Sultry or Sunshine?

 “Well if it isn’t Sultry and Sunshine!” blurted the drunk man upon seeing my friend and me.

The year was 1984. My friend resembled Angelina Jolie and well, I just looked like myself, only 29 years younger. It’s not hard to know who was Sultry and who was Sunshine. I’m not sure what little Miss Sunshine was wearing that evening but I doubt it was yellow.

There is no yellow in my home and I did not own any yellow clothes until two years ago after a Medium told me I needed more yellow in my life. (Blogged HERE and HERE)

Now the color downright haunts me.

After completing the ruffled ivory top made from this glorious Ivory Goes with Everything silk twill from Mood Fabrics, I decided to confront this strange relationship I had with the color yellow.

IMG_1631 The success of The Regis Dress propelled me to buy a bottle of Rit Dye in every color offered including two shades of yellow; Lemon and Golden.

I dyed the remaining silk  with Golden Yellow which resulted in this color.

IMG_0457Then I ordered four more yards of the silk. Nearly three months later I have finally completed the ensemble I set out to make the first week in May.

IMG_0421I cut both colors of fabric into four-inch strips and pieced them together with ¼” seams, bringing back memories of my quilting days. After pressing the seams open, I pressed them towards the ivory strips and topstitched to prevent excessive raveling.


My pattern is the Katie Spade skirt pattern. Taking a cue from Julie Starr I moved the zipper to the side and then decided to omit the waistband.

IMG_0425To give this soft silk twill the durability needed for a straight skirt, I underlined the fabric with silk organza and then lined the skirt with a heavy woven fabric with stretch (fabric content unknown) from my stash.

I’m hoping to dress it down for more casual attire too.


The skirt was a successful experiment for me particularly in the area of dying for colorblocking and trim. How often I wish I had a contrast piece of trim! How often I want to sew colorblocked garments but can’t find the colors I need in the same fabric!

 I’m not sure what I’ll do with the remaining 3 ½ yards of my Ivory Goes with Everything silk but I doubt much of the fabric will remain ivory. Maybe I’ll venture into the sultry colors, but for now I’ll enjoy humoring the intuitive spirit of Marcy the Medium :)


Best wishes for a great weekend!

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104 Responses to Sultry or Sunshine?

  1. Kathie Bennett says:

    OMGosh….call asap Kathie Bennett Magic Time Literary Agency 864-706-1484

  2. Kay says:

    Both pieces are stunning! You done a wonderful job.

  3. Jean says:

    Wow, your ensemble is stunning. I love both the blouse and the skirt. How clever to dye the fabric. Do you have any trouble with the dye running later when washing your dyed garments?

  4. Donna says:

    How DO you stay so fit and trim?

    • Ha Ha Ha! It’s the constant struggle. I was very trim until 11 years ago. This summer I’ve taken off 9 of the extra 13 pounds following the Eat to Live plan. My husband makes me go to the gym ;) – not really but everyday he asks me if I’ve been.

  5. Vivian says:

    Cute skirt. It has motivated me to learn more about dying fabric.

  6. Kristine says:

    {Standing Ovation} WOW!!! So many things are awesome here… seeing it through to the end, dying a fabric, color-blocking, creating a look that is both fancy and casual. I’m in awe. Nice job!

    • Thank you so much, Kristine! I wish I had an encore for you ;)
      While the whole process sounds so involved, it really wasn’t too bad – most likely because the pattern is so simple.

  7. Amanda S. says:

    OH! So pretty! I need this outfit!

  8. Fran Giacobbe says:

    So classic…with a twist!…as always! Quick question: is there a special reason you ironed the seam allowances of your pieced fabric toward the ivory strip rather than the darker yellow strip?
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Fran G

  9. Rosalia says:

    Love the skirt and color combination, I may have to copy this! Thanks for the inspiration. Is this silk hand washable or dry clean? Love the versatility and option of being able to dye the fabric the color of your choice, the possibilities are endless! I don’t have a Katie Spade skirt pattern, is there a pattern that closely resembles this pattern? I love the fit and think I can make my own version.

  10. Cindy says:

    Heavens that is gorgeous! Whatever inspired you to colorblock the Katie Spade skirt, it’s sheer genius! I love that you’re having fun with each piece, making something unique and totally YOU. The wider stripes are unexpected and provide powerful visual interest, as does that stunning custom-dyed golden yellow. Outstanding!

    • Thank you so much for this comment, Cindy! I thought about going with a narrower stripe but decided to break the fashion rule of wearing wide horizontal stripes and now am glad I did! ;)

      • Cindy says:

        I think that was a great decision. The substantial width of the stripes keeps the eye going up and down, whereas a narrower alternating color stripe might keep the eye going side to side, making the wearer look heavier. You have such an awesome touch!

  11. You hit it out of the park with this one, girlfriend! I’m sitting here in awe – you STITCHED TOGETHER STRIPS OF FABRIC TO CREATE YOUR OWN FABRIC!!! O.M.G. AND you did it so incredibly well! It looks absolutely perfect. Seriously impressed. Your creations have always been so thoughtfully chosen and carefully sewn…but your last few have just broken new ground. You’re creating your own fabric here! First the ribbon skirt and now this wonderful stripe – AND you dyed the pieces! ACK. Really, you should be so very proud of yourself! You’re miles ahead of where you started – and you started at such a great place :) Tim Gunn would be proud, because you are definitely “making it work”!!!

    Congrats on another beautifully done piece. You’re really an inspiration to us!!!

    • Hi Cheryl!
      Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment! I am pleased to still be sewing learning and creating…. one thing leads to another doesn’t it. I’ve learned a lot from Cousin Tim ;) !

  12. Jackie says:

    Wow! What a stunning look. The ruffled top worn with the wide stripes of the skirt is wonderful. You have such a talent and you must be a size 2 to wear horizontal stripes. Beautiful outfit. I always look forward to your posts.

    • Thank you so much, Jackie! I was a little worried about the horizontal stripes but decided to take a chance. I’d love to return to those size 2 days…… maybe I’ll get there if I behave myself for a few more weeks. ;)

  13. Laury Shepherd says:

    That is stunning on you!

  14. Suzanne Parker says:

    All your pieces are just stunning. I was hoping for a sewing filled summer off from work as a speech/language pathologist in the schools, but alas, I’ve been unable to piece out the time needed.. Also, trying to get a pattern to fit is always a road block and no matter how many books I read or videos I watch, I’m always afraid to try because I want to avoid the frustration associated with fitting a pattern properly. But, good for you and your great efforts.

    • Thank you, Suzanne! I have quit sewing on numerous occasions because of the fitting frustrations I experienced while sewing. This time around I discovered sewing a proper muslin changed everything for the better and I’m finally learning to fit myself without the difficulty I once faced.
      Good luck and enjoy your summer off!

  15. Miriam says:

    That is a beautiful outfit. Is it hard to dye fabric? Could you someday show us pictures of how you do it? I would like to try it do are afraid that I’ll end up staining the kitchen sink! Again, beautiful work as always!!

  16. Pam says:

    That is really lovely and very flattering on you. I would never have thought to dye my own fabric but now you really have started the wheels turning- said she who stared at a closet full of white shirts this very morning! Once again- bravo and thank you for this inspiration!

  17. Lauren says:

    Totally great! Love it! Will be lovely for summer weddings.

  18. Art Attack says:

    Neither sultry nor sunshine…just classy. If you are looking for a greater assortment of colors try some Jacquard fabric dyes. This is such a cool skirt!

  19. Bethwhitch says:

    OMG! You have totally inspired me to get into dieing! This is fabulous! Absolutely love it- off I go to by my silk twill :0) thank you !

  20. Connie says:

    What is a median? Marcia the median?

    • Connie,
      As you might guess, I visit MEDIUMS so rarely I don’t even know the correct term. A median is the statistical term :) definitely different than Marcia the MEDIUM :)

  21. Rhonda says:

    I just love it. Could you please briefly explain how you dyed the fabric? Did you use the stove or the sink and then wash normally in your washing machine? Thank you.

    • Thank you, Rhonda! I did my dying in the kitchen sink which is Stainless steel. After rinsing the fabric until it ran clear of color I washed it in the washing machine in warm water. Now that the skirt is sewn I’ll be having it dry cleaned.

  22. Linda B. says:

    Wow!!! This post brought a ray of sunshine on a rainy day up here in MA! Just fabulous and gorgeous on you as always!!! I am about the same size as you but have always had that “no horizontal stripes around the hips” idea stuck in my brain! You have definitely made me think its time to throw that old notion out the window!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  23. ewellons says:

    Well, aren’t you the most clever sewist??!! By dyeing, you got exactly the fabric you wanted. The skirt is stunning with both tops. I’m getting myself some dye!!

  24. Angela says:

    Gorgeous — and fun! Your fearlessness and enthusiasm greatly encourage me (and lots of others) to keep on trying. Enjoy your skirt:)

  25. LLADYBIRD says:

    I LOVE yellow, and I’m so jealous it looks soo good on you! Dyeing the fabric and sewing those stripes was a genius idea. Beautiful outfit!

  26. Mary Lynn says:

    Amen to ALL of the above comments! , You truly are amazing, clever, talented and visionary!
    If i tried dyeing something, everything but the fabric would have a new color (yellow dog?) and I would just be having hallucinations! Wow!

  27. Shams says:

    What a beautiful ensemble!!

  28. fool4fabric says:

    What a spectacular outfit! And you look fabulous in yellow…

  29. lisa g says:

    i absolutely gasped when i saw your skirt! fab as always! the width of the stripes is perfect, and that yellow is just beautiful. i have always avoided yellow clothing, though it’s super flattering on other people! maybe i should try it sometime… :)

  30. Vicki says:

    Looks fabulous! Yellow does really suit you.

  31. Almeda says:

    This beautiful skirt is all “SUNSHINE”! Gorgeous!

  32. Margo says:

    Beautiful ensemble! I adore the skirt so much!

  33. Katie says:

    Looking good Sunshine!

  34. Charry says:

    WOW! you are amazingly creative! The investment on the skirt is truly paying off. This shade of yellow is beautiful on the silk. I am truly inspired.

  35. Tia Dia says:

    This is lovely! I’ve yet to try my hand at dying. I love your ruffled blouses – they suit you perfectly and look so chic.

  36. Sharon says:

    Gorgeous outfit, love the skirt!

  37. Bronwen says:

    You make such gorgeous outfits – I am in awe!

  38. Lori says:

    Amazing job, what a beautiful skirt and an ingenious way to make it your own.

  39. Velosewer says:

    A-maz-ing. You look amazing.

  40. Elise Lin says:

    You’re looking gorgeous! I love the combination of ivory with yellow.

  41. CherryPix says:

    Another inspirational skirt and post…Congrats on your new sleekness!!! Mind you, I thought you looked pretty sleek already.. but I totally understand not being where you want to me…(says she, hovering on the edge of ‘doing something’ similar!) You are great at sewing sleekness-enhancing outfits… and this skirt is no exception!

    • Many thank, Anne for the nice comment! I wouldn’t exactly call myself sleek yet but I have tossed the Spanx :) I love sewing sleekness-enhancing outfits after years of buying clothes that didn’t enhance too much of anything!

  42. Sheila says:

    Beautiful outfit, love your idea of dyeing to create the color block skirt.

  43. jillybe says:

    Wowza. Yet another stunning outfit! You wear your clothes SO well!!!!

  44. Joan says:

    Beautiful job on the skirt construction and the wide bands of contrasting color are so flattering! Great look with the ruffled blouse!

  45. ZoSews says:

    Beautiful! Especially with that ruffled top :)

  46. Fran Giacobbe says:

    After all these well deserved comments, you do realize that a tutorial on dyeing fabric is called for, yes?? Honestly, the next time you venture into dyeing fabric, perhaps you could write a follow- along-with-Sarah tutorial on the process. I would love to give it a try. I,too, having been inspired by Sharon and you, have embarked on the Eat To Live philosophy. Although not quite ready to dispense with my spanx while wearing a pencil skirt, I have lost several stubborn pounds!

  47. gingermakes says:

    What the WHAT?!?!?! You dyed and pieced this skirt– my mind is blown! Holy cow, it’s too perfect! This opens up so many possibilities! You’re a mad genius, you!

  48. Opal says:

    I am such of fan of anything yellow. That skirt is gorgeous.

  49. Julie Starr says:

    Just back from the mountains and was having withdrawals with no wifi! Great story and GORGEOUS skirt. I agree that the width of the stripes gives this such a modern, fun punch. There are just no bounds to your creativity and wow are you looking fabulous in this.

  50. keren kabbes says:

    I love the clothes you make! You are an inspiration for me. May I ask what the pattern is for the ruffled silk top?

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