rayon challis culottes

I’m not much of a beachgoer. Blame it on not living anywhere near a beach. But also, I can blame it on my very sunburn prone skin.  Summer is often when I either hide from the sun or resign myself to painting myself with enough sunscreen to pass for a layer of primer on a wall.  And yet, summer styles are so fun, and when I came across this vintage McCalls pattern from 1982, I couldn’t pass it up.  Paired with buttery rayon challis from LA Finch Fabrics, this rayon challis culottes beach set is my new favorite summer look.  Pass the sunscreen please  (or the aloe)!

rayon challis culottes

Rayon Challis Culottes Beach Set

McCall's Misses' Camisole, Skirt and Culottes Pattern 8024

My War on Culottes

I’ve never successfully made culottes.  It’s not for lack of trying.  I had a pair of knit culottes many years ago that I’d wear in the summer.  They were so easy to wear and comfy when the mercury was on the rise.  When I started sewing, I tried to recreate those knit culottes with this Burdastyle tutorial.  Unfortunately, these never stayed on my hips.  Another time, I tried to draft my own.  I was short on fabric though, so the culottes didn’t have a good amount of hem sweep, and I made the elastic waist a little too tight.  I dismissed the style completely!

Then Helen’s Closet started popping up with all of her gorgeous versions of her Winslow Culottes.  I watched Rachel try and then succeed in spades with them and decided that it was time for me to try again.

rayon challis culottes

So many pleats!

I’m discovering as I look through culotte patterns that there’s many different variations in culottes.  All of them produce that characteristic volume at the hem that makes these pants “hang like a skirt.”  Some use a series of pleats, some inverted pleats, some box pleats.  My knit culottes that I used to wear had no pleats at all.  The volume in them was created by splitting the original shorts pattern in intervals and adding wedges of width into the hem.

This particular pattern features 6 pleats across both the front and the back.  In the soft rayon challis, the pleats hang so beautifully.  After a muslin, I lengthened the culottes by an inch so that they’d hit me around my knee.  It wasn’t totally necessary to do this, but I like my skirts to hit around my knee, so ditto for culottes.

rayon challis culottes

Invisible zip in a pocket

rayon challis culottes

The pattern has extensions on the pocket that you fold back on themselves to finish on one side that joins a buttoned opening on the waistband.  I’ve seen this kind of finish on a pair of vintage pajamas I made (my first actual vintage pattern, and it was a dud), and I hated the breezy side opening.  Instead, I cut off the extensions on the left side and put in an invisible zipper.  I sewed in the zip wrong twice before I watched this video.  When finished, the left pocket looked odd to me, but I have a pair of lace rtw shorts that have pockets made the exact same way.

rayon challis culottes

The not-romper top

I originally fell for this pattern because I think the combo of the top plus the culottes has a romper look.  I know rompers are currently super trendy, but I’m a little shy with the style.  The simplicity of being able to use the bathroom without getting undressed is a big plus.
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After a quick muslin, I widened the straps by sewing the seam allowances at 3/8″ vs. 5/8″ and I lengthened the top by 3/4″.  The culottes are meant to sit at your natural waist, but I figured they would fall down a little (they totally do) given that all pants and skirts do.  I wanted to make sure there was enough coverage so that I wouldn’t have to sunscreen my extremely white tummy.

I also reduced the top seam allowance on the facing/top edge for a little more coverage.  A top casing keeps the top snugged in and prevents gaping or falling down.  It’s really a well-designed pattern!  The next go round, I’ll add a little more elastic–it’s quite snug!

I even bought a convertible bra that actually fits me.  My ribcage is really narrow (28 or 30 band), and it turns out that strapless bras have never fit me because I never bothered searching for one with a small enough band.  Repeat it with me: bands are where your support come from!  It turns out that strapless bras are not the devil when they actually fit.

rayon challis culottes

I’d love to pop this top onto a sundress for a different look.

About that aloe.

You think I’d remember that the sun + me = ouch. 🌞😣 #notwise #passthealoe

A post shared by Elizabeth Made This (@elizabethmadethis) on

You think I jest about my dependency on sunscreen, but before I took the beach pics when I was in LA recently, I managed to get all lobster red at a ball game with my family.  Some quick application of aloe faded things down to a calmer shrimp shade and kept me from peeling.

rayon challis culottes

I had enough leftover fabric from the ensemble to make a sweet Ottobre top for my daughter.  We can be twinsies!

rayon challis culottes


So what do you wear to the beach besides swimsuits?


Valerie rashguard

Do you know what a rash guard is?  I certainly had no idea when Jalie’s Valerie rashguard came out recently.  According to Wikipedia, “A rash guard, also known as rash vest or rashie, is an athletic shirt made of spandex and nylon or polyester. The name rash guard reflects the fact that the shirt protects the wearer against rashes caused by abrasion, or by sunburn from extended exposure to the sun. These shirts can be worn by themselves, or under a wetsuit” My favorite thought on rash guards comes from Jim Gaffigan:

In the past, we’ve put our boys in similar shirts for swim lessons.  Our boys tend to get really cold in the water, and we’ve noticed that the shirts help them not be so cold.  Recently, I’ve seen more adults at the pool wearing similar styles.  Frankly, I think the time has come in the world of swimwear!!!  Growing up, my Mom would have me wear a t-shirt over my suit because my fair skin would burn so readily.  I hated the big old t-shirts floating around in the water, and as such, I never became a confident or good swimmer.  Who knows?  Maybe a rash guard would have changed my early swimming experiences.

Valerie Rash Guard

Valerie rashguard

This pattern is really very simple in form.  It’s got a 6 panel design which is typical for rash guards, and there’s an optional front zip.  The zipper is a nice style addition if you’re wearing this over a suit, and it also helps you get the narrow neck over your head.  Nylon lycra is stretchy, but maybe not THAT stretchy.  On my next version, I’ll definitely be adding the zipper.


I bought both the pink and coral clouds print and the coral spice from Fabric Mart I think 2 years ago.  Both of these fabrics are nylon lycra with a lot of recovery and comfortable 4 way stretch.

I made this at my in-laws house on CA’s far north coast.  Without my serger and coverstitch, it took me a little longer than usual, but I was surprised at how well the construction turned out.  It was a good reminder that your sewing skills are more important than the tools that you’re using.  Or to quote Ansel Adams:

Ansel Adams Wilderness, California. Afternoon Thunderstorm, Garnet Lake.

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Sewing nylon lycra without a serger

A serger is a really helpful tool to handle sewing nylon lycra.  The stretch of a serged hem marries well with the 4 way stretch of the nylon, but if you don’t have a serger, you can still sew up a swimsuit.  Here’s some thoughts for sewing nylon lycra on a regular sewing machine:

  1. For construction, use a narrow zigzag.  A width of 0.5 will look almost like a straight stitch, but it retains enough built in stretch for the seams to not snap under stress.
  2. Lengthen your stitch: Nylon lycra can stick a little under a presser foot.  If you have a machine whose presser foot tension you can adjust, loosen the tension.  Otherwise, lengthen the stitch for the best quality stitch.  On the machine I was working on, I lengthened the stitch to 3.5 (normally I’d use a 2.5 length for a narrow zigzag).
  3. Use a stretch needle: Stretch needles have a certain point that works well for the dense stretchy nylon.  They really make such a difference!
  4. Use a 3 step zigzag for hems:  You can use a double needle for hems, but I’ve found that my double needle hems aren’t as sturdy on high stretch fabrics.  A 3 step zigzag on the other hand makes a hem with lots of recovery and a clean look.

Valerie rashguard

Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts

I think these two patterns were basically made for each other.  Even note how the panel design moves seamlessly from the top to the shorts.  Jalie, you smart people, you’ve found a forever fan in me!

Valerie rashguard

Side pocket

Not only is the colorblocking on the shorts cool, but the side panels cross over in this little v that’s actually a pocket.  Who doesn’t need pockets for their keys at the pool?  Smart, smart, smart!

Interior brief

Valerie rashguard

Instead of a regular lining, the shorts have a separate brief that sews into the waistband as the lining.  This has proven to be a really comfortable lining option.  The best part is that these shorts do NOT float up like swim skirts can.  There’s some monkey business with the directions where you join the lining and the shorts to the waistband.  Other reviewers on Patternreview have noted it and Jalie fixed the written directions on the downloadable directions The picture on that step shows the right side of the fabric when it should be the wrong side.  I mention that because it led me to sew the lining the wrong way out.  I subsequently had to unpick a whole waistband, and basted brief/shorts layer.  Not so fun…  If you sew this pattern, definitely download the directions from Jalie’s website and think think think and take your time on the waistband step.

So though it’s not a traditional swimwear look, I think it should be!!!!  At any rate, I am looking forward to not matching with the random crustaceans I find along the beach!

Valerie rashguard


designer stitch charlie dress


It’s Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, and I didn’t hesitate to jump on that train.  As much as I sometimes grouse about PDF assembly, the truth is I love indie patterns.  Besides the wealth of indie designers we now have to select patterns from, it’s wonderful to be able to talk directly to the designer for help or clarification.  It gives you a great chance to see where their inspiration came from and their design process along the way.  I love seeing people’s hard work materialize into a physical pattern and then seeing that translated into wearable garments in my closet.  As such, I’ve had Designer Stitch’s Charlie Dress in my stash since January, and it was high time I took it on.


Charlie Dress

The Charlie Dress is a sleeveless dress with front princess line panels and a contoured belt that’s meant to sit at the high hip.  It’s got a classic silhouette to it, and the princess lines give you a great opportunity to add some contrast.  I did so in the way of overdyeing my fabric and adding fringe in the princess seams and on the hem.

Mystery fabric!

I started with this fabric.  It’s a suiting fabric that I’ve had in my stash for at least 5 years.  I bought it from Hart’s Fabric.  It was labeled as a denim but with a different weave.  Besides the crossweave with denim and white threads, it is thick like a denim but feels like a linen.  Colorwise, the denim color is a little cooler and darker than the general color palette that I wear, so I’ve always had it in mind to alter it somehow before using this beautiful fabric.


In previous attempts to alter this fabric, I’ve dipped swatches in regular dye, bleach, and Rit Color Remover all to no effect.  No doubt, there’s a significant amount of synthetic fibers in this fabric or some kind of finish that makes it resistant to color changing treatments.  Since I’ve had this fabric, Rit came out with this awesome dye called DyeMore.  It’s specifically for synthetic fabrics and it does a GREAT job of dyeing them.  Usually dye just slips right off synthetics, leaving you with unchanged fabric and wasted dye.  I bought a bottle in nearly every color.

I first dyed the whole yardage in Kentucky Sky.  The darker threads were not affected at all by the dye, but the white cross threads did change into a soft blue.  It’s a subtle change, but it’s there.  Click on the arrow to get to the second video below to see the color difference.

Zipper and side panels

Next I mixed up a bit of Apricot Orange and Super Pink to produce a kind of strawberry watermelon pink.  I dyed the side panels, zipper, one side of the belt, and a couple of strips for the fringe trim.

designer stitch charlie dress

Adding the fringe

designer stitch charlie dress

To make the fringe, I cut four 1.5″ X 36″ strips of the fabric.  I kept two of them undyed and two of them dyed.  I basted the blue strips to the side panels and the pink strips to the side panels.  After sewing the front seams as usual, I serged the insides.  I pressed the seams towards the center front panel and topstitched it down so that the fringe would lie flat.

Initially, I thought that the fringe would be the same length, but I decided that I liked the effect of the longer pink fringe under the shorter blue fringe.  Before I started fringing, I cut the exposed strips of the blue fabric in half.

Because of the weave of this fabric, the dark threads pull out very easily.  I’ve fringed a lot of fabrics, and this one by far required the least effort.  I simply marked with chalk where I wanted the fringe to stop.  Then I used an upholstery needle to pull out the dark threads one by one which creates the lighter colored fringe.  To stop the fabric from fringing more, I applied Fray Block right on the fringe line.


Exposed zip

designer stitch charlie dress

Because I went through the trouble of dyeing my zipper, I wanted to show it off with an exposed zipper treatment.  I really like how the pink looks against the blue.



designer stitch charlie dress

Sleeveless armholes are my nemesis!  Being short and petite, I’m rather short between my shoulder and the base of my armscye.  There’s virtually no pattern that gets me close to covering my bra at the sides.  The Charlie Dress is easily the closest I’ve come out of the pattern envelope to taking care of this fitting concern that I have.  It’s not 100% covering what I’d like (hence why I’m pulling my arm up slightly in the picture), but I’m within 1/4″ which is HUGE.  I’ve worked with patterns before that were inches too big for me in the armscye.

The other cool thing about this pattern are the custom cup sizes.  You print out a base pattern that includes the back and then another file that includes your cup size.  You’ll want to look closely at the finished garment measurement chart for this to pick the right size.  Though I am not a B cup, I found that the B cup pattern was just the right amount of ease that I needed to be comfortable.  If I had gone with my actual bra size, I think I would have ended up with a baggy fit.

Facings that don’t flip

I know I’m not the only one, but I really struggle with getting facings not to flip outwards.  I love the clean finish they have at the neckline, but I hate that I typically have to spend extra time invisibly stitching the edges down by hand to keep them from flipping to the outside.  The nice thing about this pattern is that the all in one facing has just 1/4″ seam allowances, so you don’t have to spend time trimming and notching the facing seams like you do on a lot of patterns.  I think this lack of bulk really keeps the facings in place.  After understitching, I stitched the sides of the facings in the ditch of the side seams and then just did a couple of tacking stitches at CF and that’s it.

Fringed hem

After adding the fringe in the princess seams, I knew I wanted to add a fringed hem as well.  The edge of the fabric came out of the wash with a whole lot of fringe.  I cut off a strip of this 1″ wider than where the fringe started.  I bound the top edge of this with bias tape leftover from my Designer Stitch Alyse Pants.  On the inside of the dress, I drew a chalk line 1.25″ up from the raw edge and sewed down the extra strip of fringe with two rows of straight stitches.  After that, I fringed both layers of fabric to where I wanted them.  Zigzag stitches (and more Fray Block) at the top of the fringe holds both layers together and keeps the fringe from moving northwards.  To finish it off, the bottom layer of fringe is cut 3/4″ longer than the top layer.  I really like how this shows off both of the fringe colors on the front!

Contoured Reversible Belt

designer stitch charlie dress

I made the belt reversible.  It was interesting that the belt is contoured and not just a straight rectangle.  It really drapes well because of this.  I left off the belt loops because I’m not sure where I want the belt to sit yet.

designer stitch charlie dress

Overall, I’m so glad I got a chance to use this really cool fabric and even more so that I found a great match for it in the Charlie Dress!  I paired it with some blue suede flats and a chunky necklace which will be a good look for teaching violin for me.  This gold necklace, wedges, and a little clutch I made from the scraps (plus a bit of the fabric I dyed with Daffodil Yellow DyeMore) will make this perfect for date night!

raglan button down


Periodically, I make a round of button-downs for my boys.  I always use the same patterns in whatever size they happen to need for the moment, and I cut a lot of them and I sew them as quickly as I can.  This year I needed to change up my pattern as they’ve outgrown all of their previous patterns.  For my older boys, I went with Ottobre 3-2017-25 which is a raglan button down pattern.  It’s the cover pattern on the last Ottobre.

My younger guy gets Ottobre 1-2017-6.  It’s a typical button down with pleats in the sleeves/vents/cuffs.


There’s not a lot to be said about the crocodile shirt, but the raglan button down is a little bit of a twist on a typical shirt.  Do you ever feel like there’s so very little variation in boys’ patterns?  Ottobre does a great job mixing things up in general, and the raglan button down is a great example of their creativity.  That being said, construction is a little hairy!  Let’s break it down.

Pattern sizing

The raglan button down is for 116-158cm (size 6-16) and the standard button down is for 74-104 cm (size 12 months-5T).  I sewed a 128, 116, and 98 respectively.


raglan button down

All the fabric I bought from Fabric Mart recently.  Good quality shirtings are on of those things that should fly into your shopping cart! The navy and the multi plaid are both Japanese cottons, and the yellow stripe is from a rtw designer.

The plaids were a good challenge for matching.  I was particularly proud of my matching on the multi-plaid.


Pattern Features

The biggest feature of the raglan button down is of course the raglan sleeves.  I haven’t seen too many raglan sleeved shirts that weren’t knit.  Ottobre says they were going for a 60s look.  Here’s an old Butterick from that era with a similar look:

raglan button down

I can only assume that because he’s got a pipe, raglan shirts are what you wear when you’re relaxing by the BBQ in the summer!

The other big thing is topstitching down the center of the raglan sleeve which is a 2 piece sleeve.  I love 2 piece raglans because you get a nice smooth look over the shoulder.  Sometimes in 1 piece sleeves, they’ll put in a dart at the shoulder to curve over the shoulder.  The 2 piece eliminates the dart.

raglan button down

Fitting/pattern changes

raglan button down

I didn’t change anything for the raglan button downs, but I did shorten the sleeves for the navy plaid shirt.

Lessons I learned (i.e. where things got hairy)

The raglan shirt is pretty simple to put together EXCEPT for the facing/collar situation.  Ottobre does not hold your hand through this part.  You sew the neck edge of the facing to the neck edge of one side of the collar.  The front edges of the collar are left unstitched at this point.  The pattern markings for where this attachment is supposed to happen are pretty lacking.  The notch on the collar does correspond to the corner of the facing, but there’s nothing to help you on the facing.  Just mark your notch well.  After this, the facing gets flipped to the other side and you sew the facing and unstitched front of the collar in one go.  Clip into the corner well, and you get a nice collar.  It reminded me a little of a notched collar, but mostly, it took some trial and error to puzzle it through:

 Why you should make this shirt

There is so little variation in boys’ patterns, so when you find one, jump on it.  A raglan button down is still pretty tame, but this one fits really well, and in the right fabric, they can be light and cool for summer.  Just watch out for the collar!

Coffee Dates with Your Seam Ripper Required:

If you mark your collar notch well, you and your seam ripper might not need any quality time together.  As for me, this pattern was a 3 date affair.

raglan button down

What’s your favorite pattern company for boys’ patterns?

Here’s to happy sewing and fewer coffe dates with your seam ripper,

dutch label shop

A few weeks ago Abby from Dutch Label Shop contacted me to do a guest blog and for a product review.  If you don’t know, Dutch Label Shop creates custom labels and hang tags for home sewists and fashion designers.  Dutch Label Shop provided me free product in exchange for my review.  The opinions are my own.  Keep reading for a discount code that you can use for your own custom printed labels.

Custom Labels

dutch label shop

First, I wanted to try out the custom labels and some hang tags as well.  I’ve ordered basic woven labels from Wunderlabel in the past (which are also really nice), but I was looking to give the custom route a go.


Dutch Label Shop lets you order pretty much as little or as much as you want.  A test run of 5 labels will run you $20.  Upwards from there, the price per label goes down considerably.  100 labels will cost you $76 (.76/label), but 500 only costs $127 (.25/label).  So why would you order a test run when the price goes down so much the more you order?  Well, perhaps you want to test out colors or see what your design will actually look like before you invest.  A test run would be a great option.  The basic labels ($33/100 labels) and also the stock labels are less expensive, so there’s some great budget choices.

I went with 100 labels.  I figured it was a good compromise between trying out a design and actually having a good amount of labels to work with.  The design turned out so well that I will definitely be reordering.

dutch label shop

Hang Tags

Hang tags really make your handmade goods look professional.  They’re a great way to show off your logo and other information about your brand to your customers.  Think of them as a business card on a string.  Since hang tags are printed not woven like the labels, they are much less expensive to produce.  A test run of 30 will only set you back $15, and 500 hang tags (enough for your own in home factory!) are $80.

dutch label shop

Design Process

dutch label shop

When you go to create your own labels/hang tags, you upload your design to Dutch Label Shop.  From there customer service works with you to make sure everything is absolutely perfect.  This was so valuable to me.  I’m not a graphic designer, so I really needed a little extra help.  The customer service guy was very professional and incredibly patient, and though it took several emails back and forth to get things right, the end result was just what I wanted.

dutch label shop

My hang tags have my (new) logo text against a lace border background, and the labels have the same text.  The printing on the hang tags and the woven text on the labels are clear and crisp and I can’t wait to put them on everything!

Plan Your Summer Sew-cation

While you’re checking out Dutch Label Shop, you can catch my guest blog for them.  I wrote up a piece with ideas for incorporating sewing into your summer vacation plans.  I know I have this Doctor Who themed cross stitch pattern in mind for my own upcoming road tripping this summer!

The Doctors - The *Original* Pixel People - PDF Cross-stitch Pattern - INSTANT DOWNLOAD

Coupon Code

I would highly recommend the Dutch Label Shop experience.  You’re going to end up with some lovely labels that you’ll be proud to put on your garments, and you’ll have a great customer experience.

Dutch Label Shop is offering a 10% coupon to all Elizabeth Made This readers from now until July 18th.  Enter the code “elizabethmadethis15” (all lowercase)when you go to checkout for the discount.

How about you?  Have you ordered your own custom labels?  Where did you get them from?  What was your experience with the design process?

Designer Stitch Logo

Designer Stitch Patterns is celebrating their 1st anniversary this week with a blog tour and a 50% off sale in the shop.  I’ll be sharing my project for the blog tour on Thursday, but I wanted to drop a quick mini post with the schedule so that you can follow along.  The Designer Stitch FB group is filled with such talented seamstresses, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of this.  Check it out!

June 5, 2017 

June 8, 2017

June 9, 2017

For now, here’s a teaser of my project:

peach chiffon skirt

Hey, I sewed chiffon and it wasn’t all that bad!  In keeping with my very loose goal of trying to wear more skirts, I added this peach chiffon skirt to my small collection of wearable skirts.  The chiffon has been in my stash for a couple of years just waiting for the right project, and this turned out to be just that project.

Peach Chiffon Skirt

Burda Easy Fall/Winter 2014 skirt 3D

I’ve seen Burda Easy pattern magazines floating around occasionally, but this issue is the first one that I’ve bought.  The concept is really pretty cool for a magazine.  They take a few basic models and turn them into the many other patterns in each issue with a couple of additions or subtractions from the main pattern.  Looking through them is a really good introduction to how designers can take one idea and develop it into an entire collection very quickly.

In the case of the skirt patterns from this issue, they start with a pencil skirt (with lots of exposed zips) and then change the silhouette with various squares of fabric inserted into the seams.  I chose the frothiest of them all.

I periodically go through all of my Burdas when I need some new ideas, and this immediately jumped out at me.  The soft drape of the hem would be perfect for chiffon.  The only problem–sewing chiffon.

peach chiffon skirt

That time you ignore practical advice…

I took Sarah Veblen’s Understanding Sheers class years ago on Patternreview, and I remember her saying that polyester chiffon was the one fabric she would avoid at all costs.  She convinced me that it was spun by Satan himself.  I could still hear her loud words echoing in my head when I came across this striped polyester chiffon.  It was in a group of flat folds at Colorado Fabrics, and I picked it up and put it back down again no less than 3 times, trying to be wise.  Still, I ended up buying it because the peach was so pretty and the stripes that go every which way were so interesting.  I figured that one day I’d be brave enough to tackle it or it would end up being a wadder.

peach chiffon skirt

Sewing chiffon without pain

Chiffon is a love/hate fabric.  It’s hard not to love the drape and the flow and the soft romanticism of this fabric, yet it’s a bear to handle.  So what do you do dear?  You starch the living daylights out of it.

I’ve been catching up on That Sewing Blab, and Alethia made a passing comment on one episode about starching chiffon to help with the handling.  What a great tip that turned out to be.  Even with all of the many seams on this skirt, I had no problems handling the chiffon.  The starch kept the fabric from shifting around on me while sewing and cutting and made it no more difficult to sew with than a cotton voile.

Sharp needles and good threads for chiffon

If you’ve never picked up Sandra Betzina’s book More Fabric Savvy, I’d highly recommend it.  She lists about every fabric under the sun and then gives you advice for what needles, finishes, stitches, and threads to use.  For chiffon, her advice is to use cotton thread for construction because it doesn’t stretch (no puckers in the seams!) with fine microtex (sharp) needles.

For hems, she recommends using fusible thread in the bobbin.  When you press it, the fusible thread melts to stabilize the fabric and give you a nice crisp hem line which you can then roll.  I’d need to show this in a video to explain it properly, but let’s say for now that it works so well.  Polyester is such a hateful fabric when it comes to pressing, but the fusible thread pressed into the PERFECT hem.

The fusible thread worked so well that I made an extra scarf for my hair with the leftover fabric.

peach chiffon skirt


Foldover Elastic Waistband

To simplify the waistband, I eliminated the waistband facings in the pattern in favor of foldover elastic.  I did the same kind of tiny waistband on my lace overlay skirt on my night dress for The Day and Night Dress Challenge.  It’s quickly becoming a favorite way to handle waistbands on skirts because it’s minimal and extremely comfortable to wear.  As a bonus, that little bit of elastic helps hold up my skirts which is a real challenge on my body.

peach chiffon skirt


The pattern as is is unlined, but I added a lining in nylon tricot.  I did this because of the sheerness of the chiffon and because I hate wearing slips.  I eliminated all the seams on the fronts and the back by overlapping the pattern pieces.  Doing this required me adding a dart in the back as the back has kind of a princess line.  I shortened the skirt lining by 4″.  The tricky thing about the pattern is that the bottom skirt portion is just a big square with a hole in the middle.  You get this by folding the fabric twice and cutting the circle on the fold as you would for a circle skirt.  Because of this, if you shorten it, you have to shorten both sides of the square.

Light as a cloud

This might be my favorite skirt that I’ve ever made.  It just floats.  You know that scene in Funny Face when Audrey Hepburn is running down the stairs and her dress is floating behind her?

That’s totally how this fabric moves.  This will not be the last time I sew chiffon for sure!

peach chiffon skirt

How about you?  Have you sewn chiffon?  Do you have any favorite tips for handling it?

I made another couple of things for SEWN recently, and though they’re not for me, I think they’re worth sharing.  I’ve really enjoyed making things for this store even if they don’t end up selling (I hope they do!).  It’s good to work with fabrics that I love even if they aren’t things that I would personally wear.  So it is with all of these back cutout dresses.

Bow back refashion

My lovely friend D agreed again to be my model.  She modeled some of my other dresses for SEWN here.  We’ve decided it’s fun to play dress up and no doubt I need to properly just make her something as a treat!

back cutout dresses


This stripe dress was a RTW dress I found.  I had an idea for a back cutout with bows that bridge the gap.  One of my son’s friends has a dress like this and it seemed a fun style for an adult as well.  I kept the front neckline the same and simply cut the back.  The back neckline is bound with foldover elastic.  For the bows, I cut bits of hot pink rayon/lycra from an old wrap top that I made eons ago.  Little strips of the navy stripe gather the centers of the bows.

back cutout dresses

The bows are simply attached behind the foldover elastic by stitching over where I attached the elastic and then right on the edge.  The only tricky bit was making sure that the bow was not too floppy.  No doubt this would’ve been easier on a dress form.  As it is, I tried it on, trying to imagine that my shoulders were as wide as this dress requires.  It fits D in the back really quite well.

Umbrella drink dress

back cutout dresses

I couldn’t believe my luck when this fabric showed up at the thrift store.  There’s a LOT of junk at thrift stores, but if you’re willing to look regularly, sometimes you find some gems.  This cotton is one of those gems.  All I could think was that this fabric needs a pina colada.  If ever we took a cruise, this beachy print sprinkled with sand and starfish punctuated with red and teal would seem completely appropriate.

The pattern has a great back cutout that’s gathered into the front waist.  It manages to show some skin at the back while not being distasteful.  Pair it with the high/low hem, and this dress is really perfect for summer.  I love it so much, I will literally cry if someone doesn’t buy it.

back cutout dresses

Geo squares and zigzag wax print dress

back cutout dresses

Can you believe I found this fabric thrifting too?  Who in her right mind throws out real wax print fabric?  After working with it, I get why people love this fabric so much.  It manages to be structural and yet it drapes really well and handles more delicate things like gathers.  Plus it’s easy to sew and press.  Combine that with the vibrant prints and I will never pass up a chance to work with this stuff!

back cutout dresses

The same Burdastyle 08-2014-116 looks really different in this fabric.  The wax print gives it a little more drama, and my addition of the coral foldover elastic on the sleeves and neck edge break up the print a little.

I’ve been excited to share these dresses for a while!  Thanks for reading!

Happy Mother’s Day!  In honor of the day, I’ve been up to a lot of Mommy and Me business this week.  First up is DG Patterns’ Addison Skirt.

DG Patterns’ Addison Skirt

Addison skirt

I’m really making more of an effort to have make more skirts.  It’s hard to deny how polished you look in them.  DG Patterns’ Addison Skirt caught my eye when it first came out with its asymmetrical wrap feature and ties.  Daniela really has great style, and her patterns all seem to feature some really cool detail, and the wrap is that detail for this!

I made it up in a mint ponte.  The pattern calls for the wrap pieces to be sewn from a layer of self fabric and of interfacing, turned, and topstitched.  I wasn’t sure about the interfacing.  Perhaps in a stretch woven (another choice for the pattern), it would be possible to use a sew-in interfacing like muslin. I just treated a second layer of ponte from scraps of this turquoise zebra print I had leftover from another project as a lining.

Typically, I cut the zebra the wrong way out on one side.  Rather than keeping it as the lining I intended, I turned it into a design feature.  Why not fuse asymmetry with color blocking while I’m at it?

Twee circle skirt

Addison skirt

I made a matching circle skirt for baby girl from more scraps.  I added tiny pockets that I bound along with the waistband with foldover elastic.  This little baby skirts are absurdly fast to make and take like zero fabric.  I think it took me 30 minutes, and I was dithering.  Focused Elizabeth could make one in 10 minutes.  This will not be the last one for her!

Addison skirt

Mother’s Day Aprons

As I said yesterday in my apron retrospective, some of my earlier memories are with my Mom and my Gram in the kitchen working away.  We’ve always been a baking/cooking family, and my boys love helping me.  Their aprons have been getting too small for some time, so what with The Monthly Stitch’s Amazing Aprons theme this month, I whipped up a batch of new aprons for them.

Kids’ Aprons

I used this tutorial on Craftsy for the kids’ aprons.  It fits my two younger boys just fine, but my oldest will need another bigger size.  The Wizard of Oz print will be for my daughter when she gets bigger.  The cow print is Marimekko, the cars and the Wizard of Oz are both Japanese canvas.  I lined all of them with random bits and bobs.  The aprons are all reversible.  This was a great stashbusting project.

Vintage Simplicity 6808

My apron I made from vintage Simplicity 6808.  I found this home dec fabric on the $2/lb table at Colorado Fabrics one day and knew it’d make a great apron.  I bought the pattern a while back when I was making this apron for UpCraftClub.

apron from a skirt pattern

My article deadline came for the apron, and the pattern hadn’t made it to me in the mail.  Since then, the pattern has been sitting in my bedroom where I had forgotten about it.  In the process of decluttering a bit, I decided that the time for the pattern was NOW.

Image result for simplicity 6808

I sewed it up pronto, adding some striped bias tape I made from a bit of lilac shirting.  I’m totally in love with the big deep pockets and wrap around style.  This will be a great apron for gardening!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day!  How do you celebrate the day in your sewing?