Birthday Dress 2018

Remember when I made a shirtdress a few years ago?


I still love that dress and I wear it a lot, but there was an incident that made me not want to make another right away. I had made it for Indie Pattern Month 2016, I think, and when I posted on the Monthly Stitch site I got a comment that was… less than flattering. I had gushed about how well it fit “out of the package,” and I can argue both for my point, and theirs. On the plus side it closed without gaping without changing any pattern pieces and felt so comfortable, on the minus I needed an FBA and a substantial swayback adjustment and the fabric shows every wrinkle (including the gathering) that exists but doesn’t need to be emphasized.

The Monthly Stitch moderators are amazing, and Melissa removed the comment before I even saw it and sent both me and the commenter an email, and informed the commenter that straight up insults are not allowed and are unhelpful. Especially to new sewists. Now, it hurt me a little to be called a new sewist, which was a bit prideful, looking back, but it really is true. Now looking at the pictures of the dress (as my body has changed a little so it fits differently now), I can see where the commenter saw problems even if I now know that the suggestions they had were unhelpful and somewhat incorrect. For the record, looking at pictures of someone else on the internet is no comparison to fitting in person.

It’s a couple years later, and the comment and email discussion still hurts, but I decided this year I was going to make a new one for my birthday to remove the bad feelings associated with the first.


Now for the fun part.


The birthday dress itself!

I bought this sunny linen from Joann Fabrics a couple months ago, and I didn’t have a plan, but then I remembered the Vintage Shirtdress pattern from Sew Over It. It was time.


First I altered the pattern. I made a swayback adjustment, made a small FBA, took in the armscye by a smidge, and lengthened the bodice by about an inch. I think the fit is much improved! I like the loose waist on me, since it means that gaping is less of an issue, especially when I have a big dinner! Also, belting it has happened when I want to look sleek!


Cutting and sewing went smoothly for this one. I machine sewed the bias to the armscye, and hand sewed the hem facing to the dress. I also used the t-shirt heat press (and vinyl cutter) at my local makerspace to put grey vinyl flowers on the front bottom of the dress!

Oh and pockets. I reinforced the pockets by drafting them to reach the waistband, and it makes them so much better!


The buttonholes went well, though I think I positioned them a little too far out from the edge, but it’s too late now! I don’t get gaping, persay, but the fabric does jut out a little strangely particularly around the waistband, and the top button is fond of unbuttoning itself. I’m going to put some hooks and eyes into the top of the dress to help with that…

I love my birthday dress, and now I know that any fitting issues that you or I may see is something I can work out in the future!

For some reason I decided that I just had to show you guys my new bonsai plant too… Enjoy my only slightly not-derpy picture with it!



Long Tania Culottes

Why hello there!


You were lured in by my first couple posts in a while (plausible), or perhaps by the lovely pics of the culottes in the pictures (perhaps less plausible), or because you did a double take when you realized that I wasn’t in fact going to be talking about my Ariel costume, but about a piece of clothing… Don’t worry. I’ll talk about the rest of the costume at the end!

My 2016 Ariel costume involved a floor length deep blue skirt that was maybe a quarter circle skirt out of some lovely but incredibly flimsy rayon. So I made an Onyx shirt out of it a couple months afterward.

So when I decided to attend DragonCon again in 2017 I wanted to update my Ariel costume, and that meant making a new skirt.

But Ariel is all about getting legs! Why does she get legs, and then suddenly start wearing a tube that she could’ve worn with a tail anyway!

So my theory is that she would be much happier wearing culottes. Still loose and flowy without being a single tube. Two tubes for the win!


Okay, that’s enough now…

I had recently downloaded the update to Megan Nielsen’s Tania Culotte pattern, and had pieces together the knee length version (I think) of the full circle culotte pattern, as opposed to the tapered version.

So I took some of the rayon lawn that I used with my 2017 Birthday Dress and cut pieces a little larger than the pattern pieces would require, and then I dyed them using either Procion Royal Blue or Moody Blue (Moody Blue was a specialty color that doesn’t look like its still available), which came out the perfect sky blue (perhaps because I didn’t use enough dye, as I’m looking at the instructions). I think I used glauber’s salt in the mixture, which is suggested for evening out the color. And urea, now that I think about it. I was dyeing a couple things that night, so I’m not sure..

The fabric dyeing went well, but then I laid the pieces over the rungs of my drying rack, and that left lines in the fabric… Oh well!


Then I took the fabric pieces, ironed them heavily and cut out the Tania culottes pattern for real this time. Sewing together was pretty simple, as I’ve made it many a time before (I mean, at least twice). I did have to make really big darts in the waistband, and I put in pockets… They were messy. The waistband was something I over-interfaced, because I knew it had to hold up (literally) when the rest of the garment was so flowy.

This is the time to remind/let you know that this rayon lawn is not meant for real garments. I was just silly to have tried it. I seem to have a habit of trying to force thin rayon into skirt like jobs… Hmm…


Once finished, I wore them to work… Which worked okay. The problem arose that they are so flowy that they got caught in my bike wheels. As in grind me to a halt stuck between the brakes and the wheel.

Every time I got in a car I was at risk of tearing the fabric. Especially around the back seam area. Not the seam itself, but the area next to the seam. I had already repaired that area once before DragonCon, and by the time I got to the Marriott apparently the hole had reappeared… Oops? Thanks lady on the escalator for letting me know so carefully!


So this was retired about a month after DragonCon, though it was my ultimate favorite swishy swishy make. Fabric eater, I think this had over 3.5 yards in it. But I will be looking into making this again soon, out of a more durable fabric. Maybe I’ll make the tapered version, but I really like the deceptive nature of the circle skirt variation. I had to prove to a number of people (not at the con but in life) that it was in fact “pants”).

So details on the rest of the Ariel costume… Same corset as 2016, but I made a new shirt. I altered the Onyx top pattern to lengthen and widen the sleeves and I embroidered these adorable waves along the neckline. I also made a Flounder plushie who is my new favorite (don’t tell my fox-squirrel), especially because he looks so terrified. I carried him around in a basket, and when one young boy was nervous to come up and touch him, I told him that Flounder was scared being out of the ocean… I’m not good at coming up with things on the spot, so my new and improved quick thinking came in handy. Hopefully it sticks around…


This year I plan to also make a Sebastian plushie. I had all the fabrics ready with the Flounder stuff, but I just didn’t have the time to make it!



Nettie Tee Dress

This post is going to be short! In late October I went on a cutting spree where I cut out a tooooon of garments, some of which have still not been sewn up…


This was one of them. I took my altered Nettie tshirt pattern (standard versions of which don’t even get a mention on the blog because its my go to for daily t-shirts), and just extended the hem as far as I could. I gave it a flat hem, so the sides do hang down a little lower than the front, but I kinda like that.

This fabric is one of my last pieces from a Hancock Fabrics going out of business shopping spree.


When I was getting it cut, the lady blanched and said,  “I don’t know who would ever find this an attractive piece of fabric.”

And I replied, “Well it kinda matches my hair.” I think she realized that she had said that thought out loud and didn’t say anything after that… For four more cuts.


It’s a polyester textured lace pattern in a rust brown. Which does mean that it has holes in it, so I have to use a slip. This one is made from a cotton broadcloth, and is cut on the bias. It peeks through just a little, and I love it!

Oof, the drag lines make me look pregnant… “Contorting” to get this picture made those, I promise!

Simple sweet dress, easy to sew, easy to wear, I wish it had pockets, but I still haven’t figured out how to make that happen for this design…

Birthday Dress 2017


Okay, this dress is only about a year and a month old… That’s not too bad, right?

Starting in 2016 I decided I’d make myself a special dress around my birthday, and it’s never been quite a standard dress. Meaning, I don’t plan on just taking a straightforward pattern and making it…


In 2016, I was still working out some pattern-hacking, and I made a sleeveless Nettie dress, with a handkerchief hem, out of a lovely slinky knit that looks like black lace on a green background.

Last year (2017) I went a different route, and decided to try my hand at dyeing fabrics. I read up on fabric-dyeing and decided to buy a 10 yard cut of this lovely rayon lawn. Now… I didn’t really read the description, so I didn’t quite process that it wasn’t really meant for garments. Word to the wise, its very thin, shows nearly every line underneath, and tears fairly easily. I’m sure for its intended purpose (linings and undergarments and draperies and such) it works well… I haven’t quite gotten to use it for those yet.


No, I wanted to use it to make a dress.

Specifically the dress outlined in a post on DaughterFish’s website called the Future Dress. (Unfortunately it looks like the DaughterFish website is down, so I can’t link it.)

If I remember correctly, this future dress is originally the creation of a designer in the earlier 20th century, and is so simple in its ingenuity. Basically, *you take three shapes (two trapezoids and a triangle), to make a huge triangle and then repeat from * until you’ve got four huuuuuge triangles, which make up the neckline and armscyes. The dress is loose and flowy until you belt it, and then there’s a cute amount of volume emanating from the belted area.


I chose to keep the shape of the four triangles post bias hanging, rather than cutting it off around my knees. Last spring I was trying to think over life choices, and I didn’t want to spend extra brainpower figuring out how best to hem it, so I left it raw and uncut.


My memories are telling me that I waited until after I made the dress to dye the fabric, which is not always recommended. I chose to use Emerald Green Procion dye, without the add ons used to keep the emerald super vibrant. It worked, overall, and I ended up with a very pastel spring-y dress. Not what I wanted, but pleasant enough for a birthday.


The favorite comment I got on my birthday (since I foolishly forgot to tell my employers I wanted to take off), was that I looked like a fairy. Which I will always take as a compliment.

A couple months later I ended up dyeing another project a lovely Royal Blue, and decided to over-dye a bit, and ombre dye a bit as well, to give it the darker look I craved. And that’s how you see it today!

I like this dress, and I’m curious how it’d look with a bit more opacity to the fabric and with perhaps a weightier fabric, since this fabric floats like a very heavy feather. But it takes soooo much fabric, that it’d have to be a sale fabric and kismet… But maybe one day!

Aqua Wedding Guest Outfit

Hey everyone! I’m going to try to post my backlog of projects, so this is the start… this isn’t quite a year old yet, but I do have pictures of it (unlike many of my other projects), so here it is!

Last spring I was invited to my cousin’s wedding. He’s the first of my cousins on my dad’s side to get married, so it was a big deal for the family. So I made a full outfit.


I had intended to make a dress, but I didn’t end up with that. I made a Onyx top and a Fumeterre skirt. My rationale was that I had two days to make this, and I wanted to make the pieces wearable in real life too… If I had made it this year, I’d probably have replaced the Onyx top with the Ogden cami (more on those in a future post), but I had just made a lot of Onyx’s and I knew they’d fit me well.

So, it started with scouring the website for suitable fabrics, and I ended up getting three yards of this lovely seafoam rayon sateen by Telio, which is sadly not stocked anymore.


I cut out the same size of Fumeterre that I had for my two tone version that I posted last year, but when I was sewing it up I realized I didn’t really need to put in a closure, that I could just use elastic in the waistband, so I decided to make it as simply as possible so no pockets and no closure. I did add a half lining, so that there would be some amount of protection. I think I hemmed it by machine, which was messy, but its also on the floor, so no one is gonna see it.


Then I cut out the Onyx top. And this is when I realized that I did not have enough fabric left to come out with a standard version. I made alterations so that it had a yoke on the front and the back, which solved the problem, and made an easy way to use facings , which I then burrito’d into the yoke. I used the same lining fabric from the skirt as the yoke fabric. Sewing it together occurred when I was super hungry and dying, since it was the day before I left for a work trip, but it was all put together!

So then the painting. While I was on the work trip, I painted suns and dots onto the skirt and the top, using Jacquard Lumiere copper paint, which is my favorite paint in the history of ever… Then I let them dry and I ironed it, which is supposed to set the paint and also keep the fabric supple.

The wedding was lovely, and I still love both pieces. I wear the skirt more than the top, but I think its because I love flowy skirts sooooooo much!


TnT (n TnT n TnT n TnT)

I count four TnT’s in my arsenal. And my trusty circle skirt. Though that’s more of a formula than a pattern.

I count a TnT as a pattern that I’ve played with and probably altered to fit me better, and that I’ve made over and over with no intention of stopping.

So first a quick overview, and then I’ll do some more explaining.

The Nettie bodysuit pattern is my go to t-shirt pattern, though I do like the bodysuits too. I just wear them less. I’ve been playing with it for about 3 and a half years now.

The Onyx woven shirt pattern is much newer to me, but I made just a couple of alterations to it, and I’ve made so many since! I think I’ve been playing with it for about a year.

The Ginger jeans pattern has given me four pairs of great jeans, and I’ve now got an idea on what I like in jeans fit, and I have an idea of what options I like best for what type of denim.  I’ve had the pattern for about three years.

The Belladone dress pattern is so chic and comfortable for me, and I’ve made about 5 variations, with others planned out. I’ve been using it for about 10 months.

So starting at the beginning…

A small selection of the Nettie’s I’ve made

When I was a newbie sewist at the end of college/beginning of grad school, I spent a summer unemployed in an unfamiliar new city/town and basically learned how to live with myself. And living with myself means I made a fair amount of clothes. But because I was unemployed, I treated myself to one pattern, and otherwise drafted my own. And that one pattern was the Nettie bodysuit from Closet Case Patterns.

I made two bodysuits, then a t-shirt or two (after I saw someone else hack it into a shirt and fell in love). And then another bodysuit, and then some more shirts. Most of them didn’t even make it to the blog. Then there were the hacks. I hacked it to be colorblocked, like the Little Mermaid corset outfit (twice!). I hacked it into a cross-back, semi cut out dress. I hacked it into a sleeveless dress with a handkerchief hem circle skirt. I hacked it into a tunic for my Nausicaa outfit with a high mandarin collar neck. I then hacked that last hack into a sleeveless mandarin neck shirt for my TARDIS costume (2016 DragonCon MVPattern).  Last summer I hacked it into a Kiki’s Delivery Service dress for a friend, and recently I hacked it into basically the same dress for me, though I don’t have pictures yet. I do have another hacked dress cut out, though.

Basically the Nettie has been such a powerhouse pattern for me that my friend (with a keen eye for detail) realized that most of the things I wore to my first DragonCon were made with the Nettie pattern in some part.

After spending time making so many knit tees, I knew I wanted to try out a woven pattern, so I compared every boxy woven tee pattern that I found on the internet, and chose the Onyx one. I had made the tutorial Jade skirt from Paprika right before she made the company, and loved it. Though I loved the act of making it more than wearing it, since I had forgotten that I don’t wear tight skirts, especially out of knit. I made one out of lace last fall, but I had sized up since I was worried and it didn’t fit nicely. Lace ones will be revisited in the future.

The first real one was made out of the skirt I used for Ariel at my first DragonCon, once I realized that was not the proper material for a skirt. I altered the pattern to take in the shoulders, and then I made another. (And then there was the fail). And then I cut two identical black Onyx’s and embroidered them both (pictures of the second to come when I really finish the embroidery).  I also hacked it to have longer and slightly fuller sleeves for my update to my Ariel costume, with embroidery. For my updated TARDIS costume this year, I also used a hacked Onyx for a more boatneck front with a  deeper back, and long sleeves with ruffles. And when I made a costume for the Moment from Doctor Who, I used the Onyx pattern. So I guess this year’s DragonCon MVPattern was Onyx.

Then the Ginger Jeans pattern. I’ve always struggled with jeans, going straight from kids to misses, because I’m petite and curvy. So making mine seemed to be logical. I’ve learned which type of denim will work best for me for the super skinny (thinner) versus my favored bootcut look (thicker).

My first pair was terrible, due entirely to the lack of stretch in the denim. RIP. The second, third, and fourth pairs still serve me well, and I have plans to make jean shorts with it too!

Belladone is a pattern I received from Deer and Doe as a prize for a Monthly Stitch contest, which I was excited about because at the time it was only available printed. I had been wanting to make it, and being unable to afford the cost plus shipping, for almost four years.

It is the newest of my TnT’s to me, but I’ve made two versions with the cut out back and a skirt version out of my favorite (and only up till now) wax print. Then I hacked the solid back version into my Peggy Carter dress (though I only have a post of my muslin). I already have the fabric and plans to make the skirt version in one or two fabrics, and really, I could wear this pattern nearly every day.

Much like every pattern talked about thus far.

Circle skirts, though not a real pattern, make up the other segment of what you might call my “daily uniform.” If not wearing jeans and a shirt, then I tend to be wearing a skirt and a shirt, and that skirt is either a circle skirt or a Belladone skirt. So mostly 3/4 to full circle skirts. I think I have about 4 of them, and they’re my favorite thing to add to bodices for dresses as well. Because swingy skirts are my jam.

I’m never going to say that again.

That’s a lie. I’ll probably say that again, but each time I’ll regret it immediately. Unlike making any of these TnT’s probably ever.