Sunday, October 8, 2017

Something different, Butterick 5861 top in poly chiffon

Every once in a while I try to step out of my style rut. It could be trying a new silhouette, sometimes it means sewing up a different color than I would normally wear, or even a different fabric than I typically use. This blouse seems to fit into all 3 of those categories, as it is definitely a new shape, in a new-to-me shade, and a fabric I haven't sewn with in quite a while.

bow blouse 1a

I made this pattern a few months ago for someone else, and after I finished it I gave it a quick try-on just to see how it looked. Kind of interesting, was my initial reaction so I make some copies of the pattern, gave the original back to the owner and set it aside with the intention of finding some nice silk. However one day I was at Stone Mountain and found this polyester fabric in their upstairs bargain section, so for about $ 7 I figured it was worth a try. Since I wasn't entirely sold on the actual pattern. While I suppose it is a blue, it is an awfully tepid shade, I see it as grey. Although friend came over and saw it on the dress form, and said "I love that shade of teal blue". So I guess it is in the eye of the beholder what color things appear.

A better look at it on the dress form. This fabric is on the sheer side, not see-through but more like chiffon than not. You can see where the layer is doubled, at the shoulder yoke and down the front button bands where it's more opaque.

bow blouse front on form

And this pattern has a lot of details. A surprising lot of details but that's what made it interesting to sew, and I think makes it look appealing when worn. It has raglan sleeves that attach into shoulder yokes, a button band which has a slight angle right at the top to create that V opening. And then there is the pleating. All those tiny pleats. Which are also on a slight angle, not straight lines. QUITE a task to sew and don't look to closely. Not exactly precisely even but I don't think anyone will ever notice.

And then the back has some gathers at the neckline, and then a section at the center back where you stitch with elastic thread to create the ruching, plus it has vertical darts. Like I said, a lot of details. Which perhaps would show better in a solid color fabric but I think a print makes it easier to sew the little pleats in the front.

bow blouse back view on form

Butterick 5861 envelope

Here's the pattern envelope. I think it is a few years old - maybe even 4 or 5 but fits into that boho style that is trending now.  I didn't copy the other version, it looks a bit shapeless for my taste and has that elastic stitching on the sleeves instead of the flat yoke pieces.

Speaking of shapeless, I sewed this a few months ago, and have worn it once but it felt so loose and too blousey on me. The other day I tried it on again and decided to take it in all along the side seams up to part of the sleeve. So I took out a seam about 1 inch wide on each side, tapering away to the middle of the seam under the sleeve. Much better, that raised the armhole considerable, and took out a total of about 4 inches in circumference.

bow blouse back

bow blouse 5

So now it's still loose and flowy but I don't feel like I'm swimming in it. And I made a size 12 with no adjustments, my usual size so it really is a loose style to start with.

bow blouse front close up on form

There's a look at all those little pleats down the front. They came out a bit wobbly on each version I have sewn, one in polyester and one in silk chiffon which I forgot to photograph. But that silk one was a challenge, although it came out nicely in the end.

bow blouse6

This is my go-to outfit when the weather cools off. A t-shirt or a top, some ankle length pants or jeans and loafers. Not quite dressing for autumn but in the evenings it is getting cooler. Ok we're still wearing shorts and sandals in the day so I can't complain. Ooo I don't like it when it starts getting dark early.

So that's I have to say about this blouse, still not wild about it but perhaps now that I took it in I will like it more. To me the color is a bit drab, and the print/color/fabric combo are kind of geriatric to me.
Also the neckline is just suited for this time of year, in about 3 weeks I will be wearing sweaters and lots of layers. Perhaps it is my short haircut but my neck is always cold once summer fades.

Onward to the next thing. I am sewing up the Waffle Patterns Bamboo coat that I started for my Jacket class at a very leisurely pace, which is rather pleasant. We have another session of that class scheduled for Sat/Sun Dec 16-17. Maybe for that one I will make the one of the other patterns for one of the owners of the studio. Because I don't need any more coats! Although I will have another gorgeous coat in the works before this year ends - a little hint - my favorite European Indie designer has created another gorgeous one so I plan to sew that up for a friend.

I saw on IG that Stone Mountain just got in a shipment of interesting printed silks so I think I will pop over there this week and check it out.  Other than that I plan to make some new long sleeve tees and maybe a new dress before the holidays.

This is the time of year to stay out of the chain fabric stores - the once a year Halloween costume sewers are in full force and while I have some pity for them I don't want to be in line behind them at the cutting table :)

Happy October Sewing, Beth

The garden is looking very crispy and uninteresting this time of year, however it was a great year for all my annuals, lots of blooms and this white petunia is still pushing out all kind of flowers. It's visible next to my feet in the pictures above. Some years the petunias are better than others and this year was a good one. Unlike the tomatoes - everyone had trouble with those but that is a story for another time.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Giveaway winners and some questions answered

Thank you all for telling me what is the sewing step that you dread. It's really helpful to hear about which techniques cause trepidation. In fact in my sewing class last weekend we did a bit of sample sewing on scraps which always helps to get familiar with the technique on the specific fabric.

From the comments I see that the common feature among them is things that are front and center of a garment - with the top 3 being these
  1. Buttonholes
  2. V-necks in knit and woven (I will agree, this is a tricky thing that take some practice)
  3. Collars, collar bands, buttonholes in the collar band.
I just added a page to my blog with a list and links to all my Craftsy sewing blog posts.  I'm starting to accumulate quite a few step-by-step tutorials there with enough to have subcategories on various topics. So note the link up top Sewing Tutorials on the Craftsy Blog, which will take you to that list. I'll add new ones as they are posted. 

I've written a couple of things about collars with some good photos so I hope those are helpful. As for buttonholes - now I have some ideas for new posts so those will be written in the next few months.

Now for the winners of my little giveaway! Please email me and let me know where send them.

     Denise in Canada - the New Look 6374 pattern

     Lyndle  - a pair of Frixon pens

     Diane Menard  - a pair of Frixon pens

Here's a picture I posted on Instagram after last weekend's jacket making class at Hello Stitch Studio. Kathy (who came up from LA for the weekend class !!) was making a white wool version of a pattern I have made, (my green wool jacket) and it's going to be so pretty. I did a demo of the buttonholes and then she made some practice ones on a scrap (which is a MUST in my view). And good thing - spot the problem.  On the wrong side of the fabric, interfacing up :)  However she got over that practice hurdle and the real ones are a thing of beauty!

buttonhole practice

We have another session of the Jacket Essentials weekend class scheduled for December 16 & 17. 
And a new class, Copying an existing Garment on Dec 2 so that will be fun. I already know what I am going to use for my demonstration item and it will be a treat. Here's a link to all the Garment sewing classes at Hello Stitch Studio.

Speaking of posts on the Craftsy sewing blog, I had two posted this week which might be useful.

princess seam matched up correctly

How to Match Seams up Correctly on a Pattern 
See that little pointy piece sticking out in the armhole? It looks kind of strange but is actually correct...

jeans composite edited

How to turn old Wide-leg jeans into Skinny jeans
Maybe not exactly skinny, but slim legged. I have already operated on all the jeans and pants in my closet that I wanted to convert, so I went to the thrift store in search of some boot-cut jeans. And sometimes you just get lucky because I found this pair of dark denim, in my exact size, with the Macy's store tags still on. Score! and they fit me perfectly. Sometimes when you're not really looking you find the right thing...

What's on my sewing table? I'm finishing up the coat I started for the class which is Waffle patterns Bamboo coat.  There are some things I really like about this pattern and others I'm not too wild for. Such as the welt pockets - to me a very goofy way to do them and I will talk about why in a future post. And I ended up doing them my own way - with good results.

Waffle coat pocket

after that, some shirt making with all the luscious fabrics I bought at Mood last October.

Happy Sewing, Beth

oh the good garden photos are going be a bit sparse going forward, at the end of our dry and crispy summer with nothing blooming for a while. I hope this plant makes it through the winter as the color is so unusual. Nicotiana alana  (lime green). It came from a local nursery, Annie's Annuals which if you are a gardener is a treat. They specialize in California natives and also in the cottage garden style which I love although I am just over the hill and out of the zone where it grows better (closer to all that dampening fog).  Their catalog is really nice to page through and dream....

dahlias etc

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Pattern and marking pens giveaway

Time for a marking pen giveaway, and a pattern giveaway for my Canadian friends!

Let's start with the pattern. I recall reading some time ago that Simplicity and New Look patterns are no longer available in Canada. Is this correct? That seems weird, from a business point of view. Why would they stop?  In any case, you know I really like New Look patterns, and this one is one of my favorites - despite the hideous version on the pattern envelope. Not sure what prompted me to buy it one day but I am glad I did and have used it several times, will certainly more to come.

NL_6374 pattern evn

I found a new copy for 25 cents at a rummage sale so if you are in Canada I want one of you to have this pattern.
Here is the blouse I first made from this pattern. I wear it all the time but that could be due to the luscious floaty silk.

green silk stripe front view

Giveaway # 2:  Frixon marking pens (2 sets)
As I have mentioned previous years there is a very old-timey store in Honolulu (Fisher) that is just shelves and shelves of stationery supplies, office stuff, pens, pencils, notebooks, everything that you could ever think of. And most of it is on the shelf, like the pens. Not in the can buy just 1 pen! and you can test them out. You can get every color Sharpie marker or 20 of just purple! Is it a bit silly to love office products? I know I am not alone, from the most gorgeous Italian paper and stationery palaces in Italy to the Japanese dollar store in my nearby mall, I love to check out stationery stores and always seem to find something. So now when I go to Fisher I stock up on these Frixon pens.
Which are erasable on paper, and disappear with heat or ironing. Warning - as we have all probably read, the marks can come back in the cold, but come on - for sewing use them for marking INSIDE the seam allowance and you will not have a problem!


So I will give away 2 sets,  a color Frixon pen and something new, a pink highlighter Frixon pen. Which I tried out and is really cool - makes a slightly thicker line and is easy to see.

So, the catch....I would love for you to answer a question. Now that I am teaching classes on a variety of topics I find that the things people want to learn, or fixate on, or can't get the hang of are all over the place. Obviously everyone is different but let me know what you find most challenging when sewing - other than fit. Like what technique is most troublesome and why. What part of the project you fear tackling, or what construction do you avoid because you just can't deal.

Please leave a comment and let me know your sewing dilemma, and then I will draw names sometime next week. Canadians - I might have to do this again with a nice Simplicity coat pattern - there are a lot of good ones and it really boggles my mind that they are not sold there. Plus I am feeling very warmly towards Canada lately, our sensible neighbor to the north.

Thanks to all for reading and commenting - I've been blogging now for seven years and I still really like doing it. I have a lot of sewing in the works for the next few months so stay tuned.

Happy weekend sewing,  Beth

By the way - this weekend I will be teaching my Weekend Jacket Intensive class at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley. We're putting another Jacket Weekend on the calendar in December so if you couldn't make this session look out for the next.

For the class I am sewing up some examples, here's what I have started and I am really liking it. The wool fabric is from Stone Mountain. Not sure where this coat will end up, maybe a friend or one of the ladies at the studio might like it - we'll see. Or I could selfishly keep it but I am reaching maximum coat storage around here 😊

Wool tweed Waffle coat fabric

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Summer's not over: Butterick 5455 in cotton sateen

Please don't mention to me that summer is over because I don't want to hear it! Fall sewing, wearing sweaters, being chilly, ugh. None of that appeals to me. As you know I am a super wimpy when it comes to winter or any cold weather - and I live in the very moderate, mostly Mediterranean climate of the bay area. So not all that cold  - but it's all the other things. Falling leaves, getting dark earlier and earlier, too may Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas decorations in the stores already.
OK, the calendar said that our summer ended officially ended last week with the autumnal equinox but I am going to pretend it isn't so - at least for a few more weeks.

I might even get to wear this dress one more time before putting it away until next year. It really is a summer print which I fell for when I saw it on the Mood website, and had to include it when I ordered a fabric for someone else.

Since I just returned from vacation in Hawaii this picture goes first. Yes, looking very relaxed after sunset cocktails by the ocean.....

citrus dress at H

Most years my birthday coincides with a beachy vacation (clever that way aren't I) and so this year I was planning to sew up this fabric with a new pattern. But I just ran out of time for playing around with a new pattern so I turned to my trusty Butterick 5455 which I have now made 12 ? times, including one other birthday dress. 

Here's some views on the dress form which show the detail much better, and also the color of the fabric.

citrus dress front view on form

Here's the pattern envelope - it's out of print but you could find a copy on eBay.

B5455 pattern
citrus dress front view with pockets

Do you think the fabric is a bit too cutesy and juvenile? Might be but I don't care, I love the colors and flowers + leaves + citrus is just so cheerful. It's a stretch cotton sateen so super easy to sew, wear, etc.

This pattern is one of my all time favorites because of the details. The pleating at the front neckline, the midriff band, the pockets that don't add any bulk, and back V, and the nice thin but wearable straps. I think sometimes you find a pattern that is just right for your proportions and even if you have to do some fit adjustments the basic shape is just right for your shape.
I don't really have any sewing details...other than I think this might be my best invisible zipper in a V-neckline ever.

citrus dress back view zip

No matter how long you have been sewing a little thing like that is so satisfying.

citrus dress lining view

I lined the upper portion with cotton voile, and then with lightweight dresses like this I don't even sew the darts in the lining, just fold them as pleats inside and tack them down along with the edge of the lining at the waist.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post - this year on vacation I took very few pictures, didn't spend much time online or email. Just relaxed and unplugged. And it was great. So I took a few more photos back at home of this dress.

citrus dress v2

A couple more details, the pocket and the side view.

citrus dress pocket view

citrus dress side view on form

So that's it for my last summer dress. I love the colors so I will definitely be packing this one for my next tropical trip.
Until then I'm starting another version of the Pauline Alice Aldaia dress, and doing some prep work this week for my Jacket Making class this upcoming weekend at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. And in November I'm going to do a class on copying an existing garment which should be interesting - I really enjoy doing that.

citrus dress v3

Last one - with the garden appearing more green than it really is  - after those dry hot days of August.

Happy end of September sewing, 

And instead of garden shots - a couple of my iPhone pictures from vacation. I am always amazed at how well they turn out.

Every Hawaiian island is beautiful but my favorite is Oahu, because it combines the liveliness of a big (sort-of) city with gorgeous beaches and great local restaurants. I've lost count of my trips - probably more than my age :)

Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach 2017


Monday, September 18, 2017

Knit dress: Pauline Alice patterns Aldaia dress

September means vacation to me, and I just returned from a glorious and relaxing time in Hawaii. With quite minimal time on-line - and that might have been the best part. While I love keeping up to date it does feel that sometimes looking at screens has overtaken actually doing things - whether for work or leisure. I didn't bring my laptop - and decided not do much else, not even take many pictures. Which left me free to watch other people taking pictures  - with the reward of seeing a lot of other people have some "oops" moments. Is that mean to say? It is funny to see someone walk into a pole because they are too focused on their selfie stick. Of course at the beach there is the possibility of seeing a phone go dunk in the ocean. Ok, call me cruel but it was funny...

Anyway,  I will admit that having an iPad loaded with books does have it's advantages. Years ago my dad would just shake his head at the quantity and weight of books that I would pack, but what can you do? a three week vacation sitting on the beach, reading, swimming and breaking for ice cream is just about heaven to me but it does require bringing plenty of books. So e-books do have that advantage. Although I do miss the days of buying $1 used books at the library and saving them up for travel.  

With teaching classes at Hello Stitch, doing private lessons and sewing for a couple of people I really needed to step away from the sewing machine but now I'm rested and have plenty of posts to catch up on. I will be teaching a class on Knit dresses starting Oct 21 so I wanted to sew this up and see how it goes together. My verdict - super cute and I am about to cut out another one, a winter version. Note that for the class another option is the Turner dress by Cashmerette patterns.

This photo is kind of blurry and has a strange exposure - I took it with the timer on my iPad. I also think I took some of these pictures on a day when it was over 100˚F so they were of the quick dash outside for photos and be done with it variety.

red white dress 6

It looks much better on the dress form. You can see that it is a true red and bright white print. I actually made this as a test version, the piece of fabric has been sitting in the closet for at least 2 years. I ordered it from Girl Charlee and when it arrived I thought it was a bit too busy - even for me. Also I just couldn't picture it as anything. However the weight of it was perfect for this pattern so I decided to give it a go.

red white dress front view
red white knit dress back view

Once I saw it on the dress form I really like the fabric - although it still is a bit wild.

Here's the pattern, it is shown on the envelope with these three variations but in actuality you can mix and match all the skirt, bodice and sleeve combinations to come up with a lot of different looks.

Aldaia dress pattern envelope

Aldaia dress options

I copied this image from Pauline's blog to show the mix and match options  - and it also would work well for color blocking.

I sewed size 40 which is what I have used in her patterns before and the fit was really good. The neckband fit perfectly which is a nice feature. I also can see using this pattern as the starting point for a knit tee shirt.
red white knit dress side view

My fabric was a slightly strange width, it had a big white unprinted section on either selvedge so the actual usable part was nearing to 50" wide. Because of this and only having 2 yards I had to reduce the width of the skirt, so I just pinched out about 2 inches from each skirt piece at the hem and then tapered that pinch to zero at the waist. And I don't even miss the fullness, in fact it seems right to me so I am not going to add it back for the next one.

Other sewing details, I just sew knits on the regular sewing machine, with straight stitch. However - this dress has a very fitted waist, and after I basted it together I realized that I couldn't get it over my shoulders unless I used some type of stretch stitch. So I sewed the waist seam and the side seams with a small zig-zag and that was just right. I think I lengthened it about 2 inches so as designed it is kind of short.

Another not so great photo - and the sky was really that color on the day when the fires in N. California were making very smoky and grey all over. Glad that has cleared up.

red white dress 8

Last weekend was my knit t-shirt class at Hello Stitch and it was full with some people on the waitlist so we are scheduling another session sometime in November. And coming up soon is the one I am really excited about - the weekend Jacket Essentials workshop. I am planning lots of demos of techniques and hands-on practice to making the perfect tailored jacket. For some of the other classes, like the Button-front shirt, knit tee, skirt, dress and Fit Lab, these will be regularly on the calendar so check the Hello Stitch website. We are usually scheduling about 2-3 months out.

Next up is my birthday dress - my personal tradition to make a summer sundress type item to wear on vacation (nice how that all fits together, huh?) and then some giveaways, plus the Pattern Whisperer returns!

Summer is gone next week, right? on the 22nd autumn begins....and I am always sad. Fall sewing - not a thrill, as you know by now that perpetual summer would be fine with me. However I do have some beautiful wools that I am ready to get working on, so I guess I will allow this change of season and temperature (like it is up to me, ha!) For now I will enjoy the fact that it is still shorts and tee-shirts weather :)

So for those of you who are excited for fall sewing and wearing boots, scarves, sweaters, layers etc, I say...what is wrong with you?  Well, to each her own sewing style and season. I look forward to seeing whatever you make!

Happy September Sewing,

What better post to use this two-tone dahlia than with this two-tone dress? I have been waiting to post this one. This was a great year for my dahlias and I have plans for even more next year.



Monday, September 4, 2017

Latest posts on the Craftsy sewing blog and some sneak peeks of latest projects

I've done so many posts on the Craftsy blog this summer that I've kind of lost track, and I like to link to them here in case you are interested in reading them.  I've been trying to multi-task in a big way and chosen topics to write about that go along with things I'm preparing for teaching classes at Hello Stitch, and feel so clever when I can do one project and use it for multiple things 😊.

So here are some recent posts on the Craftsy blog. It always interests me which ones get a lot of comments, and which ones get pinned or shared more than others. I can never tell which will have the most readers before I do them, which probably keeps me on my toes!

Craftsy Sewing Blog Posts

➜ Note that I don't write the titles, nor the little excerpt that introduces the post. Well, sometimes I do, the "floppy facings" title I will take credit for...after all, that's what they are, sometimes.

Links to the post appear below each one in blue.


How and why to Understitch 

floppy facings post photo

Tame Floppy Facings

shirt collars

2 Ways to attach a collar to a shirt

sew even hems

Tips for sewing even hems

make the most of your fabric

Make the most of your fabric

I used that white/red knit fabric just to stage the photo above of cutting out a knit top - and then promptly put it back in the fabric cupboard. Then I was working on some things for my upcoming classes, and it turned out to be the perfect fabric for one of my upcoming classes. So here's a sneak peek of a finished item, which I sewed as an example for my upcoming Knit Dresses class at Hello Stitch. 

Knit dress

And another finished object, using this fantastic citrus print sateen I found at Mood fabrics. Just a peek, and I will post it soon. Can you guess the pattern I used? Hint - a repeat, of course.

citrus dress peek

Upcoming in September and October I have some fun classes at Hello Stitch - well, they are fun for me to get deep into the details of jacket making, shirts, knit tops etc!

The leaves are actually falling already however today is the first day in about five days that the temperature was below 100˚F here  (yes it was 113˚F one day, eek!)  and so it doesn't seem like fall. And I am NOT about to start fall sewing.  So stay tuned for as many summer items as I can squeeze in.

Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo - this little sunflower was a volunteer that popped up in a not so sunny spot.

sunflowers etc

Friday, August 25, 2017

Charlie Caftan in Silk Charmeuse

There are certain fabrics that say luxury to me. Perhaps top of that list is silk charmeuse. It just feels so luscious when you wear it, like a gossamer but has that substance and depth of color that is found in silk.  I just clicked the dictionary to make sure I spelled charmeuse correctly, and it says "from French: feminine of charmeur, "charmer" to charm".  Well that seems apt, it is a feminine and charming fabric that can be sewed up into so many different things.

But when your friend goes shopping at Mood and brings back a stack of very disparate fabrics some of them get set aside until inspiration strikes. Thus this very bold silk charmeuse print was purchased by my friend Heather in July of 2015, but we could not come up with an ides of what to make with it. It really is a panel print, which repeats about every 5 feet, and had a 2" geometric border on either selvedge that I didn't use. There are some good size pieces remaining which might make perfect sleeve linings for a hidden touch of whimsy in a plain coat or jacket.

But one day I happened to be showing her some various patterns online and she caught a glimpse of the Charlie Caftan pattern and said "that's it!"

silk caftan H front view2

A bold choice but I think she was right. It turned out perfectly for lounging around at home or perhaps wearing during cocktail hour at some beachy resort. (doesn't that sound great and we all wish were there at said resort right now!)

We will have to make do with photos in my backyard but you get the idea. The caftan is definitely loose fitting and doesn't have a lot of shaping. Before I cut into this unique fabric I made a muslin using an old sheet. Which very much resembled a hospital gown. And needed some additional shaping for sure.

silk caftan H side view

On the slightly side view you can see some shaping which I achieved by adding a bust dart. It's not difficult to do on this pattern but if you have a full bust or just want it to be a little less block-y here's what I did.

Caftan pattern pattern alterations copy

This is the order that I made these adjustments, and if you are interested I suggest you make a first muslin, work out the dart and then you will be good to go.

  1. Sliced pattern horizontally perpendicular to the center bodice seam. I added 2.5" of length which is shown by the aqua section.
  2. Created a bust dart, shown in pink. I made the width of the dart equal to the amount I added in the horizontal section, so that the front would stay matched to the back. I ignored the arm opening when adding the dart, deciding to adjust that later.
  3. Note that the dart points upwards slightly. I marked the bust apex on my first muslin (the one with no adjustments, and angled the dart from that point downwards slightly to the side seam. (Few things bug me more than completely horizontal darts - to my eye they look jarring and like something on a kid's crayon drawing). 
  4. Armhole opening - the blue line drawn through the side seam is the original pattern, the sleeve opening was quite low (and is even lower on the other version in the pattern envelope) So with the dart and just for comfort I raised that about 1 inch. 
  5. Shortened the sleeve by 1/2". It's not really a sleeve, more of a cut-on sleeve but in any case it seemed a bit long. Note if you shorten the sleeve you have to adjust the hem allowance, see that angle at the outer edge, it needs that for the turn back of the hem.  Same change on the back piece. 
  6. No other changes except I lengthen the dress by two inches. It is very mini to start with so if you don't want a mini you might have to add. What is mini on tall people is knee length on the rest of us :).  I outlined the front pleat here in black but I didn't make any changes to any other portion of the pattern. 
Here's a look at the pattern piece before adjustment, you can see the bodice area is going to be a bit square-ish which is fine if you don't need any shaping.

pattern view caftan

Charlie Caftan pattern envelope image

Here's the pattern in case you haven't seen this one. This is the first Closet Case pattern I have sewn and I don't really have any feedback - didn't really look at the cutting layout or instructions except to check how I was doing the pleat in the front. A pattern with this many sizes is both beneficial in that the size range is wide but distinguishing between all those lines gets a little hard to see. I found the same thing on Sewaholic and Jalie patterns but I suppose that is the trade off for getting all the sizes.

Here's a look a the dress on the form so the bust dart is visible, but not really noticeable, if that makes sense. It does it's job but is not really obvious. Also note the dart point is a good 2 inches away from the bust point, another pet peeve, bust darts that are too long and end up looking a bit headlight-y.

bodice close up silk caftan

A look on the dress form. This is one of those garments that look so much better when worn than on the form. You can see the fabric a bit of a puzzle, and I didn't want any bullseye effects so I was really careful with the print placement. As it happens the busy part with the squares is across the bottom so that worked well.

silk caftan front on formsilk caftan back on form

Sewing detail,actually cutting details, I cut everything out in one layer and did all the marks with tailor's tacks on each piece before I picked up the pattern piece to move it and cut the mirror image. It might seem like extra work but actually when everything is flat it is easier to mark rather than move the pieces and then have to lay flat, try to match up two pieces and do the markings.

silk caftan cutting out

I am so glad to get this fabric sewn up and a glamorous version of the caftan was a perfect idea.

silk caften H front view

Now I just need to make a dent in some of the fabrics I brought back from Mood in October of 2016! I have a few ideas percolating and autumn is approaching.

Up next, some late entries to the summer sundress wardrobe,  plus doing some pattern testing for a coat for which seems crazy as it is supposed to be over 100˚F for the next 7 days in a row. !!! Oh well I need to enjoy it because summer is on the way out. But we will hang on until October here in N.California and pretend we have endless summer. Well, we almost do 😎 thank goodness, I couldn't live in the frozen tundra (talking to you, Minnesota).

Happy end of summer sewing, 

today's garden photo, a yellow dinner plate dahlia. Not quite a dinner plate, but a good 8" across. 
Plus plenty of blooms - this one is a keeper. 


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