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Springfield Tank

Cashmerette has a new pattern out – the Springfield Top. It’s a woven tank pattern with options for a closer fitting princess seamed back or a looser back version.  I’ve been wanting some sleeveless tops to wear to work so I bought it as soon as I got the email.  This pattern got printed and assembled right away – I love trimless patterns! Then I just had to find some fabric.

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This pattern requires 2 yards + of fabric if you’re using 44″. That seems like a lot for a tank top.  Most of my stashed fabrics for tops are 1.5 yards and the rest are 3 yards for dresses. I ended up biting the bullet and pulling this Moda lawn I had purchased in January 2015. I figured if I was really going to make a dress out of it I would have done it by now!

I opted not to cut the bias binding for the neckline and armholes and use premade bias tape. Luckily earlier that day I had scored a massive bag of bias tape and seam binding at an estate sale for $4.  By not using my fabric for the bias tape, I managed to get this cut out of around 1.5 yards of fabric! So there is hope for using this for some of my stashed top fabrics.

I opted for the looser version and it went together very quickly.  I had some issues with my neckline sticking out but judicious ironing and clapper application got it to settle down. The only issue I had with the pattern is some gaping in the back neckline. I asked Jenny if this was intentional since I noticed the same thing in some of her own Springfield photos. She replied back that this pattern includes a forward shoulder adjustment and if you didn’t need it then your back might gape. Bingo!  If I slouch my shoulders forward then it sits flat. So I just need to remember to make this adjustment to the pattern. Who knew having good posture would cause such problems! 🙂

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My gripe is that $14 seems a little pricey for such a basic digital pattern. The version I made was literally 3 pattern pieces and could have been 2.  I get that Big 4 companies charge the same for every pattern, but that doesn’t matter when I can get them for $2. I would really like to see independent pattern makers adjust their pricing models to reflect the effort that went into creating a pattern.

Thalia’s Baptism Gown

One of my closest friends, Alexis,  has a daughter named Thalia.  I was honored when she asked her to be Thalia’s godmother and I offered to make little T’s baptism gown.   Fun fact – Alexis and I bonded over the fact that we are both half-Armenian, but we actually met volunteering at a snowboarding event for families of 9-11 firefighters.

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Thalia with her parents and godparents

I have never made anything like this but I dove right into. Luckily Alexis gave me free reign on the design of the dress and I wanted to do something really special! I picked up a used copy of Martha Pullen’s Grandmothers Hope Chest at Powells to get some ideas. This book is a great reference for a lot of heirloom sewing techniques! Sadly the copy I bought didn’t have the patterns in it.

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There are not tons of patterns for christening gowns available, so I bought Simplicity 2457. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it gave me a good starting point. I had the pattern and I knew I wanted to use a lot of heirloom sewing on this gown like insertion lace, pintucks and swiss embroidery.  I also had to find fabric. Heirloom batiste is incredibly expensive and I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on materials.  Luckily I live in Portland where fabric stores are plentiful!

My first stop was the Button & Ribbon Emporium in downtown Portland. They have a small selection of French insertion laces, Swiss embroideries and entredeux. I bought some floral insertion lace, but I wasn’t loving any of their Swiss embroideries.  So my next stop was Fabric Depot. The bridal/fancy fabrics department was extremely helpful in selecting fabrics. They didn’t have any fancy batiste but I was very happy with my fabrics. I bought Kaufman Radiance Cotton/Silk in Satin White for the dress and Kaufman Vanessa Silky Cotton for the slip.

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I also ventured over to the trims and found that Fabric Depot does carry a few heirloom sewing trims! They had a Swiss Embroidery that I liked so I bought it. Supplies – done!

I also wanted to get a pintuck foot for my Viking 350. I have secretly wanted one of these for years but I haven’t ever had a real reason to use it…but now I did! Lastly, in the 17 years I have owned my sewing machine I have never had it in for tuning, so I decided this was a good time.

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So with fabric, trims, pintuck foot, and freshly serviced sewing machine I was ready to sew.  This seems very complicated, but honestly it wasn’t that hard or long to make with some heirloom sewing tricks. The pintuck foot is awesome! You only need to mark one line and then that first pintuck is used as a guide for all of the other tucks. You just need a twin needle that works with your foot.

The lace was a little trickier, but I practiced piecing my laces together before I started on the dress. Using stitch in the ditch foot allows you to butt your laces or fabric together and get a nearly invisible join. The other key here is to use a fine needle and fine thread.

As you can see from the photos, I modified the pattern a bit. I changed the collar to a peter pan style. The pintucks and lace on the bodice and skirt are also my own design.  Because of the sheer, fine fabric I  French seamed the entire dress and slip. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t even think I could French seam the armscye until I tried it!

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French seams everywhere!!

The gown turned out beautifully and Alexis and her family loved it. Hopefully it’s an heirloom for their family for years to come! More photos below.

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A sweet little cap

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Bodice back details

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The simple slip


Hazelburn Dress

I’ve had Colette Pattern’s Hazel Dress in my stash for awhile. I bought this red/blue seersucker fabric from Fabric Depot in Summer 2014 with that pattern in mind, but it never happened. So this summer when I decided I needed a sundress to wear to Pie Hard at Ecliptic Brewing, I had everything I needed.hazelburn-1

Well…except an adjusted pattern. I knew that this bodice was not going to to work for me straight out of the envelope. So I did a 1 inch FBA to the bodice front.  Then I had to adjust the length of all of the other pattern pieces. I also added one inch to the top of the front because I read that on bustier women it was a little low cut. On the side front I tapered that from 1 inch to nothing at the side seam so that the back remained the same.

Hazel AdjustmentsBased on reading other reviews on this pattern, I also widened the straps so they would cover my bra straps. Since I had a print-at-home pattern I had decided to forgo printing the giant rectangle that is the skirt, and just cut it out with my quilting ruler. However once I sewed it, my belief that gathered skirts are not flattering on me was confirmed.  But I had an idea!hazelburn-4I really love the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt and the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, which basically is a Hollyburn skirt with a bodice sewn on. So I grabbed my Hollyburn pattern pieces and set to making it work. I removed the pockets, because I feel like the style lines didn’t work with the angled seams of the Hazel bodice. I should go back and add side pockets, because EVERYTHING NEEDS POCKETS!

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I adore the result of my frankenpatterning! In my Hazelburn dress I have a unique bodice that fits perfectly and a fun, flirty skirt. I love the way this looks. The seersucker is a great fabric for this pattern since it highlights all the bias cutting and looks cool in the half-circle skirt.

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I did not have an appropriate length zipper, so I put in a way too long invisible zipper. I should go back and shorten that at some point. I have plenty of time before next summer, right?  I also love this little red bobble button I used to fasten the back. I made small fabric loop for the closure and I think it’s darling. Little details are the best!

2015 Vintage Pattern Pledge

I actually have a pretty sweet vintage pattern stash that came from a friend of my parents.  In the past I was loath to use them because they are single sized and the wrong size, but after taking a couple of Palmer/Pletsch classes I am way more comfortable with adjusting paper patterns! So I’m taking the Vintage Pattern Pledge this year!

During 2015, I, Lorene , will sew up at least three of my vintage or reproduction sewing patterns.  

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Sewing Theme Stationery

A few years ago I picked up this adorable stationery set. Little did I know that I would move across the country from my family and get really into sewing!  It’s called Hemlines and its made by Chronicle Books.13589970123_65c8792db5_z

The writing paper is printed on one side with a vintage pattern, and the other side is blank. I use the blank side to write on because the print side would be hard to read. It also has coordinating envelopes and stickers!

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Here are all of the designs. They are actually quite cute. If I had the patterns I would make them.13590317624_0c849010ef_zIt seems like it might be out of print, but you may be able to locate it somewhere!