Gertie’s Basic Bodice – All in Dress

I made this dress in November.  I hadn’t blogged about it. These last few months have felt pretty rough, a death in the family, things around keep breaking, etc. I felt like this Moby video. Anyway, my sewjo is hiding.  I want to sew, but I don’t want to sew.

The dress was meant to be entered into the pattern review little black dress competition.  However, it didn’t seem like just a little black dress.  I threw everything at it.  Sheath, done. Strappy things, check. Bows, go crazy! Kick pleat? absolutely.  I really want to add a bow where the straps meet at the back in the center.  My sister said that would be too much.  I think I’m going to add one anyway.  Take that lil sis.  A slightly larger bow than the two at the front.

I converted the bodice to princess seams, but only at the front.  I kept the side dart.  I forgot why.  I made the neckline square, because, well, I wanted something different.  I thought about making the straps detachable with snaps, but decided against this for this version.  I ended up hand sewing them and they don’t quite look as nice.  They look like an afterthought.

I remember watching Project Runway Season 9 and seeing Kimberly’s pink dress on the cutting table.  On the runway, the dress made my jaw drop to the floor.  I think about that dress almost on a daily basis. I wanted to recreate the dress, but I don’t think I could pull off the top part of it.  I decided to go ahead and throw the skirt bow in as another feature to the dress. I converted the skirt to princess seams, but again, only at the front.  I added the bow at the right side. On top of that, I wanted a bit of a vintage feel to it.  Anyway, I think I should have added some length to the bow section, so the bow doesn’t act weird.  I’ll fix it in my next version.  I will make a next version, at some point.  Looking at it, I’m not sure the proportion is right for my height.  Who cares though? It’s a cute detail.  However, it can be a tad scandalous depending on how I’m sitting.  I would say, for me, this is a strictly standing dress.

The front straps don’t look quite right. I’ll fix it later, maybe.

I did make a pretty large skirt size.  I just added width, so much, I think the size was literally off the chart.  It is a little on the side of roomy, on purpose.  My goal is to add pockets.  I really do not like carrying a purse or clutch.

Since I was in a bit of a rush, and my sewjo was already dwindling, I skipped some finishes.  I didn’t fully line the skirt.  I massively regret this.  The skirt sits all funky because of it.  I did wear it for Christmas.  It’s not really a Christmas dress, but, whatever. Thankfully no one pointed out any of the flaws.  I think they were all distracted by the straps going everywhere, and the bows.  Ok, distracted by the overwhelming abundance of design details that were thrown together on the dress.  Again, whatever, I like it.  Plus, I’m a little proud of trying to do all that in a short amount of time, even though it’s not perfect.  When I wore it out, no one pointed out the mistakes.  They are usually pretty quick to do that.

Without the bow on the back that I still have not made.

I finished before the patternreview deadline, but I had to rejoin patternreview under my blog name, too late to enter the competition.  I had joined many years ago with a very old name and am quite embarrassed by it.  Plus, my dress didn’t seem like a simple black dress with all those design elements.

leg bow
Leg bow detail.
Bows on the front.

The wrinkles are stubborn and do not come out easily.  I was afraid to burn the dress like I did the last one, so, some wrinkles remain.  It also, unfortunately, wrinkles very easily.

Who knows when I’ll sew again.  Even after drafting this post a few days ago, I still don’t feel too motivated. Although, we are hoping to go to a wedding in August, so, I might start sewing for that trip soon.


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

The fabric… I got it on clearance at my local SAS fabrics store.  It was $1 a yard, so I purchased the entire bolt.  It’s nothing spectacular, but, it’s %100 cotton and a light color, so it’s perfect for my purpose.  The contrast fabric was a scrap piece I had from another dress.

I ended up lining the bodice in actual muslin fabric, but, forgot to pre wash it.  Oops.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Anyway, the muslin shrank a bit, which explains some of the wrinkles on the bodice.

The fit… I’m not super thrilled with the fit.  I made modifications to the sewing of it and it ended up being a little high around the arms and is a little uncomfortable.  It is still wearable, but if I sit too long, I can feel it under my arms.

The pattern New look 6048… I love the look of it.  I have so many ideas for it, but not the fabric, boo.  It’s too bad, because I have so much fabric.  I’m a a bit of a sucker for a sweetheart neckline. It just adds more visual interest than a straight across neckline. It also came with a pocket pattern, but I used my own.  I can fit my DS, phone, wallet, charger and keys comfortably.  In other words, an entire purse in my dress.  Unfortunately, I did try to make pockets that integrated into the waist seam, but I didn’t like them.

If you look close enough, you might be able to see the DS in my right pocket.  There is a bit of a bulge that makes me look pregnant, but nope, it’s just my Nintendo DS.

I seemed to be making weird faces in all the pictures.  Oh well.  This is the best of the few we took, even though a tree is growing out of my head.

I do have a petticoat on, but you can’t even tell.  The skirt looks pretty flat.

Overall, I love the pattern.  Get ready for a million different dresses from this pattern.



Legend of Zelda Dress

I love The Legend of Zelda.  I purchased the fabric at Joann’s.  I’m not super happy about it being so green, but, it’s Link.  Anyway, I finished the dress a few months ago.  I used the same pattern I use for everything lately, the Elizabeth dress from Burda.  I was super happy that I already had a matching zipper in my stash.  When I first got it in a bulk zipper bag I thought, when the heck am I going to use this.  Well, I used it sooner than I thought.

I am not wearing a petticoat with it in these pictures.  It looks much better with the petticoat.

We are getting ready for a trip and I need to sew some new dresses.  I’m aiming for one a week. I already have a wearable muslin cut and partly assembled.