Thursday, November 12, 2020

Last of the summer sewing: Burda 04/2020 #103 in cotton sateen

Talk about out of season - I am writing about this dress which I finished back in mid-September when the temperatures were still in the high 90's ℉. I never did have a chance to wear it. As with so much of my sewing this year it will go into my closet and hopefully see the light of day and social events in 2021. Even when I have gone places this year things were very casual - and wearing a pretty dress just didn't seem right. It's been a long year of social distance and now heading into winter we are trying to buckle down and do the right thing to get through it. While not going out to dinner, to parties, to meet ups, to the gym, to anything that you would put in the fun category (and even the not so fun - such as funerals or hospital visits) I think it has been worthwhile to keep the pandemic mostly at bay here in N. California. We have a high level of compliance with all the preventative measures and I'm grateful for that. Recently I saw this article discussing San Francisco's success relative to other cities and what the toll might have been had the same approach been taken all over.  In any case I appreciate our mild weather (for a multitude of reasons) so hopefully the outdoor coffee breaks and walks will continue this fall.  

Back to sewing - this dress is from the April 2020 BurdaStyle magazine. That issue was filled with things I want to sew. What is it about the April issue? always so many things I want to make. 

Blue poppy dress 6

I'm not sure I will get used to dress lengths getting longer again, because I'm not very tall I think a hem that is longer actually makes me look shorter - I think due to less leg showing. I actually hemmed this dress and then decided to make it an inch shorter. Plus when I traced it out I already shortened it by about 3 inches. It is long!  

Burda blue white dress 3

I love a square neckline and I have just about perfected the fit on Burda size 38, it fits me very well with just a few little adjustments. So if I do those adjustments on my tracings then I can sew it up just about as it. Sewing satisfaction :)  Although sometimes I do have to adjust the lengths, of straps or hems (see above: not tall)  

Burda blue dress 9

Here's the magazine image of the pattern. They also had the same dress as #104 with a straight skirt. You can see I changed the shoulder ties to plain straps, which is on the # 104. I thought the ties might be  just a bit too girly for me and also I didn't have any fabric to spare. Those full skirts do take up a lot of fabric. I wanted to make a matching fabric belt but again, no fabric scraps for that. 

Burda minerva sundress mag image

Back view, it has that pretty V-neckline in the back.

Burda blue white dress back

MInerva dress 1

These outdoor pictures were taken on a day in October when the air was finally clear - it was such a relief after the smoke filled months due to fires all over N. California. And keeping it real, here are some pictures of my glamorous fitting process. Sewing room mess and sneakers lending a fashion touch, haha. 

Burda blue dress fitting compositie

I made the front and back straps on the dress with a seam at the top which I could sew after trying on, to get the fit right at the upper bodice. A straight across front neckline has to fit fairly snugly and if the straps aren't right it will slouch a bit and not look good. 

Burda blue dress 7

I received this fabric from and it was perfect for a dress. It comes in two other color ways, this one is the turquoise. The description was cotton sateen with stretch but I think the stretch was very little - although perhaps just enough to make it less prone to wrinkles.

Blue poppy seated1

In keeping with the slightly retro silhouette of this dress and the pretty surroundings I decided on one very ladylike pose. 

So that's the latest on my last dress of summer 2020, ready for next year. The weather has turned chilly here (yes it does get into the 30's at night here in N.Cal) which I realize is not exactly arctic but cold for us. So I am sewing things that are more cozy. In fact our next online class in December via Hello Stitch Studio will be for the Toaster Sweater. I'm just about to make a sample garment or two. Doing these classes has been more fun than I expected - I think the getting together online to chat with fellow sewing enthusiasts is just what we all need right now. The class is structured so that Tues. evenings are instruction and garment specifics, and then the Thursday evening sessions every logs in to sew (or not) and chat, ask questions, vent about real life - whatever, it's a sewing happy hour 🍷.

Time for a twirl and then back to regular life. 

Burda dress 8

Happy Sewing and stay well,

Today's garden photo, taken a few weeks ago but yes, we still have some roses blooming. They don't know that autumn is here. Sometimes I still have roses at Christmas. We are supposed to get some rain tomorrow and oh I hope that happens. 


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Random Threads #39: podcasts, jeans, and patterns that use a lot of fabric

To underscore what a strange year this is, I just checked and my last Random Threads post was way back in April. I like to do them every few months as I always have things jotted in my notebook to share here. So here are a few of the things that have caught my attention.

Let's start with things that are getting me through the "inside times" as I have seen it called. 

Do you listen to podcasts? Probably so and I listen to a LOT of them, they are such a good accompaniment to sewing, exercise, even gardening.   My new favorite is Fiber Nation, the topics are super interesting and the speaker's voice is extremely calming (something I prize in podcasts these days.) The tagline is Textiles, Craft and Culture so it will likely appeal if you love fabric and fibers.  A couple of other podcasts I like are History Extra from the BBC, and Shedunnit (topic is golden age mystery writers and books with a nice amount of 20th century society/culture included). I will give just about any podcast a try if it's about science, nature, history or sewing. (but my real favorite is How Did This Get Made, which discusses terribly movies in a raunch and hilarious way)


Are jeans over? I certainly hope not, however I've read that people are wearing jeans less and something stretchy much more. It will definitely be the winter of the sweatpant, or leggings or whatever is cozy and comfortable. With our weather here I almost never even put on jeans from June to September, and this year we are still in shorts weather as of Oct 20! And I rarely wear leggings except for exercise. So I'm actually looking forward to wearing some jeans again as our weather cools.  I like wearing them even if I'm spending the day at home, all those pockets are handy and I find them warmer than other pants. Plus I just made a new pair of Ash jeans in corduroy from my stash. For this version I tried the boot cut but I haven't hemmed them yet - I'll have to see how they look with boots or flat shoes before I commit. I bought this wide-wale stretch corduroy many months ago at Joann on a whim, and I like it so much I just bought the same fabric in black for another pair. 


Size charts - who do they fit? That is an ongoing area of discussion in sewing internet-land. I think there are two issues in that question. The first issue is the size range - whether for a particular pattern it covers all ends of the size range. In particular for sizes above size 16 or 18. Certainly an overlooked portion of the fashion industry in both ready to wear and sewing. I think it's so smart to make patterns for as many sizes as possible.  But to my mind the second issue is the pattern fit. Even if based on the pattern details you are exactly the same as the measurements listed, the pattern may fit poorly and that is due to variations in body shape. I think a lot of people start sewing, and then get a few simple (both to fit and sew) items completed and them move on to items that have a more specific fit and get very discouraged when the aren't happy with the fit. I can only say that it's something that everyone has to deal with - rarely does something fit exactly in a particular size. I think it compares to going to the store and trying on clothes, you can try on 100 items in the same size but they won't all fit. Having taught sewing classes these last 3 years has made me very thoughtful about the process of learning to sew. It actually has so many facets, from choosing the right fabric, learning techniques, fit, using sewing tools and machines and working with a variety of fabric types. Learning to sew starts to add up financially as well, with machines, classes, tools, fabric and patterns as up front costs and then the possibility of sewing something that is not what you want to wear. On the good side, there are so many more possibilities to get help than there ever have been. If fit is giving you trouble I suggest reading all the posts by Gabby on the Sewcialists blog. She is a technical fashion designer and writes so well on all these issues. 

Are you making Zoom shirts?  I think I did on that last top I made.  Basically a shirt that looks good on your computer or phone video camera - that allows you to look put together while in a meeting but you know that under the desk you are wearing pajama shorts and fuzzy slippers :)  Last week I was speaking to my neighbor in the driveway, she had on makeup, a cute top and very pretty earrings, then some very casual shorts and house shoes. Suddenly she said "oh I have to go I have a video call in 2 minutes!" I suspect this scenario is playing out all over the country. Which has me looking through my stash for fabrics suitable for interesting tops. For my December video chat with the tax accountant do you think sequins might add a festive touch or be a bit much?

Do you read Threads magazine? I think if you are looking to level up in your sewing it's really helpful. I can say that I learn something from just about every issue. Even if it's some small little tool that I didn't know about, or a new method for something I am already familiar with, I think it packs a lot in each issue. I'm sure that sewing magazines (like a lot of specialty magazines) are an endangered species but I find they way they explain and use diagrams to illustrate concepts is really outstanding. My feeling on any time spent reading, watching video etc is if I have learned something new then it is totally worthwhile. I far prefer reading to watching videos  - we can all read an article in a few minutes in the time someone on YouTube tells you all about their channel and other extraneous (time wasting) chat. 
Anyway - if your family is asking what you want for Christmas this might be a good thing to put on the list. Like any magazine, in a single issue there are things that are not of interest at all to me but there is always something useful. Look at some of the articles on these covers, better fitting pants, better lining patterns, sleeve heads, invisible zippers, oh yeah baby talk to me 😉

Threads mag image

My current peeve - style have turned to looks that use A LOT of fabric. Like 4, 5, 6, and even 7 yards of fabric. That is a LOT of fabric to haul around on your body. Not to mention cutting out. The current winner might be this Vogue pattern V1723 that takes between 5 to 7 yards of 60" wide fabric. Granted it is described as "special occasion dress" but I think that special occasion looks like you are a member of the church choir. But there are so many patterns out now with full sleeves, ruffles, tiers etc and all these features take a lot of fabric. I guess my taste tends to a more streamlined or tailored style and I can only take so much of ruffles or tiers. Also dress and skirt lengths have really changed in the last while with hem lengths getting longer recently. Let's hope this is not an economic indicator as it has been claimed in the past - here's a good explanation of that theory and why it likely doesn't really apply now-or ever. 
The other thing that always comes to mind when women's clothing has a lot of fabric is that it's actually restrictive - or maybe even unsafe. Can you move fast when wearing 4 yards in a skirt? I have read too many articles about Victorian ladies whose skirts caught on fire or were caught in machinery. Not to mention the requirement in some societies to cover women's bodies. For me, I like to buy between 1 or 2 yards of most fabrics and being short I can make most things with that amount so it's also a question of cost - extra fabric required means extra cost no matter what size you are making. 

How do you feel about message or admonitions on sewing pattern instructions? I fall into the category of "just the facts, please".  Sewing along and following the instructions, and then you come across a line saying something like "Yay, you just completed a welt pocket, now relax with a cup of tea" or "you are a sewing superstar".  Are you kidding me? They seem a bit patronizing and perhaps more in place in a children's book although I think a lot of kids can identify the same type of condescension. Have you seen a cookbook with similar line - "oh you now finished chopping and sautéing those onions, have a glass of wine". Wait a minute - perhaps that's a given in cooking :)  Anyway - I just want very specific and detailed instructions with no extras. Spend the time and space in the instruction pages for better diagrams! So what do you think, these lines in sewing pattern instructions are encouraging or annoying? 

That's enough of my editorial comments for the day - the weather has turned chilly here (meaning temps in the 60's ℉. Yeah I know this is mild for my friends in places like Minnesota or Washington where snow is already falling. For us it means I can go outside and work in the garden without boiling since it was 92℉ just a couple of days ago. Now if only it would rain!!!! Please!!!

And I didn't even get to all the topics on my list, such as pattern companies that are better at marketing than pattern making, annoying ads on Wordpress blogs - why are the ads so gross? Speaking of weird, how about the random male IG followers, so often "military officers" or "doctors" who are surely bots. Why do they choose those identities? Not that I really want to know. And how about the ripoff of the Zadie jumpsuit pattern, which is a great pattern and was copied line for line as a RTW garment by an Australian mfg. Shameless! 

What I'm sewing now:  I am completely hooked on the Patrones app - it's like a mobile game for me in that in a spare minute I scroll through the issues I've purchased (basically all issues released since I downloaded the app). Each time I find more things I want to try. I've heard their coats and jackets are good and their recent fall issues are filled with highly desirable styles. I wrote a post earlier this summer about Patrones patterns (Spanish sewing pattern magazine and app) I'm starting with this one to further test and refine my size in these patterns, and to see how I like their styles.  The fabric is a wool from with an ultra suede under collar as I was down to shreds when I cut it out. Good news is that I have 2 yards of this teal ultra suede I found at a thrift store for $ 3 so I think a cute winter dress might be upcoming. I always wanted to make this dress again although there are other patterns I want to try, but it needs to be something suitable for the ultra suede. Will have to give that some thought. 

Patrones coat plus fabric

After that - I might start on my muslin for that vintage Vogue YSL jacket pattern.
This month I've been teaching a button front shirt class for Hello Stitch via Zoom in the evenings and it's been really fun, a good group so Tuesdays are for instruction and Thursdays are a sewing social hour. Next month is a more beginner-friendly class, elastic waist pants, and then in December we will sew the Toaster sweater (knits).  Classes can be found on the Hello Stitch website. 

So that's all for today's Random Threads - I'm interested to hear your thoughts on any of the topics I mentioned.  

Take care and stay well everybody,
Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo - while my hydrangeas are looking kind of sad now, the long hot August and September doesn't do them any favors, the leaves look terrible plus the ash from fires blown over us these last two months has left them with a dusty coating that needs a good rainstorm to clean off. But this one has put out a couple of fresh blooms and I will take my garden joy where I can find it. 


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Too much ruffle? Burda 110 from April 2018

Ok, here's the deal. Now I'm just making random things to pass the time. Yep, we are barely out of lockdown here in N. Calif so it's more than 6 months of work-at-home, not much socializing, no parties, classes or group meet ups. Yeah, it's getting very tiresome. On the plus side, this summer I discovered that I actually like swimming for exercise. Who knew? Growing up with a pool but not swimming competitively I always thought the the back and forth of swimming laps was boring. To me swimming was a means to all the other water activities I love, like snorkeling, scuba, surfing, etc. But this year with the gyms closed and the air filled with smoke the backyard pool seemed like a good option. I discovered you can really relax and let your mind drift to other things as you swim back and forth. Which means that now I'm a little crabby because swim season is just about over. The weather is cooling off (which is good after the scorcher of a summer we've had) but the pool is getting a bit too chilly. So I'm putting away my swimsuit until spring and figuring out other exercise options. 

While swimming I thought about what to sew next, and whether I wanted to plan some projects or just follow another whim. I have come up with something of a plan, but one last whimsical item snuck in and here it is.  This pattern intrigued me for these many months and I finally decided to give it a try.

purple print top 4

Perhaps this is the ultimate shirt for a Zoom call - lots of visual interest around the neckline. Maybe too much. I had serious doubts as I sewed it but once finished I think it's starting to appeal. But it feels VERY ruffle-y when worn.  

purple print top front 2

This fabric was given to me by a friend who was destashing - she gave me a bin of things and they have been a gold mine. Including the green wool I used for two different coats (tri-color coat and peacoat).
This fabric is a silk crepe de chine. I really love the cornflower blue shade and the print is nice - the only feature I don't care for is that weird yellowish flower but like the pattern it's starting to appeal as well.  

Here's the pattern drawing and the photo from the BurdaStyle website. It may not be noticeable but in their version they call for a contrast fabric, like eyelet or lace as the insert in the center front but I decided to use the same fabric.  The pattern is from the Burda April 2018 # 110.  One of these days I'm going to have to do a bit of analysis - I think I find the most patterns to make from the April issues followed by October (although I think this Oct. 2020 was a complete dud).

Burda 04-2018-110 image

Once you cut out all the pattern pieces it's time to play Burda pattern puzzle :) .  Actually there were a few small pieces that I had to look closely to see how they fit together. I should have followed my own advice of a few months ago when I posted about how to use Burda patterns and matched all the "join" numbers. 

Ruffle blouse pattern pieces

There are the pattern pieces laid out on my table, basically in the same relationship as they sew together. All that is missing are the ruffle pieces, and the button band.  You can see that it is a 2-piece raglan sleeve, and then a front and back inset piece (which look like facings) to create more seams where you insert the lower ruffle. 

purple print top1

This is looking at the center front, with button bands attached and ready to finish off the neckline with the band which extends into long ties.  The lower ruffle is caught in the raglan sleeve seam in the front. 

purple print top back 5

purple print top back ruffle

So much ruffle!  It feels very nice to wear but when I catch a glimpse in the mirror I feel like I'm channeling one of those Elizabethan portraits of the fancy people with their big neck ruffs.

purple print top 7

By the way - those are my Ash jeans, 3rd pair made in slightly metallic denim. My fav summer jeans although I don't think I put jeans on more than twice in the last 3 months. Too warm! I just finished another pair of flare leg Ash jeans in corduroy. With more Ash jeans to come, I'm sure!

Whether I will wear this top is an open question. I probably will wear it for a video call one of these days and see how it looks on screen. But this is just the type of pattern I do like to make, plenty of detail and a bit of a pattern puzzle. 
Now back to my sewing planning. As I said this summer was all over the place, but now I'm in the mood for a specific project. I've decided to go all in on this pattern which I picked up at a Bay Area Sewists Meetup sometime in the past year. It is a single size pattern, my size 12, which is probably why I picked it up. 

Despite looking like a fairly straightforward blazer and pants, it has 9 pages of instruction sheets, fully detailed tailoring steps and seems just the thing to pass the time once we jump ahead with our clocks and I will be spending even more time at home. Yves St. Laurent - tres chic right? I will try to make all 3 pieces and see how it goes. I have a couple of ideas for fabric - but the idea of a burgundy color jacket as the center one pictured is looking so good to me.  (I think I had some shoes just like that, in burgundy suede, alas long gone). So that's the tentative plan, and I will try to document and post as many details as I can along the way.  


We have hit our stride with the Hello Stitch Sewing club, the Tuesday evening portion is instruction, videos I've made to illustrate specifics, and sewing techniques. Then the Thursday evening sessions are like office hours combined with happy hour, a time to hang out together, get questions answered, sew together and talk. I miss teaching in Berkeley but this really nice considering the constraints we are under - plus you don't have to be local to do the class. I think next month we will be sewing this pattern. 

purple print top 8

Now I have to dash - it's time to pick my last few oranges before some varmint gets them. And do a bit of shopping for the garden - it will be time to plant the tulip bulbs soon 🌷.

I hope everyone is staying well and like me you are thankful for any and all creative outlets we have.

Happy Sewing, Beth

Garden photo for the day, everything is fading and dry but the hydrangeas manage to look interesting even at the end of the summer. This one was bright pink back in May. 


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sewing...why? a few more summer tops

The title of this blog post kind of sums up my feelings lately. A whole lot of why. Like my fellow N. California quarantinos (just saw that nickname recently and I love it) we aren't doing much in terms of going out other than necessity or very limited socially distanced gatherings. So it's been a super weird summer but things are looking better. Last night I finished my first class for our Hello Stitch Sewing Club, and despite the limitations of distance learning it was fun and I hope useful. Like my in-person classes at Hello Stitch, I tend to sprinkle each session with extra tips on fitting or useful techniques for better results. The next class for October is a basic button-front shirt (you can use any pattern you have). I think shirts are a great garment for learning all kinds of techniques and a good project for someone who is familiar with the sewing machine and sewing simple items. 

However my end of summer sewing is not a button front shirt - wearing something with a collar and sleeves sounds stifling as we continue to have heat waves. I made three different tops using fabrics from my stash and two aren't my favorites but one will be repeated next summer. If I were playing baseball that would be a good batting average but this is sewing and I want everything to work out :)  

First up is this top from Burda, the June 2020 #114.  I saw my far away sewing pal Ellen show this and it had already intrigued me, so I sewed it up with the fabric remaining from my recent Cielo top. I don't think it is a success, but it's not bad and I'll keep it and see what I think next summer. It was really windy and tricky to photograph, you can see that the arms are open and flutter a bit. Maybe it's the neckline which I don't love, I will have to think of something else. 

Blue flutter sleeve voile top

Blue voile flutter sleeve top composite

Burda June 2020-114 tech drawing

Next up is something I like a lot more. This fabric was also in the stash, a remnant from a previous top shown here. 

Ruffle tank top red 2

Burda ruffle tank composite

I have seen a few versions online of this sewn up and I think I made the ruffle too narrow, most of the ones I've seen show the ruffle cascading a bit over the shoulder, which I think is a more interesting look. I will probably make this again next summer. it would be really nice in silk crepe de chine, which would give just the right drape. 
This top has my nemesis, which are ties that you have to make by sewing a tube and then turning right side out. 


Honestly - this is one of my worst sewing skills. I almost never have success with this and often end up sewing it by folding, pressing and topstitching. I think this one worked because the fabric is so soft. 

Burda tank top tech drawing

Here's the image from the magazine. This is Burda June 2020 # 106. Super quick to sew. Can you believe this is the 4th item I have sewn from this issue?  The other ones were my blue jumpsuit and the less than successful tunic top.  There are a couple of other things in the issue I really like, but they will go on the back burner until next spring. 

Lastly I wanted to try the Lola top from Fibremood again, without the front ruffle. and so here it is. 

Pink lola top front and back

While I thought the first version with the front ruffle was too much, now I think this one is a little plain. Oh, just like Goldilocks - never satisfied.  Actually I think the front needs something, perhaps a keyhole or other feature to echo the back opening. (Which reminded me of this dress which I made last year and think would also make a good top version, another one for my endless "to-sew" list).

Lola top in pink voile

That's the latest for my stashbusting summer top sewing. I just started a pair of corduroy jeans ( ! ) and despite the forecast for 103℉ tomorrow there is a hint of autumn in the air so next season sewing will commence soon. 

It's been a weird six months and I'm starting to dread the coming winter, but I did find this series of posts very interesting and helpful. (which was shared widely and is also a newspaper article?). Autumn is my least favorite season, it gets colder, darker, the garden is tired and I just feel uninterested. Earlier in life I think this season is more interesting, with school starting, the fun of Halloween, fall sports, etc. but as an adult I just find it blah compared to the glory that is spring and summer. To each their own right? with many people proclaiming joy at the end of summer, to my dismay 😉.
So combine the end of summer with the sixth month of stay-at-home and it's getting very wearying. Plus the election looming, I just want to say wake me when it's over and we have a new president (please!). But enough whining, the air is clear, cross our fingers for no more new fires in N. Cal and we will get through it all. 

Ruffle tank top 1

Happy Sewing and stay well,

Today's garden photo, here is a mallow that I planted a few years ago, purchased at the local junior called horticultural department sale. It's now over 5 feet tall so a success. And scroll down to see my latest purchase at Costco which means my work is cut out for me when the weather cools down and the soil softens up. 



Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fabric stash find for my annual birthday dress

One thing we probably all have learned during this extended stay-at-home time is the value of a good stockpile of fabric. I have the usual stash of notions, fabrics and other sewing supplies. I tend to buy fabric at stores such as Stone Mountain that I'm going to sew up right away. When I find fabric at garage sales, swaps, sewing guild fabric destash events, or even fabric that is given to me, that goes in the fabric storage closet for just the right project to come along. 

However this fabric is something that I bought around seven years ago? maybe longer. I was on a cotton sateen kick then and Fashion Fabrics Club had a lot of nice printed sateens so I ordered quite a few one year. Slowly I've been using them up and this seemed like a good match for a pattern I've also had for a while.

Burdaeasy dress11

This is a pattern I bought ages ago on the BurdaStyle website, and I knew that I printed out the PDF but I couldn't find it. I searched all through my desk and closets, combed through my computer and yet it was still missing. One day earlier this summer I mentioned to my friend Halyna (@zigzagstitching) that I was searching for a Burda sundress pattern and she replied "oh the one that you gave to me?" Aha, that's where it went! I knew I had printed it out. So she gave it back to me and I finally sewed it up for this year's birthday dress.

Yes, my always near Labor Day birthday has come and gone, and no tropical beach vacation this year so I will have to make up for that in the future. To be quite honest - 6 months of this stay-at-home, life isn't back to normal is taking a toll on my mood, and the stress of approaching winter, the election on the horizon, and the gloom and sadness of all the west coast fires are combining to make everyone even more on edge than before. It almost feels like a year without summer - we had the heat and sunshine but not much of the usual fun of travel, seeing friends and family, going to barbecues and just enjoying things. Fellow Americans - get your act together!! so we can go back to normal(ish) life. 

Back to sewing details. Here is the pattern which I think is no longer available on the website. 

Burda Easy sundress

I did change the straps, and also added a belt. Otherwise it is just like the pattern. I think they also had a version with cap sleeves which would be nice. 

Burda easy sateen dress on form

Who doesn't like a dress with nice big pockets that are part of the design? Kind of irresistible.
Note that I took some of these photos with my iPhone and others with my digital camera, it's interesting to see how different the color comes out. I think the camera ones actually have better color and the iPhone does too much auto-correcting which I suppose I could adjust but will probably ignore. 

BurdaEasy sundress1

Burda easy side and back

These pockets are ideal, they remind me of those on my favorite Butterick 5455 pattern, a dress I've made so many times, (here and here). And now you can see the interesting detail on the back bodice, which is a section of shirring that is intended to give a nice snug fit. It worked OK on this, I think because cotton sateen is quite a thick fabric the shirring with elastic thread didn't draw up the fabric as much as it would do on a thinner fabric. 

Burda easy dress7

Burda easy dress back elastic

There's a good look at the back shirring, that center back piece is a separate one, that you sew with the elastic thread and then attach to the side back pieces. The front and then the side backs have a facing. The shirring section is turned under and stitched to finish the top edge. 
I thought it needed a bit more tightening in that section so I stretched and stitched on a piece of quarter inch elastic which did the trick. I am all about the quick no one will ever see them fixes on my summer dresses. 

Burda easy dress inside back elastic

Burda easy dress6

One of my favorite things to make with certain dresses is a belt from the same fabric. My sister found that nice pearly white belt buckle so I had that in my box of notions as well. Save those belt buckles - they can be very handy. Sometimes I buy a belt at the thrift store for a couple of bucks just for the hardware. The proportion seemed to call for it so I made this belt a bit wider than the buckle and just pleated it where it attached to the buckle. I think this is one of the fun things about making your own clothes, these little details that you get to decide, where to stitch, how big a hem, pleats or ruffles, a pattern hack here or there. It's the customization that makes sewing really fun to me. 

Burda easy dress belt closeup

The buttons are not a perfect match but they were also in my button box, and I feel very virtuous and thrifty when I use vintage buttons I have instead of making a special trip to buy some buttons. My sewing machine has the setting to make those little eyelet holes and it's very fun to do. I always make a few test ones just to make sure I like them. The key to a nice belt is plenty of interfacing. I also make at least one loop for the end of the belt to go into. Sometimes on a very fancy dress I will put a snap underneath the end of the belt so it stays exactly in place. 

Burda easy dress 13

So that's the latest on my not quite last summer dress. I have one more that I just finished which is a winner but will also be put away until next year. 😞

I hope everyone is staying well and coping with this stressful summer - my fellow west coasters - let's pray for rain and an end to these terrible fires. Little danger here near me but the air is incredibly bad over all of N. California and Oregon going on for a week now. Wednesday was the weird day when we actually had to use lamps at noon and the sky was a dark and eerie orange all day. What else? NO don't answer that.......

Last week was my first session of our Hello Stitch Sewing club class, it was really fun to get back to teaching some classes. Not sure what we will do in October, maybe a button front shirt or cozy stay at home separates - haven't decided yet. In any case we plan to do a different garment every month so I hope you can join in. Hello Stitch Studio , you can get their newsletter or follow in IG for updates. 

Burda easy dress8

The state of my garden is dry and fading. I hope to get out there and do some cleaning up if our air improves. By the way - I think this is my 5th quarantine haircut, self-administered. I think I will make it for the duration! 

See you soon, stay well and happy sewing,

Today's garden photo - a beautiful hydrangea from June.