Poppy Print Vanamo Skirt


This was one of those makes that was a long time coming. The poppy print fabric sat hoarded in my stash for over a year before  I finally mustered the courage to cut it. As I usually do with a fabric I really love, I couldn’t decide what to do with it, and changed my mind repeatedly without ever breaking out the rotary cutter.

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Striped Silk Skirt

A while back I dug some striked silk dupioni out of the remnant pile at sewfisticated and knew that I loved it but couldn’t figure out what on earth I’d make out of it besides an absurdly unwearable party dress (got too many of those already, folks). I was going to put it back but my friend suggested it would make an excellently funky pencil skirt. Lo and behold, she was right.

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1/4 Circle Maxi Skirt



Nothing like a quick and easy circle skirt to start your week right.  Spring has finally sprung here in Boston, so I’m breaking out the maxis!  This one is a 1/4 circle made using Fickle Sense’s tutorial.  I’m actually not usually a huge fan of the big flowy skirt, but I think a 1/4 circle makes the perfect maxi. It’s not too big and billowy for my taste, and it has such a sleek waistline.


The skirt is made up in rayon challis.  You might recognize the red in the waistband from my last post. It’s great for a skirt like this, light and airy without being see-through.


I didn’t think a lot about pattern placement because I frankly I don’t usually sew with prints.  The end result is that I don’t love what’s going on in the back here, but I can live with it.


My trusty photographer and I traipsed around Boston this weekend enjoying the weather, and I snuck in some photos everywhere we went. This one was taken in the public garden.


And in this week’s episode of not my brownstone….


I think the skirt is really complimented by this pricy South End real estate!


Stay tuned for upcoming adventures…..I bought the craftsy class on working with leather!


My Mad Men Challenge 3 outfit

Julia Bobbin is putting on this great Mad Men Challenge.  This is the 3rd year she’s done it, though I didn’t get into Mad Men until this year so I guess I’m woefully behind the times.

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Joan, of course, is my inspiration. Gotta love those pencil skirts!


I’ve been wanting to make a cherry red tie front blouse for months, and I finally found the perfect color of rayon challis online.


The top  is the Fran Tie Shirt by Named Patterns.  I love their patterns and I thought the kimono sleeves were also very sixties.  I got a bit ahead of myself with this pattern, though.  The directions are really not great, which I knew going in and decided to forge ahead anyway, and this is the first button down shirt I’ve made (well, I suppose there’s a Banksia in my past, but that guy had no cuffs in sight….).  I might have been all fine had it not been for that slippery rayon challis!  So I struggled quite a bit with this guy, and the end result is really not my best work.  So yeah….no details shots, guys.  I’ll still be wearing it just ah….please don’t look too closely at the button plackets!


The skirt is a revamped Charlotte Skirt from Christmases past.  I made it out of some wool suiting many months ago when my skillz were not quite up to today’s standards.  It had pinked seams, a hideously attached waistband, a very visible invisible zip, and most importantly it didn’t fit right.  One of those sad, never worn and never blogged makes.  I knew I wanted to pair the blouse with a pencil skirt, so I decided- why start from scratch?  I whipped this guy off the reject pile and went for it.  The first fix was to improve the fit.  This particular pattern has never worked very well for me.  It has sort of a kangaroo pouch effect in the front below the darts.  So I googled around until I figured out a fix- just lengthen and widen the darts.  That really seemed to do the trick.  Who knew it would be so easy??

Then I just serged up those seems, reattached the waistband, and put a neater hem on it.  All in all, much improved.


Thanks for putting on the challenge, Julia!  It was a blast! Can’t wait to see what everyone else makes.

Foxy pencil skirt

20140222-185519.jpgI saw this Fabric last week at Grey’s Fabric and Notions, where I go for a Wednesday night sewing club (I know what you’re thinking, how do I pack so many thrills into my life??).  It called out to me from the bolt.  If you’re wondering what does the fox say ,I can tell you it’s saying “make me into a little pencil skirt!”  20140222-185452.jpgI used the same pattern that I used for this guy in sweater knit and this guy in stretch velvet.  That is to say, not a pattern at all but self drafted from my measurements.  Have I mentioned lately how much I freaking love knits??

20140222-185501.jpgI promise I did eventually hem the thing, but I wanted to take the pictures yesterday before it got dark and postponed the hemming, hence the way it’s rolling up.


The weather was gorgeous this weekend so we finally got to take some pictures outside. I am really looking forward to a return to the carefree springtime days of outdoor photos.  Now that we’re in the depths of horrible frozen February, if it’s not too cold out to take pictures, then it’s definitely too dark out. 

I’ve got some exciting other stuff in the hopper and I can’t wait to share it with all of you when it’s done!  Currently on my sewing table is a 20s style dropped waist dress for a Downton Abbey party I’m going to next week.  I decided to really challenge myself by making some big alterations to the pattern I chose , and also by using some very finicky fabric.  So all told it’s been a very time consuming project, but I am quite pleased with it so far.  I’ll be blogging the finished product next week, so stay tuned!

Velvet skirt

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Thank god for stretch velvet!  I made this skirt in about an hour.  I didn’t have a pattern for a stretch pencil skirt but I figured it couldn’t be that hard, and I used this tutorial. It was really fun and easy- you just take your measurements and then draw a rectangle with the length as the length you want the skirt and the width as your hip measurement,  then you curve in to your waist measurement at the top and then also curve in a couple inches at the bottom to make the skirt tapered. For the waistband I just used the waistband from my Virginia Leggings pattern and doubled the width because I like a nice wide waistband.

The fabric is a purple stretch  velvet I bought at Sewfisticated for $4.99 a yard and  I stitched the whole thing up on my serger.  I got the serger for Christmas and I’m completely thrilled with it.  I could sew knits for daaayyys.  The skirt proved kind of difficult to photograph because it’s such a dark color.  But that’s what instagram is for- right?  I filtered the crap out of the pictures so you could see the color of the velvet.

Once again I’d just like to say eat your heart out American Apparel.  They’re charging $45 for this.  I made mine for about $5.  I also added about 6 inches of length to it compared to the AA version because, well, I’m getting too old for that shit.

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Twin Peaks inspired flannel Zinnia


I know my eyes are closed in this picture, but I think it shows the skirt the best.  It’s my first Zinnia!  The lovely new skirt from Colette Patterns


How’s this? Eyes open at least.  I finished this skirt this weekend in a marathon of Sunday sewing.  It took me quite a bit longer than I expected, probably because I decided to add the lining in once I’d already cut everything else out.   I made it out of navy blue 100% cotton flannel I got at Joanns.  I think I paid something like $12 for 5 yards of it.  It was a real steal and I think I might even have enough left to make a shirt. The lining is just plain old poly to keep the flannel from sticking to itself and my tights.  I toyed with the idea of using some silk chiffon I had leftover from another project because I wanted to avoid adding too much bulk to the flannel, but in the end my desire to keep it machine washable won out.  I was right about the bulk- the skirt really has a lot of body which is the only thing I don’t like about it.  I don’t usually wear A line skirts, so it may just be that I’m just imagining it to be larger than it really is.


I’m pretty proud of the sewing – I think it has some really nice details. I used some 30s reproduction fabric for the in seam pockets.


I took my time and hand stitched the lining to the zipper and really made sure that the closure looked nice, which I don’t usually do and always end up regretting.  I used a vintage yellow button to top off the zipper.  I got a set of 3 of these at an estate sale a month of so ago and I had been hoarding them to use all together but the yellow and the blue went together so well…  I suppose I can always snip it off if I finally get around to sewing the perfect blouse for them.


This skirt was inspired by, and sewn while watching Twin Peaks. I get the feeling that this will not be the last Audrey Horn inspired piece that I sew this fall.

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Chiffon Maxi Skirt

It turns out my ill-advised love affair with chiffon is not over.  It’s a tricky minx- slithering around, fraying every which way, bunching up behind the needle.  I keep trying to swear it off….

but then I wandered over to windmil fabrics on my lunchbreak yesterday and saw these gorgeous blue stripes.  So I thought “one more thing can’t hurt…. lemme just whip up a July 4th maxi real quick.”



And that’s what I did!  I’m quite pleased by how it turned out, and I finished it just in time for our backyard barbecue   Well, sort of.  In typical fashion, everyone showed up at least an hour late, and I was actually still sewing on the hook and eye  when the first guest finally arrived.

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This time the chiffon was a bit easier to work with.  The last couple of things I’ve made were with silk chiffon, and it seemed to be a lot more slippery than this synthetic stuff was. The fabric is sheer, so a lining was necessary.  I didn’t want to go full length though, so I lined it just to the knees to keep things breezy and avoid any sort of unintended Ren Faire/Sansa Stark effect.


I didn’t use a pattern for this one, I just  read some blog posts to see how other people did it.   Elastic waistbands usually look horrible on me, so I avoided that and instead went the invisible zipper route. I originally tried to make the waistband out of the lining fabric, thinking that it would be a cute detail (aka feeling too lazy to make a waistband out of the chiffon), but that turned out awful.  The lining fabric looked cheap (probably because it is) and it was way too flimsy.  So I ripped it out and decided to bite the bullet and make a waistband with the chiffon.  Once I fused it to some interfacing it was even easier to work with than the lining fabric anyway, and I think the wide stripey waistband looks pretty awesome, so I’m glad I re-did it.

The whole project took maybe 5 hours and cost about $16.  So eat your heart out, American Apparel:

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Hope you all had a happy 4th!