The Refashioners 2015!


Wow, it’s crazy to think about how the first Refashioners was 4 years ago. I’m so glad that Portia brought it back again this year because I really love this challenge, because that’s what it is for me – a challenge. It forces me to think outside the box and create a garment with limited resources. And since I chose to do a secret trade with another blogger I didn’t have any idea what I was going to work with.

Oh, and did you hear? You can participate, too, and even maybe win a seriously incredible prize pack.

I traded thrift store shirts with Heather Lou (see what she made here). I gave her a shirt that definitely forced her to get creative. *evil laugh*

So check out BOTH my refashions over at Makery and read how to make them yourself.

Papercut Clover Dress

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress
I’m back from vacation in Jamaica (for now, still doing more traveling this month) where these pics were taken. We had fun but it’s good to be home.

I rushed to finish this dress before I left and even brought the embroidery thread with me to make the braided belt while I was there.

The Pattern: The Clover Dress by Papercut Patterns. I liked the style of the model photos with its drapey fabric, cool lace inserts, and fun tassel belt. I knew I wanted to use something flow-y like charmeuse or challis.

As I started cutting out my pieces I noticed some drafting details that I appreciated.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

For one – no dart on the raglan sleeve. Often for a woven raglan sleeve you need more curvature around the shoulder but I liked that the Clover was able to take that curve out of the sides and save me the effort of sewing darts or a two piece sleeve (also, no darts on the whole thing, yay!)

Also, the grainline goes straight down the center of each body pattern piece, swinging out on both sides at the hem. This makes the hem extra swing-y all around at each seam line rather than just swinging out at the side seams like if you were, say, cutting the piece on the fold. This also allows for more curvature at the center front, back and side seams at the waist.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

This isn’t a pure tent dress that you belt for shaping. It’s narrower and more fitted at the waist so you don’t have a major blousing effect when you tie the belt.

The Fabric: I used a rayon challis for the main fabric and leftover mystery, stretchy, knit lace-stuff for the inserts.
Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

The challis came from a now defunct local store and it’s made by Freespirit. The white lace came from some spandex warehouse in Dallas.

Challis is usually shifty so for this project I tried something new – dipping the fabric in liquid starch and popping it in the dryer. It certainly helped stiffen the fabric, about as much as spray starching it, however I noticed some areas were less well soaked than others and had to spot spray after drying.

I still had to iron the fabric afterward but this method definitely saved me lots of time. Next time I’ll make sure to thoroughly soak the fabric.

In the end, though, not even the starch could keep the bias edges of the pieces from stretching so I stay stitched every edge of every piece.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

For the belt I used the thicker type of embroidery thread and added a few more threads in my braid than the pattern called for. It’s a very narrow braid.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

The Changes: Only one major change – the way the fabric print ended up in the front of the dress produced this big red chevron effect up the center seam (you can see more of the red-splotch pattern on the back of the dress).

As much as I wanted to ignore the glaring arrow to the crotch, I couldn’t, so I sewed a wedge up the front from the hem grading to nothing to cut out most of the red area. This threw off the “swinginess” of the front of the dress a tad but I figured it was worth it.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

Because the lace was so stretchy I reinforced every single seam line that connected it to the regular fabric with stay tape. I think that helped stabilize the whole area. I sewed the center front seamline with a French seam because I figured it would be the best way to enclose the raw edges of the lace without using a serger. I added stay tape to that part, too.

Papercut Patterns Clover Dress

The Results: This dress is super cute! I love it! It’s fun and comfy to wear and the print is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. I love the pop of white with the lace and the belt. Obviously you don’t have to use something sheer, you could easily use a contrast opaque fabric, too.

It fit great right out of the envelope (I made an XS). I really think the tassels make the dress.


I made a gif of the dress in full spin mode. Try not to get dizzy…


Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle and the Refashioners!


Hey all you lovely sewists! Today is the final day of the first (of 2) Sewing Indie Month pattern bundle sales!

You probably know how these bundles work at this point – a group of patterns is offered for sale at a heavily discounted price (so it’s still a good deal even if you already own a couple of these patterns) and 20% of the proceeds go to charity.

So, what does it cost?

Spend $25 or more and get the following patterns:

  • Sutton Blouse by True Bias
  • Cressida Skirt by Jennifer Lauren Vintage Patterns
  • Sugar Plum Dress by Lolita Patterns
  • Mississippi Ave Dress & Top by Sew House Seven
  • Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Spend $32 or more and get these bonus patterns:

  • Cookie Blouson by Waffle Patterns
  • Bonnell Dress by Dixie DIY (that’s mine! you know you want this pattern!)

And if you spend $38 or more you’ll get all of the above patterns plus the:

  • Melissa Dress, Blouse & Skirt by Muse Patterns
  • the brand new, never before available Saltbox Top by Blueprints for Sewing
  • the brand new, never before available Sorrel Dress & Top by Seamster Sewing Patterns


Next month there’s going to be another bundle featuring more knit patterns so stay tuned for that one.

You’ve got until tomorrow August 13 to snatch up this bundle so go check it out at


In other news – the Refashioners has begun! Hop on over to Portia’s great blog every weekday this month and get inspired.


Then make your own refashion and share it on social media with #therefashioners2015 and you could win an incredible prize pack (including my Bonnell Dress pattern).


In the meantimen though, I’m on vacation for the rest of the week. If you have questions about patterns or anything else you can always email me or leave a comment, but response time might be a little slower with my infrequent Internet connection. However when I get back I’ll have fun new projects to share!

Full Regency Era Costume

Regency Costume

At last I have taken proper pictures of this costume!

Regency Costume

I’m wearing my Regency underthings along with a bodiced petticoat (which is exactly what it sounds like – a petticoat with a sleeveless bodice attached to it).

Regency Costume

The Dress first: Some soft blue cotton I bought locally at a store that no longer exists :(

If you’ve read my previous post on sewing Regency you’ll know that I’ve had such a hard time with Big 4 company costume designs. For this go around I went with Laughing Moon #126. I knew I wanted to be able to dress myself so I chose the “apron front” or “bib front” gown design.

Regency Costume

The way it works is pretty neat – the dress has two long slits down the front sides and this is attached to the gathered rectangle portion of the bodice. You put the dress on, then pull up the front of the dress, tie it around in the back (like you would an apron) and pin (yes pin, with little straight pins) the gathered bodice to the shoulder area of the dress (kind of like you would with a pin on apron.

No, you don’t get stabbed by the pins. You’ve got lots of extra layers underneath the dress. And you can barely see the pins once they’re attached.

Regency Costume

This style was only popular from around the late 1790s to 1810 but I like it much better than the back buttoning dresses (those are difficult for me to put on alone).

Regency Costume

Some cool features of this pattern which I liked and felt were more authentic than the Big 4 patterns I used – extra long sleeves that cover half your hands, a back bodice seam that raises up higher than the front, sleeve caps that extend far in on the back shoulders, a ton of back pleats, and a nicely curved and wide front neckline. All of these details are accurate to the time period.

I made a straight size 12 and it fit perfectly right out of the envelope (I seriously love this company, they’re now my go-to for all historical patterns).

Regency Costume

Prior patterns I’ve used ended up looking too frumpy or too juvenile but this pattern looks elegant even though it’s only a day dress and nothing fancy.

The only thing I changed was making the neckline lower by about 2 inches.

Unfortunately my bodiced petticoat’s neckline isn’t as wide as the dress’ but that’s ok because the open neck area was usually covered by a chemisette/tucker (like a 19th century dickie) or a fichu (a square of fabric wrapped around and tucked into the dress, kind of a fashion leftover from the late 18th century) which is was this is. It’s just an unhemmed piece of chiffon.

Regency Costume

The bonnet I’m quite proud of. It’s the Lucia pattern and kit from Timely Tresses. I chose this “jockey” style because I’d never made a hat before and wanted to start simple. The big gold feather came from them, too.

The ribbon is just some satin poly. I bought it and the fancy velvet trim at Joann.

The fabric is some silk crepe de chine which I’m not entirely sure is accurate to the time but I liked the color and it made for a nice, lightweight bonnet. The lining is handkerchief weight linen.

For my first try at a bonnet it went pretty well. The only thing I didn’t like was that it seemed that the last section of “poof” in the back of the bonnet was way poofier than other areas. Maybe I messed something up, I don’t know. So in the end I tacked some portions down in back to reel in the poof.

I also got a tiny 1/2″ barrel curling iron to curl my bangs and hair around my face. However the humidity made my curls all go flat after only about 5 minutes. Oh, well.

The curly style was quite popular at the time. Here’s a good Pinterest board with tons of portrait examples.

Regency Costume

And finally, I bought some ivory flocked silk stockings from this site and some ballet flats that I decorated with ribbon (inspired by this extant pair) to complete the look.

Regency CostumeI have these and a bunch of extra photos in my flickr costumes album if you want to see more or see anything up close.