Completed: More Polka Dots

It seems that no matter how excited I am about a project, or how well it’s going, I hit a point along the way where my progress stalls.  Usually it happens at the hemming stage.  That’s what happened with this dress.  Things were going along fine, and then when all I had left was the hem, I let it sit for 3 weeks.  Ah, procrastination, you are my enemy.

blue polka dot dress

Anyway, this dress is Simplicity 1873.  I had passed over this pattern numerous times because I just couldn’t see past the dress pictured on the envelope, which I personally don’t care for.  But during the last $1 pattern sale, I went ahead an picked it up after looking more closely at the line drawings.
Blue polka dot dress
I didn’t make many fit adjustments.  I made a quick bodice muslin and could tell the darts and armholes were off.  So I pulled out my Emery bodice and transferred the dart placement and armhole shape onto the Simplicity pattern.  That worked pretty well, and I’m happy with how it fits.  Although the waist is sitting just a bit too high.  If I make this again I will lengthen the bodice maybe 1/2 inch.  (I was expecting the weight of the skirt to pull the waist down more than it did.)  The waist feels fine with a wide belt though.

Style wise, I did raise the neckline just a little bit, out of personal preference.
Blue polka dot dress

The fabric is a cotton sateen that I got at Mood L.A.   It has a slight stretch, but not much.
Blue polka dot dress

I wasn’t sure how this fabric would be in a full skirt, but it turned out good, I think.  It has enough weight that the skirt doesn’t blow up too much in the breeze.
Blue polka dot dress

The bodice is lined with Bemberg rayon.  Here are a few shots of the insides.
Blue polka dot dress
blue polka dot dress
blue polk dot dress

So, I though I’d try out something different here and post a little video of the dress.  I think it’s helpful to see garments in motion, and I hope it will give you a better sense of the fabric/pattern combo I used. (I got a little extra twirl out of the skirt it due to the wind.)  But this comes with the disclaimer that I’m totally not a model, and I’m fully aware I look a bit ridiculous. 🙂  Okay, so here you go:


Completed: Polka Dot Emery Dress Hack

I had an idea for an Emery Dress hack floating around my head.  I was also feeling the need for a new polka dot dress.  This is what I ended up with.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those projects where the fabric was not a good match for the pattern.

polka dot Emery hack

Wrinkle and pucker city, ugh.

The fabric is a polka dot cotton shirting that I got at Mood L.A. over a year ago.  I bought it with the intention to make a shirt.  I should have done that.  This fabric just does not have the drape necessary for this dress.

polka dot Emery hack
polka dot Emery hack

I started with the Emery bodice, and redrew the neckline to match the one from the vintage pattern on the right.  Then I added the skirt (view A) from Butterick 5951.

polka dot Emery hack

I lined the bodice with bemberg rayon, as usual.

polka dot Emery hack
polka dot Emery hack

A couple bright spots are the catch stitching on the hem, it turned out really even. 🙂

polka dot Emery hack

And the armhole finish turned out nice.

polka dot Emery hack

I kind of knew this fabric wasn’t going to work, but I went ahead with it anyways.  Oh well.  I may revisit this hack again with a different fabric.  But not right away.  For now I’ll consider this my ‘live and learn, and move on’ dress.

polka dot Emery hack

Completed: Gertie’s Portrait Blouse & Bonus Sorbetto

Part of my Me-Made-May challenge was to sew two garments this month.  And I did it.  🙂  Although I feel like a bit of cheat because I used the same fabric for both!

[Warning: there’s a lot of polka dots in this post!]

The first was the Portrait Blouse from Gertie’s Book.  I made a quick muslin, and was satisfied with the fit without any major changes.  So far, of the two patterns I’ve made from the book, they’ve fit really well, and I’ve avoided the dreaded muslin madness.  Thank you Gertie!

MMM 13 - May 29

Worn with the Pencil Skirt, also from Gertie’s book.

Since I’m a sucker for polka dots, I wanted a version like the one in the book.  I had some left over polka dot fabric fabric from my Licorice Dress that fit the bill.  It’s a fairly drapey rayon, and is nice and cool to wear.  Perfect for summer.
I omitted the facings, and used bias tape instead.  I was worried the pre-made stuff would be too stiff (it always is for me) so I made my own from a scrap of Bemberg rayon lining.  I wish it was white, but the cream works okay.
This blouse has a side zipper, which I was weary of at first.  But after wearing it all day today, it turns out it’s fine.  Wasn’t itchy or anything.  All in all, the Portrait Blouse gets two thumbs up.

While I had my fabric spread for cutting out the Portrait Blouse, I realized I had enough to squeeze out another Sorbetto.  So, that became my second completed garment for the month.

I didn’t want a high contrast edge on the neckline and armholes, so I made matching bias tape from the main fabric.

Since I’ve made this top a few times before, this went together really fast. I like this version because I can wear it to work with a skirt (like I did a few days ago) or toss it on with jeans.

I feel kinda lame that I made two polka dot tops, but hey, my Me-Made-May sewing challenge is complete!   And now I have some new separates to wear, which I really needed.  🙂

Tutorial: Ironing Board Cover

When I first got my sewing machine, I set it up on my dining room table.  And every time I needed to press a seam, I had to get up and go in my bedroom, where I kept my ironing board.  As you can imagine, this got old – real quick. (No wonder I thought sewing was a hassle when I first started.)

Later I set up a designated sewing area in my house, and I got smart and put the ironing board right next to my machine.  It was a revolutionary move.  But it also meant that the ironing board sits out all the time.  And if it’s ugly — which mine was — it’s kind of a downer.  So when I repainted my sewing room, I knew I had to do something about my ironing board cover.  I mean look at this thing.  Yuck.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

If your ironing board looks sad like mine, it’s easy to make a new one.  Below are the steps I followed.

What makes this tutorial slightly different from some of the others out there, is that the only materials required for my method is 2 yards of 100% cotton fabric, some thread, and a little patience.            **Depending on the state of your current ironing board cover, this method may not work for you.  In that case, I suggest checking out this tutorial.

(1)  Before ripping the old cover off and chucking it, check out it’s guts.  On mine, there was some decent looking bias tape, and a string that looked okay.  (I know a lot of people don’t like covers that tie on.  If you’re in that camp, you may want to swap the string out for some elastic.)

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(2) Remove the old cover.  (My cover and pad were separate pieces.  My pad was in good condition, so I didn’t need to replace it.)

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(3) Next, unpick the bias tape.  This is the part where patience comes in – especially if you’re a super-slow picker, like me.  Note:  As I unpicked this, I did not separate the string from the bias tape.  I let it stay folded inside.  This will save you a step later.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(4) After the bias tape is off, iron the old cover to get rid of all those puckers. (Since I had obviously removed my ironing board cover, I just draped the new fabric over the board for ironing this.)

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(5) Fold the cover in half and press.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(6) Use the old cover as your pattern piece.  Align the center fold of the old cover along the fold of your new fabric.  Trace.  And cut.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(7) Pin the old bias tape to your new cover.  Fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the fabric with the string trapped inside.  If you do it this way, you won’t have to go back and thread the string through later.

Cover Tut

(8) Sew.  Be careful not to sew over the string.  Also be sure to leave a small space open at the skinny end of the cover, for the strings to escape so that you can tie them.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(9) Place the new cover on your board, and tighten the string.  I turned my ironing board over so that I could get good leverage on the strings.

Ironing Board Cover Tut

(10)  Enjoy!  You now have a new ironing board cover, and have barely used any new materials!

New Ironing Board Cover

A note about fabric:  I recommend getting 2 yards of 45″ fabric.  Quilting cotton works great.  1 yard could technically work, but you would end up with a seam somewhere along your ironing board.  And inevitably you would get marks on your fabric or clothes from ironing over the seam.   Whatever you use, make sure it’s 100% cotton so it can handle the heat of your iron.

Sew Colette – Licorice Dress

My final project for Sew Colette is done – The Licorice Dress.

Licorice Dress
Licorice Back View
Licorice Side View

As you can see, I was heavily influenced by the polka dot version of the dress in the book. But I decided to make mine without the collar or the sleeves.  I did that partly because I thought it would make the project sew up faster, and partly because I didn’t feel like the sleeves really worked for me and I didn’t want to figure out how to modify them.  I’m really happy with the result.

I made this dress out of a 100% Rayon shirting that I got from  This was my first foray into purchasing fabric online, and I’m pleased with the result.  The fabric has a nice drape, yet was easy to work with.  It’s light and comfortable to wear, but it does wrinkle a little.  I lined the dress with Bemberg Rayon.  I’ve found it’s getting easier for me to work with this stuff.  I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice lining fabric.  It’s soft against the skin and breathes nicely.



I also made a belt out of the garment fabric, but I think I like the way my black ribbon looks better.
Licorice Belt Collage

I feel a great sense of accomplishment, having worked through all five of the patterns in The Colette Handbook.  If it were not for the sew along, I honestly don’t know if I would have even tried some of these projects.  I want to thank Sarah and Erin for hosting Sew Colette and everyone else who was so supportive along the way.  I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the journey through The Handbook with you, and I  hope to see you around the internets again soon!