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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Swaddle me in linen

Green linen pants front detail

Is there anything better than linen? I mean, really.

Alright, maybe wool, but linen is a very close second.

Green linen pants back detail

A warm sun + light breeze + drapey linen pants. Hot damn.

Green linen pants full

I had some momentary reservations about the “topography” of the back view on these babies and I searched the internet for crotch length adjustments and wedgies. This got me thinking about unibutts vs. distinct buttocks. Funny that I feel oppositely about unibrows and uniboobs.

The final verdict though: a full work day in these pants kept me cool and comfy and swishy and all full up of linen-y happiness.

Green linen pants back full

  • Pattern: Burda 6906
  • Fabric: Linen and viscose blend
  • Size: 12 (38)
  • Notes: Lengthened by at least a couple inches: got a nice 4 inch hem.
  • Also pictured: self-drafted white racer-back tank. Eternal question: how does anyone keep bright white looking bright white anyhow?

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Snowy Owl – Caped Crusader

Cape Full

Cape Back

Finally: Snow.

No more brown, drizzly, anemic winter. This is Montreal. And girls who sew moderately impractical wool capes are meant to frolic in clean, white, gentle snow.

We – of the double-pants clan- know that 100% Italian wool (0r 120%, if the salesman is to be believed) is best served at about -3°C with calm winds and cloudy skies. The bigger and stickier the snowflakes, the better.

Cape Lining

  • Pattern: Vogue 8776, view B
  • Fabric: Medium weight 100 % wool; green bemberg lining
  • Notions: Big snaps (instead of buttons); purchased bias tape
  • Size: M
  • Notes: Finished in 2015 sometime? Given the finishing techniques I used (handsewing a bunch, hiding seams with bias tape) and the material I chose, I would not rate this a “very easy” pattern. More of a “get frustrated and put it away for 7 – 8 months” pattern. But I highly recommend nonetheless, especially when sewn in expensive natural fibres. This may be the nicest thing I have ever sewn.

Cape Back DetailWinter Sledding Scene

Cape FrolicCape Front Detail

Also pictured:

Yellow shawl scarf

  • Pattern: Basic triangle shawl pattern with alternating stockinette and garter as stripes
  • Yarn: Handspun Polwarth, dyed with marigolds collected over one summer from my garden. Slight variations in colouring on lower half from iron bath after dyeing.

Workhorse Hat

  • Pattern: Who even remembers?
  • Yarn: Leftover Cascade Ecological Wool
  • Notes: Maybe not the cutest hat, but damn if it ain’t cozy.


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.