Gertie’s Basic Bodice – Space Dress

I had a vision of a gorgeous vintage inspired white collar combined with a dark moody fabric.  I thought this space fabric would work well.  I like it, but something feels off.  Maybe my ridiculously square shoulders push the collar up too much or my narrow shoulders don’t allow for drama with collars.  I wanted a large dramatic collar.  It’s not quite what I expected.  Combine that with the utter failure of my second attempt with tulip sleeves.  I tried them on another dress a few years ago and made the same mistake again.


I’ll probably wear the dress a lot especially now with the “cooler” weather.  Oooo, 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.  It should get cooler soon though.  I also have some leg warmers to make so I can wear under my boots, instead of having to wear tights.

I really wanted a circle or 3/4 circle skirt, but again, I did not buy enough fabric.  I only purchased 2 yards.

I do have 2 yards of very similar fabric that I hope will end up as a nicer dress than this.

I initially made a muslin of the Gertie basic bodice, in muslin fabric and it was loose.  The last two dresses I have made, using the same pattern, have been tight at the waist.  I’ve either gained a few pounds or I made a pretty big mistake with the muslin.  Oh well.  Time to fix the pattern for the now.  There’s also something weird going on at the bust.  I still think I prefer princess seams.  I might convert it to princess seams for the next dress.


The collar looks great on the hanger, but not on me.  The original Gertie Peter Pan collar looked even worse.  Oh well, that’s what fabric is for and learning is for, making mistakes and hopefully I’ll get it right one day.

This is my attempt at a self drafted collar.  The skirt is my go to box pleated skirt.  I’ve forgotten the pattern number it’s from.






Simplicity 8130 – Cherry Dress

I’ve always wanted a cherry dress.  I found the fabric at a remnant bin at Wal-mart, sad, lonely and abandoned. I had to rescue it.  It was only about 1 and a half yards of fabric.  I was concerned it wouldn’t be enough.  Well, it wasn’t enough for a circle skirt.  It was enough for my pleated skirt, more than enough.  I guess it’s a little long.

I left the front band as is, but with a smaller seam allowance.  It’s probably a bit larger than intended.  It’s cut on the bias and is not interfaced.


The red fabric is also from Wal-Mart.  The quality of it seems much better than the quilting cotton I buy from Joann’s.  When I buy solids from Joann’s they fade after one wash.  It leaves white lines at edges, good for jeans, bad for dresses.  This red fabric has held up well after multiple washes.  I can’t tell it’s faded at all.  It’s also cheaper than any of the Joann’s quilting cottons.


The whole dress was probably $7 of fabric and included the zipper price.  Awesome.  I don’t get lucky like that often though. I had purchased a bag of zippers at a thrift store many years ago and hoarded them.  I kept thinking when the heck would I use such a lime green color zipper or this pale yellow zipper.  Well, they have been used.


I seriously need to add hooks to my dresses.

Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – Secretary Dress

I started making this dress.  I have dreamed of having a dress with a Peter Pan collar forever.  They always look so cute. The Peter Pan collar did not look right, so I removed it.

I traced out the pattern.  I even made a muslin.  The muslin fit fairly well.  I took the shoulders up a little, making them more square.  I also took 3/4 inches from the center back for swayback.  That’s it.  I used a straight size 6 for the bodice.  I think I went up 2 sizes in the skirt.  I did not line it.  I used a self drafted facing because the shoulder slope was very different.  The only other adjustment was lowering the neckline by a bit to make it more comfortable.  The size 6 was very high and tight for me.  However, I might have traced the wrong one. I didn’t bother to go back and check.

The fabric was a very cheap crepe type fabric I bought from Walmart in 2007 I think. I am almost out of it.  It doesn’t press well.  I also kinda melted it a little by the zipper.  Thankfully, it was only on the inside.  Phew.

Anyway, I really love this bodice.  I see myself making more dresses from Gertie’s Ultimate dress book.  The horizontal balance line for me is absolutely perfect.

Sheath dresses are my biggest fear.  In order to wear this in real life, I’m going to need to find some comfy shapewear. Even then, eek. So this is my attempt at making myself a little uncomfortable.  I’ll try something new.  It’s not my favorite.  I like big full skirts better.



With a necklace my little sister gave me.  Combined with some crazy hair, again a windy day.


Simplicity 8130

Ok, I couldn’t resist Simplicity 8130 again.  I had a different picture in my mind of how I wanted it, but I ran out of precious fabric.  This fabric was from Hancock’s. I loved the Hancock’s novelty fabrics.  They always felt nice, and often resisted wrinkles even though it said they were 100% cotton.  I sat on this dress for what 6 ish hours on 2 airplane rides on our way to South Carolina and hardly had any wrinkles.  I was very impressed.  I have never tried the burn test on them though.

I do wish I would have enjoyed these fabrics a little more and truthfully purchase more, if not all that they ever offered.  Boo.  I’m still sad about it.


I wanted something Cambie-esque but with my fantastic Simplicity 8130 bodice.  Anyway, long story short, my vision did not work.  I needed a tiny bit more fabric, so I had to scrap the idea.  I wasn’t even able to put the adorable flaps or as they are called by the pattern “Band.”

I added the same McCall’s 7626 skirt, that I love, still.  I also used horsehair braid at the hem.  It is still the same “soft” horsehair, but I am seriously tempted to buy the more expensive “stiff” horsehair.  I will eventually, it’s just a matter of time.

I just had to try to make this dress before we left on our trip.  What I should have made was a bathing suit.  Ok, next time. We do make many trips to San Diego, so I’ll likely make a playsuit or two.  I do already have a dress I like to wear while on the beach, but, I want something even more fun.  There are so many options, so, why not, right?  Plus, who am I kidding, I have enough fabric I could open a shop.

It wasn’t what I wanted, but, I wanted another dress to take on our vacation.  I rushed and ran out of this fabric, so….

butterfly front
With a lightly gathered cotton petticoat.

butterfly back

butterfly petticoat
With a petticoat.

Please excuse the crazy hair.  It was a windy day.  I really do like the boob flaps.  They help minimize the bust on me.  Perhaps the flaps give the illusion of a better proportion on that part of my body.  I think I will make a lot more dresses with the flaps.

Simplicity 8130 – Pokemon sundress

I am in love with this bodice pattern.  I kind of knew I was going to like it when I first saw it.  Simplicity 8130.  I omitted the buttons, but added a zipper.  My sewing machine does not handle buttonholes very well.  I could see myself making this top as just a top and not attaching a skirt to it.  I can do so much with this bodice though.  I have one more idea, but it will have to wait until we return from our vacation.  My weekly project pledge will have to take a pause for a week.

Full petticoat. Big skirt.

The skirt is Mccall’s 7626.  It is a 3/4 circle skirt, so it doesn’t take up as much fabric as a full circle skirt.  I had just enough of this pokemon fabric.  I had purchased all they had left at my local Joann’s about a year ago, about 1.25 yards or so.  I really wanted a dress so I held on to it until I found a good fabric that coordinated.  I couldn’t.  I wanted something summery and nothing looked good to me.  Then, I found the same fabric at another Joann’s and immediately purchased it.  It might not have even been on sale, gasp.


Once I started sewing, I was a little disappointed.  The fabrics are not quite the same.  One is a little thicker and darker than the other.  😦  Plus, it looked like it had a bleach stain here and there.  Thankfully, the fabric is so busy it’s not super visible.  What is it with my luck at Joann’s?  It’s as if I have better luck at the National City Swap meet.

More subtle on my monitor, or because of the camera, but a bit more visible IRL.
Small bleach type spot by Eevee’s ear.

Anyway.  I used a straight size 12 for the skirt, and the pockets, oh my goodness, the pockets.  This girl’s dream.  So large and generous.  Exactly what I want, plus, they get sewn a little into the waist seam.  Now my side seams don’t get pulled on as much when I pack (seriously, it’s like a small purse if you include total space for both pockets) my Nintendo DS and various chargers in my pockets.  The skirt fit perfectly to the bodice, thank goodness.


I also decided to add some soft horsehair braid to the hem.  It isn’t the super stiff kind, but it still adds a little drama.  It also makes it easier to hem.  I decided to hand sew the hem this time.  It took a while, but I didn’t have thread that matched exactly.


Without the full petticoat.  I am wearing a lightly gathered cotton petticoat.

I had been debating between blue and black for the bias.  I am glad I went with black.

I got the horsehair for about $6, 25 yards of it!  It’s not the super stiff kind, it’s soft and a little floppy, but it does add enough drama for more casual dresses like mine.  I got it from here  I did contact the seller before placing my order because I noticed some review pictures had the string you pull and some didn’t. I wanted it with the string.  However, now I realize, I could have just sewn a row of basting stitching with the machine and used that as the string.  I am going to place another order very soon.  I want every skirt to have it.

So far, I have washed it in the washing machine (gentle cycle), inside one of the lingerie bags.  I folded the dress neatly in one of the larger sized bags.  I also dried it in the drier, gasp.  It was fine, and everything was intact.  It didn’t seem to move very much in the bag.  I’ll continue to wash it that way.


Simplicity 8130 – Purple Iris Dress

I am in love with this pattern.  The fit is fantastic.  It adds great shape.  I want a million of these.  I did not make a muslin, but should have.  I really messed up the details.  The flaps are all messed up.  My homemade bias tape is messed up.  The application of it is also messed up.  Oh well.  I used the bodice from Simplicity 8130, the straps from New Look 6048, as well as the skirt.  I used my own pockets.  The fabric was a gift from my Mom and Dad.  I also used one of my metal zippers.  They are my precious.  Much like most of my fabric.

I’m still going to wear the dress.  I really like the fabric.  I have always been scared of yellow.  I was told I should never wear yellow because it makes me look sick.  I’m not sure this shade of yellow makes me look sick though.  I think it looks very summery.  I really like it.

I used a size 10, but used a smaller seam allowance in most areas and a much larger seam allowance around the waist and above the chest.

The dress is so comfortable and a perfect fit.



Last night, I was browsing through Pintrest looking for inspiration.  My husband is sitting next to me and well, conversation below…

Husband – That

Me – What?

Husband – Put a bow on it.

Me – What are you talking about?

Husband – The dress, put a bow on it, just like that one.

So, this morning, that is what I did.  It does cover up my mistake somewhat, and makes it look a little more intentional, and a little more girlie. So, essentially my husband fixed the dress by saying “Put a bow on it.”  I would have never guessed that would come from him.



New Look 6048 – Strawberry Dress

I ran across the strawberry fabric on clearance at Walmart.  I was super happy since it was $1 a yard.  I bought 5 yards.  I think I used 2 to make this dress.

I used New Look 6048.  I did modify it slightly just like my muslin.  I didn’t fold the contrast piece over, I just sewed it on top.  It would have been too low for me to sew it that way.

The sewing was quick and easy.  I used a size 10 and used a larger seam allowance where I needed and less where I didn’t.  I prefer a smaller seam allowance on my princess seams, otherwise they end up puckering and being weird, even if I cut them after they are stitched.  I also made this dress a lot more fitted than I usually make them.  Most of my previous dresses have about a 2-3 inch ease around the belly.  That is usually enough to make me look bigger, but, they are much cooler to wear.

Anyway, I am in love with the finished dress.  It is one of the few dresses the husband actually likes.