Wrap Dress Duo

I have a love/hate relationship with Art Gallery knit fabrics. I really love some of the prints. In the world of quilting cotton companies AGF has done a pretty good job at producing apparel fabrics and designs that are great for adults that don’t have weird repeats and are nice and crisp. So many companies seem to focus heavily on baby or childish prints, so I applaud AGF for their taste. The jersey knit is also easy to work with and feels wonderful to wear, BUT all designs are printed on white fabric. What’s the problem with printing on white fabric? Well the problem comes when you wash your garment and the white fuzz from the wrong side of your dress lands all over your dark clothes.

However, sometimes a fabric design is so pretty I buy it even though I know I probably shouldn’t.


I first saw this plum floral at Michael Levine’s months and months ago. Maybe last summer? I almost bought yardage back then, but I refrained when I saw it was printed on white. Then as the months passed by I kept thinking about this design. Of course by late fall it had disappeared from the shelves of Michael Levine’s and I had to go seek it out! Thankfully I found yardage available at Harts Fabric (and on sale too)!


I’ve been in desperate need of new winter clothing. A lot of my old favorites look really old from weekly wear and washing, so it was definitely time to spruce up my clothing options. I used my pretty new fabric to whip up a hybrid dress that would be suitable for the office. This is a combination of the Cashmerette Dartmouth Top with a half circle skirt.


I’ve come to really love wrap dresses and this mock wrap was really simple and extremely wearable. I find the neckline on the Dartmouth to be reasonably modest for work, no flashing of my bra (yay!). Though I do think it runs large, I’ve made 4 Dartmouth tops prior to this dress and they all had something odd in the sizing. This version is a 12G/H for the bust and a 14 for the waist. When I compared the pattern pieces to my much loved Washington Dress bodice I saw the Dartmouth has more ease.

I think I mostly avoided the dreaded boob flower with the print placement, but I am a little sad the print isn’t more balanced on the front. I had 3 yards which was just barely enough if I wanted long sleeves. I also tried to make sure I didn’t have a big flower right over my um…feminine area, though I did end up with a butt flower. I think it isn’t too noticeable unless you go looking for it.

My biggest issue now is not owning a sweater that matches. Too bad knitting is slower than sewing!

And even though I get a little annoyed with how AGF fabric washes up, it is super easy to sew! When I purchased the plum floral I also tossed in this small scale floral on dark green so I could truly test out both fabric and pattern.


The green dress is made just the exact same way as the plum dress. I even remembered to sew the wrap to disguise the fact that my breasts are two different sizes. I think the prints are different enough that more people wouldn’t notice that style is the same.


Oh and both dresses were made with my long neglected serger. When I cleaned the house over the holidays I made a decision to put my serger next to my sewing machine on the kitchen table. It looks ridiculous having so much sewing machine taking up half the space, but it’s been working well. It is so much easier to just move back and forth as needed and the serged seams look so great. One of my friend declared my clothes looked professionally made!


While the color might not look perfect for long, I am thrilled to have two new dresses to keep my warm on chilly mornings and looking chic in the office.



Gillian Wrap Dress

Looking through my Me Made May outfit for the month reminded me that I never did talk about my Gillian Wrap Dress from Muse Patterns, and that is a real shame!


I made it last June and I think I never posted about it because I had grand plans of getting John to take pictures while we were on vacation. But then the best picture I got was this one when we paid a visit to the Loopy Ewe. The fine breweries of Colorado might have distracted me.

But over the course of the last year I have worn this dress a ton in spite of the hem that loves flipping upwards.


So here is my Gillian Warp Dress Today! I’ve really come to love dresses that hug my curves more than hide them. Plus by converting this dress to a faux wrap it is a breeze to wear without worrying about tying the waist just right.


There are a couple fit issues such as this pooling at the back (and it rides up at the hem too).  So when I make it again I’ll be sure to cute it wider in the butt area. It is meant to be a little loose in the back, so I’m not going to worry about it.


I also remember being really bothered by the flab of extra fabric at the underarm, but it hasn’t ever bothered me when I actually wore the dress. I do wear it safety pinned at the bust, but that is more of a preventative measure!

Oh and the fabric is this Art Gallery knit I bought at Hawthorne Threads. Can’t believe they still have it in stock! They make really nice jersey, though since it is navy printed on white the color didn’t stay as deep as I’d hoped.

In the end I’m so happy to be wearing this lovely wrap dress again this spring and hopefully some day I’ll get around to tackling it again!


An Apple a Day!

I’ve gone a tad bit nuts this week making new dresses for myself. The high temperature never topped 75F all week and now that the time has changed most of the time I am outside is in the early morning or after dark. I suddenly found myself wearing sundresses and cold.

Plus I got a new pattern in the mail right before the Halloween madness and I really really wanted to give it a go!

This week I worked up two versions of the Appleton Dress from Cashmerette! At first I wasn’t quite sold on the pattern, but then I read it came with 3 different bust ranges and a sway back adjustment built in! Sold!

I bought one of the kits she had for purchase, but I’m a little nervous to cut into the rayon jersey. So I turned to some Art Gallery jersey I’d bought but didn’t particularly love. It was not quite the color I’d expected so it has been sitting unloved. Then the other night I decided to go for it! Usually I don’t drink any alcohol on weeknights, but I’d really wanted a glass of wine. Bad idea. Between the wine consumption and the preschooler interrupting me with a request to shoo away a monster in her closet you could say I was distracted. And cut a straight size 14 E/F. I also cut two right sleeves and the front pieces backwards. Whoops! 


It’s actually not near as bad as I thought it was when I first finished it! Wearable though a little tighter than I’d like. The fronts don’t cross over by that much and I’m interested to see if it becomes indecent at work. The sleeves are also tighter than I’d like. I wrote into Jenny to ask about sleeve ease and she very quickly replied that her testers found it okay. Thank you Jenny! But it was still too tight for my taste. 


Anyways, I took a peak at my other jerseys and picked another print that had left me stumped. Its a stripe and I figure using them running vertically would be flattering. I was right. Here is version #2 a size 14 G/H top, 16 waist, and 18 hip with size 16 sleeves.


My husband said I looked like a piece of candy. Yummy. And yes! This version looks awesome, though I probably didn’t need to go to the 18 hip. Next time I’ll just grade to the 16. And I totally love how the strips work to frame the neckline and waist. Fantastic!


The sleeves are a lot better fit too and not hard at all to sew into the slightly smaller opening.

But, what about the bust? Did I need to go up to the G/H size?


I probably didn’t need to, but I did have to tug a bit to get the blue dress to sit right. Jenny’s claim is a no budge neckline, but it did slip a on both versions. Anyone have any fit tips or opinions?

And I’m on a roll churning out dresses and have two more coming soon! So I’ll leave you with a Lu photo bomb. This kid is wonderfully crazy.


Mommy Is Worth It

My mom just celebrated her 60th birthday and to celebrate I made her…a quilt. I know you’re not the least bit shocked. Quilts have become my go-to gift for super spacial occasions because they take less time than knitting and are way more fun to make than knitting a blanket.


Way back in April I received this package of fat quarters from Westwood Acre’s I Want Her Stash Club and I knew back then I wanted to make my mom a quilt with them, but I just wasn’t sure when I would do it.


Plus while the quilt pattern that came with the bundle is really fun I just didn’t feel like my skill level was up to snuff yet.

Fast forward to July and it hit me. This could and should be a quilt for her birthday! Settled on an idea I started playing around with the fabrics and thinking on which pattern to use. And then we went on vacation. And Charlie learned to stand. And Lu ‘needed’ skirts for all the summer school weekly themes. Then I needed to make an Edwardian dress (more on that later). Before I knew it July had gone poof!

Oh wait, wasn’t I making a quilt? Yes I was. Wait what was the pattern again? What fabrics did I decide on? It took me a while to make decisions and it cost me quite a bit of sewing time.

Finally I got my butt in gear and picked a pattern (Fireworks from Thimble Blossoms) and got to cutting on August 1st.


Her party was on August 15th and I still can’t believe I got it all finished. Mom, that’s how much I love you. I spent a minimum of 2.5 hours every single night for two weeks in my non-air conditioned kitchen in August to make your gift. But it was worth it.


The quilt is totally gorgeous. Most of the fabrics were from the original I Want Her Stash bundle, but I added a couple others such as Sacred Seeds Brittle from April Rhode’s Wanderer and this print from Moda’s Sweet Serenade.


The back is a print that I cannot remember. I picked it up at my local quilt shop New Moon Textiles. I want to say it’s from Robert Kaufman, but I could be totally wrong. Then I used the left overs from piecing the quilt blocks to break up the backing and frame my favorite print from the whole bundle, Moda’s Passport in China White Paris Map. My nod to the trip to Paris my mother, aunt, sister, and I took many years ago.

My only regret was procrastinating. I like deadlines, but this one was a little too close and next time I really should start early. I’m just glad I got it done and that my mom likes it!

I love you mom!

Baby All Star Blanket

Confession time. Making baby quilts is a lot more fun than knitting booties and hats. Especially when your friend is having an August baby. August is so very hot in California and who knows what size her son will be by the time we get any kind of cold weather. A quilt can be useful for years!

And when your friend and former roommate of 5 years has her first baby it is well worth pulling out the good stuff!

The pattern is a free download from A Bright Corner and called Charming Lucy. As written the finished quilt is about 35 x 35, but I wanted it a touch bigger, so I made each block just a tad larger. I’m fairly certain I used 6 inch blocks instead of the 5 inch charm pack blocks the pattern recommends. It’s kind of hard to remember the exact details since I finished the quilt back in June and packed it away until the baby shower. Pre-planning is great for stress free shower attendance, but terrible for remembering pattern modifications.

The fabrics are from a few different places. Most of the blocks are made from fabrics I received in Westwood Acres I Want Her Stash Club. These are from February’s shipment which was curated by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew. And the bold primary colors are a perfect nod at sports without covering the quilt with footballs and baseballs. The white background is Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander. It has become my go-to fabric for sashing because it gives interest to the quilt without over powering the other prints. The quilt is backed with Play Ball by Lori Whitlock and the binding is a random polka dot I found in a bargain lot that just happened to fit the team theme perfectly!


In the end, I love this little quilt. It is simple and sweet and I’m so very glad my friend loves it.

I cannot wait to meet her little man! Congratulations Julie!

Not Quite Utopian Dress

This dress started off so well. I picked some bright and beautiful fabric from the Utopia collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. So cheerful! So summery! Perfect for a dress to wear to the office.

I dutifully picked a pattern. Something breastfeeding friendly and nice for work. Something to highlight my smallest point and gloss over my still pudgy midsection.

Then I cut out the pattern…and made the first mistake. I didn’t layout all the pattern pieces before cutting. I never do. But this time I misread the layout on the directions and had cut the pieces with the fold on the wrong edge. Which means when I went to cut the very last piece, the front skirt panel…there was no fold to cut it on. But I soldiered on and cut the skirt to have a seam down the middle. Not ideal, but also not the end of the world.

And then I sewed the dress together.

This was how it fit the first time around. Notice the gaping in the bust and the huge amount of ease in the underarm!

yellow dress bustYellow dress underarm

Okay, at this point I should back up and explain. You see when I picked a pattern the only size range in stock was the plus size version Simplicity 1653. It’s one of their Amazing Fit patterns with options for make a pattern to fit multiple bust sizes and body shapes. I had researched to see what other people had done with the pattern and seen over all positive results. I had also studied the pattern to see what size I should cut and landed on the 20W curvy fit. In theory the pattern should have come out pretty close to perfect, but as you can see the reality was different.

In order to make it wearable I took it in 4 inches overall from underarm to waist. And I took it up 2 inches in the shoulder. That made it a lot more wearable even though it also make the bust darts a little too high. Whew!

Then I started hemming the skirt and…cut a hole in the fabric. Seriously. This is the dress that just didn’t want to be.  But I was stubborn. I love this fabric. I was going to make it work.

And I did.

I even fixed the whole in the fabric pretty nicely. But when I wore the dress to work I got so annoyed with the tie. Its bulky and every time I moved or had a pumping session I would have to wrestle the dress back into shape. It was annoying.

So I took it back to the machine and took off the tie closure and sewed the wrap into the side seam.

It made the dress a tad bit tight. I didn’t have any extra fabric to extend the front panel a little bit, but at least now I want to wear the dress. Before it would have just sat around unloved. Ease of wearing is just such a deal breaker right now. Plus I wear cardigans all the time, so the pulling isn’t so noticeable at work.

In the end this is not a pattern I’ll be attempting again. There were just too many issues. But at least I got one mostly wearble dress from all the time I put into it. And with weaning only 3 or 4 months away I can start dreaming of sewing clothes without boob access as the #1 consideration!

Buzzzzzzzz Quilt!

The eagle has landed! The eagle has landed! The quilt I made for my sister was delivered today and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and how it was receivedIMG_2366

The fabric is the Sweet as Honey collection by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics I found at Westwood Acres and the grey background is Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman. Gosh it was hard to find a coordinating fabric that would show off the bee fabric. This grey was a good find at my local LQS.


I knew I wasted a honeycomb look, but as a new quilter I wasn’t sure I could handle a hexagon quilt, so I followed this tutorial from Amanda of Westwood Acres. It was a lot of cutting, but also very fun to put together Everything didn’t quite line up, but I think you can’t tell much.

But the back, the back is my favorite part. Its a hexagon!!!!!


I probably would have picked a less busy background, but my sister owns two fluffy silly dogs that shed like crazy. I see the flowers as camouflage. And I followed this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew to make the backing the binding as well. So so simple and perfect for when you don’t want a binding made from a different fabric. Mine was 2 inches wide instead of 1 inch, so it makes an extra wide border on the front.

For the quilting, I like simple designs, so I followed the zigzags of the grey down the front.


This was just such a fun surprise. I can’t wait to do it again!