Simplicity 1462: Copy cat

I’ve wanted to make this exact top since a seamstress blogger I follow, Amanda from Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing, posted hers almost a year ago. I’d find myself thinking about it every time I was looking through my closet for a top to wear with jeans.  I bought the pattern earlier this year, but it took me a bit to buy the fabric (I’m in a constant battle with myself over my gargantuan fabric stash).

Well, I finally made it.  I found both the neckline (which Amanda was right – the neck binding piece is drafted at least two sizes too large) and underarm seams a bit fiddly.  This led to my initial thought that this pattern seemed like a bit more trouble than any top is worth. However, the more I think about it, it is the day-to-day wears, that deserve time.  They get worn far more often than the fancy vintage Vogue cocktail dresses, that’s for sure.  I also realized I may be biased after making several versions of the easiest dress ever.


The twinning on the bottom left side of the top is making my brain hurt. I wish I had caught that earlier.


Pattern: Simplicity 1462 View B
Fabric: Anna Maria Horner Raindrops & Poppies 100% cotton with grosgrain ribbon trim

And a rare “in the wild” photo, taken at Nota Bene:


Despite the finicky bits of this pattern and the fact that I have some additional changes I’d like to make (my armholes are too large), I really like this top and have already started to consider another version in a more subdued color palette.

Pattern: Simplicity 1462, size 12
Modifications: Removed 2″ in length and hemmed 2″, shortened the neck binding, extended the slit facing down to the hemline
Fabric: Anna Maria Horner Field Study1 Raindrops & Poppies cotton

Simplicity 3559: Holey hot mess

Holey (not to be confused with holy): defined as having holes.

Hot mess: defined as a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, but maintains an attractiveness.

This holey hot mess of green Irish linen is my second version of Simplicity 3559. It could have been a simple and quick make if I’d: (1) kept notes on fitting the first time around and (2) paid attention when overlocking the edges so as to not cut a hole in the fabric.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some.  It’ll definitely get worn this summer regardless.

Pattern: Simplicity 3559
Modifications: Removed sleeves, turned under fabric on armholes to finish, shortened for length (as always)
Fabric: Vintage pure Irish linen in emerald green

My first version of this dress is below.  Thankfully this new one fits a bit better.


Simplicity 1301 – My 25th handmade dress

This is Simplicity 1301 in a floral Cotton/Lycra blend with short Ambiance rayon lining. I will definitely make this pattern again. I love the bateau neckline, slim fitting bodice, lack of a waist seam, and the slits on each side at the hem.

This dress has just two primary pieces – the front and back – which would make you think it’d be super-fast and easy to make, but it’s fitted with fourteen (!) darts: one on the front and back of each shoulder, two bust darts, and eight contour darts around the waist.

The wide bateau neckline makes the waist look smaller and balances the hips a bit.

The wide bateau neckline makes the waist look smaller and balances the hips a bit.



Unfortunately, due to a minor cutting mishap (I moved the zip from the side to the back and initially forgot to add a seam allowance), I didn't have enough fabric to attempt matching the pattern.

Unfortunately, due to a minor cutting mishap (I moved the zip from the side to the back and initially forgot to add a seam allowance), I didn’t have enough fabric to attempt matching the pattern.

I love the invisible zipper foot on my Bernina.

I love the invisible zipper foot on my Bernina.

I used fabric remnants from my last dress (my second Deer & Doe Belladone) as facings that I hand stitched to the lining.

I used fabric remnants from my last dress (my second Deer & Doe Belladone) as facings that I hand stitched to the lining.

I had to improvise a bit on the inside along the slits since I was unhappy with the pattern design. I chose to use bright yellow bias tape to conceal the overlooked (aka: ugly) fabric edge.

I had to improvise a bit on the inside along the slits since I was unhappy with the pattern design. I chose to use bright yellow bias tape to conceal the overlooked (aka: ugly) fabric edge.

Pattern (Size 16; Bust 34) mods that I remember:

  • Moved the zip from the side seam to the back.
  • Removed 1.25″ in length from center back and faded to 0″ at side seams.
  • Lengthened the bust darts by 1/2″ each
  • Deepened the outer back contour darts by 1/4″ each
  • Removed 5/8″ from top of back seam fading to 0″ about 8″ down
  • Removed 6″ from skirt length and moved the marking for the side slits up accordingly.

Simplicity 5996: My favorite make to date

When I started this dress last Saturday, I had no idea that two old Cynthia Rowley shower curtains (gifted to me by my sister, Emilie) plus my favorite dress pattern (modified Simplicity 5996) would turn out looking a bit like a vintage Lilly Pulitzer dress, but I’m glad it did. I’m not a huge fan of her style, but I’m very happy with how this dress turned out.



I love the stripe down the center front. I don’t love the placement of the ferns just below the waist line or that the pattern at the shoulders is off a bit, but it was unavoidable and I’ll get over it.


A very invisible back zip and perfectly matched pattern at the waist seam.


Pattern matching at the front waist seam — not too bad.


Pattern matching on the front bodice princess seam.

There’s just one problem: I tore a few holes in the lining when it got caught in the zipper earlier today. The result is not pretty, and if I wear this before I come up with a way to fix the issue, there’s a decent chance the zip will get stuck again and I’ll need to be cut out of it.


Simplicity 5996: #5 in butterflies

This is Simplicity 5996 dress #5 – which I shouldn’t even call by name anymore since I’ve hacked it up so much.  It is made in a crisp cotton in navy with white butterflies all over it.    This version has a super-long skinny belt, a slightly shortened hem (though still financial services work appropriate, of course) and self-drafted sleeve cuffs. It is unlined <gasp!> so I’ll skip showing you her insides this time.


I’ve named this dress Sue, in honor of my mother-in-law, who gave me a weekend with very few plans last week. She also loves butterflies.


I’ve wanted to add cuffs to dress sleeves for a bit, but always opted to skip it to save time and effort. I’m pretty psyched to now have a pattern piece to use next time.

Simplicity 1254: If only I was Olivia Pope

And now, an item I will quite possibly never wear despite working on it on and off for about four months.  This is Simplicity 1254 by Leanne Marshall. It is made in a stunning vintage textured cream wool and is fully lined in a flannel-backed satin.  (So if I ever do wear it, I’l be warm.) It has a lapped separating zipper in the center front.  The button is decorative and covers a large fabric-covered hook & eye that was originally white, but I dyed it cream using tea.

I liked this coat in theory instantly, but my gut told me it’d be a stretch for my “stick to the basics” wardrobe. I should’ve listened to my gut because last time I checked I am not Olivia Pope (and I’m quite sure only she can pull off a collar this big).

Did I mention that it’s 60 degrees outside right now?!?

Simplicity 5996: An Irish psychedelic frog

I’ve been asked dozens of times why I’d want to spend 10-12 hours making a dress when I could just go out and buy one. Well, one reason – and there are many – is because I’m pretty sure I could spend hours looking at a mall and I would never find a kelly green wool dress with lining that looks like a psychedelic frog. And if by chance I did, it’d cost a whole lot more than the roughly $15 I spent on supplies to make this one. Cheers!

Pattern: Simplicity 5996, again


Between the outer wool and the poly lining, this dress is very warm.



Tell me this doesn’t look like a psychedelic frog?!?!

Simplicity 5996 in grey wools

My Simplicity 5996 in two shades of grey wool is done.  I’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out.  I think I like the red stretch denim one I made earlier this year more, but this will be a nice addition to my Fall/Winter work wardrobe.

Simplicity 5996 - Oct. 2013

Simplicity 5996 – Oct. 2013

I cut the same size as last time (vintage size 14, 34″ bust) and made some changes: (1) I combined the bust and bodice waist darts into princess seams that run from the shoulder seam to the waist.  I have a small bust and a narrow upper torso so these seams allowed me to tinker with fit right up until completion; (2) I added 1/8″ along each side seam at the waist and 3/8″ along each side seam at the hip and continued that to the hem of the skirt.  I also sewed the side seams at 1/2″ instead of 5/8″ because I think I put on a few pounds between making my muslin and the final product.  I figured it’s easier to take it in a bit than let it out.  (3) I cut at least three inches off the hem, as usual. (I’m 5’2″ on a tall day.)

I had originally intended to make a different belt, somehow incorporating the grey buttons from my stash, but I haven’t come up with a design idea that I like yet.  I’m sure it’ll strike my while I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep some time soon, so don’t be surprised if you see this dress with different belt options.

This dress is fully lined (I line everything!).  I simply made a second dress out of the lining fabrics, attached the black cotton facings to the top of those and then attached the facings to the dress as usual.  I tacked the lining to the bodice at the under arms to keep it in place.  I used white Bemberg lining for the bodice and sleeves (more breathable) and junk black polyester lining for the skirt.  Both were from my constantly growing stash.






One of the reasons it took me so long to start this blog – I thought about it for months before my first post – is that I hate having my picture taken.  I had to avoid the urge to crop my head off of each of these pictures. I did, however, crop out one of my dogs, Indy.  I guess I’ll leave the pups in the house next time. If not, my pictures will look more like these.




I’ll post details on my next project – which is a bit of a stretch project for me – soon.  Happy sewing.

Work in progress

9.18.13 In process

Work in progress describes a few things happening right now:  finally starting the blog that I’ve been day dreaming about for months, opening an Etsy shop for vintage patterns, and the purpose of this post, my latest Simplicity 5996.  My first attempt at this pattern is my all-time favorite handmade dress so far.  I made it in April in Ralph Lauren red denim with some stretch that I picked up at Winmil Fabrics.  Despite making a muslin, I needed to alter the bodice of the final product due to excess fabric in front – maybe due to a narrow torso and/or possibly just the stretch in the fabric?  This time around, I’ve altered the bodice pieces of the pattern a few times and finally have a muslin that I think fits well.  I cut the bodice in light grey mid-weight wool that I picked up at a fabric swap earlier this year and the skirt in dark grey mid-weight wool (leftovers from my NewLook 6000 that I finished in February.)  I plan to incorporate the two buttons, probably on a belt. I’ll hopefully start sewing tonight.  Happy sewing…