The Last Post……..       

…….. before switching to my new site!

I’m ready for a change and am quite excited about the new blog launching over the weekend.

Switching sites reminds me of moving to a new house with a twist…….. packing all of the photos, posts and comments …….. leaving cozy and familiar surroundings for something bigger and better……. and getting things set up in the new place.

It’s quite the project which I believe will be well worth the effort.

My last post here is one many of you have requested: The Wedding Wardrobe.

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I just finished reading a post from Sew Jean Margaret, a RTW Faster who recently married. Jean planned to sew her wedding dress and made a fabulous muslin. She lives in Australia, and after waiting 5 weeks on fabric to arrive from the US, stress set in. Jean understandably cancelled her order and bought a gorgeous dress. If it had been my wedding I would have absolutely done the same thing :)

 I almost did the same thing anyway, but I managed to get through my daughter’s wedding without buying clothes for any of the activities.

 Here is a quick look of almost everything……..

The day after Katie and Will became engaged our families celebrated at dinner in Charleston. I wore Butterick 5917, which is the second version of a pattern I love and hope to make one more time.


The happy couple’s first party was an Oyster Roast on Wadmalaw Island in February. I made my second pair of Style Arc Elle just for the occasion. Sadly there are no pics of me after taking off my coat.


I wore the pants with a sweater I received for Christmas and a scarf I bought in Switzerland in 2001.


I had so hoped to make lots of clothes for the wedding festivities but it just didn’t happen! Fortunately, my previous sewing frenzy provided many choices, and I wore the first lace dress sewn for the Mood Sewing Network Lace Challenge to a shower in May. Pardon the sun in our eyes – Hubby wasn’t there to take photos ;)


Planning a wedding continuously reminded me of one of life’s great lessons………

Go With the Flow!

I planned to make my Mother of the Bride dress during my second Couture Sewing School experience with Susan Khalje. When the big week arrived I was still undecided on fabric and a pattern. Instead I made a party dress in a Valentino satin-faced silk chiffon under Susan’s guidance, and wore it to an engagement party.001 facebook_cover (1)The dress was special. I came home with my MOB fabric, and then surprisingly became paralyzed with fear. I began to dread hearing the question, “How is your Mother of the Bride dress coming along?”

At a Luau I wore a dress sewn from a pattern I was contemplating for the Mother of the Bride dress, a 1966 McCall’s pattern. Going with the flow, I made necessary alterations to make it work, and in the end I achieved the look I was after.


I’m missing photos from a casual luncheon in Charleston where I wore the Ribbon Skirt. Although it’s easy to assemble, the skirt always makes a huge impact! I’m also missing photos from a dinner welcoming early out-of-town arrivals for the wedding, but I wore an old Elle Tahari RTW, so who cares, right?

Bridesmaids’ Luncheons are always my favorite wedding weekend activity! I wore what might be my favorite all time dress, a dress inspired by the Kate Spade Aubrey Wrap dress.


I’ve made the vintage Simplicity pattern twice and who knows….. I might sew a 3rd!IMG_0018

I have found the dress is perfect for many occasions as it was here :)


For the Rehearsal Dinner, I decided to retire the dress that started the blog: my Valentino.


It’s a fantastic party dress that I bought to wear to one of my best friends’ daughter’s wedding, and I have constantly worn for it the last three and a half years. It’s time to put the Valentino away for a while and I wanted it to go out with a bang :) !

So that brings me to the dress that was practically my undoing.

I love it, but I cannot talk about anymore………. 001 facebook_cover (1)Was it worth it, you wonder? Would I do it again?

My conclusion is this. The wedding was fun – perfect, in my opinion.  It was quite the blast for all!

My clothes were unique and appropriate, and due to my previous non-stop sewing, I found myself in a good place. With the exception of the Engagement Party and MOB dress, the clothes I made cost practically nothing, but if I was faced with sewing all of these clothes while planning a wedding I would have cracked up.

For me the moral of the story is to keep sewing whatever strikes my fancy. I believe the clothes I make will always be worn and worn well when they reflect my lifestyle!

I’ll close with a few more wedding pics and look forward to seeing you on the new blog! Let’s hope for a smooth transition! 001 collage (1)

Best wishes :)

Posted in Mother of the Bride dress, Mother of the Bride sewing pattern, Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014, Ribbon Skirt, Sewing Dresses, Uncategorized, Valentino, Vogue Sewing Patterns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

McCall’s 6355

Happy Monday, Everyone!

What’s better to spice up mundane activities than wearing a new dress? At last, an everyday dress…… perfect for filling up, dressing down and whatever falls in between :)


Turning to a pattern I’ve owned for some time, I paired McCall’s 6355  with an incredible knit purchased from Marcy Tilton fabrics.

Entitled the Chet Atkins Stripe, the fabric is described as “a black and ivory woven in crosswise 1/4″ stripes in very nice beefy rayon/lycra jersey. 2 way stretch with good recovery and a bit of lengthwise stretch, cool dry hand, nice drape with minimal rolling at the cut edge. Great for mixing with other knits and basics.”


One of these days, I’m going to learn to mix knit patterns, but for now I’m happy just to be sewing clothes I enjoy wearing ;)

The fabric is beefy indeed.

When it arrived in July I knew I must be patient for Autumn to arrive.

IMG_0056But oh, what a fine weight for the cooling weather. Now that I’ve sewn it, I believe it could work very well for structured patterns too.

The pattern, a Palmer and Pletsch design is suitable for woven or knit fabrics.  While shifts are easy to sew they are not the easiest fit for me. At 5’2″ I find a lot of excess in the bodice and in the back. Through my non-stop sewing over the last three years I have finally reached a comfort level in altering this type of pattern. It’s true – I think multi-pieced patterns can be easier to fit!

M6355M6355 line

What I didn’t realize until reading the fine print was the use of optional vertical darts in both the front and back. They are not shown on the drawing or in the photos. The back sorely needed the darts which eliminated the excess I wasn’t expecting after making the initial bodice alterations.


Fortunately, the fabric was not too heavy for the long darts and, the darts did not disrupt the pattern.IMG_0104I am still debating on whether to add them to the front. I see slight excess but believe more darts might be too much.


My only deviation from the pattern was a slight design change in the cuffs. I added two inch bias cut bands to coordinate with the bias cut neck binding.

Another day, another dress?

N E V E R !

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No two days are ever just alike and the same goes with sewing. I’m always eager to discover where the needle and thread will lead me.

Have a good one!


Posted in McCall's Sewing Pattern, Sewing Dresses | Tagged , , , | 85 Comments

Vogue 9017 and Butterick 4856

Greetings from Talbots ;)


Hmmm…… my last two garments have turned out rather so-s0.

Contrary to most of the clothes I’ve sewn during the last year, my life is not an endless parade of beach vacations and parties. (Such a pity!)

Let’s look at the latest. My pattern is Vogue 9017.

I am trying to remedy my lack of everyday clothes with a few practical choices, and selected a gray ponte knit from Mood Fabrics.

It’s a lovely fabric. Mood Fabrics compares this particular ponte to a gray wool suiting, and the weave of varying shades of gray give the fabric an appealing depth of color.


I could not pass up the interesting lines found in the sketch of Vogue 9017, a pattern designed for woven fabrics and stable knits.

                   V9017 sketch

  I particularly like the raised and curved waistline,


and slim silhouette!

Mood Fabrics ponte knit

 Since all knits behave differently, I rarely make a muslin for knit clothing and did not make one for this dress. I adjusted the bodice length on all of the pattern pieces and fit myself as I went along. Rarely do I experience an issue free sewing project, but the pattern is well-drafted, and the ponte sewed very nicely.

To give the dress a sportier appearance I shortened the sleeves and used a contemporary zipper.

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 Once again I turned to the free Craftsy Mastering Zipper Techniques Class for zipper guidance, and am pleased with the result!


But overall, my dress is rather lackluster.

Below is the garment I completed last week.


The pattern is Butterick 4856, which is out of print. Continuing on my tunic quest, I used a cotton voile from Mood Fabrics. Fall colors in a lightweight fabric seemed perfect to me. The tunic had a nice drape until I sewed a heavier band around the bottom. I also believe I should have added a black trim around the neckline rather than gold studs.

Here I am at a football game.


As much as I want to sew wardrobe staples, I’m finding the goal difficult to reach with pizzazz.

But I’m not giving up!


 Until soon :)

Posted in Craftsy,, Mood Fabrics, Mood Sewing Network, Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014, Sewing Dresses, sewing with knits, Uncategorized, Vogue Sewing Patterns, Wardrobe Staples | Tagged , , , , , | 119 Comments

Famous Frocks Giveaway Winner


Congratulations to Marla Cooprider, the lucky winner of the Famous Frocks Little Black Dress book! Please contact me by email at by Wednesday, October 8 or a new winner will be selected.

I have enjoyed this book enough to order one for myself, and truly look forward to sewing several of these classics!

Did you sew this weekend?

Posted in Sewing Books, Sewing Tops, The Little Black Dress | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Famous Frocks Giveaway!

The kind staff from Chronicle Books sent me a newly released book to review entitled,

Famous Frocks – The Little Black Dress by Dolin Bliss O’Shea. (not to be confused with the book Famous Frocks by Sara Alm and Hannah McDevitt)

What a beauty!

famousfrocks_lbd_9781452123653_350Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly. . . . Each of these women had an influential take on the most classic wardrobe staple of all: the Little Black Dress. In this chic sewing book, patternmaker Dolin Bliss O’Shea pulls inspiration from famous LBDs throughout history—including Mary Quant’s mod mini, a classic wrap dress worn by Liza Minelli, Princess Diana’s smart A-line, and more—and offers patterns for reinterpreted versions that are perfectly stylish. Including 10 full dress patterns with sewing variations to make 20 garments in all, a primer on sewing techniques, vintage photographs of style icons, and full-color shots of the finished pieces, this book has everything fashionistas need to bring timeless style right into their closets.

The first part of the book is 40-page chapter devoted to general sewing instructions.

Part 2 features the ten iconic dresses and variations. Each garment and variation are photographed on a model resembling the iconic figure who inspired the pattern.

The instructions include fabric layouts, a list of the sewing techniques used, adequate step-by-step instructions and illustrations.

The book and pattern pieces are encased in a high quality jacket which opens to reveal both.


The patterns are neatly tucked into the red envelope, and offered in five sizes from XS to XL (33″ to a 45″ bust) They are drafted for a 63″ – 66″ height and  printed on the front and back sides of the paper making it necessary to trace the pattern.


I’ll be reviewing individual patterns from the book in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I’m eager to share a copy of the book with one lucky reader! Please let me know if you would like to be entered in the giveaway by leaving a comment.

The random winner will be announced on Sunday, October 5!

Good Luck :)

Posted in Pattern Books, Sewing Books, Sewing Dresses, The Little Black Dress | Tagged , , , | 405 Comments

Silk Tunic #2

Hubs and I were among the passengers of some 2,000 cancelled flights to Chicago this past weekend………. The only upside of missing our friends’ wedding was the unexpected weekend of sewing time, and I resumed my tunic mission.



Many thanks for providing such great suggestions for raising the bar on tunic sewing. I especially enjoyed receiving this Pinterest link loaded with tunic inspiration! Like many of you said it’s in the details and I got busy modifying the Simplicity 4149 tunic pattern I made last year.

4149Relaxing the fit of my existing muslin allowed for a better drape which is easy to see when compared to my first top from this pattern.


My fabric, a lightweight silk twill from Mood Fabrics is one I selected last November at the store from hundreds of silk prints. The contrast is a deep gold silk shantung given to me by a friend.

Instructions for contrast are not provided in the pattern, but a contrast is easy to achieve by reversing the application of the placket and neckband to the inside of the garment and folding them over to the outside.

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French seams were used everywhere except in the sleeve inset.

I added two inches to the length of the tunic which includes the contrast band.


I also lengthened the sleeve.

  After experimenting with various widths I found an appealing uniformity in keeping the placket, sleeve and lower band equal widths.

IMG_0032As I enter the 9th month of the year-long Ready-to-Wear Fast, I plan to focus on what I intended to do in the first place – sew stylish  e v e r y d a y  clothing. My closet is suffering in this area as I became sidetracked sewing several special occasion garments.

A couple of more tunics are in order for sure :)


 Until soon!

Posted in Mood Fabrics, Sewing Tops, Simplicity Patterns | Tagged , , , , , | 82 Comments

Simplicity 1461

It’s Tunic Time again meaning my ongoing attempt to make the perfect tunic has resurfaced!

Hubs was determined to get a photo of me with dolphins in the background. Do you see any?


All I wanted was for the wind to calm down.


Then it was time for a football game, and our photography session abruptly stopped. By the way, the colors I am wearing are not associated with any football teams. It’s not a Halloween costume either.

Greetings from Edisto Island where I am enjoying the last weekend of summer :)


I found the front princess seams in the  Simplicity 1461 tunic pattern flattering, and thought the back seam line would offer a better fit for my narrow back. I also liked the sleeve and neckline options.



My fabric is a silk crepe from the stash, and I had just enough to sew View B. The princess seam lines disappeared into multi-color, geometric design resulting in a nice fitting top that is perfect for Fall in the South.

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I made no changes to the pattern other than adjusting the length of the bodice following the guidelines on the pattern pieces. All seams were finished on the serger, and the entire project required very little time.

001 facebook_cover (1)Truly, I love it………. but I’ve hit a bump.

Tunics are  e v e r  y w h e r e – from the doctor’s office to parties, on women of all ages, shapes and sizes, and all walks of life.  They are not difficult to construct, but tell me –  how does one turn a nice tunic pattern into a high-end tunic?

I’m ready to kick it up a notch!


 Until soon!

PS….. a warm welcome to one of my new affiliates, my favorite source for quick and economical Christmas cards!

Shutterfly Photo Books 120x90

Posted in Sewing Tops, Simplicity Patterns, Tunic | Tagged , , , | 62 Comments

Oscar de la Renta Poppy Floral Taffeta & Vogue 1303

What do you get when you cross an Oscar de la Renta Taffeta with a Kay Unger pattern and a left-handed seamstress?

305200V1303 It’s not the first time I’ve sewn the mirror image of an asymmetrical pattern and I doubt it will be my last :) #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns I  a m  s o  h a p p y  to be sewing whatever strikes my fancy again at the Mood Sewing Network! #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

As soon as I wrapped up the final post-wedding details, I retrieved this Oscar de la Renta Poppy Red Floral Silk Taffeta from my Mood Fabrics stash. The bright colors and cheerful design were just what the doctor ordered to get me back to the sewing machine after a summer of wedding duties ;)

IMG_0036 #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

Perhaps I could have gone the instant gratification route, but with the pressure off I had fun making a muslin, fitting a pattern and even using a new zipper technique! I purchased my pattern, Vogue 1303 nearly three years ago at a glance on sale. Upon later reading the instructions I realized the midriff sash is actually a waist inset without petite adjustments.

V1303 line

The muslin was not a pretty picture and I quickly knew this bias cut waist inset would not work for me.


My solution was to cut and sew the waist lining pattern pieces as the inset since they were easier to alter and free of bulk. Once the dress fit, I made a bias cut lined sash, placed it over the inset, and basted the ends along the seamlines.

dress 1303

IMG_0056 #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

I assumed the large floral fabric would be forgiving, but fortunately, there was nothing to forgive! The taffeta is the perfect fabric choice for holding the crisp pleats in the sash, and the alterations surprisingly worked like a charm. #oscar de la renta, vogue patternsI also discovered taffeta offers versatility beyond formal attire!

IMG_0044 #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

Thanks to the Craftsy Mastering Zipper Techniques Class  which is a FREE class,  I inserted my first issue-free lapped zipper in less than 10 minutes!

IMG_0053 #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

It’s true – all of the sewing I’ve done over the last three years and no lapped zipper. #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

But the best lesson of all this week was rediscovering the pleasure of  pursuing a passion  when unencumbered by external pressures and stress. Happiness can be hard to define sometimes but I know it when I feel it!

IMG_0026 #oscar de la renta, vogue patterns

Until soon :)

Disclosure:  I am pleased to be a Craftsy affiliate and receive compensation when you purchase classes or join Craftsy. I agreed to  become a Craftsy affiliate after several successful Craftsy experiences. With the exception of Sew the Perfect Fit, I have purchased all Craftsy classes and provide an honest class review and opinion.The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog.


Posted in, Mood Fabrics, Mood Sewing Network, Sewing Dresses, Uncategorized, Vogue Sewing Patterns | Tagged , , , , , , | 96 Comments

Mother-of-the-Bride Dress, Vogue 8766

If only it was this easy.

 sumter with  a bowtie

I’m not sure why I panicked so about making a dress to wear to Katie’s wedding! Whether it was having too much to do, searching for the right pattern and fabric or doubting my competence, I was on edge about the project.

By now I should know that one’s hard work is ultimately rewarded. All of the planning and efforts invested over the last several months resulted in a divine evening and I dare say, a perfect wedding :) family photo before weddingWe can’t get much happier than this!


What can I say? Sometimes it takes a village to make a dress.



My head was spinning from one pattern to another along with dozens of fabric samples until Alice Goldberg (from Mendel Goldberg) drove to Baltimore from New York while I was taking a class with Susan Khalje. (post here)

I recently rejected a sample of this fabric believing it was too bridal, but upon seeing the bolt of shimmering fabric, I recognized it as compatible. OK, let’s just say I adored it.


A special thank you goes to Leisa Stanton from A Challenging Sew for not only discovering the fabric in New York, but for persisting that I look once more at this stunning textile :) Goodness, some people just know, don’t they?

Notice how the fabric glistens in evening lighting!

sarah and libby


In June, I met the talented Cheryl Lemmons, a Goodbye Valentino reader from Texas, and an accomplished seamstress (post here). She dropped by my home for a nice visit, but upon discovering I had yet to select a pattern, Cheryl perused my entire pattern collection and suggested I try an old favorite:

VOGUE 8766


I selected the strapless version, View A and lengthened the skirt to the floor.

My first muslin resulted in a bodice that was too low along with a straight skirt featuring a narrow sweep. Adding an inch to the height of the bodice front and re-cutting the skirt as an A-line provided the coverage and comfort I sought.

My friend, Margaret, then tweaked the fit giving me confidence to cut the fabric.


From the fitted muslin I created a thread-traced muslin.


The muslin pieces were placed and cut on white cotton batiste (which I prewashed). Next the batiste was placed and cut on silk organza. Seam lines on both the batiste and organza were traced using WHITE carbon paper.



Finally, I cut the matelasse and basted the three layers together.


Basting the layers together on the seam line  was h*!#|%#!.


Susan Khalje made a comment in the April class which I hope to never forget. “Remember, when sewing with delicate fabric the fashion fabric is the dressing. All of the important work takes place underneath to support the fabric on top.


 Following the pattern instructions I cut the lining and added the boning to the front princess seams. For the lining I ordered this Nude Silk Crepe de Chine from Mood Fabrics.

However I opted for additional support and added boning to the side seams as well.

 I experienced enormous relief once the bodice lining was attached and turned! The skirt is not underlined. The crepe de chine proved ample – even enhancing the matelasse’s phenomenal drape.


In June I purchased coordinating trim for the fabric from Mendel Goldberg. I saw this stunning trim in April and eventually succumbed.


Margaret suggested I place a piece of buckram on the back of the fabric, fold the tulle to the back, and secure it together with a whipstitch. IMG_0008

Next a piece of satin ribbon was attached to cover the stitching. Unable to find ribbon the exact width I settled on a slightly smaller width.


To fasten the belt I added three large hook and eyes.

The belt was secure throughout the evening but I may re-do the closure before wearing it again.


 Despite raising the front of the bodice I was uncomfortable wearing the dress strapless. Hubby liked it strapless, but six days before the wedding I added ½ inch straps which increased my comfort and satisfaction to an entirely new level.

I now loved the MOB dress I had fretted over all summer!

The raised bodice front, lower bodice back, a-line skirt, slightly raised and belted waistline suddenly worked beautifully together.


 Billy bought both Katie and me gorgeous pearl earrings to wear on the special day. I then decided to keep my accessories to a minimum.


 One friend just couldn’t honor the ‘no photos during the ceremony’ request and aren’t I glad…….


I never dreamed the delicate movement and drape of the skirt could be captured on an iPhone. Moreover, I certainly never dreamed I’d be wearing a dress I made at my daughter’s formal wedding!

Mission(s) accomplished :)

entrance b & g

 Final wedding post on wedding wardrobe and MOB dress coming soon!

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 205 Comments

… and the winner is…

iPhone cases, napkins, tablecloths, shoe bags, and a hot air balloon represent a small sample of the 576 creative comments submitted for Susan Khalje’s new Couture Dress Video and Pattern giveaway!

Many of you were on the right track in assuming I was making bridesmaids gifts.

IMG_0002If you were one of the twenty-six readers who guessed


-  R O B E S  -

you are correct!


My daughter, Katie, wanted to give her friends in the wedding party a personal gift they did not already own. How could I refuse?

The girls opened the robes at the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon on Friday,


and wore them on Saturday; a leisurely day devoted to hair, makeup and taking care of the bride.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.54.49 AMFortunately, one size fit most everyone, including the two bridesmaids due in October!

IMG_0013Using Simplicity 1946  I sewed the robes assembly line style, cutting the all of the robes first, followed by sewing the belts, belt loops, shoulder seams, facings etc…

The female portion of the wedding party consisted of 11 bridesmaids, 3 greeters and 1 reader. Each robe required 3 1/2 yards of fabric bringing the grand total of fabric to 52 yards!

The robes were incredibly easy to assemble. The sleeves were especially long, but after cutting and hemming the sleeves on one robe, I gave the remaining sleeves large cuffs. However, the best of the entire process was watching Katie match the fabric to her friends’ unique style and personalities ;)DSC_0140

Congratulations go to:

A N G E L A   – email – mykid………
the lucky winner of the Susan Khalje Cocktail Dress Video Class and Pattern

who should contact me at no later than Thursday, August 28 to claim this exciting giveaway prize!

Many thanks to all for your enthusiastic participation –  a special thanks to my friend Petra, who inspired me to make the robes – and a very special thank you to Susan Khalje for her lovely generosity and contribution.

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PS….. the wedding was perfect. More soon :) :)

Posted in Amy Butler, Giveaway, Simplicity Patterns, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, The Couture Dress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 98 Comments