Butterflies in September

I forgot: September is National Sewing Month. No worries, I’m usually always sewing (despite my lack of updates, lately. Sorry! I promise to catch up!), but I wanted to get one more summery-perhaps-fall-transition garment done before it started to cool off in Seattle (hint: it’s been getting hotter all week, and is supposed to be in the high-80s on Friday).

After I finished a bunch of purses (yet another upcoming post, I promise), I polled my friends on social media and decided on making Butterick 6090 out of a pink with blue and white butterflies fabric that was probably poly, maybe rayon, but most likely poly crepe de chine (maybe?). I remember picking it up at SewExpo last year, and I bought four yards of it (so I have just under two yards left of it), and it’s a ridiculously soft fabric.


This dress has a late-40’s feel to it with the gathered high-neckline, and also feels like something that would be in Clara Oswald’s wardrobe. The fabric is fairly lightweight, and I considered lining it, but I didn’t, and I think it’s okay. I can always throw a slip on under if necessary. There are 24 pleats on this dress, so be prepared for a bit of prepwork here. I love them, so this was a good choice for me. And yes, there are pockets! No zipper, just 12 buttons.

I spent about a day-and-a-half making this. I originally started with doing French seams on the bodice, but by the time I got to the skirt, I wasn’t going to figure out to do French seams with pockets. Inevitably, I conceded to serging the raw edges on the inside of the skirt, and even used fusible tape to finish the hem so I could finally wear it.

If there were any complications, it’s probably the yoke, because it’s not a standard with a lot of the things I’ve sewn. The front yoke is gathered (pretty tightly gathered, too), so that might be a little confusing to a new sewist, but it really isn’t too bad, just have to follow the directions!

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Pink for My Nephew and Niece


My nephew and niece, happily wearing the clothes I sewed for them

I had some fabric I didn’t end up using for my ECCC costume, and since it was polyester satin, I figured a good use for it would be for some kid’s clothes. I have an adorable nephew and two adorable nieces, and they seem to enjoy the color pink (although, my sister-in-law tells me that the favorite color right now is purple), so guess who I ended up making some clothes for? I didn’t have enough for all the kids, so only the two oldest received something, for now.

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Time to Dye!


In my opinion, this has been the most creativity I’ve had on any project I’ve worked on thus far. It’s easy to follow a pattern. It’s even easy to try to replicate something once you’re able to dissect all it’s parts from a picture. But for me, it’s hard to come up with my own idea. I think I figured out how to do that in this project.

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Sparkly Seattle Tunic


I know I’ve been a little silent over the winter, and it’s not because I haven’t been sewing, because I have been. A lot. In fact, if I haven’t been doing anything else at home, I’ve been sewing. I’ve had a couple time-sensitive projects I needed to work on. One was my costume for Emerald City Comic Con, and the other is a quilt I’ve been making with my mom for my brother’s wedding, which I still have yet to post about (but I will, when she’s done with her part of the quilt). Both have basically taken up all my time since I finished my husband’s coat, and I still need to make a dress for my brother’s wedding by the end of April, but I’m sure that will take me no time at all.

Somehow, I managed to find some time to go to the annual Sew Expo in Puyallup with a couple of girl friends. We just went for a day, and shopped and watched fashion shows like we did last year. I stuck to my strict budget, but found a few fabulous fabrics to make a few things with. Vogue Fabric’s booth was much larger this year, and I sifted through their pre-cut bundles and bought a couple knits and poly/rayon something prints. With my leftover budget, I revisited the booth of one of my favorite Seattle fabric stores, Nancy’s Sewing Basket. I ended up gravitating to a charcoal knit with gold/copper flecks. It feels like it might be a spandex blend, so it would probably make a marvelous bodycon dress, even. But I spent the rest of my budget on a single yard of this glorious fabric. (This picture doesn’t do it justice, but you can see a little where the fabric shimmers in the camera flash).

It has a beautiful drape to it, so the only thing that made sense was to make a cowl/drape neckline top out of it, and I’m sure I could eek that out of one yard of fabric. Digging through my pattern stash, I came across Simplicity 1716, which I was contemplating using on a couple yards of silk jersey I bought at Mood a few years ago. But the tunic with the fluttery cap sleeves was perfect for this fabric.

So after I was done with my costume, I decided to just make something for me with no time constraints attached. I needed something to boost my love for sewing again without making it feel like something I have to do. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, right?

This tunic went together rather quickly. The hardest part was probably hemming up the sleeves, or sewing down the pleats. If you have a random yard of a knit lying around with an awesome drape, definitely use this pattern. I might make it again, but a little shorter in shirt length, rather than tunic length, or longer again, as a dress. I love these sleeves, and it’s perfect for this time of year, too. And this fabric so reminds me of our famous Seattle color palette of greys and gloom that is classic Seattle spring.

I wore it to work today, and while one of my co-workers commented on it that it was cute, and I told her that I had just finished it last night, another remarked that he wouldn’t have guessed I made it, and that it looked like something I got from Nordstrom. Probably one of the best complements a home-sewer can get, right? :)

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Sometime early last year, one of my friends told me I should make the famous Kaylee dress from the Shindig episode of Firefly. I don’t go to conventions or costume parties, so I had nowhere to wear it to should I make it. I laughed it off, until the same friend said we should go to Emerald City Comic Con together. We chatted about what costumes we should make, who we should go as, and how to coordinate our costumes. Eventually, I told her I’d make the Kaylee dress, but she’d have to make Inara’s dress from the same episode. She agreed, and set to work planning her dress, whereas I started freaking out about having to make something without a pattern.

Kaylee Shindig Dress

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Richard’s Winter Coat


I also called this his “$1000 Coat”. No, this didn’t actually cost me $1000 to make, but if I were to buy it in the store, it would probably cost nearly that much, if not more, depending on who the designer was on the label. This coat was supposed to be made last year, but I got busy, I think, I can’t remember, but by the time I was ready to make it, it was the cusp of spring, and who needs a warm, wool winter coat in rainy Seattle spring weather?

Given when my last blog post was, this project has taken a bit longer than most of my projects, but that’s to be expected with a well-tailored coat like this (Vogue 8940) that contains fifty-billion pattern pieces (okay, maybe not that many, but it was probably around 20). But it was all worth it, and learned a couple things from it.

I let my husband pick out the fabric for his coat. I ordered a handful of blue and black and even green wool swatches from Mood Fabrics a while ago, and he ended up going with this small herringbone pattern. I was a little worried it might look “too mature” for him, but it turned out really nice, almost a heathered-grey, from a distance. The lining I used is a flannel-backed lining, to give him another layer of warmth.


Sleeve cap close-up

This pattern is fairly complex, as it should be. There are many pattern pieces and techniques used in creating this coat, but it’s all worth it. As much as I dislike “wasting” my time basting, followed all the directions for basting and whatnot. There might be a few stray pink threads here and there from leftover basting thread, but the end product was pretty amazing. I had a minor mishap with the interior welt pockets (not pictured, for good reason). I’ve done welt pockets before (for the pants I made him last year), so I had no excuse for royally messing it up. However, the pockets work, even if they’re not pretty, and I even ran my error by my husband and he was okay with the outcome (he didn’t understand what was so bad about them).


Outer pocket

If you’re in the mood for making a designer-worthy, dapper-looking winter coat, I highly recommend this pattern. The entire process is long, but definitely worth it in the end (even all the hand-stitching!)



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Go Hawks!

Seahawks hoodie at Pine Lake

If you’ve been to Seattle recently (especially sometime around February 2, 2014), you’ve probably noticed that the Seahawks are kind of a big deal right now. That’s not always been the case, and I admit that I haven’t closely followed football until last season, but I definitely get emotionally invested in the games now.

Last year, during the playoff game against the Saints, I was chatting with one of my friends over Facebook while we watched the game together. I noticed the cheerleaders had these really cool ombre (white to navy blue  to neon green) jackets they were wearing, and I commented to her that I wanted to make one of those. Granted, I can’t even find a picture of it, and they don’t just sell fabric like that, so I’d have to make my own. My friend keeps telling me that dyeing fabric is really easy, and I’m sure it is, but I’d probably find a way of messing it up. (I’m not quite ready for that stress yet).

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Lace Back Shirt

Occasionally, I look through the patterns on BurdaStyle’s website, but rarely buy them unless it’s one I must have, but cannot find in a current BurdaStyle magazine that I can check out from the library. So I collected a wishlist of them over time, and this Back Lace Top pattern of theirs was one I’ve been enamored with for quite a while. When I checked a bunch of the magazines from the library, I was excited that this was in one of the magazines. It looked so easy, and only required tracing three pieces from Burda’s crazy pattern insert. But soon after starting it, I affectionately began to call it the Trainwreck Shirt.

My lace back shirt

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Butterfly Bust Shelf Dress

I was on staycation this past week, so I had some time to work on another one of Gertie’s dress that has been sitting in the project queue for quite a while. I had all of the fabric for the project, so it was just a matter of putting it together. Since I had recently finished the applique on the Unicorn quilt top, I decided to treat myself to making this dress. I managed to finish it just so I could wear it to a sewing blogger party in the Seattle area this past weekend!

Beautiful day for taking Cassie for a walk

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Nearly Completed Unicorn Quilt Top

This has been the longest I’ve ever worked on any project. I can’t remember when I started it exactly, but I saw this design in a quilt show in 2002 and decided then that I wanted to make it (even though I had never made a quilt before). Later, in 2007, I started procuring some of the fabric I needed for it. I may have started working on it then, but I can’t remember, and I really didn’t keep detailed logs of my projects like I do now. In any event, similar as with my first knitting project, in which it lasted longer than other knitting projects I had started and finished before I had finished it, likewise with this quilt, wherein I’ve actually started and finished a few quilts before I finished this one. And even this one isn’t totally completed, but this is as much as I can do until my mom can finish the satin stitching and (hopefully) quilting.

Every year, at work, we need to set goals for ourselves. One of them can be a personal goal, whether it be learn a new language or quit smoking. When my manager sent out a reminder for us to set our goals, he used “finishing a quilt” as an example. I realize it was only an example, but between that suggestion and my mom kindly reminding me that she’s “not getting any younger” I figured that this would be a good personal goal to set for myself. And thus, only a month or so before the end of the fiscal year, I’ve finished the quilt-top (well, again, as much as I’m going to be able to finish before sending it off to mom).

And once she sends it back, I’ll probably have some couching and binding to finish off, and then I will throw a party to celebrate the accomplishment of this masterpiece.

All I had left after assembling the completed blocks was the border. The border was rather easy, compared to the blocks, so I don’t know why I was dragging my feet for so long on it. But I told myself that I couldn’t sew myself any more fun summer dresses until this was done. And that’s exactly what I did.

Below is the quilt in it’s entirety (middle), plus each of the four borders. You can click through to view an enlarged photo of each border. Be forewarned, each photo is rather large, so you might experience a long download time.

Top border
Left border Unicorn Quilt with Border Right Border
Bottom border

I have just a couple more supplies to research and buy before I can stick this in the mail, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find what I need (even though the local quilt store doesn’t have what I need, so I might need to find the extra supplies online).

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