Here’s all of my videos for the zipper ruffle tank. I explained a bit how I made mine in my last post, but here you can see my whole process.

DIY Zipper Ruffle Tank videos

In the first video, I’ll show you how to alter your pattern. Part 2 shows you how to construct the zipper unit, and in part 3 we’ll sew it all together.  I’m using Straight Stitch Designs’ Greenwood Tank for this hack, but there’s other options.  You can start with any tank top pattern as a base, but here are some ones that are a good choice and won’t require you to alter the shoulder width as I show you in the video: McCalls 6964, KwikSew 3232, Butterick 5948, NewLook 6285


New Look Pattern 6285 Misses' Knit Tank Tops

Don’t forget to vote for my zipper ruffle tank below.  Melissa has challenged me to a friendly round of Who Made It Best.  Check out her version of the Greenwood Tank.





Dress Week at Indie Pattern Month

Hey, in other news, my Overdyed Fringed Charlie Dress made it into the finals of dress week for Indie Pattern Month at The Monthly Stitch.  The voting is over, and I’m curious to see how it all went down, but do check out all the lovely finalists.

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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!


Colors of Flags Challenge

When Renata announced the Colors of Flags Challenge, I knew I wanted to participate.  Not only do I really admire Renata and want to support her, the 4th of July is probably my favorite non-religious holiday.  How can you not love a holiday that combines fireworks with BBQs and drippy ice cream sandwiches?  Plus Rachel’s ‘Murica dress died recently…one of my favorites of hers.  It was time to step up to the plate and be unashamedly, semi-obnoxiously American.

First draft

My first idea was to do a red, white, and blue version of YSL’s iconic Mondrian dress.

Image result for ysl mondrian dress

The problem with this idea is that I’d have made it in ponte knit.  Ponte in December is a brilliant idea.  July, on the other hand is not the month you trot out your ponte knit fabric.  Red is not a color I wear on a regular basis, so I didn’t want to put a lot of money into something I wouldn’t wear a lot.  Kismet found me at the thrift store and I walked away with a red and ivory Gap t-shirt, and some Dana Buchman navy stretch woven capris with white anchors.  Immediately, I knew what had to happen.

One Shoulder Frankenpattern:

Colors of Flags Challenge

Burdastyle 2-2013-109 + Burdastyle 5-2010-130 + some freestyling

I’ve been wanting to try a one-shoulder style since Maria’s one-shoulder dresses she made for the Day and Night Dress Challenge.  For mine, I wanted to have a knit bodice and a woven skirt.  When I went looking for inspiration (specifically searching “knit top woven skirt dress”) for just that, I kid you not the first image (now the second image) that popped up was this Lilly Pulitzer Dionne Dress:

Image result for lilly pulitzer dionne dress

So that’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to make.

For my version, I started with Burdastyle 2-2013-109 (asymmetric top) which I decided to pair with Burdastyle 5-2010-130 (pencil skirt).  I tried on the top and tucked it into the skirt, marking the junction with pins.  On the top pattern, I added 1″ below that line for seam allowance and any oops allowance I might need.  It turns out I needed the oops allowance because that 1″ with 3/8″ taken out for the seam allowance was just where I wanted the waist to be.

Colors of Flags Challenge

The hack

The asymmetric top has one shoulder that’s a regular sleeveless armhole.  The other side has a piece of fabric that wraps around from the back to the front to create a sleeve that attaches to the front neckline.  To get the one shoulder look, I copied the front neckline to the back.  I copied the armscye of my favorite t-shirt pattern to finish the sleeveless armhole side.


Colors of Flags Challenge

To add the ruffle, I measured the circumference of the front and the back neckline and multiplied x 2.  I gathered and basted the ruffle to the top of the front and back after I sewed the side seams.  In my practice dress, I bound the edge with foldover elastic.  On my Colors of Flags dress, I opted for clear elastic inside a casing.  I prefer the feel of the foldover elastic, but the casing is ultimately less bulky at the neck edge.  The FOE is really struggling in places to cover all of the gathering of the ruffle.

I should note too that the practice dress is made from scraps leftover from my Donna Karan top.  The scraps made it necessary to add the random waist seam.  Sometimes you just make it work…The skirt is home dec fabric from two really nice pillow shams.  The fabric has a little bit of the hand of a vintage bark cloth.  I originally intended the pillows for some home dec project for my sewing room, but I gave it up because I already have a dominant floral print in there.  Also, home dec sewing is not the most interesting…


After constructing the bodice, I knew I wanted to add a strap.  The elastic in the casing makes it nearly impossible for the dress to fall down, but it’s always my preference to wear regular bras with summer styles.  On the practice version, I cut it a little longer so that it scrunches over the elastic that I put inside the strap.  On the patriotic version, I cut the elastic and the strap the same length for a clean look.


The skirt is made as is with no alterations to the pattern other than eliminating the front fly.  The knit bodice is sandwiched in between the front and inside waistbands for a clean finish inside.

dutch label shop

Side zipper

The Lilly Pulitzer dress apparently does not have a zipper as , so I went forward with the practice dress without putting in a zipper in the blue/floral version.  This was a mistake.  The skirt fabric has no give and it’s already a pretty fitted style.  Do you have those dresses you have to do weird yoga to get into?  This is one of them.  The patriotic dress sports a side invisible zipper which is such a better idea.

Plaid shirts for the guys

Colors of Flags Challenge

Other than that, I used that pretty combed cotton plaid in the IG picture above for button downs for my guys.  All the patterns are the same Ottobre patterns I used here.

If you haven’t already, go check out more about the Colors of Flags Challenge on Instagram #flagsoftheworlddressproject#colorsofflagchallenge #4thofjulyprouddressproject.  There’s still time to share your outfit through your blog, IG, or YouTube(until July 7th) for a chance to win some great prizes available from Sewing and Design School, LA Finch Fabrics, and Dressy Talk Patterns.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!