That Dress Revisited Part 2

I’ve mentioned our dinner group that meets monthly. We’ve had some amazing dinners together, and the one we just had for Christmas is going to be one among the most amazing we’ve ever had.

Dressing Up

  We were told to dress up, and my hubby and I did dress up. I wore my beautiful new dress, and he wore his tux.  The little O Sew Easy scarf was the perfect accessory to my dress. Just enough to keep my arms and shoulders warm, but not too much. I also didn’t have to worry about it falling off. It can’t fall off.

As wonderful as it was to dress up, and as much as I love this dress. This post isn’t going to be about the dress. It’s going to be about an amazing dinner. The reason I got my beautiful dress. Let’s take a look at that dinner.

Our Menu

We were served a 12-course meal based on the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. It was incredible!

I’m not sure if it shows up very well, but the table runner is Twelve Days of Christmas themed too. Here were our place settings.

Here’s a photo of the whole table:It was beautiful and very welcoming.

Here’s a close-up of our menu so you can see what we had, but I will take you through each course.  It was really amazing!

Variations on a Theme

There were things I couldn’t have on the menu, so our host worked with me ahead of time so I could make things I could have – things that looked similar to what everyone else was having.

Let’s go through the menu.

1st Course

 Our first course was a Peartini to remind of us the partridge in a Pear tree.

2nd Course

For our 2nd course, we had a Poached quail egg in brie, with veal stock, chives and truffle oil, served with mouillettes. The quail egg was to remind us of the turtle doves. I don’t think turtle dove eggs are commonly found in any grocery store.

For mine, I used cashew cream in place of the brie, and Paleo almond bread for the mouillette.

3rd Course

Our third course was Coq au vin served in a tartlet. This is a more obvious connection to the French Hens in the song.

Mine was simply the Coq au vin without the tartlet.

   4th Course

Our fourth course came with a history lesson. What we commonly call Calling Birds are also called Collie Birds. Collie birds are a black bird. In order to represent these birds, our host used squid ink in a potato cake.

I had a slice of tomato, more cashew cream, and some dill.

5th Course

The five golden rings were represented by a golden ring of polenta, with chorizo sausage and shrimp.

Mine is cauliflower polenta and hot Italian sausage.

6th Course

The six geese a laying was represented by a quenelle (an egg-shaped) sorbet.

  7th Course

Our seventh course wasn’t swan. It was duck. Oven-roasted duck, with duck-fat potatoes on a bed of sautéed kale, drizzled with star-anise blueberry sauce.

8th Course

The eight maids a milking were represented by a cheese board. Everyone made up their own smaller cheese boards. There was even a cave-aged Gruyere there.

Mine was more cashew cream, pear slices, and Paleo almond bread.

   9th Course

The nine ladies dancing were represented in lady finger biscuits. This beautiful dessert was strawberry Charlotte Russe.

I had fresh strawberries with … more cashew cream. Cashew cream is very versatile.

The Last Three Courses

Courses 10, 11 and 12, were all represented here. Lords would commonly retire after dinner with a brandy or scotch. The pipers were chocolate covered marzipan sticks. Lastly, the Drummers were represented in assorted Keurig coffee pods.

It was an incredible dinner – delicious, creative, and memorable.

Happy creating!

That Dress Revisited Part 1

My hubby and I are part of a dinner group that meets once a month. We’ve been meeting for the better part of 10 years, and have a lot of fun. We’ve tried recipes from all over the globe. Sometimes we get dressed up, sometimes not. There was one PJ night; we all brought our favorite comfort food. Conversely, there was an Academy Award Night. Everyone wore black tie, and one couple arrived in a helicopter! Another special night you might remember was our Valentine Dinner almost two years ago.

 That Dress

My dress-shopping-friend is part of our dinner group, and after trying on all those gorgeous dresses, I suggested we dress up for our Christmas dinner. She was hosting, and said no. She had too much work to do to get everything ready. I understood.

I found out I wasn’t the only one who wanted to dress up. One of the husbands in our group requested we dress up too. My friend decided since a few of us wanted to dress up, we’d dress up.

I was hoping to make the McCall’s 7684, but by time this was announced, I had less than a week to make it! I still tried.

The Pattern

I’ve already shared a bit about how closely this pattern matches the dress I saw and loved.  Here they are side-by-side. That’s the same skirt, same tie, same pockets, same zip in the back. The top is a little different, but that’s it. What a wonderful pattern!

My Materials

 I got the pattern. I bought some gorgeous materials too. I bought a lovely stretch velour for the top, which is closer to the original dress’ design which is a knit top. I also bought a gorgeous rich black and red brocade for the skirt.

 Pattern Hack

The first thing I had to deal with is the pattern has a dart in it and I know I’m going to need a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). That’s fine. I’ve done FBAs before, but never on a waist dart. I think I drew it out four or five times, and still wasn’t sure. I didn’t have time to make a muslin either. By time I was ready to cut, it was three days until the party.

I decided to change the pattern. I pulled out my hallå Agnes pattern and traced off the top. I’ve used it to make a few tops. It’s designed for a knit, and my material is knit. I’d decided it would work.

First Attempts

Well, it was a sad, stressful day of sewing. The first top I cut out of the stretch velour was a bit tighter than I wanted. The stretch velour didn’t have the same amount of stretch as the cotton Lycra I’d used in the summer, and in my rush, I didn’t even check how much stretch the velour had.

I added a little more seam allowance to the pattern and cut out a second top from the remainder of my fabric. This second one was just fine.

Then, I messed up the neckband.

I didn’t think about the direction of stretch when I cut the band. I only had a little bit of material left, and I was rushing and feeling stressed. There was only one direction I could cut the bands for the neck and arms, and it was the wrong direction.

I only realized it was the wrong direction after trying to serge it to the neckline.

My Hubby

I called my hubby and told him I’d messed up the top. Twice. By this time I only had one day left to make the whole dress. Not one to give up, I ask him, ‘Should I go buy more material for the top?’

He didn’t think I should – at least not to try to make the dress for the party. He suggested I buy more material and make a muslin, and in the meantime we go dress shopping. What a sweet hubby!

Guess what I found on sale? My dress! The dress I loved from first look, and made me feel beautiful when wearing it.

I think you know what I wore to my Christmas dinner. Next week I’ll share all about our dinner.


I am not giving up on sewing myself the McCall’s dress though. I have some new material for the top, and it’s one of my projects I have planned for this year.

Happy creating!

Pirose or O Sew Easy Scarf

A few years ago I worked in a little boutique, and I saw many lovely clothing items. I got a discount too, so some of those lovelies made it home with me.

One of those items was a Reno Rose Pirose scarf. A few of these came home with me.

They’re lovely to dress up an outfit and also give a little more coverage. Unfortunately, they no longer seem to be available.

Sewing with Nancy

I knew I’d seen a similar scarf on an episode of Sewing with Nancy. She made a scarf that is the same shape and style as the Pirose scarf – the O Sew Easy Scarf.

It’s the first scarf she shows in the video below.

I’m still so very sad when I think of Nancy being gone. I’m trying to just be thankful for all the years she was here and how much she imparted, but am mostly still sad.

Making the Scarf

The Pirose scarf came in three sizes. Small, Medium, and Long. I found the Medium worked best for me. The Long dwarfed me, and the small, although a good size for my frame, is probably better suited to someone smaller busted.

I used one of my Pirose scarves to trace off a pattern. After I cleaned up the edges of my new pattern, I followed along with Nancy’s video to make my scarf. Nancy Notions does have a great-looking book with the pattern in it, and many other scarf patterns too. I sent a hint about the book to my hubby.

My Scarf

I found a lovely chiffon in the clearance section, and scooped it up right away. I love a great deal!

I wanted sheer black, but I was happy enough to find this slightly textured chiffon. Again, the price was right.  The scarf is longer on one side than the other, so I can wear it with the shorter side at the front, or at the back. I can even wear it on a diagonal. Each way I wear it gives a bit of a different look.I’m so happy with this.

Here are a few different ways I can wear it. I have a pin that clips on, so will wear that with my scarf. I’m looking for some patterns to make a few more of these pins as I bought this one with one of my scarves. Like the scarves, the clips no longer seem to be available. Here’s a video showing a bunch of ways to tie a Pirose scarf, all of which would apply to the O Sew Easy scarf as well.

 Happy creating!

2017 Wrap-Up

I don’t usually do a wrap-up post, but this year I started out saying I was going to finish some unfinished projects, so I thought it would be fun to look back and see how I did.

2017’s UFOs

 I started off the year mentioning a few things on an ever-continuing sewing list I just wasn’t finishing. I did finish a few of them.I don’t want to cover everything I did this year – just a few highlights.

January, February, & March

In January, I worked on my personal croquis. This is something I’d wanted to do for a while, but had put off. I don’t know why I put it off for so long. I love it! It’s come in handy so many times, especially to digitally try on clothes to see how they’ll fit. 

January also saw me work on the Raspberry Ripple bag, which I finished in February.

In March, I drafted my first bra using the Drafting information in the Bra Makers Manual Vol 2. Although it looked okay, it didn’t fit properly. I hadn’t splayed my wires enough. Lesson learned and changes applied to the next draft.

April, May, & June

May is when I discovered the hallå agnes pattern. I love this pattern! I made five of them over the next couple of months. I have plans to make a few with sleeves for winter.

July, August, & September

In July, I helped organize the Canada 150 – It’s in the Bag blog tour. I also made my first Canada bag.I ultimately made four Canada bags, three of which are now in Columbia. I used the free Miss Maggie pattern by Emmaline Bags. This is a great pattern. I have plans for more Miss Maggies.

In August, I made another bra draft, and a Cloth Habit Watson bralette.

September was a big bra month. I made two more bra drafts, and another  Watson for Em.  

October, November, & December

In October, I helped to organize another blog tour. This time it was Canada Cups – Coming Unwired blog tour. I made a lovely Pin-Up Girls Sweet Sixteen bralette for myself. This is such a great pattern for having so many sizes. It’s supportive and pretty. What more can a girl want?In November, I helped organize one more blog tour. This time it was the ChrisW Designs Global Blog tour. For this tour I made the Serendipity Hip pattern for a friend.December came and saw one more bra draft, well two actually. The first draft didn’t fit and I wasn’t really expecting it to fit. That first draft of December led to a perfectly fitting draft. I’m ready to start bra-making again in the New year. What a great way to end my bra-making year!

Unfinished Business

   I still have a couple of things on my sewing list from this year that didn’t get finished.

Here’s the list that’s been sitting on my desk:

  • bra pattern
  • test bra pattern
  • read up on bag dividers
  • make a pattern for a bag divider
  • sew Raspberry Ripple.

Out of all of that, I did the first three. I found a pattern with a bag divider so skipped the forth one. There’s still one Raspberry Ripple all cut out and interfaced just waiting for me. I think that will be one of the first things I sew in 2018.

I said starting off, that my sewing list is ever-continuing. There are projects I’ve added for my 2018 sewing list.

  • I want to work on the design or style of my drafted bra pattern and sew a bra or two or three or four…
  • I have two lap quilts to sew.
  • A friend wants a robe.
  • I want to sew another handbag or two.
  • I have material to sew two winter Agnes tops.

That’s a few things to get me started in 2018.

Happy New Year, and happy creating!

Noodlehead Range Backpack

I had a request to make a backpack, and it’s a first for me. The pattern I used was great, and really helped me. It was all very clearly explained, and it didn’t take very long while making it for me to feel more confident and that I really could make a backpack.

The Range Backpack

I chose the Noodlehead Range Backpack. This is for a teen girl. I thought it looked a little more modern, and it might be preferable over a traditional-looking backpack.

    As well as making the backpack, I’m making a matching Blue Calla Clematis Wristlet, which is a free pattern. 

My Version of the Backpack

 Here’s my first backpack. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. My son’s girlfriend, Em, gave me these materials. She’d made a bag out of the one with pink wavy stripes. Both materials are canvas, so they’re nice and sturdy for a backpack.

The backpack has an expandable zippered pocket on the front of the bag.As well as all the basics like straps and hanging hook on the back.Em may have provided the material, but all the hardware is from Emmaline Bags. And I had to add a little extra when I bought the hardware.   I used the same fabric I used for the contrasting bottom to line the bag. Seeing as the lining peeks out when the bag is folded over, I thought it might bring it together nicely.The Noodlehead Range Backpack is a great pattern. I had no trouble following it at all.

The Wristlet

 The Wristlet was another first-time pattern for me. I’ve had it in my pattern stash for a little while now, but hadn’t made it yet. I hadn’t made anything by Blue Calla. It was another pleasant surprise as there were no issues at all while sewing it up.The material I used for the inside of the wristlet was also given to me by Em. She had a small stash and said I’d probably use it before her. Thank you, Em.

The backpack and wristlet have been mailed to their new home, and I had to add a couple of little friends too. I hope they’re all loved and enjoyed.Merry Christmas, and Happy Creating!

Oh That Dress!

Recently, a friend asked me to go ‘Black Tie’ dress shopping with her. That sounded fun, so we made plans.

She had a shop in mind, so we went through all the dresses there to see what was appropriate for a black tie event.

  Gorgeous Dresses

 My friend tried on a number of dresses, but only two were lovely enough to really consider.

This adorable cocktail dress looked great on her, but wasn’t suitable for a black tie event. It just looked too good on her not to be included in her final list. This is the evening gown she bought for the event. It’s gorgeous and it really flattered her figure.  

Having Fun

 After helping my friend pick out so many lovely dresses, and seeing her try them on, I couldn’t resist trying on a dress or two.

This was the first gown I tried on. I loved this, but it did not love me back. I should know this styling is not flattering to my shape as I’ve been curvy all my life – even when I was a size 5. You can see on my croquis below, it isn’t flattering. It looked worse in real life.

No, that was not the right style for me. It was very easy to pass it up no matter how nice it looked on the hanger.

The next dress was a lot harder to pass up.  

While my friend was debating her dresses, I tried this one on.

I had to snap a photo of me in the dress too. When you try something on and feel pretty… it stands out.

Here’s the dress from the back:  

Ooh, it’s so lovely.

 I came home and looked for a pattern that was similar. I didn’t have to look far.

McCall’s 7684

McCall’s 7684 view C looks almost exactly the same. Same skirt, belt, zip up the back, pockets. The top is different.

I phoned the fabric store to see if patterns were on sale and they were! I was off to pick it up right away.Here are the dresses side by side:Here’s just view C:
 I’m so happy I went dress shopping with my friend. We really did have fun! I’m even happier I found this pattern.

That’s enough dreaming for me. It’s time to get back to work on all those Christmas gifts I said I’d sew.

Happy creating!

A Few Gifts

Before I can get back to sewing just for me, I had to finish a few sewing projects I promised to make for others.

Sewing Gift One

  Em, my son’s girlfriend, was over not too long ago, and she saw a small stash of material. She asked what I was doing with it, and I said I was donating it. I don’t like to keep things I’m no longer using, or don’t have plans to use.

She loved the one material and thought her mom would like it too. Would I make an Infinity scarf?

I searched around for a pattern, and found there was very little difference between all the patterns out there. Most call for 2 yards of material.

I had just over a meter of material, so I was beginning to think this wouldn’t work. Then I found a pattern that was one yard. I whipped up this scarf. 

This turned out so nicely, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of this myself. But the material was already claimed by Em, so maybe next time I’ll think of making a scarf. Here’s the side view. 

The only disadvantage to only having one meter of material is this scarf won’t double wrap. It’s thick as it is, so should still be nice and warm.

Sewing Gift Two

This next gift was some material brought back from Africa by a friend. She brought it back for another friend, but that friend doesn’t sew. Would I help?

I thought an apron would get some nice use, so that’s what we decided to do. I looked for a simple pattern that would show the material’s design, and found one. 

The material is waxed cotton, and it was a first for me to sew with it. It’s a bit more challenging than regular quilters’ cotton, but not too hard.

This is a reversible apron, so there’s no right or wrong way to wear it. 

It came together really well, and has good coverage. I heard our friend loves it.

 I have two more gifts to sew up. I’m making the Noodlehead Range backpack, and the Blue Calla Clematis wristlet.

Both bag photos are from their websites.

This will be my first time making a backpack. It’s also my first time sewing a Blue Calla pattern. I’ll share more on both of these once I sew them up.

I’ve had a few firsts this gift-sewing season. Once this is done, I’m back to bra drafting.

Happy creating!

Another Draft

I just finished another bra draft. And it’s not perfect, but it’s awfully pretty.

Draft Six?

To be honest, I’ve lost count of exactly how many drafts I’ve done. I’ve drafted a whole bunch of times to practice what I’m doing, but haven’t made them all up.  This is an ivory bra with a lace upper cup. It looks lovely, but the cup is a little bit too small.

Here’s the side view.

Despite this not fitting perfectly, I’m pretty pleased with how well it all turned out. I’m definitely learning with each draft I draw and sew up. This time around there were no oversights or mistakes like in previous attempts.I used gold-toned rings and sliders. I thought they’d look really pretty with the ivory, and they do!

The Good News

This bra not fitting perfectly isn’t all bad news. The band fits perfectly. I won’t need to make any changes to that at all. The previous bands were all a bit too big, or gaping here or there. This one is good.

 In the Bra-Makers Manual Vol. 2, Beverly Johnson says measurements should be taken while wearing a good fitting bra. This has been a big part of my problem.

Although the Conturelle bra I have fits, the cup material has stretch, so taking measurements in this bra gives me great measurements for another stretch bra, but not for a more supportive one made from duoplex.

With this sixth draft, I was able to take my measurements, and re-drafted one more time with those new measurements.

Things I Did Right

   So, how did that seventh draft work? It fits! It FITS!

I can’t even begin to express how happy I am right now. I never dreamed I’d make my own pattern from measurements, sew it up, and it fit.

  It looks a sight though. I said it looked a sight!

Number six became my tester bra frame because the frame fit but the cups didn’t. I re-drafted only the cups, and sewed them into the tester frame. It’s the tester frame that’s sticking out on the outside. To make things look even worse, well, actually, to make it easier to unpick to reuse the tester frame, I used black thread. 

If anyone is interested in how I made the tester frame, let me know and I’ll do a post on that.

Now to break into my stash and celebrate with a new bra.

Happy creating!