Scenes from my basement, an updated dress for me, and attire for two little girls!

(Yes, good eye, you've seen that skirt before.)

Greetings from my basement sewing room!

You know me, I like to keep it real around here so I figured I'd post a shot of this week's sewing spot.  Since I recently caught up on eight months of laundry (not entirely kidding on that one) and cleaned, I'm kind of digging this space right now instead of my kitchen table.  The former homeowner had a workshop here and it is nicely lit, though you can't tell from the pictures.  I feel really blessed to have a place to leave up the crafting table and make messes without disrupting the household.

What brings me to my basement sewing room?  I thought you'd never ask!

My brother is getting married this upcoming weekend and I'm attempting to make the family presentable without buying anything (except shoes for those children who insist on growing).  We have enough clothes that I could probably pull stuff out of the closets and call it a day, but that would be too easy! Plus, I'd get bored.

For myself, I pulled this dress out of the closet and used a scarf to make a few modifications for more coverage.  It is really a challenge finding a dress you can nurse in that is not knit!  The rest of my closet is all knits and gosh I am so tired  of wearing knits!  I prefer silk.



Hopefully more professional looking pics will follow.  Normally I do alterations by machine but this time I pulled out a needle and thread and had at it.  What a refreshing change of pace!

Of course you have no frame of reference for this next picture, but I'll post it anyway -- in the back, I gathered the scarf and slipped it into a lower seam instead of trying to manipulate the place where the old strap met the back.  I also left the old straps right where they were.

I think I'll put Evie in the dress ZouZou wore in this next picture but I haven't decided yet if I'll change anything.

How is that baby almost five years old?

Anyway, for the older girls I'm taking another hack at the dresses from last year that I posted about here and here.

Their latest look was this:

I thought it would be fun to sort of remake them and cut them short like vintage dresses, but then...

...this didn't seem suitable for a first grader!  What to do?  The bodice was far too short for a child of her age.  If I left it like that, it would look like she were wearing something much too small for her even if it fit perfectly otherwise.

I tied a ribbon around her waist to mark her true waist and see exactly how short it was.  Three inches!  After assessing my stash and brainstorming, I decided to get rid of the tulle skirt altogether and pull together a color block dress with the white bodice, a new purple waistband, and a new coral skirt.

Borrowed skirt pattern pieces from a pattern in my stash. 

I have no idea why I have this iridescent coral taffeta but I do know that coral was one of my wedding colors and can only assume I purchased it then and didn't use it.

{Gratuitous wedding picture. Circa 2005}

No, I cannot account for my expression.

Moving on.

After nine years, taffeta does not like to part with its creases!  However, I fought mightily against them and only nearly melted the fabric with the much-too-hot iron in the process.

Taffeta also likes to fray like crazy and in my enthusiasm to begin sewing I forgot to make French seams and had to turn in the seam another way.  I think this is some version of maybe a Hong Kong finish?  Or I lie.  I might be too lazy to look it up.

Gotta be careful pressing synthetic seams, by the way, because the stitching will imprint on the outside fabric.  Best to use some sort of protector, like strips of heavy paper:

this pic is not from the current project ;)

I cut the new purple waistband out without a pattern.  The purple scrap came from a formal dress I made in college.

No, I do not plan on sharing a photo of that one!  And yes, you are not seeing things -- the purple band is narrower in the back.

Here's a pic of the gathered skirt getting attached to the waistband:

The dress altogether before the lining was finished:

I confess, I got sort of  burned out by the time it came to lining the skirt and I wasn't willing to gather the waistband so instead of using a narrower version of the overskirt, I found another skirt to use as a pattern for an a-line lining out of cotton (the only fabric I could find).

Before finishing up the inside:

Did I forget to show you my audience?  They all like to play this game called bother the baby.

Roo caught the sewing bug too:

I've a thing or two planned to finish up her color block dress and don't want to spoil the fun with more pictures, but here comes ZouZou's dress:

The reverse side of the purple fabric is bright red.


And that, dear friends is as far as I have gotten!  Plenty of time to finish between now and Friday night?



  1. great idea. I am sure the fabric exchange has so many choices of fabric for this kind of project.


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