If you've sewn for any length of time, you may decide you need a dressform. In your size. Which is not the easiest thing to obtain! There are a few custom options and the classic "wrap yourself in duct tape" approach, but I decided to try padding the dressform I had.

A custom dressform is not an essential tool for me by any means. I don't sew a lot of fitted styles, and I would test the fit on myself in those cases anyway. However, I have run into problems fitting the back of several garments, so a properly-sized shoulder/back would help with this.

I decided to try the moulage option. From what I've read, a moulage is used in the couture world. A standard dressform is padded to a customer's shape and size, and is used to fit her couture garment when she is not present in person. Creating a moulage involves sewing a fabric cover to go over a slightly smaller dressform, with the... [read more]
The sew-jo is still in full swing, and I've got another project to share with you. Would you look at the size of that pocket?!
Ellie and Mac Be Independent Dress Leopard
Just posing to show off my pocket...
Ellie and Mac Be Independent Dress Leopard
This is another Ellie & Mac pattern, the Be Independent dress. You'd be forgiven to think that I had become some kind of brand ambassador for Ellie & Mac. It seems to be all I sew at the moment! The truth it, I'm hooked with their Wacky week promotion (a silver lining of the current situation), and the opportunity to pick up fantastic patterns for $1 is just too hard to resist. But no, I'm not affiliated, and actually don't do any affiliate links (at the moment anyway - perhaps one day I will give it more thought). 

Ellie and Mac Be Independent Dress Leopard
And it took me seconds from seeing this pattern on sale for $1 to snapping it up. That pocket must be every toddler's dream! Imagine all the goodies that you fit in there! Hey, where's the pull... [read more]

I picked up another Lifestyle Wardrobe pattern last year, Butterick 6670. I like all of the pieces, though admittedly it was the dress/duster that first caught my eye.
I recently made the skirt from a black linen in my stash, and now I've made the peplum top, but added the sleeves from the dress as I prefer sleeves to sleeveless most times. The dress and top had the same armscye so I didn't have to do any adjustments at all.

After quite a bit of judicious juggling of pattern pieces, I found that I could fit both top and skirt onto my piece of stashed linen. Another advantage of being short! I did end up having to cut the sleeve on the bias, but that's probably for the best anyhow as it allows for a bit more give in the sleeve when wearing, for comfort.

I really like this top! It is a little more detailed than many of the items I've been working on... [read more]

What surprised me most when making these giant paper flowers was not how sturdy they felt or how stunning they looked but how EASY … More easy giant paper flowers »

The post easy giant paper flowers appeared first on My French Twist.

A month or two ago my mom sent me a surprise gift in the form of the dP Studio book “Fashion Couture”, which had been on my Amazon Wish List since it was released, while I secretly hoped it might get translated into English at some point.

For some reason the dP Studio standalone patterns never really grabbed me, but I LOVE so many of the tops in this book (and they’re all tops, yay!!). The book is only available in French but the instructions are fully illustrated and should be totally fine for any intermediate sewist with google translate to hand.

I’ve gotten loads of Pattern Magic vibes off several of the designs, and there are about five I really want to make! So I started with Le 516 “Wink Top”, but the Slash Top is also very high on my list (and that sweatshirt, yessss!). You can swoon over a bunch of the designs from the book here.

The Wink Top... [read more]

I’ve been posting photos of my homemade fabric masks and PPE on social media — mostly, it’s my lazy way of tracking what I’ve made! I’ve also been thinking about how my feelings about mask-making have changed (and how they have not) since we put together this post about pandemic-related PPE sewing. Following one of my mask posts, a researcher friend sent me a link to a survey that forms part of her research study into mask-making. I shared it personally and then the Sewcialists shared it on Instagram, and we were so interested in this work that we asked Donna to come and write a post here to tell us all more about how she came to be doing this work. (Seriously, what a cool job.) — Anne

At the end of every interview that I conduct with a mask maker, I offer to answer any questions they have about myself or the research. Nine times out of... [read more]

How many jumpsuits does one woman need in her wardrobe? If you're me the answer is an awful lot! I was just beginning to think I might have stated my desire to have any more jumpsuits on rotation when Closet Case Patterns released the Blanca Flight Suit. I love the contemporary cut of this and all the little details which Closet Case Patterns do so well. Whilst I love the full on workwear vibe in the denim I felt like the second view with the short sleeve, tie belt and cropped leg I might get a little bit more wear out of. Heather models a sample made up in a linen which I loved the soft, chic yet relaxed vibe of so I hunted down some linen for my own.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Blanca Flight Suit in Maple Vintage Finish Linen from The Fabric Store

This is the Vintage Finish Linen in Maple from The Fabric Store. Their vintage finish range is fairly new and is about the same mid-weight as their regular linen line but has a slightly worn in look... [read more]
I was able to take some photos of me wearing my second top. I posted a glimpse of it in a previous post.
Again my DH and I were going to a doctor's appointment and I ended up wearing the same outfit but this time the appointment was in the afternoon and only 20 minutes away.

This time I made a 14 for upper chest and shoulders, 16 for bust and hips.  I ended up taking an additional 3/8 inch in the bust area but going back to 16 at the hips.

I like the feel of this knit and purchased several years ago from JoAnn's so been in my stash for some time. Unfortunately, though the pictures show a vibrant blue and white stripe, after washing it the blue has faded terribly. It looks like something I wore a lot but this is my second time wearing.

Here are a few photos I took to give you a full view.

Back View

Front View

Front View 2ore
Side view

I will probably make more later... [read more]

It fits!

Look, I know that should be a given, but we all know Seamwork has sometimes had a reputation for dodgy fit. As I said in my last post, I had really good results with the Seamwork Ariel, and decided to get a Seamwork membership.

The first thing I sewed was the new Blake dress… and it flopped. I rounded up my bodice and sewed a straight size 20, and then had to take in the side seams significantly. It is designed for ponte, which is my least favourite knit, and the seams along the facing stretched and warped. I still like it in concept, so I’ll size down and try again in a different fabric.

This is the Clarke top that came out last summer. I’m really into drapey rayon woven tops this summer, and this is a good addition to the rotation! I sewed a straight size 18, and I’m most impressed that the armscye sits so high. In some sleeveless patterns I... [read more]

This post has been simmering in my head for some time, but I've been dragging my feet, mostly for reasons of nostalgia. The reality is, I'm not a blogger anymore. I've loved the sewing community and I'm not going to stop sewing, or sharing my makes on Instagram and in Facebook groups, but the blogging platform just doesn't feel like me anymore. When I started here - so many years ago - it was fun to take and edit pictures, to write a post and edit my content. It's not fun for me anymore - in fact, it's become a chore. And I don't want that weight to bleed into my sewing. As life has become more complex for me, discretionary time is a premium and I'd rather use it to sew, not photograph and write.

I did not arrive at this decision easily, but it feels like the right move at this time. If you're interested in continuing to follow along with my sewing, I do continue... [read more]
I finally got to take some photos of the outfit I made my mom for Mother's Day (and I finally got to see her since travel between Vermont and some parts of Massachusetts has eased up a bit!)...

Read more »

The wonderful world of sewing is filled with many different niches. From quilting to costuming to RTW dupes, there really is something for everyone. One world I have become very interested in (as an outsider looking in) is vintage sewing. I asked you, dear readers, to share your experiences sewing vintage and here they are in a fun mini-series! Without further ado, I present you with a tiny sliver of the richness of vintage sewing.


A smiling Black woman with glasses, red lipstick, and silver earrings. She has on a collared top or dress bodice that is blue and white gingham with yellow buttons.

I love sewing with vintage patterns, fabrics, and notions! I know there are groups dedicated to specific time periods, styles, and garment authenticity. I appreciate it but don’t go in for all of that. I am drawn to easy, everyday patterns from the 60s and 70s. I love the style, simple silhouettes with a twist, and increased, though limited, racial diversity in the pattern imagery. My least... [read more]

Photo by Héctor J. Rivas on Unsplash
It's July already! Staying home all the time really makes the days meld into one another. At least the weather is telling me it's July -- hot and sticky -- looking forward to some relief. At least my sewing nook in the basement is nice and cool and it's where I'm spending a lot of time.

Here are my plans for July, and I'd better get them sewn up as I will be going back to work at the beginning of August! Thank goodness for that.

The first project I want to tackle is this pair of shorts (Butterick 3777, a 1986 pattern) for my husband. I'll be making the longer short from this bottom weight cotton poly I found at the thrift store about the same time as I found this pattern, at least a year ago. They are elastic waist, mock fly and cut on pockets so not too difficult but some things I've never made before -- ie: a fly -- plus... [read more]

You saw a peek of this in Monday’s post about my mustard wool shorts, but today I can tell you all about this sleeveless blouse.

The pattern is No115 from the May 2020 Burda magazine and is available to purchase as a pdf here. This was a real standout for me from this issue and I knew right away that I’d be sewing it up – it has a distinctive gathered front neckline with no shoulder seams and it only requires 1m of fabric as a bonus, yay! And frankly I love anything with a cutaway shoulder…

This monochrome foliage print silk twill has been in my stash for a long time, and I know it was a gift from a fellow sewist but I cannot for the life of me remember who (so sorry! Please speak up in the comments if it was you!). It’s a quality silk in a very “me” print so of course I’ve been hoarding it for the right project…

As is usual with silk, this fabric demanded... [read more]

Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans

It’s been a busy few weeks, so today we got away from the to-do lists and visited a few local independent businesses when we knew they wouldn’t be too busy. It was a welcome change of scenery and included some in-person fabric shopping for the first time in months, which was very exciting. I was after some knits in solid colours and different weighs, so exactly the kind of fabric shopping that is best in person.

Yesterday, we also took a longer than normal walk along the canal, where I got Phil to take a few photos of these jeans. I was going to blog them last night, but I sat down after the walk (which was just under two hours) and was too tired to write a word! Given how long these have taken to reach the blog, another day is neither here nor there.

Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans

I’ve been planning to make these jeans ever since Closet Case Patterns... [read more]

Now that I’m staying at home all the time (and will continue to do so until there’s a vaccine, to be honest) I’m finding a need for shorts in my wardrobe that didn’t really exist when I spent the majority of my week in a climate-controlled office. I absolutely l-o-v-e the denim Pietra shorts I made at the start of the summer but I thought I’d branch out and try a different pattern for some stretch wool suiting that I bought at the same time as the linen denim I used in the Pietras.

I bought this lightweight, mustard wool blend suiting from New Craft House (now long gone, as nearly all their fabrics are fashion industry deadstock) and it’s absolutely perfect for these shorts! Some people think wool is only for winter, but it’s a great year-round fabric if you get the weight right, and this isn’t itchy in the slightest, either. I overlocked all the edges of... [read more]

A little time has passed since the killing of George Floyd spurred a wave of protest marches and activities in support of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world.

Like many, we posted in solidarity, wherever possible highlighting BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of colour) makers, stories and voices. We also promised not to slip back into “regular programming” but to ensure we continued to actively pursue this topic once the news cycle changed.

One of the things we have been reflecting on internally is how to deal with comments on the posts we have made on this subject (here on the blog, and on Instagram), some of which demonstrate white fragility and sometimes just plain racism. It’s a little trickier for us because we often have guest authors, so we need to consider their individual feelings and thoughts on the subject rather... [read more]

This was a fun make! I’m on quite a Closet Case Patterns kick right now – I made the Blanca Flight Suit earlier this year and my Carolyn pajamas are alllmmoost done. I cut those out in December! Crazy. Anyway, this jumpsuit is something I chose as part of my loungewear capsule wardrobe, which is slowly nearing completion and coming in even more useful than I anticipated back then! The Sallie is a knit jumpsuit, so it’s extremely comfy for lounging around, but I’m more than happy to wear it out and about too. It’s certainly not a garment that needs to be confined to the house!


In fact, I wore it to the zoo this week, which reopened at 25% capacity and with full Covid precautions (masks, distancing, etc.), and it made for the perfect exploring outfit. I made my Sallie from this modal knit I got from Lillestoff. I’m a fan of the quality of Lillestoff... [read more]

I have a mixed relationship with Threads.  I subscribe. They don't always have articles I am interested in, or something I want to read how to do.  Sometimes this lasts for months. I subscribe because I want to keep them in business for the issues when they do.
Like this one.
This magazine is made by humans, and us humans all make mistakes. Maybe a page got left off, or a color got switched.
This month,  I have questions.
These examples are all from the new September 2020 issue #210. 
Normally, I will see something that's a little off and file and forget it. When several of them occur in one issue, I crack open my letter to the editor 

NOTE: You will need to enbiggen to read these. I did not write them, so I have watermarked them and taken out some of the instructions, as this is NOT MY WRITING. Not pretending it is, either.
Disclaimers... [read more]
No churn Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Happy July everyone!

The weather has reached its hottest peak in the last couple of days (a whole week of 35℃ weather) and you know what warm temperatures mean: ice cream! Fun fact about me: I LOVE ice cream, can't get enough of it, even if it's -20℃ I'll be eating it. When it's on sale I'll buy multiple containers so I never go without, but unfortunately, I've never fulfilled my goal of making my own ice cream.

So it was a perfect coincidence that Sarah of A Spoonful of Vanilla, a mouthwatering food blog, will be guest posting today and sharing a delicious no-churn cookie dough ice cream recipe!
Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts / Marcy Tilton
Newton, CN: Taunton Press, c1998.
123 p.
I picked up this book at a library booksale store, for only $2. It was a great buy for that price, as there is so much useful information in it, even if it is 20 years old.

It is exactly what it says it is: focused on tops and tees, and since the author is Marcy Tilton, many of them are the more oversized styles that she is best known for. There are six chapters: on choosing the right style, pattern and fabric, and then on fit, construction and surface design. 

The information flows logically, and I like the way that this whole series is laid out. Lots of clear photographs and illustrations, and lots of good solid information with not much filler. I also like the little tips highlighted in their own boxes -- ie: the best way to get a bias facing to lay flat... [read more]
… when I was at the store the other day … Anyway, when I was at the store the other day, I forgot to buy “Swiffer Duster refills”. Well with two cats and a forest in the back yard, vacuuming and dusting is really important to us.  Then again, staying home and limiting our trips… Continue reading I think every story I tell nowadays starts with the same line …

This week I finally got to some of the mending and upcycling projects in my endless queue. I started with a dress that I was given in a bundle of fabrics that were passed on to me. This dress was an 80s print rayon (which I love!) and it was half made. The bodice was very close fitting, double breasted, and with long sleeves. It was very out of fashion, too small, and generally unsaveable. 

But the skirt was very full and pleated, already hemmed and with pockets. I had to save that. After pondering a bit, I unpicked the pleats which thankfully were so loosely sewn that the rayon didn't run as I removed the old thread. Then I went the easiest route ever: I picked up some wide elastic for a quick waistband, gathered the skirt and stitched it to the elastic for an instant pull-on skirt. It's comfortable, quick and now I can wear this fabulous print. One more... [read more]
Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Ashton Top in Bold Yellow Linen Gingham from The Fabric Store

It was love at first sight when this bold linen gingham appeared in the new arrivals section of The Fabric Store website. As I've mentioned before I very rarely click 'Add to Cart' without a specific project in mind but I did with this. I loved the dramatic scale of the check and freshness of the white and golden yellow combo, all on a base of glorious slubby textured linen. I felt like head to toe large scale yellow gingham might be a little out of my comfort zone and had visions of a summery little crop top so restrained myself to an order of one metre (a choice I'm now slightly regretting as I love it so much).

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Ashton Top in Bold Yellow Linen Gingham from The Fabric Store

I'd just purchased and had great success with the Ashton Top pattern from Helen's Closet Patterns when making my refashioned tablecloth top. Making that top has really reignited my passion for recreating garments and details I'm inspired by... [read more]

Here’s a post long overdue – two leatherworking kits I ordered in March 2019 and didn’t finish sewing until March 2020!

I ordered from company in the UK called “Simple Way” as a treat to myself during my concussion recovery, and my first impression wasn’t good. The wallet went together easily, but the holes on the blue purse kit weren’t properly punched. I sent customer service a video of me struggling to get a needle through the hole, and they said, “Oh, we can replace that!”… until the realised that when I said “purse” I meant the handbag, and then they told me it was too expensive to replace! WTF? It was too expensive to but and then have to repunch thousands of holes myself, thank you very much.

Here’s how that email chain went:

Simple Way: “We sell lots of the Sarah handbag kits and this is the first time we had... [read more]

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