It was so much fun the first time…

Project: Everyone needs one!
Pattern: New Look 6124
Size: 12
Fabric: Poly-Rayon blend

So I did it again!


Every girl needs a dark colored dress, right? New Look 6124’s nice fit and easy construction gave me a wonderful opportunity to add one to my closet!

This dress had to be easy to wear and ready to go at a minute’s notice.  After I wear it, I want to be able to throw it in the washing machine then pull it out of the dryer onto a hanger.  I certainly didn’t want to spend a lot of time at the ironing board prior to wearing it, so I went looking for some of what JoAnn’s used to call “Casablanca Linen” in black or navy blue.

They apparently don’t sell that anymore.

This “linen” is a shinier, more difficult fabric that I didn’t enjoy sewing.  I must say my press cloth earned its keep for this dress.

Despite the pressing difficulties, I really like this dress and will get a lot of use from it.  A quick trip to the closet turned up several options, and I didn’t even try very hard!


The Wedding Guest

Project: The Wedding Guest dress
Pattern: New Look 6124
Size: 12
Fabric: Linen

Dress in action

The last details you heard about the dress were that my fabric was ruined, right? Oh, I didn’t tell you that?

When I pulled my fabric out of the dryer, I found a couple of black spots. I thought it was only in one area, but as I was ironing I found small black spots on one side and large black repeating marks on the other.

(Why didn’t I see any of that when the lady was cutting it?)

I very worried that they wouldn’t take it back since I had washed it.  I even tried to lay out the pattern and avoid the spots, but there was no way.

The rust fabric matched my shawl so well that I hoped there would be two good yards left on the bolt.  Not so.  The remainder of the bolt was ruined, too.


And I couldn’t find *anything* else locally that would work with the shawl my SIL gave me.

Double Ugh.

Sunday I decided to pull out stash fabrics until I found *something* that would work–even if I had to pick another pattern that wouldn’t require a wrap. Naturally I didn’t find fabric the right color, but I did find another shawl.

And 2 yards of red linen that matched well enough.  Whew!

All week long I worked. I added lining, and changed the zip to invisible. And I worked. And I ripped. And I sewed. And I put all housework aside. And I sewed some more. I (finally) finished the dress late on Friday afternoon and gave it a pressing around 8 that evening.

When I tried it on with the newly-discovered shawl, I realized that it worked better with the original one!


I didn’t get any photos before the ensemb had ridden all day in the car and did the things wedding guests do…sorry. I doubt I’ll be giving it a good pressing before it’s called into action again, so I took some wrinkly shots.

Finished front

The front of the bodice had the little v at the neckline, which I adored on the pattern. I wanted to get it just right so I photocopied the pattern piece and used it as a stitching guide when I sewed the lining to the dress.

Stitching guide

That worked out perfectly, so I hope I’ll remember to do that in future.

The little peplum (peplums?) were a lot of fun, too.



And here are all three pieces. I quickly whipped up the little wristlet from scraps, blindly following the tutorial I found at Fairy Face Designs.  It was just right to hold essentials and I loved being able to hold it with just a wrist.

Front w shawl and bag

June Review

Oh!  I almost forgot my June Review! Let’s see, there were four:

Giraffe print jacket Satin Tunic McCall's shift Birthday dress

They are the Burda WOF Giraffe print jacket, which I’ve both reviewed and blogged, the Burda WOF Satin tunic top, ditto, a blue linen shift which now resides in the Goodwill bag due to its open neckline, and my New Look 6799 birthday dress.  You can click on the photos to go to the blog or gallery entry about the garment.

The blue linen shift is McCall’s 5875, and is a nice dress for summer.  I’ve worn it twice, but both times felt exposed by the open neckline.  I’ll let someone else enjoy it from now on.  If I make it again, I’ll substitute the perfect neckline from another dress pattern I have.  (You haven’t seen it.  It’s a Butterick pattern from 1998.)  I doubt I’ll use it again, however, as there are plenty of shifts in the catalog and most more interesting than this one.

Four simple garments a month is apparently the most I can swing right now.  That’s fine.  I’m delighted that I’m getting that much done–it just doesn’t seem like much as time goes by.  Mr H feels the same way about his recovery.  He doesn’t realize how much progress he’s made until we look back over what he’s learned each month.

The Mr is able to walk with a hemi-walker now, and, with coaching, say a few words:  yes, no, socks, shoes, please, light, I, me, my, you.  He takes care of all his daily grooming without any help from me.  Plus he can use his wheelchair to do some housework:  He’s a whiz at unloading the dishwasher and he’s even mastered the new washing machine.

We’re both very thankful.

New Look 6799

New Look 6799

At last! I was beginning to think I’d never finish.  Every time I’d plan to work on it, something else in my world would require my full attention–and that invisible zipper was the pits. They may look nice finished, but, please.  Give me a nice lapped zipper any day of the week.

The source of my zipper woes was the back skirt piece, #14 in the scan.

back skirt piece

The left hand side of #14 is the center back seam.  See how it curves a little bit?  It doesn’t look like much in the drawing, but it gave me two problems.  First, I don’t curve right there.  I used to curve right there until my knees forced me to quit riding the bicycle.  Now I have no need for a curved center back seam.

Of course I did not notice the curve until I sewed the zipper.

That curve gives you a slightly bias, easily stretched edge.  And it’s especially easy to stretch in lightweight cotton denim.  The first time I sewed the lower portion of the zipper and tried on the dress, I had a little pooch where the zipper pointed outward.  It looked like I was growing a puppy dog’s tail back there.

Out it came.

I kept at it until I eased the curve onto the zipper with a nice, smooth result.  Then I tried the dress on again.  This time there was no tail, but the back of my dress hung in vertical folds where that curve is.  I tried pinning out the excess in the two adjacent vertical seams, but it didn’t look as good as I wanted it to look.  The excess needed to come out of the center back seam where I had already sewn that miserable zipper.

Out it came again.

Finally after several days of this (10 minutes at a time), I got the zipper in to my satisfaction and was able to finish the rest of the dress. A day or two later, I had enough couch time for hemming and sewing on buttons.

I like it very much, and I expect to forget all the zipper pain the first time I wear it.

Not much sewing :-(

After I posted the pattern for the turquoise dress I’m working on last week, everything conspired to keep me away from my machines.  I couldn’t get 5 minutes to stack together.  I was finally able to do a little work late yesterday.

At the zipper, I hesitated.  The dress pattern wanted an invisible zipper, and I seldom use those.  I needed a little memory-refresher to get me going again.  The Bernina doesn’t have an invisible zipper foot, but I knew from experience that it could be done without one.  I just couldn’t recall the process.  Sigrid’s sewing tutorials to the rescue!

Standard Buttonhole foot #3

Chiefly, I used Els’ tutorial to sew it, and Summerset’s method of keying the zipper to get my dress’ horizontal seams aligned to my satisfaction.  I pressed those coils flat and pinned the thing in place.  I found that my Bernina zipper foot did not allow me to both hold the zipper in place and stitch close to the coils.  As soon as I removed a pin, the foot would nudge the zipper off the seam allowance and onto the body of the dress. I could have hand-basted the zipper in place first, but I’m not really a basting kind of a girl.  I can and will baste, but only as a last resort.

I decided to try another foot instead.

Any foot I used must be able to ride along the zipper coil plus have a wide opening to allow the needle to shift close to the coil.  I immediately thought of the manual buttonhole foot that I had bought last year.  It seemed perfect, and as it turned out, was!

Not only did the foot keep the zipper tape in place along the center back without pushing it outward, the groove in the bottom of the foot kept the coil steady as I stitched.  If you click on the image at the right (which I borrowed from the Bernina site, btw), you’ll be able to see a video which shows the underside of the foot.  It has audio, so turn the volume down if you don’t want people around you to be entertained (and I use the term loosely) by the overview of the foot’s features.

Next time you sew an invisible zipper, you might consider using such a foot–especially if you have trouble getting your stitching close enough to the zipper coil, as I do.

The dress’ sewing order does not lend itself to fitting as you go.  I suspected that it would be a little large at the back hip.  After I got the zipper installed, I saw loose folds in back.  (My mother has a good ole Southern expression for this condition, which I’ll leave to your imagination.)  Naturally the position of the folds indicated that the center back seam would be the best place to take it in.


I suppose I’ll be ripping the lower half of my zipper–below the pesky horizontal seams to make it a little smaller there.   I don’t mind a little ripping and restitching to make the dress look just right, so I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

The dress is looking good.  Mr H gave me the thumbs up to say that he liked it. ;-)