A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

best dressed


Here’s the Simplicity 1654 finale! Ha ha! Since I already had this white leather jacket that I made and never blogged from last year, you’re getting a double dose of sewing goodness today. I’m seriously, seriously surprised at the outcome of this dress. I had some pretty grave doubts that this pattern would pass muster. I have no idea why, I just did. But I’m wonderfully, pleasantly surprised. Yes. I love it when stuff like that happens.



In true commercial pattern style, the bodice is the only part lined via the instructions. For this dress in particular, I would rather have the entire dress lined, so that’s what I did, in rayon bemberg lining. I tried a new technique for lining this type of bodice style – meaning that it doesn’t have sleeves which can give some cause for serious pause. I’ve tried lining sleeveless bodices before, several times and each without success. But it just so happens that I agreed to alter a dress for a customer at my shop – perish the thought, right?!? To make a long story short, I found a RTW way to sew a lining to a sleeveless bodice without too much fuss and without leaving a shoulder seam open in the lining or having to do bindings at the neck or the armhole. All this due to an alteration I had to think fast with. I’m tempted to create a video tutorial for it, but we’ll see. Needless to say, this dress is lined pretty beautifully.


I’m pretty happy with the fit of this dress. I had to take in the waist about 1 inch and with the alteration I did to the neckline for the strap, this is actually one very comfortable dress. And seriously, those two little fitting alterations were the only alterations I did! For me, this pattern fit quite well, especially for all the stuff that’s going on here. It happens all too often that I’ll go a little nuts and make the bodice section a little too snug and then once I’ve eaten a meal, the only thing I can think of is tearing that dress right off. I took extra care NOT to do that here. There’s still some nice eating room which the practical girl in me loves. And this lovely aqua linen – it will be super fantasmic come summer when the heat is roasting the skin right off my bones!


This is actually the second round for this bodice. The second round has the bodice entirely interfaced with a very lightweight tricot like interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. The first round was not interfaced and there was rippling in ever single seam. Yikes. So I block fused the bodice, recut it all out and things went much better. Just something to keep in mind if you are planning to make this dress in a lightweight fabric that could benefit from stabilization.


Now you’re probably wondering about the jacket. It’s McCall’s 6611 (now out of print even though I swear this pattern just came out last year??) and its leather. I made it last spring and never said a word about it here. There’s actually several things from last year that you haven’t seen. Anyway, this was my first time dealing with leather and I have to say, its such a controversial textile! In that so many people have so many different opinions on how to work with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough research about it and ended up listening to everyone and everything and well, it shows were you to look hard enough. You can actually tailor a leather jacket. That means you can apply interfacing and that also means that you can press it too. You just don’t want to press it with steam. Moisture damages leather, heat doesn’t. This is lambskin and it took 4 hides. Additionally, for such a small jacket, I didn’t have enough hides. So I had to go to my local leather place (there’s actually a few in Utah, crazy enough) and I bought a deer hide to go with my lambskin. The deer hide didn’t quite match so I pieced the front panels together so that it looked intentional. I think the jacket is OK, but to be honest, not my favorite. Meh. I lined the jacket and ended up tacking those front lapel pieces in place since they flopped around like a fish out of water when they weren’t tacked down. Still a wearable jacket though and wear it I will with this dress for Spring! Yay!


Now off to finish up some much needed tops, friends! Ciao!

  • oonaballoona - oh. my. GAH. sunni. just take the perfect shade of blue and make it into a masterpiece and make me choke on my morning coffee. is that a coverstitch on those seamlines? and that jacket is swoony as well! would you like it better if you belted it?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thanks Oona! I do love this particular shade of blue. The topstitched seamlines on the bodice are actually just….zig-zagged. That’s what the pattern actually called for and at first I was skeptical, but it looks pretty darn awesome in the end. Totally worth a try.

      Hadn’t thought about belting the jacket, but definitely worth a try. Ohhhh!!ReplyCancel

  • Doris - I hope you do come up with an easy technique for lining on video. I can do it but would love to see your version. Hugs, DorisReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I love the details on the bodice of that dress. Takes it from a great dress to a spectacular dress.ReplyCancel

  • seamsoddlouise - Beautiful dress and jacket. That colour is perfect on you. Wow. The top-stitching is beautiful too really funky and modern.ReplyCancel

  • shannon c. - Your dress is gorgeous! Also, I’d love love love a video tutorial on how you did the lining. I have made several sleeveless lined dresses and never found a satisfactory way of finishing it all.ReplyCancel

  • Kely - Love the dress! The lines are so interesting and the colors really make the dress come alive.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - I had some doubts when I saw the first post of this dress, but I am eating my words! This dress is gorgeous!! I thought all that front stitching would be too busy, but it works out so nicely. And that color of linen is to die for! Just beautiful.

    My hand is also raised for the lining tutorial, please :) ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I had serious doubts too – I just didn’t know if the bodice would work all that well on me and with the topstitching…. But I’m totally pleasantly surprised. A definitely a-list pattern in my book.ReplyCancel

  • Elena - I love everything about this outfit — dress, jacket, red shoes. What a great look for you!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - video please!ReplyCancel

  • sallie - Absolutely stunning, Sunni!! That blue looks so SO gorgeous on you! And I love the coverstitch detail to highlight those awesome geometric seamlines. The white leather jacket… don’t even get me started!! I’m a huge HUGE fan of working with leather, and YES I just realized to that it actually loves being pressed and interfaced and all the rest. I also remember loving that pattern and now I’m kicking myself for not picking it up when I had the chance. It’s a great modern jacket for spring!ReplyCancel

  • Sam - Wow! This is a gorgeous outfit. I love both pieces, but the dress bodice in particular is fabulous.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - I LOVE that dress — just gorgeous! Those seam details! And I also really love the jacket, too:)ReplyCancel

  • linB - If the back or the front is open, in two pieces, it is indeed quite easy to line a garment without having to futz about with the shoulder seam. There are at least two good techniques for lining vests, that are easily transferable to other bodice linings. First, sew the shoulder seams together on fashion fabric and lining fabric. Put them right sides together, and sew the armholes together (it’s like a big letter C) and sew the neckline together, all the way to the opening edge. Turn garment right side out — thread the open side through the shoulder seam tunnel. Press neck and armholes.
    Now, put right sides together at the side seams. You can either sew one long seam starting at the bottom, fashion-to-fashion up to the armhole seam and down the other side, lining to lining; or you can sandwich one side within the other (the Gold Medal technique). I much prefer the one-long-seam technique, as it does not leave an annoying jog of fabric at the bottom of the armhole.
    Lastly, poke the entire vest inside itself to put right sides together for the opening and bottom of the garment. Leave an unsewn bit for turning the nearly-finished garment right side out. Sew that hole closed somehow, and press, and put in fasteners. NB: With a zipped garment, you’ll have to wait for Sunni’s tutorial, as I avoid slide fasteners whenever possible.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne - I’m so glad to see that someone else has finally made this dress! I just made a muslin for it and I’m getting ready to cut it out in a plum-colored linen/rayon blend. Still trying to decide if I want to brave the topstitching…ReplyCancel

  • Lucinda - Sunni, that blue looks wonderful on you! You’ve convinced me that I need to add a light blue dress and white blazer to my closet for spring. I think I love the dress even more because of the contrast stitching on the seam lines, it really makes them pop and stand out. Fabulous!!ReplyCancel

  • petite josette - I’ve used this tutorial before to line a sleeveless bodice.

    I don’t know if it’s the same as your method, but it’s pretty straight forward.
    The dress is looking really nice, it’s a great colour on you!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thanks! It’s not the same method that I did, but definitely another thing to try. Those blasted sleeveless linings!ReplyCancel

  • tracy - Dear heavens, I love everything about this. I love how you stay true to your own style. It inspires me. That’s why I love reading you.ReplyCancel

  • threadheap - This is beyond gorgeous. The pattern looks crazy scary but you may have given me the push to give it a go — seriously, I had to stop and just stare at your picture for a while before I could even process the words on the rest of this page. Amazing.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I thought it looked kind of scary too, but its way way easy! Definitely go for it!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Best dressed indeed. It’s amazing how much interfacing makes a difference and it certainly shows that it did wonders with this make.ReplyCancel

  • Janette - That is beautiful! I love the shape. so, so flattering. I need to give this pattern a second look!

    I would also love to see a tutorial on lining a sleeveless dress. I can’t tell you how often I’ve put off sewing a dress because it needs lining. I’ve only done one – a cambie – and that isn’t the same process as a normal sleeveless dress. I’m a horrible hand sewer so anything more machine based is great!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Could there possibly be a better shade of blue to complement your red hair? I think not. You look absolutely beautiful in this dress, and I love every detail. The topstitching looks perfect. I would very much appreciate the lining tutorial that you have suggested you might do.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Beautiful. Love the color and the top-stitching.
    Simplicity 3620 is where I learned to do the easiest lining insertion for sleeveless garments. I use it for all my sleeveless projects, whether I’m doing lining or facings. I’m curious to hear/see the method you used.ReplyCancel

  • Siobhan - That colour really pops on you, it looks great! Actually the whole outfit is fantastic. And kudos for making a leather jacket, that’s pretty intense-level sewing!

    Do you know why the instructions would call for you to line the whole bodice rather than do an all-in-one facing? Is it preference or for a particular reason?ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I really love the fresh blue with white leather. The top stitching gives the dress some real interest and highlights the design lines. Always enjoy your posts.ReplyCancel

  • Hana - Gorgeous dress!! It looks so great on you :) Love the fabric, color and the dress detail. It matched well with the jacket too. Beautiful work as always :-) ReplyCancel

  • Maris Olsen - Love.this.dress. Fabric, color, fit – it just rocks. Looks so pretty and feminine on you, Sunni. Enjoy the heck out of it!ReplyCancel

  • Birgit - This dress is so beautiful! And I am jealous of your lining skills! I would love you to do a video tutorial (but no pressure ;) ) You look fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I have loved this pattern from the first time I saw it. I attempted a version for New Year’s but it became quite bastardized through choice of fabric and fitting woes that the only thing recognizable was the notched out V-neckline. You’ve inspired me to try it again. Yours is so lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Portrait of the seamstress as a young lass » A Fashionable Stitch - […] fabrics with hearts, rainbows or strawberries (and that was totally a strawberry necklace you saw me wear yesterday!) – that’s definitely the 80s kid in me. Most definitely. I think my mom does too […]ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - Your dress came out great! I love the color and it makes me think of Spring. (It’s been raining for three days…) Happy Birthday as well. May this year be better and better.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - this dress turned out beautifully! it’s always a fine line between “fit” and “comfortable fit.” looks like you nailed it! i love the color and the contrast stitching, and it is so cute with the jacket!ReplyCancel

  • Raquel - Love it! I couldn’t visualize the final dress from the muslin, but the final dress is lovely!ReplyCancel

  • crab&bee - The lines on the bodice are so cool. And I would love to see how you lined the bodice!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Ooh, love seeing the dress finished! So flattering on you. I the contrast stitching on the bodice. I know I for one would love seeing the technique you used for lining it, because I know I’m going to want to sew some sleeveless summer dresses but haven’t wrapped my brain around lining.

    And though you might not consider the jacket a total winner it looks absolutely fantastic! What a great pairing with the dress. :) ReplyCancel

  • stillsewing - Absolutely love this dress. In your fitting did you use 2 – 3 inches of ease in the bust? as you suggested in your ease chart many moons ago. This dress looks absolutely fabulous on you – it would not suit that many people so well.

    The jacket is a credit to you as well but, in my mind it begs the question, why are there so many American patterns with peplums? I find that they add to the fitting problems with jackets without contributing to the overall look of the jacket. By this I mean that with a peplum you need to keep the jacket buttoned up at all times. Just my opinion! I suppose this comes from my experience of not having a fitting “buddy”

    Anyway keep up the good work, it such a pleasure to see your work each week.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - Love this colour on you , and the fit is sublime, you look great ! also ,totally irrelevant but can I just say ,I think you have quite a look of Joanne Woodward . Considering she was married to the most beautiful man ever to walk the planet , you should take that as a complimet !ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Gorgeous dress!ReplyCancel

Something Splendid


Though we specialize in fine apparel fabric at the store front shop, we have a wide variety of customers who do things other than make apparel with our fabrics. Its actually really refreshing to see because it expands the mind and gives pause to other creative outlets to pursue and even incorporate into apparel sewing – I mean, at least this is what it does for me.


I’ve known that piecing something in silk dupioni or shantung would be gorgeous, I just didn’t realize how gorgeous until I saw the whole thing put together in a really creative, exciting and colorful way. Tina Lewis, who is a contributor to Stitch Magazine and who also lives here in Utah, dropped by to show us what she’s done with some of our fabric. Enter now: a pieced clutch.


Is this so fun or what? Makes me what to make my own! I love this! I wish you could see it in person too, because its even more exciting as I stand here taking photos of it. This was one of Tina’s contributions to Stitch Magazine this time around and so if you too are interested in creating your own clutch like this (from fabulous silk dupioni or shantung!!!) you need to go buy yourself up a copy of the mag.


Do you sew something other than apparel? If so, what? I’m loving the versatility of a bright and happy clutch like this. Doing it out of something other than quilting cotton is even more exciting – not that quilting cotton is bad, its just fun to see that envelope pushed a little, you know. What do you think?

  • Doris - For me, compared to making garments for an old dilapidated body, this is pure me time play! So fun and relaxing and not only that, good for you!ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni, your notions are the top notch best and truly necessary ‘for real,’ for all garment making and fun projects. There is an old saying; a good seamstress is a well equipped seamstress. Truer words were never spoken!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Oh wow, wow, WOW – that clutch is a work of art. Just so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Sue @ A Colourful Canvas - Fabulous!!! I do sew things other than apparel. I sew for the home…I call my slipcovers dresses for furniture, :). And I sew accessories like bags! This one is absolutely gorgeous! I am all inspired!!ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - How beautiful!!! Very good idea.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Solan Avison - Having retired 10 years ago I have started to broaden my sewing challenges. Over the years I have made everything from hats to socks (from fleece) and then when i acquired a house – curtains, cushions, chair backs wall hangings etc. I love when I can make something that is not available in the shops.

    But in the past few years I joined a patchwork class and believe me it is addictive and as I don’t need any quilts I find myself making covers for mobile phone, Ipads, wallets, and by now all my friends must have struck lucky as I don’t have the need for more than one of each.. Your photo once again has given me ideas but as I made one quilted {but plain} clutches last year I will have to restrain myself.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention as it does widen our sewing challenges, and keep up the good work.


  • Siri - Swoon!!!! Such lovely colors, and interesting shapes :) ReplyCancel

  • MADDIE - Beautiful clutch indeed. Even from the photos, I can see the intricacy that went into its making. Thanks for sharing Tina’s feature; I’ll have to check out the tutorial in Stitch Magazine.

    The only non garment sewing I do is lingerie. I’m not sure if that it can be called a “non garment,” but anything other than clothing I fit into that definition.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon C. - I’m an art quilter (though I sew lots of more utilitarian things like clothes and bags too), and I love using apparel fabrics for my quilts. I don’t piece much and I love the way apparel fabrics add a totally different texture to my work than cotton. I’ve recently been experimenting with different ways of doing raw edge work and I love how easy it is to melt/seal the edges of many non-cotton textiles. That clutch is gorgeous- piecing with silks is challenging, so kudos to the maker!ReplyCancel

  • Serac - Love that clutch. Beautiful colors and so well put together! I do make non-wearable items, mostly pillows for my home and bags, more utilitarian than the clutch and no where near as beautiful, but useful for an art student who has to carry around a lot of sometimes seemingly random things.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Wow! This is amazing!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alaskapsych - That is sharp! I make patchworked wallets and non-patchworked handbags!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - Gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • Sufiya - That is Seminole patchwork, isn’t it? STUNNING.ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - Hi there Sunni! How are you? I did see that bag in Stitch Magazine, it is really amazing and so neat that you were able to see it in person. It looks so complicated- and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Spencer@12ozbeehouse.com - This is amazing! I love this clutch!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I tend to focus on clothes not accessories, but I do admire this clutch. One day…ReplyCancel

Enter Simplicity 1654 Fitting Muslin

First things first. I did rub-off a pattern for my Garnet Hill inspired dress. I then proceeded to cut out fabric, sew it up and even though the dress itself will work, the color scheme looks really really drab and sad on me. So I’ve put this project off to the side for now until I have the wherewithall to possibly toss it and start anew. This is life. Onwards and upwards.

I’ve really just wanted to sew some dresses is the thing. This is a weird thing for me because well, I’m such a practical person these days. But a dress can be practical. Especially with a white stretch cotton blazer – which is the project directly next after this dress. Yes! So I went to my stash and dug out this Simplicity 1654 pattern. I had actually forgotten how much I love Simplicity patterns. Of the Big 4, this line fits me the best straight from the envelope (note I said fits me the best, we still have a few fitting problems, just not as many as the other Big 4). I find that with McCalls, Butterick and Vogue the armholes are cut so low! Is that just me? So it was nice not to have to deal with that for a change.

This pattern has some great design lines. The bodice is just killer! And since I know that a skirt like that will require little to no fitting, I muslined the bodice to see where we were at. The fit was actually quite good through the bust and waist, but the straps were trying to fall off my shoulders. And its not that they were too wide/far apart, it was the angle at which they were sitting on the body. So I thought I would show you what I did to fix it. I pinched out the excess pooling that was happening when I put the straps where I wanted them to be. That pooling happened at an angle at the bust and shoulder blade. See?



How do you fix that on a the pattern piece. It’s the same idea really. I measured how much I pinched out, then slashed and overlapped that amount in those areas of the bodice that I pinched out with pins on the muslin. It’s not a hard fix by any means, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that its intuitive. This is something that I’m always amazed by, but when fitting, many times the part that needs fixing is not the part that we intuitively feel needs the fix. Just some random fitting thoughts.


I’ve settled on an aqua linen to make this up in (fabric from the shop, now online! yay!). I’m actually nearly finished with the dress itself, so here’s a sneak peek.

Now off to line and hem the thing. And then to focus on a white stretch cotton jacket. Yay!

  • Nakisha - Yay! I just chose this for a summer dress. so please document ALL of your progress! Hahahaha!

    Can’t wait to see it!ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Sunni, just to tell you it´s not just you having a problem with Big 4 armholes! You should switch to European patterns they are so much better. Just have a look at this shirt pattern muslin I just made http://bombardone.com/sewingprincess/2014/02/i-am-weak-wip-margot-blouse-republique-du-chiffon/ It´s without any armhole alteration.ReplyCancel

  • Kate McIvor - Great job, Sunni! I wonder if a small bust adjustment would also do the trick?ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Ooh that’s a beautiful blue! Looking forward to seeing the whole thing. I think dresses can be practical, too. And I’ve never really felt that way until this year. They felt bulky, or awkward, or somehow not appropriate for X, Y, Z situation. Then I realized it was the *fit* not the fact that it was a *dress* itself per se, that was the crux of the issue for me. Ill-fitting, poor fabric choice for how I like to wear things, etc. Now that I’m getting past all that, I seriously feel like sewing about a million dresses. Throw it on and you’re done. How could that not be practical, I’m not seeing!

    Ironically I just picked up a blazer on mega sale at Gap and my first thought was “ooh! perfect to throw on over a dress!” Looking forward to your stretch cotton blazer, too.ReplyCancel

  • I Made It!! - That is a beautiful blue! Is it finished yet! Can I see it?ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i don’t remember seeing this pattern before, but i love the seaming! thanks for the fitting tips. since i always have to do a SBA, i tend to shy away from too many seams. can’t wait to see this one finished!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I too have the same problem with the armholes being cut too low on McCalls! Haven’t noticed this on Butterick or Vogue yet, but I’ll be on the lookout. I’ve only ever tried a skirt from Simplicity, but I’d like to try other patterns from my stash. Anyway, you do such a great job with fitting! Looking forward to seeing the finished dress (with jacket!).ReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni, I always have the shoulder seams falling off my abnormally narrow shoulders! I love the way you remedied this on this dress. I have the dress pattern and am going to do what you did to make the shoulders fit me. I usually have to make a size smaller in the neck and shoulders, then go out to my normal size at the bust, waist, and hips. In this particular dress, your fix is super! Thanks for the clips! They are priceless for not so good sewers like me!!! DorisReplyCancel

  • Karin - I often successfully remedy the shoulder problem by having my shoulders slope/size traced on a large poster board and then comparing the pattern to the slope and size of my actual shoulders before cutting. I have very small shoulders and back in comparison to the rest of me, especially the bust. However, I believe some version of this would also be helpful for me, as I still end up with some extra fabric at the top of the chest area sometimes….


  • Kamal - Wonderful piece of work..ReplyCancel

  • best dressed » A Fashionable Stitch - […] the Simplicity 1654 finale! Ha ha! Since I already had this white leather jacket that I made and never blogged from […]ReplyCancel

  • RSS - I have got read through some excellent goods listed here. Absolutely worth social bookmarking intended for returning to. I wonder just how much efforts you put to create such a impressive beneficial internet site.ReplyCancel

Meet Winifred

Abby from Blue Ginger Doll emailed me a bit back and wanted to know if I could cough up a prize for her Winifred Dress Sewalong & Contest which starts March 24. Abby’s been a great customer of mine and so I thought I should pull out a fabulous prize for her. But more on that in a moment. You need to meet her latest pattern first. Winifred. Um. Hello.


I asked Abby for my own copy because I really really want this dress for myself. Isn’t it a looker? I love that its a shirt dress, with a fold over collar, cut on sleeves and those cute little tucks in the front. And then in the back you have an elastic waist band and that is what completely won me over. Oh my goodness! You mean I can have lunch with friends and no one would be the wiser? It’s darling and I’m very much taken with the design and simplicity of it!


Abby’s hosting a sewalong for this new addition to her pattern line-up and that will commence on March 24. Excitement abounds. Three cheers all round!


Plus she’s also got prizes that she’ll be bequeathing on participants. I decided to entice all of you to join in her fun by putting together a little somethin somethin from me olde shoppe. The prize from A Fashionable Stitch gives you:

  • 3 1/3 yards 100% rayon floral crepe (enough to make your own Winifred!)
  • a spool of matching thread
  • a pink clover chalk pen
  • a pink silk organza press cloth

More fun to be had over at Abby’s blog! And definitely don’t miss out on her latest pattern offering! I know I’m dying for my own perfect little Winifred spring/summer frock! What about you?

  • Hélène - Thanks for spreading the good news. This dress is a beauty!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ooh, I bet this dress will look great on you! It’s such a cute style!ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - I so need this dress. Shirt dress without all the buttons and buttonholes?? Yes! And can I say your prize offering is absolutely awesome. Thanks for playing!ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - The dress is the perfect combination of all my favorite things – elastic, collars and a dress!ReplyCancel

  • Dottie doodle - What a lovely dress! I’m heading over there right now…ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Ooh! I’d love to try this pattern – especially with the beautiful fabric you’re giving away. :D ReplyCancel

  • Shanni - Yes I’m in love with this pattern! Got my copy and my fabric picked out and I’m all ready for the sew along!
    Great prizes! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Oh I love a shirt dress and this is divine. So going to get this one.

    Shame I am already doing two sewalongs this month but will definitely be doing a follow up.


  • Sue - Yes, this looks like a perfect pattern for autumn and winter. Will check out the pattern now!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - I wasn’t familiar with Blue Ginger Doll, but this dress is really lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - What a lovely pattern – so very chic!ReplyCancel

  • Lara Rose - Looks amazing! Great blog you have, keep posted!ReplyCancel

  • Helene - You’re going to make a great version, I know it!ReplyCancel

  • Lady Stitcher - Great shirtdress pattern! Looking forward to seeing your version :-) ReplyCancel

  • Dee - I just love this dress and the material you picked out is just beautifulReplyCancel

  • Helen - What a beautiful pattern and fabric! Just in time for spring sexing!ReplyCancel

  • Sox - What a lovely shirtdress. The collar and the sleeves would make a nice, uncomplicated make for fast sewing gratification. Thank you for introducing it.ReplyCancel

  • PJ Davidson - That pattern is adorable. I’ll have to get it and sew it up. Love your giveaway too; the fabric is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Geo P - I didn’t jnow about Blue Ginger Doll, but I just ordered the pattern, it’s lovely. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Angie H - After seeing this post, I bought the pattern. I cannot wait to make it and join along. I had a dress similar to this many years ago and this looks like the fit will be perfect for me. Wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - A favorite aunt of mine was named Winifred. I think address in your fabric would be lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - Great pattern, I love the gathering and the back and the front darts. I’ve got too much on to take part but can’t wait to see all the fab versions of this dress.ReplyCancel

On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress

Since I’m asked all the time what I’m working on, I thought it would be good for me and you if I let you know every now and then. Plus its always fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself is really not anything to write home about, but I have to say that I’m diggin the effortless simplicity of it. I actually had a perfect candidate for a dress to create a pattern from and one that had a similar feeling of the Garnet Hill inspiration with a few welcome additions like pockets too. (Visit my rub-off post for more info on how I create a paper pattern from an existing garment. Or here too, if this is a topic that interests you!)


This is my original dress. It was on the sale rack at Target last year and after trying it on and loving it, I thought why not. I wore it a bunch during the summer and it was uber comfortable and easy to pair with shoes and accessories. I don’t know about you, but in the last year I’ve realized that not everything in my wardrobe needs to be handmade (nor do I have time for it to be). There’s a consignment shop that I frequent and a couple of thrift stores that I live near that I also make it to every once in awhile. I also purchase items on sale. I purchase only those things that I love, that already fit and I know would mix and match well. I used to purchase things that I thought I would refashion and after realizing that, for me, these types of things only end up in my UFO pile, I decided to change my direction with thrifted items. I love seeing awesome refashions, but have to say that I just don’t ever really do them. So I made rules that I abide by when I thrift or buy things on sale. Do you do this? Do you refashion a lot of things or do they end up in a UFO pile for you too?



Back to the issue at hand, I’ve wanted to recreate this dress for some time and after seeing the Garnet Hill catalog, I thought I was long overdue for a little easy dress. I picked this dove grey rayon/silk blend – the same fabric as my pink walrus jacket – and I thought I would add in some black linen here and there to create some break up of the grey. I’m envisioning adding a lining, adding a little more length to the bottom of the dress (its a tad on the short side) and adding yoke pieces and a hem band in the black. Simple, sure, but it will most definitely get worn and that’s important.

What’s on your sewing table today?

PS ~ Thank you for your fabulous thoughts on Monday’s post about fabric and pattern pairings. You’ve given me lots of ideas to address and I most definitely will, coming right up!

  • Jenny - Love the inspiration dress – very chic and easy to wear. That’s actually my favorite type of dress. Easy to wear and comfortable. On my sewing table – McCalls 6083 – jumpsuit, a peplum top, a wrap dress and a maxi skirt. I hope to have it all done by Saturday!ReplyCancel

  • McCall - Sunni, I just want to say I love seeing what you do. I envy your skills. At the moment on my “sewing” desk you’d find pieces of a mini birdhouse that painted by one of my twins and now needs to be glued together, a box of valentines, misc. stuff I’ve had to take from the kids and “hide”, and so much more but nary a bit of fabric. :( And so I will live vicariously through you and your projects for now. Happy Sewing!ReplyCancel

    • Stephanie - HA! The cry of agreement! My children are teens now, and sometimes I forget to clear out all the nooks and crannies of the work table, so I found quite the assortment of nerf darts in my linen stash this week. That and some small action figures that must have been a problem….five or six years ago.

      I am a ‘refashioner’ as most of my sewing is altering store bought that never quite fits. This evolved into vintage, then to thrifting, and now it’s quite the luxury to cut into fabric to sew from ‘scratch’. The stash is old and vast, so I only seem to venture out for thread and zippers anymore.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - This is exactly the type of dress I could LIVE in spring-fall! It’s such a great dress on its own, and will be wonderful for layering.

    I’m thinking of adding a contrasting band at the hem of a skirt I’m working on. Would you mind sharing, do you plan to press your hem open or up? My skirt is lined, so I’m not overly worried about raw edges being exposed. But, I would be on a single layer garment like this. Thanks for any help!ReplyCancel

  • Elle - You know, I think this post touches on the “Wardrobe Architect” craze that the Coletterie seems to have brought up. I think it’s smart to focus on making things that you know you will wear all the time. It seems common sense, but so many of us spend tons of time working on items we won’t wear all the time because they don’t fit our lifestyle or our style. If a simple Target dress ticks all your boxes, why not replicate it? A project doesn’t have to be fancy to be great.ReplyCancel

  • Denise - That dress will be lovely:). On my sewing table: a clone of a pair of trousers that I love that are awaiting a zipper and a (hopefully) wearable muslin of NewLook 6150.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i love the inspiration dress! reminds me of the pattern runway kimono dress, which i’ve been meaning to make for basically forever… on my sewing table… trying to get a few kid pieces done for when spring decides to show up, then back to sewing for me!ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - It’s a great style – I’ve made a couple similar to this. It’s funny isn’t it once we get right into garment sewing it can feel harder to justify purchasing something RTW – my brain says ‘nah, I can just make that…..After I’ve made the million other things on my last!’ Ha! I’m finishing up a stripey top, then starting the muslin for a silk jersey draped dress for my best friends wedding…..ReplyCancel

  • Angela - I recently bought a casual dress from Target, too! I also shop at thrift stores, but not to refashion items. I saved back some things from my own clothes that I thought I might refashion, but I’m finding out it’s really hard to have enough fabric to work with — so not my favorite thing, but since I’ve already got the clothes, I may give it a few more tries. Sometimes I do find great fabric yardage at my thrift store, though.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - That looks like such a comfortable dress! I’d love to have a dress like that. Right now, I’m trying to sew a top out of some Liberty lawn, but other jobs around the house keep getting in the way.ReplyCancel

  • Chris - I made alot of clothes using a rub off pattern- it does take the guesswork out of everything. I also refashion- mainly because clothes rarely fit straight from the rack!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I’m the same with refashioning! I was in op (thrift) shops yesterday, but just cannot get my head around buying something that doesn’t fit me. This dress looks so perfect for summer, I can’t wait to see your finished result. I’ve just finished a shirt for son and a Sorbetto tank for me (trying to stashbust) and I have another Sorbetto on the table, plus another shirt for son. Getting boring…ReplyCancel

  • Amy Clark - Your thoughts on handmade vs. rtw mirror my own buying philosophy almost exactly. I don’t have time to make everything I wear, and when I do have time to sew, often I want to sew something fun. I try to shop at consignment/thrift shops as much as possible but I do buy new off of sales racks periodically. I don’t really like shopping that much but I realize that I do have to get dressed. Currently on my sewing table: a modified Barcelona skirt. This is far and away the most flattering skirt I have ever found for my figure. I’ve made a bunch over the years but lost weight last summer and have to make a size smaller – this time I tried shortening the skirt to mix it up a little. It’s a pretty simple pattern so a good one to pick for my first time pattern hacking. Seems to have worked so far….ReplyCancel

  • Kara - I’ve got a couple of things on my sewing table right now:
    An Alma blouse in a light blue challis. True story: I was all ready to sew it up, but realized everything else on deck to sew needed the black thread that was already on my serger, and I couldn’t bring myself to change the thread for one project.
    A Georgia dress that will be made from a nice floral stretch sateen.
    Oh, and a grey wool trumpet skirt (fabric from your shop!). This will sew up quickly, but I’m worried that I ought to muslin it first, so haven’t gotten it started yet.
    The first two have both been through a few rounds of muslins, so I’m pretty confident about the fit. I’ve been off to a slow start with sewing this year, partly because I’ve been working in some knitting projects.
    I must say the Georgia dress is not the most practical thing for me, but I think it will be smashing, so I may find myself inventing appropriate places to wear it.ReplyCancel

  • new fashion styleOn the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress - A Fashionable Stitch » new fashion style - […] See the article here: On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress – A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • Amy w - With RTW I just ask myself if this is something I can and will make soon. I haven’t progressed to button down shirts or pants/jeans so I but those. I’m working on building my work wardrobe. A nice top (right now it being a pullover) and a straight skirt is my work “uniform”. I just can’t do thrift stores. It’s hard for me to dig through the long racks and find something or buy a large shapeless dress and make something new from it. A friend of mine is an expert thrifter. She’ll find nice stuff (Ann Taylor) with tags still on. I find silly cat sweaters from 1983. Lol. So I just don’t bother with it.ReplyCancel

  • erin - LOVING the colours and fabrics you have chosen. It’s going to be a fabulous dress, I’m sure of it!ReplyCancel

  • Christianne Bower - I love shopping at thrift and consignment shops, but I don’t buy things that need extensive alterations. Shortening a hem or sleeve, lowering a neckline: I can do. Sometimes sewing something is going to be either too difficult for me or too expensive, and that’s when I go to my favorite thrift and consignment places…probably a quarter of my wardrobe I’ve sewn, a quarter I’ve bought new, and the rest is from thrift shops etc. I buy brand names and quality items only; classics that are timeless.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Very nice dress. I was particularly taken by your inspiration post from the week before. Bit of a jacket fan.ReplyCancel

  • Enter Simplicity 1654 Fitting Muslin » A Fashionable Stitch - […] things first. I did rub-off a pattern for my Garnet Hill inspired dress. I then proceeded to cut out fabric, sew it up and even though the dress itself will work, the […]ReplyCancel