Home Stretch = Home Run

I’ve made two more creations using Wendy Mullins’ Home Stretch. The first (the basic dress pattern in the book) is a secretary-style rayon knit dress with an outrageously busy print (my favorite kind). I’m so happy with the style, fit and feel of this dress, I’m tempted to lounge about in it all day long, even on lazy weekends when I’m at home with nowhere to go.

The second is a 100% cotton jersey knit skirt with a jaunty pair of suspenders (“Sweet Suspender” in the book). I’ve been wanting to make this one since I bought the book a few months back and I’m glad I did! It was incredibly quick and easy — save for the multiple suspender length adjustments I had to make, but that’s just due to my own laziness for not trying it on enough times during the process. Pics were taken when they were still a bit too long which accounts for the slight sagginess where they cross in the back. It’s an easy fix, though. Overall I’m very happy with it!

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patterned knits galore!

I’ve been so busy making a ton of these zippered purses (below) for a friend (who’s planning to use them as goody bags for a party she’s throwing) that I haven’t been able to touch the piles of fabric that have been lately trickling in via the post — the result of an online fabric shopping spree of mine last payday. 

But check out the yards and yards of gorgeous printed knits that I’ve got waiting for me! Don’t know about y’all, but nothing uplifts my spirit as much as beholding a colorful, busy (almost to the point of dizzying) patterned fabric. So once I finish up being a one-woman zipper purse factory, I’m grabbing my copy of Wendy Mullins’ Home Stretch and am going to town…

belle de jour

If you don’t have a copy of Wendy Mullin’s book Sew U: Home Stretch — what are you waiting for?!

Not only does this book come with all the patterns you need to make every single one of the stylish projects within, but every step is diagrammed and the written directions are super simple to follow, even for instruction-impaired people like me.

This form fitting number is the “Belle de Jour” dress from said book, and it was incredibly simple to make. The blue fabric is a rayon stretch knit (with a tiny hint of sheen) I got online from somewhere. Sorry, I buy so much fabric that I often forget from where I bought what. I don’t think the dress is supposed to be this body hugging, as I decided to make it x-small instead of the more-appropriate small. Anyway, I squeeze into it alright and as long as I can remember to suck in the gut, I think I’ll be ok.


first, you start with an old concert t-shirt…

…and with just a few snips and seams — presto change-o — you can have a rockin’ tunic!

For The Smiths dress below, I used the extra material from the original sleeves to make the yoke. I was lucky enough to have some blue knit jersey in my fabric stash that worked perfectly with the Radiohead tee. For the yokes, I used Built By Wendy pattern 3692. Then, I simply took in the original side seams and gathered the tops to fit the yokes. Don’t know if you can tell at first glance (please say you can’t!) but I accidentally sewed the back yoke on to the front of the Radiohead dress, that’s why my neckline is higher than it should be…and when you look at it from the back, it’s more noticeble that it’s backwards. 😐 Oh well. It’s still wearable, and that constitutes a success in my book.

new tunic dress + knee-hi gladiator sandals

You gotta love tunics as they allow you to binge at all-you-can-eat buffets and not worry about visible tummy bulge. This one was made from an absolutely free tunic dress pattern downloaded from Burdafashion.com — which seems to run very large so keep that in mind if/when you make it yourself. I also shortened the hem to a sexy mini.

Of course, you probably can’t help but also notice my crazy, mother-of-all-gladiator sandals. They’re like the trendy ones you see everyone wearing these days, ‘cept turned up to 11. I bought these after seeing the original Chanel ones (mine are, of course, knock offs from good ol’ ebay) being donned by fashionistas worldwide. To my surprise, I get loads of compliments when I wear them out, which makes me extra happy because I was rather iffy about whether or not I could pull them off. Thought I was destined for fashion-victim-ville for sure. Indeed, these very sandals are to be found on People Mag’s Worst Trends list. But hell–it’s not as if anyone reaches for a sleazy gossip rag like People when looking for cutting edge fashion. Am I right?

shoulder-tie dress

Another dress for summer! I made this today from yet another thrift-store bed linen — a very pretty lavender duvet cover I got for $3.99! And even after making this dress, there’s still a ton of fabric left over for at least two more projects. I used a ridiculously easy vintage pattern I snagged from ebay — Simplicity “Jiffy” series, #7520.

Unlike the dresses pictured in the pattern, I used a contrasting print fabric for the inset because why waste an opportunity for adding a bit of pizazz? I shortened the length so I’d have a sassier, poofier skirt, but didn’t do a very good job creating an even hem, so the back is visibly shorter than the front. Woops. Maybe I’ll start a trend? Ah, whatevah. As you know, I’m not a stickler for perfection. All in all, I’m happy with the outcome and will be wearing this new number to the office tomorrow.

italian job

Another kitchen adventure today in the form of gnocchi (which, if you’ve never had them, are amazingly yummy potato dumplings) with gorgonzola sauce and peas. The peas are my own addition to the classic dish because, frankly, I can eat peas with just about anything. I admit, I didn’t make the gnocchi myself — no, the credit goes to my good friend Trader Joe — but I added some fresh herbs from the garden as well as spices from the cupboard. I like mine with extra nutmeg!