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Katie Shirtdress

June 13, 2018

I love sewing my jewel fabrics, but I need to learn to sew solids as well. This dress taught me that sewing solids doesn’t have to be boring. It also taught me that upping your sewing doesn’t necessarily mean learning a new technique. It may also be adding a notion to your arsenal, in my case a walking foot and a daylight sewing machine lamp. And it may also mean focus on quality fabric, which is the case here. This dress is made of a totally luscious 50/50 wool/linen blend. It was a dream to sew and ease and it’s a pleasure to wear. Enough said, here are my pictures and the review, since I’ll enter the shirtdress contest on



Pattern Description:
THE KATIE shirtdress (SewSewDef) has a high low hem, side seam pockets, collar and bell sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes the instructions are beginner friendly.
The only thing missing and it’s a detail, is how to proceed when you skip the sleeve bells.
Otherwise I notice I question the instructions less when I “know” the designer (I’ve read Mimi G’s blog for years): I was going to interface the hem facing but I knew it was likely that she had skipped it on purpose and not just forgotten. Now I love the way the hem falls and drapes and I’m sure it would be different if interfaced.
There’s no button placement shown on the placket piece, everyone is to try the dress on find out the optimal placement. I had no problem with that. However, unless I made a mistake during the construction, a button on the collar stand would be useless because it couldn’t be closed: when the left and right placket and collar stand are superimposed, the collar ends don’t abut as they should, they are also partly superimposed. See pic:

The dress is a casual fit so that’s ok for me.
This pattern is beautifully drafted, all pieces matched effortlessly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Pockets. Always a winner.
The drape. Dope.

Fabric Used:
50% wool and 50% linen in a fishgrat.
A dream to sew.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No pattern alteration. There’s enough ease that no fba was necessary.
Skipped the upper button on the collar stand (see above) and used snaps instead of buttons.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I’ll probably sew it again in a patterned fabric.


Macramé Dress

June 10, 2018

This is not a new sew but I never blogged about it. Probably because there’s not much to say, since all I did was the usual FBA, here on princess seams. But I still think this fabric deserves a place here.

It’s the same fabric I used for my StyleArc Poppy Zip jacket (much loved and quite often worn), which I liked so much I ordered another 4 yards thereafter. This is how Vlisco describes it:

Macramé is the beautiful craft of knotting ropes into ornamental designs. Our designer carried this fine craftwork into an extra large, outspoken design that’s an artwork in itself. Just imagine the exquisite fashion results!

This was my inspiration:

And this is my dress, Vogue 1481 by Kay Unger:

They say if you need to wear a specialty bra (in this case a strapless bra, otherwise the straps will show through the back cutout) it’s not appropriate for the office. I don’t care.

Full Bloom Pullover Shift Dress

June 9, 2018

I’ve decided fabric is to be cut and sewn, not just coveted. So here’s another one of my jewel Vlisco fabrics. A dress shamelessly copied from Raliat: same fabric, same pattern (McCall’s 6465), different colorway, and I used a solid coordinating fabric in the back. This is a really easy pattern, since it’s a pullover dress.

The only difficulty, and I repeatedly have it with wax fabrics, is the easing in of the sleeves. The only things that seem to help so far is using the seam ripper, patience and cursing… If you have any practical tip on how to make easing in wax fabric more easily, please share.

The only modifications I did are adding:

This is a great pattern to let the fabric “talk”. I wore it to a bbq party and someone asked me if I would take orders (“no”) and by the way someone else was looking at me, I could tell she was taking mental notes for her next order to her tailor. I take it as a compliment and I hope Raliat takes the fact that I almost exactly copied her as a compliment as well 🙂

Va Va Voom Maxi Dress

June 8, 2018

I’ve been working through my Vlisco stash lately. I originally intended to use this fabric with the Simone dress by Victory patterns by after reading the reviews, it seemed risky to sew up in a precious fabric without muslining for fit, which I had no desire to. So I veered off that idea and instead picked Vogue 9104, which incidentally happens to be reminiscent of one of the looks that were featured at Vlisco’s 170 years runway special with this very fabric back in 2016 (look at 1:43 in video):

Vlisco’s dress is heavily embellished, mine is more casual 🙂 The fabric was also used for the bride’s gown (27:10 in video) :

Vlisco describes the fabric as follows:

Blooming flowers are crystallized into a festive design that balances modern chic with feminine charm. This gemstone-inspired design is bursting with brilliant fashion possibilities for you to shine in.

I personally think it looks like origami flowers too.

I chose my size based on high bust measurement and made no FBA because the description states “very loose fitting”, which the finished measurements confirm. I eliminated the seam at center front and center back in order to use the flower design without the need to pattern match. I substituted the hook and eye at the back for handmade loops and buttons I had on hand. After I finished sewing, I cut off 10 cm off the bottom of the dress because it was ridiculously long and I don’t intend to wear it with 15-cm heels, much rather bare foot on a Greek beach next October. And I used the rolled hem foot of my sewing machine to hem it. So here we go, my new favorite maxi dress, which already got me quite a few compliments and some gasps when I answered “thanks, I made it” 🙂 :

And it has pockets!

Looking at the pictures, I think I should wear a racerback bra with it.

I have 4 yards left and no intention of making a bride’s gown but that still leaves me with a myriad of possibilities…

Vogue Patterns Summer 2018

April 6, 2018


The sun is out and so are the new Vogue patterns! I No loooove but quite a few likes.

Vogue 1588 by Rebecca Vallance feels a lot like a more conservative remake of Vogue 1545. It feels like an offer to buy both and mix and match the bodices and skirt. Also the upper back of V1588 looks great as a see-through panel.


I like the bodice of V1591 by Rebecca Vallance too, but I would pair it with a maxi circle skirt.


Other likes:

Vogue 1586 by Tracy Reese


Vogue 1584 by Tracy Reese


Vogue 9313 Easy Options Custom Fit, my fave being view B


What’s your take on this collection?

Farewell Givenchy

March 15, 2018

So Givenchy has found his peace. I have read quite a few obituaries the last days and have drooled over catwalk pictures of outfits he designed. Then I “oh”-ed over pictures of Vogue patterns he designed decades ago and that I would still happily wear today. I perused the interwebs but could not find any Vogue patterns actually designed by Givenchy that I’d want to get my hands on. But I was reminded of blog posts (1, 2, 3) I’d stumbled upon years ago, which led me to buy some patterns labelled Givenchy, albeit designed by Alexander McQueen. So I’m now considering sewing up one of these patterns I own:

Which do you like best?

Perth Dress

March 13, 2018

Update: since I first published this post, a table with the finished garment measurements has been made freely viewable in each of the shop listings, as well as on Carolyn’s blog, and the instructions in both the pdf and paper versions of the pattern have been updated to include this information too.

Original review: This is proof that I was *really* excited about Carolyn’s Perth dress pattern release. I bought it immediately, shopped my stash the very same day and proceeded to tape the pdf pattern and cut my fabric. The fabric is a 100% wool lightweight herringbone suiting. It has a rather firm hand and was a small departure from the fabric recommendations on the pattern, which are rather fabrics with drape, but it worked well.



I usually have to make a FBA. There are no hints as to where to cut and slash the pattern for alterations, and the finished measurements are also not given. However, the pattern is not fitted, so I flat measured several time (measure twice, cut once) and took a chance, and it was the right decision. The shoulder seam sits to the front of the shoulder, and there are fold lines under the sleeves, but Carolyn’s dresses look similar, as well as each pattern tester dress I’ve seen so far, so it’s all good. I also noticed that the grain is not indicated on the pattern pieces that are to be cut on the fold. I know that the fold is the grain but I also think this may be irritating for beginner. And I think the pattern is easy enough to be made by beginner seamstresses.

There are two sets of instructions. The first set is very brief, à la StyleArc if you will. The second one is illustrated by Cassie, Carolyn’s daughter and graphic designer, who did a good job. The only detail that bothered me was the missing page numbers. The fact that I noticed it possibly tells more about how chaotic the room gets when I’m sewing than it does on the quality of the pattern. It’s an easy sew and the step that took me the most time was the hand hemming.

I really love the simplicity of the pattern lines, and how the main feature, the pleats, draw attention to the face. The use of a jewelry button emphasizes it and I like it. And I love how the lines of the collar echo that of the pleats. And who doesn’t like a dress with pockets?

I was apprehensive of the fact that the collar would be restricting but it’s not. And I also had the afterthought of using a non-wool fabric for the inner collar stand but it doesn’t itch so apparently I was lucky there as well.

I also like that the construction of the dress allows for the pleats to sit flat if the dress (or top) is stored folded flat and not hanging.

I really like this dress and will probably be making a summer version, maybe in a patterned fabric. I wore it once to the office and got complimented so yeah, success!

Voice from the Off

March 4, 2018

This voice is possibly going to echo because it’s empty here but I still have to make two shoutouts:

  • Carolyn has release her first ever pattern, the Perth dress. I’ve been following her for as long as I have been reading blogs and I missed her call for pattern testers so I had to get my hands on it as soon as it came out two days ago, and it’s a work in progress now.
  • Craftsy is granting unlimited access to all their classes this week-end only. It’s not too late to take advantage of it.

Life has been demanding in the last year or so and although I’m still very much sewing obsessed, my mojo has been on a roller coaster and my blogging time inexistent. But in time things will settle…

My Adele Top

August 19, 2017

It’s kind of a stretch but I’ve rediscovered Adele’s 19, with Cold Shoulder as one of the songs I like to move my head to in the subway. I was determined to resist the cold shoulder trend at the beginning of the summer. This article echoed pretty accurately my state of mind. That was before sewandstyle posted the adorable Alice and Olivia Alyssa, made out of poplin, which retails for 240USD. Upon googling, I stumbled upon her sister, Layla, made of silk, which retails for 295USD and also had some elements I liked. I knew I needed to get my hand on McCall’s 7573, which had already been popping up all over the internet. After a short cutting session on a weekend night and a single sewing session on a weeknight (yes, that’s how fast a sew this is), this happened:

The fabric is from stash, a lightweight stretch cotton bought at the fabric market in Hamburg years ago. Because it’s somewhat see-through and I didn’t want a pattern surimposition, I underlined the ruffle with a white voile fabric.

All seams are finished with bias (armholes), French seams (side seams) or rolled hem.

I realised (too late, of course) that because the design I was aiming at raises the center front, if that pattern piece was left as is, the center front would bunch and the front hem wouldn’t be straight. So I had to draft an additional pattern piece that I attached to the center front. The piecing is hidden under the circular ruffle, at that point I gave myself a tap on the shoulder for having thought of underlining the ruffle.

When the piecing was done, I tried the top back on. It fit well and looked a lot like my inspiration garment, but left me feeling somewhat naked, especially in the back. Although my bra was covered, I was not sure it would remain so when moving around and didn’t want to deal with the insecurity. So I added a band center back inside the top, to be pulled in between my bra and skin when wearing, in order to secure the top there. And that’s when I also got the idea of the alternative back closure seen in the pictures, which is even more secure.

So meet Adele, Alyssa and Layla’s adopted cousin.

Vogue Patterns Fall 2017

August 3, 2017

linkSigns that the summer that never really settled in will be fading soon: it’s summer clearance in the shops, and sewing pattern companies are releasing their Fall collections, as Vogue Patterns did today. I’m rather disappointed in this one, and almost feel deceived. Why deceived? McCall’s Pattern Company had a few videos up in their instagram stories last week, showing some of the garments to the fall patterns, one of which was V1559.

Carlos showed it with a shoulder cover up and without, making it a two–in-one dress. This is something I was looking forward to, so I was unpleasantly surprised to see that the cover up is not included in the pattern. The beginning of the video showing the shrug has been edited off. Now I’m not even sure I want to buy the pattern anymore. The underarm holes look weird to me and I understand this may be a design feature, and I know a regular seam would be restrictive there but how about a gusset? I guess one could draft a gusset, right? But what I really want is that cover up/shrug, or at least a picture thereof, so I could try and draft it… Anyway, on to the other patterns that caught my eyes…

I like the look of V1562 from Lialia by Julia Alarcon, but the neck is too open for our fall and winter here in Hamburg. So I think I’m going to have to pass…

V9266 is a copycat of Melania Trump’s inauguration attire. As a set it’s too recognizable as such and too mother-of-the-bride-y for me to buy, but I like the dress, the neck darts make me think of my Talvikki, which I like a lot (garment is unblogged). The bolero closes left over right, contrary to the convention but typical for Ralph Lauren.

I like V1558 by Rachel Comey, more because of the instagram post than based on the pictures on the pattern’s page, really.

Anne Klein does not disappoint with V1560. Always classy and classical.

I really like V9267 with the many options and it’s custom fit so no FBA required! Vogue did a good job at pattern matching on the bodice center front seam here.

V1552 by Sandra Betzina and V9268 by Kathryn Brenne are like cousins, if not sisters!

What are your thoughts on this collection?

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