Mad for Madras

Madras Bermuda Shorts have been on my shopping list for a few years now and the perfect pair has eluded me as they are never the right size, length or in my color preference. This spring I was determined to just make my own and face the fly front zipper application challenge. offered a wide variety of 100% cotton madras and after my selection was made, 5 yards was easily ordered via Amazon. The patchwork madras was underlined in black cotton voile and of course both fabrics were pre-washed and dried before cutting. The purchase of  a manual Button Hole Foot was required for the Bernina because the patchwork madras fabric surface was uneven, otherwise the construction was fairly straight forward and assembly was rather quick.


Blazer and Bermuda Shorts completed there were many colorful scraps and I up-cycled them into small quilted bags which make much appreciated gifts for family and friends.


Vintage Style Voile Paisley Dress

Vintage Style Pink Paisley Voile Tier Skirt Dress with draped sleeves

Vintage Style Pink Paisley Voile Tier Skirt Dress with draped sleeves

The weather forecast for day after tomorrow is an unusually warm 90 degrees and I can not wait to wear this dress! As usual the fabric determined the design of something floating with a bias cut. The basic Simplicity dress pattern skirt was lengthened by extending the under tier skirt. The entire bodice and sleeves were underlined with self fabric as the voile is very delicate and still drapes wonderfully with the double weight. The sleeves were lengthened and the elastic gathering eliminated in my design along with the belt.


Matching Slip for under Pink Paisley Voile Dress

Matching Slip for under Pink Paisley Voile Dress

Against strong sunlight I often notice the outline of a ladies legs and crotch through her skirt and am careful to always wear a slip or line garments to be modest and / or improve the drape of garments.

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Cynthia Rowley Designer Simplicity Pattern 1872 Basic Pullover Dress with Tiered Skirt and Sleeve Variations

Looking for some vintage design inspiration and how to???

Check out this slim little volume with flat pattern directions.

Black Lace Dress

This dress design process kept me up the middle of the night for 2 weeks working through the construction details which was largely determined by the lace pattern and fabric characteristics.

5 yards of lace was purchases to allow for fancy cutting and possible re-makes and now have ample scraps to sew a blouse plus pieces to use for design accents.

Designing from the Stash

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Vintage black beads and a pearl pin accent the neckline


Draped Bias cut neckline detail

Draped Bias cut neckline detail

Black Polka Dot Dress Back Godet detail

Black Polka Dot Dress
Back Godet detail

Black Ribbon Hanger Loops

Black Ribbon Hanger Loops

Vogue Pattern V1406 Godet Detail

Vogue Pattern V1406
Godet Detail


Vogue1406 Pattern line drawing

Vogue1406 Pattern line drawing

Rachel Co Mey is one of my favorite pattern designers and this pattern has been in my stash for at least 2 years. I tend to buy patterns and fabrics that catch my fancy before I have the coordinating elements together trusting my creative process.

Now that I have more time to sew I decided to search my stash to create a few additions for my wardrobe and the first project was to find the appropriate fabric for this pattern which I like because of the asymmetrical neckline and back skirt godet which is a triangle of fabric inserted in a seam causing a flare and thus adding width and volume.

The black polka dot fabric is a very light and fluid rayon challis which drapes beautifully and required a lining. The construction was a challenge which required interfacing the back and sleeve cuff invisible zipper seams. I spent an entire afternoon with the tricky draped neckline but am glad I spent the time to make this deceptively simple dress.

This rayon challis and the fashion fabrics used in my next few posts were purchased from http://www.



What inspires you?

Tory Burch dress inspiration

Tory Burch dress inspiration

I photographed this Tory Burch store window display recently at Stanford Mall in Palo Alto CA. with the thought that this dress would be ideal as a dancing frock in the Spring.

The smocking details demonstrate what elevates this otherwise simple dress into a designer item. Smocked Cotton Dress in Harbor Blue @


Basic princess line fitted pattern Simplicity 2247

Basic princess line fitted pattern
Simplicity 2247

This basic empire waist, princess line pattern was the takeoff point for my adaptation made up in a medium weight 100% linen fabric that drapes well.


Trim Design Mock-Up

I pinned the trim on dress body to determine the most pleasing proportions.

Trim is  2.1/2″ bias strips for the skirt and 1.1/4″bias strips for the bodice

First band is attached 6″ from bottom, with a 2″ space between the rows.

Umpire waist, neckline and cap sleeves are also embellished with bias trim.

My Dress inspired by Tory Burch

I like the color of this fabric which has a red/purple thread woven into the base color making red and purple accessories pop.2016-02-03 10.15.40



Steampunk Victorian Costume


Carnevale is an annual event @ Il Fornaio held every Fat Tuesday

Carnevale is an annual event @ Il Fornaio held every Fat Tuesday

I recently retired from my full time career as a DietTech in Medical Nutrition Therapy working with seniors at a Continuous Care Community and having a great time working part time at my favorite restaurant to socialize, keep active and rationalize the expense for ballroom dancing lessons.

I made this costume to wear for our Carnevale al Il Fornaio on Fat Tuesday which celebrates the last day before Lent with face painting, masks, live music, magicians and of course delicious authentic Italian food from the region of Umbria.

This is a Steampunk Victorian Costume pattern by Simplicity  which is made up in mid-weight taffeta which gives it lots of body and that swish factor I love. The black jet beading was ordered from MJ Trim and I did the ruffles with a special sewing machine attachment that made this difficult looking detail, deceptively quite easy to achieve.

Look for a sale and these special patterns may sometimes be purchased for as little as $1.00 to add to your collection.


Fabric Shopping & Color Crocking

Fabric shopping with my bicycle Moet.

Fabric shopping with my bicycle Moet.

Last week while out shopping a pattern sale at local Joanne’s I found some fabrics on sale including a black stretch taffeta that had a nice weight and drape plus a 100% linen to add a bit of embroidery to a simple dress.

Patterns on Sale

Simplicity Patterns were on sale for $1 each and I could not resist today!

The black stretch taffeta looked promising but as soon as I started to sew my new sewing machine was stained with color crocking which was  unsetting but Google suggested the Mr. Clean Eraser which did the job of removing the stain without damage to the plastic surface. Joanne’s gave a complete $$$ value refund on the fabric as damaged goods.