Poppin’ Tags

DSC03240I picked up this dress a couple of weeks ago at the Goodwill bins for like 75 cents (they had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard… HOLLA). I’m a sucker for old fashioned lace embellishments and I thought I could make something cute out of this. The care label said it was 100% rayon, so I decided it was worth my time to resurrect this.

photoI didn’t do anything much to save this dress. It just goes to show how little tweaks can totally change the look of a garment. I really like how this came out. I think it looks very Modcloth/ Shabby Apple-esque now.

DSC03242I hacked about a foot off of the length. I also cut out the HUGE shoulder pads and used my seam ripper to remove the sleeves. I made two little darts right at the underarms to bring it a little bit closer to my body to conceal my bra. Then I turned and stitched around the armscye. I also stitched up a new hem. That’s all.  I hope this inspires you to try to make something old new again. I threw in this last photo because it made me laugh, I’m like, “no more paparazzi”

DSC03254xx, Cynthia


3B25F4AD-4D67-45F0-89C7-E8A5C28F10C3-12201-000009FDA7911A8F I wasn’t sure about taking photos in my homemade bathing suit, that I posted a photo of about a month ago. I knew I was over-due to post a pattern review and details, but I decided to be brave and post photos in the suit as well. You can’t really tell what something looks like, when it’s not on a body. I’m even going to show you the backside (yikes!) Ladies, we’ve got  to start loving the skin we’re in… amirite?

This was made using Kwik Sew 3875. Ya’ll, I think I’m hooked on making my own swimwear from now on. You can pick whatever fabrics you want, you use so little it’s super economical (this only required 3/4 yard), you get to make your dream suit, and it’s actually pretty easy. Who knew? I already have the fabric bought to make another bikini, and I’m totally going to make the Bombshell Suit. Hmmm…. I also want a bikini with a high-waisted bottom and halter-top. I’m getting excited. I’m sure you’ve noticed the river in the background of my blog photos recently. It’s out my back door, is this  real life? After work today, my husband and I hopped into our inner tubes and floated while drinking beers. This summer is gonna be my jam, and I need MOAR bathing suits! Squeeee.

D28AD219-2A9F-4B20-B0D6-45FB94A60028-12201-000009FDF7C4FF74Now that I got that out if the way, I can talk about this swimsuit. Since this is my first attempt there are definitely a few things I would like to do differently next time, but I’m pretty pleased with the final outcome. I found this fabric locally. The metallic blue wasn’t actually with the swimwear fabric. I think it’s intended for “dance” costumes (hopefully that doesn’t bring all of the google creeps to my blog… shudder). It has the right amount of stretch, but it’s already starting to lose it’s shine on high stress areas (mainly my booty). I also found this white fabric with a thin gold stripe (I wish I had bought more, because they’ve sold out of it and I really love it). I really liked the way they looked together. My grandpa was in the Navy, so I think it’s in my DNA to like nautical fashion.

1449C1B9-C0E8-43A0-9C35-5CB16E399DD5-12201-000009FD907A9C92Besides the swimwear fabric, making this suit required a few different supplies than I normally use. It is lined with a flesh colored spandex lining, it used 3/4 inch “cotton elastic”, and there are two pieces of boning along the sides of the bust for support. I wish I added bra cups. I might add a halter strap still.

I had to experiment, but I found using my walking foot to be invaluable in helping this sticky/grabby fabric feed through my sewing machine. I used two different types of stretch stitches. I used a triple straight stitch for all of the seams and any top-stitching. I also used a triple zig-zag stitch to attach the elastic to the suit. You should of course experiment on your machine, but I found those two stitches to have the most elasticity to them.

22C2722D-FF69-45F4-AFAD-37F6AD9B7426-12201-000009FFE4BB021DThe pattern directions that came with the pattern were excellent, and I also found the swimsuit sew-a-long posts from Dixie DIY (I’m starting to sound like a weird fan girl over here) to be very helpful. I made a size small on the top and bottom, but I will make a medium bottom in the future. As is, this bikini does the dreaded muffin top bulge over (note how my hand is on my hip in these photos artfully hiding that part). I was pleasantly surprised by the low cut bottom, so many sewing patterns come out a bit matronly.

This suit has already been in hot springs, a hot tub, a  pool and the river and has held up fine with no wardrobe malfunctions. I have had concerns about the top not being supportive enough,  just the nature of bandeau tops. I can happily report that the top received it’s greatest test yet when the mister pushed me in when we were done taking picture. Everything stayed where it was supposed to! No nip slips… YAY!

B5FBE0D7-5FC5-4DF3-8877-F28D1FB2A031-12201-00000A014915E331I also wanted to show you the new sandals I got today. Saltwater’s, I think they’re cute even if they’re baby shoes. They’ll be perfect for my vacation I’m going on next week. Also, Bacon let me bury him in the sand last week. He’s too funny, I love that ugly mug so much! Also, I broke my serger (#sadface). Hopefully it can be fixed, I dropped it off at Modern Domestic. Sorry if this post is a bit manic, I’m over-caffeinated and under-fed at the moment. A dangerous combo

xx, Cynthia



DSC03015 SRSLY… I love this dress!!! This is my first version of Cambie by Sewaholic Patterns. I just know I’m going to make a metric shit ton more. This pattern is my dream dress. Tasia is a diva queen of thread and I’ve gotta give her major props for designing this sweet little number. I didn’t buy this when the pattern first came out because it’s a little spendy, but I found it for 50% off at Modern Domestic, and I pounced on it.

DSC03025This dress swishes like magic when I walk. I can’t help but twirl and preen while wearing it. I’m a vain little thing in this dress. Gush, gush, gush

DSC03039I made this using some stashed cotton sateen, it’s really thin and airy too (could it be a lawn/ voile and a sateen… is that a thing?) I dunno. I bought the cotton a little over a year ago and I love the graphic print on it.  It’s lined with rayon bemberg. Man that shit’s expensive… I need to find a cheaper source. I added almost $30 to the price of this dress just on the lining. Yeah, I’m not one you thrifty stitchers that can brag about your gorgeous ball gowns made out of thrifted sheets and love for only $3.99.

DSC03035I made my  muslin in a size 6 and it looked good, but had zero ease. I cut this dress out in a size 8 and increased the seam allowance to get the fit where I wanted it. Tasia shows you lots of tips and tricks to make the insides as beautiful as the outside. I even took the time to hand sew the hem using a slip stitch., since I already loved this dress so much.

DSC03019The only thing I don’t like is my zipper installation. I used a vintage metal invisible zipper, and the teeth were too large to use my invisible zipper foot. I had to use my regular zipper foot, and I wasn’t able to get as close to the teeth as I wanted to. A quick question for you: How do you keep the lining on a full skirt from getting caught in the zipper? I have to be careful to avoid chewing up the lining. Anybody else have this happen to them?

DSC03023I think on my next version I’m going to drop the neckline down a little bit, but that’s not a criticism. I love this dress to pieces. I’ve demanded my mister take me out on a proper fancy date this weekend so I can wear this. I’m thinking dinner and Jurassic Park in 3D. A quick tangent: Did you know it’s the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park? Yowzers, that makes me feel old.

xx, Cynthia

Come on Spring!!!

DSC02966 Hey ya’ll!!! Did you miss me? I had to take a little bloggy break because I wasn’t feeling it, but now I’m back in the saddle. I had a case of writers block, and then I felt gross in some outfit photos. So I took a little break to gain some perspective. I’ve kept up sewing these past 2-ish months and I might get around to posting what I’ve made (but I probably won’t). If you follow me on Instagram (cynbular) you can see what I’ve sewn.

Since I last checked in, I’ve moved into a bigger apartment by the river (these photos are taken on our private dock?!?!?!). I’m so bourgeois now. Unfortunately, our rent is higher and I have much less money (AKA none) in the budget for sewing related expenses. Confession: I “donated” plasma to buy some fabric a while back. Desperate times people! I guess that makes me a sewing addict. I also reached 200 followers, which is rad. Hi, everybody!

DSC02964Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me get to the good shit. I’m desperate for Spring to start and I think that’s obvious by this not quite weather appropriate outfit. Brrr… it was chilly when I took these photos today.

The skirt is Simplicity 1690, one of the newer Leanne Marshall designs. I played with the directions of the stripes to have a little fun with the ruffle. This went together well and I’ve also made the blouse pattern for my mom. This pattern is fine by me. The only snafu I had was from not reading the directions. I ended up making this a little too tight so I fixed that by adding this little button and tab on the waistband to give me a little more room. I’m undecided on my fabric choice though. It’s a nice cotton sateen, that I was hoping would read as nautical. Looking at these photos it reads as more of a prison/ jailbird stripe.

DSC02967The t-shirt is made using the Maria Denmark Birgitte basic tee pattern. This is the size small. This pattern is a great basic pattern to make yourself some cake with.

It was hard to get this color to photograph well. It’s a *super* bright neon yellow cotton jersey. I think I’m going to go back and finish the sleeves and hems with bands because I had a hard time getting the tension with my twin needle right, and it looks tunneled.

DSC02962I also made the flower in my hair. Gosh, I love my hot glue gun. I just muslined the bodice for Cambie, and it looked awesome, so I think that will be next. I also muslined Retro Butterick 5209, hoping it could be my Sew for Victory dress. That was bad news. There was so much side boob I looked like Miley Cyrus. That was been knocked out of the sewing queue.

xx, Cynthia

Foxy: Simplicity 2154

DSC02874I’ve been working on the blouse from vintage repro Simplicity 2154 for the past week. This little blouse has been on my must make list for quite a while. Since it is Jungle January, I decided to pull out the only piece of “animal print” in my stash. This counts right? It has animals on it :)

DSC02851I generally stay away from quilting cotton, but I couldn’t resist this cute fox print when I saw it. It’s Japanese, which seems to be the homeland of all things cute!










This top is pretty basic and I was able to squeeze it out of only one yard of fabric. The only instructions I deviated from was that I didn’t interface the bow. I didn’t see the point after I cut it on the bias. These two photos are the only ones I was able to take without my sweater on because it was so COLD. See my inability to smile… haha I hate being cold.

DSC02871The only new technique that went into making this top was I made a fabric covered button for the first time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a closeup photo of it. I centered one of the little fox faces over the center of the button.

I’m looking forward to trying this pattern out with a fabric with more drape. I’d like to see this hanging a little bit closer to my body in my next version.

xx, CynthiaDSC02856


I picked up 2 yards of this southwestern print rayon in the remnant annex at Mill End. The selvedge says that it’s from 1996. I think it’s totes rad. I used the waistband that I drafted for my circle skirt, I added another inch and it’s much more comfortable.

I made a simple dirndl with a very full skirt.  I used the entire 2 yards, so this is about 90″ wide minus the seam allowance. This skirt actually sat as a UFO for about 3 weeks because it was so hard to gather.

Originally I tried to make pleats, but there was just way to much volume. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I wanted all of the pleats to be perfectly symmetrical. That was not going to happen so I set it aside. Then I tried to gather this huge amount of fabric. Basting stitches weren’t sufficient. Even gathering with dental floss didn’t work. It kept getting stuck on the slippery rayon and breaking. I was about to throw this in the corner and move on, when I accidentally stumbled on a new way (to me) to gather fabric.

The tension on my machine was a little wonky, and I started to mess with it. I turned the tension all the way up and it started to gather this fabric tightly all on its own. Holla!!!!! Just another tool in my arsenal, I love learning new things.

The zipper is sort of lapped. I decided to make it lapped as an after thought, so it doesn’t quite cover the top of the zipper pull.  I also added side seam pockets. Easy peasy after I figured the gathering out. Smell ya later.

xx, Cynthia

Autumn Wardrobe a la Gertie

These are the first two pieces from my fall sewing plan. I love this outfit. My last make was a dud (btw, I’ve already taken it in and it fits much better), so it feels especially good to make a winner. I drafted this circle skirt following the instructions in Gertie’s new book (if you haven’t gotten a copy yet GET ONE FOOL!!!!). The top is the Portrait Blouse from the same book

I have tons of this brown corduroy and may make another that’s slightly longer. I made this 16 inches long and it feels a little scandalous. I’ll aim for a 18-19″ hem on the black skirt I have planned. I commute by bicycle, so I normally have shorts under my dresses and skirts. That’s the only reason I avoided a wardrobe malfunction today.

See… it’s a circle. Neat-o

I wore this outfit Monday night to go dancing for my little sister’s birthday. I got *so* many compliments. Squeee, I felt very proud of myself. Also, dancing in a circle skirt is crazy fun. I’ve never worn one before and the twirl factor was most excellent.

Obligatory twirl shot

I inserted my first lapped zipper (thanks again Gertie) and hand-picked the side on the overlap. I used a pants hook and bar at the lap of the waistband. Speaking of that, it looks a little bit sloppy up top because the waistband is a skosh short. I’ll add an inch to my next one. I finished this with an easy rolled hem and that’s about it for the skirt.









The top is the portrait blouse. I was very short on fabric and barely eeked this out. I used the remainder of the cotton gauze left over from Macaron. This blouse is perfect for a light breezy fabric. It looks nice on its own and can sit comfortably under a cardi. Perfection!  My measurements fall in between two sizes so I made up a new size . Let’s call this a size 5.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make facings with so I used 1/4″ bias binding at the neck. The sleeves and hem are serged, pressed and stitched. Nothing too fancy.  The only adjustment I had to make was to lengthen the front tuck/darts by 1.5 inches. When I wore this Monday night I kept tugging at it because the fullness was too low, now it’s fitted right up until my bust starts.

Check out my beasts in the background

Gertie mentions that this blouse is short and I have to agree. I don’t think I could pair this with something that doesn’t sit at my natural waist.  If I make this again, I’d like to add around 5 inches. I’d also like to omit the zipper in future versions and see if I can make this work with slits at the side seams instead.

This outfit is a winner, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my fall wadrobe.

xx, Cynthia

Truffle Shuffle

Guys, I’m gonna need a bigger closet soon!

I’ve got fall sewing on the brain, but I decided I need to make *at least* one last summer dress, before the weather turns. I’m glad I did because Truffle from the Colette Sewing Handbook is so cute!!! I always feel like a lady when I wear one of their designs. I’m going to a masquerade themed event in October and I think this thrifted turquoise fabric would go nicely with a mask made of peacock feathers.

I looked through my patterns and decided that the stiffness in this fabric would pair nicely with the ruffle. I was a little concerned because the pattern calls for 3 yards of fabric and I only had 2. I laid out the pieces and they looked like they all fit so I started cutting. They didn’t all fit. I wasn’t able to quite fit the ruffle on grain, so instead I cut it on the crosswise grain. I hope this won’t cause any problems in the future, but I don’t think it will. The ruffle still sits at the waist on the bias. This might help you conserve some fabric if you make Truffle.

I told my photographer husband I thought this photo would come out vaguely pornographic, unfortunately it’s the only photo of the back

I didn’t make a fitting muslin beforehand since I have had such luck with Colette in the past. This dress does fit a little bit looser than other designs of theirs, so keep that in mind. It’s perfect with this stiff fabric, but I imagine it would look a little frumpy in a fabric with less body.

I opted to not line this. I have a hard time slipstitching my linings in place without distorting the fit of the bodice. I also think a lining is unnecessary in a summer dress. I serged the inside edges to keep them from fraying. I used bias tape to face the neckline and arm holes. I used another one of my hoarder metal invisible zips, and finished with a rolled hem.

This dress came together quite fast. I would recommend this pattern to a beginner. It features a classic shape, with a fun twist. I finished my sister’s birthday shorts so expect a post as soon as I can get some photos.

This is my natural expression when my face is relaxed

xx, Cynthia

Sweet-Twee Macaron

I know this isn’t Earth shattering news, but I absolutely adore Colette Patterns.Sarai designs such pretty, flattering, feminine designs. I always feel like a lady when I wear one of my Colette’s. I even got a compliment from a stranger as soon as I left the house today. That always feels good :) This is Macaron, and I unfortunately let it languish in the pattern stash far too long. I decided to pull it out so that I could participate in this months Sew Collette, hosted by Erin, Rochelle, and Sarah.

I found both of these fabrics thrifting, so this pretty dress cost me only about $15 to make. Gotta love that! The blue floral is a very light and somewhat sheer cotton gauze, and the brighter blue is some sort of drapey linen blend. I have a bunch left of both fabrics, so you might see some more of them.

As far as making this , I finished this in a day. That’s not to imply that it was easy or came together quickly. I just got super focused and had a dressmaking marathon. I think I spent about 8-9 hours total on this (thank you Radio Lab and This American Life podcasts)! I found this dress to be quite challenging and every bit the intermediate rating that it has.

I had originally planned for some sheer silk chiffon for the upper bodice and magenta rayon twill for the body, but I’m glad I haven’t cut into those fabrics yet. I’m not sure if my skills are up to snuff to make a challenging dress out of challenging fabric.

I don’t know if other people have noticed this, but I had a few typos on my pattern. Most notably one of the midriff pieces, was missing the cutting line for the size 4 . I guestimated, but there was little bit of fudging the skirt to match the waistband. Other than that every thing went together well, if not quickly. It’s pretty tricky attaching the sweetheart, to the upper bodice. That alone took me an hour.

I love the shape of the sleeves on this dress. It’s a very subtle but pretty detail. It mimics the overall curviness of the rest of this dress. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding these sleeves to other patterns in the future. This dress is so flattering and easy to wear. I really like this! The guts of this are serged and not super interesting. I also finished this with a super-crazy-long metal invisible zipper. I didn’t want to frack my scissors up cutting it down so the zipper goes all the way to the hem.

I’ve had it in my head for months to make a fall version of this dress with a cream colored cotton lace and mustard yellow wool. Since I haven’t found either of those fabrics, don’t expect to see that version anytime soon. I’m really itching to make it though, so hopefully I can find that fabric come October or November.

xx, Cynthia

P.S. I just saw that I’ve reached 100 followers (I’m at 103 actually) which is very exciting to me. I’m very thankful to have ya’ll to gush about our mutual hobby with. I’ve got a giveaway to say thank you planned. I just have to decide what I’m going to put together. It’ll be a nice goody-bag of supplies, patterns and fabric. Expect a post on that this weekend.



50’s Shorts and a New Tattoo

This is part one of, hopefully, two posts detailing vintageButterick 8197   (available at the Blue Gardenia if you’d like your own copy). I picked up this pattern for $2 and squeeled, I was so excited about the bra top and high waisted shorts. This screams Annette Funicello or Doris Day at the beach to me. The shorts were easy and fast to make. The bra top is a little more tricky. While not difficult to sew, I’m having a hard time getting the cups to fit right. I need to do a SBA to remove some excess pointiness, and honestly I’m starting to lose interest.

I used some green and cream seersucker I found at Joann’s. I fully lined these shorts with some lime green rayon bemberg. I did this for modesty reasons, not because the instructions called for it. These look so pretty on the inside, just like RTW. I inserted an invisible zipper and closed the tab with some pearl snaps. I still haven’t figured out how to use the buttonholer on my new/ old machine.

I love the fit and style of these shorts! I feel like a vintage pin-up in them :) Hopefully, I’ll get the top made before summer is over. I’ve got the Macaron sew-along on the brain, and also need to sew up a birthday prezzie for my little sis.

Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed a new decoration on my collarbone. On Monday I went to Oddball Studios and had three spools of thread and a sewing needle tattooed. They’re my favorite colors and adorable. I’d like to get a tomato pin cushion and thimble on the other side if I can work up the nerve.

Yikes, I still can’t believe I actually did it. I’m quite smitten with the results and have become a vain creeper. All I want to do is look at it in the mirror.