Category Archives: Apparel/Clothing

Mommy and Me

For the longest time I’ve avoided patterns. I’m not sure why. I think it might be because I’m a stickler for pain and patterns make the sewing process less figuring out and more getting it done…? And I really do enjoy the figuring out part…makes me feel…accomplished!

So I don’t often use patterns and try to figure things out myself, often causing myself and those around me a few migraines along the way. I also don’t get into too many complicated or structured garments that way and don’t actually challenge myself enough.

So I finally bit and bought a vintage pattern off Etsy a while ago. Why I chose to use a vintage pattern as my first ever is beyond me, but at least I had the smarts to wait till mommy dearest visited before starting it.

So mum helped me figure out how to place, trace and cut the pattern out.We then re-sized it a bit, lifting it up from the shoulders and dropping the neckline accordingly. Apparently vintage ladies were longer in the torso than moi.

She also drafted a peterpan collar pattern and showed me how to make bias tape out of the contrast fabric and hand sew it on properly.

By now you’ve figured out I don’t have any actual photos of the process, as mum often worked on the dress while I was at work. Plus I really just wanted to let her work her magic rather than stopping to take a million pictures on the way…and other such excuses.

So here it is…a vintage 1960’s shift…

From Sew What
From Sew What
From Sew What

Things I learned along the way – don’t modify aspects of a pattern unless you actually know what the effects will be.

I chose to shorten the zipper initially and realised the dress is just not meant to be pulled on that way. In the 60’s, ladies liked to step into their dresses and so I couldn’t actually put it on over my head. I quite like the idea now – you can get all your hair and make up done and then just slip on the dress, zip up, and off you go!

I chose to go with an exposed zipper to make this classic shift a little up to date, since the fabric choice was fairly granny in the first place. Just before summer hit I finalised all the stitching, added the zipper and took it for a stroll on a hot day with a 40 degree humiex!

I’m super pleased with how it turned out and am trying to make a gajillion more before the weather gives out. It’s sexy, not too revealing and fits in all the right places!

Mum and I make a great team!


Seamingly perfect!

This past weekend I decided to try out a tutorial from burdastyle. I tried a tutorial once before from another sewing blog and it all went horribly wrong so I’ve been shy/ticked off ever since.

But this one seemed so idiot proof, I was sure I would at least come close!
And boy did I ever!

From Sew What

This is the first time I didn’t actually bother taking pictures of every step because I followed the instructions EXACTLY and my pictures would simply be duplicates of the ones in the above linked tutorial.

I’m super pleased with how it turned out and the curved waist band has partially solved my ‘mutant proportions’ problem. I say partially because, as the pictures show, the skirt sits nice and flat ever so slightly lower than my others, just a touch below the belly button. This is where I measured and so that’s all very well.
However, when your umm…derriere… is a fair bit larger than your waist, a fitted skirt tends to sidle upwards, as if escaping from the gigantic proportions it is meant for to the fairer, less demanding plains of your teeny mid section. I imagine it to me some sort of cartoon worm like movement. Yes.

While I consider this project finished, I might just be possessed with the obsessive impulse to add darts once again to the already curved waist to make it sit tight. Either that, or I will simply throw a belt or sash on and live with it. It sits. It just won’t stay.

Darts or tucks are the simplest way to shape a garment and since I have been in possession of my peculiar body all my life, I have had to use them for just about as long. I’m one of those ridiculous people that do not gain weight, aside from the bare minimum you gain as your body grows from childhood to adulthood. My proportions have been somewhat the same since, I want to say age 17 or so, and my mumsie taught me how to alter things early so I wouldn’t shy away from buying things that didn’t fit just so. I think the ulterior motive there was to make sure I didn’t run around naked and embarrass her, but we’ll just assume it was altruistic.

For most garments, I put it on and very scientifically pinch the fabric between my thumb and forefinger to see how much I need to take in. Usually I do this on both sides of my waist or at equal intervals on the back or front and either pin or safety pin it while I’m still in it.

It must be mentioned that dart placement is important and it varies from garment to garment. For most of my skirts and pants I find two darts at the back, corresponding with my hip bones, work best. You don’t have to be perfect while pinching though, for now.

From Sew What

I then measure how much I pinched and round up or down depending on how large the garment is for me to begin with. If I can afford to round up, I do, if not I round down.

For example’s sake lets say I need the waist to be taken in 2 inches. Each dart will be an inch wide at the top and taper down to a point from there. Once again depending on the garment, I either only nip the waist band, or then go further down into the skirt or pant as well.

I mark the point at which I want the dart to originate and then using it as centre, I mark half inch on either side to make a one inch dart. I usually draw one line from the centre point and another from one, slanted from the side to meet the centre line. Where they meet depends on how long you want your dart.

From Sew What

Then you simply fold along your straight centre line and press to reduce bulk a little. Sew along the slanted line and press your darts outwards.

I usually hand baste the dart first to make sure it’s the right length and if it’s going to work properly before finalising with a machine stitch. It’s better to go through your trials and errors with hand basting before you commit. Or maybe I’m just afraid of commitment. Either way, undoing hand basting is easier than having to pick apart a row of machine stitching!

From Sew What

Thats all there is to it.
Wow. I’m an expert at making simple procedure sound like rocket surgery!

Sew do la fa mi do re…

Before I launch into my usual spiel, I feel the need to offer feeble excuses for my absence.

A busy summer with mumsie visiting, vacations to New York, Bombay, Goa and Winnipeg and a busy work schedule left me little time to blog. I continued to sew and documented the process too, but actual writing took a back seat.
Cry me a river please. I had 4 vacations in total in 2010. I thank you in advance for your sympathies.

On to more pressing matters (ha!).

The weekend sewing blitz that produced my favourite red vintage inspired skirt was quite a prolific period for me.
I couldn’t stop after one successful venture and promptly started on my next project; a linen/cotton two toned ‘paper bag’ skirt. I noticed an influx of pleated ‘paper bag’ skirts with self belts in the stores and decided to make a drawstring version of my own.

I found some gorgeous natural coloured linen in the remnants bin of Fabricland for I think $2.50.
It was a sizable chunk and in retrospect I didn’t need to use it ALL in this skirt. A few slivers could have been saved since there’s a fair bit of extra allowances and folds in this project, as will become clear later on.

From Sew What

As pictured above, I also found some pretty small printed cotton on sale and used it as the second tone in this ‘two toned’ skirt.

I’m particularly proud of this next bit because it’s one of my first attempts at any sort of constructed design, so to speak, as opposed to my usual pleating or gathering.

I started by cutting out 2 simple rectangles, each half of the total length of my chosen circumference size. I think this was simply half the length of the remnant piece actually. Wastage was apparently no object!
I then chose one rectangle to be the front of the skirt, folded it in half and free hand drew a curve from the chosen top edge to the side edge/seam. Stay with me now…

From Sew What

I cut along my rather perfectly drawn curve, through both layers of the folded front piece and opened it out, so I was left with the above pictured shape of fabric. I then went over the raw edges of the curves with a zig zag stitch for proper finishing and achieved an even MORE amazing feat.
I managed to fold in the fabric about half an inch and iron along the curve. Bless linen for its give and forgiveness!

From Sew What

I then proceeded to tack it down to make sure it didn’t suddenly re-defy the physics I had already defied in getting it folded in the first place. After I machined sewed both sides in place I moved on to the next part of my increasingly fiendish plan.

The mysterious curved cut outs, you see, were actually to be part of rather large pockets and the windows to reveal the other tone in the garment i.e. the printed fabric.

I cut out two rectangles from the printed fabric, zig zag edged and hemmed them and placed and pinned them behind the curved cut outs.

From Sew What

I arrived at the measurements of the printed rectangles by first lining the fabric up with the other uncut linen rectangle, which would be the back of the skirt.
I then laid the front piece with the curved cuts on top and made some approximate markings, making sure the printed pieces that I would cut out would be large enough to fill in the curves and then some, but did not exceed the original, uncut rectangle. Get it?

Basically, I wanted to make sure that all told, I had two rectangles, identical in size i.e. the front and back of the skirt, pockets, printed pieces and all.

From Sew What

After that actually simple procedure, but rather convoluted explanation, the composite front piece pictured above was the exact same size as the uncut back piece of linen.

I then tacked and finalised the side seams. Both seams included the outer edges of the printed pocket pieces, except I left one side open from the top for about 3 inches and hemmed in the open edges.

From Sew What

I then zig zag edged and hemmed the top edge of the entire skirt, all the way around, at about a 1/2 inch. Normally I would not bother with a hem as this top bit would be covered and taken in with the waist band. However, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted this to be a drawstring skirt, so that the ‘paper bag’ effect was actually real, as opposed to achieved with pleats. So I folded over the entire top edge, about 3 inches in, sewed it down and then sewed 2 straight lines within it, at 1 inch intervals to make a channel for the drawstring.

From Sew What

I could have done a separate waist band and run a drawstring through it anyway, but that would not achieve the cinched look I was going for. I sewed in the 2 lines for the same reason – One, I wanted some of the fabric to stick up and ruffle outwards from the cinched waist that the drawstring would achieve. And two, I also wanted to make sure that the drawstring had a narrow channel to flow through and did not move around too much within it – that is what the second line of stitching achieves. I learned early on from mumsie sewing curtains that if you wanted that top ruffle, you couldn’t just fold and sew, you had to sew a channel.

I then hemmed the bottom edge, about 2 inches in.

From Sew What

I’ve always been partial to wide hems. I’m not sure if that’s an aesthetic choice or because I still cling to some misguided hope that I will one day need to let it out to accommodate my sudden miraculous height gain. Either way, once the hem was done I was in the home stretch.

All that was left was the drawstring.

I cut a two inch strip of printed fabric 15-20 inches longer than my waist measurements and sewed it into a tube.

From Sew What

I turned it right side out and pressed it with the seam towards the centre. I then cut the ends off at diagonals folded the raw edges in and top stitched them closed.

All that was left was to thread it through my super special channels. This is where those 3 inches I left open in one of the seams comes in handy!

From Sew What

I put it on, tied off the drawstring in a big bow, and it worked like a dream!

From Sew What

The drawstring allowed me to wear it either high up on my waist or lower down, something I could not manage with a fixed, pleated waist. The large amounts of fabric and the cinching at the waist coupled with the stiffness of linen made it flare out in that little girl style I adore and the pockets could not be more to my liking if I’d invented the concept of pockets!

I wore it in the summer with flats and a brown V-neck t-shirt and carried emergency candy supplies, random bits of string, a button and some pennies in my pockets. Yes yes.

Sew simple

It may not be apparent from my previous posts, but I absolutely ADORE all things vintage. This IS apparent however, from my taste in both men and clothing. HA!

I often want to buy vintage items but find that they are often too big and not always in the best condition – depending on where you buy from.

So, in keeping with my see-it-and-make-it-myself philosophy, I saw a vintage skirt that I just adored and decided to copy it to my size and modify it slightly to my style.

This is my inspiration..

From Sew What

Its a vintage wool number with a zipper in the back and pockets I think. I loved it instantly but it was both not my size and a bit too expensive for my liking. I decided to make one for myself. I chose to make it in red twill, having wanted to make a red skirt for a while. I was in a bit of a hurry for some reason so I used a side zipper and skipped the pockets. I think I might replace the zipper with an invisible one soon. Maybe.

From Sew What

I cut out two rectangles to a suitable size, usually guestimated by how wide I want the circumference to be at the bottom. I then edged all sides with a zig zag stitch, since I don’t have a serger, and hemmed the bottom of both pieces.

I then randomly picked one of the pieces to be the front and went about duplicating the pleat.

From Sew What

I basically did a large box pleat, the “box” facing in and folded in as much as was needed to reduce the waistline to the right size, plus seam allowances. I pinned everything in place and moved on to the back.

From Sew What

At this point I was still distrustful of machine basting, so I hand tacked and gathered the back piece and again, gathered enough to reduce the waistline down to the right size, plus seam allowances.

Next I hand tacked both front and back pieces together and inserted the zipper.

From Sew What

After hand tacking and making sure I was satisfied, I finalised everything with proper machine stitching.

I then moved on to the waist band. Having learned my lesson from my first skirt, I kept the zipper closed and stitched the waist band around the tube of the skirt to get the right curvature.

From Sew What

I hand tacked, first on the inside, folded over the band and then tacked the outside. I tried it on to make sure it was proper and then finalised with machine stitching. Yes I hand tack or baste a lot. I prefer it to pinning…for now.

At this point it was pretty much done. I trimmed down the waist band and added a few hand sewn snap buttons on the side to keep it down.

All I needed now was the bow.

Since I’m stubborn and unreasonable, I did not go back to look at my original inspiration and roughly measured out a rectangle, folded it in half, stitched it up and made a bow. It turned out to be bigger than the original skirt’s bow and sagged somewhat on the sides. I decided to just go with it and instead of permanently attaching it, I added a brooch pin and made it detachable, in case I suddenly decide bows are dumb. I have been known to suddenly decide that, among other things, jean shorts, dungarees, harem pants and camo mini skirts are dumb. Which really, they are once you’re out of college and not working as a talent wrangler on Canadian Idol. So I’m never sure enough to commit to permanently attaching things.

Once I pinned on the bow I was done and I’m actually quite pleased with how whimsical and over the top it looks with the over sized bow. I’m going to wear it with a polka dot top and exposed seam black stockings. đŸ˜€


From Sew What


Since I got back to sewing last summer, my mum has been collecting and saving fabric bits and bobs for me, because she is, quite simply, awesome.
She recently sent me some leftovers from outfits we had made for my sister’s wedding. As soon as she told me she was sending these across, I envisioned a wide sash similar to an Obi sash worn over a Japanese kimono. I’ve seen various leather belts inspired by these and wanted one in some gorgeous fabric.

I used a beautiful dual toned silk brocade fabric, and I just happened to have the perfect purple lining fabric to go with it!

From Sew What

I used the lining fabric to back the brocade, since I did not want to waste a single inch of the brocade fabric if I didn’t have to.
I cut a strip of each of the fabrics and zig zag stitched them to each other, wrong sides up. I then stitched a straight line as well, for a neat finish.

From Sew What

I need to mention here, that when working with silk or polyester satin or any slippery materials, a sharp needle is a life saver. I used a number 14 for these. A sharp needle goes through the fabric like butter and does not cause excessive tearing of the fabric. I have also learned to ease up on the stitch tension when working with delicate fabric to avoid puckering and pulling of the fabric. The things you learn from sewing machine manuals!! I knew NONE of this growing up and pretty much used any needle, any thread and any tension for EVERYTHING I made. Little wonder then that I mostly made costumes, pouches and Barbie clothes back then.

Once the two fabrics were attached I was left with a tube, which I turned out to reveal the right side and then carefully ironed down to flatten it out. I then folded in and ran a single line of straight stitch across one of the short ends and gathered it up with some simple tacking.

From Sew What

I repeated the process on the other edge and then moved on to making some straps, as the idea was to have the brocade fabric wrap around me and then have straps extending out which would cross at the back and come around the front to tie in a bow.

I used the same fabric as the backing and cut a strip of fabric, folded it lengthwise and zig zag stitched and straight stitched it into a tube. Once that was done I turned it right side out, centred the seam and ironed it out flat, to make a flat, straight ribbon of fabric.

From Sew What

I then cut the whole strip in half to make two straps. I folded in one short edge and roughly hand stitched it to one end of the brocade/lining piece. I went over it a few times by hand as the machine could no manage such a thick mess and I wanted to make sure it was strong and secure.

From Sew What

I repeated the process on the other end of the brocade piece and was very close to being done. However I am anal and cannot have things be messy or badly finished. I needed to cover the ends where the brocade piece was attached to the strap.

I took small strips of the lining fabric, ironed in a centre crease and then double folded again towards the centre crease – basically making my own binding.

I placed the binding, with the opening of the fold outward, towards the strap, open to reveal the centre crease and attempted to stitch it in place, later covering it with the second fold of the binding. However, I then realised that I am once again doing things the mentally detrimental way, that this is a belt and that I have a hot glue gun. So with the same placement, I hot glued the bottom layer of the binding to where the brocade and strap met. I then folded over the rest of it and wrapped the binding around the back and hot glued it in place. The double folding was required because I did not want the stitching, or rather gluing to show through.

From Sew What

Hereafter I used a candle and carefully sealed the edges of the straps and voila!

From Sew What

I could not be MORE pleased with this little project. It turned out exactly like I wanted it, I learned a few things on the way about Obi’s and I’m all set to make a few more. Even if I see an expensive silk fabric in the store, a simple half metre of fabric would be more than enough!

The best part though? It reminds me of my sister’s wedding and the AWESOME memories we made. I can wear it more often than I can wear the actual outfit this material was used for and I am reminded of that great month every time!

For the actual outfit I had in mind when making this belt and how to wear it, please visit soon!

See sew!

Ever since I got back to sewing, everything I see in clothing stores makes me want to try making it myself. Especially if I can figure out the design just by staring at the piece, usually long enough for a concerned sales person to ask me if I need help.
This does become somewhat of a bother sometimes though, because I am incapable of buying things that I know I can make, even if it means I’ll only get around to making it a year later. This next project is a case in point.

I saw this lovely cotton skirt at H&M in the summer – very smart with exposed pleats and a belt. I looked at it a few times, even going back to the store once or twice to get all the details and became confident I could make it a lovely summer skirt for myself. So here I am almost a year later, making a spring skirt, in a different material, with some additions and subtractions of my own.

I started off wanting a tweed sort of fabric, something heavy enough to wear just as winter is wearing off, with some tights and boots. I found something suitable in the suiting section – a brownish, greyish plaid with very thin blue threads running through the check and a lining fabric that I believe is some sort of satin. I also picked up some lace trim because once an idea begins to brew, it snowballs pretty quickly.

From Sew What

I measured out and cut the fabric to a size I believed could fit my waist, post pleating. I hemmed the top and bottom edges, the top being half an inch, the bottom being a nice wide 2 inch hem. I like wide hems because they seem to make things fall better.

Since it was to be a skirt with no waist band and the pleats were to do the job of cinching in the waist, I first sewed the seam to make a loop of fabric and attached a zipper (my first!) to the top end, where the waist would eventually be formed.

I then laid out the fabric with the zipper at the back-centre and started pleating and pinning, with a box pleat in the centre-front and regular pleats radiating out from there, till I made my way to the back. This took several tries, much measuring and re-measuring and much tacking and un-tacking till I finall got it right and to a size that would fit my waist. I’m assuming taking the time to properly measure things and some skills in spacial relations would have helped me do this in one shot. It would have also helped me get it done faster, which is what I was trying to do with my approximate measurements and rapid fire inferences of space and time.

From Sew What

I must mention here, that the pleats are in fact facing outward, on purpose. When I first started, I pinned and tacked them inwards and it wasn’t until I was ready to line it that I realised what an EPIC fail I had managed to achieve, considering the whole point of the skirt was to have exposed pleats. Needless to say, I’m a sucker for punishment and did not want to settle and undid it all and reworked it to make it right.

Once I had the pleats pinned the right way, I proceeded to tack them down, just about an inch or so down from the top of the waist and once tacked, I machine stitched them down, on the right side as the pleats were to be exposed. I also flattened them out and stitched down on the outer edge, or fold of the pleats (not pictured), to keep them in place and get the desired effect.

From Sew What

This came back to haunt me later. At the time however, forgetting the original plan or simply not thinking straight, I moved on to the next step of lining the skirt.

I started by edging all ends with a zig zag stitch to produce an over locking effect which would otherwise require a serger, which I don’t have – not for lack of desire, but lack of space. This obviously prevents fraying edges, without the bulk of folding and hemming.

From Sew What

I then lined up my lace trim to the bottom edge, wrong side, of the lining fabric and stitched them together, once again with a zig zag stitch, because a zig zag seems to work better for satins and laces. I measured so that the lace trim would fall just about an inch below the plaid shell.

From Sew What

Hereafter I sewed in the seam, with a double row of straight stitch, leaving the top part open to accommodate the zipper. To make my life easier for pleating though, I hand tacked it shut.

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Then, after much measuring and fussing around I figured out that about 6-8 broad pleats would cinch the lining fabric enough to fit within the outer shell and so I marked and tacked in those pleats.

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I then secured the pleats in place by folding over the top edge and sewing a straight stitch line all the way around.

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At this point I made part II of the decision that would come back to haunt me – I started hand tacking the lining onto the shell. I also tacked on the opening for the zipper and secured it in place.

From Sew What

Hereafter I finalised the tacking with straight machine stitching, TWICE. Part III of the decision that kept me from perfection in this project. Now, I quite literally thought I was done. I added a small hook to the top of the zipper to make everything neat and tidy and tried it on, hoping it was all I wanted it to be.

From Sew What

Now this would be fine if I was going for a Catholic school girl skirt with a little lace trim, but alas, this was not what I was trying to achieve. The mistake was glaringly obvious – I needed to stitch the pleats further down the body of the skirt.
Having stitched on the lining in fine straight stitch twice, and having already spent an inordinate amount of time on this skirt, I lost patience and did not want to undo both lines and tiny stitching. It would have been detrimental to both my eyesight, and my sanity.

So instead, I chose to give up on absolute perfection and go for wearability and proper styling. I did my best to line up the lining fabric and the outer shell, and stitched each pleat down further to lengthen the waist band and create a better fit and style. This resulted in a not so perfect inside.

From Sew What

The outside however, turned out much better. The fabric I chose is very forgiving and even though I did my best to stay within the lines and be neat, the few imperfections in sewing and double lines of stitching do not show up to spoil the facade of neat finishing.

From Sew What

And voila. The waist turned out a little higher than I wanted, which can also be attributed to the ‘decision that haunted me’, but overall, I pretty much adore this skirt. I love how it falls, I love the peek-a-boo lace that peeps through the petticoat when I sit down, and I love how it can be girlied up with a pretty blouse or made a little edgier with a tank top, leather jacket and spiked boots.

Abandoned ideas for this skirt: At one point I thought a nice blue sash would go well with it and pick up the blue in the check, but I have since decided that a thin black belt of some sort would do better.

Sew much to do, sew little time..

Its FINALLY done!!

I first cut out the basic panels for this simple dress as far back as August 3rd and have since been struggling to find the time to finish it. Various interruptions and annoyances, including sleeping, eating, a full time job, working on weekends and occasions or events with friends have kept me from completing my beloved project. I have had to ration out an hour at a time from busy days to finish what should have taken me a weekend at most.

I’m almost so sick of looking at this fabric, I can hardly stand to wear it anymore! This is not to say I have spent inordinately long hours staring at it – I have simply had it in my possession for several weeks now and am simply bored of it. You see, this is the previously mentioned ‘predetermined’ fabric that I bought for a very specific purpose soon after my first project.

From Sew What

It is a gorgeous lemon yellow seersucker cotton blend with teeny gingham checks that struck me as the epitome of happy shiny summer days when I saw it. Another plus is that it is almost opaque enough not to require lining and while it’s light and airy, it has a natural crispness to it which I quite like.

I knew I wanted to make a simple, almost potato sack like dress so I set about  first cutting out two panels, identical in all measurements and then sewed them together, right sides in, to form one side seam.

From Sew What

I arbitrarily picked a top and bottom half and as I went along, I was careful to leave gaps for side slit pockets. When I reached what would be the bottom of the arm hole, the rest of the seam was left open. For proper finishing, I hemmed the pocket slits and arm hole openings.

From Sew What

My clever scheme to sew a single side seam first was motivated, once again, by wanting to sew in straight lines as much as possible. Once the two panels were joined thusly, I was able to hem the bottom in one fell swoop.

From Sew What

Thereafter I turned my attention to the top edges of the panels. The plan was to hem them wide enough for them to serve as channels for a drawstring or elastic to run through, thus gathering up the neck line, almost toga style. A simple hem stitch would have bunched up and the threads would have scrunched up or hung loose once the drawstring was through and it would not have been strong enough. So, I chose to do a back stitch for a sturdier hold. However, a back stitch looks like a stem stitch on the reverse and so I sewed with a back stitch on the right side of the fabric, very carefully and neatly.

From Sew What

I then sewed up the other seam, once again leaving a pocket slit and armhole opening and the basic structure of the dress was complete.

From Sew What

I then cut out a 5 inch strip of the same fabric, hemmed both horizontal edges and gathered it up to make a ruffle.

From Sew What

The ruffle was then attached to the hem of the dress with a simple back stitch, being careful not to come through the other side. In case you’re wondering why I did not attach this ruffle before doing the second seam – thus allowing me to once again stitch in a straight line – I did not want a repeat of the waist band fiasco with my first skirt and could not be sure that the ruffle would..well..ruffle wide enough if I did in fact do it that way. It all makes sense to me, I promise.

From Sew What

Once the ruffle was on, I had to resolve a long standing debate I was having with myself as to whether I should make an internal drawstring channel, or simply make loops for a lovely sash. The desire for a pop of colour and a smidgen of laziness made me choose the latter. I attached small loops made of navy blue satin ribbon – the same colour the sash was to be – on the top edge of the pocket opening and then sewed that small bit shut, for a nice clean finish.

From Sew What

I then started on the pockets, and while I had a general idea of how to go about it, I did not want to make a mess of them so I looked at various other dresses and pants and fixed on this simple shape for them.

From Sew What

Initially, I was not sure whether to make them from the same fabric or from a white broadcloth, but after a few tests, I settled on the same fabric as white was somewhat visible underneath the yellow material.

Attaching the pockets was simpler than I imagined. I sewed the pieces together, hemmed the top edges for cleanliness and matched the opening of the pocket to the opening I left in the seam of the dress. I then just sewed all around with a blanket stitch till I was pretty sure it wasn’t going anywhere.

From Sew What

By this point the dress was pretty much done except for some finishing touches, the sash and drawstring at the neck line. I lost a few days in this process, firstly because there was MUCH deliberation about a ruffle or lace detail down the front and secondly because I was kept away from my beloved sewing for hours and days at a time in the pesky pursuit of livelihood and rent. I finally gave up after my third attempt at a nice ruffle and just tried the whole thing on to see what it needed.

At this point another important decision was made – what to use as the draw string on the neck line. I had bought some white cord early on, but abandoned that idea when I incorporated the sash. I toyed with the idea of elastic, which would then necessitate sealing up the top edges. I decided against this as the fall of the dress would change for the worse. I finally settled on a thin navy blue ribbon drawstring. This ribbon, bought when I decided on the sash is much sturdier than previously estimated and really holds its own against the weight of the fabric.

From Sew What

Post trial with the ribbon it still needed something – the dress looked too empty. After a few discussions/monologues with and kind suggestions from the manly man, I decided on attaching the same thin navy blue ribbon to the top of the ruffle, to balance out the whole thing and add a little pop. It was a surprisingly painless process, even though I hesitated a great deal at first as the ribbon was so very thin.

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The absolute last and final step was stringing the sash through.

From Sew What


From Sew What

I think its super summery and even somewhat cruise-y. I hope to debut it soon on on our annual anniversary harbour cruise – IF I can wait that long!