I MADE JEANS, PEOPLE

Ginger Jeans Party

That’s right. I actually SEWED my own JEANS. I made the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns and I’m gonna tell everyone I know. But let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? I’ve been wanting to sew a pair of jeans for awhile, but I had planned on doing it next year. Mostly because I was scared, but also partially because I have a lot on my plate, both sewing-related and otherwise. I knew I wanted to make the Ginger Jeans, because everyone has raved about them and I am a fan of Closet Case Patterns in general. Really I was just hemming and hawing about it and didn’t know where to start.

Enter my amazing sewing friends, Rachel of Little Fish and Tiahna of Ammon Lane. They hosted a fantastic Ginger Jeans party on Instagram and invited everyone to join them in sewing up the Ginger Jeans pattern during the month of October. It was just the push I needed. I decided to rearrange my project queue and just go ahead and sew them jeans. I’m really glad I did. It’s WAY more fun to sew things along the way with others, especially because you can ask questions, exchange opinions, and support each other through the process. The community of sewing friends I have met through Instagram is seriously invaluable to me. I love them all and they are incredibly encouraging and supportive.

Here I am with Rachel (she’s the tall one with legs for days. I’m the short one with legs for five seconds.) She lives near me and we met up to grab some photos of our booties in our new jeans. It’s not awkward, it’s all for the sake of sewing.

Ginger Jeans Party

We both used this amazing Cone Mills denim for our jeans. From all my research I learned that Cone Mills is the real deal when it comes to denim. Sourcing denim is one of the hardest parts about making jeans, honestly. I got mine from Threadbare Fabrics; they as well as Heather from Closet Case Files were awesome and offered coupon codes for all the #gingerjeansparty sewers.

Ginger Jeans Party

And here is why sewing your own clothes is awesome. Tall or short, you can make the pattern work for your body. Which brings me to my next point, which is to tell you that the absolute hardest part about making jeans is getting the fit right in the beginning. The actual sewing of the jeans themselves is NOT EVEN HARD AT ALL. I promise. It’s not scary and it’s not difficult. It’s just a matter of taking things one step at a time.

But fitting is a little bit tricky. If you’ve never made pants before (I hadn’t), you may not know (I didn’t) that the first step is to cut out the size you think you need based on the pattern measurements, baste together the legs, yoke, and waistband with a long, temporary stitch, and try them on for fit.

Ginger Jeans

My first try I sewed the size 10, and right away I could see they were miles too long and I didn’t have a very good fit in the crotch or the back of the thighs. Closet Case has a Ginger Jeans Sewalong that addresses how to tackle fit issues like these and more. I adjusted the front crotch curve and took four whole inches (yeah, super short legs) out of the length and tried again.

The second basting was not perfect, and I was pretty discouraged. (I told you, fitting is the hardest part.) I still had lots of excess fabric in places and I was tired of spending so much time on fit. I decided to try a couple more things, sizing down to an 8 being one of them, and just to go ahead with them without doing a third basting. Heather from Closet Case has a really great philosophy about fit. It’s nice if you can get a perfect fit, but the goal in fitting handmade clothing should really be about improvement rather than perfection. I figured they’d turn out fitting at least as well as my store-bought jeans, so I embraced that idea and started sewing.

The actual sewing of the Ginger Jeans was FUN. They have these incredible pocket stays, the fly instructions were so easy to understand, and I felt like a legit sewing BOSS each step I completed.  I will say, I would not have been able to make these on my old sewing machine. My new Bernina is the real deal. It has a really awesome top-stitching stitch that made all this top stitching a breeze. It was also able to get through all the layers of this heavier denim. (P.S. Use a denim needle!) Also, ripping out heavy duty top stitching is no laughing matter, so make sure things are as they should be before you top stitch!

Ginger Jeans Party

It only took me a couple days after I started sewing to complete my jeans. I hit a snag when I ran out of top-stitching thread, and I had a little bit of unpicking I had to do here and there, but nothing terrible. At first I was really disappointed though because I thought they were going to be too tight. They were really snug when I first tried them on. But they’ve relaxed a bit, and hopefully as I stop eating all the Halloween candy, they’ll fit a bit better.

Ginger Jeans and Archer Shirt

I am really thrilled with these jeans. It was absolutely empowering to make something I never in my wildest sewing dreams thought was possible. They’re not perfect, but they’re mine, and I’m incredibly proud of them.

Here are some things I’d do differently next time (and there will definitely be a next time!). I debated a long time about buying the original Ginger Jeans pattern, which includes high rise and low rise options, or the midrise pattern, which is what I ultimately chose. I thought that it would be super high and I also never plan on making a low rise pair (because low rise pants are a fool’s game. What were we thinking in the early 2000s?!). Most of my ready-to-wear jeans are midrise, and I like that fit really well. But I wish I had gone with the high rise.

Ginger Jeans Back

I think I must have a longer rise than most people, and I have a long torso (and the shortest legs, man. Why couldn’t I have had the opposite?!), because the midrise Ginger Jeans do not hit me as high as I thought they would. I think the high rise would be just perfect. Luckily the midrise pattern has instructions for changing the rise, so I will try that next time.

For my waistband, I chose not to use interfacing and to line it with a cotton which I also used for my pockets. There are several options for the lining of your waistband, and I think next time I will line it with denim instead of the lining fabric. Mine is just a bit wrinkly and not as stable as I’d like.

Ginger Jeans Party

I also want to use a slightly lighter weight denim. This one is pretty hefty, which I love, but I think a 10 ounce or so would be just perfect. I am DYING to get my hands on a light wash denim. So far I can’t find quality stretch denim that is a medium or light blue wash anywhere, which is the only thing keeping me from making a second pair of Ginger Jeans right away. If you see any, point me in their direction!

Ultimately, I am so happy I decided to be brave and tackle this project. Completing these really made me feel like there’s nothing I can’t sew. Huge thanks to Rachel and Tiahna and also Threadbare Fabrics and Closet Case Files. I love my Ginger Jeans, not just because they’re a high quality pair of jeans, but because of what I learned and what I gained from sewing them. To anyone who may read this post, the one thing I hope you take away is this: be brave! Push yourself to try something scary and new. It doesn’t have to turn out perfectly, and you don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing when you start. You’ll learn so much along the way and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

Ginger Jeans Party

Happy sewing, loves!

The Dress Shirt

If you thought I was done with the Summer of Dresses because it’s now pretty much autumn (in my hemisphere, anyway), then you were wrong. I should call it Lifetime of Dresses probably. My next project also happens to be a dress. And oh, what a dress she is. The pattern is the Dress Shirt by Merchant and Mills. The fabric is the 2″ Carolina Gingham by Robert Kaufman in black and white. (I purchased both at Harmony Provo, a little jewel of a local shop.)  And the feeling is true love.

The Dress Shirt

Merchant and Mills classifies the Dress Shirt as a beginner pattern. While I think any confident and spunky beginner could definitely make this dress, there are a few parts that require extra time and care. The hardest part is the bib front and the bib lining. It’s just a big curve to sew and you’ll want to go slowly and make sure everything is lined up properly.

Side note: It’s called the Dress Shirt. But it’s a dress, and not a shirt, so I kept calling it the Shirt Dress. But then I was like…”That doesn’t sound right. (insert checking of the pattern yet again) Oh yeah. It’s the Dress Shirt. But wait, it’s not a shirt, it’s a dress….” and repeat. I’m insane probably, right? Yeah…

The Dress Shirt

I set myself extra challenges with this huge plaid print (which is so gorgeous I could kiss it on the mouth, by the way). It’s large enough and simple enough that it’s easy to see where you need to match, buuuuut that also makes it more noticeable when it doesn’t. So I had to give all that plaid matching a little more time. I decided to do the bib front and the back yoke on the bias for design purposes, but I cut the corresponding lining pieces on the straight grain to stabilize the bias pieces. My plaid doesn’t match everywhere, but I was pretty darn proud of my plaid matching on the front piece. I cut the sleeves identically on the plaid and the back yoke and all my pleats are fairly centered, which was no small feat.

The Dress Shirt, detail

This dress has a very loose, relaxed fit which makes it extremely comfortable to wear. I always have to be careful with these silhouettes though, because they can be a bit unflattering on me. I’m on the petite side and also pretty curvy, so I’ve gotta be careful with clothes that have volume. The first thing I did was make I chose a fabric that wasn’t too heavy. The Kaufman gingham is 100% cotton but really soft, light, and not stiff at all. I would stay away from anything super heavy, unless you’re tiny and can pull off the extra volume and boxy shape.

The Dress Shirt

The original pattern features a box pleat at the center under the bib front. For this version, I chose to invert the pleat so the fabric would move inward, for a more streamlined and flattering shape. The back of the dress is also gathered in the original pattern, and I instead sewed another inverted box pleat for the same reason. It took a little volume out of the dress and the pleats were just really well suited to the plaid print. This dress has a fabulous curved hem which gives it a beautiful shape but I added extra length by grading to the largest size at the very bottom so it wouldn’t be too short on the sides.

The Dress Shirt

Oh, and I added pockets, because duh. I always add pockets to my dresses if they don’t have them. Dresses always ought to have pockets if they possibly can.

The Dress Shirt

Seriously though, this dress makes me feel things. Happy things. I’m planning to live in it ALL YEAR LONG! I strategically chose the print, colors, and short sleeve so it works all year, because I knew I would love it so much. With tights, boots, and a cardigan, it will be perfect this fall and winter. Come next spring and summer, I can throw it on with sandals and be golden. Three cheers for the Dress Shirt!

P.S. My gorgeous friend Rachel took these fab photos for me. She sews, has an adorable Etsy shop, and is an awesome photographer, so check out her page over at Little Fish! A few of us seamstresses got together to take photos in the city (SO FUN). Made a nice change from my backyard, eh?

Summer of Dresses: the Tea House Dress

So maybe it’s not summer anymore? But it’s Indian Summer where I live, so I say the Summer of Dresses lives on! And this dress deserves its praises to be sung, you guys. I had originally intended to post about tons of dresses (a Summer of Dresses sounds like it has a lot of dresses involved), but you know, I moved. Instead I’ve been putting a lot of my heart and soul into working on my 1920s cottage. That old lady is high maintenance, I tell you.

Speaking of vintage treasures, I’ve got this new dress to show you. It’s the Tea House Dress pattern, by Sew House 7, and it’s got this 1930s day dress feel about it that I’m really in to these days. This dress was the very first project I made in my new (er, old) home. The Tea House Dress is what gave me back my sewjo, or “sewing mojo,” if you like. I was a little bit nervous about how this silhouette would look on me, but I don’t even care if it doesn’t look good. It FEELS good, and that’s good enough for me.

My Tea House Dress was crafted from Cotton and Steel’s lovely gingham in their Checkered collection. I scored some of this pretty medium gray on clearance at a local quilt shop and thought it would be just perfect for a dress in the last days of summer. You’ll notice that some of my pieces were cut on the bias; I wish I’d had enough to do the front yoke as well, but I squeezed every last bit of fabric out of the three yards that I had.

The nice thing about this pattern is that the fit is very forgiving, as it’s meant to be relaxed and it ties at the waist. If you love dress making but dread complicated fitting issues, this dress is a good bet. I didn’t have to muslin and I love the fit of my dress.

Sew House 7 classifies the Tea House Dress as an intermediate pattern, and I’d agree, but only because there are more pattern pieces than a basic dress would have, and you’re dealing with facings and things. That was the hardest part for me, stitching the facings in correctly. But the pattern is extremely well written with very clear directions, so as long as you follow the pattern, you’ll do just fine. It’s a good “intermediate” pattern to try if you feel like you might be a beginner but want something a little more challenging. No zippers or buttons, so that’s always nice.

You guys, I was not expecting to love this dress as much as I do. It’s like a prairie gingham dream, I tell you. I wore it to a concert with my sister Chloe (check her out on Etsy!) at the most beautiful venue that we have in Salt Lake City. (It was the Decemberists at Red Butte Garden, if you care about all the intricacies. Prettiest venue, one of my favorite bands of ever, and a lovely time to debut my new dress.) As we walked on the trail into the concert area I picked a wild sunflower and put it in my hair, because it just felt right, you know? This dress has summer magic.

I shook my quilt out on the grass and as I sat down, this girl in front of me said “You look like a dream in your gingham dress with your braid and flowers in your hair.” Then my sweet sister said “She made that dress herself! Last night!” and I confess it was a nice feeling when the girl and the surrounding people further marveled at my hard work. It’s nice to get compliments, isn’t it? And it’s even nicer to give them. It made me want to go about my life complimenting strangers because I think if more people did that, there would be more good vibes and less horribleness in the world.

But anyway, the Tea House Dress is true love.

I don’t have any photographic proof, but I wore this dress three times the first week I made it, and I got SO MANY COMPLIMENTS on it everywhere I went. Like, more compliments than I ever get on any of the clothes I make. It’s a special dress, I tell you, and only good things happen when I wear it (except for the fact that I spilled buffalo sauce on it, but I sprayed it and that mess came out, thank heavens.).

Make yourself a Tea House Dress (I’ve already made a second!) and please hop over to my lovely friend Nicole’s blog to see her Tea House Dress. It’s too good to miss and she has some great things to say about it as well. And maybe go out and compliment someone today. It’ll make more than one person feel happy.

Happy sewing, loves!

Stella Weekender Bag

This post is a love letter to my darling Stella Weekender bag. Ahem:

Dear Stella Weekender,

Oh beautiful Stella. My heart swells with pride whenever I carry you around and someone gasps and says “You made that?!” You were a labor of love and also of last-minute madness and also I probably shouldn’t have tried to make you in such a hurried fashion, but I just couldn’t help it. Once the idea took me that I needed to sew up a Stella, I was a girl possessed. I had to have you for my British Isles trip, so I slaved like a fiend to finish you in time. There were many hurdles, and many late nights spent in anguish, but I believe you were worth it. You saucy minx.

Your devoted admirer,

Vienna

Ha. But in all seriousness, the story of me+Stella is pretty crazy. A few months back, the husband and I went on the coolest trip ever to Ireland, Scotland, and England. It was our first big trip in a few years, on account of the babies we keep having, and we were both really excited to go. Since the only bags I own are diaper bags that have eternal crumbs and dum dum sucker sticks plastered to the insides, I got the idea to make myself a cute bag for my carry-on and to tote around Britannia.

Enter Stella Weekender. This pattern is by Swoon patterns and it’s PERFECTION. Such a well-written pattern, so beautifully designed, and all-around gloriousness in a bag. It’s rated as an intermediate/advanced pattern (3/4 on their scale) and I would agree with that. They specifically state that it’s not difficult, but time consuming. So of course deciding to make it a week before our departure on an international trip sounded like a great idea at the time. Spoiler alert: it was not. Not a great idea. Did I mention it’s the first bag or purse I’ve ever sewn? Because it was. Really bit off a lot to chew with this one.

Stella Weekender, In Progress

I ran into hurdle after hurdle making this bag. Accidentally printed the 30+ page pattern full color at a shop which cost me a fortune? Check. Bought the wrong zippers? Check. Bought the wrong snaps? Check. Ran all freaking over town looking for the right hardware? Check. Tried to take a shortcut and use half the required number of snaps, then having to unpick and resew the ENTIRE front panel when I realized that half the number of snaps was, gasp, not enough? Check. Lived in a constant state of fear that I was ruining two of my very favorite and long-hoarded fabrics? Check. Sewed the main compartment zipper incorrectly (the very last step, the NIGHT before our flight) so the zipper wouldn’t close and fear that the whole bag was useless? Check.

Never mind that I had other things I should have been doing, you know, like packing and caring for my children. I became a girl possessed and had to finish this bag. Lots of unpicking. Lots of self loathing.

Had I not been under such a terrible (self-inflicted) time constraint, this really wouldn’t have been a bad project at all. It was really satisfying to follow each step and see little by little how it came together into an awesome and totally professional looking bag. If you are smarter and less insane than I am, you can sew this bag like a champ. Order your hardware online, or collect things here and there, and you’ll be just fine. It seems intimidating, but it’s just a lot of steps, a lot of pattern pieces, and a LOT of interfacing. But just follow each step one at a time and you’ll be fine.

At the Airport with Stella

The Stella Weekender is a BIG bag. It was great for the long flight and the hours in the car. (We flew to Dublin, rented a car, drove to the Irish countryside, back to Dublin, flew to Scotland, rented another car, drove all around England. IT WAS AMAZING.) My cardi, a book, my knitting project, wallet, passport, huge stash of British sweets (Cadbury, yo. Also rhubarb and custards.) and then some all fit in my bag. It has an interior pocket that I actually split into two to keep it from being floppy, two side pockets (that fit a water bottle!), and the exterior zipper compartment and two snapped pockets you see on the front panel. There’s also a pocket on the back.

The only problem was that once I had it all packed it was far too heavy to cart around all day. We did a ton of walking and lots of places like museums won’t let you take big bags in anyway, so I mostly left it in the car and took nothing with me. As a longtime lover of carrying all my stuff with me like Mary Poppins, this made me feel a little sad, but there’s no way I could’ve lugged it all over. I really wanted pictures of it with famous British landmarks too, so it’s a shame I didn’t get any. That’s probably the most insane sentence ever typed. The day and age we live in, amiright?

Stella Weekender: The Inside Look

That being said, it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I used my tiger canvas from Cotton and Steel’s very first collection (squirreled away in my stash for years) and decided to pair it with some Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs canvas for contrast. If you cut my heart open to see what fabric combination was inside, it would be this one. That makes no sense, except for it does. These two fabrics are true love. For the lining I used this hounds tooth quilting cotton I’ve had forever. Happily there were leftovers to make a zipper pouch from the floral (pictured above) and this rad toiletry bag from the tigers. I roughly followed this tutorial to make the boxy pouch. I made it bigger though so I could fit all my crap.

Matching Toiletry Bag

Now I use my Stella Weekender as my traveling sewing bag, and it’s perfect for that. Fits fabric, a pattern or two, my smaller rulers, scissors, pin cushion, snacks (not as much Cadbury to be had here, alas) and more. I thought about using it as my new diaper bag, but I just can’t bear to subject it to such a disgusting and sticky fate.But I’d consider making a second one as a diaper bag, should I ever need a new one. (Will I have another babe? Depends on the day. And who you ask.) Anyway, that’s another topic for another time.

In conclusion, I really love my Stella Weekender bag. I’m absurdly proud of it, probably because making it was so stressful (again, MY fault!) that it probably took two years off my life. A real piece of my soul is in that bag. Like a horcrux. Except I didn’t murder anyone, promise. I want to make another bag soon; I purchased this pattern to try a smaller one, which I probably should have attempted BEFORE I did this larger and more complicated bag, but I always dive into projects with wanton abandon and foolish optimism. It usually kinda pays off.

Summer of Dresses: The Emery Dress

Summer of Dresses: The Emery Dress

Welcome back to my summer of dresses! At the end of summer! Today I’m talking about the Emery Dress by Christine Haynes. I started writing this post in July, when I actually sewed this particular dress, but then we moved and my life was over. Just kidding. I’m fine. But seriously moving is the worst. We’re in our new house now (and by new, I really mean super old, because it was built in 1925) and I’m slowly but surely getting settled in.

I was initially going to just skip this dress and pretend the summer never happened on the old blog, but the Emery Dress is too good to be missed.  Designed by the incredibly talented Christine Haynes, the Emery Dress is a vintage inspired fit and flair dress with darts in the waist, bust and back shoulders for a fitted look and nipped in waist with a full gathered skirt and glorious pockets for added fabulosity.

I actually made my first Emery two years ago for my baby sister for her to wear for her engagement photos. Here she is in all her cuteness. She chose this fabulous print designed by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel. Hummingbirds!


I was pregnant at the time, and I almost made myself one to wear to her wedding, but obviously would have and to make several modifications. Not quite sure how to go about that, I emailed Christine Haynes and she gave me the best response! She told me to do a full bust adjustment, remove the waist darts, and shorten the bodice for a sort of empire waist that would be maternity friendly. I didn’t end up making the dress because my sister found a ready to wear dress for me, but I was so impressed that Christine responded with such helpful advice.  I thought I’d include that here for anyone who might want to make a bump-friendly Emery Dress.

Anyway, back to present day. I decided to make myself an Emery because I’ve been wanting one so badly ever since. But as pregnancy and nursing and all that jazz do strange things to one’s bod, I decided to wait until now.

I won a fantastic contest from fabric.com for last year’s Sewvember. (YAY!) With my store credit I chose this darling strawberry print in the navy colorway by Kim Kight for Cotton and Steel. (If you don’t like Cotton and Steel, you best look elsewhere. Because obviously I’m a bit of a fan girl for those guys.)

I sewed up my Emery just in time for the 4th of July!

And it’s love. This silhouette is my ultimate favorite for dresses. I love the vintage vibes and I just feel like it’s flattering on most people and so feminine.

This pattern is one of the most well-written patterns I’ve ever sewn. The directions are superb and extra clear. This is a more intermediate pattern because of the darts and the lining and invisible zip and all that stuff means lots of steps. Everything was easy to follow and understand. If you consider yourself a beginner apparel sewer but would like to tackle something a little more involved, the Emery Dress is a great pattern for you. It’s easy to follow and it’s also drafted really, really well.

Let’s chat about the modifications I made, and the ones I would make in the future. I would absolutely 100% recommend doing a muslin for this pattern. It’s supposed to be quite fitted and the better the fit, the prettier it will be. I chose not to do a muslin because I had tried on my sisters as best I could in my early pregnant state and I thought it would be fine. It is fine, but there are a few fit issues.

It’s not obvious to others probably, but my dress is too large in the shoulders and arm scye. I almost always have to size down in those areas and grade up in the bust and waist because I have a petite frame. My bust and waist measurements always put be in a larger size brackets (on account of the childbearing) but if I make the size I fall into it’s always too big. I believe my measurements put me at a 10, so I made an 8, and I still think I need to do a 6 in the shoulders and arms. But fit issues and all, I still love this sweet strawberry dress.

I also added length to mine, as the pattern falls at or just above the knee, and I like my skirts below the knee for all my baby chasing. Maybe I’ll shorten the sleeves a little next time, just for a different look. Or maybe I’ll do the long sleeves (the pattern comes with those!) There is also the option for a cute Peter Pan collar (and we know I’m obsessed with those) so I think that’ll be my next attempt.

I hope you liked reading about my experience making the Emery Dress. Check out the #emerydress on Instagram to see about a billion gorgeous version, and as always, let me know if you have questions! Happy sewing!

Summer of Dresses: The Réglisse Dress

I’ve come to the decision that this is to be the Summer of Dresses. I’ve been up to lots of dressmaking and have several more dress patterns I’ve been dying to try. Couple that with the fact that dresses are perfection for summer heat, and you’ve got the Summer of Dresses. It’s official. Okay it’s totally not, but it can be official in my own little world, no?

I haven’t exactly worked out all the details yet, but my rough plans are to sew and wear lots of dresses and feature them here on le blog. If any of you lovely dressmakers out there would like to join in, that would be fab!

First up in my Summer of Dresses lineup is the Réglisse Dress from Deer and Doe Patterns! I adore Deer and Doe. I absolutely love the styles of French sewing pattern designs. (No surprise. If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a Francophile.) They are so different from what most people wear and have gorgeous feminine elements and shapes. If you have never sewn anything from Deer and Doe, I highly recommend them! They even have a fantastic FREE pattern, the Plantain Tee, which is one of the very first things I ever sewed for myself. You can download the PDF for that one here (you’ll need to create an account with Deer and Doe) and then you’ll be hooked.


The Réglisse is a sweet, ultra-feminine style dress that has a lovely vintage vibe. I bought the pattern about six months ago; I had been searching for something like it and once I came across the Réglisse Dress, it was true love I tell you. In fact, I almost exclusively use PDF patterns because of cost and convenience, but the Réglisse was my very first purchase of a paper pattern AND I ordered it all the way from France. That’s how much I had to have it.

The instructions for the pattern come in both French and English, and they are extremely clear and easy to follow. The Réglisse is rated an intermediate pattern, and I would agree with that simply because it has lots of pattern pieces and techniques, including shoulder yokes, bust darts, and of course the darling bow neck collar. BUT there are no closures, so if you’re intimidated by zippers or buttons, this might be a good intermediate pattern to try. It’s simply a matter of following all the instructions.

I didn’t make many changes at all to the pattern. Some added length to the skirt was a must because I like my dresses and skirts to fall below the knee. Initially, I tried to change the sleeves up because I was worried they wouldn’t have the coverage I like. I cut a sleeve pattern from another dress and tried to sub it in, but that didn’t work very well at all. The Réglisse has pretty large openings for the sleeves, and the cap sleeve pattern is really the best fit for the silhouette of the dress. Once I’d made it, I realized that the shoulders are wider than most bodices so even though the sleeves are quite petite, it actually gave me enough coverage. I may try to add more fabric in the underarm area next time I make this dress, just to lend a bit more coverage there.

I sewed my Réglisse in a lovely gray clip dot fabric by Michael Miller Fabrics I bought from fabric.com. It looks like they no longer have the gray, but it comes in black or white, both of which would be lovely for the Réglisse! The fabric was perfect for a light summer dress. It’s so floaty and feminine!


Love my little eye-patch wearing, Gogurt-eating assistant! Here you can kind of see the sleeve issues I was talking about. I wore a Down East Wonder Tee underneath and it gave me a bit more coverage without showing too much.

I’m going to get a lot of wear out of this dress this summer. Yesterday was quite warm and I wore it all day and loved it. Plus I think with tights and a cardigan it’ll be just perfect in winter as well, so the Réglisse Dress is an absolute triumph in my book. C’est magnifique!

Pattern Hacking

Hey lovelies! I’m current across the pond in the U.K. (you can follow my adventures on Instagram @thelatesew) but I wanted to pop in and let you know some details about my next round of sewing classes I’ll be teaching at Thimbles and Threads this month! These ones are all about pattern hacking our good old favorite Scout Tee by Grainline Studio. 

Peter Pan collar Scout Tee

I’ll be teaching you how to take one sewing pattern (the Scout Tee, in this case) and change it round to get at least ten different looks! You can use pattern hacking to make dresses and a variety of different tops to build a whole wardrobe with just one pattern. 

Make dresses, add ruffles, a collar, and more and I’ll give everyone in the class detailed instruction on how to create ten different great pattern hacks. 

Ruffle Scout TeeScout Dress
Come to the class planning on making one version of the pattern but going home with the instructions for all! You most certainly can and should take this class even if you didn’t take my first class. I’d love to have you! If you’ve never made the basic Scout Tee, I’d recommend starting with that, but I can still help you with that and show you how to do the pattern hacks. 

If you’re a confident beginning sewer and you’d love to make some handmade clothing, I would love to have you in my class! Sign up here!!!

Scout Dress

Taking The Late Sew on the (wrong side of the) Road!

I’ve got some huge, exciting, British news. That’s right. Get ready for The Late Sew’s British Isles Adventure!


In one week from today, Mr. Late Sew and I are headed on the trip of a lifetime!

Let me back up to explain how this came about. Last fall, I was visiting my parents when I received a phone call from my husband. He said, “I’m about to do something very irresponsible.” Cue the horror, right? First you must know that my husband is a wizard at getting amazing travel deals. Amazing. It’s a talent I’ve never seen matched. But it’s been years since we’ve gone on a trip, because, you know, life and stuff.

ANYWAY, he found some absolutely incredible flights to Europe. Like, cheaper than lots of domestic flights. It was insane. There were several cities included, and we deliberated for a bit about where we might want to go. One of the options was Dublin, and we decided that we could fly there, spend a few days in Ireland, and then make the tour of Scotland, England, and maybe Wales. A British Isles Grand Tour!

I’m pretty much obsessed with all things British. I studied British literature in college (and I’m a Ravenclaw for life), we love British music,  both of our ancestries have huge Irish and British origins, and pretty much everything I watch is produced by the BBC. We cannot wait. We’re renting a car and driving all around (on the wrong side of the road, yikes!) and it’s going to be absolutely brilliant. Really smashing.


So that’s where we’re headed! We’ll be leaving in a week, I’ve got loads to do, I’m super overwhelmed, I’m sad to be leaving my babies, but I’m also INCREDIBLY excited. We’ve got some amazing things on our itinerary, and are going to try our best to see and do as much as we possibly can.

I’m also going to be sharing tons of handmade clothing I’ll be wearing on our trip, including a few things I’m feverishly sewing last minute, in true Vienna fashion. We’ll see how much I get done!


This quilt is the Victory Garden pattern. I made this almost four years ago for my husband for his birthday. I actually brought it with me to give it to him at the hospital because our little boy was born three days before my husband’s birthday. He saw the quilt rolled up and thought it was for the baby, but it was for him! It’s probably the coolest quilt I’ve ever made. I kind of want to pack it so we can take pictures of it over there, but maybe that’s insane? Still might do it…

I would love to hear any suggestions you have for things we must do. I’ve got a few sewing stops on my wish list, and I’m hoping to share some of our adventures along the way. I plan on getting a few posts written while we’re there, but be sure to follow along @thelatesew on Instagram to see all of our grand and lovely British adventures! Pip pip, cheerio, darlings!

Rosa and Rosie Patterns + Giveaway!!!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

The winner of the Rosa and Rosie Patterns is…..

Antoinette Brown!!!

Congratulations Antoinette! I hope you love your new patterns! I’ll be sending you an email to set up your prize. For the rest of you lovelies who entered, thank you so much! I really expected to get like five entries, and I was blown away by all the love and kind comments. Thank you all so much. Please stick around for more sewing fun and more giveaways in the future!

Original Post

Hey friends! Today I’m really excited to share with you the Rosa and Rosie patterns, my new favorite top patterns these days. Kate of  See Kate Sew has been releasing all sorts of fantastic new patterns over the last few weeks. I’m pleased to present my versions of her Rosa top for women and the matching Rosie top for little girlies! I’ll be sharing some details of the patterns, but if you’d rather skip my ramblings, there’s a giveaway at the end of the post!

The Rosa Top is a loose, flowy, knit peplum top with a high-low hemline. It’s got dolman sleeves (the easiest kind to sew!) and the option for long sleeves as well. The recommended fabrics are light to mid-weight knits. It doesn’t have to be super duper stretchy, because the fit is so relaxed, but you want it have a lovely drape. This vibrant floral is from Girl Charlee, and I wish I had bought more, because it’s divine, and perfect for the Rosa.

I love this top. The fit is easy and forgiving; you can throw it on with jeans or leggins and be comfortable but still look put together. It’s super cute for maternity as well, and it makes a fantastic nursing top because it’s roomy enough to pull up AND cover your baby. I’m always on the lookout for patterns that are as flexible and transitional as this one.

Kate has also designed the Rosie Top, which is the mini-me version of the Rosa and it is EVERYTHING, I tell you! I was lucky enough to test this pattern for her, and I loved it so much on my little flower that I made her three right away. It is the PERFECT little girls’ top. It comes in sizes 18 months-10 and it’s SOOOOO fast and easy to sew.

This girl is obsessed with flamingos, so I made her this one in this lovely cotton jersey flamingo knit. I added a couple inches in length to the peplum skirt, just because she’s a tall little lady. I also like her clothes to last as long as possible, especially the ones I make for her. (P.S. I promise I’m not picking my nose here. I just couldn’t NOT use this photo, because of how fab Nolie looks.)

Rosa and Rosie Tops

These little mommy-and-me versions are from a lightweight jersey knit also from Girl Charlee. It looks like this one isn’t available anymore, but there are lots of great prints that would be perfect for a Rosa or a Rosie. Or both, as it were.

Kate’s patterns are some of my very favorites to sew, and were among the first I ever made when I started out making clothes. I love Kate’s style and designs and her patterns are really well written, with clear and helpful illustrations. They come in PDF format and are really simple to print at home and tape together.

Both the Rosa and the Rosie patterns are really well drafted for great shape and a comfortable, flattering fit. I haven’t tried the long-sleeved version yet, because it’s starting to heat up fast here in Utah, but I’m sure that come fall I will be making a few! You can buy each one seperately (Rosa for women, Rosie for littles), or you can buy them together in the bundle and save.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!

Kate has generously offered to give one lucky reader a copy of BOTH the Rosa and the Rosie patterns, so you can sew a couple up for yourself! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. For an additional entry, follow Kate (@seekatesew) and me (@thelatesew) on Instagram. Leave an additional comment to say you follow us both. Winner will be announced Monday, April 24th. Good luck, and happy sewing!

Pattern Review: The Millie Dress

I simply must tell you all about my new favorite little girls’ pattern: the Millie Dress, by Mix it and Make it. It really and truly has been a miracle in my life. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We had our family photo session scheduled for the first week of January. Our holiday season is crazier than most, because it’s like all of our birthdays and our anniversary, so I was frantically trying to clean my house, survive the holiday aftermath and exhaustion, and decide what in the world we were all going to wear for pictures. The boys’ outfits weren’t too hard to decide upon, but I was really struggling over what my little girl should wear.

She recently graduated from the toddler section in most clothing brands. And the big girl section is a sad, terrible place. It’s twice the price for half as cute. I literally cried the first time I tried to shop in the older girls’ section at Target. It was so horrible. But I could go on a super long tirade about this issue, and that would take away from the magic of the Millie Dress, so moving on…

I decided to make her something to wear since I knew that finding her something in stores would be depressing and/or expensive. I was trying to decide on a pattern and a fabric, and was feeling super overwhelmed. Did I mention that this was less than a week before our pictures? It was.

Having gone over all the patterns I already had, and all of my favorite sources for little girls’ patterns I had no ideas. Everything was either too fancy, or too plain. I wanted something simple, comfortable, and cute, but also special and unique. I happened to be scrolling along through Instagram when I saw this incredibly darling little dress. It was everything I’d been looking for! Through a bunch of hashtag hopping, I finally found the source of the pattern. It was seriously an answer to my prayers, as silly as it may sound to pray over a dress for pictures. But I did, and it was.

The Millie Dress is a FREE pattern, in sizes 3-6. There is no photo tutorial, and it’s a little more involved than your basic dress, but there are instructions on the blog as well as the pattern pieces you can download. Because this pattern is originally written in Dutch, the measurements for cutting your fabric are metric, but you can easily just look up the conversions to inches if you’d rather. I made a muslin to make sure it would fit my rather tall five year old (because maybe Dutch chickadees are tiny?) and then once I knew it would work, I frantically tried to track down the perfect fabric.

The Millie dress is for knit fabrics, (though I think I’m going to attempt to make a woven version soon) and I decided to make it up in this flamingo fabric by Rae Hoekstra for Cloud9 Fabrics. This line is adorable and my flamingo-loving girl just had to have her Millie Dress in this sweet fabric. Plus I though it expressed her individuality without being too flashy for family pictures. I wanted it! But I needed to find a place that I could get it ASAP. Lo and behold! I found some from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy, and was so excited because she is local to my area and let me do local pickup even though it was a raging blizzard that day. If you’ve never shopped Raspberry Creek Fabrics before, it’s time that you did. Their selection is amazing and they are so great to work with. It looks like she’s out of my flamingo fabric, but she’s got tons of other lovelies!

I had my fabric, had my pattern, and it was time to whip up that dress speedy fast like. Then it was picture time, and boy did this little dress fulfill all my wildest dreams. (stunning family photos by the fabulous Meg.)

Twirling


I’m so in love with this dress, and so is my girl babe. I made the ruffle extra wide on this one, because, big huge ruffles, duh, and I added two inches to the bottom of the bodice because she’s a tall gal. Instead of hemming the neckline as the pattern suggests, I added a neckband because. I prefer the finish of a neckband with knits, and it’s easy to add one. After seeing this beauty, I immediately cut two more Millies for my girl so I could fill her wardrobe with handmade sweetness and not have to resort to the sequined kittens of the dreaded big girl section.

Millie Dress Floral

This sweet floral number is too good to be true. It’s so soft and sweet and I love her in this pink. Fabric is from Knitpop and it’s a dreamy double brushed poly knit. This stuff is super popular right now; it’s what a certain direct sales clothing company makes their lovely leggings from. It looks like Knitpop is out of this particular print, but they have tons of amazing and gorgeous prints to choose from. They ship FAST too, so I highly recommend them for knit apparel fabrics.

I mean, seriously. Adorable. She’s ridiculous, by the way, took us a million years to get a picture where she wasn’t making crazy faces, but we got there in the end.

Millie Dress Leopard

This version is a little different and I’m really excited about it for summer! I love this leopard print knit from Girl Charlee (one of my longtime favorites for knits!) and I’ve had it in my stash forever. I went with short sleeves and had to do the ruffles in black because I had barely enough fabric. It’s lightweight and easy to move in, perfect for playtime this spring and summer.

Millie Dress Leopard

I love the way my little lady looks in the Millie Dress. I’m planning on making loads more, especially since she’ll need a new wardrobe for Kindergarten in a few months (I’m already dreading it!). Anyway, I highly recommend the Millie Dress pattern! It’s darling, it’s FREE, and it’s really just everything I wanted in a sweet little girls’ dress. Check out #milliedress on Instagram to see a whole lot of cuteness and get inspired to make your own!