Creative Dressmaking At Home

A Sewing Blog



  It is my hope that this blog will inspire you and become a place you come to again and again for ideas to use on your upcoming projects. Thank you for stopping in.

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McCall's #M5847

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This pattern is for a button-down, princess seam shirtdress in three lengths and with four sleeve variations. It also has optional chest pockets and self-belt.

I picked this pattern because I wanted to make a white shirtdress for summer. I pinned a dress from Lands' End recently and I commented "the perfect white shirt dress". That's why I was tickled when I bought this pattern, which is almost an exact match and saw that it said, "the perfect shirtdress" on the front of the envelope.

I have fabric and buttons. I just have to decide if I want sleeves or not and if I want contrasting top stitching.  


Posted on January 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I did something that I never do. I sewed my whole dress, or at least the main pieces, with a basting stitch. I made so many changes to my pattern that I thought it would be a good idea to have a practice run. 

I made my usual alterations for fit, but I also wanted sleeves to make it a winter dress. I used Simplcity #A6184 for my dress. This pattern is for a sleeveless dress, however the arm openings only had a 3/8 inch seam allowance, and the shoulders were cut narrow. So I could not just stick sleeves in there.


I used the sleeves from a different dress pattern (New Look #6067). I also used the bodice piece from the New Look pattern to draw in the new sleeve openings and adjust the shoulders of the Simplicity pattern. I traced the appropriate parts onto tissue paper, and then cut them out and taped them on the first pattern. Ready to accept sleeves!

I am really glad I basted this dress together. I had darts in the wrong places and fitting issues. But I am happy to say the sleeves worked.

I took it all apart, adjusted the fit, and found out where I went wrong with the darts. I sewed it back together using a regular stitch and ironing it as I went.

This dress is a wearable, muslin of sorts. After I took apart the basting and figured it all out, I altered the pattern and cut out another dress. 

We will see how the two dresses turn out.

New Look #A6184

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This pattern is for a sleeveless dress with an interesting pleated neckline detail. The fitted bodice tapers to the waist, where a seam divides the bodice and skirt. The dress has two pleated neckline views, a higher one with a slight boat shape, and a second pleated scoop neck. The dress also has three skirt views, a straight skirt, and a six paneled skirt in two lengths.

This is the other pattern I impulsively bought last weekend. The pleats at the neck caught my eye. After I got it home and examined it more closely, I liked it even better. Often the back of the New Look dress patterns are plain, with no interesting details. This pattern includes three belts, which gives the back some interest. One view even has belt loops on the back. 

I like that the fuller paneled skirt has a longer version, which is right at the length I like to wear my skirts, so I won't have to do all the work to lengthen it. I will still have to make the straight skirt longer, but that will not be that much trouble. 

I already have several ideas for this pattern. I want to add sleeves to make a winter dress. I also think this pattern is a good candidate for a dress and matching elbow length cape (there is a great picture of an outfit like this in my mom's vintage sewing book). I have kinda wanted to make this ensemble for years. I even bought a cape pattern a while back, and shortened it to the elbow. 

I can't wait to sew up this pattern, literally. I altered the pattern last night and cut out a dress this morning. 

Simplicity E1994

Posted on December 15, 2013 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday while picking up a few items at the store, I wandered into the sewing section and took a quick look at the patterns on the rack. Two of them came home with me. One being a wrap dress (Simplicity E1994). I recently had wrap around dress dreams.

This pattern is basic in design. The bodice and skirt are one piece. The wrap forms a V neckline. Short simple sleeves. There are shaping darts in the back and french darts in the front. The dress closes with a tie on the side. 

Does anyone else think this looks a lot like a dress from a scrubs sewing pattern?

I was surprised by the length of this dress. It is a lot longer than knee length but shorter than all the maxi's. You just don't see many patterns at this sort of "tea length".

While still standing in the store holding the pattern, several possibilites for it came to mind.The wrap dresses in my earlier sketches were below the knee, with a collar and 3/4 length sleeves. I could also see it as a lovely robe with long fluted sleeves. Another idea was to shorten it to make a blouse or (with longer sleeves) a "jacket".

This morning I looked online to see how others have used this pattern. Sheilaz-CTK made several versions, she shortened the skirt and lengthened the sleeves. I was also delighted to find she had made a blouse too. I wonder if anyone has made a robe!

This could be a really fast sew. With no zipper, buttons, interfacing or other notions, all you need is some fabric and you are good to go.

French Country Skirt

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (2)

This skirt was made from a favorite sewing pattern (Simplicity #9825) and a remnant of decorator fabric. It is a straight skirt with a waist yoke and an inverted pleat in the center front seam.

With all of the tapestry clothing items this fall, I could not resist turning this antique tapestry look remnant into a skirt. I love the autumn color palette, with cognac, green, rust and little bits of red and purple.

The fabric is a 100 percent cotton print, made to look like an old worn tapestry. It reminds me of the kind of bright colors and pastoral prints of French Country decorating.

I really wanted to make an A line skirt since the fabric has a soft hand, but I only had one yard to work with and barely got the straight skirt out of it. I did not need an exact match of the print on the seams in this instance, which is good because I only had one yard. I just did not want there to be awkward stripes of color.

I did manage to get a pleat out of it too. I squared off the fabric that was left after cutting out the skirt. When it came time to sew in the pleat, I just cut off what looked right, so I don't have a measurement to share. I also made an olive green lining for this skirt, and I used red top stitching on the yoke. 

This is a fun addition to my wardrobe, in colors that I love. I guess I just adore romantic fabric, like tapestry, rose prints and lace.

Tried and True

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I enjoy using my TNT (tried and true) sewing patterns. You know the ones that are used over and over because they always deliver, maybe it is the fast and easy shirt or the dress that always comes out perfect.

I see other sewist refer to having a goal of purposely developing a collection of TNT's. I have to admit this surprised me. It's not that I think it's a bad idea, I just never thought of my "go to" patterns in this way before. Why?

Mostly because the "development" and frequent use of these patterns was mainly by accident.

When I bought my all time most sewed pattern (Simplicity #9825), I just liked the yolk detail. I had no idea how much I would love sewing and wearing this skirt.With a yoke instead of darts and facing instead of a waist band, it sews up fast and always looks good on.

One "top" that I have made several of is from a wardrobe pattern that I bought because the jacket had interesting seaming on it. I was not even considering the little "camisole" style top that came with it. It turned out to be a great layering piece that you always have enought fabric for.

On the other hand, I did acquire a skirt pattern that I thought I would get a lot of use from. I was not happy with how this skirt sewed up. Thinking I did something wrong, I tried it again, also with unsatisfactory results. I was so convinced that this should be a great skirt, I even tried a third time. Afterward, I thought "Why did I do this, when I knew better". I really should just toss this one. Definitely not a TNT, even though I thought it would be.

A TNT collection is a great thing to have and is definitely worth the effort it takes to get there. If you try this, just remember to have fun with it and don't be discouraged if your first pick is not "The One". If you keep trying, you will get there. As for me, I really could use a "go to" pattern for dress pants. Maybe I should try some deliberate TNT development.

My Pattern Collection

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (2)

"I missed my patterns the most"

This spring I had to pack most of my sewing space into boxes to put into storage. I left out enough sewing supplies to sew a few projects. I sewed quite comfortably for a short time, however, I began to miss certain things, including my thread stash. But what did I miss the most? My dressmaking patterns.

Although, I kept out a handful of patterns, they were not enough. I needed my whole collection. I missed using them to plan future projects. I missed comparing them to current trends. I missed just looking through them. I even felt a little lost when new fabric came into my possession and I wanted to contemplate it's possibilities.

After a while, my husband had to climb through our entire household in storage to find them. I am glad I had clearly labeled most of the boxes in there.

Now that I have them back, it does not matter as much that the rest is packed. I can make do with what I have if my patterns are here.

What is in my box of treasures that I miss so much? Besides my fifteen or so patterns for dresses, or the seventeen wardrobe patterns, ect., there is also my "bowties", my "pleats", and my "go to's".

Now that I have built up quite a collection over the years, I try to only buy new ones that have details that are not already represented in my stash (although, once in a while a pattern tempts me beyond good sense). I might already have something that I can use to get the look I am after. Not only does this save money, but the pattern may already be altered to fit me, which is always a plus. 

What is your pattern collection like? Do you use the same few over and over? Or do you like to try a new pattern for every project?