09 Aug

The Socialite Dress

I jumped on the bandwagon and made Anna Maria Horner’s Socialite Dress. I’d call this more of an after action report than an actual pattern review, but here goes.

My interest in this dress was piqued by my happiness with AMH’s Multi-Tasker Tote, and my desire for a simple, cool, dress to throw on when even shorts and a T-shirt seem too hot and restrictive. I liked what I was seeing in Flickr groups, but wondered if the dress wouldn’t be even more comfy in jersey. Not long ago, I found a hawaiian-ish striped cotton jersey in the remnant pile and decided that I’d give it a go. If I hated it, no big loss.

The pattern states finished garment sizes, so I wrapped myself with a tape measure and decided that XS seemed right up top, but was a bit snug around my hips and butt, so I adjusted the pattern using S for the lower half, plus added an extra 1 1/2″ to the length. I adjusted and traced the pattern, and sewed the entire dress in an all-day sewing bee on Saturday, proving it’s simple, straightforward construction. Having sewn many garments before, I thought the instructions got a bit wordy, especially when it came to making the ease gathers where the dress attaches to the neck yoke. In my mind I knew what I needed to do so it was tedious to still be reading about it three paragraphs later. However, for someone who’s new to sewing or making the cross over from quilting straight lines to making a garment, I totally get why the instructions aught to be so specific. I made the dress with the pockets, but no belt since I had a leather one I already own in mind. I used a stretch needle and the stretch stitches on my sewing machine.

The result? Quite possibly the world’s most comfortable dress! It’s maybe a bit big around the butt after-all and the stripes make it look more like a beach cover-up than a serious dress, but I’d definitely wear this around the house or on a beach/pool day. In fact, I’ve had it on all day today.

I had brought a pile of indonesian style fabrics my SIL had given me from The Netherlands to the bee, with the intention of making a skirt from one of them. When we unfolded them though and saw that one had a lovely panel, we decided that it really wanted to become a Socialite dress too. So I made this today. I left out the pockets, not wanting to add hip bulk (though they are so fun to have) and since the fabric had a lovely finished edge, I just aligned the bottom of the original pattern with the fabric edge. This version was quite possibly the easiest dress pattern ever. But it doesn’t fit the same.

I tried it on mid-way through construction and it seemed tight across the back. So, I spread the gathers out over a wider area of the back yoke. Finished, it fit better, but feels tight under the arms. It did, however, fit well around the butt.  At first, I was frustrated that the pattern fit so poorly, but then I realized that all my issues could probably be solved just by going up a size. 

In conclusion, I think I’m an overall XS if the dress is made with a knit, and overall a S if it’s made with a woven fabric. (I’m about a size 6 in off-the-rack fashion, sometimes a 4.) Unfortunately, I don’t have any more of that pretty indonesian panel, so rather than making  the dress again, I think I’ll just take off the arm hole facing of this dress and re-do it with a slightly longer arm hole. (EDIT: Done; and the fit is much better!) I’m going to keep an eye out for a pretty floral print in a cotton jersey (and won’t limit myself to sale and remnant fabric this time) and make another knit dress though. I’m not crazy to make three of these am I?

06 Aug



First off, thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in donating to Iraqi Bundles of Love. Thank you for bundling up fabric and other goodies. Thank you for telling your friends about the project. Thank you for your generosity. FYI, my husband doesn’t want to post his address online, but if you comment on either the IBOL blog or here, we’ll email it to you.

On to other projects. I read about the Hearts for Anna project and then forgot about it. Then a few days ago Gerrie posted her donation which lit a fire under my butt. I believe wholeheartedly that healthcare for all US citizens regardless of economic or employment status will not lead us down a slippery slope towards long bread lines, spies, and gulags. I’d like to think we’d move more in the direction of lingonberry jam, saunas, and sleek design (I can dream, yes?). So, in the spirit of helping out the underinsured and sending the message that reform is needed and supported, here are my submissions.


Heart House II  5"x7"

Heart House II 5"x7"




Heart House III 5"x7"

Heart House III 5"x7"


These two textile collages should join all the other beautiful “Hearts for Anna” pieces (in many media) over at Artful Home where they will be auctioned off starting August 12, 2009. All money raised will go to a fund that goes directly to Anna to help pay her medical bills. The prices for the art are quite affordable, so if you’d like to add to your collection, here’s a way to do it, help another human, and make a statement all at the same time.

04 Aug

Pack your Boxes


My very own Tech Support & World’s Greatest Husband, AKA, Mr. Incredible, has just launched a short-duration project to “surge” fabric and sewing materials into the area around which he’s posted in Iraq.  It is timed to coincide with both Ramadan, and the departure of his units from Iraq. 

The project started, as many do, out of a confluence of inspiration and circumstances. It may have started with reading 3 Cups of Tea, an inspirational story not only of one man’s impact, but of his conviction that terrorism can only be fought effectively with education and opportunity, not by force. Follow that with the understanding that when a US military unit leaves an area, although they take with them everything on their master list of what they brought, truth is they leave a whole lot behind as well — bed sheets, small refrigerators, DVDs, old clothes, unused building materials, etc. As one man’s trash is another’s treasure, the idea to donate re-usable materials to local groups emerged. Then came the idea to supplement those resources with more — tailor made for individuals and sewing co-ops trying to make a living in the community.

The basic premise is to make a bundle of fabric and sewing supplies from your own stash, mail it to my hubby’s APO (American) address, and he will facilitate the distribution of the bundles. By bundling teh goodies, it saves time on his end as he won’t have to redistribute the supplies or use excess packaging for them, and it makes it far simpler for his local counterparts to distribute them to those in need.

The project is called Iraqi Bundles of Love, here’s a link to his FAQ page, and we’ve got until September 7, 2009 to bust our stashes and send what we probably won’t get around to using to my man, who will get it to those who will use it right away. If anyone is interested in donating, but doesn’t want/have a box-full, or can’t afford the postage, contact me and I’ll be a rally point here in Hawai’i. Please feel free to pass on the links, share this project with your sewing pals, local bee, quilt guild, etc. As I write this post, my husband doesn’t have a list of “most needed” items yet. Fabric, thread, needles, pins, yarn will undoubtedly be on the list. I hope it goes without saying that messages of God’s blessings or anything else evangelical/proselytizing should not be included. Let’s be sensitive to the world’s diversity. Thank you so much for your support of this project.