Pattern Review: McCalls 6700 Fashion Star Dress

Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website – “Pullover dress has fitted, mock wrap bodice, shoulder ties, elasticized shoulders and raised (seamed) waist, fitted, narrow hem, thread carriers and self belt.”

Sizing: 8 to 24. I made a 12.

Fabric Used: A soft flannel-type finish jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. Alas, it’s long since sold out, but Pretty Much Any of These will work equally well.

Machine(s) Used: Juki MO654DE, Pfaff 1320

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, thread. ½ inch elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Tips Used during Construction: Sewing With Knits, Anything by the Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? Good. Honestly, this is a pretty simple dress to put together. If you have more than a little sewing experience, you can glance at the instructions and just go for it.

Construction Notes: Everything went together easily on this. I cut the pattern from a maxi dress to knee-length. I serged all the side seams, and I used a .5 mm zigzag stitch on the armhole and hem. I used a 2mm zigzag to stitch the elastic casing. I tacked the front bodice pieces at the CF mark to avoid any peekaboo issues.

Likes/Dislikes: I wanted a cute, fun, summery dress pattern to restart my mojo and this did the trick. No real dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Would I do it again? Yes. Will I? Probably not – there are lots of other patterns to sew out there. But this was a great little dress to get me sewing again!
Here are some pictures on Shelley:

Front view

Front view

Back View

Back view

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, McCalls | 6 Comments

A Day of Many Goings On

Today is April 15th. That means several things. First,

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.09.32 AM

Ode to Joy, or King of Pain?

It’s Tax Day in the US. Every year on April 15, post offices remain open til midnight, procrastinators burn the midnight oil. Accountants consume large quantities of caffeine and antacids, and a lucky few (I’m never one of them) get to look forward to getting a check back from the feds and/or state.

It’s the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. My city will mark it with celebrations of the lives of those who were lost, as well as the lives of those who survived and those who helped them. I wrote a Response to the Happenings Last Year (Warning, some found it offensive. I don’t care), which I still feel profoundly today, even though it is tempered by the passage of time. Boston will run again, next Monday to be exact.

Four years ago today, I completed chemotherapy for stage 1 breast cancer. I Chronicled My Experiences Here. I hope you never have to go through it, but if you do, you are not alone, and you can do it.

I still have the dress and the wig.

And today? Today is a little more mundane for me – work and such. But I did also get my mojo back! If you thought I was feeling sorry for myself or indulging in a self-pity-party, please accept my apologies for that. I wasn’t. Losing one’s mojo compares in no way with losing something important, and other events that happened on April 15th are definitely more important. But we do all take joy from the small things in life, and I can rejoice in my mojo’s return. I took the very helpful advice from many people, put aside the projects that were keeping me from moving forward, and cut out a dress. I’ll hopefully have it all sewn up tonight. I have a girls’ weekend coming up, and I plan to wear it then. I’ll review it when it’s done. Until then,

Happy sewing!

Posted in Sewing | 4 Comments

No Bleeding Heart, but No Mojo, Either

First up, a PSA from Gorgeous Fabrics!

For any of you who are following the Heartbleed security issue, there’s some good news. Gorgeous Fabrics does not use the version of SSL that has the security problem. So you can shop at with comfort and confidence. But as a general recommendation, you should regularly change your passwords on any sites you use. It’s just good housekeeping. If keeping track of passwords is an issue for you, there are lots of tools, both free and for purchase, available for storing and even generating passwords. KeePass and 1Password are two that I have used.

So that’s the great news! The bad news? My mojo is gone. Kaput. Said sayonara and beat it out of here and hasn’t been seen for the last couple of weeks. I cut out my ICITFD dress, and I don’t feel like doing anything with it. My Marfy coat is 75% of the way done and I just look at it and shrug. The Pressinatrix keeps poking me with a collar point press to try to goad me to do something, but whenever I start, I get bored after about 10 minutes. Sigh…

Not a happy sewing table.

Not a happy sewing table.

So, dear readers, what do you do when your sewing mojo goes on hiatus? How do you restart it? I’m open to any and all suggestions!

Happy sewing!

Posted in Sewing | 25 Comments

The Pressinatrix Has Such Good Friends

Darlings, your Pressinatrix has had a bad week. She installed her new Reliable boiler iron at the office, and has been happily pressing away. But The Pressinatrix also sews at home, and therefore is in great need of her pressing equipment there as well.

Alas, tragedy struck.

You see, The Pressinatrix believes that her home iron, a wonderful Consew gravity feed that has served The Pressinatrix dutifully for nigh these last seven eight years – my, how time flies. Well, The Pressinatrix believes that her Consew discovered that The Pressinatrix had taken up a dalliance with the Reliable. It seems that the poor Consew decided to throw itself from the ironing board like Tosca from Scarpia’s parapet.

Heartbreak ensued. Or at least iron break. You see, The Pressinatrix was unaware of this ill wind until her son needed to have his dress pants let down. The Pressinatrix, proud mama that she is, indulgently smiled, patted her (now taller than she is) son on the head and went to work re-hemming said pants. Of course, The Pressinatrix finished her handiwork with a thorough pressing. While doing a final pass on the inside hem, she noticed an acrid smell. “Ach du lieber!” she exclaimed. In its flight from its perch, the Consew had lost its protective heat shield, and the pant hem had a big scorch mark on it. (Note to The Pressinatrix – don’t buy the kid any more clothing at Kohls. It melts.)

Fortunately, the hole left by the intense heat was on the inside of the hem, so no one could see it, but it was a complete sartorial tragedy only narrowly averted because of The Pressinatrix’ quick reflexes. Here you can see the detritus left on the very hot metal bolt, which is usually guarded by the heat shield.
No Heat Guard

Unfortunately, The Pressinatrix’ lesser self alter ego would not allow The Pressinatrix to run out and purchase another Reliable. Oh no, there was muttering about college tuition, mortgage payment and an upcoming family wedding. As if those matter one whit compared to the pressing needs of your Pressinatrix! Get it? Pressing needs? Oh, The Pressinatrix does amuse… But I digress.

The Pressinatrix lamented this state of events to her friends, when one of them, Dearest Mary Beth of The Stitchery, offered The Pressinatrix her old Naomoto gravity feed iron, which has been in storage since The Stitchery moved to smaller quarters. Such a dear pressing friend!!! The Pressinatrix cannot express the gratitude and verklemt feelings that wash over her at such generosity of spirit! Mary Beth only asked that I give the Naomoto a good home and a name. So to that end, may I present to you…

wait for it…


Naomi has already taken her place of honor at the pressing table. DH will be bringing home distilled water for her tonight after his big band practice, and then we’ll be off to the races! Thank you, Mary Beth!

The Pressinatrix

Posted in Pressinatrix | 5 Comments

We Have a Winner in the Threads DVD Giveaway!

Thank you all for entering! Everyone who made a purchase from Gorgeous Fabrics this month was automatically entered, as well as everyone who left comments on the blog before 6:00 tonight. Here’s the result from the random number generator at

Random Number Result 3-30-14
And that means the winner is… (drumroll please)

Elizabeth B in Vermont!!!

Congratulations to Elizabeth. We’ll send the DVD set out this week by USPS. Thank you to everyone for playing!

Happy sewing!

Posted in Giveaway | Leave a comment

Just a Few More Days to Enter the DVD Giveaway!

Giveaway Photo
Remember, you have until Sunday, March 30, at 6:00 PM Eastern to enter the giveaway for the Threads 4-DVD set on fitting. Just leave a comment At This Blogpost to enter. Also, anyone who makes a purchase from Gorgeous Fabrics between March 1 and the drawing is automatically entered.

Happy sewing and good luck!

Posted in Giveaway | Leave a comment

Great British Sewing Bee Season Two is Up!

Do you love The Great British Sewing Bee? I sure do! I was so thrilled to see a sewing show that wasn’t about strategies for tearing down contestants or being the most whackadoodle fame-whore in the studio (I’m looking at YOU, Project Runway). TGBSB, on the other hand, was about people who love to sew showing the world that creativity is its own reward, and that people who are competing against each other can still get along and be friends.

Well there’s great news! The Great British Sewing Bee season two is in full swing and even those of us outside of the UK can watch it online. Here’s the link for the show on TubePlus.

The Great British Sewing Bee on TubePlus

Two people have contacted me to say they have had trouble with TubePlus. I haven’t had any problems, but I don’t run Windows, and I block pop-ups. For those who would rather, you can see some of the episodes on Youtube. They aren’t all in one place, which was why I put up the TubePlus site. But you can see some of them if you click the link below:
Youtube Link for GBSB S2 Videos

Enjoy, and you’re welcome!

Posted in Sewing, Sites to See | 2 Comments

So, What Did You Cut Into This Weekend?

I spent much of yesterday in my sewing room for International Cut Into That Fabric Day. How about you? Did you cut into something? Please share if you did! Add a link to your blog, pinterest or Facebook if you have it. Me, I finally sliced into an Armani stretch cotton that I bought before I started Gorgeous Fabrics. That makes it more than 7 years old. That’s past the statute of limitations, right? I’m not even sure where I bought it. I was a bit of a Tasmanian Devil back then, buying fabric wherever and whenever I saw it. Much of said fabric ended up in the hands of the local drama department, where I saw some on display in the high school musical this weekend! More on that later. In the meantime, I had all sorts of plans for my stash fabric.
Scary Armani Fabric
The thing that flummoxed me about this fabric was the print. It’s a very large geometric print that, in the parlance of computer graphics is transformed 180º around the y-axis. That makes it both interesting and tricky to lay out. There’s a line down the middle of the fabric and the print mirror images, but upside down. I only have 2 yards of this fabric, so even if I drive myself batty trying to match the prints across, there is no way to do it across every seam line (I would need about double what I have to do that). So guess what? Every once in a while you have to say “What the f***” and that’s what I did.

I knew I wanted a dress. I thought about a simple sundress, with minimal style lines, but nothing in the pattern books or websites appealed. I love princess lines for the design possibilities, but those present pattern matching difficulties if you don’t have lots of fabric for your pattern layouts. So I ended up back at a dress pattern I have made before and love very much: Vogue 8787.

There was no way I was going to match pattern motifs, so I thought about what my designer friends do: screw it. I opted against going for a symmetric motif style. Besides, who wants chevrons pointing the way to heaven, right? So after laying my pattern pieces (which I mirrored and laid out with a single layer layout)
CITFD Layout
I moved them around to find an interesting and slightly astigmatism-jarring layout. I figure I might as well go for making the eyeballs vibrate with this print, right?

I cut everything in a single layer. It takes extra time to prep the pattern pieces, but not very much, and this way I had complete control over where the pattern pieces fall on the motifs. You can see more about this on the video Tricksy Fabrics.

The other thing I decided was to cut the midriff pieces from solid black… patent leather! I went back and forth, and finally decided that leather was a fun choice that would change the entire tenor of the dress.

And the solid black will break up the print to make it more visually appealing.

And the solid black will break up the print to make it more visually appealing.

In other news, DS the elder was home this week on college spring break, and DS the younger performed in the musical at the high school, “Grease”. It was a wonderful family week! Here’s a picture of him doing his big solo. He plays Doody, one of the T-Birds, and he plays guitar in several songs, including his solo “These Magic Changes”.
Doody Sings
So, what did you cut out this weekend????

Happy sewing!

Posted in Vogue | 7 Comments

Some Sewing, Scary Fabric, and a Giveaway!

It feels like forever since I’ve done much blogging, or sewing for that matter. As you might imagine, launching the new Gorgeous Fabrics Website has been all-consuming. And thanks to everyone for your kind words and compliments – I just love the new site, and so do most all of you! Man, it was like giving birth both in time and effort. But the result was totally worth it!!

Now that the site’s up and running, I have had a little time to spend on sewing for me. Yay! I’ve pulled the Marfy coat back out and started the major construction. The biggest slowdown (after work, of course) was the belt. I determined that I wanted a leather belt, rather than fabric, so trying to get just the right leather (patent) and buckle (dark nickel, D-shape with a prong) took a lot of time. But I found the right ones, and now I’m on a roll! The shoulders are basted, and I have the back cape attached. I’ll add the sleeves/sleeve capes later this weekend. The lining is done and waiting to be sewn in when the outer shell is ready. Here’s a picture of the progress so far.
Marfy Coat 3-15-14

Next Saturday is International Cut Into That Fabric Day!
So how are you coming along on your planning for International Cut Into That Fabric Day? You have a week to plan. Next Saturday, we do it! Want to see the fabric I’m going to finally cut? It’s a fabulous stretch cotton from Armani. I’ve had it in my stash for years, but I’ve been stymied by what to make with it. While the fabric itself doesn’t scare me, the size of the motif does. I still haven’t decided completely but I’ll have the pattern picked out by March 22. So how about you? What are you going to cut into next week? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

ICITF Fabric

I’ll be using single-layer layout for this one, that’s for sure

Giveaway Photo

Seriously, this is one of the best fitting resources out there

Giveaway, Kittens!
To celebrate the launch of Gorgeous Fabrics’ new website, and just because I’ve been wanting to do one for a while, I’m holding a giveaway! As you know, I’m an advertiser in Threads Magazine. They were kind enough to give me a 4-DVD set of the Threads Fitting Series. They didn’t know that I had already purchased a copy when the set first came out. So you wonderful readers, along with all our Gorgeous Customers who have purchased from us since the site went live, can have the chance to win this great resource! Anyone who purchases from Gorgeous Fabrics between March 1 and March 30 is automatically entered into the drawing, but you don’t have to buy anything for a chance to win. Just leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered as well! This is a fabulous resource for getting a great fit. On March 30 at 6:00 PM Eastern we’ll draw one name and that person will be on their way to better fitting garments!
Leave a comment here and good luck!

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Giveaway, Marfy | 176 Comments

March 22nd is International Cut Into That Fabric Day!


It knows what scares you

Yesterday I had a lovely conversation yesterday with the lovely Susan Khalje. We bemoaned the fact that people are afraid of their fabrics. I’ve addressed this issue in the past, but I still (often) hear the refrains “I’ll sew with ‘good’ fabric when my skills improve”, “I can’t sew with silk because it scares me”, or “I’m afraid to cut into it, because it was so expensive.”

Well folks, now’s your time. Do you have a beautiful piece of fabric that sits in your stash? Are you scared of some fabric because you haven’t sewn with its type before and you don’t know if you can handle it? Does a piece of fabric seemingly taunt you? Did you pay a princely sum for a piece of fabric that has struck fear in your heart at the thought of actually making something with it? It’s time to take that bull by the horns and do something about it!!

So I’ve officially declared March 22, 2014 to be “International Cut Into That Fabric Day”

That’s right, you have a deadline. In two weeks we’ll get out the shears and pattern, take a collective deep breath, and launch a new sewing adventure by cutting into that fabric! That gives you two weeks to plan. So take that fabric out of your cabinet, bin, box or whatever. Start thinking about what you want to make with it.

Spread the news! Tell all your sewing friends! Your fabric doesn’t have to come from Gorgeous Fabrics (though of course I appreciate it if it does). It doesn’t have to have cost you an arm and a leg – it just needs to be a fabric you have been askeered to touch. Let’s do it, folks! Here, I even made you a blog badge to proudly announce that you are taking part:

International Cut Into That Fabric Day
<div align="center"><a href="" title="International Cut Into That Fabric Day"><img src="" alt="International Cut Into That Fabric Day" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


So who’s with me? Leave a comment here to let us know what fabric you’re going to finally cut into, and what you are going to make with it. You have two weeks to plan and build up the courage. Carpe diem! Carpe textile fabricae! Or something like that. I’m sure Sister Martha would have something to say about my Latin. But you get my drift.

To get you started, here are a couple of links to videos I did on fabrics that engender angst:
Scary Silks
Sewing With Knits
Tricksy Fabrics
Wonderful Woolens

Happy sewing!

Posted in Sewing | 32 Comments