Pucci Pucci Poo!

You might think I made myself a little nighty and I can understand why. It’s a muslin that I completed from start to finish and I think I’ll wear it as a bathing suit coverup.


Here is the pattern,


and here is the dress.


I succumbed to temptation during my trip to Baltimore in April and bought a piece of Pucci silk jersey from Mendel Goldberg. The owner, Alice Goldberg drove to Baltimore from NYC with a trunk full of fabric, and I filed in line with my other classmates to relieve her from her heavy load ;)

Sewing Pucci silk jersey was a brand new experience for me, and Alice handed me a photo of the Pucci garment made from this fabric during our transaction.


Not wanting to humiliate my children, I decided to play it safe.


You’re welcome, children.

After completing the muslin, I knew a V-neck design would not suit this fabric. I also decided the straight dress was the way to go (View A). The only problem was View A featured a racerback and I desired a more classic style. I managed to reconcile the two styles by tracing the lines from one pattern piece to another, but just to be safe I cut the pattern slightly large before whittling away the side seams until I had the fit I wanted.


I cut and sewed the dress as a maxi, but once completed the look overwhelmed me so I removed 17 inches of fabric.


What’s with the ruffle you asked? By now one might realize that issues tend to surface during many of my sewing projects…….

This time the neckline puckered …. and who wants a puckered Pucci?


Next to fitting, the fabric placement was the key to the success in making the dress. I mirrored the front and back hoping the groovy design would flatter my waistline.


All of the seams are finished with the serger, and I followed Leisa Stanton’s narrow hem tutorial for the hem.


Goodness …. sewing is not for sissies, but I’m not complaining! I played it safe but I’m ready for another round….. and didn’t I just save myself at least a thousand dollars? :)

Posted in Baltimore, New Look Sewing Patterns, Pucci Silk Jersey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 147 Comments

First Summer Dress

In my book, the best season of all started Monday -


H a p p y   S u m m e r   E v e r y o n e  !
It’s time for warm weather, fresh produce, beach vacations and carefree clothing :)

I’m celebrating with a new dress sewn in Oscar de la Renta’s Turquoise Border Print Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics. I ordered the fabric last summer which is no longer available, but do check out Moods’ fabulous border prints HERE.

This dress marks my second attempt at sewing a Vintage pattern. Inspired by one of my favorite television shows, That Girl! I ordered this 1966 McCall’s pattern (8948) as a Mother-of-the-Bride dress contender.


The pattern has now been reduced to Luau status, but that’s OK .


At last I have found a true shift pattern that is not boxy on me, which I attribute to the nice shaping of the long curved front darts. Originating at the hips and ending at the top of the bodice, they practically disappear into the print.


Since the fabric is slightly heavy with a little stretch, I safely eliminated the lining. I also laid the pattern pieces out on the cross grain to incorporate the border along the top of the dress.

What about the crisscrossed straps you ask?

I had a vision for the turquoise crisscrossed straps, and cut the fabric so the white geometric border would begin on the inside of the strap (at the front of the dress) and end on the outside of the strap at the back. It was CUTE! Sadly, the fabric buckled between the straps no matter what remedy I attempted.


One more issue surfaced which knocked the pattern out of MOB contention. The top of the pattern was big requiring larger side seams and resulting in uneven edges along the upper edge of the bodice. The back was uncomfortably low. I added a 1 ½ inch strip of fabric to the back, but now my perfectly sewn invisible zipper no longer reached the top of the dress.

When Hubby gave the dress a B, I retreated to isolation. Recalling Susan Khalje’s words of wisdom I remembered that a pattern is just the starting point. Then I uncrossed the straps and got creative.
What do you think?

IMG_5706Let the summer begin!

Posted in McCall's Sewing Pattern, Mood Fabrics, Mood Sewing Network Lace Challenge, Sewing Dresses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 100 Comments

Simplicity 1613

I’ve been  rather shell-shocked since completing the 30 Day Dress, and knew the only way back to the sewing machine was through an instant gratification project.

This pink and fuchsia cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics was one of those fabrics I ordered just because…….


 and it turned out to be my saving grace. Buy a fabric you love and the pattern will appear ;)

I couldn’t think beyond the word  e a s y  and selected Simplicity 1613, View D – a great remedy for the jaded sewer!


View D requires crosswise stretch only so most any knit will work, but this cotton feels quite wonderful against my skin.


I discovered the pattern runs slightly large – ok for now since my top is very casual, but I plan to cut a smaller size next time. IMG_5580

And there will be a next time – maybe in a linen jersey (very Eileen Fisher) or a metallic jersey which is popping up everywhere.

But now it’s time to head back to more involved projects, and I’m super excited about my next one in DVF Lace.

304031Until soon!

Posted in cotton jersey, Mood Fabrics, sewing blogs, Sewing Tops, sewing with knits, Simplicity Patterns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

The 30 Day Dress

……… also known as the Baltimore dress is completed.

IMG_5492I had the pleasure of taking it apart again only to discover the opportunities for alterations were limited…… but maybe my 30 day investment needed little else than minor adjustments.

IMG_5494 After separating the skirt from the bodice and removing the top ruffle, I removed all of the gathering threads and started over. Most of the gathers in the skirt were replaced with darts giving me a smoother fit around the waist.

I cut 14 inches of width off of the ruffle but sadly realized my new vision for the dress looked disproportionate. The decrease in gathers from ruffle to ruffle needed to be gradual rather than drastic leading me to add 6 inches back to the top ruffle. This meant the delicate ruffled fabric now featured an additional seam…… somewhere.

Can you see it?


I hope not!IMG_5488Several readers suggested the dress needed a belt and I found one –  since then I was introduced to  Pat’s Custom Buttons and Belts a California a company specializing in self fabric belts. 

(209) 369-5410
537 York Street
P.O. Box 335
Lodi, CA 95241

( there is no website link) .

 In the end removing 8 inches of width from the top ruffle and reducing the bulk in the skirt made a huge difference in the dress.

First Try:IMG_5221Second Try– shortening the layer


Third Try– reducing bulk in the waist and removing excess from the top layer


 Not only can I live with the 3rd and final version but at last, I can tell it’s going to be fun to wear which should erase the memories of the stress and angst I experienced over the past 30 days!

Many thanks to all for seeing me through this one :)

Posted in Baltimore, Marfy Patterns, Ruffles, Sewing Dresses, Susan Khalje Sewing Class | Tagged , , , , | 141 Comments

A Tale of Two Dresses

I realized I wrote something untrue in my April 6th post. I stated that I had accomplished my goal of making Marfy F2105 during my most recent trip to Baltimore with Susan Khalje, but what I made was a dress inspired by this pattern.

F2105 Marfy

The desire to make the Marfy intensified as I neared the completion of my ‘Baltimore dress’ and so I did something I’ve yet to do since I returned to sewing two and a half years ago. I set the unfinished dress aside and began a new dress.

Here is Marfy F2105 sewn from the Thai silk I received from my friend, Libby :)


Yes, I know it’s short.

While preparing the muslin for Susan Khalje, my bewilderment brought the muslin construction to a screeching halt after attaching the skirt to the bodice,


Susan suggested redesigning the skirt to accommodate the Valentino silk chiffon she had helped me select for the pattern. I was game and learned a fabulous new technique for sewing tiered ruffles, but I never learned how to assemble the Marfy skirt pattern portion.

Below are the thread traced and underlined dress pieces.


After lots of trial and error with scrap fabric, the process became clearer. Starting with the bottom and working my way up, I folded the lower edge where the pattern was marked “fold inside”.

The two narrow lines are marked “Pleat” and “Seaming”image

The fourth pleat is brought down to the bottom pleat line below the top of the folded lower edge. Once stitched on the back side the front side looks like this:


And so the process begins of graduated layers until reaching the top pleat – the long one attached to the skirt.


It’s very tidy on both sides,


 inside and out.


When I attached the skirt to the bodice I discovered the short length and decided to go with the flow rather than take anything apart.


 I lined the dress with a cotton batiste due to the color and it’s cooling effect during hot summer days.



 I can’t write this post without taking a look at the Baltimore dress.


 The hem is only pinned and the bodice lining has not been secured at the waist. I do love the lower ruffles but I find the top ruffle too full and unflattering. I plan to rework it one more time, and hope I can reclaim Marfy F2015 pattern waistline. I WILL make it work – too much time, money and effort put forth to walk away, not to mention a new pair of lavender Kate Spades ;)

As my Marfy adventure nears the finish line I must conclude that I am beyond ready to move on!

I’m indeed grateful to have spent a second week with Susan Khalje, learning new techniques & skills amongst a fascinating group of women, but I must not forget the important life lesson that rises from my latest sewing experience:

Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.  (Oprah Winfrey)


In other news, my Vogue Patterns Magazine arrived today. I truly love the piece and send a big thank you to Associate Editor Gillian Conahan for writing such a terrific article!

Until soon :)

Posted in Marfy Patterns, sewing bloggers, sewing blogs, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, Thai Silk, Uncategorized, Vogue Patterns Magazine | Tagged , , , , , | 113 Comments

VPM excitement!

Had I known April 6 would have been my last post for over two weeks I might have closed with words other than until soon ……. but life hit me by surprise and took me away from sewing and blogging.

My unexpected time away has been good, bad, happy and sad.  I’ve almost finished a dress, but frankly it feels great just to be typing again :)

Guess what?

I am featured in the newly released issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine as the Readers’ Choice Star Blogger!


What an honor it is to be included in this leading industry publication and  many, many thanks to VPM readers for nominating me.!! I’m truly flattered and so look forward to receiving my issue – that is correct; I have not seen the article!

Subscribers should receive their issues any day now and the magazine will be available in stores by May 2.

Dare I close with Until Soon?

I dare.

The Thai silk dress is almost finished and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Posted in sewing blog, sewing bloggers, sewing blogs, Vogue Patterns Magazine | Tagged , , , | 139 Comments

Week in Review – Susan Khalje Couture Sewing Class

I guess one might say I was overly ambitious in thinking I could post about the Susan Khalje Couture Sewing School every day this week. Now I’m going to make up for it, so make yourself comfortable! Here we go…..

 For anyone considering investing in a Susan Khalje class, again I say do it, but arrive with only one expectation – to accomplish your goal. Trust me, you will exceed it.

The Baltimore class meets in the suburb of Hunt Valley at the Khalje Oriental Rug Gallery. Students are provided a table, a chair and access to irons and ironing boards. Other than bottled water, there are no frills whatsoever. The exquisite rugs lining the walls serve as welcome diversions from the intense sewing projects we have undertaken.

IMG_5145The Class

The Susan Khalje Couture Sewing School has such a formal ring to it!

SK couture

Susan is very welcoming, warm and friendly, as well as committed to every student’s project. Thankfully the class is limited to twelve students. Of the twelve women in the class, only one was a newbie – would you believe many of the women there study with her twice a year?

My classmates took the word interesting to a new level. Just imagine the combination of a photographer, several lawyers, a physician, a Wall Street professional turned lingerie designer, a hospice nurse, stay at home moms and sewing bloggers who all adore sewing in a room with Susan Khalje for a week. We were of varying ages with different tastes from three countries.

During our initial introductions a classmate began by describing the K a t i e  Spade skirt she was wearing, inspired by my clone your favorite garment post blogged here :)

IMG_5142 I was truly flattered to begin the week on such a high note!

Classmate and RTW Faster, Cissie Wellons was wearing the jacket she made from the Craftsy.com class –  Janet Pray – Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets . It was one of many beautiful garments she made and wore during the week.


Day 1 is spent fitting muslins, deciding on an individualized plan of action, and taking a trip to the local fabric store if needed.

During the remaining days students work at their own pace.

There are no group or class lessons. Susan provides individual instruction as needed and students are free to watch her work with classmates.

She is in demand from the beginning to the end of each day. Sitting in a chair at one end of the room, students approach her one at a time to answer questions, for fittings and to learn new techniques. When the class gets quiet she walks around the room to check in on our progress.

No question or issue is too big or small and she never gets flustered – EVER. Her even temper is a model for all sewists, especially when it’s time to redo your last three hours of work.

Somehow Susan’s approach all works out to benefit everyone in the class.


Marfy F 2105

F2105 Marfy

FABRIC – Valentino satin faced chiffon


 After studying my muslin, Susan changed the construction and assembly of my skirt.


 Rather than fold, pleat and stitch the one long piece of fabric as seen above, tiers of fabric would be layered onto a skirt base.

The bodice is comprised of four layers: 1 – the chiffon 2 – cotton batiste to stabilize the chiffon 3 – silk organza underlining and 4 – silk charmeuse lining.

The skirt base is sewn from cotton batiste lined with silk charmeuse lining.

The tiers are doubled chiffon.

Following is the process:

Skirt base with the bottom layer of camouflage stitched on top. The edge is turned under to the place where the lower edge of the ruffle will fall.

IMG_5182The bottom ruffle is stitched on top of the first camouflage layer.

IMG_5184The second camouflage strip is sewn (right sides together) on top of the ruffle stitching and then flipped. The top edge is stitched to the skirt base.IMG_5186The second ruffle is stitched in the same manner as the first.

The process is repeated


until the skirt based is fully covered and layered. One more ruffle to go….

IMG_5211Using this layering and camouflage technique conceals all of the seams and provides added stability to the skirt.


Thursday morning Susan approved the skirt, and I basted the bodice and skirt together. The moment of truth had arrived.

Um……… this isn’t what I had in mind and I’m trying to remain composed.

IMG_5221The waistline is too low. The top ruffle is too long and so is the length of the skirt.

Off came the bodice and off came the top ruffle. Four hours later I was back in business.

On Friday, my last day (class ran through Saturday) the dress was assembled, the zipper was inserted and the bodice lining was cut and sewn to the neck. Susan told me the fabric had gone to a perfect project and I left with the dress in good shape to finish alone at home. I plan to complete it this week. :)


It’s true – the week is mostly all work and no play. Monday – Wednesday I sewed all day, ate a quick dinner and sewed myself to sleep.

Fortunately we had reason to break for a little fun and celebrated Cissie’s birthday.

Couture Dress Class / www.goodbyevalentino.comBut that’s not all!

Late Thursday afternoon, Alice Goldberg, the owner of Mendel-Goldberg drove to Baltimore from NYC in a car loaded with fabric. I guess you could call it a trunk show… ;)

….. a few classmates got carried away…..


 Best of all, I bought fabric for my Mother of the Bride dress! (which I’ll reveal a little later)

It was indeed a wonderful surprise and worth the trip to Baltimore alone!


Lastly, one of the best parts of the week was drawing inspiration from other classmates. Observing the unbridled creativity of some and expert sewing skills of others is enough to make anyone want to sew…… and sew better.

Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie came to Baltimore to learn more about incorporating silk into her exquisite lingerie pieces. Since meeting her in October she has launched her first book, Demistifying Bra Fitting and Construction. During the week Norma completed a bias cut silk camisole trimmed in stunning French lace.

Most of the class dropped what they were doing to watch Susan demonstrate how to make these tiny spaghetti straps.

IMG_5244Just look at its lovely drape.


By late Friday afternoon, jackets were taking shape and dresses were coming together. It was tough to leave a day early though I had far exceeded my expectation of sewing a Marfy dress with silk chiffon.

Speaking only from my experience, I can easily conclude the week was a true investment in success. Beyond the initial expense, I committed myself to a higher level of performance through the help of Susan’s expertise and other like-minded people.

Remember, there is a big difference between indulgence and investment :)

Until soon!




Disclosure: After many successful experiences with Craftsy.com I became a Craftsy affiliate and receive compensation when you purchase classes or join Craftsy. 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 of this blog.
Posted in Craftsy, Marfy Patterns, Mother of the Bride dress, Ruffles, sewing bloggers, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Susan Khalje ….. Days 1 and 2

Dear Readers,

Days 1 & 2 of Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing Class have been as intense as I remember from my first class in October. But intense takes on a wonderful meaning in this case.


  1. of extreme force, degree, or strength.
    “the job demands intense concentration”
    synonyms: extremegreatacutefierceseverehighMore

  2. having or showing strong feelings or opinions; extremely earnest or serious.
    “an intense young woman, passionate about her art”

Both definitions are accurate for we students are passionate about our art, and the week does demands intense concentration. The good news is we have Susan Khalje to take the edge off of what could be frayed nerves.

There are twelve of us from the US, the Netherlands and Australia and we are all sewing with expensive fabrics – even me.

I am sewing the Marfy pattern illustrated below with a Valentino fabric Susan Khalje bought in Paris.
F2105 Marfy

I guess I should say “Hello Valentino. Long time no see!” ;)

It’s a Valentino chiffon, pictured below.


Something about this fabric has Summer in South Carolina written all over it. After taking a big gulp, I got down to business.

 Susan immediately began to make changes when I modeled my muslin. The bodice fits beautifully and need no alterations, but the skirt is a different story.

She explained that the skirt folds and pleats needed to be replaced with tiers sewn onto a skirt and camouflaged the couture way.

 “Show me the way.” I nervously replied.


After cutting, underlining and basting the bodice (pictured below) the skirt issue is addressed.


I’m just starting on the skirt and have finished the skirt base.  Next up will be layering the base with alternating tiers and single pieces of chiffon to camouflage the underlining. I should have this completed tomorrow.

Several hours were spent calculating the process, but now that it is worked out, I’m quite excited, however the intensity is relentless.

In case you’re wondering – there are no group classes. We all sew in one room and Susan  provides each student with individual attention. However, a collective energy fills the room just from being together and learning from one another. It’s a lovely atmosphere.


A few class projects include:


made from this


One classmate is making this skirt in order to learn Susan’s superior waist technique.

IMG_5160Marfy jacket


The most beautiful lace I have ever seen

The most beautiful lace I have ever seen.

Or is this the most beautiful lace I've ever seen?

or is this the most beautiful lace I have ever seen?

This Style Arc jacket will be made with.......

This Style Arc jacket will be made with…….

THIS Valentino Fabric!

THIS Valentino Fabric!

Loads of Chanel and Valentino fabrics

Loads of Chanel and Valentino fabrics

And in case you’re wondering what machines my classmates are sewing on…………..


Tomorrow should be a day where the fruits of our labors begin to surface. Stay tuned for there is lots more to come :)

Until soon!

Posted in Marfy Patterns, Mother of the Bride dress, Sewing Dresses, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 83 Comments

Baltimore Revisited

Are you considering enrolling in a Susan Khalje class?

It is certainly an investment, but one I found so worthwhile, I’m doing it one more time!
Having taken a class from Susan in October, I learned the location is unimportant because you’re not going to see it.

Greetings from Baltimore!

What am I making ?
It’s true, originally I planned to make the Mother of the Bride dress I’ve been fretting over.
Now it’s unlikely.
Despite of all your wonderful suggestions, I’ve been unable to pair a pattern with fabric.
When I began to lose sleep over the MOB dress, I took stock and decided to put it on the back burner. I can apply the knowledge I’ll gain from this revered teacher during the week to the MOB dress later  – I’ve got five months.

This week I’m sewing Marfy F 2105, a pattern I’ve admired for quite a while.
F2105 Marfy
I’m still considering it for the Mother of the Bride dress but in a longer length.

Aside from participating in Leisa Stanton’s super free pattern Marfy sew-a-long I’m new to the Marfy experience, but I believe I’m going to enjoy it!

First of all, there is nothing better than opening a pattern envelope and finding the pieces are already cut and ready to go :)

Students are expected to arrive to class with a completed muslin.

Referring back to Susan Khalje’s  Online Couture Dress Class from Craftsy (taken in 2012 and blogged here), I quickly got to work on my muslin.

Since Marfy patterns come without seam allowances, I traced the around the edges of the pattern pieces, (which are the seamlines) with carbon paper before thread tracing the seamline on
each muslin piece.


Thankfully this dress has only 4 pattern pieces, but the skirt is loaded with stitching lines.

This photo includes 3 or the 4 pattern pieces.

This photo includes 3 or the 4 pattern pieces.

This photo includes 3 of the 4 pattern pieces.

This photo includes 3 of the 4 pattern pieces.

Marfy patterns do not include instructions, however they are well-marked in four languages.

photo-26Large letters of the alphabet ( A, B, C etc…) guide you through matching the pattern pieces.

Below is my progress. Everything has matched up nicely. Now the back skirt seam needs to be stitched and the skirt needs to be folded, pleated and stitched until it resembles the illustration. I don’t know what to do first so I’m waiting until class before further attempts ;)


The dress fabric will be decided tomorrow, though I’m leaning on a suggestion made by Susan.

Stay tuned as I share my progress with you this week on a daily basis, hoping you will also become enlightened through the wealth of knowledge Susan Khalje so generously imparts.

I’m quite anxious to transform this


to this.

F2105 Marfy

Until soon :)

Disclosure: After many successful experiences with Craftsy.com I became a Craftsy affiliate and receive compensation when you purchase classes or join Craftsy. 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 of this blog.


Posted in Marfy Patterns, Mother of the Bride dress, Mother of the Bride sewing pattern, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 61 Comments

Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann(a)

While looking for inspiration to fulfill the March Mood Sewing Network challenge of creating a look inspired by a fashion designer, I:

  1. Became obsessed with all things Anna Wintour resulting in a haircut my family loathed on me. (It lasted one week.)
  2. Discovered Barbara Tfank, the LA designer popularized by Michelle Obama.
  3. Renewed my love of Ralph Lauren.

 Anna Wintour’s feminine flared skirts and dresses captivated me. Ralph Lauren’s cheerful black and white floral clothes dominated much of his Spring RTW runway show, and Barbara Tfank spelled it out with beautiful embroidered black and white linen  garments(click here). As a result I departed from the predictable slim silhouettes I generally sew and added a little flare (as opposed to flair).


 I paired Mood Fabric’s black and white embroidered floral linen

FL25336 with Burda Style 6904 View B to get the look I was after.


Views B and C are fitted through the hips. The lower portion of the skirt is not gathered, allowing for a nice drape. The skirt fit without a single alteration and the substantial linen is dreamy. The dense embroidery prevents excessive wrinkling – even after washing and sitting. I lined the entire piece rather than just the lower skirt as instructed.


My top is an 2007 RTW linen top refashioned with black organza.


 White and black organza are to sewing what salt and pepper are to cooking – I’m never without!

The sides of the linen shell top were carefully split. After tying a knot with the organza, I tucked the raw edges into the open seam and stitched it back together.


The lightweight organza dressed up the aging top without adding bulk. How easy it that?

IMG_5115(I also noticed and read Anna Wintour almost always wears a neutral shoe to extend the leg and because they go with everything.)

 On the one hand I found the runway scene intimidating….. Why can’t I think up these creations? But reading up on the fashion designers is a tremendous resource for any sewist seeking inspiration and you just never  know how the slightest change such as a new hemline, a new sleeve, or new color might affect your overall style :)

Best wishes!


Posted in Burda Patterns, Mood Fabrics, Mood Sewing Network Lace Challenge, Refashioning Clothes, Sewing Skirts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments