Saturday, August 29, 2020

Back to School: Cielo top and dress for my new class

Why am I standing there in my garden, holding something cool and fizzy, wearing my latest sewing which is the Cielo Dress from Closet Core Patterns?

Now that summer is coming to an end we are starting a new season of virtual classes, The Hello Stitch Sewing Club. We hope to do something a little bit different with this, so this class will be part formal instruction and part social sewing time. Here's the link to register.

Cielo dress with cocktail

We plan to do a different pattern each month and I chose this pattern for our first one because it has a lot of options for making a dress or a top and looks good in a lot of different fabrics.

Here's the info from the Hello Stitch website class page: 

We're kicking off the club by doing a Cielo Sew Along! For the month of September, we will meet each Tuesday as I introduce new topic or skill that will be related to the project. Choose to meet for "Happy Hour" between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm, or join us for us "After Dinner" from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Then meet up again on Thursdays from 6-8pm for Social Sewing. For those who need a little more help with their machines, we'll also hold Office Hours to help troubleshoot any issues that may arise.  All these times are Pacific Standard Time - so if you are another part of the country perhaps you can join in! 

Cielo class image

Hello Stitch has also put together a complete kit you can order with pattern and choice of fabric, plus thread and interfacing. Fabrics are pictured above. If you already have the pattern then you are all set or you can buy the pattern as a PDF immediately from Closet Core or other pattern shops.

The lockdown and restrictions to opening have been really tough on the studio, and so many small businesses in the bay area. I really want them to survive and they are getting by for now. They do longarm quilting and have other aspects of their business that continue but not holding in person classes is a real challenge. So I hope you continue to support small sewing businesses in this difficult time if you can. I know everyone is dealing with challenges - doing school at home for children sounds exhausting to me :)

As is my habit lately - this is more lockdown sewing so I rummaged in my stash and found this cotton pique fabric.  I opted not to put the bands on the sleeves, as it's a slightly thick fabric and with the temp around 105℉ on the day I was sewing I felt it didn't need any more fabric! I put some darts in the center back - more just to see how it looks and I like it. So another option for this pattern which I will talk about in the class.

Blue Cielo dress front and back

Cielo dress 4

I was actually going to make it sleeveless however since it is designed for sleeves the armholes were too low. I will also go over how to make that adjustment so it can be sleeveless or have a cute ruffle sleeve. I think I like it belted on me but I made this a bit big in the hip and hem width, I will probably go back and take it in (when the weather cools off!)

So are you getting interested in some social sewing?  I hope so as I really miss teaching classes at Hello Stitch and getting to know so many new stitchers. Here in the bay area we are heading into the 6th month of social distancing which means very few in-person interactions that are not absolutely necessary. I've spent this time mostly with my family and seeing some friends in very careful outdoor sessions but now that summer is coming to a close I think life might be a bit dreary. But we can sew socially and make some new connections along the way.

Once I had the pattern out I decided to make the top version, this time in a cotton voile from my stash.  This one is all about the sleeves and I have some ideas on how to do a little pattern hacking here as well, if you wanted to add button cuffs or even reduce some of the fullness.

Cielo top with jeans1

This pattern has two options for neckline finishing, either an interfaced facing or bias binding. Both have some pros and cons so in the class I will go over my tips for neat neckline finishes.

Cielo top on form

This piece of fabric sat neglected in my stack for ages and now that I've sewn it up I think it will be quite versatile in my wardrobe and go with other things I have like this wool blazer.
OK - now that I've mentioned blazers what might you be interested in for subsequent classes in our Hello Stitch Sewing Club? I haven't decided on the October item but I think we will be leaning towards cozy stay-at-home separates. But maybe after that we could do a jacket class? I was supposed to travel to the east coast to do my jacket class this Oct. 2020 but that is sadly postponed to who knows when. In the meantime we have to be creative and stay connected as we can.
In any case I would love to hear what you might be interested in doing in a virtual class. We are also open to doing a weekend class as well which might work better if you are in a different time zone.
Lots of options.

So that's the scoop on our upcoming Hello Stitch Sewing Club class. Here's the link to register or see more information. 

Just to review, it's starting Tues. Sept 8, option of either 5-6pm or 7-8pm and then Thursdays Sewcial Sewing 6-8pm when we will catch up on your progress, answer any questions, discuss anything you are working on and just stay in touch over a topic that brings us all together. (no need to participate in the whole time on Thursdays - you can drop in for some quick answers or stay the whole time as we sew together).  Class will be held on Zoom.

Blue Cielo dress without belt

I hope to see you (virtually) in September!  let me know if you have any questions about this class or ideas for our upcoming sessions.

Happy Sewing, and stay well,

Today's garden picture is the humble geranium. Except I don't think they are so humble - I think they are gorgeous. In fact I've turned into geranium collector. They are such hardy plants and ridiculously easy to propagate. The plant that keeps on giving! I've started to buy some of the more exotic ones, bicolors and with interesting foliage. They are a great plant for our hot and dry weather - when the rain comes they always seem to spring back up. Plus they remind me of Italian travels and the lovely window boxes of bright geraniums everywhere. Tornerò lì un giorno! Speriamo di sì.



  1. Beth, What do you think about these unique darts that angle down?

  2. I love the blue floral fabric you used for your top version, it looks beautiful on you! I made up a Cielo dress in a similar (but pink and red) floral fabric, which was specifically to wear on Christmas Day last year (I was a week post partum on the day, and wanted something dressy but comfortable to wear as we hosted our family over for lunch!) and it worked well for that specific event but it's not a pattern I will be reaching for again, I just can't do sack style dresses. Seeing yours (which looks lovely) with the belt makes me want to try it on again with a belt to see if I can make it a bit more form fitting!