S8304 hearts baby outfit

Even though I am prepping to move very soon, I decided I had to DIY a baby shower gift for a friend. For me it feels very thoughtful and personal to take the time to make a unique gift and hopefully the recipient thinks so too! That and it might have something to do with the fact that I have plenty of raw materials to accomplish a gift and feel compelled to make use of them because they are such nice fabrics. 

I squeezed out the Simplicity 8304 pattern in view B from a previously used cotton/linen blend here which brings me so much satisfaction because I have a hard time throwing away any amount of fabric, and I hang onto a lot of what some would consider “trash” (scraps). I need the justification of projects like this because I am moving tubs of fabric with a large portion being these sorts of off cuts, juuuust big enough for small projects but not enough for clothes for an adult. I made the size small which is supposedly size 6 months…not that it means much since size in clothing brands and in babies varies greatly. I used a double brushed polyester for the heart appliques and leggings (view A) with a knit scrap for a coordinating headband (view G).

The outfit came out even more cute than I thought it would, and if my personality was the kind that still wore hearts on clothing, I think I would need one in my size!


An update + SOI floral Alex shirtdress

Shortly into my pregnancy back in the spring, I was feeling physically pretty good. I would say “off” or “yucky” but nothing too bad (as in I’ve never puked while pregnant, and I hope it stays that way!). I felt off in other ways though. It sounds so strange but instead of just having aversions to food, i had an aversion to sewing! I looked at my sewing stuff and felt almost nauseous! After trying to make myself work on a couple of projects, I just gave myself permission to shove everything in my spare room and shut the door. For weeks!

I had no interest in my creative outlet and it really started to take a toll on my mental health, I believe. I was lethargic and it was too hot outside to do much of anything. There’s not much going on around where I live, so I got to feeling very isolated and purposeless. I knew objectively that I should be fine, that I was fine, but something in me just wasn’t right. I don’t say this to get pity from friends or whomever may read this. I say it to explain some of my absence and maybe it encourages someone else by knowing that it’s not possible to have an upbeat life 100% of the time, that mental health can be a struggle even when there are many life circumstances to be grateful for.

To get out of my funk, sewing has played a big role and I’m glad to be back at it again. I had no desire to sew clothes at first, so I ended up making some newborn fitted cloth diapers (um, and they are sooo cute). I am trying not to put pressure on myself to use them in case recovery or adjusting to life after birth is rougher than I would like, but I think it should be fine. I’m not new to cloth diapering, but I have not done that during the newborn phase so we shall see how it goes!

My favorite one!

It was so helpful to focus on a non-garment project, because eventually I started to get interested in making clothes again. I have no desire to add anything to my maternity capsule wardrobe (fancy way of saying I wear the same handful of basic outfits constantly), so I started brainstorming what I could look forward to post partum once I get out of the 24/7 pajama phase. It had to be nursing friendly and not too fitted in the bust or waist since that will be an unpredictable, fluctuating size for awhile. I also wanted to use a woven fabric because it’s my favorite to sew with and I’ve been wearing all knits all the time for weeks.
I decided on the So Over It Alex shirtdress from the City Break ebook. I’ve previously made the shirt version for my cousin and several Molly tops from that book. Any shaping you would want you can add a belt and it’s got ease built in at the bust and waist, so it seemed perfect for getting back into making something for myself.

I made a size 8 but added length, smoothing out the curve at the hem for a more subtle high/low look. I wanted a traditional cuff to finish the sleeve so I morphed the armscye with the base of Butterick 5526 and used the cuff from that pattern. Of course I lengthened the sleeve too. I used a light interfacing for the collar and button band area. The pattern doesn’t call for any. I topstitched the collar and button band. I used French seams except for the armscye. I serged those because it is a lot faster and easier!

This rayon woven is from LA Finch fabrics from this past winter, I think. I swear I saw this same print on some different kind of fabric at Joanns a couple of months ago, but I’m not totally sure. It’s gorgeous fabric (and navy yet again!), but I’m wondering if it’s a little busy with the long sleeves. I might prefer them rolled up and I think a contrasting belt would help break it up.

I really do like it and I had a lot of fun making it. When I tried it on, I was pleased to find that it actually fit over my baby bump. That was reassuring because I know that it will fit over me postpartum! Maybe that’s why I thought it was busy? Draping a floral over a larger surface area just makes it look like it’s taking over? I don’t know! I am just looking forward to wearing this in a few weeks to baby’s baptism. Having new clothes and especially pretty, new pajamas post partum is such a boost for me…which reminds me…some online shopping might be in order! At a time when I’ve felt happy but definitely bedraggled, it’s the little things that are sometimes so nice 🙂

I just really couldn’t be bothered to take pictures of myself in the dress but I snapped a couple of another project I made mid summer since it was my outfit today. I made it for a bit of light shoulder coverage to go with this black maternity tank from Target. Bathroom selfie, toddler fingerprints on the mirror, and I just don’t care! The beautiful fabric is a cotton gauze from last year from LA Finch fabric with a cotton trim they included for free. They ended up working perfectly together. It’s a lengthened Simplicity 1318 kimono-thing in view A (and I squeezed it out of a yard of fabric).

I guess this concludes my somewhat catch-all of an update. I have a couple more projects to share and then it’s probably baby time and sewing won’t happen for awhile. I already feel my interest in sewing waning a bit in preparation for new things to come!

M6993 – gray 30s skirt


photo by my wonderful cousin & artwork by Jessica Wachter (LOVE this painting!!)

I went into my blog drafts and found these photos waiting for me to finally share. I made this skirt quite awhile ago and it was one of those “I don’t know how this will turn out” experiments that actually turned out well. It’s M6993 skirt pattern from the 1930s which makes my American-Girl-doll-loving-11 year old-self very happy.

The pattern had some really fun details. It’s hard to see but View A has asymmetrical yoke (?) pieces on the front with the pleats that maybe aren’t called pleats because there are triangular fabric panels to give them shape. Basically, I’m an authority on sewing and fashion terminology.

I think the design of the skirt really shines in motion. The movement of the “pleats that aren’t pleats” are really fun and I always feel extra ladylike when I wear it.

I didn’t lengthen the skirt at all and I think it hits me a little higher than the sample photo. You would need to be careful if you’re on the shorter side, though, since this isn’t exactly a chop the bottom off later kind of a pattern. The “pleats” would be really out of proportion if you had to shorten it once almost finished. I used some mystery (probably polyester) suiting fabric my mom picked up for me. I really love this neutral color. It goes with pretty much whatever color or pattern top you would want to pair with it. I’m not sure if I will make it again since it’s such a specific style, but it was a fun sew and I would recommend the pattern.img_1611

S1693 – window pane top


Hi from Alabama! Yes, that’s right. This North Dakota girl has relocated to a place very different from her home! My husband’s job being the reason. I never quite made it back on the blog after moving but I have been sewing a lot. Turns out there’s not a ton to do when you’ve left your 8-4 job and relocate far away to a somewhat isolated place! Fine by me. It’s an adventure and I have more time and energy for my little family and sewing 🙂

I made this top right before I packed up my sewing room. It was supposed to be simple. I made some modifications and that resulted in a gaping neckline. A few pinches of fabric sewn up afterwards resulted in this top. I think I’m still a little mad that this didn’t turn out to be simple that I haven’t worn it much since these pictures were taken back in October.


I love this fabric though. I got it from LAfinchfabrics.com. I have some great tan stretch faux suede kind of fabric from them too. I ended up making a skirt out of it that is great with other pieces but looks really nice with this top, so once I find my ancient camera I will share. Or maybe just phone photos because this most certainly is all just for fun and looking for lost stuff most certainly is not.

So this project didn’t knock it out of the park, but I did go back the original pattern and made 2 tanks from it (I told you I’ve been busy). One of which I am wearing today because it was mid 70s for a high today. I’m guessing my ND friends are a little envious 😉

More soon-ish!img_1694

M6465 – linen shift dress


Photo by cousin Katie & artwork by Jessica Wachter

I made this shift dress this past spring as an experiment. I usually prefer more form fitting dresses…not fitted everywhere but dresses with some balance. Fit and flare probably being my ideal, I guess. A “shapeless” dress? Would it look ok on me? Would I like it? I wasn’t too sure, but I was inspired by this Inari dress from Closet Case Files and gave it a try. I actually bought the same fabric she used. I don’t typically buy indie patterns as I can buy a lot of similar patterns for a lot less. With indie patterns, you definitely get a lot more for the money (better instructions, sewalongs, often better styling so it’s easier to see the end product, etc.) but since I’ve gotten more experience with sewing, I can rely on myself (and the Internet!) to figure some things out myself. Sewing already a pretty expensive hobby, so I try to cut a few dollars out here and there.


With that said, this particular pattern turned out so well (McCalls 6465)! It’s one of the easiest garments I’ve ever made and probably my most complimented. Of course I had to tweak it to practice my fitting skills. I think I had recently learned about the tissue fitting method from Palmer/Pletsch and wanted to try a couple things out on a simple dress shape.


It’s more tent-like than I’m used to, but I think it works since it’s fitted in the top portion. It’s a pretty comfortable shape to wear. I wore this to work in the spring quite a bit, but with leggings & tall boots. Spring in North Dakota does not translate to this much skin exposure.


As for changes, I lengthened the sleeves, created a center back seam to do a swayback adjustment and try to make it slightly more shaped. I did a forward shoulder adjustment and created 2 small darts at the back neckline because of my prominent shoulder blades/high round back. I’m wondering if something is off or I shouldn’t do a forward shoulder adjustment since I’ve had some gaping at the center of necklines. I will give this some more thought and experimenting. For this dress, I did french seams and bias bound the arm holes. I didn’t end up lenthening the skirt because I was concerned it would all come out looking like I was wearing a long bag. I think it works best with leggings and boots but would probably like a longer dress for everyday life when I’m not wearing tights or leggings.

On a personal note, I am moving soooo far away from my home state of North Dakota in a few days. We are excited for our adventure but busy. My sewing room is all packed up and won’t be set up again for awhile 😦 All of that said, I’m not sure when I will post again. I’ll see you when I see you, I guess!


M6952 – another navy dress


Photo credit to my cousin Katie & artwork by Jessica Wachter

Why do I have so many navy dresses? I didn’t intentionally set out to do this, but I guess I think navy is a neutral and goes with everything. Maybe I also think it’s not a “loud” color so it makes me blend in more? Maybe I just think it looks classic? I’m not sure, but I do have a navy dress posted here here with at least 2 more blue dresses in my closet.


This particular navy dress is McCall’s 6952, a pullover, elastic waist dress with princess seams. I cut a size 10 in view B (minus the ruffle) for a more fitted look. I like the look but pulling it over my head is not my favorite. I should have lowered the arm hole as they are a bit tight on me, but I find that this often happens since I’m a little more broad than perhaps the typical size 10. Also, the facings tend to flip out so I could probably tack them down and/or top stitch them to make it better. I did create a center back seam and make a swayback adjustment so it wouldn’t blouse so much in the back. I also lengthened the skirt by 3″ I think. I also did French seams on everything.


I used a mystery border print from my fabric I bought in France earlier this summer. It’s really soft and light so I’m guessing it’s rayon. Even though this is a summer dress, with leggings, this actually transitions to fall pretty well.

I do like this pattern and would recommend it. Marking where the elastic is supposed to go is a good idea, though. I did not and the back was WAY off so I redid it. The front is still a little uneven but I really didn’t want to redo the whole thing so I just left it. It’s a simple dress but has a lot of potential for customization and it’s pretty comfortable too.

Sigh. I miss warmer weather 😦 …


M7433 navy 1940s dress


Hey! I made up a retro pattern for fun. It’s McCalls 7433 in a navy and white polka dot mystery fabric I bought when I was in France while traveling with students this past summer. I didn’t have time to go fabric shopping when I was in Paris and I was able to go when the students were doing a homestay in another smaller city. Decision fatigue is a real thing, and helping lead a group of high schoolers around 2 major European cities involves a lot of responsibility and decisions. Thus, by the time I made it to fabric shopping, I hardly looked at the bolts of fabric…I went right for the tables of precut fabric.


This was one of the 4 kinds of fabric I got. I had no particular plan for them, I just liked them and they were pretty sizable at about 2-3 meters apiece. The others are probably rayon since they’re so soft but this one probably has polyester in it since it’s not as soft, doesn’t really wrinkle, & has a slight texture. The contrasting collar and sleeves are scraps from another dress I made up from this same fabric trip. I couldn’t find anything in my stash that I liked until my mother in law (amazing sewer in her own right!) suggested I try the wrong side of a fabric and what do you know…that was perfect.


I had to look up the yard to meter equivalent since buying fabric in metric units is forgeign to me. I thought they were about the same, but I had to check! I had a nice conversation with the salesman about where I was from and a few other things I don’t remember. It was one of those times where I thought “I’m not sucking at French right now!” so it was all around pleasant experience 😉


One of the first times I wore this dress was to a family wedding. It was a gorgeous day, but pretty windy. I got out of my mom-mobile and went to get my daughter out of her car seat when ‘whoooosh’… a big gust of wind came and blew my skirt up I-don’t-even-want-to-know-how-high. Since the material is slightly transparent, I wore a full slip underneath – and thank God for that! With the design and the fact that it’s such a light fabric, it’s a little more prone to wind related wardrobe malfunctions. These photos were not taken at the wedding because I was too busy chasing after my cutie pie. The day I took these photos it was WAY too windy to do them anywhere less protected than the front porch. Why do I make impractical things? I live on the prairie. It’s always windy.

I cut size 10 in the bust and graded to a 12 everywhere else. I did a sloppy job on the side seams so I think it’s a little more snug than it should be, which makes the bottom button area gape a bit. The hem is pretty bad but after redoing in once, I’m just going to call it good enough. I’m still lacking some of those key finishing skills (patience being, perhaps, the most wanting), but I’m getting better.


I can’t stand having yucky seams on the inside of the garments. I don’t own a serger and don’t really want one, so I make due in other ways. I used French seams wherever possible and bias binding most everywhere else.


Can I just say that I like that this retro pattern didn’t end up looking straight out of 1940-something? The dresses on the envelope are cool but it’s a bit hard to look past the styling to see if it could look modern. With a less traditional fabric, it could look even more different, I think.


Molly top – Aztec print


No, really. This pattern is called the Molly top. I didn’t just name this shirt after myself. Independent pattern companies will give their patterns people names instead of numbers. It makes them more memorable and since they don’t produce as many as the big pattern companies, the numbers don’t really  make sense for them.


In the evenings, to wind down, I’ve been watching sewing vlogs on Youtube and discovered the Sew Over It channel, a London based fabric shop that also releases patterns and has sewing classes. Part of why I love this channel as well as almost all sewing vlogs, is because of the lovely accents. It’s just so pleasant!

When I saw that they had just released an ebook with 5 patterns, I was so inspired and couldn’t stop thinking about the lovely photos and this particular shirt pattern. They shot photos in Paris and themed this ebook as “City Break” which in British terms, I think, means going on a short trip to some fabulous European city near them. Jealous! Well, that’s not exactly my life right now, but casual seperates are! With this new phase of life, I’ve realized I have no need of professional or fancy clothing and could use more casual, practical clothes.


I had just ordered this rayon jersey fabric from lafinchfabrics.com & was super pleased with what I ordered and the generous extras they threw in. I only ordered a yard for for another project I had in mind, but absolutely “needed” to make this top ASAP. I had to settle for short sleeves since I didn’t have enough fabric, but I still really love it. I made a size 8 in the bust and 10 in waist/hips. I made a couple of tweaks in the sleeve for length, which don’t totally matter for this version. I will definitely have to lengthen the sleeves when I make the long sleeve version. I cut the neckband on the crossgrain and for the hems, I used knit interfacing cut on the bias and a twin needle.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find the same kind of fabric as their sample because they are gorgeous (but without international shipping prices!). I want to make at least a couple more of these comfortable tees. And this Molly should have a few more Molly tops, right?


M7121 feather print dress


Even though summer is gone where I live 😦 I’ve still got a few summer outifits to share. I wore this dress a lot! It’s incredible comfortable and an easy decision in the morning. It’s as comfy as pajamas but doesn’t look it (I don’t think…). It’s McCalls 7121 view C size 10 bodice & 12 skirt. I changed the back and I may have shortened the skirt. This Art Gallery fabric was another I had my eye on for awhile until I bought it this spring. I’m a little disappointed how the blue faded a bit…but maybe it got dried too hot?

Anyway, I will make more of these next summer, I think. I’ve not sewn a lot with knits and I don’t have a serger (which is why there are no pictures of the inside! It’s not too pretty.). I really like wearing knits so I suppose I will have to learn some more work arounds for not having that 2nd machine. Maybe I will get an overlocker foot for my sewing machine? (If you’re unfamiliar: There are 2 main types of fabric. Knits are stretchy fabric, used in things like leggings & cardigans. Wovens are not stretchy, like uh…anything…jeans, trousers, button up shirts)


I did use a twin needle for the 2nd time. I used it on the neckline, armhole, & skirt hem, as well as stabilizing using strips of knit interfacing cut on the bias 3/8″ wide, I think. It was such a nice finish on the inside and out, in addition to making the seam sturdier. I got a bit of tunneling so I guess I will need to play with my machine’s tension a little more (?). Other modifications include raising the neckline a bit, forward shoulder adjustment, stabilized the shoulder, and maybe lengthened the bodice. I don’t remember.


Nothing fancy about this one…just a useful & comfortable garment!


S2215 bright green skirt



Oh, hi Bison. Photos taken by my cousin Katie in her beautiful home 🙂

I survived 1.5 days traveling alone with my toddler! And I’m soooo exhausted. It was wonderful visiting friends, but I must admit I didn’t realize what it would be like taking care of my daughter as a continuation of a weekend away. She did great & I did pretty well too, but I was quite naïve about what we would get accomplished. I’ve had a lot of help taking care of her recently and didn’t realize that. I’m humbled (in a good way). These last 3 days I kept thinking “props to single moms! props to all moms of little kids!”. So much respect.

With that said, in the midst of chasing after my poufy princess at a wedding reception this weekend, I totally spaced on taking a few pictures of me in my dress. We even had a lovely outdoor location. Oh well! I’ll have to take some soon since it’s one of the newer McCall’s patterns. And I am nothing but timely, trendy, and of-the-moment! Ha.


I did, however, wear this skirt the following day to church. I saw this fabric on a blog last year and kept it in the back of my mind until this past spring when I decided to buy some for a skirt. I was thinking about making a dress but decided against it. It would be fabulous, but I don’t know if I would get as much wear out of it being such a bright color. The downside to it being a skirt is that I have no clue how to style it. Black tank and another black shirt have been my only solutions. I don’t think a white shirt would make it through the day still being white. Chambray button up? I don’t know! Well, I guess I have until next spring to figure it out!


The pattern I used is Simplicity 2215 by Cynthia Rowley which appears to be out of print. I did view C in a size 12 in a quilting cotton from Art Gallery Fabrics (Succulence collection). It’s got asymmetrical pleats which my symmetry loving self was unsure about at first but love now. I didn’t do too many modifications since it’s just a skirt. I added 3.75″ to the length since I’m 5’10″…length is a pretty standard modification for me. I did line it in a white rayon which feels so soft on the skin.



I really love how this one turned out. The fabric is so striking and unique but still wearable. It took me a couple of tries to get the hook & eye in the right spot. It wasn’t sitting right where I wanted at my waist, so I just repositioned one part and the fit is perfect.


Since it’s fall, this and many other things I’ve sewn won’t get worn for awhile. It makes me a little sad since this skirt got made so late in the summer, but fall sewing is fun too and I just got some new fabric in the mail. The best kind of mail!