The cult


“Ooooh… modest!” was the first catcall this dress elicited from my man.

Can’t say that’s one I’d heard before. I imagine it might be the kind of thing one gets when out too late on the mean streets of Salt Lake City.

The high neck, the colour and texture do give the dress a kind of “burlap haute couture look” or “wartime factory elegance”. And I don’t suppose my prairie girl single braid helps.

Well, too bad boys. I keeps the goods under wraps.




I’ve worn this dress out with my new pair of Birkenstocks, a brand of sandal I used to wear a bunch but hadn’t owned in many years. What I had forgotten about Birks is that the profile of the sole mimics my high arches in such a way that they suction together as I walk.  In other words, my steps are punctuated by timid little fart noises.

“Pfft. Pfft. Pfft…” whisper my feet as I stroll.

So, yes, I’m the modestly dressed, perpetually gassy gal. That’s me.

  • Pattern: Vogue 8805
  • Size: 14, b cup
  • Fabric: Army green linen-viscose blend, same as piped pants
  • Notes: I somehow sewed one dart about an inch too deep, ending directly on the apex of the bust. I realized this as I sat at my desk at work. Like any sewing mistake I spot while out in the world (or any sartorial error for that matter – shirts inside out, mismatched socks), I was left feeling unreasonably embarrassed by the discovery. I took to carrying items in front of my chest and keeping my arms folded at all other times, lest someone notice my ever so slightly lopsided darts. No one did, of course, and the fact is no one ever would. But I knew the mistake was there. I could feel it burning a hole through my skin. I solved the matter later that night by extending the other dart as far. One mistake is an eyesore. Two symmetrical mistakes are a choice.




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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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Cropped crumb sweater

miette sweater

I’ve decided to try to be the kind of girl who doesn’t just sew skirts, but actually wears them.

Black cropped back detail

I’ve since discovered that skirts look much better with sweaters that aren’t too long. So, I knitted up a simple, black, cropped cardigan: the very popular and free Miette.

miette sweater

I think it’ll be a practical addition to my closet. The only drawback is the constant need for quarantine from furry and shedding kitty cats. Hmph.

miette sweater

  • Pattern: Miette
  • Size: 34
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, worsted, colour: coal
  • Needles: 5mm
  • Notes: I added one repeat before the ribbing at the hem for a little added length. I was fairly pleased with the heathered Wool of the Andes I had used for a previous sweater. It was cheap, not too coarse and a very pretty colour. This batch of black yarn however, seemed to shed a great deal. A fine dusting of tiny black fibres everywhere. I think I’ll stick to Cascade 220 for future projects: it’s more expensive (but still affordable), more durable and feels slightly softer to me.

miette sweater back detail

Also pictured:

A-line pleated skirt

  • Pattern: Burdastyle Pleated A Line Skirt
  • Size: 38
  • Fabric: Linen blend, lined with tan polka dot poly chiffon
  • Notes: I needed to add a lining because the linen has a bit of prickliness to it. No idea if I sewed the pleats and front “pocket” of the skirt the way Burdastyle intended, but it’s so hard to know what they intend with their convoluted instructions. The skirt feels fabulously swishy on sticky summer days.

Linen aline skirt lining detail

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Poor choices and kismet

Raspberry linen top with cherries

This was not the right fabric for this blouse. Not even close. I knew it at the time, but I pressed on. I’m far too easily hypnotized by the siren song of a bolt of linen.

Much too thick. Not enough drape. But boy oh boy did it sew and press like a dream. Easy peasy construction. The kind your sewing dreams are made of.

Raspberry linen top detail

I should mention that, contrary to photographic evidence herewith, when I first cut into this fabric it was a calm and classy off-white colour. The kind of colour an heiress might wear to a casual luncheon at the yacht club. You know, that effortless white that’s all “oh this? picked this up in Casablanca last fall… at that small bazaar where I found that fabulous kilim… daahhling.”

Well, as it turns out, off-whites (especially those with pinky brown undertones) make me look like death. And a deathly off-white fashioned into an oddly constructed slightly too stiff blouse? Oof. Hospital custodian chic to my translucent complexion.

So, my crafty little brain got to thinking “what doesn’t a little embroidery fix?”. Slap a few colours ’round the neckline and  it’ll go from morgue orderly to Ukrainian folk beauty.

I dutifully picked out three lovely embroidery flosses. A warm and bold raspberry-rouge as a main colour and a paler blush + off-white as accents. I bought new needles, I planned, I organized, and then I left in all in a drawer for many many months. As I so often do.

Raspberry linen top back

When finally I realized it was do or die with this top (read: fix it or get rid of it), I came up with a novel solution. I couldn’t change the weight of the fabric, but I could change the colour. So, I picked up a pack of Dylon dye in “Bordeaux”: my first real try at a synthetic dye. Fingers crossed for a pleasing result – dyeing can be so hit or miss.

Do or dye! (Sorry, I must.)

And wouldn’t you know it? The final colour was EXACTLY the same as the original embroidery floss I bought. Same. Damn. Colour. Maybe I’m meant to keep this top?

Raspberry linen top detail flower front

  • Pattern: Rachel Comey, Vogue 1247
  • Size: 12
  • Fabric: Linen, stovetop dyed
  • Notes: This pattern is obviously meant to be sewn in a drapey silk or the like. It goes together quite nicely: all french seamed so that the guts are as nice as the outside.

Raspberry top insides detail

Also pictured:

Electric pencil skirt

  • Pattern: McCall’s 3830
  • Size: Cut a 12 or 14 but lobbed off a bunch on the sides when it was too loose
  • Fabric: Linen blend, what else?

Montreal Cherries, c/o Paul’s tree

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