Hands up if you like carbs….I like carbs!!!

And here’s the perfect way to enjoy them…….in a dress version.  Not to say I didn’t scarf some pastries while sewing this.  It was just too  tempting.  Baguettes, doughnuts, crullers, bread, bagels, they’re all here to enjoy against a delightful mint background.  Thank you Alexander Henry fabrics  for creating the loveliest carb-loaded fabric ever.

bread dress 010

I looove this fabric.  The colours in person are very rich and something about the subject matter really appealed to me……no shock there!  As a chef-by-day and owner of my own cooking studio/personal chef service, any and all novelty food fabrics could make their way into my stash, though my husband has “saved” me from ordering this deviled egg fabric on more than one occasion.  I’m still not convinced it shouldn’t belong to me.

I used my favourite non-indie pattern for the bodice, Butterick 5748.  I’ve used this pattern many, many times, but this is the first time I’d made view A with the little cut-out at the front neckline.  Not sure why I waited so long, as it is a very pretty and unique detail, though next time I might use some fusible interfacing to help stiffen it up a little.  I lined the dress bodice with a silky mint green polyester mystery fabric that was $1.50 a metre from Fabricland.  I bought the mint green lining for my Jem-inspired dress that is next up in my sewing and bogging queue.

bread dress 006

For the skirt, I adapted the By Hand London Elisalex skirt by making it an A-line rather than a tulip style.  I tried several different pleat options before settling on this one, thank goodness for my dress form as I was able to test them pleats by sticking her with pins all over rather than myself!  Way to take one for the team, Diana.  Also, I added pockets, because obviously a pocketed-dress is far superior to a non-pocketed one.

I gave this dress a lapped zip, by far my favourite zipper treatment at the moment, and it turned out quite well, I think.

bread dress 008


bread dress 003

I have worn this dress a few times already, and I’m happy that it will become one of my more wearable dresses.  I seem to make copious amounts of dresses, but reach for only a handful on a regular basis.  Do you find this with your sewing?  That you seem to wear only a few pieces over and over?  What sets those wearable ones apart from the non-wearable?

For me it often comes down to “can I wear this without any fussy specialty undergarments?”

Example:  I love the look of circle skirts, but not the look of the wind carrying them up and over my head, which happened once last week as I was waiting outside my cooking studio for my ride.  It had been too hot to wear a crinoline and I had been in the hot kitchen all day so I didn’t wear a slip either.  Has anyone ever had this happen to them before?  Is there a trick to making sure your circle skirts don’t parachute up to reveal your jazzy (or decidedly un-jazzy) underwear?  Please share!!


The Sew for Victory Dress that wasn’t…………and the seduction of vintage pattern art.

I get seduced by vintage pattern art.

The women are always so elegant, so well put together.  The outfits are always perfectly styled and everything fits them to a tee.

I forget they are not real.

They do not have real bodies to fit.  I’m also sure they never had to bother reading and following vintage pattern instructions because they wouldn’t look so darn sumg  calm, so pleased with themselves.  They stare back at me from the pattern envelope.  Watching.  Judging……..

……because I can’t for the life of me figure out or follow vintage pattern instructions!!

I know this, but as a very enthusiastic beginner sewist, I jump in head first every time and try to plow through the detailed instructions and drawings.  This leads to mistakes, ripped seams and disastrous results EVERY TIME.

This time, I was inspired by Lucky Lucille’s Sew For Victory 2.0 challenge and choose to make this wonderful raglan-sleeved 1940’s-style shirtwaist dress pattern.


I cut, sewed, then angrily  stumbled my way through the pattern only to discover that what I had made had to be the most unflattering, frumpy wadder of a dress ever.

There were signs along the way, of course.

  • The vintage-inspired mustard colour poodle fabric that was all wrong for me and made me look like I had mild jaundice.  Ew.
  • The “blouse” style bodice that I knew would add about 40 extra pounds that I just don’t need.
  • The fact that I sewed the bodice with the poodles UPSIDE DOWN because in my haste to begin the project I had mistake a clearly one-direction print for a multi-directional one.
  • The dowdy skirt length that made me look like I had “cankles”.
  • The fact that it took me 4 hours to figure out how to apply the collar and facings.  Eventually I gave up and improvised.  It looked like crap.

When will I learn that I should just stick to vintage-inspired modern patterns with modern instructions and video tutorials to help me??

Coming off of the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge where I made 14 dresses from tried-and true indie patterns that I loved, I had built up a false sense of confidence in my sewing prowess.  After trying on the poodle dress, I burst into tears.  I felt burnt out, frustrated by my own impatience and lack of basic sewing fundamentals and ready to give up  the dress to the fire pit in the backyard.

Then my daughter walked by me.

I realized that having a darker skin tone and much darker hair than me, the poodle fabric in all its mustard-hued glory really should have been for her in the first place. I hurried downstairs to my sewing lair and spread the dress out on my cutting table.  I grabbed my go-to blank-slate girls dress pattern and measured the pieces against the dress and they fit!  I created a super cute little sleeveless dress with a sweet little collar (salvaged from my dress) and a pleated skirt (she says that pleats are always more flattering that gathers.  She’s 10.  Everything is flattering on her!).

Dress fabric saved.  Fire pit avoided.

My newest recipe for gluten–free dairy-free brownies were baked to celebrate! Find the recipe here.

While the finished product is not 1940’s and therefore not eligible for entry in Sew For Victory, at least I’m back on the sewing band wagon again. So not Sew for Victory, but rather a sewing victory!

And my daughter is happy.



twirl, girl!


And I’m so happy that my bluebird dress from the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge was featured in Fiona’s newest blog post!  I love her blog, Diary of a Chain Stitcher and was completely surprised and thrilled to see my dress pop up in her indie pattern inspiration round up.  Thanks Fiona! 🙂

So, do you have the same problem with vintage patterns?  Do you get sucked in by the serene faces and tiny waists on the cover art? Have you ever had a project that turned out so badly you just wanted to stop sewing altogether for awhile?  Tell me it’s not just me.

Up next in the sewing lair, a tried and true pattern mash-up in a pretty wicked fabric.

French Baguette Bakery dress, here I come!



Just when I thought my sewing machine was going to go up in flames……….

I had a vision of my sewing machine bursting into flames before I finished my last two entries for the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge which closes tonight at 11:59 p.m.

What, you thought I was done at 12?!?!?

Thankfully, I own the little Singer that could!

Hours and hours in the late evening (and early morning……..ok and a few afternoon ones too) have been devoted to completing a grand total of 14 dresses for the challenge.  I didn’t think I would be able to finish these last two on time, so I didn’t include them in the original Sew Dolly Clackett round up post here.

That’s ok, they get their own little mini post now!  The photos are a bit grainy (due to no natural light and a feeling-very-put-upon-just-wants-to-go-to-bed-already photographer).  I also look super tired (yep!) and a little worse for wear, but the expression I’m wearing is relief that I actually finished EVERY dress I set out to make for the challenge. I rather hate not meeting a goal I’ve set for myself, no matter how lofty.  I can be a very cruel and unforgiving mistress when it comes to such things.

Well, I DID IT!   I think it’s time to celebrate by ordering more fabric.

What’s that?

I already did?

Pics to follow at the end of post.  Hooray for expanding fabric stashes!


Flora dress

Set A Table On My Flora Dress

………’cause I made this out of an old table cloth!

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #13

Pattern Used: By Hand London Flora dress (I messed with the front pleats a bit)

Inspired by:  Folklore Flora

Banana Pie Dress

Banana Cream Pie Dress

Pie fabric is my weakness, obviously!  And I think Roisin would totally approve of my habit.

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #14

Pattern Used: By Hand London Anna dress bodice and A-line skirt

Ok. that is officially it!

And just in case you are curious, here’s what is going to be arriving in the mail for me soon.  I love it when I come home to find the little box sitting by my front door.  Isn’t that the BEST?

aqua birds

Michael Miller Spring Fling At The Conservatory Aqua


Nicole’s Prints Boulangerie in Mint

snappy snacks

Nicole’s Prints Snappy Snacks Grey

Everyone’s been submitting such amazing designs for the challenge.  There are so many standouts that Roisin will have a tough time choosing the winners.  I was pleased as punch to get a shout out in Sarah’s Sew Dollt Clackett Round-Up post here.  Thanks Sarah!

Special thanks for all your kind comments on my Flickr pool and on my last post!  You make my day 🙂

Jenny XOX




Sew Dolly Clackett Challenge: Round Up!

I owe a lot to Dolly.

Roisin’s wonderful blog was one of the first that I found online when I  started sewing a year ago.  I fell in love with her style (and wit!) immediately and her blog has been a source of inspiration ever since!

I adore her often quirky fabric choices, many of which I find reflected in my own fabric stash. I knew right away I had found a sewing kindred spirit.  Sew Sisters?  I think so!

Being new to the sewing and blogging world, I was thrilled when my very first comment I posted on her site garnered a reply!  It was like having my very own celebrity encounter and it encouraged me to become more active in the online sewing and blogging community.

SO when the Sew Dolly Clackett Challenge in honour of Roisin’s upcoming nuptials was announced, I knew I’d be taking part.  I didn’t realize how many dresses I would sew up (or finish sewing up!) in the time allotted for the challenge. I have worked feverishly over the last few months finishing projects, starting new ones, pouring over my sewing machine into the wee hours of the night (and morning).

I can’t believe that all this work has amounted to TWELEVE entries to the challenge, each one inspired by one of Roisin’s own creations.

Due to blogging time constraints, I thought I’d roll them all into one Round Up post and then link each to their own blog post as they are typed up.

Roisin, if you read this, I want to thank you the amazing new me-made wardrobe that you helped inspire.
I wish you the best of luck and love on your wedding day and can’t wait to see your undoubtedly amazing wedding dress!

Which one do you think she’ll like best?

Thanks for the organizing the challenge, Sarah!



Ice Cream Soda Dress

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #1

Pattern Used: Sewaholic Cambie dress

Inspired by: this red Dolly Clackett Cambie dress

Yellow Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcake Dress

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #2

Pattern Used: By Hand London Elisalex Dress

Inspired by:  every “Dolly” incarnation of the Elisalex!!


Berry Bird Wiggle Dress

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #3

Pattern Used: Sewaholic Camibe bodice and By Hand London Charlotte skirt

Inspired by:  Roisin’s Feckin Birds Dress

Tangerine Roses

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #4

Pattern Used: By Hand London Anna bodice and By Hand London Charlotte skirt, self-made peplum

Inspired by:  the Rachel dress

Chocolate Cake Home Ec

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #5

Pattern Used: By Hand London Anna bodice and gathered skirt……with pockets!

Inspired by:  the On Opposite Day dress

Dessert Tray

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #6

Pattern Used: Modified Simplicity 2444 bodice and pleated skirt

Inspired by:  the Passage Over Piedmont dress

Blueberry Bird Pie

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #7

Pattern Used: By Hand London Anna bodice and pleated skirt

Inspired by:  Roisin’s Feckin Birds Dress


Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #8

Pattern Used: By Hand London Anna bodice and circle skirt

Inspired by:  Distant Sun dress

Easter Cream Egg

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #9

Pattern Used: Sewaholic Camibe bodice and circle skirt

Inspired by:  The Funnybones dress


Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #10

Pattern Used: By Hand London Elisalex bodice with Deer & Doe Anémone skirt

Inspired by:  Il Fait Chaud dress


Russian Doll Dress 032

Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #11

Pattern Used: Sewaholic Cambie Dress with pleated skirt

Inspired by:  One Good Turn dress


Sew Dolly Clackett Entry #12

Pattern Used: Sewaholic Cambie Dress

Inspired by:  Barry’s  dress

Whew!  That’s it………for now.  I just thought of another few I’d like to make…………:)


Sew Dolly Clackett Challenge: Maple Cream Polkadot Dress

It’s quite obvious from my blog title that I like pies.

Being a chef, I really love food.  I adore working with my hands and creating food that people will enjoy.  I cook every day, mostly all day and NEVER get tired of it.  I may BE tired, but never of cooking.  Only, perhaps, of smelling like food,cleaning up a kitchen and being on my feet all day.

Of all the things to make, my favourite has to be a pies. Hands down. They smell intoxicating while baking and there is always a bit of alchemy involved in taking some very humble ingredients and using your hands to create something wonderful that looks so unlike the original ingredients.

Pies are also a delayed gratification food.  Usually there are many steps that require completion, many hoops to jump through before you can enjoy the finished product.  I guess I’m a sucker for the anticipation.

All of this lead up to reveal that I have made another dress and baked another pie.  Behold the Maple Cream Polkadot dress, my latest offering in the Sew Dolly Clackett Challenge hosed by the lovely Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones:


The Maple Cream Pie Dress. By Hand London Anna bodice and circle skirt.

The day I finished this dress, I also made this:

pie maple

Maple Cream Pie. Recipe to follow soon in my “recipes” section!!

It just makes sense to me to celebrate a dress with a pie.  Of course that makes sense as pie is the perfect way to celebrate anything.  (Like it being a day!  In the week!!  Yay!!  Where’s the pie?)  How do you celebrate the finishing of a project?

Anyways, this dress in all of it’s Maple and Cream- coloured glory was inspired by my sewing idol, Roisin of Dolly Clackett fame.  She loves her some polkadot fabric and I know that she would approve of this dress and the pie.  (Has she ever had Maple Cream Pie, I wonder, or is that just a VERY Canadian thing?)


Maple Cream Polkadot dress 007

Keepin’ it classy with some gloves, ladies.

I used the amazing Anna dress bodice pattern and paired it with a circle skirt as Roisin has done before too.  Use the circle skirt app from By Hand London.  It’s fabulous!

I lined the bodice in some buttery raspberry coloured bemberg and left the skirt unlined as this fabric was quite a heavy medium-weight cotton and didn’t need it.  The fabric, by the way, was $1 a metre in the Fabricland bargain table.  Um, yes please!

Maple Cream Polkadot dress 011

I inserted a lapped zip and though it looks wonky in this photo, I did a rather nice job when you see it in person.  The only problem was the zipper is not long enough so watching me struggle into this dress one limb at a time is not pretty.


But I think the dress is!


Maple Cream Polkadot dress 008

And it’s swirly!

Maple Cream Polkadot dress 012

And I was nice and shared the pie.

I was good that day.

And so was my daughter!  She took these lovely photos of me all by herself.  Thanks, sugar pie 🙂


She likes the black and white ones.  Good girl.

She likes the black and white ones. Good girl.

Finished Project: Russian Doll Dress

Now that spring might actually be hitting Southern Ontario, I can start to wear the results of all the sewing that has gone down this winter. It was a long one for us up here, so there is quite the backlog of projects!

I have some photos to share of my Russian Doll dress, inspired by one of my style (and cool girl) icons, Zooey Deschanel.  She wore this on an episode of her sticom, The New Girl. I don’t have any idea if the show is any good or not, I just watch it to see that Zooey is going to wear.


Zooey’s version was called “Doll In a Dress” and sold on ModCloth for $295, plus about $40 shipping to Canada. (And a CRAZY customs charge I always seem to get hit with when I order from ModCloth.com. They are targeting me, I swear!!)

Obviously, I could not get away with spending so much on a dress so I put my sewing skillzz to work and copied the crap out of the original design.

I used Michael Miller’s Russian Doll fabric for the self-drafted box pleated skirt and a beautiful royal blue suiting fabric bought at my local Fabricland. Sometimes I do get lucky there.

The bodice is my old standby bodice pattern the Cambie by Sewaholic. It always fits so well.

I love this dress and feel very twee in it (in the best possible way). I am so smug pleased with myself that it turned out so well, despite the wonky zipper insertion at the back (no pictures of it, it will ruin my mood). My version cost $40 start to finish. Take that, Canada customs!!

Ha!  I thought I heard my husband coming down the stairs and I did not want to deal with his snickering and rolling his eyes as I shot these photos.

Ha! I thought I heard my husband coming down the stairs and I did not want to deal with any snickering as I shot these photos. It was a false alarm.

Russian Doll Dress 032

Russian Doll Dress 021

Russian Doll Dress 025

Sassy Sears catalog pose!

Sassy Sears catalog pose!

Cheeky Sears catalog pose!

Cheeky Sears catalog pose!

Smug Sears catalog pose

Standard Sears catalog pose.

Hope you like it! Can’t wait to get some sun on my legs and wear this finally!

Finished Project: Betty Draper Mad Men Challenge Dress

My first sewing challenge is completed!

Thank you to Julia Bobbin for hosting this amazing event. Here are some pictures of the finished dress. You can read about my progress here and here.

I am quite pleased with how the dress turned out. As always, the By Hand London patterns I used (Anna bodice and Charlotte skirt) sewed up beautifully. There were so many self-drafted parts to this dress and I pushed myself beyond my sewing comfort zone, but that’s what a challenge is for, right?

I’m so glad I got this post completed in time for it to be added to the final Mad Med Challenge #3 roundup!

Mad Men Dress Final 001

Mad Men Dress Final 006

Mad Men Dress Final 003

Mad Men Dress Final 005

Mad Men Dress Final 007

Mad Men Dress Final 009

And here is the original inspiration, one more time:

I phone 3 002

I like to think that Betty Draper would approve. What do you think?