Amazing I survived being away from my precious Bernina & Betsy for a six days.

Naturally as soon as I got home I unpacked the car, had a shower and went straight to the sewing room. I thought my degree of self-control was admirable. What was I in such a rush for? This…

Simplicity 1880 shirt dress - the collar!

Simplicity 1880 shirt dress – the collar!

Shirtdress-Sewalong-ButtonThis is the progress on my Simplicity 1880 shirt dress sewalong. I’ve never attached a collar – ever. While it did not go as smoothly as I hoped, it turned out OK in the end. The un-faced upper collar appeared to have magically stretched since I cut it out – I wish I had stay stitched it! You live and learn. There was a little bit of puckering, a little bit of unpicking, a little bit of grimacing… and I was beginning to despair that I had destroyed it.

Then a little voice popped into my head… no not from the heavens above… it was my mother! “Just give it a little press with the iron that sometimes fixes things up”.

So rather than throwing the bodice across the sewing room. I threw it at the ironing board and that little voice turned out to be dead right – for not the first time in my life!

Sunni’s instructions were excellent and if it was not for the slightly wonky upper collar I think it would have turned out perfectly. Now I’m desperately waiting for the next step. Yes I could race along and finish it myself but so far I have learnt lots of new things and I’m determined to exercise some degree of self-control…

I will take some more up close photos on another night. I’m little tired today after driving for 5-6 hours.

What else do I have to show for my holidays? I stitched some embellishments this dress bodice – not sure if it’s too much?? Little random beads to highlight the centre of the flowers and some trim on the sleeves – I’m still finishing this off. With no machine I needed to keep myself busy.

Simplicity 1880 shirt dress - embellishing!

Simplicity 1880 shirt dress – embellishing!

And I picked up this vintage pattern delight on Etsy – my first ever purchase from Etsy. Doesn’t it remind you of Sewaholic Cambie? I’m picturing the second one in navy/white polka dot with white cotton lace trim… I love the gingham and ricrac (but definitely not the ‘outdoor’ gigantic pockets – hello hips!)

Vintage pattern score Cambie style - Simplicity 3875

Vintage pattern score Cambie style – Simplicity 3875

And I scored these fabrics. Finally picked up a cheap jersey to try out Sewaholic Renfrew, blue butter suede for a skirt (not sure which one yet – there are three possibilities!), a cute ‘squashed’ polka dot cotton sateen for a ‘work’ Simplicity 2444 and a mosaic voile for a Burda blouse. I don’t consider this ‘stash building’ but rather ‘enrichment’.

Fabric Acquisitions - July 2012

Fabric Acquisitions – July 2012

And I traced the patterns out for Sewaholic Thurlow and Colette Macaron (not putting sleeves on this one). All the sewing and tracing was done at night after the kids went to bed. So nice to have some peace and quiet after busy days in the city, shops and park!

Oh and Miss 9 and I created a ‘sock monkey’ one afternoon! Meet Louie…

Louie the sock monkey

Louie the sock monkey – created by Miss 9 and me!

DO you think the beads and trim are too much on the Shirt Dress??


  1. The collar turned out great! I made mine with rounded edges, and seeing yours I kind of wish I hadnt. It looks very crisp!
    I love the small beading details! Makes it look very designer! It is such a fun print it can handle the embellishments well I think!
    The sock monkey is adorable! I once made a sock owl but he turned out a bit scary!
    I really like the vintage pattern! I hope you make your own version of it soon!
    And what exciting new fabrics and projects! Will sit tight and look forward to the next posts!! 😀

    • Thanks! I went very close to doing a rounded collar but I would have rounded the lower notched section too – and since I was struggling to imagine how it would all go together I left as is. Maybe my next collar I will round the lot as an experiment. Now I have to sew the trim on the collar – keeps me busy while waiting for Sunni’s next post.
      Now I just need some time to sew!!

  2. The embellishments are lovely, though I think the small beads get a bit lost in the background design (but that might just be a mix of my poor eyesight and looking at things on a computer). And Louie is delightful!

    • I don’t mind if they get a bit lost actually as I’m not very good at ‘sparkles’ so I would prefer subtle, ie you only see them if you ‘look’. They may still come off once I put the trim on the collar. Some days I love them, others not so much.
      Miss 9 loves them – not as much as she loves Louie though!

  3. I think the beading is a great touch and if there’s any wonkiness to your collar I can’t see it! I’m waiting for the next step too (once I’ve finished sewing my collar – it’s all basted in place, just need to put the ‘permanent’ stitching in…

    • It’s amazing how a heap of fabric turns into a structured dress!
      I’ve just got some more beads and trim to sew on – and then the hem. It’s feeling a little prim and proper though!

  4. The little beads look nice, and as you are not one for in your face embellishments, I think they are spot on. That vintage pattern looks exactly like the Cambie. Wow. You also cut and trace when your kids go to bed? hahahhaha. I started doing that too. Noah is only 3 months old, but when he goes to bed at night, thats when I can make some me time for sewing. Usually during the day I am busy with household chores, or just plain tired from lack of sleep.

    • I’m impressed you are back sewing at all I was a walking zombie at nighttimes for the first three months. I made a few baby outfits and a couple of quilts and then nothing major for a few years. This year my craftiness is back with a vengence and I think here to stay! I think sewing is ‘me’ and while some people might run, do yoga or other things to relax I find sewing is my ‘zen time’.
      My sewing room is located next to the kids bedrooms so I can only do quiet things or its an excuse for them to get up again… and again…. and again….

  5. I love the fabric on your dress – and those embellishments are gorgeous! My first collar was a struggle as well – i still forget to stay-stitch even now! And I’m so totally stealing your ‘stash enrichment’ phrase – love it!

    • Hi there! It’s great to get feedback, you see something on and can’t decide to leave it or keep it – do thank you.
      Please steal my ‘stash enrichment’ I think it’s a term sewing bloggers should spread far & wide!
      I often say ‘its not what you do that matters so much… it’s how you phrase it!’.
      I’ve just finished adding trim to the coulda-been wonky collar. Shoulda put a thimble on – ouch! As a former hand quilter I really should know better…

    • Thanks Carolyn. I stitched some trim onto the collar last night so I’m happier with the beads now. I think overall the dress is too soft and girly and ‘pretty’ for me and it’s making me a bit twitchy!

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