The sheath dress fit-along has come to a close.  If you are on my YouTube channel and are part of my IRL fashion sewing group, you are well aware of all the work and fun that has been had in completing this dress. I did a complete fitting tutorial and multiple instructional videos on changing the necklines, adjusting the pattern and working your way through fitting the dress.  This all began last summer (2015) with the white shirt, then the pencil skirt, then the denim jacket.  I wanted to thank all of you for continuing to follow along with this “one-woman” shop.  I have been through a few ups and downs on the road to bring you these tutorials, and have tripped up a few times.  But each time I have reached out to you via social media, you have not let me down.  My list of to-dos, and in-completes is really long, as long as my heart is big, for sharing.  My husband is probably the most patient man in the world.  He knows how passionate I am about sewing and doesn’t complain.  Am I a “Stedford” wife?  I would say not! Because if I were, you all would not see very much of me at all….here’s to my husband for his kindness, love and unwavering patience!!

Now, for the goods-  “This lovely dress!!

The fabric was provided by Sew Much Fabric in support of my idea to bring to you this Sew-To-Fit Along.”   Of course we all need a great fitting basic sheath dress. I sure needed a new one in my wardrobe, but breaking down and making one took some work from me, and of course some prodding and direction from my great Wardrobe Consultant, Roz Ghaither, the owner and operator of Sew Much Fabric.  I’m not all sappy about her y’all, I just love working with people who put customer service at the top of the list.  I’m a sucker for good customer service.  I named this post “I Am Not a Stedford Wife!!” because that is the mold I felt I was being forced into when told to “stick to the basics”.  EWWWW!!!

sew much fabric smfabric.com, fit-along, wardrobe fit-along, wendybydesign

A great deal of participation, help and support came from my fun loving loyal fans and followers over on periscope for this endeavor.  I know YOU ALL are very loyal and very supportive of every single thing I do.  However, I must admit these ladies help me with my to-do list, and are constant reminder “bells” to keep me focused and on track.  That live connection is just so gratifying for me and really motivates the creative genius that I am.  As I prepared for this photo session, I asked myself:  “Can I vamp this dress up a little.” …it just reminded me so much of my “corporate” days.  I almost felt like I should have splashed a little paint on the front.  Then I decided to do a little Peri-photoshoot and get help from my live viewers.  They encouraged the pie plate and bowl ensemble.  I loved every thing about this shoot.  Even the relation to the elusive “Stepford Wife” icon.

My granddaughter was the stylist in all this to make sure I had to right shoes and jewelry for the shoot.  You know how it is when you prepare to go somewhere…it is easy to get dressed and prepped. However, doing a photoshoot takes practice and skill.  This area is not my strong suit, so I seek help wherever I can find it, even if it means trusting my “Mini-Me.”

The apron will be reviewed more in a later post.  It has its own story to tell.  WendybyDesign was the one to host an apron Sew-Along back in December that got me to sew this one.  I love it.  Thanks Wendy.

wendybydesign apron sew-along
Sheath Dress Construction Details:
This dress has been detailed so exhaustingly in videos on my youtube channel, that it is hard for me to honestly talk about its construction any further.  Please just enjoy the pictures and know that any questions you could possibly have regarding this dress is already documented in the videos on my channel.  If there are any questions you have directly please leave a comment and let me know so I can make public any content that hasn’t been release.  Trust me, it has all been filmed or broadcast on Periscope.  I only did Tissue Fitting, which is detailed extensively in my Youtube videos.  
  1. Pattern is Vogue 9025, size 14
  2. Alterations: FBA, Broad back, waist lengthened, Armhole made smaller, hips adjusted for larger rear end.
  3. Zipper excluded because fabric stretches so well.
  4. Lined completely
  5. Lowered and reshaped the neckline- video here.
  6. many more…..

  •  I don’t mean to send you on a wild goose chase.  It’s just easier at this point to direct you if you have questions, rather than go into trying to determine what might be a good topic to discuss with the dress fitting and pattern work. 

 Thanks for understanding.  Much appreciation to you all!!!!  Please enjoy the pictures!!

If I wanted to take this dress apart and knit-pic every single wrinkle, it would be ridiculous.  I could have worn a body slimmer to take care of the back rolls….yeah right!!??  Whatever, you just hold that thought.  In the mean time, lets be real, this is a ponte knit, very nice I might add.  Beefy with wonderful recovery.  The fit is wonderful, considering I did not do a muslin.   Now, I’m gonna go eat some pie. 
stepford wife

I love the theatre.  Synchronized dance is my favorite, along with any comedy and mystery drama. Though, it seems to be more dependent on my mood at the time I see the season lineup.  This time it was the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Musical.  We ended up going after Christmas, even still it felt like Christmas. 

Although prepping for these events and choosing my outfit can be fun, it can also be problematic at the same time.  Deciding what to wear is alway difficult for me, especially, because some of the actual outfits I might want to wear, actually haven’t been sewn yet! They are all in my head…LOL

Unless I plan the event “and sew” the outfit well in advance, it is disappointing when the time comes to get dressed.  These are the times that commentators can consider sewing to be a Track & Field event. A race to the finish line, over hurdles and around corners, against the best the field has to offer.  We “Sewist” finish strong!!!
The heat I ran in this day was “The “48 Minute Dress,” Vogue 1314, a dress that has already passed the semi-finals for me and is on to the Hall of Fame in my book.  My coaches were my daughter and of course Mini-Me.  They encouraged and cheered me on to get it completed in time and out the door with time to enjoy the festivities, a leisurely stroll and a beverage before the show.  
Of course I couldn’t leave my Mom out.  She was watching the race from afar and eventually joined us at the finish line to receive our honors.  We look so much alike it’s beginning to get confusing when I edit my pictures on a small screen.  I need to start using an oversized monitor, especially when I haven’t worn my glasses during the photos.

Making something so quick, though, comes with a few caveats in order for it to work in your favor. Including the following:   
  1. The pattern has to be pre-sized or fitted.
  2. The fabric has to be pre-treated
  3. The thread color in the machines need to match chosen materials
  4. All notions and supplies need to be part of your base stock.

Race Day Stats:

Underwritten by “McCalls Patterns, Vogue 1314” in size 14.
Starring fabric: Ponte Roma, purchased from “Marcorp Sales Inc” out of NYC. 
Hardware and race day equipment contributed by Bernina of America.
and last but not least….
Well known Athlete and fashion model the sewing diva herself……
Remember to tune in weekly for more races to the finish line.   As long as I sew, there will always  be some kind of timed event. 

Meet Issy, a StyleArc pattern, straight in from Austrailia.  When I first saw the description and artist rendering for this top, I wanted it right away, knowing that I would feel great wearing such a stylish top.  The drape and shaping on the model revealed such easy flowing drape around the front of the waist, and the cowl neckline hung slimmingly past the bust, creating such a beautiful asymmetric fall from the shoulders.  

I was in love with this top, and was sure I would stand in the same pose and walk with the same swag exhibited in the pattern illustration.

Initially when I began cutting and sewing this lovely top, I concluded during the first fitting, that this may very well not be a match made in sewing heaven.  What went wrong?  Was it my shape, was it the fabric, was the design wrong for me?  Since I couldn’t come to a conclusion as to the problem, I stored this beauty away in the UFO pile/box.

That was three months ago!!  Now, after clearing, cleaning, and organizing, I revisited the Issy Knit Top by StyleArc.  Should this be considered the age ole:  “I just needed some space.” sort of relationship?  Because now, I am in love again.  I don’t know about you, but maybe it was the time we spent away from each other, because now I can honestly say I am very happy with this top. 

So, I guess the answers to my prior questions three months ago, would be: The design is terrific for your body type, the fabric is a good choice, especially for this Houston weather, and no, nothing went wrong!  “It was your mood missy, Issy is just right for you!”

With that being said, I have personally come to the conclusion to now follow a few simple precepts when I have reached the breaking point in my workroom while dealing with a difficult issue regarding my sewing projects. 

This is an old pic, the shelves are filled now.

First, do not trash the project completely, because whatever you are wrestling with currently regarding your fashion image, may not hold true after a little quiet time, or personal space away from your situation.  Secondly, DO NOT trust your mirror, IT LIES, use the camera instead!!  Pictures are worth the effort..

What is it about the camera lens in helping us to see things for what truly shows through, where the mirror fails? Third, trust your prior RTW (ready-to-wear) purchases, they are a good indicator of what you love about your personal fashion sense and style. 

After all this drama, I will be adding this top to my closet finally, and placing the pattern high in my pattern rotation.  Next will be the long sleeve for the winter, and a sleeveless to wear with jackets. 

The softness of the cotton jersey is cozy, one of many great fabric pieces I bought while in Austin at the PR Weekend back in May.  (BTW, that was the best sewing trip for me in years!!) 

Based on the StyleArc sizing chart I made a size 14, and it fit like this straight out of the package.  WOW!!! Now, that is terrific.  Design exceptions include:

  • 3/4” swayback adjustment before cutting,
  • pleats instead of gathers for the front ruching

Personally, I did not like the amount of ease created at the waist from the ruching/gathers, so instead I pleated my fronts in those areas.  this pattern is spot on for my frame.  The shoulder seams are right on point. 

I have a problem with the shape of the back hem, and I know it falls like that on the back because I should have added some width around the hip.  (Next time.)  I am really happy with this top because it may very well take the place of my more common t-shirts, that I wear often.

Tell me something, just between you and me.  Have you ever tossed out a project after the first fitting because you didn’t think it would work for you??  Or, am I the only one?  

Why do I even list my post as reviews? At times it’s not to tell you what I think about the pattern, actually it is more of an Internet “Show (Sew) and Tell.” The enjoyment of sharing what I sew is more fun than you would ever know. Well, unless you sew as well and blog about it, or go to local guild meetings or sewing meet-ups to talk about sewing.

For the most part, when I sew, I just want to shout it to the world, “I MADE THIS MYSELF!!!” Now, mind you, this sharing is by choice to inform you via the World Wide Web, of my experiences which abound in the privacy of my sewing studio. I used to get that sharing satisfaction by sewing professionally for others, but that wasn’t enough. Especially, because that type of sewing limited my audience for “teaching” sewing, as well as limiting my time to actually sew for myself.

I love to teach and share. Anytime I can tell the world about sewing, whether one person at a time, or in a group, I am in heaven on earth.

That being said, shall we continue….

Culottes- McCall’s 6965 Top- Simplicity 2281

I was trying to look serious on these pictures, since I’m always showing so much teeth in my pics, I thought it would be cool to look cool…..”it didn’t work!!”  LOL

simplicity 2281 top, mccalls 6965 shorts

I made this cute little outfit to take on the look of a dress/romper/jumpsuit.  Whatever you want to call it…it a short set to me.

On the pattern envelope, the photos look as though there are pleats in the front, but it’s actually the draping that gives the affect of pleats.

 McCalls 6965 shorts and simplicity 2281-top sewtofit.com

I made View B for myself, although the only difference in the views is the length.  The flare starts at the hip line, which makes for an almost circle skirt.

 McCalls 6965-shorts and simplicity 2281-top

They had so much ease in them, you could almost cut three sizes smaller and just make up the difference in the waist seams.  The pattern measures 53 1/2 at the hipline for the shorts, I am 43, and thus you can see how that would just be too much.  I took out 7 inches of ease from 8 seams!  (The pattern has princess seams in front and back.) The hem width on each leg was 44 1/2 inches!!!

 McCalls 6965 shorts

The bodice of Simplicity 2281 was used to create the top by lengthening it by 10″ and lowering the back opening by another 3 inches to compensate for not having a side zipper. There are no side darts, so to avoid the boxy look, I just curved the side seams slightly.

No changes were made to the neckline, sleeves and shoulders.  The drape of the sleeves are exaggerated due to the softness of the rayon fabric.

McCall’s 6965:
Pattern Description says:  Flared shorts and pants (very loos-fitting through hips) have contour waistband, princess seams, back zipper, and narrow hem.

  • NOTE:– the waistband did not seam contoured as much as it might appear on the pattern.

Fabric: Rayon challis from my stash–so old I don’t remember where I bought it.

Alterations Note:  The reason I cut a size 16 was to get the correct fit of the crotch and waist because it matched my pant sloper.  After satisfying that prerequisite, I then made the changes in the seams to get the fit and flare I wanted in the hips.  I found it easier to fold out width and skimmer off the seams, than to redraw or deal with the crotch curve, which was perfect for me.  I did lengthen the shorts about 2 inches.

I think these are the cutest culottes/shorts for any age.  Next, I’ll be making the palazzo pants.  Although, I know I will be removing so of that ridiculous ease.