Stealth Liberty of London?

I feel like this fabric (at ) is a Liberty print, but I can’t find verification of it:

I ordered some (because duh, and because I hadn’t spent my fabric allowance for February OR March) and it doesn’t feel like Tana Lawn, but might feel like the Liberty poplin range — I couldn’t tell for sure. There’s also no marking in the selvedge. It’s also available in . looks Libertyesque, too.

Why isn’t there a Liberty fabric wiki where you can search for prints by name, year, color, type, key words, etc.? If I didn’t have roughly eleventy-hundred projects going on right now, I’d be making it. Everyone could take photos of their stash with rulers for reference and there’d be badges and wishlists and swap lists and Etsy links and … stop me, please. (Or do it yourself! I’ll be an advisor.)

Speaking of projects, followers of this here blog might be interested to read in the New York Times today.



Been forever since I posted a new dress, huh? I’ve done a teeny bit of sewing since October, but only got around to taking some pictures last weekend, or maybe weekend before last?

This dress is all sorts of mashup. The bodice is McCall’s 6727, only with the neckline taken up an inch or so. And I didn’t do a facing — instead, it’s a mitred bias binding (first time I’ve ever tried this):

The fabric is wool, maybe with a little cotton in it — bought it so long ago I’m not sure. I believe it was an Anna Sui bolt end from Fabric Mart Fabrics. (It gets a little linty, as you can see here.) Pockets got piped in the same binding — it’s a really nice twill binding I bought at Britex.

I could have done a better job matching the plaid, especially along the back center. I kind of just said “eh, I’ll hardly ever see it, whatever”:

The skirt is a heavily modded Simplicity 5238. Honestly, I’ve traced and altered that skirt pattern so many times now that I’m not sure I can call it Simplicity 5238 now. I think I would have to call it “from the school of Simplicity 5238” at best.


This dress is *warm*, and very comfortable, and the longer skirt length is nice with boots.

Lots of things have been keeping me away from blogging, but I did write a little thing you might enjoy.

(Oh and the titles are from .)

The Bookpile

Do you have a bookpile? I have a bookpile. I assume everyone has a bookpile, unless they have been cursed by an evil wizard and are unable to read again until they finish some impossible task, like spinning straw into gold. (Aside: do you all know the word tsundoku, which in Japanese — supposedly — means buying books and not reading them, or letting them pile up unread?)

ANYWAY. I’ve been sent a lot of books, and haven’t had a lot of time. So I’m going to do a whirlwind tour of the bookpile! Hold on to your hats!

First up:

There are only two dresses in this book, and there are really only dresses in my wardrobe, so the whole “wardrobe essentials” bit here isn’t very compelling for me, but one of the dresses is the that I’ve been wanting to make for ages, so that’s a plus.

If you’ve every wanted to sew Burda patterns but were worried about the paucity of instructions, this book is for you. Just about every step is illustrated, and clearly, too. This looks like a great book for intermediate sewists or people who want to stretch a little bit … the patterns aren’t ‘easy’ but the illustrations mean you won’t go too far wrong.

Who knows when I’ll make that dress, but I’ll probably keep this book around!

  is subtitled “20 charming patterns for boys & girls” and, well, it does what it says on the cover. If I were a hip and doting grandmother I would be making all these adorable tiny things in those really expensive Japanese cottons (but I’d only need a yard, so …). If you have suddenly acquired up to four winsome tykes and a rambling charming house and tons of free time (not sure how that goes with the tykes, but  ¯_(ツ)_/¯) this is definitely the book for you! If you don’t have (or have and don’t sew for) kids this is totally worth picking up and flipping through for some nice design ideas, especially about yokes.


 is also a little light on the dresses (although there are several) but they’re really CUTE dresses. There’s also a whole section on patternmaking that I found easy to follow, with exactly the kind of changes I like to make: adding pockets, changing lengths, adding gathers or darts or pleats, and waistband changes.

I’ll be coming back to this book eventually, because there are some nice patterns for knits, too.

Another great thing about this book—models in a variety of sizes!

is super-nerdy, and I love it. Not sure if I will make any of the projects, but the conceit is fantastic — basically there is TONS of craft inspiration in any library, and these projects are not just how-tos for the project, but how-tos for how to research for more projects!




If you like math and/or quilting, you will like .







 would be a fantastic book for costume designers, and is pretty fabulous eye-candy for everyone else. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to wear the top part of an 1880s “swimming costume” as a regular old day dress …) I don’t swim often enough to want to put the effort in to making my own bathing suits, but I will probably hold on to this, just in case. (I also learned that men’s trunks were fastened with side-ties as late as the 1950s, which seems … unreliable.)



is a beginner book, and I think that it is hard for someone who has been sewing a while to really judge the quality of instructions in beginners’ books, because we don’t remember what it’s like to have no context. That said, this one looked especially easy to me, but not so easy that the projects were boring or unrewarding. The capstone dress project is something you could imagine seeing on ModCloth, for instance, and the skirt has pockets.

Also, the patterns are full-size — no photocopying or tracing up needed.
is worth it just for the measuring tape brooch (page 38).



I’m sure there are other books lurking in the bookpile … they’ll have to be dormant a little longer.

Another winter dress

Here’s another January-appropriate dress, although I made this back in October, to wear to talk at . (That there is a video link.)

Specifics: it’s Liberty Lantana, but I don’t remember the pattern name — if you search for Liberty Lantana on eBay this one always comes up. (Lantana is the winter-perfect cotton/wool blend. Super soft, nicely warm, and wrinkle-resistant. Probably my favorite Liberty fabric type.) It’s the Simplicity 2389 bodice with the (heavily modified) Burdastyle skirt.

For colder weather I’ve been wearing this with a long-sleeved black t-shirt under it. And by “colder weather,” (sorry non-Californians) I mean around low 50s F. Below you can see the colorway — it’s mostly black, with a bunch of blue-y grays and a little warm taupe.

I used the extra-fat piping cord to make this piping. It’s very satisfying.

Here’s the zipper & pocket (also piped) in a washed out photo. (Honestly, #nofilter, my phone is just not that great.)

And the back, with my dress form at a jaunty (not to say off-kilter) angle.

I’ve taken a little break from this pattern but it’s calling to me again. The bodice is probably one of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, and even those tricky-looking shoulders sew up easily. I’m thinking the next version will probably have a longer skirt (this one is knee length) and we’ll see how that proportion looks. I have some more Lantana …

Progress Report: Slow

Not a lot of sewing going on in my atelier lately. Holidays, and a huge press of work*. You know, the usual.

One dress has been hanging on the hook where I keep the in-progress projects for more than a month. Okay, it’s not really a hook, it’s one of those that photographers use for backdrops, clamped to the worn Ikea Ivar shelf of the bookcases I’ve had since Ivar was invented (fun fact: ‘Ivar’ means “you have too many effing books” in Swedish).

The fabric is some really beautiful army green twilled wool/cotton blend. I mean, totally gorgeous, and sure to be warm and comfy. (It did smell a little like wet sheep when I washed it, though.)

It’s supposed to be another version of this dress. The two others I’ve made from this pattern are really comfortable and great for layering and just the right length for winter so I really want to get this off the hook and onto my back. (When will this happen?  ¯_(ツ)_/¯)

Here’s a quick glimpse so you can see what I’m talking about. Of course the facings are Liberty:

That pattern is Liberty “Mike” — it first appeared on this blog as this dress. I also made  in the gray colorway but I’m not sure if I ever blogged it. (It also comes in and a that I really want.)

So: first new year’s resolution: finish this darn dress. Then we can get to the other ones, like “create a better system for keeping track of my patterns” and “only purchase one piece of fabric a month”. (I already bought  On January 1.)

What’s on your in-progress hook?

* The work stuff: is becoming a non-profit, and to support the site we’ve started an “adopt-a-word” program! You can adopt your favorite word .

Today's Pattern Story: Simplicity 2032

Blue: What’s that?

Red: It’s a bird … it’s a plane …

Blue: It’s a goddamn drone, that’s what it is.

Red: Hold on, I’ll go get my .22.

This pattern (and , where the the women in the illustration are looking quizzically into the sky, ah the 1940s) is at .

An aside: I’m really, really feeling this particular style of skirt right now. It’s a great combination of length, wearing ease, simplicity of construction, and POCKETS. It doesn’t take much in the way of yardage, either. ( are a .)