Dresses Again

In 2015, I was in the thick of preparing myself for DH’s organization’s Grand Parlor, where he would be installed as a Grand officer. In that post, I talked about the Marbella dress pattern and getting the dresses made.

I know some of you followed our adventures as we traveled around the state as DH moved through the offices of the organization. One thing i did not do was post about the other dress style that I had made. I went searching for photos of the dresses yesterday and was shocked that I had never posted any.

McCall's Dress Pattern
McCall’s Dress Pattern

The pattern is McCall’s M6958. I have no idea if it is still available or still available under that number when you read this. As i write this in 2020, it is available.

I bought the pattern, because I thought I would be making the dresses and I needed something easy and flattering. As it turned out, I found a dressmaker and didn’t have to make any of the dresses.

The bad part of this pattern is that it has no pockets. I made the Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern** by Valorie Wells so I would have a pocket for cell phone and hotel room key. I thought the cell phone wallet would make up for the lack of pockets.

The good part of the dress pattern is that it has a flat front, which is pretty flattering.  Most of the ones I had made had the cap sleeves.

Hem of McCall's Dress
Hem of McCall’s Dress

To fill out this post, I looked through all the photos I have of the last 8 years of Native Sons events. I found one picture of me in one of the dresses. You can see that I routinely wear it with leggings.

I wear the dresses often. Also, Grand Parlor is coming around again and I’ll probably bring 1-2 along to wear. I think they all need a good press and starch/Mary Ellen’s Best Press**. I might as well do it myself since the dry cleaner is closed.




**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.


Arty Flapper Apron Finished!

Paint Tube Flapper Apron
Paint Tube Flapper Apron

I finished the Flapper Apron for my mom. This is the project I started at Sew Day with Gerre and then worked on at the most recent BAM Sew Day.

I spent a few hours on Sunday finishing it up. Now I can show it at the BAM meeting in a few weeks and give it to my mom after she returns from Portland.

This is a pattern you can use with a yard of fabric. You cut the pattern out on the bias. The biggest attraction is that you only *need* one yard of fabric to make it. I usually make the apron reversible, which takes 2 yards. I like to give myself a little breathing room with 1.25 yards on each side. Still, the pattern is designed for one yard of fabric.

Paint Tube Flapper Apron - reverse side
Paint Tube Flapper Apron – reverse side

The pattern directions say nothing about directional fabric. When I made my youngest SIL’s apron the fabric was directional. I decided not to pay attention to the fabric motif and just made the apron. The motif is at an angle, but SIL didn’t complain. On my mom’s version, I wanted the paint tubes to go up and down. Gerre helped me look at the different options for cutting it out. I was concerned about the bias, but since this is an apron, I decided not to care too much.

I did notice when I was finishing it that the edges are all, now, on the bias. For an apron, who cares? For other types of garments, I wouldn’t make this choice. Also, I top stitched all around the edge, so the bias shouldn’t be an issue.

Read about this pattern on the first post I wrote about it. Long term readers will know that I have made several of these aprons. You can see all the aprons I have made, including several from this pattern, using the tag.

Another Flapper Apron

The other day I went and sewed with Gerre. A number of small projects and small elements on larger projects, have been bugging me. I brought a number of those things with me and made good progress.

Flapper Apron for Mom-preparing to cut
Flapper Apron for Mom-preparing to cut

One project was the Flapper Apron I promised to make for my mom. This is a real garment sewing project, so I had to lay out the tissue and prepare to cut.

One of the things I like about this pattern is that you can lay the fabric out, folded on the bias, lay the pattern pieces out and cut them all from 1 yard of fabric. If you want a reversible apron, you need two yards. Still that is a lot of bang for your fabric buck.

Gerre and I tried a lot of different things to get the paint tubes on the fabric to line up straight on the fabric. We couldn’t figure it out. We decided that since it was an apron, it would probably be ok to not cut it on the bias. If have more fabric if I need to remake it. I am doing it this way so the motifs are oriented properly.

Sadly, there was no information on the pattern focusing directional fabric. The directions are complete, but brief.

Flapper Apron for Mom-preparing to cut with challenges
Flapper Apron for Mom-preparing to cut with challenges

Folding the fabric lengthwise parallel with the selvedge posed some challenges. One challenge is that the whole piece is on the straight of the grain. I figured that, since it is an apron, it will probably be fine. I did put the tie on the bias to enhance tying. The motifs will not be straight, but I think that will be fine.

The larger problem is that the folded fabric is not wide enough for the whole pattern. I plan to add some small pieces on, matching as best I can.

I suppose nothing is simple.

My Flapper Apron – Finished

Every time I type ‘apron’ it comes out as aprong. I am not sure why, but it may mean that I need to stop making aprons.

I finally finished my Flapper apron. I have been using the Church Ladies apron I made awhile ago, though it is not perfect.  I don’t like the interfacing in the handles, because it makes them hard to tie. I also don’t like the construction.

I made a Flapper apron for myself awhile ago. The neckline was too long and gaped, so I didn’t like it for myself. It was the one I put in the Fair last year and was well sewn. It couldn’t compete against the tailored blazer in the same category (ERGH!!!), but I still did my best. I never wore it so I sent it off to a friend who admired it. Why not? She loves it.

I adjusted the pattern a little bit on this newest version and the neckline is much better. Not as long, so it doesn’t gape.

Flapper apron - pocket detail
Flapper apron – pocket detail

When I put the pockets on, I was pleased to see that I had matched up one of the Chrysanthemums! I didn’t do it on purpose, but am so pleased. I know the pocket blends into the fabric, so enlarge the photo to see my triumph. 🙂

I haven’t tried it out, but will soon.

Flapper Apron

Decades of Style Flapper Apron
Decades of Style Flapper Apron

I finally made this Flapper Apron from the Decades of Style pattern company. I purchased it at the Speckled Hen during my shop hop with Amanda in January. Not too shabby, actually. Not that much time has gone by.

Frankly, I am on a mission to use up at least 100 yards net of fabric this year and these aprons take two yards. I have an idea to make a series of them for gifts and this was the first one. It is for me and I used some of my my recent Philip Jacobs fabric purchases.

Flapper Apron
Flapper Apron

On the Church Ladies apron that I made before and use almost every day, I interfaced all the parts, so it has a bit of heft (stiffness??) to it. Some parts are too stiff. On this Flapper apron, I only interfaced the pocket, so my phone wouldn’t fall out. I am now concerned that I should have interfaced more of it, perhaps with a lighter interfacing than the ShapeFlex I normally use? It feels a little lightweight to me and not able to protect my clothes from wet splashes and drips. (Yes, this is pretty, but I intend to use my aprons)

Flapper Apron - inside
Flapper Apron – inside

I am kind of sorry I used this great fabric to make the first one, a sort of test, but I firmly believe I should use my good fabric. I also firmly believe there is more fabric, so I suppose I have more fabric I love and can make another apron if this one isn’t up to par.

This is two sided, so I can turn the inside to the outside if I want. I put one pocket on both sides. I only need a pocket for my phone as I don’t put spoons and other kitchen gear in my apron pockets.

The other thing I need to think about is the neck. I thought I didn’t need to adjust the circle for the neck, but I like my aprons to cover almost up to my neck. In this case, the top of the body of the apron falls below that. I think this is a case in which I should have had SIL#2 help me do the fitting.

This apron was not difficult to make and I like that you use 1 yard of fabric (though I bought 1/25 yards and that gave me some room to maneuver) and is cut on the bias. I was able to finish it in a few hours during one day. I did make some changes to the construction based on my recent experience making the Superheroine apron.

Superhero(ine) Apron

Superheroine apron
Superheroine apron

The Superheroine apron is done. This, however is a project that has to be shown at guild, then shown at the fair before it can go to its intended recipient.

As mentioned previously, I had all the pieces cut out. I had started to do little bits and bobs, but Friday, I worked on it in earnest and, shockingly, I got it done.

I was sort of surprised to see how much of me was covered when I tried on the apron. My niece is a bigger girl than me, so I think it will fit just fine.

Superheroine apron - laceup front
Superheroine apron – laceup front

The yellow is an addition that I made that is supposed to look like a lace up front. I am not sure it does, but at least I tried.

I had to recut several pieces, because they weren’t right after I decided to add a D ring at the top. I also made the apron lined by cutting out two body pieces and sewing the RST.

I talked to Mary and then looked up how to make D Rings work on the web. I wanted the neck to be adjustable, so the apron is comfortable.

YAY! Another must-do off the list! Now I am tempted to make the Decades of Style Flapper Apron I bought when I was out with Amanda last time. I want to make them for gifts and now would be a good time. I’d also use A LOT of fabric. We’ll see.

Superhero Apron

Superhero Apron in process
Superhero Apron in process

ColorPlay and the Creative Spark will return soon!

I finally cut out the apron I had in mind for one of my nieces. Not great progress, but a start. The pattern is an old Simplicity pattern. I think I bought it for a sewing class I took after I graduated from college. I noticed the price of the pattern was $3.95, so it had to be a few years ago. 😉

I making a few modifications, but have consulted with Mary about most of them, so I feel pretty confident.

I haven’t done the yellow or the lacing yet, which will accent below the neck. I was inspired by a dress I saw at Bay Quilts. I will get that part together soon.

Superhero apron pockets
Superhero apron pockets

I also made pockets. These are a little different than those called for by the pattern. I measured my phone and made pockets from a combination of the size of my phone and the pattern on the fabric.

I have to be happy with the small amount of progress.

Starting a Shirt

Cal Shirt Start
Cal Shirt Start

I started another shirt. The last one I made was the California shirt I entered into the San Mateo County Fair.

Like many of my quilts, I think these shirts are part of a series. The California shirt from last year is the best yet. The judges weren’t 100% happy with my entry and they were correct. I needed to finish the seams. This failure has been on my mind. A series of events made me decide to make DH a Cal shirt. He says he has enough button down casual type shirts, but he is getting this one anyway.

I had some Cal fabric that I used for various things, but I bought some more at PIQF. It turned out that when I cut out the shirt on Monday, I had enough from my previous purchase to cut the pieces.

I also decided that I would use some dark blue solid on the shirt so that motifs would stand out. I didn’t want the overall effect to be too chaotic.

The cutting went really well. I modified the pattern last time and that took a lot of time. I didn’t have to do that this time, so I was able to cut out the shirt and fuse interfacing to the front of the shirt all during Craft Night. I still need to fuse some ShapeFlex to the pocket to keep it from being floopy.



Cafe Apron Returns and Leaves

You might remember the Amanda Jane Cafe Apron? I made 3 or 4 of them and sent them off to new homes.

Lil Sissy's Cafe Apron Repaired
Lil Sissy’s Cafe Apron Repaired

Apparently, my sister loves hers and uses it at her art shows. She ripped a few seams so when I went to visit the YM she gave it back to me to fix. I have been working diligently on the art quilt, so it took me a few weeks to get to it. I took a break from the art quilt and did some piecing. One of the other things I did was fix Lil Sissy’s cafe apron.

I reinforced seams, which I am shocked I didn’t do before. I also backstitched some seams that I thought would get stressed. My sister was very good natured about it and I appreciated that.

Finished: Apron (FINALLY)

Apron Front
Apron Front

I finished this apron months ago and for some reason could never get myself together to take a photo. I finally gave myself a good talking to and got it done.

Apron Back
Apron Back

It is still in relatively pristine condition because I haven’t used it. I am saving it to enter in the San Mateo County Fair. SIL and I are trying to enter a number of projects so we can beef up the display area. If you are in the area, please enter something!

After not looking at it for months, I wish the colors had been different. I am not big on that beige or the rust. I really like the motifs and am really happy with the fussy cutting I did.

I had a lot of help with this piece. Kelly helped me cut it out about a thousand years ago and Mom helped me with the gathering, which was just about the last thing I needed to do to finish it.

I decided yesterday that I would give this apron to one of my nieces who needs an apron. I told her she wouldn’t get it until after it is exhibited at the Fair.

California Shirt detail

California Shirt
California Shirt

The other day I talked about the shirt I made for DH for Christmas.

I  decided I wanted to talk a little more about the details. The motifs lend themselves to fussy cutting and where I could I tried to use that technique to make the shirt more special.

It didn’t always work out. I cut out the collar with the state capital beautifully centered and realized that it would come out upside down. Oh well.

California Shirt n.3 detail
California Shirt n.3 detail

I did succeed on the pocket. I wanted to make the pocket larger since he has a larger cell phone now. Larger pockets can be floopy so I lined the pocket with ShapeFlex to give it some bulk and make it stronger. Pockets aren’t that large so I was able to find a scrap that worked really well. The flag will draw some attention from the Native Sons.

I have successfully made buttonholes I like at TFQ’s house on her Bernina. I have never figured out how to use the buttonhole foot on my Janome 9000. I did get a lesson on the DC5100 and I knew it wasn’t difficult. I hauled that little machine over to SIL’s (the YM came over and carried it home for me when we finished) and used it to make the buttonholes.

I took a prepared scrap over and did a couple of test runs. The test buttonholes came out beautifully, so I decided to go for it on the shirt.

California Shirt button closure
California Shirt button closure

Failure. I got and error message, the start of a buttonhole, then a straight stitch going in the wrong direction. 🙁 SIL said that she needed to make a project with 100 buttonholes in order to feel confident. Very true, for many things, I think.

I eventually made the machine work by turning it off and on again between each buttonhole. It was a pain and I had to reset the settings each time, but I got all of the buttonholes done.

The buttons came out of a jar that TFQ bought for me at Road to California. I really like them and think they fit the look of the shirt very well.

The photo directly above has a great shot of one of the missions on the fabric design.

Gift Post #1: California Shirt (n.3)

PSA: If you aren’t already sewing for #BDSI, get to it. I am on my way to contribute my tweets and grams!

California Shirt
California Shirt

I am not sure why I do this to myself. Garment sewing is hard. Fortunately, my SIL lives around the corner and she held my hand throughout the process. I worked on this only at her house until Friday when I pressed it and wrapped it.

I know why I made this shirt, actually. It was all about the fabric. This was a particularly nice print of California fabrics and I just had to make DH a shirt.

The motifs really depict California rather than being some kind of idealized version of California. I was pleased with the fabric design, because of the missions, which are a big part of the state’s history. Yosemite is depicted and the food trucks are a hilarious addition.

He finds the tablecloth shirt I made too short, so I wanted to get it right. That is the kind of person I am. Have you seen how many Petrillo bags I have made?

California Shirt back
California Shirt back

We made the whole shirt 3″ longer than the pattern said. yes, I learned to alter a pattern which involves actually dealing with the pattern, rather than just adding a few inches here and there.

I think that next time, if there is a next time, I will make the inside seams French seams. I know I shouldn’t worry about raw edges, but I do. I am not even sure if French seams on a shirt are possible. I am sure they are, but may be ill advised for some reason.

I started well in time to get it done timely, but really finished it last Thursday. I made the buttonholes using my little machine and sewed on the buttons. After that all I had to do was press and wrap.


More Garment Sewing

Layout pattern
Layout pattern

Well, I cannot seem to stay away from the garments. I am still not a confident garment maker and I couldn’t do it easily without my SIL who is a master (mistress??) of garment sewing.

We are using the same Hawaiian style shirt pattern that we did when I visited her in Maryland a few years ago.

I am using some great California fabric that I found at the Granary. It is called California Here we Come by Studio 8 for Quilting Treasures.

California Here We Come Fabric
California Here We Come Fabric

I bought 3 yards of the tan for the shirt. I knew I would need some extra and I didn’t want to run out in case I made mistakes. I thought the tan colorway would look good with the recipient’s coloring. I also bought a half yard of the black on white, which would be my colorway preference.

This is a really good California print as it has a lot of the sights of our state and goes beyond the most prominent. Whoever drew the print was thoughtful about the motifs.

She is supervising me heavily and I need it, because I can’t get the layout of the pattern pieces straight in my head. I only had to recut 3 pieces this time, which is an improvement.

Now I have cut all the pieces and applied interfacing. I have also hemmed the shirt fronts. Onward.

First Gathers

McCall's Apron Fabric & Pattern
McCall’s Apron Fabric & Pattern

Sometime ago, Kelly supervised my work when I cut out the aprons. This apron is different from the Church Lady apron I finished.

The pattern, which has gathers, is from McCall’s and is called Fashion Accessories “The Retro Collection” (#2811). I don’t remember when I bought it, but it has been around my workroom for awhile. I think I might have bought it when I made my first apron in a garment sewing class back in the dark ages. I am pretty sure I definitely bought it before 2010. Too bad patterns don’t have some kind of date on them. Maybe they do and I didn’t see it. Fortunately, for you, it is still available. The link above is an affiliate link.

Mom was over and since I needed supervision for sewing this pattern, we started it. Altogether, the apron took about 3 hours to make. As usual, I sewed other things in between, like the pillowcases, so it took me more time, but not longer.

Gathering the apron skirt
Gathering the apron skirt

My dressmaker (for the Political Wifery dresses) has forbidden me from wearing gathers, so I was slightly horrified when I realized that this pattern had gathers. I also have never sewn gathers. My mom suggested we do pleats instead, which we started. Mom had to leave at this stage so we decided that since it was an apron and I would probably just wear it around the house, there wouldn’t be anyone to criticize the elegant styling. 😉 She helped me start and then gave me firm instructions. I think I did ok. Each time I got into trouble I texted her photos of my status and the relevant part of the directions, then we got on the phone and she told me what to do. What did we do before these technologies became available?

Arranging the gathers was fine, but sewing over them was very strange. It was nearly impossible to keep everything lined up properly. I think I did ok, but it was slightly terrifying. I was afraid I would do something wrong.

Waistband covering gathers
Waistband covering gathers

Mom helped me figure out the waistband, which is very clever once I understood the terminology.

All in all, I am pleased with my effort. I’ll never be a really competent garment maker, but I can hold my own with some projects. Stay tuned for the final!