Tag Archive for '13 dresses'


At long last, Dress 13! There I was going like gangbusters all summer long, but when it came to the final dress I wanted it to be just ‘so’. Usually that brings things to a screeching halt. I have a tendency to wait until all the stars (& patterns & fabric) align before proceeding in this mindset.

For a long time I’ve been dreaming of making a shirt dress. Originally in my head it was going to be made of eyelet fabric and much more prim and proper. (Think Blair Waldorf garden party) When I spotted the Ute variation B shirt on Burda Style, I knew this was just the shirt to be turned into a dress and just the dress to end this collection.

I couldn’t resist the My Folklore print filled with woodland cuteness in black. (squirrels and mushrooms!) This japanese fabric collection would probably qualify for one of my all time favourite collections.

I bought the pattern online, then printed out the shirt pattern, tiled & taped all the pages and cut out all the pieces. Then I taped the bodice pieces to big sheets of paper and drafted them to the length I wanted the dress to be. Plus, added hem allowance, of course.

I laid out the pattern pieces to figure out yardage, so that I only cut the exact amount off the bolt. The fabric was then washed and dried. When I lay out the fabric to cut the pattern pieces out, I was a bit short. Perhaps if I had photographed my original layout, I would know where my calculation went wrong. I couldn’t get the neck tie to properly fit by just the tiniest amount. Not only that, but I realized that I had drafted my pattern pieces in different lengths. Two of the bodice pieces were short by a couple inches. I had already cut one of them out. I cursed for about 20 seconds, got over it and decided to merely patch in another contrasting fabric from my stash. I always try to turn a ‘mistake’ into a ‘feature’. This is something I want to talk about more later.

The sewing of the dress was simple enough. The dress has princess seams and darling pleated puff sleeves. The stickler was finishing off the neckline. I think I read the instructions for adding the bias strip to the neck forty times. It didn’t really make sense to me. In the end, I’m not sure if I did what they asked or just made something up. It looks good either way. The neck tie is definitely what does it for me with this dress. It’s a scarf and a dress in one!

The dress has eight buttonholes. Normally I find this rather stressful, but the Bernina Aurora memorizes the first buttonhole you do and will automatically keep stitching the exact same buttonhole. Perfectly pretty little teal buttonholes in no time flat. Love. I found a bunch of matching grey buttons in my button jars and used a single aqua button for the last button. For me, part of the joy of sewing is those tiny personal details.

The fit of the dress is amazing and I didn’t make any alterations to it. This pattern is awesome and I’ll make it again as a shirt for sure. Option A has a peter pan collar which also looks really sweet.

I meant to wear this dress with teal coloured tights, but I didn’t have shoes that completed that look. I’m on the hunt for some cute flats that are also comfortable enough to walk all the way to work in. I don’t think that I can wear flip flops much longer.

Wow, I learned a lot this summer, mostly through making a lot of ‘mistakes’. I totally enjoyed making all these dresses and having your support and comments during the process!

For the winter, I’m starting to feel that nesting urge, so I’m going to focus on projects for the home. New curtains for the living room, a quilt for the guest room, various pillows and getting my collection of artwork framed and hung.


Spotted: Printed proof of dress 13 in Saturday’s Globe and Mail!

Also spotted, little K eating the last piece pie of for breakfast this morning. I hear she ate the whole thing! Apple, cranberry and walnut pie made with love by Willa. Days don’t start any better than this.


I’ve been looking back at photos of the shop over the last year, I thought you might like to see how much things have changed since I first opened up last fall. In the beginning there were just four cubes of fabric shelving that were quite sparse. Look at how much the fabric collection has taken over in the last year! Most days, I wish there was even more space for more fabric. I suppose it’s good to have some limits, but don’t be surprised if you see some more shelving and more fabric soon. I can’t help myself.

I finally got some good photos of dress 13. In all the hectic-ness of the anniversary party, I didn’t get any suitable photos that showed off the pattern. I know I keep saying so, but it’s coming up soon!


What a gorgeous fall/birthday weekend! Saturday night Andrew took me to Le Select Bistro for my favourite meal, steak frites. Everything was incredible; the wine, the crispy fries, the perfectly cooked steak and the yummy creme brule. I LOVE french bistro and this was everything I love about french bistro. Delicious and luxurious!

On Sunday we drove out to the Halton region to hike on the Niagara Escarpment with Maisy. It’s one of our favourite excursions, no matter what the season. With the changing leaves right now, the landscape is especially brilliant. The woodland scenery is filled with mossy rocks, ferns, chipmunks and large mushrooms, so I was endlessly mesmerized by it all. I lifted two tiny little plants for my terrarium and wished that I could have taken home a few mossy logs and rocks.

Sunday night I finished dress 13, which has a bit of a woodland theme. I wore it last night at the workroom’s birthday party, so I’ll be posting it tomorrow. This was definitely the best birthday I’ve had yet!


I’ve been dying to see this nani IRO fabric in person. It’s double gauze cotton (a soft, loosely woven cotton that is double layered together) and it just arrived with a large shipment of Japanese fabrics. It’s beyond lovely.

I’m going to flip through my nani IRO pattern book for some inspiration for this fabric.
If I’m in love with a fabric, I usually have to wear it. Hence, the need for crazy 13 dress challenges.

p.s. Where the heck is dress #13???!! It’s late, my friends. I can only say that it will be worth the wait. (and it’s still too warm to wear coloured tights)


I’m wearing my summer scarves and dresses with jeans and flip flops now. Fall officially starts September 22, 2008 at 11:44 am EDT. This weekend I’ll be working hard to make my 13 dress deadline.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!


I threw dress 12 together in a hurry when I realized we had tickets to the closing night of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thompson Hall. They used the word ‘gala’ on the ticket and when I looked at all my new dresses, none of them said ‘red carpet’ to me. I had never been to see any films at TIFF before, so I decided a new fancy dress was in order.

Over the years, I have rescued various textiles and threads, not ever knowing what I would do with them. I only knew that they couldn’t be thrown away. I have a box of vintage custom-dyed charmeuse silk remnants. The colours are gorgeous and the fabric is super luxurious. One side of charmeuse is glossy and smooth, while the other side is quite matte. I always imagined they would make lovely fancy dresses, if only I had fancy dress occasions.

I went through the pile of silks and chose a ‘film strip’ grey called, ‘Smoke’. I folded the fabric in half unevenly, to create two layers of fabric. The top shiny side was shorter, revealing the matte side along the bottom. I serged a rolled hem along the top fold with light pink embroidery thread and did the same on the two bottom hems. I sewed a quick seam up the length of the fabric to make a ‘tube’. I think you know what’s coming next – shirring. Three sets of three closely spaced lines of shirring and my dress was done! I had thoughts of doing a dress more complicated or even just cut on the bias, but it was Friday night and the film was on Saturday. Plus, I wanted to watch episode 2 of Gossip Girl. My girl crush on Blair is growing. She is by far the most interesting girl on that show.

I wore my Chie Mihara grey shoes with the dress. They are one of my prized shoe possessions and they were a perfect match to the grey silk dress.

The movie, “Stone of Destiny”, is based on a true story about four university students who plan a heist to steal back the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey in England and return it to Scotland. It’s a sweet, feel good movie and I enjoyed watching it all dressed up in my fancy new dress.

ONE MORE DRESS TO GO! Dress 13 has no shirring, I promise. I’m super excited, as it uses cute Japanese fabric and will be the perfect ‘fall transition’ dress. Perhaps worn with coloured tights? If I can pull that off.


As I headed out the door this morning for a long walk with Maisy, I was bundled up in a long cardigan and scarf around my neck. Fall is quickly approaching. Today is a rare day off for me when I don’t have a meeting or a slew of errands to run for the shop. I have a lot of work to do, but I get to sit at home on my bed with my laptop. It’s a treat.

Before getting into all the work that needs to be done (website updates, newsletter, scheduling new classes, etc), a brisk walk in High Park seemed the best way to start the day. We stopped at the dog food store and I loaded up on treats for Maisy, then we crossed the street to Starbucks and loaded up on treats for me (extra hot chocolate and a donut). This relaxing excursion to the park used to be a weekly event which I realized today that we haven’t done in months. I also spent some time in the garden admiring how green and overgrown it got over this rainy summer. I’m particularly proud of my mossy stump planter.

You might notice that there’s a new page on this blog – an evolving list of crafty projects i hope to try out… I have a feeling the list is going to grow faster than I can check things off of it, but I’ll do my best. (and i LOVE making lists)

p.s. I’ve just started making Dress #13!! You’ll be hearing all about Dress #12 tomorrow.


Dress 11

Stylish Dress Book (available at the workroom)
Dress ‘N’ : Mauve Hyakkaryouran Chrysanthemums

Here’s Dress 11, which made it’s debut on the streets of New York City this past weekend. I love the dappled light under the Ginkgo trees in the West Village.

This is another pattern from the Stylish Dress Book. Dress ‘N’ caught my eye right away, but at the beginning of the summer it seemed too summery with all the rainy weather we were having. Field Guided made a gorgeous version of it in grey linen a little while ago that reminded me to try this pattern before the weather turned cool again.

Dress ‘N’ is very simple to make. When tracing out the pattern, I remembered to add seam allowances in all the right places. There are only five pattern pieces to this dress and no sleeves or zipper, so the dress construction is quick. The pattern suggests doing elastic along the back, but I had to follow Field Guided’s brilliant idea of doing shirring. Without the shirring the dress was quite big, so the shirring made all the difference. I tried to do bias tape along the back, but quickly realized that it was too bulky and prevented the shirring from pulling in nicely, so ended up doing a rolled hem. Shirring and rolled hems go hand in hand. I’ve found that a rolled hem is really the perfect finishing when shirring is involved.

The front ruffle is the key feature of the dress. I think anything with a ruffle is fetching. I chose this dark plummy floral fabric with gold detailing and was really pleased with final result. Sometimes a fabric you never would’ve chosen ends up stealing your heart. I love when that happens. This dress was perfect for kicking around Brooklyn, the West Village and NoLita on a sunny day.

It just might be time for me to make a couple of fall-ish dresses to finish off the 13 dress challenge.

I’ve got lots and lots to share with you from our NYC trip, but I’ll need a day or so to compile it all together. The trip was absolutely lovely in every way and I’m totally inspired with thoughts of fun things to make.

Dress 'N' from the Stylish Dress Book


Pattern: Amy Butler Anna Tunic
Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics Pink Le Fleur

There is just over a week until Labour day and somehow I’ve fallen behind in my dress challenge. Reading back on my first post about the challenge, it seems a bit fuzzy as to when the challenge officially ends. I did say the end of summer, which technically isn’t until September 22. I still have three more dresses to make! What do you think? A little leniency for a busy girl?

Dress 10 is from Amy Butler’s Anna Tunic which many of you may not know can also be turned into a dress. The photo on the cover of the pattern is deceiving as it only shows the top version. The dress goes together quite easily, with only a few fiddly parts. I found the instructions on how to attach the facings to the body of the dress slightly awkward and wished there was a more elegant way to do this part. I had to read the instructions several times slowly at this point to make sure I understood what I was supposed to do. Basically it is just top stitching the facing closed after you have pressed under the seam allowance and pinned each section around the yoke. There is no zipper in this pattern. For those who fear zippers, you may enjoy doing the button loops and buttons. I like the button detail very much.

Amy Butler’s patterns always seem to be quite a-line. Often times it’s too much for me and I end up straightening out the silhouette. On this dress, I quite like it. I made the longer version of the Anna Tunic and even wore it with the belt. (I rarely wear belts) The dress is fully lined which makes it feel slightly formal, in a good way.

The pink fabric by Art Gallery Quilts is clearly inspired by Art Nouveau. I love the swirly motifs which remind me very much of Paris.

I wore this dress on Sunday at the Kids Trunk Show. For once I thought I’d show you photos of the dress in action and me without my head cut off. Looking over the photos of the show, you’ll notice a good percentage of them include cupcakes. The night before, I baked four dozen cupcakes from scratch. I also made 7 minute frosting for the first time, which I really loved. Most the kids only ate the tops of the cupcakes. That probably had more to do with all the candy piled on top of them than the ‘Madagascar Vanilla Bean’ or ‘Shaved Dark Chocolate’ frostings.

p.s. Yes, I ate all the leftover cupcakes for breakfast this week.