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A Monet Inspired Dress

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Today we offer you beauty.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationSpring births beauty.  And we needed a little beauty.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationSometimes life is harsh and cold, like winter. But spring always comes, and hurts are forgiven and forgotten.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationNew life, new hope, new beauty.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationSpring.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationThis dress was inspired by the Top Stitcher’s Art Gallery prompt.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationWe already entered our Senna Tote in the sew along for the Pioneer prompt, but we just HAD to participate in this one too! Here’s the prompt.

Who is your favorite artist? What do you love most about their work? Their vibrant use of colors? Their use of repeating patterns and geometrics? Their soft flowy painting techniques? Their subject matter? Their mood?
Let their overall style, or a specific piece of work from their portfolio, inspire a modern-day head-to-toe ensemble.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationIf you’ve been around Skirt Fixation, you know art is something we love and imitate often. In fact, we have a whole series devoted to Skirt Art. That’s where we choose a piece of art with a skirt in it and replicate it using a skirt and photography.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationFor the Art Gallery sew along, we chose Monet.

monetCollageMonet used the color blue often in his paintings. And he loved to paint gardens and flowers en masse. He was one of the Impressionist painters, so we need soft and flowy in our entry.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationNaturally we turned to one of our favorite dress patterns, the Uptown Downtown dress. Annie’s feather dress won’t last through summer, so a summer dress was in order.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationThe first time we made the Uptown Downtown dress, I had fabric like this in mind, but Allegra overruled. And I’m glad she did! Her choices were perfect for winter. But spring has come, and it was time for beauty.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationThe only change we made to the dress was using fold over elastic on the neckline, sleeves and hem. There was a dual purpose in this; both for aesthetics and because the floral knit fabric from JoAnn’s was so tissue thin it was very difficult to hem.  We used this fabric first on a Lane Raglan.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationAnd we love the finished look.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationWe discovered this wooded glade carpeted with bluebells and felt we’d stepped into a Monet painting.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationIt was quiet and there was a stream. But most of all the bluebells reigned supreme.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationAnnie stood knee deep in bluebells and declared this was fairy land.

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationWhat do you think? Would Monet approve?

Monet-inspired dress sewn by Skirt FixationWhat beauty has spring gifted you?

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Handmade Gifts say I Love You!

handmade gift

As seamstresses, we have the ability to give some really awesome gifts!  Recently, we gave some handmade gifts for some dear friends, and made a little something for ourselves too!  There’s nothing quite like saying I love you with a handmade gift.

handmade giftA friend was having a birthday, and so we made her a bag.  We used the free Arabesque bag pattern from Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness.   It was really simple to sew with great directions.  The main fabric is a checked silk fabric from the stash.

handmade giftThe interior fabric we also pulled from the stash, a black floral fabric that reminded us of our friend.

handmade giftIn this photo, you can see a black pleather bottom of the bag.  I got the idea to add it after the bag was already made, but it sort of skewed the whole thing, so I took it off.  Next time I’ll add the pleather before sewing the bag!  Our friend loves it and felt very loved when we gave her this handmade birthday gift!

handmade giftWe also sewed up another Uptown Downtown dress by Sew Straight and Gather as a gift for a cousin.  (This is the second time we’ve gifted a dress from this pattern!)  This dress is the perfect gift because it has classy lines but is made from super comfortable knit fabric.  (This is our favorite knit fabric ever as evidenced by how many colors we’ve sewn up: purple, blue, orange, grayteal, and now pink!)

handmade giftWe made this one with elbow length sleeves and maxi length with the silver waistband and silver FOE.

handmade giftRecently, we made our favorite Jocole skirt and gave it as a gift.  When Grandma flew in for a visit, her luggage was lost for a day, and so of course we whipped up a Jocole Yoga A-line Maxi skirt for her to wear!  We got this fabric in a Girl Charlee Bargain lot, and used it on Annie’s Asymmetrical Jacket.  I’m not sure who was more thrilled with the matching clothing, Annie or her Grandma!!  This is the 7th time we’ve sewn this skirt pattern, and we’re not planning on stopping anytime soon…

Thread SpoolsFor ourselves, we made the DIY Mix ‘Em Up Animal Spools.  Now we do a lot of sewing, and go through a lot of thread!  As soon as I saw this DIY project over on Handmade Charlotte, I started saving my empty thread spools.  Pretty soon I had enough to make a whole family of thread animals!

handmade giftIf you don’t sew, or don’t want to wait that long, you can purchase these similar wooden spools on Amazon: Darice 9146-58 Big Value Unfinished Wood Natural Cutout, Spool

handmade giftWe shrunk the free animal templates down to fit the smallest spools, and only used one on the really skinny spools.

handmade giftIt gives the whole crowd individual character, don’t you think?

handmade giftWe all played with these little cuties for quite a while!  And we are sure to pull them out for the youngest to play with when we have some sewing we want to get done!  What do you like to give for handmade gifts?  What handmade gifts have you received recently?

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Uptown Downtown Dress Blog Tour

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation


Dresses sewn by Skirt Fixation

We are delighted to be part of Sew Straight & Gather’s Uptown/Downtown Dress blog tour.  Terri was one of our Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition contestants.  The Uptown/Downtown Dress with the free Expansion pack can be described in one word: perfection!  When we saw Terri unfolding the free expansion pack day by day, we commented on how her daughter must be the most well dressed kid on the block!  In the country!


Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

We loved the expansion pack options so much that we didn’t know where to start when we bought our Uptown Downtown Dress, and finally narrowed it down to two dresses.  We just had to make an Uptown and a Downtown dress!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

After I bought the pattern, I went shopping for knit and had a flowered Monet’s garden look in mind with black sleeves and waistband.  But I couldn’t find the right floral, and called Allegra over for help.  She immediately zoomed in on this sparkly slate blue knit and suggested the shiny grey accents.  I wasn’t sure, but she reassured me several times that this is what we needed!  I trusted her and, once again, I’m glad I did!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Once we were back home, I showed Allegra a stretchy polyester fabric I’d picked up at JoAnns on a previous trip, and it matched the slate blue knit perfectly!  I told her I was thinking about sewing up and Uptown and Downtown version of the dress, and did she think I was crazy?  She insisted that was the right thing to do, so the second dress was born!  But taking them one at a time…

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

The slate blue Uptown/Downtown Dress is Annie’s favorite!  She says she feels like a princess, and she looks like a medieval lady!  The extensions we chose for this one are: cutting it up, long sleeves, pockets, and maxi length.  We’re calling this one our Uptown Dress!  Fancy enough for any uptown event.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

I followed Terri’s directions almost exactly except for two things; I widened the waistband to incorporate the full width of the shiny chevron on the grey fabric, and I used fold over elastic for the neckline, and it worked perfectly!  (Much better than the first time I used FOE!)  I happened to have the perfect shiny grey FOE in my stash!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

I’d bought the fold over elastic to go with this fabric, but then ended up making that into a skirt!  Now I’m really glad I’d saved it for this dress…it’s the little details that make it so perfectly Uptown!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt FixationI also chose to add some double needle topstitching to the waistband to accent that silver even more.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Allegra insisted on taking Annie to somewhere special for photographing this dress, and found a place with castle-like vibes to complement the medieval flair of the dress.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

There was even a spiral staircase to explore.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

It led to a turret!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Like we said earlier, this dress is just perfect!  And twirl…oh my!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

The second dress has a more modern feel to it, with the shorter length and the cowl.  We’re calling this one our Downtown Dress.  Modern, hip, get the job done, in style!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Even with the shorter length, the cowl makes this one perfect for winter.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

The extensions we chose for this dress are: the cowl, long sleeves and pockets.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

The slate blue knit combined with those fall feather colors make this one special dress.

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Although Annie was not with us on the fabric buying trip, Allegra assured me this blue would make her eyes pop, and she was right…it’s the exact same color!

Uptown Downtown Dress sewn by Skirt Fixation

Let us just say, these are the first 2 dresses we’ve sewn using the Uptown Downtown Dress pattern by Sew Straight & Gather.  There will be many more!  And this dress pattern is perfect for gift giving too, so you’ll need one in order to complete your holiday!  Right now is the time to grab this or the Etage dress pattern (you can see the one we sewed up here…another twirl party!)  because during the Uptown Downtown Dress tour, you can use the coupon UPTOWNEXPANSION25 to buy the dress at a discount of 25% off!  And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway because there’s a winner every day!  Visit the Sew Straight & Gather shop right now…  If you want to see some more really, really cute dresses, go over to Sew Straight & Gather and follow the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Etage Dress Review from Hand-Me-Downs!

Etage dress review

Etage Dress Review

We had the honor of testing the Etage Top and Dress for Terri of Sew Straight and Gather.  And entirely by accident, we had to use hand-me-downs for the fabric, thus qualifying for the week 2 theme over at Project Run & Play: “The Hand-Me-Down Makeover.”  Here’s the totally by accident part…the Etage top and dress uses knit fabric, and in our closest, very small town, there is one source of knit fabric; Walmart.  Now combine a short time table to test the Etage, a WIDE selection of 3 (THREE??!!!!) knit fabrics at aforementioned fabric mecca (dripping with sarcasm here!) and only 5/8 yard remaining of the only one that was close to being suitable.  Those components meant I walked over to the women’s section and bought another dress from the clearance section, just like the one I’d bought a week earlier for myself.

red dress before

Then I went home and dug through my closet and came up with three more knit fabric items:

Blue Skirt before

The dress I’d bought earlier (I was wearing it as a skirt…a byproduct of being 6′ tall!)

Grey Skirt before

A grey skirt.


And a blue dress I’d already refashioned once.   I had enough knit fabric from these items to make a top for Aria, a dress for Annie, and a scrap of fabric leftover for David’s turtleneck.  Not the failure it first appeared to be!

Etage Dress seated

Terri is going to release the Etage pattern for purchase very soon, and this is one I think you are going to want to add to your collection.

Etage dress review

Anne is so in love with her dress.  She wasn’t too enthused with the picture on the pattern, or the fabric, but once she slipped the dress on, she was sold!

Etage Dress review

She loves to twirl, and this dress is perfect for that floaty, twirly, perfection.  The asymmetrical layers create not only a fun look, but twirling pleasure.

Etage dress review

This dress is entirely lined, which makes it not only comfortable and warm, but modest too.  You could also use some of those dreamy, lightweight, semi-transparent knits on the market too.


Aria didn’t really love the shape of the overall finished Etage top I made her, but because it is soooo comfortable, she plans to wear it to sleep in!


And David is so very happy that he got included in another sewing project and photo shoot.


This time we went to a park again.  This particular park is so very large and fun that what inevitably happens is the kids split and getting a photo of them together is impossible.  But the separate photos Allegra got are awesome as usual.


I noticed a trend when sewing this time; boys ask for nouns and girls make their requests in the form of adjectives (pink dress, twirly skirt, long skirt!).


That’s why David has gotten a boat shirt, a zebra shirt, a fox shirt and this elephant shirt.


This elephant shirt fulfills the challenge we got from Elsie Marley.  #creativeassignmenttwofer  Our two words were Stripes + Elephant.


We’re pretty happy with our creative result.  We used an old stained turtle neck of Annie’s from last winter with hot cocoa stains on the front!  Perfect for a reverse appliqué elephant!

Etage dress contrast layer

The only thing not upcycled from this project is the second contrasting layer of Annie’s dress.  That’s the gorgeous knit fabric I got from FabricWorm.  Remember, I bought 1/2 yard of each of the 4 colors.  I used the first one here.  If you come back tomorrow, you’ll see another one!  Three down, one to go, and loving every inch of them!

Etage dress review

If you’re wondering, like I was, what Etage means, Terri enlightened me: it’s French for tiers.  Appropriate, eh?

Etage dress swing


The back of the Etage dress is just as fun as the front:

back of Etage Dress

So what could have been a colossal fail turned out into 3 garments that will be worn and worn and worn!

Etage Dress Review

Now we have 2 assignment for you:

Go buy an Etage top and dress pattern for your little twirler!

Go check out all the fun things made from hand-me-downs over at Project Run & Play.

Have a twirly, happy, fun day!

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Sew Straight and Gather’s Mystery Fabric Swap Challenge

This is the third day of the last week of Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition. We wanted it to go out with a bang, so we saved a very fun theme for the last! This week is Mystery Fabric Week! The four contestants exchanged and sewed up 2 yards of fabric. The mysterious part was they had no clue about what kind of fabric they were sending AND no hint about what they were getting! Today, Terri from Sew Straight and Gather shows us her Mystery Fabric Swap Challenge:

Hi Everyone! And thank you Skirt Fixation for inviting me to participate in this awesome challenge!

My fabric was from Jordan over at Goddess of Sewing!  Her little note stated that she had purchased it at Walmart in the bargain bin and she instantly loved it! She didn’t know what she would make from it but she loved it! Lucky for me she never did figure out what to do with it!

There were no details about what  it was, so it was truly mystery fabric. My guess is… a chiffon, possibly fine voile….I really have no idea but it is a beautiful brushed rose color with a dotted striped gold inlay, very pretty.
I was pleasantly surprised and slightly scared – it was sheer and slippery, not my favorite.
Actually I do love sheer fabrics, I just find it hard to sew with. My biggest pet peeve is when you can see the seams through the right side but I didn’t have that issue, YAY! It did fray though…oh man did it fray. After I cut it I had to be super careful. At one point my daughter snuck into my sewing space and decided to pin fabric for me -the pink one of course…..nothing bad happened though, phew!

Mystery Fabric Swap Challenge

So what did I make with it…? I drafted up a high low dress! It’s something I’ve wanted to make for a while now. I knew the lightness of the mystery fabric would make the perfect overlay for it. I drafted it like a triangle so it would gradually get wider towards the bottom and this created the beautiful drape in the dress.

Mystery Fabric Swap Challenge

Obviously the mystery fabric was incredibly sheer and I needed something underneath to prevent the dress from being see through. So I used my all time favorite,  jersey knit from L’oiseau’s. I chose a taupe colored jersey which is so high quality and has a naturally beautiful drape. I drafted the underneath about 1 1/2″ shorter than the mystery fabric to create a layered feel to the dress and I had just enough jersey leftover to make a basic pair of leggings to go with it. Lovely!

Dress Collage one

To emphasize the drape of the mystery fabric and add some detail, I added a gather at the front neckline. I finished the hem of the mystery fabric with a short width zig zag stitch – almost a satin stitch and I left the jersey hem raw. I made a U shaped opening in the back and finished it with a tied bow closure from the mystery fabric – my favorite, it turned out so pretty!

And that’s about it! I loved how it turned out and so does she! The jersey being inside the dress must give it the coziest feeling! Unfortunately I can’t try it on to confirm that. I think I may have to make one for myself – as I have about a meter left of the fabric!

Thanks again Skirt Fixation for having me, it really is such a cool concept and thank you to Jordan for sending me some very pretty  fabric, it will be well used!  Come over to my blog to see more photos.

What a perfect use of mystery fabric!  We’ve seen fabric like that before, but never bought it because we were scared and didn’t know exactly what to do with it!    We certainly didn’t know something so dreamy could come of it!  Now we know…And now, we have a challenge for you…link up your favorite thing than you’ve sewn in 2014 to this week’s sew along.  It’s going to be challenging to narrow it down to just one thing, but the reward will be fabric from Mapology for the winner!  See you tomorrow for the last mystery fabric swap contestant.