polka dots

i made this dress quite a while ago but it never made it to ye olde blog. mostly because i wasn’t that excited about it. i used mccalls 6503. now, i really, really loved this pattern. the minute i saw it i knew i wanted to make it. then it was always sold out at the fabric store (i’m too lazy and stingy to order directly). i think my mom 1600 miles away in kansas ended up buying it and sending it to me because i just couldn’t get my hands on it here. then, i had this super cute drape-y rayon polka dot material i just knew would be a perfect match.

i even added piping to the waistband!
i did a narrow straight ruffle instead of the
circle ruffle thing as on the pattern.


then, i had all the pieces months before i had a chance to make it. finally when i did, i just didn’t like it all that much. the fit was acceptable (i had even done a muslin!) but it just didn’t do anything for me. this style of bodice left my top half a bit err… deflated looking. then the polka dot thing happening just looked a little too retro for my tastes. don’t get me wrong, i love this style. but it really illustrated to me the difference between what i like to look at, and what i like to wear


the skirt was a little on the long side, so that wasn’t helping either. i wore it once (and even heard whispers of admiration behind me: did you see her dress? so cute!). in the end, i still loved the fabric, just not as this dress. it wasn’t me. so i took it apart. I’M SORRY. i know some of you just gasped in horror, but it was the right thing to do. i shortened the skirt and added a simple waistband with a double hook closure. hey, it even has pockets!

made that knit top months ago.
never blogged it. sorry.


believe you me, i love this as a skirt sooooo much more than as a dress. oddly enough, i’ve had trouble finding tops that match it. apparently i don’t have many solid colored tops. working on remedying that. i’ve worn it once with a black cardigan and black tights, but that’s so expected. i thought i’d try it out with some patterned tops in the privacy of the entire interwebs before wearing it out in public. yay or nay?


i’m currently on the hunt for a nice lightweight emerald green or fuchsia/magenta or teal knit to make a renfrew to pair with it. apparently those pantone people just named emerald green “color of the year” or some such nonsense (seriously. their declaring what the on-trend color is annoys me to no end). but maybe it’s a good thing, cuz it happens to be one of my favorite colors and i can never find fabric that color. maybe something will pop up now.


oh, and lest all the work i put into the bodice go to waste, i’ve saved it to add a different bottom half for later. i think if i have a nice fat midriff and pleat the skirt (like on this dress) i can eliminate some of the excess fabric to make it a little more flattering. i’m thinking a lightweight denim skirt would be crazy awesome, but that’s gonna have to wait for spring. i have too many cold weather makes to get to!

—lisa g.

burda style mini pleated skirt

i made up a quick skirt for my daughter, anastasia, using a pattern from burdastyle.com. love or hate the .pdf pattern downloads, the taping and tracing, etc, they have been absolutely hitting it out of the park with their kids patterns. i defy you to look at the kids section and not find something you wish came in adult sizes. the directions are, at best, questionable… but since there is a general lack of good kids patterns i don’t mind puzzling it out for myself.


from start to finish, this skirt took less than two hours. i used a navy ponte knit from joanns and it only used up about half a yard, plus some lining for the pockets. i stayed true to the design but changed the waistband slightly and eliminated the side zip. my daughter is quite thin and the finished waist measurement for a US sz 7 (she’s 8) was equal to her hip measurement. since i used a knit, i figured the zip was unnecessary. i cut the waistband as one piece and so the finished width would be 1 1/2″. the pattern has a 1″ shaped waistband cut in 4 pieces (front, back, inside front, inside back). all the seaming caused a lot of unnecessary bulk so i ripped it out and cut the simplified one piece waistband, then later inserted elastic.

navy is really hard to photograph!


ponte knit can get a little bulky since it is thick and doesn’t really press flat. to keep the waistband nice and neat i sewed the waistband piece into a circle (leaving a little opening to insert elastic later), attached it to the front of the skirt then folded it to the inside then stitched in the ditch to catch the inside of the waistband. ordinarily i would have folded up the inside seam allowance, but this time i just left it flat to keep the bulk down.

inside waistband


incidentally, if you ever have trouble “stitching in the ditch” i sometimes pull out my invisible hem presser foot and adjust the guide to line up directly with my needle. the little guide piece sits inside the seam and keeps it all in line as you sew. after, i added some elastic then slip stitched the opening closed.

stitch in the ditch with the blind hem foot


as writ, this skirt is really, really, really short. half the reason i bother making skirts and dresses for my girls is because i hate the itty bitty minis found in RTW for kids her age. she’s thin, so she has to size down her skirts making them even shorter… this pattern has a longer version, but i felt that one was too long. i compromised by adding 2″ in length to the shorter skirt. ah… just right! it’s still shorter than pretty much any other skirt she owns, but i intended it to be worn with thick tights or leggings. i finished off the skirt with a machined blind hem.



she loves this skirt a lot and i fully intend to make at least one more, maybe in a brighter color. i do wish the fabric had more body, i feel it hangs a little limp. the pattern suggests a sweatshirt-type knit, but i think a woven would be really nice too. twill, denim, or even corduroy.

on another topic, i was bumming around pattern review and decided to check out what the december contest was going to be. turns out, it’s kidswear. i’m in the middle of making anastasia a winter coat (burdastyle.com duffle coat) so i signed up! i’m super loving how the coat is turning out and hope finish it up soon!

—lisa g.