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 ūüôā

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

Simplicity 1873 v 2.0

I made another version of ¬†Simplicity 1873. This time I made version A. One thing I’ve learned from my other version is that I’m not short-waisted like I thought I was. My other version hits into my ribs. This time I added 3/4″ to the bodice and it’s more comfortable. I also made this a little bit larger and now after looking at these photos I think I might want to go back in and take it in a wee bit.

Originally I drafted a peter-pan collar that I hand-beaded (here’s a photo from Instagram). I decided after it was on that I didn’t like it. I felt that it looked a little homemade (because I couldn’t get the curve smooth) so I decided to remove it. I have two vintage beaded collars, so I can have the look when I want it or not. The bow at the waist is¬†detachable¬†also. I used my hot glue gun to attach it to a pin back.

The sleeves on this pattern are so cute. They feature 5 darts to create the puff shape. I fully lined this dress with some black rayon voile. I finished with an invisible zipper and a machined blind hem.

This is a great pattern if you love the classic “fit and flare”¬†silhouette

Gidget Playsuit Completed

I finished my 50’s playsuit ya’ll!!! Just in the nick of time too, summer finally *really* hit the Pacific Northwest. It was 100 degrees today (gross), my poor French Bulldog is breathing so heavily.

I’ve had the shorts¬†done for a while but the top had me stumped. To recap this was made from vintage Butterick 8197 from the mid 1950’s. My pattern was for a vintage size 16 and was too bodacious up top, not to mention pointy. I made 5 different muslins (honestly not that much time due to how small of these pieces are). I was¬†definitely¬†winging it. I made a sort of awkward SBA, and decided that it was close enough. Mostly I just shrank the darts.

This is the same green and cream seersucker and lime colored bemberg lining used on the shorts. I had to remove the snaps I had used on the waist band and get over my fear of my buttonholer attachment. These cute floral buttons were in my growing thrifted button stash.

If you’re new to this blog, I recently went from a big-box modern Singer machine to a 35 year-old Kenmore. Elsa (that’s what I named the Kenmore) and I are getting to know each other and I was feeling a little bit intimidated by setting up the buttonholer. I was so used to the automatic 4 step buttonhole the Singer did. I don’t know what I was so afraid of. It makes beautiful tight stitches and took hardly any extra time to set up. I made a little sampler of all of the available buttonholes and sizes so that I can quickly gauge which size will¬†accommodate¬†my chosen button.

I think I’ll wear this tomorrow when I look for a lake to escape the heat.

xx, Cynthia

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 ūüôā 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.



A Nautical Ceylon

Happy Fleet Week to you, AKA the cutest week of the year. I really wanted to make a little 40’s-esque sailor suit for all of the navy ships that are downtown right now. I had plans to wear this dress downtown and take some photos with a sailor (or 10), but life gets in the way sometimes. Instead these photos were taken walking home from my friend Sofia’s garden party (visit her blog if you’re interested in permaculture/urban farming). My bike makes an appearance, her name is Mamie and she’s a real fancy gal.

I finally made Ceylon!!!! Yippeeeeee!!!! This pattern was one that I’ve always held off on, waiting until I was “better” at sewing. It’s been a whole year since I completed my first garment. A simple skirt made out of quilting cotton with a bias tape hem. Check out my shit eating grin, I was so proud that I made something that could be worn. I’ve come a long way baby!

I made a straight size 4 and the only alterations I did were to raise the armscye 3/8″ and I lowered the sleeve head by that same amount. I also slashed and spread the sleeve to add 1 1/2″ ¬†to the width.¬†I used some mystery poly-lycra blend fabric from the thrift store. I also used white piping to make the interesting design lines pop. The piping does match in the front, but it was difficult to press this fabric due to the synthetic fiber content. I really wanted to add some brass buttons with¬†anchors, and I was able to find them when I made a special trip to the¬†Button Emporium. It was pretty great being able to find what I wanted, because it can be difficult when you have something super specific in mind. I feel very fortunate to have discovered this hobby living in the city I do now, because of all the¬†resources¬†available.

I love the flare of the skirt and the curved yoke. This dress came out exactly as I envisioned, however I don’t know how often I’m actually going to wear this. It’s a little too “Easter dress” as is. It feels like something is missing, I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. I really love the shape and style of this dress though. I can picture myself making more versions in the future with soft floral cotton and fabric covered buttons.¬†If you’ve been eyeing lovely Ceylon but too afraid to try you should go for it. It’s a lovely pattern and I’m glad that I finally took the plunge.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I had to take a hiatus from my life to do my “civic duty” and serve on a jury. Out if all of the cases I could have gotten I’m pretty sure mine was the most riveting/ fascinating case on the docket. We awarded a woman 900K after she was infected with genital herpes. The story made national news and you can read about it here.

I’ve done a bit of fabric retail therapy recently so you should expect some pretty summer dresses in fun prints soon. Until then…

My Sweet Bow Dress- Simplicity 2444

I couldn’t be happier with my latest make. After my birthday dress¬†and another UFO, I’m glad to have something cute and that was simple to make.

The fabric was purchased from the Mill End (if you’re in the Portland area go there!!) It’s a very light and floaty Marc Jacobs’ cotton lawn. I recognized it as Marc Jacobs’ because I’m an obsessive blog lurker (I’m starting to comment more and be less of a creep, I swear) and remembered this adorable dress¬†by the talented Suzanne. This fabric feels like second skin, it’s very soft and almost silky feeling. Oh and duhh, it’s covered in bows. Cute cute cute!

I took inspiration from this uber cute fabric and said , “What would Zooey Deschanel wear?” I decided this fabric was dying to be turned into a little retro dress with a full skirt and short sleeves. I was right ūüėČ

I used Simplicity 2444, one of the Project Runway patterns, and I love it. The four angled darts in the bodice provide a nice shape and are unique. This will¬†definitely¬†become a “tried and true” pattern for me. In fact, I’ve already got another dress planned.

This is me asking Chris to make sure he takes a photo of the darts

I have had so much luck with Simplicity, it’s like their pattern designer took measurements of me one night while I was sleeping and said this will be our size 12. I made¬†absolutely¬†no modifications whatsoever to this pattern. Love that! It makes sewing a lot more fool proof and fun when you’re not worried about if your adjustments will work or not.

The instructions for the construction of this differed a little from typical dress instructions. It has you attach the front skirt to the front bodice, the back skirt to the back bodice, and THEN do the side seams. I thought that was a little bit weird, but it did make finishing with french seams very easy to do on a majority of the seams. I think I’m going to try to remember assembling this way the next time I want to use french seams.

Any of the raw edges that couldn’t be finished with french seams were bound with bias tape. I also used matching pink lace hem tape to finish the hem and I catch-stitched by hand. Instead of folding under the sleeve-hem and leaving a line of stitches, I used the bias tape as a facing and catch-stitched it into place as well.

The only change I think I’ll make to future versions is to make the pockets bigger. They feel a little too shallow to comfortably put my hands in. Also, you don’t need nearly as much fabric as the pattern envelope suggests. I bought 3 yards and still have nearly a whole yard left over AND I followed the “with nap” layout and nominally tried to match up the bows. If this was solid colored fabric I could have made this with a little less than 2 yards of fabric.

All in all, this dress gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. It’s super wearable and is just precious enough for a girly girl like me.