first, there was a yoke…

During my heavy crochet phase, I made this yoke with a star motif on the back, intending to use it for a dress or top. I hadn’t decided yet. I also needed some matching fabric for it, which I didn’t have. So I set it aside and almost forgot about it entirely–that is, until Dane decided to do a big spring cleaning of the bedroom yesterday and I found this old polka dot skirt I bought years ago that I don’t really wear anymore. And then I had a lightbulb moment…

I so love the idea of recycling/reinventing old clothing, so I’m particularly proud if this creation.

orange/white striped minidress (Built By Wendy #3835)

Alright, the minidress is done! I did, indeed, use that Built By Wendy pattern (3835) I mentioned in the previous post and will definitely be using it again. Lots. I just love the rounded neckline, raglan sleeves and, of course, the pockets. I had a rare dinner out last night with some old friends I hadn’t seen in, geez, probably over a decade and wore this dress just minutes after it left my machine. I took these photos after dinner, hence the wrinkles because, at this point, I was too lazy to iron them out.

I like the stripes/dots combo that the belt lends.

new fabric

Oh, the possibilities.

The yellow bird and black/white medallion print fabric came from Tonicliving.com. The yellow birds in the design turned out to be a whole lot bigger than I thought they’d be, so I might have to change my original plan to make this into a dress. Cushion covers? A handbag? I’ll ponder it a little longer.

The one I’ve chosen to work with first is the orange/gray stripe fabric — which was a lucky thrift shop find! I got 3 yards of the gorgeous stuff for only $2.99. Methinks the weather calls for a minidress, and I’ve got this Built By Wendy pattern in mind…

spring tunics

I’m glad that tunics are in fashion because: A) they’re flattering to all body types B) they’re easy to sew.

This is a batwing/boatneck that I designed myself and marks the first garment I’ve made by drafting my own pattern. It didn’t come out perfectly, but it was still satisfying to take a project from start to finish on my own.

Here’s one I made from Built By Wendy pattern 3692.

And, of course, I have to talk about the belts. I simply can’t resist a cute waist cincher!

I found this belt at American Vintage in Los Feliz (on Hillhurst). It was a steal at $12:

This one came from Bejon & Deheg, my favorite Los Feliz Village clothing shop.

vintage pattern jackpot!

I love perusing ebay for vintage sewing patterns, and a couple weeks after emerging victorious from a bidding war over a terrific lot of 45 patterns (mostly from the ’60s and ’70s, but some from the ’50s as well) — my package arrived in the mail! I just love the vintage illustrations, the fonts…the yellowed paper and the worn edges of the envelopes. And, of course, I can’t wait to sew one of these! I have my eye on a fab ’70s tunic that looks like something Jane Fonda would have worn in Klute.

spring jacket

I used another free Burda pattern — the “Steffi” — to create this lightweight jacket for spring. The original pattern had a sort of military style collar which didn’t quite look right on me, so I changed that, and I also added these pleated trim sleeves for extra girliness. As you can tell, I love this vintage yellow fabric (I found yards of it at a thrift store over ten years ago!) as I’ve already made a shoulder bag and two mini totes with it.

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Photos by Cici Sutjiono

sometimes it’s just not meant to be


2008 – 2008 R.I.P.

Lest you think my sewing experiences thus far have been all positive, let me introduce you to the garment that was a thorn in my side for a week before I had to finally bid the cursed project adieu.

I hadn’t learned yet how to properly sew on elastic, so one armhole opening was bigger and less stretchy than the other. I also accidentally topstitched one armhole’s edge a different color thread from the other.

But the armholes were the least of my problems. Sure it looks alright from the front. but the back was driving me CRAZY! I messed up when seaming the back yoke to the back, so the gathers were puffing out so much that I looked like I had extra large shoulder blades (see below).

So when my brand new serger arrived at my doorstep mid-project, I thought that I would simultaneously try to learn how to use it whilst fixing the back seams of this top. Big mistake. Behold, if you can stomach it, the result of my hubris:


AAAAAAACK!!!! I have to look away.

Wow, showing this to the world really kills my ego. But, hey, the more mistakes we make, the more we learn.

Alright, so I didn’t really throw it in the bin. I saved it for scrap material.

“anda” ‘nother one…

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On Burdastyle.com, this dress (with free pattern available for download) is called the “Anda.” Honestly, a dress can’t be much more simple to make than this. Only two pattern pieces to sew together and an elastic casing set high at the waist does all the shaping. I thought it was a bit plain made with a solid color fabric, so I tried to make it a bit spacey/futuristic by adding that inverted triangle applique to the front — and now it looks a bit Mork from Ork. Haha.

(For those who were born after 1985, find out who Mork is here.)

(Photo by Cici Sutjiono)

i heart wendy

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I’ve only used one of Wendy Mullin’s sewing patterns (I also have her terrific book, Sew U) and I’m already in love. Her designs are stylish and simple and her instructions are so easy to understand.

As a sewing novice, I thought I might have been in over my head when I began, but I just kept following the steps, which were so intuitive — and the dress turned out pretty well. I bought the fabric from SewzannesFabrics.com who shipped it over at lightning speed!

Buy the dress pattern here. I have four more of her patterns sitting uncut in their envelopes and I can’t wait to try them out.

(Photo by Cici Sutjiono.)