Statuesque Shirtdress

SimplicityStatuesque women deserve clothing that fits and flatters.

Curved hem

Have Sewing Machine, will sew to fit!

The Statuesque Shift Dress served as a wearable muslin.  With one minor adjustment to waist length, a shirt dress was requested.

After visiting a few stores to verify shirt dress details, Simplicity 8014 and a light blue cotton stripe were selected.  We opted for the curved hem (View D) and long sleeves.

Pattern modification

Proportional statuesque women are best fit by lengthening the patterns in several locations.

Cutting out the pattern on a narrow stripe required careful painstaking attention to straight grain markings!

Topstitching and buttonholeThe pattern went together easily.  Interfacings, collar band, cuffs and button plackets … I remember these!!!

Based on the shirtdresses in stores, top-stitching was required.  And not just regular top-stitching.  Top-stitching with contrast color thread.

Completed shirtdress

So, no coffee.

New needle and white thread in the machine, top-stitching it was.  Miles, of it (only had to redo a small portion!)

Note to all sewers and recipients of sewn garments – take a close look at topstitching and other details on ready made clothes – they are far FAR from perfect!!!

After adjusting the buttonhole placements, I realized this dress required 15 buttons (and buttonholes!)

I prefer buttonholes made with the Singer buttonhole attachment. It produces uniform buttonholes with a nice finish.

Singer buttonhole attachment at the ready!Oddly, the Button Stash did not contain 15 appropriately sized and colored buttons.

It is an inexplicable mystery.  I hope there is a investigation soon.  Buttons seem to have suffered from a bizarre price mismarking – on a national level.

To avoid taking out a second mortgage, simple buttons were selected.

Note to self:  Press dress prior to photographing – and stop with the dry cleaning hangers! Tie belt around dress for photo to give illusion of waist shaping.

I hope to have a photo of the beautiful statuesque women wearing the dress to post soon!  A second shirtdress has already been requested!






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Stash Couture Boho Top

Silk Embellished Top

Is it possible to be stylish in 110+ degrees?

A question asked in Phoenix every summer, where I believe “melted” is a style.

The stash included two yards of an opaque green silk that must hail from the 1980’s when olive green (cranberry and purple) were wardrobe staples!

Some boho tops have a maternity look (been there, done that – not a preferred style).  Simplicity 1461 has more tailored Boho lines and includes cup sizes. I used it for an earlier top. 

The pattern was modified to add a long button placket and bias binding at the sleeve and neck edges.

Waste canvas was used to embellish this top.  The cross stitch pattern was derived from some of the patterns here.

Waste canvas embroidery

Note to self:  Pre-wash.  Don’t justify your being impatient with “It is silk” 

Just pre-wash.

Once the embroidery is complete,  waste canvas is loosened by dipping in water.  So silk or not, the lack of pre-washing caused the top to shrink.

The original colors for the embroidery were coral and pinks.  They clashed with the olive green.  The colors selected were based on a Pinterest color pallate.

Stash Couture Boho Top

Because I did not pre-wash the fabric, the dipping caused it to shrink. In both directions.

Again.  Just Pre-wash.

Love the colors!  Love the embroidery!

Wish I had pre-washed so it fit better!







Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Sewing, Stash Couture, Waste Canvas | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Do you want me to make you a dress?

lydias dress 1 on her



That is the word to describe the beautiful tall women in our family.

Another term might be “difficult to fit.”  Current sizing, talls included, rarely flatter statuesque women over 6 feet tall.

Have patterns, will sew to fit!!!

Sewing to fit is complicated by the 2,000 miles that separate us.  Good thing I travel with a tape measure!

Screenshot (144)


The wearable muslin was a simple shift in a cotton stripe.  Butterick 5706 was selected, most likely because it was on sale, but also because it had front and back darts for shaping.

The proof may be in the pudding (I can’t even guess as to the origins of that statement!) but the fit is in the pattern adjustments.

lydias dress 1Tall sizes tend to add inches only to leg and sleeve length.

Statuesque persons also need length added throughout the entire torso.

Use of graph paper kept the alterations straight.  Per the recipients request, the neckline was raised and the sleeves lengthened.

lydias dress 1 zipperShift dresses go together fairly simply.  I would recommend them for any beginning sewer.

Stripes added a bit of a challenge.

Even with extreme care during pattern cutting, putting an invisible zipper in stripes can sometimes create a “wavy” seam.

I was very pleased with the straightness of the final zipper seam!  (One of those odds things sewers take pride in!!!)

I marked waist, hips and bust with embroidery thread to see how the fit adjustments worked – and it was mailed.

lydias dress 1 AShe was very pleased with the fit!  She took out the marking threads and wore it right away!

Note to self:  Stripes do not photograph well.


When taking photographs, use of a dry cleaning hanger can detract from the dress!

If I were to make the dress again, I would reduce the sleeve head just a bit.  The sleeves had a slight gather to them.

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Lace Layered Top from a 60’s Wedding Dress

1960’s Wedding Dress

I was gifted a 1960s lace wedding dress.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of the dress.  It was allover horizontally-oriented lace, had a gathered waist, high neck and short puffy sleeves, much like that in the picture to the right.

Like most vintage wedding dresses, it was a tiny size (didn’t women eat then?) and had yellowed in a number of places.  Some of the lace had disintegrated.

The only usable fabric was in the skirt.

It was lined in a plain white batiste, some of which had suffered the same fate as the lace.

I unpicked all the seams, both lace and batiste.  Then broke all the rules.

Vintage white lace after washingI washed it in the washing machine and added bleach – but I did set the machine for delicate!

And it came out beautifully!  No more yellow.

The skirt pieces were not large.  But turning them sideways gave a vertically-oriented placement to the lace.

The lining pieces were slightly larger than the lace due to their hems.

Vogue 9032Using Vogue 9062 I thought I might be able to cut a sleeveless layered lace top from the pieces.

The front had to be pieced at the shoulders.  Small pieces were cut from the original sleeves.

Dart sewn double-layered.

The lining made a beautiful longer layer under the lace.  Dart and piecing was done double-layered (lace and lining) as the lace was quite delicate.

The resulting top will be a summer top full of memories as I plan on re-gifting it to the original owner!

Layered Top from a Vintage Wedding Dress


I just realized these photos do not include the finished sleeve edges!  They were narrow hemmed with bias tape.

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More Huck Towels

Huck Sampler TowelHuck Embroidery is fun to do and creates beautiful towels for gifting.

Different colors of embroidery threads are fed under “floats” in the toweling in geometric patterns.

Red, yellow, orange and purple were used to stitch this sampler towel for a wonderful friend.

huck 4Detail photos show how the individual threads create an optical illusion of flowing colors.

huck w

Mid-century Modern for a Bride

Colors for the towels can be selected to coordinate with the recipients kitchen decor or simply because they are pleasing to the eye!

These were stitched for a new bride as a housewarming gift.  The colors were selected to match her wedding china.  Her decor is mid-century modern… so the Huck Pattern stitch was selected from that era!

The cotton toweling is very absorbent – and all these towels are gifted with the understanding that THEY WILL BE USED!

huck 2 (2)

Pine Trees

There are always beautiful Huck Towels on Ebay that were saved for that special occasion – only to be never used.

So these are designed to be both beautiful and useful!

Pine Trees are a common Huck Towel motif.  They were often stitched in Christmas green (and rarely used) for the Holidays. These were stitched with greens ranging from light olive to teal to dark forest.  Love the color flow of these colors.

huck 2 (3)

Blues and Browns

A variety of blues and browns from the Embroidery Thread Stash highlight the diamonds in this pattern.

Enough of the darker colors, though. I think the next set will be stitched with lighter colors.  Maybe yellows!







Posted in Accessories, Home Decor, Huck Towel, Sewing, Stash Couture | 7 Comments

Katniss Wrap

“Wait!  You can make that?  I want one!”katnis wrap 1 (2)

Words any sewer or knitter wants to hear from her adult children.

She attends college in the cold northwest, so scarves and hats have already been knit and (hopefully) worn.

This is a design taken from the Hunger Games trilogy based on the knitting pattern by Camilia Matrache called Easy Knit Katniss Wrap (Ravelry link).

people-katniss2_zpsf54a57e7The movie original is a bit more rustic.

As it is knit on large needles with Woolease Thick and Quick Yarn, the original thought was that it would be done and under the tree on Christmas morning.

Two unsuccessful starts later…. the box under the tree contained the collar and rewound yarn so that it would be “knit to fit.”

katnis wrap 3 (2)Not sure why, but the first two attempts were humongous.  My daughter is 6 feet tall, but so was the original drape section.  The collar portion extended to her waist.

Simplified by knitting to fit, it only took one day of football game watching to complete.

katniss wrap 2Rather than knit in two sections and sewing together. The collar section was completed and then the drape section knit into its lower edge both front and back.  Doing so maintains the stretch of the wrap.

The failed attempts illustrated that the ribbed sections could easily be stretched too far.  To ensure elasticity, the first two rows of the underarm ribbing and the last two rows (just prior to binding off) were knit on one size smaller needles.

katniss at the border (2)And joy of joys!   She has asked for another one!!




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Stash Bohemian Bedroom

Bohemian Bedroom

Bohemian Bedroom – Have Fabric, Will Decorate!

Mom, I am moving into an apartment at college.  Can you help me decorate it?

Oh, yes.  Yes, I can.

Have Stash, Will Decorate.

Second Hand Beauty

Second Hand Beauty

The desk, chair, and chest of drawers were second hand.  We painted them with two greys.  She added a “punch of color” with touches of bright raspberry and turquoise.

She wanted “Bohemian.”

She selected the main fabric.  It would be used as the bed skirt and pillows.  All other fabrics would build upon the color scheme of her selection.

The selected Boehmian Fabric

The selected Bohemian Fabric

To minimize costs, the zippers and “stuffings” from the pillows made for her dorm room were reused.  With one exception, all other fabrics were from the Stash.  All pillows were sewn using this same zipper installation method.

The yellow/white made two European sized shams.   I was actually able to center the design on the front (not that a college student would ever notice!)

The grey/yellow trellis fabric had been used to cover her chair seat.  The leftover made a smaller pillow.

Bohemian Mandala Pillow

Bohemian Mandala Pillow

Nothing says Bohemian like a Mandala-like print.  I purchased 16″ of the fabric to get one usable Mandala.  Small accents of turquoise embroidery were added.  The navy fabric used to frame the Mandala was left over from this quilt.

All Fabrics Pillow

All Fabrics Pillow

To tie the diverse (AKA: Bohemian) fabrics together, all the fabrics were included in a pieced pillow top.  A few other Stash Fabrics in the color scheme completed the fun pillow.

The grey bubble-looking fabric in the All Fabrics Pillow is actually her sheet set.  It came in a bag made of the same fabric, so the triangles were simply cut from the bag!

She has other Bohemian ideas – beaded curtains under a cornice board???  All fun, but not really doable from 1500 miles away.

So finishing the room might require another decorating trip!

men cant hem

Posted in Beginner Sewing Projects, Dorm Room Decor, Home Decor, Modern, Sewing for a Teenager | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Destashification Climbing Leaves Scarf – Free Pattern

Leaves a'Falling Scarf

Climbing Leaves Scarf

The opportunity to knit presented itself over the last few days, so I was able to finish up a scarf I had been working on.

The center section of the scarf is a Destashification Modification of a large leaf pattern that I have always been drawn to.

Destashification Knitting requires “resting” purl rows, Twist Stitches and a few simplifications so as to be frustration-free knitting.

The Stash contained some Cascade 200 Superwash in a beautiful green heather (Color N. 867) that was perfect for the leaf pattern.

The resulting pattern (included below) creates a gorgeous 9.5″ wide by 72″ long scarf that would be appropriate for any knitter considered an advanced beginner (or beyond.)

 Scarf with Pattern Detail

Scarf with Pattern Detail

The stitch patterns on either side of the center leaves are very simple.

The pattern stitches from edge to edge are shown in the photo to the right:

The stitch patterns were purposefully selected to allow even a beginner knitter to knit this scarf perfectly – and wear it or gift it with pride!

Detail of stitches

Detail of stitches

The reverse garter stitches (all purl) formed by Stitches 1-2 and 26-27 of the Large Leaf Lace settle to the background to highlight the leaf shapes. By using purl stitches the Destashification-required “rest rows” are created (Rows 1-2 and 11-12 of Large Leaf Pattern).

The simple 2 sts. Twist prevents the “sagging stitches” that can occur when bringing yarn from front to back during the transition from knit to purl stitches.

LTL = Love those Leaves

LTL = Love those Leaves

The little leaf panels add a bit of lace to the edges in a simple 4 row repeat.

The scarf requires approximately 600 yards of worsted weight yarn.  Because 220 Superwash was used (it is slightly lighter than worsted), this scarf was knit on size 6 needles.  If substituting a more typical worsted weight yarn, the pattern would require a size 7 or 8 needle.

Pattern: (Please read NOTES below prior to casting on)

Cast On:  Using needles appropriately sized for your yarn, cast on 57 stitches.

Seed Stitch End:

Start first row with Seed Stitch Chart (right side).  Continue K1, P1 across all stitches.

Start second row with Seed Stitch Chart (left side).  Continue K1, P1 across all stitches.

This is the closest to the actual yarn color - an heathered dark green.

The side panels are the closest to the actual yarn color – a heathered dark green.  The pink/red on the center Large Leaf panel was imparted by the camera.

Knit these two rows for a total of 10 rows.

Patterned stitches:

Following charts (scroll down), work Row 1 of the following:

Seed stitch – right side (5 sts), Twist (2 sts), Little Leaf Lace (7 sts), Twist (2 sts), Large Leaf (27 sts – which is really 25 sts because of the 2 No Stitches), Twist (2 sts), Little Leaf Lace (7 sts), Twist (2 sts), Seed stitch – left side (5 sts).

Continue following charts until scarf is desired length ending with Row 2 of Large Leaf pattern.


The seed stitch end sections will knit slightly wider than the Patterned section of the scarf.  If comfortable with increases, I would recommend casting on 53 stitches for the scarf and working the 10 rows of Seed Stitch on those 53 stitches.   Work 4 increases in Row 1 of patterned section (57 stitches).  After completing the patterned section of the scarf, decrease 4 stitches in the first row of final seed stitch end section (53 stitches) , and work the 10 rows of seed stitch across those 53 stitches.

The Large Leaf pattern forms puckered looking leaves as it is knit.  Do not despair.  They will block flat.

If not familiar with lace knitting, I would suggest knitting one Large Leaf Motif as practice prior to casting on the scarf.  The P2 togethers may seem clumsy at first, but are quickly mastered.

Placing a stitch marker as shown in the Large Leaf graph is a great help when working the “Purl” rows.  After missing the “Purl 2 togethers” more than a few times and having to ravel back, I started placing the markers as reminders. Then I did not forget to work the P2tog’s anymore (OK, so I still forgot a few times.)

The 2 stitch twist can also be accomplished with a cable needle as follows:

  • Place 1st stitch onto cable needle and hold in front of work.  Knit next stitch.  Knit stitch from cable needle.

I knit 41 Large Leaf motifs to create a scarf that is 6 feet long.  Your knitting gauge will most likely be different (knitting gauge doppelgangers are rare!) Knit to your desired length.

Clicking on the charts below will enlarge them.

Knitting Charts for Scarf

Knitting Charts for Scarf

Key for Knitting Charts

Key for Knitting Charts


Scarf during blocking

Scarf during blocking


Work 10 rows of Seed Stitch.

Cast off.

Block.  Weave in ends.

Posted in Accessories, Beginner Knitting Project, Free Knitting Pattern, Lace Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Jetson’s Dress

The Jetson's Dress

The Jetson’s Dress

Sewing a dress for my son’s wedding “required” practicing with a few muslins.  This one was the first – just to see if the pattern would fit sans adjustments.

Vogue 8764

Vogue 8764

The pattern seems almost tunic-like, which I did not want, but the empire waist and the cup-size options appealed to me.

The Jetson’s Show used the same ovoid shape in its “futuristic” setting. Here it is used to create trees, the planter and lights.

Among the treasures in the Stash are some-not-so-valued pieces of fabric.  I choose one such fabric – a polyester chiffon that spoke to me of mid-century modern due to the “orbit” or ovoid shapes included in the print.

That orbit shape started  in NASA logo – very space-age and futuristic at the time.

If anyone remembers the Jetson’s show, it repeatedly used those shapes.

“Polyester chiffon” is another term for “difficult to cut out, ravels easily and requires a lining.”

The pattern was modified to be sleeveless, and have a wide scoop neckline –  and it took less than 2 hours to sew.

Love the cup-sized patterns! 

It fit without adjustment!

It was originally sewn without a zipper (thus the 2 hours) as it was a muslin and was not intended to really be worn.

Jetson's Dress

Jetson’s Dress

However, upon completion, my family decided the dress deserved to be worn, so after completion of the wedding sewing, an invisible zipper was retrofitted and the dress hemmed.

Invisible zipper detail

Invisible zipper detail

The method of invisible zipper installation in a lined garment that I use is all machine stitched and creates a very finished look, inside and out – in about 20 minutes!

1.  Sew one side of zipper to right side of back  (just the fabric, not the lining) using a regular zipper foot.  Machine baste about 1/4″ from zipper tape edge.

2.  Close zipper.  Align any waistline seams and the zipper top.

"Zipper Sandwich" Note position of top zipper tape end.

“Zipper Sandwich” Note position of top zipper tape end.

Pin and machine baste near seams and top to secure alignment.

3. Open zipper and machine baste as for first side of zipper.

4.  Close zipper and check waistline seam alignment.

5.  Using invisible zipper foot, seam both sides of zipper close to zipper teeth.

6.  Flip lining so the zipper is sandwiched between right side of fabric and right side of lining.

"Zipper Sandwich" from lining side.

“Zipper Sandwich” from lining side.

This forms the “Zipper Sandwich.”

7. Using zipper foot, stitch close to zipper teeth.

8.  Turn right side out – Done!

Invisible Zipper Detail - Lining Side

Completed Invisible Zipper Detail – Lining Side

A finished zipper – inside and out – in less than 20 minutes!

The dress is very light – even with the lining (cotton/polyester leftovers) so has already been worn.  With sandals it is a nice casual alternative!

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Stash Couture Styling: Wearable “Muslin”

A Very Wearable "Muslin"

A Very Wearable “Muslin”

Prior to cutting into the silk dupioni, one needs to be sure the selected pattern will fit.  Making a “muslin” or “practicing the pattern” to identify any fit adjustments and design options is a necessity.

The fabric for this “muslin” was to be stretch, because stretch fabrics tend to fit better – even when the fit is not quite right!

Stretch linen is one of my favorite fabrics.  The Stash contained an apricot colored multi-yard piece that I have longingly viewed numerous times.  However,   it.  is.  plain.

Plain apricot color. 

Plain and Lace Overlay.

Plain and with Lace Overlay.

It needed something.

Stretch lace over the linen would add that special touch and still, well… stretch!!  Unfortunately, The Stash does not contain any stretch lace.

McCalls 6953:  A Cup-Sized Patternm

McCalls 6953: A Cup-Sized Pattern

Armed with coupons, I found a mocha/black stretch lace at the Fabric-Store-that-will-not-be-named.

The pattern is McCalls 6953.  It is a cup-sized pattern!  I love the fit of the cup-sized patterns!!!!

Lace over Linen - both stretch!

Lace over Linen – both stretch!

I was not sure of the rounded neckline and as this was a “practice dress,” I wanted to determine if lowering the back neckline slightly affected the fit.

I also wanted to determine if a pleated skirt was a viable option or if it would add unwanted bulk.

As I sewed the last skirt panel together, I noticed two HUGE HOLES in the linen!!! These were 4″ long and 1″ wide.  And there was not enough fabric left to recut the piece!!!

Pleats - center seam and "topstitching" of inner folds.

Pleats – center seam and “topstitching” of inner folds.

However, because of the lace overlay, I could piece the underlying linen and the patch was not visible at all!

Stretch fabric does not always fold well.  To ensure the pleats would remain “crisp,” prior to releasing the basted pleats, the inside folds of each of the pleats were sewn very close to the edge – much like topstitching.

The muslin served its purpose well.  It helped me decide the final dresses for the wedding should have V-necks rather than rounded necklines.  The shorter length would be appropriate for the rehearsal dinner, but not the wedding ceremony.  Pleats are doable – as long as they are sewn down 3″ – 4″ from the waist.   And best of all, the cup-sized patterns actually fit – the first time – with just minor adjustments!!!

There are two barbeques scheduled the week of the wedding.  I think I will wear this Linen and Lace “Muslin” to one of them!





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