Monday, October 29, 2012

Catherine's Choice dress pattern


(nursing access)


Catherine's Choice was Baker Lane's first dress pattern but you would never know it! I was and still am quite impressed with their directions and attention to detail in their patterns as a whole. 

Surprisingly, I would recommend this pattern for beginners as the directions are so very thorough and easy to follow. I made this dress for a customer without making a mock up and didn't have any concerns with doing so! I made this dress in a morning- 5 hours including cutting out. I fully expected it to take me much longer and use more yardage. With careful cutting I used around 5 yards instead of the suggested 6 yards. 

I plan on using the sleeve style for other projects and I know that this style could be made into other more modern dresses, simply by shortening the length and choosing other solid fabrics or even geometric prints. The pattern cover really does not do it justice. Empire styles are really in lately and this pattern is a great place to start. I highly recommend Baker Lane and their patterns! So worth the price.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

~Cozy Pajamas

For the purple top, I used View D from Simplicity 2819. 

For the turquoise top, I used View D from Simplicity 4048. And for both pj pants, I used the Slumber Buns Pajama Bottom pattern. I found all three patterns easy to use, great for beginners, and simple to alter for what I was doing.

 And for both pj pants, I used the Slumber Buns Pajama Bottom pattern. I found all three patterns easy to use, great for beginners, and simple to alter for what I was doing.

I think this year will be the "Year of the Pajamas" as everybody loves them and everybody uses them--perfect combo for gifting!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Fan-front Blue and Yellow Day Dress

I used the concepts for drafting and making dresses from The Dressmaker's Guide. The fabric is 100% cotton and the dress is shown with a cotton batiste and cotton french lace collar. Undersleeves are with customer and not shown.

Fan Front bodice
Dog-leg closure

Gauged Skirt And another fall dress is finished for the new living history season. What are you sewing as you gear up for fall events? With this new dress all finished, I am thinking that some of my things could use some TLC! Blessings, Bethany

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Autumn Baby Gift

 Made from re-cycled wool sweaters that I felted in the washer with hot water and then the dryer. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! I love using felted sweaters in projects because it is a warm, soft fabric that is forgiving and easy to work with. It doesn't fray either, so projects don't require over-locking or using a serger.
 For the wool longies, I used the Baby Pants pattern from Make Baby Stuff. I love wool longies because they're super warm, but they also wick away moisture, stains come out easily, and are great over cloth diapers.
For the blanket, I got my inspiration from Warm Fuzzies by Betz White but it's so simple that you really don't need instructions. I think it's pretty self explanatory. :) I free handed the barn, leaves and pocket. You really can't mess up with chunky, soft sweaters.


Friday, August 24, 2012

1860's Gentlemen's Civilian outfit

I've been working on this since March and there have been a whole lot of firsts with this one. I hadn't ever made a coat/paletote with so much detail, such a fancy vest, or ever sewn a cravat. A lot of it was new to me but I don't think I would actually do anything different.Mock ups and careful planning save one's sanity e.v.e.r.y. time.
I used the Double-Breasted Summer Paletote pattern from Past Patterns but made it out of wool and made the collar contrasting by using velvet. All I could find was upholstery weight velvet but it turned out find provided the under collar was the same tropical weight wool as the rest of the paletote.

 I was a bit nervous about making the paletote but it was actually rather simple. I also wasn't sure about spending so much on a pattern that was only intended for linen. I contacted Sandra (pattern's drafter) and she said making it a little bit larger across the chest could make the pattern also good for a winter weight wool with padding and quilting. Happy dance for me. I didn't alter the pattern at all when making this coat except to tailor it to the customer. He wanted it unlined and as light as possible, while still being wool, so he could wear it in the summer and in AC buildings in the winter, hence the light weight wool that matches the trousers.

Plain cut Summer Trousers go together faster every time you make a pair. I've been told they are extremely comfortable and wear very well, provided you use good quality fabric.

Vest pattern is also from Past Patterns, the Single-Breasted Shawl Collar Summer Waistcoat. Great pattern, only make sure its long enough in the front. I had some issues with that and ended up needing to add fabric to the back shoulder in order for the front to be long enough. Only thing I didn't make a  mock up for and I did regret it! Glass buttons are from Abraham's Lady in Gettysburg.
Shirt pattern from Past Patterns too. That pattern *is* a lot of work but it turns out so well. The attention to detail is amazing and the shirts I have made from this pattern hold up so much better than others. The pattern's directions tell you how to make a reproduction of an original but I do much less hand sewing than recommended.
Hat from Dirty Billy's and thank you to my dad for obliging me in modeling. I have to tell my fellow seamstresses out there: Sewing for men is extremely rewarding. They pay well and have a very genuine kid-in-a-candy-story reaction when they get their finished clothes.

As Always,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Sunrise, Another Beginning Quilt

This is long over due but better late than never! A dear friend of mine had a birthday back in June so what could I do but make a quilt. Yes, I'm crazy but once I started, I had to finish!

This was my first attempt at machine quilting and I really enjoyed it. I was surprised at how much time it took but I feel like it adds so much to the quilt over all. It makes it seem so much more finished, like it is a complete piece of art that continues, not just thread and fabric stitched together but one unified piece. I will definitely be doing more machine quilting from now on.

 I found the Free Motion Quilting Project blog to be extremely helpful as a complete beginner. You can look through her "find a design" pages easily because they are sorted by level and directional pattern. I knew I wanted an up and down type design to go with the pattern of the quilt. Her site made it so easy to find something that I was looking for and at my skill level also! The finished stitching design is a combination of Matrix Flow, Flowing Lines, and Flowing Glass. In reality, I just started sewing to get the look I wanted! It was very organic and I love that about machine quilting. You can't really make it look bad but there is always room for improvement it seems.

I did not come up with the pieced pattern but used Purl Bee's wedding quilt pattern. The directions are clear and easy to follow. There are so many possibilities with such a simple design. With different colors and a different machine quilting pattern, it could have a totally different feel.

Most of the quilts I have made have definitely been in the traditional category but this was just as fun, rewarding, and I hope aesthetically pleasing to the recipient! Making and giving a quilt to someone you love to show commitment, respect and that love has to make some of the most cherished memories I will ever have.

Love and Blessings,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Striped Linen Regency Apron

Fabric: 100% Linen from

Pattern: I followed the same instructions and made my own pattern just like this apron that I made a while back.

Research: Same as the wool regency apron from last year.


P.S.: Uh, where did the first two months of 2012 go?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Checked Linen Shirt

collar with neck gusset and shoulder reinforcement

hem and side vent

Fabric: 100% linen navy/white check

Pattern: J.P. Ryan Men's Shirt pattern View A

Modifications: I sewed the whole shirt by hand and did more flat felling than what was suggested. I wanted it to be a keep sake but also hold up with hard use from my dad. Putting lots of time into things seems to help that combination-- sentimentality and durability :)

Further Reading: I found Thoughts on Men's Shirts to be very interesting and helpful. You could draft your own pattern from this book but I of course liked having all that work done for me! It did help me know that the pattern was accurate and that I was on the right track as far as fabric and authenticity goes.

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lavender Spring Time

Just another Practically Pretty dress, this time with white rick rack ordered special for the warm weather that we all know must be coming soon!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radiating Spring Table Runner

Fabric: It's all from my scrap bin! I think it's all 100% cotton although I suspect that navy might have some poly in it. It all works out because it can still be washed cold and line dried. :)

Pattern: Free Table Topper Pattern

Modifications: Their cutting instructions are really odd. I recommend reading them and figuring out what the measurements are for the pieces and going from there. They assume you have a certain amount of fabric (several fat quarters) but following their cutting instructions just ends up wasting fabric. See! You can't quilt and get out of doing any math! Maybe I should have done some sort of quilting in that large middle square? Next time!