My project planning, that is.

The current WIP must be finished before I can attempt anything new. I know that I want to knit the Santa Cruz hat next, but after that I'm very ready to transition into warm-weather things.

Perhaps it'll soon be time to put down the knitting needles and pick up the sewing machine. Yes, Subway Knitter can sew, just not on the subway.

I want a new sundress. Thing is, sundresses seem to range from the ultra-skimpy Lily strapless models to your extra-frumpy April Cornell specials. [Yes, I'm writing that about April Cornell dresses. They don't look good on me. Maybe they look good on you--and if so that's great. But on me? Next stop: Frump City.] And, I can't seem to find a dress that I like that doesn't cost $200.

But, thanks to the mighty KG (that's Knitting Grandma to new blog readers) I can sew. Now, I can't sew nearly as well as KG can. She's actually good. Me? Eh, not so much. But, I know that if I work the pattern slowly, step by step, I can accomplish a simple, not-so-fitted garment. I've given myself permission to convert my dining room into a temporary sewing room. Doing so eliminates the need to clean up my space every day, and allows me to do a little bit every evening without facing a lot of clearing afterwards.

So, what's it gonna be? I looked at a lot of patterns online, but I'll most likely choose Vogue 8023. I do love Vogue 2900, but that might be a touch beyond my skills at the moment. That, and the design might want a more substantial, dressier fabric than I'm looking to wear. This pattern from Butterick is very similar to V8023, but the hemline is higher. But, at $2.99 (versus ten-something for the Vogue), maybe I can just make the skirt longer (or maybe a novice like me ain't got no business tinkering with a sewing pattern in the same way that I tinker with every knitting pattern I meet).

And, now for the fabrics. How did we do all this before the internet? After I found a pattern that I liked, I hopped over to Reprodepot to look at fabrics. I like Reprodepot for online orders. I knew that I wanted a lightweight cotton, maybe a floral, but definitely something a little abstract. A few caught my eye, especially these by Kaffe Fassett.


Those of you who remember my last sewing adventure in July might also remember that the fabric I used then was from Kaffe Fassett as well. What can I say? Kaffe and I must be having a sort of textile mind meld.

Luckily Reprodepot offers swatches. For a mere $10 I could choose up to three swatches. Now, $10 seems like a lot for three strips of fabric, but imagine if they were free. People would be getting swatches of anything and everything with no intention of actually making a purchase. I totally understand the charge, but perhaps Repro. should offer a $5-off coupon if the swatches result in a purchase within 30 days. Anybody at Reprodepot reading?

Anyway, I write luckily because the repeats on the batik prints are much larger than I had been expecting. I don't necessarily dislike the large repeat; in fact I will probably end up choosing from one of them. It's just not what I was expecting. The solid color is nice, but a touch boring.


I haven't sewn with a pattern for years, but I remember that Butterick instructions could sometimes be infuriating. When you are buying the pattern, take out the instruction page and give it a good look. However, do not fear altering the hem! Go to the library and get a good how-to sewing book (Vogue, Simplicity, even Reader's Digest have great ones). If you can master writing your own knitting patterns, you should have no problem with this! I love the dots--esp. the green. Have fun and good luck!

Figuring the size of the repeats is one reason I like fabric.com. They put a ruler in the picture for scale. Maybe that hint could be passed along to Reprodepot.

I think you'll find adding length to a skirt or dress easier than you think. Get patterning book from the library - they usually contain good advice on altering patterns. Good luck!

I like the idea of $5 off if you order something from the swatches within 30 days. I think that's reasonable! Unfortunately I don't work for reprodepot... ;)

Cute sundress patterns! I am yearning to pull out my sewing machine (and set it up at the end of my dining room table) and try making a couple of skirts. I haven't followed a garment pattern yet, and I am a little worried... :)

great idea to make a sundress for the spring/summer season. it's a good starter pattern and will probably get you hooked on plenty of other sewing projects! look out! i see you getting addicted :)

most patterns, at least pants and such, have a line for lengthening or shortening. So, instead of tacking extra material to the bottom of the skirt, there may be a certain line on the pattern where you can purposely add length.

hope that helps!

So nice to give yourself permission to not have to clean up (within reason) every day. I don't have a sewing room, either, so mine stays perpetually tucked away. We use our DR daily for our happy family bonding time, so I don't want to relegate us to the kitchen (less nice) in order to sew.

Looking forward to the FO!

I definitely like the Vogue 8023 the best. If you go with the Butterick, though, I'd think making it longer shouldn't be too hard... just make sure you follow the same angle out to the end. And, of course, make the front and back the same length. That would be the hard part for me. LOL

I browsed a bit over on Reprodepot, and really liked some of their fabrics. Especially the Fassetts. Shouldn't have been a surprise. I've been a fan of his work for a long time now. LOL

Thanks for reminding me about sewing dresses. I've been meaning to ever since I got a sewing machine for christmas a year ago. I, too, am frustrated by the selection of dresses in the stores, esp. for my curvy figure.

I seem to be following your project schedule. I just made mittens b/c you talked about them so much. I am project stalking you apparently.

Here's a comment about the Vogue pattern from patternreview.com (which you should join if you think about sewing at all!)
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I love the retro look of this dress and will very likely make it again. I think it would also look very nice in a shorter length and/or with 3/4 sleeves.

I do recommend this pattern, but it is not as fitted as the description and picture would have you believe. Pay careful attention to the finished garment measurements on the pattern should you decide to make it. You might need to size down.

I just got a sewing machine and am a complete rookie (except for the boxer shorts I made in Home Ec). I look forward to seeing the progress you make on the sundress. Good luck!

I sew whenever i can and Helen is right....patterns generally have a line on them at some point where you can lengthen or shorten them...in fact i haven't come across a clothing pattern that didn't have one of these lines yet, even when sewing for my children! It's best to use that line for length alterations since it will help keep the intended line of the pattern hem.

Heck .. just get double your height of a fabric you like .. sew the two halves together to make one very wide piece .. hem the top and bottom .. make tubing to fasten through the top and another length for around the waist .. and there you go!


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