Bias tape is a lesson you never truly learn.

Since I’ve had the extreme good fortune to be able to work from home since March of last year, my wardrobe needs have drastically changed. I went from dressing business casual 80% of the time to dressing zoom casual at every moment. For me, this means jeans, wool socks, and some sort of video call worthy top all day every day. It also means I haven’t made or purchased any clothes for myself in quite a long time. For mother’s day this year, I did both.

I took myself to the mall for a pair of jeans and some basic tops and after that I kind of, sort of found myself at Joann’s. I found a wee bit of fabric that wanted to come home with me, so I got set to figuring out what to make.

On top is a really soft french terry that will become a Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet – long and snuggly. The other two are some rayon/cotton blend chambray-esque fabric that seemed like a reasonable way to dip my toes back into garment making. I did a bit of searching and came upon the Hinterland Dress, a pattern by Sew Liberated. It seems like nearly everyone one in the sewing community has made one or five of these. One thing that really drew me to the pattern is how versatile the styling seems. Some folks made an oversized, boxy version while others made a more close fitting bodice for a different look. I’m aiming for the more fitted side, so I made up a muslin.

For reference, my current measurements are 39.5″ – 34.5″ – 47″ – here I’ve cut a straight size 14 bodice. I wound up lowering the bust darts by an inch and going with that. After some debate, I decided to start with the lavender fabric. I like the blue better, so I’m saving it for the second try. Now, this pattern has you use a bias binding facing for the neckline. I, in fit of genious, decided to purchase bias tape to make my life a little easier. Can you see where this going?

Yeah… so… a couple of things. One – the bias tape you purchase at a big box store is definitely a fairly sturdy quilting-weight cotton so it’s not as stretchy as this cotton/rayon blend. By a lot. Two – double fold and single fold binding are not the same and they won’t work the same way.

This has me in a bit of a bind – ha! – since alongside this fit of genious I had a lot of extra fabric leftover. I decided to be very fast, economical, efficient, smart, brilliant and cut out an Ogden Cami (by True Bias) while I was cutting out the dress. While this does certainly mean I don’t have a large enough piece of fabric left to cut the new bias binding from – at least I got a cami out of it.

Based on my measurements, I cut a straight size 14 and didn’t fiddle with any adjustments. Overall, the fit is pretty good though based on the back view below, I think I could take out a bit from the straps in my next version.

That’s a rough picture, but you get the idea. I think just a smidge higher would be great. I didn’t take a picture but it fits fairly low under the arm as well, so yeah, shortening the straps for the next one for sure. And yes, there will defitiely be a next one.

I did french seams, which seemed like a nice idea, but in practice added a fair amount of bulk at that underarm seam and the hems. Last but not least, I added a little tag in the lining.

All in all, I’m pleased with this make. It was a very nice diversion after the bias tape incident, but now I’ve got to figure that out. I’m debating cutting it out of the blue fabric since they are very similar weights and blends. Or doing one of those hacks where you make a long strip of binding from a small square of fabric somehow. For now, I’m just going to bask in the glow of my first garment make (pj pants don’t really count in my book) in years.


Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!