A Sparkly Bonnie Sweater from Bluegingerdoll

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A little shout out to Australia today with my new Bonnie sweater from Bluegingerdoll! It wasn’t until I made this that I realized there are quite a few Aussie patternmakers, aren’t there? Quite an impressive tally, and then there’s the New Zealand ladies too! That corner of the world is up to some great things in the sewing world, great things indeed. Here’s my first piece designed in Australia, and made in New York City. :)

Before I start, if you only read one thing in this post then read this: this pattern has 1/4″ seam allowances. Make sure you remember that before sewing pieces together! I know most of us are used to 5/8″ seams.

Okay, so…

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Butterick 5546, My Monet Wrap Dress

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Ever since I bought this fabric last spring I’ve been dreaming of sewing it into a wrap dress (as with every knit I buy – at least they don’t ALL turn into wraps!). It’s predominantly purple, but when you look closer there are a number of colors at play. Reminds me of a Monet painting.

The fabric itself is a rayon jersey, and it’s wonderfully soft. Almost feels like a lightweight sweater. Although I bought three yards of it ($5/yard at Metro Textiles in the Garment District), I only used about 2 1/2 yards. Perhaps even less. I went with a new-to-me pattern that I thrifted this summer: Butterick 5546, a “See & Sew” pattern. Well, last Sunday, I see’d it and I sew’d it in a matter of hours. Well, kind of. I’ll explain.

(By the way, yet another post with a crooked picture frame. I swear it’s not that way in real life! Sheesh.)

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A Wiggle Dress, or Joan Holloway for the Day

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When it comes to music, my heart belongs to the ’60s. Long before Mad Men came on the scene, I had spent my teen years singing along to the Beatles and other British Invasion bands, Motown groups, and whatever else the oldies radio station would throw at me. I also thought Paul McCartney was just the cutest thing ever (was I even aware, watching A Hard Day’s Night, that he hadn’t been that age in 30+ years?). So in honor of my beloved decade in music, I thought it was high time I made myself a ’60s-inspired wiggle dress.

The pattern I chose is from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, and boy did those gussets give me a hard time! They pretty much landed this dress in UFO territory (that’s “unfinished object” to my non-sewing friends). I even posted it as my UFO photo for Bimble and Pimble‘s #bpsewvember challenge on Instagram. It was folded up and stored away. I felt free.

But, you know what? Between wanting my very own Joan Holloway dress and receiving encouraging comments to finish it from my Instagram buddies, I decided to give it another go. This dress had its challenges, but it’s done, I learned some new techniques, and I can add it to my FESA tally. Win-win-win!

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I Met Cynthia Rowley!

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You guys! I met fashion designer Cynthia Rowley last night! Completely unexpected, too. I was at a work event hosted by Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village, and as the evening was wrapping up she happened to stop by. It was the perfect way to end the night; as you can see, guests had left by that point so special thanks to the Murray’s staff for letting us sip one last glass of wine with Cynthia (feels funny to just call her by her first name, but weird not to?).

She was super nice, and we chatted about sewing for a good long while. And then a good while longer about her restored 19th century townhouse (I’m an architectural historian, so I loved that bit just as much!).

My co-workers helped make this happen: one told her that I sew and another mentioned my blog. Thanks, you guys, you’re the best. :-D Seriously, I’m the worst at getting conversations started, but once I’m in I can be surprisingly chatty and excited…especially when it comes to sewing! This was particularly evident when my co-workers told Cynthia that I show them all my fabric and yarn purchases when they arrive at the office. Ha! They know and hear more about my crafty adventures than anyone.

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FESA: Butterick 5455 Pencil Skirt in Plaid Wool BouclΓ©

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Here’s the follow-up to my outfit post from last week where I’ll be focusing on the pencil skirt I made to go with my new Marion cardigan (update: the wool is a bit scratchy where it directly hits my skin, which was always one of my hesitations with knitting, but it’s not too bad and I ain’t stopping now!).

Anyway, this is the skirt portion of Butterick 5455, another FESA creation and a dress pattern that I scored for a song at a thrift store this past summer. What a glorious feeling! I’d like to try the whole pattern one of these days.

I had to bring in the waist a bit, but I’d leave it as is if I made the dress. Actually, I took the waist in just a pinch too much and really had to pull at the fabric in the hopes it would stretch to fit me more comfortably (saying “please, streeeeeeetch” while you’re doing that helps). Thankfully, it worked. Just remember you learned that “industry” tip here first. ;)

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