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The Bistro Dress by Liesl + Co

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Allegra needed a dress.  A black, formal orchestra dress.  And I was intimidated by the thought of sewing one for her.  But both she and Mr. Skirt Fixation insisted I could do this, so I bought the fabric, and then I was committed.  Before cutting into the material, we decided to make a muslin, just to check the fit, since many of the other dresses would have a similar look, we definitely didn’t want Allegra’s to look “homemade!”  After going through the patterns we own, the closest we could come was a shift dress which I thought I could alter enough to make do.  To make a long story short, the muslin turned out horrible, and I was back to square one.

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

I queried the folks on the Oliver + S forums for help.  The Bistro Dress looked like it would work, but I didn’t have time for another muslin and it would need a few adjustments, like adding length and dropping the belt, belt loops, and collar.  After hearing their favorable thoughts, I went ahead and purchased The Bistro Dress, figuring if it didn’t work, I’d still end up with one fabulous pattern I’d had my eye on for a while anyway!

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

The only alteration I had to do to the pattern was to add length and width to the bottom to allow for a cellist to play her instrument and to match the shape of the other dresses.  In fact, to make the pattern, I used Allegra’s old dress, the one Aria now wears to figure out the right width, length and place to start widening.

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

I started drafting the pattern wider at the hips and took it down to ankle length.  The only other adjustment I made was to make the waist darts longer.

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Both Allegra and I are very pleased with how The Bistro Dress turned out as a full length formal dress for her concert.

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Please excuse the blurry photos, but I did capture a few of Allegra on stage.  Aria is there too!


The Bistro Dress is a Liesl + Co. pattern, and Liesl Gibson makes the Oliver + S patterns too.  As with all Oliver + S patterns, the Bistro dress was a dream to sew.  The directions were easy to follow, and the results are so professional looking.

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Allegra and I took some extra photos at home to show how nicely the Bistro Dress fits her.  We will be making this pattern again, but hopefully not for another black formal orchestra dress anytime soon!

The Bistro Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

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Julia Sweater Review with Sheer Fabric Tutorial

Julia Sweater review

Julia Sweater reviewWe had the privilege of testing another pattern for Compagnie M.  This time she was adapting her Julia sweater for girls into a pattern for teens and women, and we are sure glad she did!  The Julia Sweater is a dolman sleeve knit sweater/shirt with lots of different options for the collar and neckline.

Julia Sweater review by Skirt Fixation

There is also a tunnel pocket option.  The sleeves are cuffed and the bottom has a waistband, so no hemming!  I’ve already made 3 of these (2 of which are for me!)  As with most pattern tests, there were a few things that needed worked out; the size of the waistband and how to use fabric with less stretch for the sleeves were two things that got worked out with this pattern test.  But Marta encouraged everyone to play around with the pattern a little, and so we did!

Julia Sweater Review by Skirt Fixation

We figured out how to add a sheer layer to the front and back panel and construct the tunnel pocket in a different way to reduce bulk with the added layers.  This works with both stretch sheer fabrics (the green and white sweater above) and woven sheer fabrics (the blue and grey sweater.)  Which opens up a lot of fabric possibilities!

Julia Sweater, teen size

The first Julia sweater we made ended up being for Aria as I had to shorten the sleeves to 1/2 length due to the lack of stretchiness of my fabric.  This issue has been solved now!

Julia sweaters by Skirt FixationBoth Aria and I love the dolman sleeves!

Julia Sweater review

I love the slimming style of the separate front and back panel.

julia sweater tunnel pocket

And pockets of course are not only comfortable, but necessary when you have 7 children and their…stuff!

Here is our tutorial, so you can use sheer fabrics in your Julia sweater too, if you want to!

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 1: Cut 1 tunnel pocket piece.  Cut 2 front and back pieces, one each of lining and sheer fabric.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 2: Sew pocket to sheer front piece, RST.

Sew all 4 shoulder pieces together.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 3: Pin front sleeves to front lining piece.  Sew down both sides from where top of pocket will be to bottom of shirt.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 4: Sew along tops of sleeves.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Your shirt should look like this now.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Pull up sheer layer to reveal top of pocket.  Carefully stitch across top of pocket, keeping sheer layer out of way, from side to side.  You are stitching the top of the tunnel pocket to the front lining layer.  You’ll line up the bottom of the tunnel pocket with the bottom of the front lining layer to keep your pocket straight.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Here is what the back of your front piece will look like after this step.

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 5: Snip the seam allowance of the sheer layer only to the seam at the top of the pocket.  If you can’t figure out where to snip, try to do the next step without doing this, you will see exactly where to snip!

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Picture 6: Line up right sleeve and shirt fronts and back, RST.  Sew together, starting at top of pocket in front, up to shoulder, and down to bottom of back.  Be sure to have all 3 layers caught in your seam.  Repeat with left sleeve.

Continue with directions for the Julia Sweater.  You will close the tunnel pocket when you attach the waistband.  Be sure to catch all layers across front and back sheer panels.

Julia Sweater Review by Skirt Fixation

I did make a few other changes to the second Julia Sweater I made, just for personal preference.  I added 1.5 inches to the neckband.  I top stitched the neckband with my double needle because I can’t stand a neckband that rolls!

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

There is one change I will make for the next (yes, next!) Julia Sweater I make.  Due to my 6 feet tall height, my arms are rather long, and I added 3 inches to the sleeves.  But I made a rookie mistake and added it to the end of each sleeve instead of cutting and spreading the sleeve, which makes the sleeves a little tight.  (Dairy goats cause large forearms!)  Next time I’ll do it right!

The Julia Sweater is so slimming!

Here you can see the side panels and the tunnel pocket from the side.  This sweater is an absolute joy to wear!

Sheer Fabric for Julia Sweater tutorial

Aria is wearing her Julia layered over a white t-shirt.  It looks lovely over a navy blue shirt too!  That really makes the lace pop out!

Julia Sweater review by Skirt Fixation

You should sew up some Julia Sweaters, too.  For yourself and your teen too.  You’ll be glad you did!  You can get the Julia Sweater from Compagnie M. here.

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Ina Skirt Gift

Ina Skirt for a gift

Ina Skirt gift sewn by Skirt Fixation

We just love it when we find a pattern that is so awesome, we have no qualms about sewing it up and giving it as a gift!  The Ina Skirt pattern is a pattern perfect for a skirt gift.  This pattern would be an excellent gift for a seamstress, or the skirt itself is a very loving gift in itself!

Ina Skirt for a gift

Recently, we made the Ina Skirt as a gift.  We ordered some fabric in colors we thought would suit the recipient, and sewed up the Ina Skirt.  Our Ina Skirt pattern review can be found here, but we sewed this version without adding any length (can you believe not everyone is 6 feet tall?) and made one small change to the waistband.

skirt gift

For the inner waistband, we turned the piece to the direction of the knit fabric which has the least stretch because this waistband can be a little loose, I’ve found from repeatedly wearing my own Ina Skirt.  Not a show stopper, by any means, but I wanted the recipient to love this skirt gift as much as I loved making it for her!

knit fabric skirt gift

The fabric I ordered from, and love the little metallic strip of silver running along the stripes.

skirt gift

The recipient of this gift loved it and had recently found the perfect top to go with it in a thrift store!  I just love when that happens…

skirt gift

I’m sure there will be many more Ina Skirts in the future…both for ourselves and as skirt gifts.  If you are looking for a special gift to give someone, and you have a skirt gift in mind, look no further than the Ina Skirt!  Give it to a seamstress to make herself, or sew one up for a non seamstress or someone you want to cherish!  Since we’ve sewn this Ina Skirt before, this one took less than an hour to make!

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Apron Gifts

Apron Gift

Another apron post is forthcoming, folks!  I wanted to give a couple of gifts to two special ladies, and I thought that apron gifts would be just the ticket.  I used my apron pattern that I developed (with mom’s help) when I was about ten or eleven.  It is taken from a dress pattern, and so the shape is very flattering, and the pattern itself easy to change around and spice up.

apron gifts

For the first apron, I picked this lovely yellow cotton with a faint yellow leaf pattern on it.  I decided that I wanted just one pocket, but a big one!  This lovely wine-colored floral looked just beautiful on the yellow, so I used that as a pocket, stitching it down along the middle so that it is in effect, two separated pockets, but it still looks like one big one.


We had a very old denim skirt with a ruffle on the bottom of it, and looking at it, I thought that it would be just the thing as a cooler color separating the warm yellow and red.  It looks quite nice around the pocket, I think.  You might notice a little different thing that I tried this time, which was stitching the apron together down the middle.  I’m not sure as of yet if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s definitely not what I usually do!  I also used a thin cream-colored ribbon for the neck and straps.

Apron Gift

For the second apron I used this pretty floral, a light reddish-purple on a cream background.  I did square pockets in a rich wine and stitched around them in cream to compliment the floral.  The straps are a wide cream lace, which gives the apron a very feminine air.

I love aprons in any shape; they make me feel like a 1950’s housewife or a pioneer girl!  I also hand embroidered the initials of the receiver of each of these apron gifts.  How do you feel about aprons?  Do you like full aprons, or half ones that are more like a skirt?  Let me know!


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Jocole A-Line Skirt {Kids Clothes Week Day 3}

jocole A-line yoga skirt

Jocole A-Line Yoga Skirt

Kids Clothes Week Day 3

Back when I made the Jocole A-line yoga skirt for Aria and I, Allegra was a bit jealous.  She saw how comfortable they are and how often we wear them, she requested one for herself.  And then there was this super comfortable knit fabric we got from Imagine Gnats.  (I’ve seen this fabric over in the Imagine Gnats link up where you can enter to win Imagine Gnats fabric for yourself!  Have you linked up?)  So for Allegra’s day of Kid’s Clothes Week, I made her a Jocole A-Line Skirt.  It went very smoothly, and I whipped it up after everyone had gone to bed for the night.  This skirt really is a very fast and easy sew.  You can read more about my review of this pattern here.  So, of course there was a problem!  I made the skirt just one size too small for her!  Arrrrgh!

jocole A-line yoga skirt

But since I’d also ordered a coordinating grey fabric from Imagine Gnats, I added grey tuxedo stripes to each side.  This mistake may actually be my favorite part!  But if I intend to add tuxedo stripes to the Jocole A-Line Yoga skirt again, I will definitely do it at the first, not pick apart the side seams and piece in a skinny strip later.  That was much harder!

jocole A-line yoga skirt

Aria took these photos for us.

jocole A-line yoga skirt

Here you can see the back.  I was so glad Allegra wanted a skirt from this fabric, because that is exactly what I had in mind when I ordered the fabric!  I toyed with the idea of making another raglan tee for myself, but the skirt just works!

jocole A-line yoga skirt

Three projects down, four to go…

You can see the others here:

Kids Clothes Week Day 1 {Kimono}

Kids Clothes Week Day 2 {Mask}

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Ina Skirt Review

Ina Skirt by Skirt Fixation

Have you seen the Ina Skirt?

Ina Skirt review

This skirt really fits the description we love to use when describing skirts as a blank canvas.  The Ina Skirt has so many desirable characteristics; comfortable, flattering, easy to sew, and fun!  We’ll address each of those separately.

Comfortable Ina skirt

The Ina Skirt is comfortable:

The skirt is made from knit fabric, so that just about sums it up in a word!  We chose some striped knit fabric from JoAnns.  The stripes on the fabric we bought run from selvedge to selvedge, and the picture on the cutting layout indicates the stripes would run the other way.  (We purchased the fabric before the pattern…)  But lacking any other striped fabric, I just turned all the pattern pieces so the stripes would run the right way, and it all turned out in the end.  This even took into the account that I added 3.5 inches to the length.  Another thing that makes the Ina Skirt so comfortable is the negative ease in the waistband that allows it to just rest on your waist/hips with no pinching elastic, scratchy zipper, buttons or snaps digging into your skin.  Comfy!

Ina Skirt by Skirt FixationThe Ina Skirt is flattering:

Okay, so when I tried the finished Ina Skirt on and modeled it for my husband, he really liked it!  But he also commented, “That skirt makes you look really tall!”  Well, in case I haven’t made it explicit before, I AM really tall.  Six feet of really tall!  So if you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?  But the vertical stripes are very slimming.  You can’t see the waistband the way I’m wearing the Ina Skirt, but the stripes run horizontally to match the godets at the bottom, and look very flattering too!

Back of Ina Skirt

The Ina Skirt is easy to sew:

This was my first time to sew the Ina Skirt, and it took me less than 2 hours from printing to finish!  I even added a lining as my knit was a little see through.  I got the lining from this skirt that I’d refashioned when I was pregnant.  Next time (yes, another keeper!) it’ll take me even less time because I already have the pattern printed, tiled and cut out, and I’ve sewn one up before.  I’m going to suggest to Allegra that she make one of these for herself, it’d be a great pattern for her to try.  She did so great on her first time sewing a PDF pattern here.

The Ina Skirt Review

The Ina Skirt is fun:

This is where the blank canvas part comes it.  Taking the pattern pieces and turning them so the stripes go every which way is awesome!  And the bottom part has a sort of fishtail or mermaid effect in shape too.  So the two combined are just perfection!

We really enjoyed sewing up this Ina Skirt.  We were sewing along with the other ladies over at Pattern Review for the Ina Skirt Sew Along, and we can’t wait to see every other Ina Skirt.

Ina Skirt by Skirt Fixation

Don’t you just want to sew up an Ina Skirt now too?

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Julia Cardigan for Selfish Sewing Week

Julia Cardigan


Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations

The last piece of my outfit made for Selfish Sewing Week is the Julia Cardigan.  We won 2 patterns from Mouse House Creations during Sewabration of Womanhood, and the Julia Cardigan was our automatic first choice!  Then I held onto it until I saw this fabric at Walmart, and knew they were going to be a perfect pair.  I bought 3 yards of the super lightweight knit fabric, and sent one to Karly during Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition’s Knit Week.  When I went to cut out the Julia, I realized, as Angela commented yesterday, that I was going to need another yard to be able to make myself the long sleeve version.  Because I didn’t have enough time to go to get more fabric just then, I decided to try and make a vest version of the Julia and add sleeves later.  But then I laid out the pieces as shown on the recommended layout, and realized if I disobeyed the recommendation, flipped over the front pattern piece face down, flipped the collar piece end for end, turned the cuff pieces 90 degrees, and slid the rest of the pieces around, I could get the whole thing out of 2 yards!  This included adding 3 inches to the sleeves (you know, because I am 6 feet tall and have a 6 foot wingspan also!)  I could have lengthened the front and back 1 or 2 inches also, which I will do next time.  (Yes, next time…this one is a winner!)

back of Julia Cardigan

But the Julia Cardigan covers my shirt in the back, so it all works out for this outfit.  I took a gamble, not knowing if I would ruin the whole Julia Cardigan cutting it out that way, but it turned out just fine!

Julia CardiganOne thing I was careful to do was match the stripes everywhere and I’m so happy with the results.

Julia Cardigan striped cuff

I like the look of the stripes on the cuffs running the other way, it gives them sort of a modern flair.  So there you have it!  An entire outfit, sewn just for ME!!!

Julia Cardigan stripe matching

Here’s a recap:

Skirt(s): Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt

Shirt: Self-drafted

Cardigan: Julia Cardigan

What did you make yourself during Selfish Sewing Week?  What are you going to make yourself next?

Make it beautiful,


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Selfish Sewing Week Self-drafted Top

selfish sewing week top

selfish sewing week top

Today I’m going to tell you about the top I made for my Selfish Sewing Week outfit.  First of all, let me tell you, this is a wearable muslin.

From the Burda Style Dictionary: Muslin-Sewers speak of making ‘a muslin’ when they use a plain fabric to make a mock-up version of a pattern they want to try, as a kind of sample before they cut out and sew a final version in fashion fabric. The muslin is used to identify fitting issues and to make adjustments which the sewer then incorporates into their paper pattern.

Back of Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt

So I’m calling this a wearable muslin because when you are 6 feet tall and you make a shirt that has sleeves long enough for you, you wear it no matter what issues it has!  Ah, the beauty of making your own clothes…

I had this idea for a shirt and dress pattern and I started playing around with it.  Can you believe the gals whose main theme is skirts might actually develop something that is not a skirt as their first pattern?  Don’t know…stay tuned!

Side of Selfish Sewing Week top

Things I love about this shirt:

  • raglan sleeves
  • looong sleeve length
  • slimming shape
  • one piece side inset shape
  • using a 3rd piece of my cherished Birch Organic Fabrics bird fabric!

Neckline of Selfish Sewing Week Top

Things I will change for the next time:

  • Start the inset/contrast fabric at the neckline
  • Curve in even more at the waist
  • Take out a few inches in the front and back to make it more fitted
  • Sew the FOE at the neckline tighter.  (To be fair; this was my 1st time working with FOE!)
  • Lengthen the top to carry on the inset/contras fabric shape longer

Julia Cardigan

I’d gladly take any suggestions you have for my work in progress!  Since it’s Selfish Sewing Week, I might actually decide to do something about these changes this week!  Tomorrow I’ll share with you the last piece in my ensemble, anyone recognize what pattern it is?

What have you been working on?  Anything for yourself?

Selfish Sewing Week top

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Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt Review

Jocole Yoga A-line Skirt

If you’ve just arrived here on the Jocole Blog Tour, Hi and Welcome!

Jocole Yoga A-line Skirt

We are so delighted to have the opportunity to make the Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt.  I think this is my favorite skirt I’ve ever made in all the skirts I’ve made in my lifetime!

Jocole Yoga A-line skirt

And to think I came so close to not making one for myself!  You see, it was like this: late one night I decided to make the Jocole Yoga A-Line skirt for the Jocole pattern tour.  (Yes we were given this pattern, but we would gladly pay twice the price for a skirt so wonderful!)

Jocole Yoga A-line Skirt

So anyway, it was a dark and stormy night, and I was tired but everyone was asleep and I knew this was going to be a quick sew.  So as usual, I printed out my first pattern piece, checked the test square, and when all looked good, I set off cutting and sewing.  Now I’ll let you in on a little fact that I didn’t learn for another hour or so.  My printer settings were off, but I measured from the edge of the 3 inch block to the edge of the 10 cm block so it looked like it was 3 inches.  I was making a skirt that was 24% too small since my printer was set at 86%.

Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt sewn by Skirt Fixation

About an hour later my new skirt was finished and ready to be tried on.  The skirt was so tight it looked like I’d painted it on with a paintbrush.  On my post baby body… Let’s change the subject, shall we?

Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt sewn by Skirt Fixation

I returned to JoAnn fabrics the next day and found a sparkly knit orange fabric.  This knit is almost sweatshirt weight.  Think about your favorite old college sweatshirt that you wore and wore and wore out.  This is that kind of knit.  Plus is has little sparkles all over it!

Back of Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirt

Armed with new fabric and new enlightened measuring method, I started over again.  One quick hour later, viola, my new favorite skirt was born.  The only change I made to the  Jocole Yoga Aline Skirt pattern was to lengthen it by three inches.  The pattern goes up to forty inches long for tall ladies, but I’m what they refer to as ultra tall.  I may have made this skirt a teeny bit too long, but that’s a heavenly change!!!

Jocole Yoga A-Line skirt tween size

Aria was delighted to inherit the first, tiny skirt.  Come back to the blog tomorrow to find out how I added a lining to her Jocole yoga a line skirt, and also how you could make one for a tween.  Not accidentally.  On purpose.  Because you meant to.  Ahem.

2 Jocole Yoga A-Line Skirts

I just love it when mistakes turn into treasures!  Looking on the bright side, Aria got a new skirt and I got the creamiest, most buttery knit yoga skirt ever!  I forgot to tell you one of my favorite things about the finished skirt.  I made the tall 16″ fold over waistband, and I love the privacy it gives me when I use the option of having it  unfolded for added coverage while nursing the baby!

Julia CardiganThen, the rest of the week, I’ll be sharing blog posts about the top and cardigan I’m wearing since it’s Selfish Sewing Week.  Also be sure to enter the Rafflecopter give away below for a chance to win 2 free patterns of your choice from Jocole.  To help you decide which Jocole Patterns you want,  check out the other stops on the Jocole pattern blog tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jocole A-line yoga skirtsSee you tomorrow!


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Cowboy Poncho from a Skirt!

Cowboy Poncho

Cowboy PonchoRemember that boy we introduced you to earlier in the week with his cowboy quilt?  Did we mention it was his birthday recently?  Oh, we did?  Well, did we mention that he l.o.v.e.s. cowboys?  Oh, we did?  Well, when a boy loves something as much as this boy loves cowboys, it’s easy to know what to make him for his birthday!

Cowboy Poncho with HoodThis gift was actually Aria’s idea, so here she is to tell you how the cowboy poncho came to be:

So while mom was making Thomas’ quilt I decided that I would like to make him a birthday present too.  And ever since we made our Not A Skirt ebook, he had been asking for a cape like the one I made. So I finally got an excuse and time to make him one.  Anyway a while back I had been looking through ‘the girls’ closet, and I found a not so great skirt that had cowboys and Indians on it.

skirt refashionIt had been mom’s from when she was a cowgirl, and it wasn’t anything I was ever going to wear, so into the remake pile it went, and it was just the perfect thing for a cape.

Cowboy PonchoSo here’s Mom to tell you how we made a skirt to cowboy poncho transformation:

Step1: Cut skirt off above the denim about 2 inches.

Step 2: Cut skirt open along one side seam.

Step 3: Fold over and finish edges of skirt.

Step 4: Cut out hood pieces.  (We used the pattern pieces from this rain jacket, but you can just eyeball a hood shape!)

Step 5: Fold over top edge of denim 2 times, sandwiching hood into the last fold and sew a new hem across the top.  (Make sure to situate your hood the right way before you sew!)

Cowboy PonchoAnyway now he loves it and he’s so happy with it he wears it everywhere.

Cowboy Poncho by Skirt FixationAnything to do with cowboys or horses and he’s all over it!

chagra & tack, south amrice horse ridingWe think he imagines this in his mind’s eye as what he looks like when he’s wearing it!

Cowboy Poncho by Skirt FixationIt was Aria’s idea to add the hood because she said she’s often wished she had one on her cape!

Cowboy PonchoThis cape makes him feel like he’s on top of the world!

cowboy poncho by Skirt FixationWe think he’s pretty cool too!  Just in case you were wondering!

Hats Off!How about you, have you made a cape or poncho?   Hat’s off to you!

Cowboy Poncho by Skirt Fixation


Linking up here and reposting here!