a lower body option so to speak), but here’s the nightgown. It turned out cute, but I don’t wear these, so it went up in my Etsy shop. Its a size Large/X-Large, and the fabric is flannel. Very soft and warm for winter. The print on the lower half is skulls made out of flowers. Click on the thumbnails for larger views of each image.



The only challenge I had with the nightgown was finding a way to add the lace trim and hide the raw edge completely. I did French seams on the rest of it,  so no raw edges visible anywhere. It turned out really well, and I got to use up some of the lace my friend Tracy gave to me as well.

Now if I can just find a buyer for the nightgown I’ll be happy!

Beads and Banks

I got my box in the mail today with the last of the beads I ordered, so not only can I finish up my bracelet I had to order beads for, I can work on other projects as well. I got some real pretty beads in the box, and some that I’m not sure I’m crazy about but sure they will find a place they belong sooner or later. I love the super bargains where you get a mixed lot of a type of bead (in this case it was mother of pearl) and its just a random grab bag of product. Sometimes I wish you could put in $20 and get a box full of stuff randomly selected, say a minimum of 10 items. That would be a lot of fun.

I turned in my final project I posted here yesterday and the teacher loved it. He said it was a crack-up and liked the comic book-styled fonts choices I made with the narrative. Now we’ve only got the final test to do on Thursday and the class is over. I am confident that I am getting a B in the class. After the first few assignments I was doing pretty decent on the assignments, an my quiz scores have a B average. Of course I won’t know for sure for a few weeks but I’m not worried any more. Not like I was at the beginning of the semester.

Back to beads, I did a rope necklace out of the 6/o Czech seed beads I got with the mixed earth-tone colors. I divided it up into three sections with some turquoise beads, and now I’m working on stitching poppy jasper chips to it o one of the three sections. It definitely makes a different in the design, and I may add further embellishment to it after the chips are all stitched into place. I’ll be posting pictures of it when I get it finished.

I may take a break though and work on the fringe for the Day of the Dead amulet purse for a while instead though, now that I have my fringe beads and can get back to work on it.