My Blue Period

I dreamed of this make between cutting it out and starting to sew. In my dream I forgot to sew the side panels on, a mistake I am glad to say I did not replicate in my wakeful state. I did try to piece the side panels to the front upside down – in my defense the curve of the sleeve looks an awful lot like the curve of an inverted armscye – so I credit my dream for the extra attention I paid to the side panels’ notches and why they might not be lining up. I had wondered why those notches were there when I cutting this pattern out. I couldn’t imagine how they would be relevant and considered omitting them. I’m so glad I decided I wasn’t smarter than the pattern.

I’d admired Forsythe for some time but it wasn’t on my must-make list because I’d already made Fen which has a similar vibe and even though I really like patterns which use coordinating fabric trying to find them mentally exhausts me. However! Given my love of jewel tones and adoration of the color blue (and this blue in particular: I refer you to Moneta which I finally got around to hemming in part because my machine was already threaded in matching blue for this make) it was only a matter of time before two suitable coordinating fabrics landed in my stash and lo:

IMG_9964.JPGPattern: The Forsythe Dress by French Navy
Size: Small
Fabric: Linen from Jo-Ann & cotton from IKEA in Ingelill

I was looking for an easy win and I thought I couldn’t go wrong with a boxy style. I can’t quite figure out what the problem is here. Something about my body shape and/or the excess fabric across the chest and/or side seam placement and/or weight of the fabric makes the dress bubble weirdly in the bust/underarm area. You can see it in the photo; it’s really noticeable when I’m in motion. On the one hand, who cares? On the other hand, I do?

Looks OK from the back, though!

So we’ll see. Honestly it’s not the pattern. It’s just another example of how even when you think you can guess about a shape or style you really can’t.

I have some ideas for this dress. I might try basting the side panel seams closer to the neckline over the shoulder, moving those seams closer to my bust and farther from my armpits. I might try wearing this dress as it is; wear and washing might soften the fabric and help it drape better. Or I might give it to a bustier friend since all this dress needs to be a complete success is a curvier upper half. The dress is totally cute, it’s the fit that fails and that’s on me.

Much Ado About Nothing

After all that hemming and hawing about… well, hemming, I stopped trying to be fancee and a perfectionist and used a narrow zig zag to hem Moneta. And you know what? It looks FINE. Even better, it’s FINISHED.

I’m not that tall, the door is short
Pattern: Moneta
Size: Small at the bust and shoulders graded to medium at the waist and skirt
Fabric: Birth Organics Wink Knit

Everybody and her sister has already made a Moneta and for good reason: easy to fit, easy to wear. This dress feels like a leotard which makes me feel like I’m playing secret dress-up.


I have friends who swear by knit dresses but I don’t remember feeling comfortable in one since college which was long ago enough that I’ve become someone who uses terms like “since college” as a way of referring to herself as if in the third person. This dress is something of an experiment in personal style. Will I reach for when getting ready in the morning? We’ll see!

All Dressed Up With No Place to Go

I used a party invitation an excuse for making this dress even though I wasn’t sure we would make it that party. A fitted dress was on my sewing list, I already had the pattern in mind and the fabric on hand, and maybe I thought if I acted like it was a given that we would be going that it might improve our chances. I could at least make sure I had something to wear even if I couldn’t control the financial, familial, occupational, and other personal conflicts that ultimately prevented our attendance.

I kept working on my dress while watching airfare climb without ever dropping. Even after sending regrets I kept working on my dress because I was in deep and aren’t there sometimes really cheap last minute bargain prices? I finished up the dress the morning after the party, probably at the same time that the party honorees were hosting brunch for their out-of-town guests that beat the nor’easter that grounded all flights on the date I had hoped to be traveling.

Windy windy!
Pattern: Belladone by Deer and Doe, View B
Fabric: Gertrude Made for Ella Blue Fabrics, Outback Wife, Barkcloth, Elaine Navy from
Size & adjustments: It’s complicated.
Alternate post title: business in the front, party in the back.

A summary of my pattern adjustments:

  • Started with a size 40
  • 1″ small bust adjustment (from C to B)
  • Shortened horizontal bust darts and moved them up
  • Moved vertical bust darts towards side seams
  • Moved skirt pleats to match relocated bust darts
  • 1/2″ forward-shoulder adjustment
  • 1/2″ gaping neck adjustment (I wonder if I could achieved better results more simply by doing a square shoulder adjustment. I have some wrinkles on my left shoulder in particular that I think the square shoulder adjustment would help)
  • Lengthened the back .75″ and the front 1.25″. The added length to the front is misleading because the small bust adjustment takes away length.
  • Graded bodice from size 40 at the underarm to 38 at the waist. Graded skirt from 38 at the waist to 40 at the hip.*

*I didn’t realize until I was trying to figure out what to do with the flappy ends of at the top of the invisible zipper** that I had been installing the zip wrong all along on all of my muslins. I was butting the edge of the zipper right up against the edge of my pattern piece, wondering all the time 1) how it made sense to sew a 5/8″ seam around a zipper that was being placed in at 3/8″; and 2) how in the world a 38 was fitting me when I don’t have a 26.5″ waist. Turns out you’re supposed to allow for that seam allowance when sewing the zipper in, duh. So even though I graded down to a size 38, once you add back in the seam allowance I didn’t take at the zip you’re back at a 40 and I was making things harder on myself than they needed to be. Honestly, making fit issues a bigger problem than they needed to be was the theme of this make, but that’s how I hope to learn.

**I still don’t know exactly what to do with the flappy ends since every tutorial I found assumed you hadn’t finished selvages, yet. I made do. It looks fine.


I lined the skirt with some blue stuff I picked up at Jo-Ann’s. I tried to use the same lining fabric to finish the armholes and neck, but it was fighting me. I used store bought navy single fold bias tape instead and hand-sewed it to the inside of the dress using the same blind hem stitch I had used on the skirt hem. I would like to face the waistband on the inside as well, but that’s another hand-sewing project for another day and since that’s an add-on I’m calling this one done.

What I would actually look like if you met me at a party. Hello!

So many muslins, so much adjusting, so much hand-sewing makes this my slowest fashion make yet. Worth it!

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

So quiet around here. I’m working on projects, but they are slow-going and unfinished. I’m finally working on my final dress at a deliberate pace and when I get too tired for that I watch a program and work on Little Italy. I have no finished projects to show you. This week it’s all about the process. IMG_6587.jpgThese are two projects that demand time and so I’m giving it to them patient and unhurried, going with the flow like a lazy gondolier.