Where am I ? and……. a Susan Khalje Giveaway!

Many thanks to all who have contacted me either regarding my whereabouts or who have been in my place…….. I’ve fallen into the wedding vortex and I can’t get out! Friends tried to warn me about how time-consuming wedding planning is. Even though  I believed them, I never realized this meant ALL of my time.

Excitement abounds with the August 23 date quickly approaching. One thing I’m excited about is the completion of my Mother of the Bride dress, and I plan to post lots of photos shortly after the wedding.

I must thank Susan Khalje for giving me the confidence to undertake the project. Through her live and virtual classes, I learned how to fit muslins, handle fine fabric and truly transform a pattern into a couture garment.  To help celebrate my excitement ……..  Susan is giving away her new Cocktail Dress pattern and Video Series Tutorial to one lucky winner!!

from the Susan Khalje website……..


The Cocktail Dress

The Cocktail Dress is a fitted princess sheath, made elegant by the addition of lace at the yoke and in the skirt. It’s constructed from start to finish with a full range of couture techniques: a muslin, underlining, hand stitches, finishing details… and you’ll find it’s a design that easily lends itself to variations; in fact, different bodice and hem treatments are included in the pattern.

 You will receive the following:

- Instant Access to Full Length videos for three years.
– Custom pattern designed by Susan Khalje sent right to your doorstep.
– Multi-platform accessibility on i-pads, mobile phones, laptops, etc.


All you need to do to enter your name in the hat is to humor me ;)

For the last two weeks I’ve been sewing night and day on 52 yards of fabric. I bought 3 1/2 yards of 15 fabrics shown below. Twelve are Amy Butler cottons and the other three are similar designs.


Can you guess what I’ve been making?

Everyone who responds with an answer will be entered for the giveaway, but those who guess correctly will be entered twice!

The sewing is wedding related, and the answer along with the winner will be announced between August 24 and August 29th. The deadline for entries is August 21st.

Hopefully I’ll be back before August 23rd, but if not please know I’m spinning from one wedding duty to another. I cannot wait to share the fruits of my labor with you and appreciate you hanging with me during my virtual absence. :)

Good luck to all with the giveaway, and many thanks to the wonderful Susan Khalje for her generosity!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 575 Comments

Butterick 5889

I just returned from the new Kate Spade outlet store located 20 minutes from my house, and all I found was this necklace featuring a bitten-off popsicle. The store carried zero shoes and the handbags were designed for the outlet store.

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889

Maybe you’re wondering if I am wearing anything besides turquoise, aqua and white this summer. In the past I have been consumed by orange, but this year I’m drawn to anything resembling serenity ;)

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889Inspired by a friend’s RTW top made from a similar fabric, I recently ordered this lovely Tilda French Viscose  knit from the Marcy Tilton website, an online store loaded with beautiful high quality fabrics.

Buttery hand, liquid drape, 4 way stretch, light/mid weight with minimal rolling at the cut edge so it will be a pleasure to sew and wear.’


The dreamy description led me to place my first order without a sample, and fortunately the portrayal was spot on. I consider the fabric light-weight leading me to sew a less structured and loose-fitting top.

My pattern is Butterick 5889

B5889 B5889

The split sleeve caught my eye and what began as a long tunic/dress is now my final blue/turquoise/aqua garment for the summer.

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889

Upon seeing my top Hubby commented that the garment looked easy. It was, I replied, but I’ve seen lots of 30-minute garments that cost $500.

This pattern is fabulous for anyone seeking to perfect the narrow hem technique. The sleeve hems, sleeve splits and bottom hem are all finished with a narrow hem totaling nine opportunities to get it right.

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889 After tacking the shoulders and sleeves together the neck facing is attached and a top is born!

His next comment was that he preferred it belted,

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889and I get that, but this time around I’m loving the freedom of movement found in this delightful fabric.

What do you think?

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889

IMG_0123 I think I’m ready to mix it up a bit and move on – I’ve loved my turquoise and aqua phase but other colors and styles eagerly await!

Until soon :)

www.goodbyevalentino.com Butterick 5889

Posted in Butterick Patterns, Sewing Summer Clothes, Sewing Tops, sewing with knits | Tagged , , , , | 120 Comments

J McLaughlin Refashion

The RTW Fasters and I are halfway through our pledge to abstain from buying ready-to-wear clothes during 2014! Lots of the women are knocking it out of the ballpark sewing incredible clothes too.

I’ve found reaching the halfway point serves as a great incentive in achieving nearly every goal I’ve set out to accomplish, and I celebrated the six-month marker by cleaning out my closet. :)

While I’ve questioned the wisdom about going on the RTW Fast during the same year of my child’s wedding, the closet exercise proved my decision sound.

Closet organization generates a different type of creative pleasure for me.  I do not follow the Tim Gunn rule of getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in a year for I am sentimentally attached to many garments taking up precious space. I truly enjoy the memories certain clothes awaken, but I was not sentimentally attached to this J McLaughlin top purchased in March 2011.

IMG_0019It brought back memories of a serious overindulgence I plead guilty to. It’s pretty, but  similar to other clothes purchased during the same shopping trip and I never wear it. By the time I get around to wearing white pants, the weather is warm and this top is hot with its long sleeves – I think it looks hot even in the shade!

An easy re-fashion was in order and in less than an hour I transformed the waste of money into a welcome wardrobe addition.

IMG_0029After removing the sleeves, I stitched the sides to eliminate the underarm flare. This took a few tries, but once the fit was right I ran the seam through the serger.


Next I marked and trimmed one inch off of the shoulder and angled the cut midway down the front and back armscye.


I finished the arms with a coverstitch before turning and topstitching. The four-way French spandex behaved very well giving me just the look I wanted.


Easy projects are certainly welcome during this year of more complicated sewing, but even better is the satisfaction of turning something useless into something treasured, and I know this top will now be a summer staple.


S i x  m o r e  m o n t h s  !  !  !


Posted in Ready to Wear Fast, Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014, Refashioning Clothes, Setting Goals, sewing clothes, Sewing Tops | Tagged , , , , , | 124 Comments


Just as hubby started taking pictures in the backyard the snake appeared scaring us to the front where the light wasn’t as good. Ugh – it’s the one drawback about summer in the South….

 …but there is nothing better than frolicking through the warm summer breezes in lightweight clothes that greet the heat with a smile.

Those cute boutique gauze tops I saw last week might have been tempting had the Marc Jacobs white cotton gauze from Mood Fabrics not been on its way to my door.

Sewing with gauze moved me straight into a peace, love and happiness state of mind – almost.

The open weave of the fabric first reminded me of the sterile material used for dressing wounds, but one quick trip through the washing machine transformed the mummy like material into a softly crinkled cotton sporting a billowy drape.


My pattern is McCall’s 6928 and this is my official ‘just for fun’ summer top.


Sewing twists, turns and knots can easily lead me astray but not so this time. The bow and knot are easy to assemble. Several layers come together where the knot, the bow and the front of the blouse are sewn into the neck facing, but sewing with lightweight fabric prevents bulk from accumulating at the focal point of the top.

IMG_0057The pattern runs large and is quite full, leading me to reduce the armscye and remove several inches from the sweep. However, it was  easy to get it just the way I wanted it.

The bow is tacked to the front of the blouse which is another reason a lightweight fabric should be used for this pattern. All seams were stitched and finished with the serger. The bias strip facings were turned and slipstitched, and the top was hemmed with a narrow machine hem.

M6928There is serious sewing and there is fun sewing, and I can’t bear the thought of so much fun coming to an end ……..


… so now perhaps,  just for fun I will return to the backyard and charm the snake off of the patio and into the woods :)

Have a good one!


Posted in McCall's Sewing Pattern, Mood Fabrics, Mood Sewing Network, Online Fabric Orders, Sewing Tops, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 79 Comments

MoB Beginnings….. 

Mother    “When are you going to start on your dress, Sarah? I’m getting worried.”

Me     “Today. As soon as we finish up at the lampshade store. ”

…..and so after months of procrastination accompanied by some angst, I began the Mother of the Bride dress on Tuesday afternoon.  It’s true, I’ve been putting it off while hoping to achieve the elusive perfect weight, shape, size etc……….. I mean what if I lose an inch in my waist after I make the dress?

In March I asked for your help in finding fabric and a pattern for my Mother of the Bride dress, and I received more kindness than I knew existed.

Several readers suggested I shop at Mendel Goldberg in NYC. I had no trips to NYC planned and the shop does not have an online store. Would you believe that Leisa Stanton from A Challenging Sew put me in touch with Alice, then drove into the city from her Connecticut home, and together with Alice showed me fabrics on Facetime?

IMG_0046 My fabric is a silk matelasse featuring a sporadic metallic pattern.

Upon receiving the small sample of fabric and coordinating trim I decided against the fabric, thinking it was too light and might compete with Katie’s wedding dress.

Two weeks later at the Susan Khalje class in Baltimore I learned Alice would be coming to Baltimore with fabric including the silk matelasse.  When the entire class marveled during the unveiling of the fabric I reconsidered.

IMG_0048 It’s a fabric that is beautifully affected by differing lights.

Once it was mine, I received several comments and lots of advice.

“You need to drape this fabric,” stated Alice upon handing me the fabric.

“Keep it simple. Whatever you do keep it simple.” replied a classmate ……..

and Susan Khalje reminded me to take advantage of the fabric’s great movement.

I became scared all over again questioning the wisdom of my decision to make this dress. Why didn’t I just buy one before I started my 2014 Ready-to-Wear fast?

I started looking for the perfect pattern AGAIN. Then last week a sewing angel arrived at my house.


Through blogging many people have entered my life for which I am grateful. Ten days ago I met a Goodbye Valentino reader from Texas who was visiting a mutual friend in South Carolina. Would you believe we were both wearing the same dress when she arrived at my house?


I took it as a sign ;)

During our visit Cheryl and her friend, Paula looked through all of my patterns and within minutes a decision was made – at least for a muslin.

VOGUE 8766


 I’ve extended the pattern to a floor length a-line skirt and am teetering between a strapless dress or one with spaghetti straps. The finished dress will dictate whether I make a wrap or a short jacket to wear in the church.

…….. and two weeks ago I bought the coordinating trim.


 I’ve started on the muslin and intend to enlist the help of a friend with the fitting.


I also plan to review any pertinent Craftsy class I’ve taken including:

40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know – Gail Yellen who provides excellent princess seam instruction,

Sew the Perfect Fit Online Sewing Class with Lynda Maynard since I’ve sewn this pattern before,


 the treasured Susan Khalje Online Couture Dress Class from which I learned so much about dressmaking.  Also, Susan has just released the first of a series of couture videos entitled The Cocktail Dress (which comes with a pattern) and I know it will be helpful :)

Surely with the help of virtual friends, live friends, virtual classes, live classes, gorgeous fabric and a gym full of weights and treadmills I can make a beautiful dress for this special occasion and wear it well!
Something tells me it’s time to just do it.


Disclosure:  Recently I became 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 Baltimore, Craftsy, Mother of the Bride dress, Mother of the Bride sewing pattern, sewing bloggers, sewing blogs, Sewing Dresses, Susan Khalje Sewing Class, Uncategorized, Vogue Sewing Patterns | Tagged , , , , , , , | 91 Comments

Dare to Wear

When I started sewing again in August 2011, I vowed to wear my clothes in public. I’ve been true to my word with two exceptions – here and here. While a job well done should be reason enough to do one’s best, knowing that others will see (and judge) my clothes is one of the incentives to get it right.

Hubby and I spent the weekend in Charleston, SC, where my daughter and her fiancé were honored with a party hosted by friends of the groom’s parents. I packed a Me-Made suitcase and hoped for the best.

 Clockwise from the top left:

  1. The ruffled Cynthia Rowley top, now in year 3 works for nearly any warm weather occasion, and it was perfect for Friday evening cocktails on the terrace with the girls.
  2. Saturday evening at a luau. I reworked portions of this dress. Though the criss-crossed straps didn’t work out, I successfully moved the straps to the center front and achieved a similar look to the pattern cover. I also added boning to the front seams to provide additional shaping.
  3. I couldn’t resist wearing my new Pucci dress to Trattoria Lucca, our favorite Italian restaurant! (The humid windy weather did a number on my hair ;) )
  4. Father’s Day brunch at the Rutledge Cab Company in my new yellow maxi.
  5. The Ribbon Skirt’s Charleston debut made me proud :) From a Saturday morning shopping trip to a casual lunch with Katie’s future in-laws, it generated compliments at every juncture. A boutique owner even asked me if I would design clothes for her store! I declined the flattering request, but it’s moments like these that underscore the virtues of sewing clothes.

 Goodbye Valentino - www.goodbyevalentino.com

I believe wearing the clothes we sew is a wonderful exercise in building self-confidence on many levels.

  • In social settings wearing Me-Made-Clothes can bring about almost celebrity status.
  • Shopping in precision-fitting Me-Made-Clothes will quickly remind you that RTW rarely fits without costly alterations. I tried on lots of clothes along side my daughter this weekend. The gorgeous clothes tested my willpower on the hangers, but lost their appeal in the dressing room.
  • It’s just downright empowering to have Me-Made-Clothes mistaken for designer apparel.

So now I’m curious. Do you wear your Me-Made-Clothes? With pride?

Posted in making your own clothes, Me-Made-Clothes, Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014, Ribbon Skirt, sewing clothes | Tagged , , , , , | 143 Comments

Theory Striped Maxi

Once again, the spirits of Marcy the Medium have influenced my fabric selection!

“You need more yellow in your life,” she stated.

I think I ordered the best yellow a n y t h i n g  ever available, for Mood Fabrics’ Theory Light Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  has more than surpassed my expectations!

Goodbye Valentino Mood Fabrics' Theory Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  www.goodbyevalentino.com   I wasn’t ready to put away the pattern from my last project (New Look 6210) quite yet – especially since the fit had been tweaked to perfection. Besides, I had set out to make a maxi and ended up with a short dress. The phenomenal drape of this fabric begged for a maxi and frankly, how could I resist?


My only new alteration was to add an inch of fabric to the front lower armsyce for better coverage.

Goodbye Valentino Mood Fabrics' Theory Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  www.goodbyevalentino.com  Since the fabric/pattern combination screams summer, I opted for the racer back rendition – a first for me.

Goodbye Valentino Mood Fabrics' Theory Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  www.goodbyevalentino.com  What took four days to make last week took four hours to make this week, due in part to this beautifully behaved viscose ponte knit. No slipping, no sliding, no curling and it is perfectly on grain.


Too good to be true?

Goodbye Valentino Mood Fabrics' Theory Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  www.goodbyevalentino.com  NO!

Goodbye Valentino Mood Fabrics' Theory Canary Striped Viscose Ponte Blend  www.goodbyevalentino.com

Too good to pass up! Check it out :)



Posted in Mood Fabrics, New Look Sewing Patterns, Sewing Dresses, sewing with knits, Uncategorized, Yellow | Tagged , , , , , | 78 Comments

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 , , , , , | 101 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