Earlier this year, I got it into my head that as a person who sews, I should know how to make pants. I rarely wear pants, but that wasn’t the point! So I picked out a pattern, Vogue 9189, and dove in. My first pair was bright orange and sadly too small. It turns out that the amount of ease one needs for sitting and walking is larger than what you need in a bodice to breathe. Go figure! My mom gave me a few suggestions based on photos I texted her, and I whipped up a larger version in green, with the zipper moved to the back for easier fitting. The green ones fit right, but I’m not a fan of the color. They were supposed to be a wearable muslin, but I won’t be wearing them. Both pairs are in linen blends.
I got most of the fit details worked out with the green version (with more help from my mom), and then I cut out a pair of shorts in a lovely hawaiian print to make a playsuit to wear to the Viva Las Vega Rockabilly Weekend, where I took the only pictures I have of this pair all together.
I made a matching top using a heavily modified version of Simplicity 1426. I extended the bodice and attempted to swap the back closure with a shirred panel. Unfortunately my shirring didn’t have as much recovery as my commercially shirred pieces, so it didn’t hold the band of the top snuggly enough for the cups to sit right. So I improvised and added a strip of 3 in elastic behind the shirring. It’s not an elegant solution, but it did the trick! My other modification was to have criss-cross straps instead of a halter neck. I got a sunburn at the car show at Viva, so I now have a nice X on my back. Haha!
After making all of my pants, I decided to finish an old WIP and dug out a gingham version of By Hand London’s Kim Dress. I started it last summer, but I put it aside to when I got busy with knitting work and forgot about it. The fabric was a hand-me-down cotton-poly blend that either used to belong to my mom or was from my Farmor’s stash that my aunt gave to me. I thought it would be fun to cut the center front and back panels on the bias, so the gingham ran in different directions, but I didn’t do a good job counteracting the quirks of fabric on the bias. Putting in the zipper was a nightmare, and the neckline pulled and looked sloppy. I added some top-stitching to help stabilize the neckline and told myself that a bad zipper job is fine when you’ve got a cardigan collection like mine, and the picture on the right is from after that. I added pockets to the skirt and skipped the pin tucks.
My final winter sewing project was an unrecognizable Butterick 5748. My fabric was an impulse purchase because I fell in love with Anna Maria Horner’s recent collection, but I only bought three yards since I had told myself I wasn’t buying anymore fabric this year. I traced off the front bodice piece and gave it a sweetheart neckline. My yardage was too limited for a circle skirt, but the fabric was amazingly easy to handle, so I decided to go with 2 inch pleats that I shaped around a ruler of the same size. It was incredibly simple to do. The only unaltered piece was the back bodice. I added pockets, and the whole thing came together without any fuss. Expect to see more heavily altered Butterick 5748s because I love this pattern and love how this alteration came out.
Moving into spring, I made two more Butterick 5748 dresses using my sweetheart neckline mod. The first was a yellow version using the original skirt from the pattern. The fabric is meant for quilting, and I’ve had good luck combining this pattern with quilting fabrics in the past, but this one is annoyingly wrinkly. On the brighter side, I achieved a personal goal of making a full dress within a weekend, including pre-shrinking and ironing my fabric. I even made my own bias tape!
My next version of Butterick 5748 was the speediest dress I’ve ever made. At the last minute, I decided I needed a new dress to wear with a cardigan for knitting pattern photos, and I cranked out this fine fellow in just 26 hours during the work week. I can’t quite believe it. The only corner I cut was adding pockets, which I generally now include in all dresses with gathered or pleated skirts. I left the side seams unfinished and plan on adding the pockets soon. The fabric was the top sheet from my absolute favorite set of sheets, which was still in good shape even though the bottom half completely ripped. I’m excited to give it more life as a dress.