Monday, October 27, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simplicity 2648 Flower Sheath

As if I could never have enough sheath dresses... 

Fabric Love Story...

The Fabric I chose for my third S2648 is matelasse from Elliott Berman Textiles. It was love at first sight, however, the price was not so pretty:$55/yard. I decided to wait and keep my fingers crossed, and hoped this beauty would not sold out until their anniversary sale.

On the night before the sale, I was so relieved to see that the lovely matelasse was still available.

The order confirmation e-mail was still in my old e-mail account:
Thank you for your order. Your order number is ****, placed 04/10/2012 at 01:44AM.
1:44AM? I did not hit the order button as soon as the date changed in the East Coast. That was a mistake. I received this message from the seller the following day:
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 16:28:14 -0400
Subject: re: Prada item
Dear Yuki: 
Thank you for placing an order with us. It is ready to ship, however, item MB-17473 Designer Matelasse. Prada. France is available in 1-3/8 only. If it can still work for you, I will charge you for 1-1/4 yards. So far the item is marked as SOLD OUT in your favor.
While I was busy loading more fabric to my shopping cart and making tormenting decision to delete many of them, other smart shoppers around the world bought this fabric.

Of course I immediately let them know that I still wanted it, but with only 1-3/8 yard, my original plan of making A-line dress with my TNT, M5466 + V8555 had to be changed. 

Regardless, I was so happy that I could grab the last piece of the bolt because the real thing was so much more beautiful with a gentle drape and a soft hand. 

Both sides are equally beautiful, romantic, and oh so dreamy...

... and if you trim away white layer around flower motifs, the fabric will look like this:

I could combine these four "sides" any way I wanted: I could use the side of white background for bodice and melange for skirt, or sheer for center front and others for the rest, etc.

Honey, We Need to (Geek) Talk...

By the way, it is easy to know how many combinations you get to play around. Just type this formula in Excel:
= number of "sides" ^ number of pattern pieces
For example, I have four sides to play with and S2648 has ten pieces:
4 ^ 10 = 1,048,576
Oh wow, I get to play around more than a million combinations!? That is amazing!*

Now, Back to Sewing...

For lining, I could not think of any other but red silk. This is the same china silk that once rescued my daughter's concert dress. (You can read the story here: Adding Length to a Ruffle Dress )

After the lining was attached, this dress had been on the dress form for about three months. Everyday I saw it and grew to like how the red lining peeked out of the neckline. When I finally made time to finish this dress, the first thing I did was manipulate the lining to make it look like piping. All I did was trim the seam allowance so that it would function as cording, wrap the lining over it, and hand-sew it into place. 

I will probably wear this dress to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's concert which gives me another chance this year to listen to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. The theme of the concert? The Power of Romance - Isn't this fabric perfect for that?  

*Long story short, I settled with only using the melange background side. Life is too short, seriously.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Simplicity 2648 White Sheath

Simplicity 2648
Simplicity 2648
The fabric is textured cotton which I purchased from Michael's Fabrics more than a couple of years ago. It has scale-like woven pattern. 

I used the pattern Simplicity 2648. Because the fabric was not opaque enough, the dress needed to be lined. I omitted the neckline and armhole facings but applied interfacing instead, and finished armhole with a bias tape binding.

If you will be sewing a white dress this summer, it is a good idea to make a muslin and fine-tune the fit. White makes you look larger, so an impeccable fit is a must.

Happy sewing everyone!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yet Another Vogue 1247 Skirt

One of the perks of being petite is that we need less fabric (Yes!). I was able to cut both a dress (Simplicity 2648) and a skirt from 2 yards of 60"- width fabric.

The skirt pattern is a good old Vogue 1247. I still wear my orange (Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Outfit) and white (Vogue 1247 White Skirt) V1247 skirts quite often so why not add a printed version to my wardrobe?

I added the length even more to my already elongated TNT to make the most of the beautiful cascading print. The hem hits at the lower part of my knee.

Just so you know, if you are careful and always place an on-fold piece on fold, your skirt front should not have a center seam. You see, mine does... go figure. 

Lastly, saving money is never a purpose of my sewing (always fabric first!) but getting both a dress and a skirt of great quality fabric for less than $50 is no doubt a steal - especially when those garments are custom fit!

Leo thinks Arizona is too hot already... 
Happy sewing, everyone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Simplicity 2648 Sheath Dress

Simplicity 2648

I had a great time working with this lovely fabric: CH Cotton Stretch purchased from Emma One Sock

This print reminds me of Gustav Klimt's Kiss:

Image Source: Wikipedia

The fabric was from Carolina Herrera Resort 2012 collection. You can see the entire collection at

Carolina Herrera Resort 2012 Look #5

Carolina Herrera Resort 2012 Look #7

Carolina Herrera Resort 2012 Look #8

Pattern: Simplicity 2648 View B Size 6 
I raised the neckline by 5/8", changed the shoulder angle, and shortened the bodice.

What is great about Simplicity Amazing Fit collection is that you can choose SLIM/average/curvy fit option. When I started sewing long time ago, articles on pattern alteration were almost always about how to make things bigger, not other way around. So this collection is remarkable and I hope it continues to offer slim option. 

Skirt has a vent on the back.

Simplicity 2648 Back
 And I am still obsessed with Hong Kong finish. Hahaha.

Hong Kong Finish
Simplicity 2648 Inside
If I use this pattern again, I may change arm facings to bias facings or combine arm and neck facings and redraw as one piece.

Simplicity 2648 Facings

Until next time, happy sewing!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Look 6261 Sheath Dress

My New Look 6261 sheath dress is done! I wore it yesterday and went out with my daughter who chose to wear similar dress by accident. 

New Look 6261 on me (left) and RTW knit dress on my mini-me (right)

Side and back view:

New Look 6261 Side

New Look 6261 Back

Pattern: New Look 6261 View B with Sleeve C in Size 8

I shortened bodice by 1 1/4", skirt by 1", narrowed back by 3/4 ~ 1". These are my usual adjustment, and as a result, back and skirt fits well.


My fundamental mistake on this project was that I did not make a muslin.

The neckline gaped so much that it looked like an ill-fitting armor... I ended up pinching excess fabric out on the wrong side and sewed it. 

In addition, there are pleats formed at waist darts. I took the most laziest approach and just let those pleats be pleats. Haha. With the center pleat running down, these pleats may look like a part of the design... no? 

Another thing to note is that horizontal design would not match above bust darts. 

Lingerie Guard:

Although the instruction does not call for, I wanted to add lingerie guard to this dress. I have never made it before, so first I observed RTW. The photo below is a lingerie guard of my Elie Tahari dress:

You need snaps and thread loops to replicate this. I came across this wonderful post at Sarai demonstrates how to make thread loops by machine.

Coletterie   Tutorial: Making Thread Belt Loops with Nancy Zieman  

Using zigzag stitch to make thread loops seemed to be a brilliant idea. I gave it a try. To be honest, it was a little tricky to zigzag over six strands of thread. Here I used three strands instead and it still worked.

You will need large-eyed needle to work with this thread loop.

Here is my first me-made lingerie guard.

Conclusion: Despite some fitting issues, I love this dress. This stretch cotton fabric was great quality and very easy to work with. I have gotten many compliments yesterday including one by a total stranger - this probably means that those pleats did look like a part of the design! Of course flaws are less noticeable in this busy print. Just one more reason to love printed fabric!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hong Kong Finish Experiment

I have been working on this fabric:

That is Carolina Herrera Cotton Stretch Twill purchased from Emma One Sock few seasons ago. When I bought it, the dress made of this fabric was still available in stores:

Carolina Herrera Short Sleeve Marble Print Dress
Photo courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman

The fabric has just the right amount of stretch - perfect for body-hugging style.

I decided to make a sheath dress. 

The difference between the CH dress and NL6261 is that CH has panel front whereas NL is shaped by darts.  


I do not know what kind of bug had bitten me, but I am in love with Hong Kong Finish! I decided to use it to finish all the visible seam allowance (=SA).

Things went great until I got this 'huh?' moment...

What should I do when the seams are not straight?

I know that for hip curve, I should ease-stitch SA and shrink it before sewing bias tape to it... but what about waist curve where SA is clipped?

Ease-stitch on the edge of SA

I searched online but to no avail... Does that mean Hong Kong finish is not an appropriate method to finish clipped SA?

Let's see....

Clipped SA

Pin bias tape to clipped SA and stitch along fold line

Press the seam open, enclose the edge, and stitch in the ditch - Now SA lie flat

You can see the clippings between seam and bias tape. I have to say it is not the most elegant SA, but at least it will not ravel.


The dress is almost done! I only need to add lingerie guards.

I will post the finished dress next time.

Until then, happy sewing everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More on McCall's 6506 Shirtdress

I had a lovely lunch with my friend yesterday and she took this photo of me. It was meant to be posted on FB to show how happy I was to receive a signed picture of my favorite soccer player, but I thought I should post it here as well. Although it is not front/back photo, it still may help some readers to visualize how the dress looks on a petite figure. I am 5'2/157cm and wear US size petite 0/XS. I cut pattern size 8 and shortened the bodice.


Some random thoughts after wearing McCall's 6506 shirtdress:

The dress is comfortable to wear even though the fabric has no stretch to it. If you have a thick back, I recommend that you make a muslin to test.

Waist is marked on the skirt pattern. This means that the belt is supposed to be slightly above waist, but mine sits at waist. I probably should have shortened bodice additional 1/2 inch or so. However, I think tying the belt at waist is more comfortable than doing so at above waist.

The waist darts are supposed to be folded outside. I folded inside because I did not care for outside darts. This change did not affect the fit at all.

Skirt hits at knee. If any shorter this print may look a bit childish for 40-something woman. I may shorten the skirt if I use more mature fabric.

On pattern envelope the collar looks too big for my taste. I cut off its long edge about an inch. Even after that I still feel the collar is big and dress looks little too 70's. Now I see why. I had to alter the shape of the collar, not just trimming around the long edge. I like this collar on Oscar de la Renta:

Photo courtesy of
Oscar de la Renta Lace Print Shirtdress

Be warned: The skirt is easily blown up by the wind!

Overall, I like this pattern. It is great addition to casual daytime wardrobe.

Until next time, happy sewing everyone!