Friday, April 5, 2019

Spring sewing plans and some fabric pairings

In contrast to my usual style, this season I've actually made some specific sewing plans. Which knowing myself means that I will stick to maybe 50% of this plan. But for me sewing is fun, and I go where my mood takes me.

That being said, I have issued a challenge to myself to limit my summer dress sewing this year to five. And don't laugh, a few minutes ago I was all set to write three, but then I though, nah, that will never happen. So I added a couple more for fun. After all who can predict what prettiness will be in store, like last year when I was thumbing through a not quite vintage Burda and came up with this lovely dress.  The other day a friend of mine was saying that she didn't see me wearing my summer dresses last year very often - I replied yes I did wear them, but the fact of the matter is that I have SO many. And there are only so many days of summer.

Which brings me to my sort-of resolution for this year, Separates! Tops, skirts, knit tops, ankle length pants, shorts - anything but dresses.  Do you think I will stick to this plan?  I have doubts...

But let's turn to my sewing plans. And why not....start with the dresses?

When I saw the April Burda preview this one jumped out at me instantly. I've been seeing things with a flounce type ruffle all over and wanted to get in on the action. And I have two fabric candidates for this dress.

Burda april dress fabric options

Print or solid. My first inclination was solid - as I don't have all that many solid color dresses and it might be nice to have one. But then I bought this rayon print at a guild sale for $ 2. It has the perfect drape for this pattern. But the purple also came from a freebie pile at Hello Stitch. You know I am all about taking the bargain fabrics and trying to work magic with them!

I think there are more resources for bargain fabric around than people realize. If you check garage sale listings I filter by keyword: sewing, and then read through the description, if it says "sewing machine and any of the following words : tools, fabrics, patterns, supplies, yardage etc. then if I can make it I check it out. I've found some great stuff at garage sales. The important thing is that the listing has to have more than just "sewing machine" because lots of people get rid of stuff they never use including a sewing machine. I think people look at a sewing machine as a useful item that they have no use for! If they don't sew. But they realize it's not something to stick in the trash (thankfully).
So a garage sale that has only "sewing machine" is probably not going to yield any treasures.

The other way I find bargain fabrics is at the local American Sewing Guild twice-yearly sale. Check around if there is an American Sewing Guild (ASG) in your area. I don't belong as the programs don't really interest me but they have a twice yearly stash sale and I've found a lot of great stuff there. (I found this red plaid fabric which turned into my best holiday dress).

Meetup groups:  I belong to the Bay Area Sewists which was started by someone (Meg) who just wanted to get together with other people who sew - and look how big the group is now! We have great events, speakers, pattern and fabric swaps. People who sew are really friendly and always want to have opportunities to chat about sewing.

Lastly I belong to a local group which is probably a one-of-a-kind group, that meets monthly on a weekday morning and has speakers on various textile and fiber topics. To raise money for the speaker fees at each meeting they have a sale of donated stuff so every month I am there with my tote bag finding all kinds of goodies. At the very least I find fabrics for just a few dollars to make test garments or samples.

Here's what I found there last week, this blue mystery fabric which is some type of cotton. Possibly a lightweight upholstery fabric? or just a textured weave cotton. We are planning to have a culottes class at Hello Stitch this summer, probably in July, so I want to sew up some culottes for myself and I think this floral would be cute.  Extra bonus - the pattern was one I picked at the last Bay Area Sewists pattern swap so this will be a bargain project. I'm thinking a red knit top or maybe a red silk camisole to go with.

Culottes pattern

Back to dresses, as soon as this Vogue 9357 pattern came out it jumped into my shopping cart :) I really like the striped version although the plaid and gingham versions are beautiful too. I really love pattern matching puzzle projects, like this one, although when I'm in the midst of them I sort of hate them! Until they are all cut out.
Someone gave me those two black and white fabrics, they are very fine quality Italian cottons. Perhaps a bit too wrinkly for my taste, at least the one on the bottom. I will have to give this a bit of thought, but how sharp would that dress be in a black white combo?

Vogue check dress fabric

Now onto things that are not dresses. You know I don't sew all that many independent patterns, mostly Pauline Alice patterns which I love, and now I have the same feelings for the Megan Nielsen patterns. Long ago I sewed the Tania culottes and I thought that was a clever pattern. The Ash jeans fit me so well, with almost no adjustments which I realize is a miracle and guaranteed to make some readers annoyed at me...but try them? is the advice I can give.

So I bought this glimmer denim at Joann's a couple of weeks ago. Slightly impulse purchase (as are all fabric purchases at Joann's). It's a charcoal black with silver threads. It might look like white but trust me, it shimmers in the light. So I will be  making the wide leg version, since I want to see how they look. I fear this silhouette won't suit me but I will sew it up and see, then I can always narrow the legs to the straight version. Or make them cropped. Or both. Anyway I just want to try the wide leg version.

Denim metallic Ash jeans

And lastly on my personal sewing list is another Megan Nielsen pattern, the Dawn Jeans. I liked the Ash jeans so much I decided to try this pattern. I am really long in the rise despite being a short person - so a higher waist jean might be perfect. I think I will make the wide leg version of these as well. This mid-weight cotton mystery fabric, (canvas? twill?) is another of my bargain finds so it's worth a try to test this pattern. Actually I don't think either version looks very good on the pattern envelope but I've seen them in various IG posts and they look good. And I'm definitely subbing out the button fly for a zipper. I just don't get the appeal of a button fly. I think I've had on pair in my whole jeans wearing life and didn't like them. Team zipper!

Dawn jeans blue fabric

So that's the list of what I plan to sew for myself this spring. As well as a few other projects in the queue.

This silk blouse for Heather is about 30% completed. I'm making the V-neck version and OF COURSE changing up the pattern details. The blouse shown is a popover with a rather useless little button placket and center front pleat. I've changed it to a regular center front opening, which also is a hidden buttonhole placket.  This silk is from Britex and coordinates with the blazer I made for her in February.

Vogue pattern silk blouse for H

So that's the latest on my sewing plans. Now that I've looked this over, I think that black/white/pink rayon print shown above would make nice and wearable separates. In fact it would be ideal for the Pauline Alice Mirambel skirt  and then a sleeveless top. It would look like a dress but be separates! OK, that's going on the list.

April is a busy month at Hello Stitch Studio - tomorrow starts our Sewing Level I and Sewing Level II series classes. I'm pleasantly surprised that we have quickly sold out each time we've offered the Level I which tells us that a lot of people are interested in learning to sew!!
Also this weekend on Sunday is the Bondi Dress class which might have one spot available - it hasn't been sleeveless dress weather yet around here but time to get ready!
Sunday April 28 is the Lander Pants class - this one will sell out so if you are interested register soon.
For classes in May and beyond here's the Hello Stitch web page.

Jacket making workshop--> thinking far into the future but it will be here before you know it. We are thinking about the weekend of October 19-20 if you are interested. Email me if you are thinking about it as we are in the planning stage soon.

OK, time for me to get some sleep - busy weekend ahead. Next week will be back to my sewing projects as well as get my tomato plantings finished. And then wish for some sunshine!!

Happy Spring Sewing,

today's garden photo, the tulips are blooming. I have so many beautiful tulips this year, I kind of forgot that I bought a bag of tulips at Costco back in the fall, planted them and promptly forgot all about them until these striped beauties started appearing. I love the serendipity of bulbs - they appear and bloom just when you need them.



  1. That Vogue striped dress is adorable, make it soon! would love to see your version.

  2. I enjoy reading about other's sewing plans and am looking forward to your makes. I make my own plans and write them in a sewing diary (private). When I review them at a later time, I find I rarely stick to the plan. But this is my creative outlet and I enjoy the journey. You are spot on in your yard sale tip on finding fabric. The "sewing machine and …..." is so important. Many estate sales (I check the online preview pictures) often have a lonely, very old or new/cheap sewing machine and no sewing related items. If there is a recent, high end model, I may take a chance and visit the sale.

  3. Love your sewing plans. Great fabrics. I really like the cotton for the culottes. I try planning; I am more of a spontaneous person so like you I sew more for the mood I am in and not because it is included in a plan. At work I was a great planner. sometimes things went wrong, and having spontaneity and flexibility, I could easily switch gears. Look forward to seeing your new makes.