linen satin dress full

My frustration with this dress may have been a little misplaced. You see, I was deep into a binge of season 1 of the Undisclosed podcast as I was sewing. My head was spinning with cellphone pings, brady violations, and all the perplexing and terrifying details of a murder trial in the American justice system.

(Listen to Serial, then listen to Undisclosed, then start the revolution. Or at the very least, write a short blog post about it.)

(Oh, and throw in Making a Murderer, Rectify and OJ: Made in America for good measure. You’ll be so mired in the stench of American crime you’ll need a Canadian cleanse. A Red Green enema, might do the trick?)

linen satin dress full side

The sleeve cap on this dress may not actually have been too big, but dagnabbit,  it seemed miles longer that the armscye. All that ease was going to drive me batty! The pinning, the basting, the pinning, the basting… and all the while, the nagging introspection:

Could I be coerced into a false confession?

Would I be an ethical and intelligent juror? What is reasonable doubt?

Do I remember what I did two weeks ago, Friday? Do I remember with any accuracy what I did last night? Just how malleable is memory? How much eyewitness testimony can ever really be trusted?

And what silly human decided to forgo the elegant simplicity of the kimono sleeve in favour of the convoluted logic of the set-in sleeve?! (Since writing this, I’ve learned that “kimono” in this context may not be appropriate or sensitive.)

linen satin sleeve detail

To make matters worse, where there was too much fabric at the sleeve cap, there wasn’t nearly enough at the hip. And a sausage casing butt is not a good look.

So the dress was sentenced to a few days solitary confinement. It needed to have a good long think about all that wanton ease and all the beautifully sewn in-seam pockets it had massacred.

linen satin dress detail neck

When it emerged, I (=empathetic and reasonable citizen) voted for rehabilitation. Sleeve caps were eased in with newfound patience and care. Side seam pockets were replaced with two piece godets to allow mobility.

A perfectly serviceable dress was born.

If only all fibre inmates at the woolandpotato prison fared so well.

linen satin dress detail bottom

  • Pattern: Burdastyle Linen shirt dress
  • Size: I must’ve sewn the 38? But looking at the sizing on the pattern now is making me confused…
  • Fabric: Linen viscose blend, cause why would you sew with anything else in the summer? Accents in poly satin.

mtl overpass rain

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If it doesn’t fit, you mustn’t (uh…)quit

Jacket and Jeans full


Jeans Full

If I stand just so, hands in pockets, one knee slightly bent, t-shirt tucked oh so casually, almost thoughtlessly, you’d swear I’d made myself a pair of honest to goodness jeans.

And if I can just manage to keep myself at this very angle, gazing out wistfully at the mighty St. Lawrence, you won’t see my wonkily topstitched fly or puckered and oversized waistband.

“Jeans!” you’ll exclaim.

“Yes, behold: Jeans,” I will sagely reply.

Jeans pocket detail

These come not a moment too soon, considering the state of my jeans collection. I’m down to one pair that still allow me to bend over without risk of indecent exposure.  But even the good pair have the ever growing threadbare inner-thigh patches of impending doom. (Yes, it’s a mouthful. And a literal pain in the ass.)

  • Pattern: Burda 7863  An easy one to skip over – silly looking models/styling on the envelope.  It was handmadebycarolyn‘s many attractive versions that sold me.
  • Fabric: Stretchy Denim (2 or 3% stretch?)
  • Size: 12 – my hips would put me in a 14, but the pattern is drafted with zero ease and I wanted negative ease.

These jeans will have to serve as a wearable muslin for future better versions. It’s a great pattern and fits pretty well straight out of the envelope. There’s a lot I’ll change in my next pair though:

  • shorten length of fly
  • keep waistband uninterfaced, as pattern suggested; adjust length
  • use smaller belt loops
  • change profile under knee for a more attractive flare
  • confirm whether my knock knees are, in fact, the reason for the constant weird bunching I get around the knees in all pants
  • cut only a half pocket from denim (the visible part), use a lightweight material for the rest… avoid pocket shadow
  • experiment with topstitching in traditional “jeans” colours – I thought I wanted a more subtle look, but I’ve worked up a hankering for a more canonical pair

Jacket pocket detail

But what jeans related woe can’t be remedied by throwing on an olive coloured, belted, military style jacket? This is one of the very few self-stitched items that I have virtually no complaints about: my favourite colour; goes with everything.

Jacket back

Gimme some epaulettes, eyelets and four patch pockets – I’m good to go.

  • Pattern: Belted Military Jacket
  • Fabric: Light weight wool blend twill
  • Size: If I remember correctly, 40? But my impression was that the sizing was off with this pattern. I expected a 40 to be slightly roomier, enough for a bulkier sweater underneath.

Jacket cuff detail


Jacket open detail


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Vampire skirt

Black Aline SkirtFirst completed sewing project of the new year. Absolutely impossible to photograph though. Also, my first double-welt pockets! Hurrah. Not so difficult a technique, just a thousand slow, exacting (“turn your handwheel to ensure precision”) steps.

As usual with downloadable Burda patterns, the seemingly triple-translated instructions were cryptic and unhelpful. The pattern pages included curved waistband pieces but the instructions asked for self-drafted rectangular pieces. I chose to use the curved pieces but regretted it slightly when I had trouble easing them into the skirt… fusible interfacing doesn’t love easing – much prefers wrinkling, especially when one is steaming it to death.

I also hate to admit that on top of my first double-welt success, this skirt may very well be the first garment I’ve sewn that actually has a completely invisible invisible zip. I decided to stop being a dummy and use that thinking part of my brains to puzzle this one out. Yes, if you set your needle to the leftmost position AND adjust the width… well… the needle moves over! Right where you need it.

Turns out I don’t need to buy an invisible zipper foot after all. So: don’t believe the hype. Use your regular zipper foot to its full advantage. It’ll love you right back.

  • Pattern: Burda Style A-line skirt
  • Fabric: Brownish-black wool blend twill + black bemberg lining
  • Size: 38, but with side seams sewn at 3/8″
  • Notes: In the future, finish the edges of welt facings before anything else on pocket construction. Get some dark fusible interfacing. Every time I catch a glimpse of that light interfacing on this dark garment I feel like I’m peeking at someone’s undies. Makes me uneasy.