Spring Dresses

5 Apr

Spring has finally arrived in Boston.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting ready for the warmer weather by sewing a number of spring dresses.

I made a sample of the Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress for JP Knit and Stitch.  This is another reversible version, so I used a print from Erin McMorris’s Moxie line accompanied by orange gingham .

Roller Skate Dress

For the reverse side, I used a small peacock print from the Birds and Berries line by Lauren and Jessi Jung.

Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress

I recently taught a workshop on the Schoolhouse Tunic.  As my demo tunic, I used this lovely fabric a friend brought back for me from Yu Chau Street in Hong Kong.

School House Tunic

I made two Kimono Dresses to give a birthday presents.

For K., I used AMH cotton voile.

Kimono Dress

I used boarder print rayon to make this one for A.


I’m scheduled to teach a workshop on the Washi Dress, so I made two versions of the dress to help me prepare.  I loved doing the shirring at the back of the dress.  There was something so satisfying watching the elastic stink up after I blasted it with steam.

I made the scoop neck version using “Raise the Roof” by Jay McCarroll from my stash.

Washi Dress  Washi Dress

For JP Knit and Stitch store sample, I made the cut out version of the Washi Dress using organic cotton from Cloud 9’s Tsuru collection.

Washi Dress  Washi Dress

I have another spring dress lined up, so hopefully, I’ll be able to share that with you soon.


Roller Skate Dress

6 Mar

I love sewing samples and testing sewing patterns.  It’s been a fun way to be part of someone else’s creative process as well as get a sneak peek of forthcoming patterns.  I still get excited every time I get an e-mail from Liesl asking if I would be up for testing.  You can read more about what goes into the making of and Oliver + S pattern here.  I feel pretty lucky to have a small role in the whole process.

In December, I started testing and sewing samples for the Spring/Summer ’13 Oliver + S patterns.  As soon as I saw the Roller Skate Dress, I knew this pattern would be in regular rotation in my sewing queue.  In fact, I can’t stop making these dresses.

I made H.view a of the Roller Skate dress in size 8 using the Flora print from Julia Rothman’s Miscellany line for Cloud 9.  Since it is still winter here in New England, H. has been wearing this dress with layers underneath.

Roller Skate Dress  

I made another version of the dress in size 10 to see if it could be reversible.  To make the dress reversible, I added another button loop to the lining, sewed on buttons to both sides in the back for the dress, and left the hem length the same for both sides of the dress.  I decided to leave off the center bow since it might be a bit uncomfortable if it were facing the body.

I used 1000 Cranes in Indigo from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s latest line for Cloud 9.  There are so many beautiful prints in the Tsuru line.  Of course, the fact that all of Cloud 9’s fabrics are made out of organic cotton is a bonus.  For the other side, I used Alexander Henry’s April Showers print.  I’ve had this in my stash for quite some time.

This dress will be given to a very very special Portland girl for her April birthday, so it seemed only natural to use this print for the reverse side (Sorry for the spoiler, Nance).  I’m hoping my niece loves it as much as I do.

For dress number 3, I made view B with the contrasting yoke.


I used a print from Erin McMorris’s La-Dee-Da line and polka dots from Delphine Cubitt for the yoke.

the lining, I used poplin from the Spring Little Lisette collection. Can you tell which side H. prefers?


Didn’t I warn you that I can’t stop sewing this dress?  The simple silhouette is so versatile   I love the capped sleeves; they were one of my favorite details in the Bubble Dress. I can’t wait to try adding applique to a future iteration of this dress.  Oh, the options.  I can’t wait to see what your Roller Skate dresses/tunics look like!

Pinwheel Dress + Tunic

5 Mar

Every season, I get so excited when the new Oliver + S patterns get released.  There are so many different options in each little O+ S package.  Take the new Pinwheel Dress + Tunic, you get three different looks with this one pattern.

I had a bunch of leftover red bias tape from this sample, so I wanted to choose that would work well with a little pop of red.  I choose two Modern Workshop prints to make the slip dress and tunic for H. For the slip dress, I choose to use two different prints for the bodice and for the ruffle. That decision was based on the fact that I didn’t have enough fabric in the same print, but I do like the result.

This will be a great simple dress for H. to wear in the summer, but for now, we are still in layering mode.

H. wore the tunic on top of the slip dress this weekend while she performed a little dance routine with her friends.


She loves the twirl factor with the double flounce.

For H.’s 6th birthday, we threw a pinwheel themed party.  H. was excited to see the Holly paper doll on the cover the  Pinwheel Dress/Tunic pattern.  Perhaps another pinwheel themed party is in order.

February Snow Edition

15 Feb

Hold on a second! Why is February going by so quickly?  I normally try to sew every night, but lately, the only time I have been able to carve out is on the weekends.  Luckily, my weeknights have been filled with fun events.  Aside from the shuffle kids to and from their early evening activities, I’ve been attending a number of book readings.  There have been so many new books being published from some of my talented fiction-writing friends. It’s been a joy to hear them read and to celebrate their recent publications.

Since I haven’t been sewing as often as I normally do, I’ve tried to focus on small, simple, and at times, portable projects.

I made a bunch of bow hair ties from this free Oliver + S pattern. The pattern piece is the same one used for the bow on the Straight Stitch Society Have It All Wallet.  I have a huge bag of scrape fabric next to my sewing table, so I was able to dip into that and finish several hair ties while H & J were at playdates.  H. has given quite a few of these to her girlfriends.

hair ties

hair tie

I made a ric-rac flower hair clip using this tutorial. I used way too much ric-rac on this flower and was about to take it apart, but H. loves the how large it turned out. Personally, I prefer subtleties in my hair accessories, but then again, I’m not a 7 year-old girl.

Rose hair clip

Whenever it starts to snow, I tend to start sewing clothes for warmer weather.  Call it wishful thinking. During this past weekend’s blizzard, I pulled out some Nani Iro double gauze fabric I purchased last year.  I used this digital pattern, made a few minor adjustments to it, and sewed a light summery dress.  I couldn’t wait for warmer weather to wear it, so I threw on some tights and a cardigan and layered up the dress for work.  I sewed the size based on my body’s measurements, but I think I could have gone down a size in the bodice.

Easy Kimono Dress  Easy Kimono Dress

Having all weekend plans cancelled due to the blizzard allowed me to finish up some knitting projects.  I finished the Every Last Yard cardigan I started back in the fall. I put this aside in October to start working on holiday presents, so it was nice to finally be able to finish it.  I used 3.5 skeins of Madelinetosh Merino DK in Betty Draper’s Blue.  I picked this color partially for the name and for the vibrant blue that was on the website.  I was a bit disappointed when it arrived to find the color wasn’t like the Baltic in the Madelinetosh Vintage but more like a stone-washed denim blue.

Every Last Yard Cardigan  Every Last Yard Cardigan

Every Last Yard Cardigan

I used my last skein of Morehouse 3-strand variegated yarn to make a pair of new mittens.  I sewed in all the loose end just as the snow fall was ending on Saturday morning. Nothing like a snowstorm to break in a new pair of knitted mittens.

Peacock Mittens

January Gift Making

31 Jan

Just when holiday gift crafting finished up, I found myself scrambling to get started on making presents for a slew of January birthdays.

We have been in full birthday party marathon mode since the start of the new year.  Between H. & J., one of them has been invited to a birthday party every weekend.  For these birthday gifts, I added some applique to t-shirts. I’ve made so many of these over the years, I’ve stopped taking photos of them.

For one of H.’s closest friends, H. requested I make her a dress.  I let H. pick out the fabric from my stash and made an Oliver + S Seashore Sundress.

Seashore Sundress

H. wanted to help out, so she assisted in sewing on the buttons.

sewing button  sewing button

For my step niece, I made her a Oliver + S Badminton Skort.


I knit up a simple ribbed merino wool hat for my brother-in-law.

Ribbed Hat

For a dear friend’s birthday, I made her a Kimono Robe using on of my favorite prints from Jay McCarroll’s Habitat line.  The pattern is from Amy Butler’s In Stitches.  I cut down the length of the sleeves since the ones on mine turned out to be ridiculously long.


Sewing all of these presents made me realize my gift stash is running a bit low.  I decided to use some leftover fabric to make a bunch of tote bags.

I used the Easy Lazy Bag pattern as a base and made some adjustments.  I choose to make gussets at the bottom of the bag instead of having rounded corners.  I also opted not to have the shoulder straps tie.  Instead, I shortened the straps and sewed them together.  Lastly, I added two interior pockets.  I’m sure I’ll find good homes for these bags come spring time.

Tote Bags

Woodland Stroll and Forest Path Capes

10 Jan

Have you seen the new Liesl and Co. and Oliver + S  digital cape patterns that were released this week?  This cape is a perfect addition to one’s winter wardrobe.

I made the Woodland Stroll Cape using a dark brown wool plaid and chartreuse for the lining.


This cape was a fun and quick pattern to sew.  The longest part of the process was matching up the plaids.  I think I used just about every pin I own!

Having never matched up plaids before I tested these patterns, I have a new appreciation for every plaid garment someone has ever sewn!

The child version of the cape is exactly the same as the adult just smaller in scale. H. thoroughly enjoyed trying on the sample version of the Forest Path Cape.  H’s good friend tried on the cape as well.  They both quickly asked me to make them matching capes.


I have the wool and the lining ready to go, but haven’t had a chance to start sewing these.  Hopefully, I can get started next week! I can’t wait to see your capes!


Sewing for Me

4 Jan

Here is yet another belated post recounting a few items I finished sewing in 2012.

This year, I mean last year, I decided to do something I have never done before: make a holiday dress for me. I stumbled upon this fabric and Kwik Sew 3956 at JoAnn’s.


I wore this dress to just about every holiday party, performance, and event in December. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is my holiday dress next year as well!

I was thrilled when my favorite local fabric shop received a few bolts of Jay McCarroll’s City Center line in the fall.  Like his previous collections, I love the bold prints in City Center. I think a-line skirts are a nice way to show off the prints.

Using Downtown Portland and New Look 6035 (view D), I made this simple a-line skirt.  I should have pressed it before I took these photos.

a-line skirt  a-line skirt

I made another Lisette Continental skirt using the Uptown New York print. I also made a Continental Blouse using Kaffe Fassett shot cotton, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph it. Both the skirt and blouse now reside over at JP Knit and Stitch.

lisette skirt

In November, I taught a Tova Top/Dress workshop.  I used a fabric from Cloud 9’s Simpatico collection to make a longer Tova top.  I used this as a demo garment over the course the class. I’m saving this on for the spring and summer.



My lovely bridesmaids gave me a beautiful silk robe over a decade ago.  I loved that robe so much; I wore it too shreds.  I was planning on buying a new robe, when my husband kindly said to me, “just make one.” Right! I found my copy Amy Butler’s In Stitches buried in one of my bookshelves, found a few yards of lovely flannel by Amy Butler in my stash, and voila, I have a cozy new flannel robe perfect for cold New England mornings.