Designer Time- Rachel Comey’s Vogue 1247


With the cold weather settling in, I haven’t really wanted to go outside to take pictures of my projects. Hopefully with the Christmas tree up, I can at least get a couple of pictures of completed projects.  But that means I am taking my pictures myself with the camera timer, so they may not all turn out well.

It all started with tidying up the craft room.  I had a bag from the fabric store laying on the ground that needed to be put away (bag goes in the storage container to be used for cleaning the litter pan).  Out of the bag comes two patterns to add to the stash.  As I was looking at the Rachel Comey pattern, I realized I had a silk cotton voile that may work for the top.  The voile wasn’t listed on the recommended fabric list, but the more I looked at it the more I really thought it would work.  But this is a silk cotton voile, so it shouldn’t be wasted on a pattern it wasn’t meant for.  I went on to Pattern Review and asked just so I was sure this would work.  So thank you to everyone who helped me.  The next day, while doing a bit more internet research, the skirt was popping up on practically every blog I looked at.  So I decided to add the skirt to the project too.

Everywhere I read that the top is very oversized.  It seems to be all over the place because some went down just one size to others going down at least 4 sizes.  I usually sew between a 14 and 16.  I traced out the size 12.  I did grade out to an 18 at the hem.  I was worried that the bottom would not be big enough.  But then I started thinking about the blouse shape.  The more I thought about the triangle shape; the more uncertain about it I was.  So in the end I decided to put the silk voile back in the stash for a different top.

DSCI0048 - Copy

I stole the denim from the lot of fabric I had reserved for doll clothes.  I actually picked up this remnant of tan stretch denim so I could make several pairs of doll jeans out of.  (I still had enough fabric left over to make my dolls jeans which will go great with Molly’s suit jacket but no jeans for my dad’s work.) First thought through my mind, I can’t do the bias trim from the denim.  That will be way too thick and bulky.  The bias trim is from quilting cotton instead.  I picked up a couple of fat quarters when I bought my zipper.  I used one of the many fat quarter bias trim tutorials from pinterest.  It did work out well.  I had plenty of bias trim to use on my skirt.  The other fat quarter went to making the pocket lining.  I do like how finished the inside of the skirt looks.

DSCI0047 - Copy

I wasn’t sure where the waistband was supposed to be at on me.  I thought the picture looked like it was under the model’s belly button.  I went ahead and used a size 18 for my skirt.  The denim I used is very stretchy, so I ended up taking in each side an additional half inch so it was probably closer to the size 16.   Luckily I am short, so the 15 inch mini length is actually longer on me so I didn’t change the hem at all. Actually on me the skirt is right above the belly button a little. It does have a tendency to ride up after I sit down.  The skirt still works.

DSCI0045 - Copy

I still have two other projects to get up on the blog plus the Ginger jeans when they are finished. I really do need to get started on the Colette pattern’s Lady Grey coat.  I cut the pieces out and was going to trace out my size but got intimidated when I noticed there was no finished garment measurement on the pattern.  All the projects I had planned to use as a break from the Lady Grey coat when needed are now pretty much done, so I plan on cutting out some doll patterns to have for the break.


Winter Sewing Plans 2014


I forgot to get pictures of the Coco items I made my mom. So that will have to wait until next weekend.  Also planned for next weekend is photos for Toby’s Halloween costume.  I couldn’t get them on Sunday because Toby’s costume partner (Lala) was indisposed with a case of red lipstick stains (kisses from his grandma).   And I haven’t quite finished Butterick 5716 jacket.  So while we are waiting on the pictures of my projects, I decided to post more of a winter sewing plan mainly to keep me motivated.

My two big projects will be Colette pattern’s Lady Grey coat and Butterick 6108 jacket.  Actually Lady Grey coat and the Butterick jacket were not even items I was thinking about in the middle of October.  But Deepika posted about the coat on Pattern Review and offered to do a sew-along with me when I mentioned I had always loved the look of the Lady Grey coat but felt it was too advanced for me.  The first fabric I ordered online was too lightweight for the pattern.  That is where the Butterick pattern comes in.  I don’t want to waste lovely wool.  Yes that Butterick pattern is the 1918 pattern that was re-released.  Before everyone in the sewing blog world decides to check me into an insane asylum, I will admit that the entire outfit isn’t one you can put in your everyday wardrobe, unless you want to be Lady Mary for Halloween.  But I think that view B jacket would look so cute with skinny jeans, a simple t-shirt top, and either boots or ballet flats for a great autumn/ spring outfit.

So at my sister’s engagement party, several people were admired the top I made my mom and the chambray dress I made myself.  So with this new motivation, I really want to expand my sewing skills.  For both of these items, I would like to follow Gertie’s Lady Grey sew-along to learn more about tailoring.  These will probably be slow going projects that take some time to make.

The idea of just slow projects isn’t too appealing. So I decided to go ahead and cut a couple other projects out also so I can go back and forth between the tailoring project and faster items.  The top pattern contenders are Vogue 1247’s skirt, McCall’s 5884 tie collar blouse, an apron, a doll slip from Lee & Pearl’s 1943, and Heritage Doll Fashion’s Samantha’s ice cream dress.  I had traced out the top for Vogue 1247 but am now starting to doubt whether to make it or not.  I am not sure I like the idea of a “triangle” top which is narrower on the hips.  I would like another top but need to decide between Kate & Rose’s Zsalya top or Vogue 1367.  I would barely be able to squeak either pattern out of the 2 yards of silk/ cotton voile I have at home.

Anyone else have these items planned on their winter sewing list?

In the mean time please enjoy Lala’s other costume.  My sister got it for him from Petco but I had to add extra Velcro to make it work.  The package said it fit most small animals with a picture of a guinea pig wearing it.  Rabbits are not shaped like guinea pigs at all.


Piccadilly Sweater & Skirt – Liberty Jane


I had left over fabric from the Coco top I made my mom (it hasn’t been blogged about yet, I was waiting until I finished her dress and blog all the Coco items together).  Looking at the collection of doll clothes I have for my dad’s work, I decided I could use my extra fabric to make a top for the doll.  Alright, once the top was done, I thought about the photos.  I really didn’t want to use the skinny jeans.  The left over fabric from Simplicity 2246 (chambray shirt dress) and the Sew Powerful purse was still laying on the cutting mat.  I figured it would not hurt to make the skirt from the chambray to use with the top for photos.  Another bonus is that they are both separates that will coordinate with the rest of the stuff.


Let’s start with the top.  This was easy to make.  I basted it together on my sewing machine then ran everything through the serger.  I will say that the pattern is very intuitive and I was able to put it together without the instructions.  If I was using the lace overlay, I am not sure if I would have been able to do this without looking at the instructions first.  I didn’t have a button that would work for this so I just used my Velcro instead.  My sweatshirt doesn’t look as loose as the pattern picture.  But realize that Kit is an older doll and she is chubbier.  The Velcro may also be causing a difference in fit.


The skirt was made with chambray, so maybe a little lighter than the leather called for in the pattern.  The pattern calls it a skater style skirt which looks very cute on the doll.  I read the direction then got started on the skirt.  I decided I wanted to try to use the rolled hem foot for my sewing machine.  So I went ahead and did everything but the back seam.  I used my serger for a majority of the skirt.  I got to doing the rolled hem and had troubles trying to load the hem into the foot.  So I went with the serged and turned under hem instead.  I closed up the back seam and used Velcro instead of a hook for the closure.


Autumn Chambray- Simplicity 2246

Looking a little more towards autumn, I thought a denim chambray dress would work out well.  Early fall I can pair it easily with ballet flats or heels.  Late fall it would look cute with colored leggings and boots.  All around it should be a dress that I get a lot of use out of even to work.

This should be the dress that almost didn’t happen.  It seems like it was destined to be plagued with difficulties.  I had planned this for the end of July for the pattern stash contest.  The knit dress I made in July took longer than I had planned for, so I didn’t start this dress until August.


First night was tracing the pattern and ironing out the denim chambray.  There was a complication with the ironing; it was Lala.  Somehow, he felt that he had to sit in the middle of the fabric and dig it up.  Definitely not getting the wrinkles out.  I kept telling the bunny that he has to smooth out the wrinkle not put more of them in.  Lala was just not into getting wrinkles out no matter what I did.

I traced out a 14 in the bust and shoulders then graded out to a 16 at the waist and hips.  This time I resisted the urge to grade out further in the hips.  I looked at the finished measurement of the hem and saw 51 ½ inches there for the 16.  I figured the hip measurement couldn’t be too far from 50 inches.  The pattern diagram didn’t really show too much flare at the bottom.  I am happy with keeping a size 16 down to the hem and that was with trimming off about 2 inches and doing a 2 inch hem.

As always I strayed from the instructions order a little bit, so on the second night of working on my dress I did all the stay stitching, bust darts, and shoulder seams together.  The following night I set in the sleeves and pockets.  Since I was working with chambray, I decided it was best to flat set in the sleeves before closing up the side seams.  I wasn’t sure if the chambray would be as easy to set when the side seam were finished.  The button placket was very easy to put on the front.

Now it was time for the closure.  It was a tough decision between snap or buttons.  But I decided to use buttons.  First off, I didn’t want to type cast my dress as a western as snaps probably would have.  Most importantly, I thought the pounding in the snaps would upset Lala.  I didn’t need him running through the house thumping a warning of danger.  When a friend popped a party balloon by accident, it took two hours for the rabbit to stop thumping danger warnings and running around the house in a panic.


So I brought buttons one weekend then decided I didn’t like them.  Another trip to the fabric store and I got buttons I liked.  Then I came down with pink eye.  So button holes were just too much detail work when I was sick. I like to do all my button holes in one sitting if possible.   I decided to make a maxi skirt instead.  Then after feeling better I decided to keep to a simpler project and made the Tilly & the Buttons’ Coco dress.  Finally after two weeks of delay, I come back to finish off this dress.  My little Pfaff Ambition made perfect button holes for this dress (all 12, never had to pick one out).  Machine sewing the buttons was a different story.  Two buttons broke and I didn’t have extra buttons.  The local fabric store didn’t have the ones I had purchased.  I wasn’t going to take the 8 buttons off and replace them with something different.  So I had to wait until Labor day weekend and try at a different fabric store.  I was able to get more buttons like the ones I had!  So this got finished after Labor day.

My second hard decision with this dress was the sleeve length.  Summers in Kansas can be way too hot and humid.  Heat index becomes the weather person’s catch phrase.  And it can be like this up until October.  So part of me felt that the wiser decision would be the short sleeves which means I may get to wear the shirt dress more.  But I really like the look of the ¾ length sleeve which means it will probably be limited to the autumn and spring times.

In future versions (if that happens), I may look at changing the arm scythe slightly.  It fits well, but certain movements make the sleeve feel restrictive.  I think this is because the denim chambray doesn’t have stretch.  The pattern may be perfect in a shirt style woven cotton with some stretch?

I did a quick google shopping search to see if there were any chambray dresses similar to what I made.  I did find a couple and the price varied from $99 to $300.  I did my search back in the beginning of August when I started my dress, so most likely the dresses have come down in price since then.   I was able to make my dress for $40 in materials.

Fun Floral Cuff- Beadwork April/ May 2011


I wanted to try out a new bead technique.  So I choose the “Contemporary Corsage” pattern from Beadwork’s April/ May 2011 issue.  It is a cuff bracelet that uses bead embroidery, and peyote stitch (to secure the rivoli).  Beadwork magazine rated this project 2 out of 3 beads.  Accordingly, two beads means “Designs for an intermediate beader, a beginner ready to expand skills, or an advance beader looking for a project that won’t take weeks to complete” (pg. 95 on April 2011 issue).  This is pretty accurate.  I really didn’t have any problems with this pattern and I probably fall somewhere between intermediate and beginner.


I just followed the material list in the instructions.  I didn’t even use half of the beads I picked up for this project.  The un-used beads from the material list include bead A, bead D, bead E, bead G and the 3mm bicones.  I think I picked up 10 grams of the cylinder size 11 beads.  Instead of using the white I had originally planned on for the petals, I switched it to the size 11 delica beads.   To be honest, as I was putting this together, I think the pattern is overdone.  There were just too many competing details.  I ended up leaving off the picot fringe around the center crystal just because it looked like it would be too much.  The bio for the designer did mention that she had designed jewelry for Steven Tyler, so maybe I should have expected it to be over the top?  I haven’t done anything else from this designer so I am not sure if that is just her design aesthetic.  Definitely read the instructions and decide what you want.


The one part of the directions I don’t like is for the 3mm pearls on the flower.  The instructions say to randomly place the 3mm pearls throughout the flower.  But look that the picture, I don’t think those pearls were “randomly” placed.  Also, there is no count on how many pearls to randomly place.  Some of the pearls are needed to edge the cuff part.  So if anyone decides to make this, definitely consider doing the cuff part first so you have all the 3 mm pearls to randomly place over the flower without short-changing your cuff part. I still ended up with extra 3mm pearls after doing the cuff part of my bracelet.

The pattern does say to glue the flower to the cuff then stitch it down.  I found that I had a difficult time trying to get the needle to pick up just a little of the suede on the cuff.  So I tacked down one end along the edge of the cuff instead.

I plan on using the flower part again to make a brooch.  I think the flower would look lovely on a coat or jacket.


Sew Powerful Purse Project

This is actually the second item for selfless September.  I haven’t blogged about the baby onesies to doggie t-shirts yet since Toby has been sick.  I am sure he wouldn’t want the pictures of his baldly patches and cone on the internet.


Sew Powerful is a charity from the Liberty Jane Clothing.  The main goal of the organization is to teach women sewing and tailoring skills so that they are able to support their family.  The women enrolled in the program right now have been making school uniforms.  But Sew Powerful is reaching out to the world-wide sewing community also with the Purse Project.  Basically, you make a purse from the provided pattern and send it in to them.  The purses will be used in partnership with the menstruation Hygiene Management program and given to girls in need.  The provided menstruation supplies and the purse helps the be able to stay in school and not fall behind.  With their education, the girls will have more economic opportunities available to them.


This purse is rated at an intermediate level project.  I read through the instructions a couple of times before starting.  At that, I was still a little confused as to what exactly I was doing but I figured when I had the fabric in my hand as I was following the instructions, I would understand what it was telling me better.  After cutting the fabric, I was reading then decided to keep it simple and not do the front pocket.  Most of my troubles were in the very beginning.   It was confusing.  I ripped the stitches out several times and went back to how I put it together the first time.  I felt like I wasn’t following the instructions right.   As far as I can tell, the end purse that I have looks like the picture exactly.  The lining was easy and putting the lining in the purse was fine.  But I feel like I just missed something on it like a pocket that was supposed to be there and isn’t?  I just received the Sew Powerful up-date email today.  It stated next year, they hope to have a simpler to use pattern which will be geared more towards the needs for African girls.  Now, I feel better about all the troubles I had understanding the directions.  It looks like I wasn’t the only one.


I definitely want to keep helping out with the Sew Powerful organization so I will most likely try to make some more purses throughout the course of the year.  It isn’t too late to participate.  October 1 is the deadline if you want to be in the contest for a trip to Zambia.  Otherwise, Sew Powerful stated they would be accepting purses year around and are planning another contest for September 2015 also.


I still have two dresses I finished earlier in September to blog about plus a bead project.

More information can be found at:


Molly Waves Goodbye- Lee & Pearl 1943


Granted I should have went through the bag of already cut out doll patterns to make up or even went through the scrap bin of the fabric to use this pattern. But I went ahead and picked up the navy linen look rayon/poly blend. I knew it would be perfect for Lee & Pearl’s pattern #1943, Molly Waves Goodbye. Anyways, it made up for the fabric store being out of the buttons I needed for my shirtdress.

The first night, I had cut everything out and had the skirt sewn about to the halfway point. All it was missing was the Velcro, waistband, and hem. The skirt is definitely easy to put together. I could read through the instructions a couple of times then turn off my computer and be able to make the skirt. Definitely be careful when taping the pdf pattern together. I must not have had the pieces lined up correctly because my waistband was a little short for the skirt. I didn’t have a problem with any other piece.


The suit jacket is definitely an intermediate level pattern. I definitely needed to leave the instruction up on my computer for this one. This was especially helpful for the lapped curved seam on the front and placing the buttonholes.

My linen look rayon poly does fray easily. So for the lapped seam on the front, I did use fray check on that. Otherwise, I did use my serger where I could like the shoulder seams and side seams. I didn’t follow the instructions on the sleeve seam and used my serger again as so I had a clean seam.


I only have one quibble about the jacket pattern. I wish the pattern pieces labeled which ones should be from the contrast material. It is in the instructions but if you are cutting without pulling the instruction up on computer, you miss this.  I recut the peplum lower back piece because I had cut two from the navy linen look and not one from navy and one from the contrast. I am just going to save that peplum lower back in case I decide to make another navy suit to give away.

I didn’t do any pattern alterations. Molly was originally purchased as a Christmas present in the early 1990s (best guess is 1993 or 1994). The jacket could be a touch too tight, but I wonder if it is because of the doll stand wire.


The only other change I made beside using my serger was to finger press the lapels. I had finished hand sewing the contrasting facing in the jacket while I was at my co-workers’ softball game (they are in desperate need of fan). So I didn’t have an iron with me. I probably held the lapels down for 5 or so. Then I just couldn’t pay attention to the game much longer and pulled out my e-reader. So I squished the jacket between the front and back cover of my e-reader to continue “pressing” the lapels. This was for probably 2 hours.

Out of the two pieces I did, someone learning to sew would be able to make the skirt on his/her own as a first project. The jacket can’t be someone’s first sewing project. One needs to have a basic understanding of sewing then, I feel the pictures and instruction would get one though making the jacket.


I really want to make the slip and hat from this pattern and the Glengarry hat (a Lee & Pearl pattern) too. But right now, Molly will just have to be happy with her new jacket and skirt. As I am now on to items for Selfless September. My plans for Selfless September included modifying baby onesies into doggie shirts for Toby, the Sew Powerful purse project, doll clothes for my dad’s work’s Toys for Tots drive, and a t-shirt for my mom.