Another Onion


Here’s my latest:  another knit dress.  I want to make a casual dress for every day of the week for summer. This is dress 2.

The dress is  a combination of views B and C from Onion 2047.  It’s a basic t-shirt dress with a bust dart and a back seam.  The sleeve cap is slightly gathered.  There are long and short sleeve variations, dress or tunic length options, and an optional contrast panel on the front piece. Here’s how it looks on:


It it has a retro 60′s feel to it, I think.

The instructions are not in English, but if you can sew a dart, put together a t-shirt, and understand basic pattern symbols you can make this without instructions.  The neckline is attached like ribbing is on a regular t-shirt


I used self-fabric, which was cotton-Lycra.  I never thought of putting these two fabrics together before, but I like the way it turned out.

Here’s bust dart:


The bust dart really helps with shaping on this dress.

I had to add a back shoulder dart


I usually only do a narrow shoulder alteration on my front shoulder piece and then ease the back shoulder into the front.  It gives the shoulder more shaping in back, a little extra width in the back,  and works better for me.  This pattern must have already had a longer back shoulder because I ended up with too much of a difference between the back and front shoulders to ease.  So I made a little dart.  It works and fits the look of the dress.

I am getting ready to make another dress from another Onion pattern for my daughter who needs a “nice dress” for a band festival. ..stay tuned …

My sewing space


Like Harry Potter’s cupboard bedroom at the Dursley’s, my sewing space is under the stairs.  I had to give up my sewing room about a year and a half ago when we remodeled the house but eventually claimed this spot in our tiny little library … which my family simply calls “the front room”.

The desk is an old high school lab desk.  I bought it years ago at a vintage furniture store, marked 50% off  because who needs a double desk?  When I saw it I instantly knew it was perfect for a sewing machine and serger.  It was filthy so I cleaned it up and sealed the top and have loved sewing on it ever since.  The bottom drawer is a file drawer where I can store patterns and copies of the “all styles” pages from Burda and Ottobre magazines.

The shallow top drawer is for needles, scissors, and other frequently used tools and notions.  Less frequently used supplies are in the center drawer.  The back shelf of the desk works for sewing books.

My Kenmore 52 is on a small printer cart beside my desk and in the small cubby under the stairs (to the left of the printer cart) I keep patterns, sewing machine accessories, and pressing tools.

I don’t even miss my sewing room anymore.  I am certainly forced to keep my sewing area neater, although I do spread out a bit when I am in the middle of a project.

Where do you sew?

Summer knit dress


Does this fabric look familiar?  It’s the same fabric I made my daughter’s princess seamed Onion nightgown from.  I cut this dress out first, but just got around to sewing it yesterday.  The pattern is view 12 “Tennessee” from the Spring/Summer 2/2014 Ottobre Woman.  The size range is 34-52 (European sizes) which is a great range.  In my version I lengthened the sleeves from cap to short sleeve (kimono or dolman sleeve).  I also made a tie belt, which was not in the original pattern, using the same contrast fabric as the neck/sleeve/pocket trim.  Here’s what the dress looks like without the belt:


I don’t like it as much without a belt, but I prefer belts and ties on knit dresses as a general rule.

  I also gathered the skirt portion my usual way instead of with the clear elastic.  I tried with the clear elastic, as the pattern suggested it, but I didn’t like the results so I removed it and just sewed 2 rows of basting and gathered that say.  I did add clear elastic to the seam to stabilize it.  The last change I made was in the order of sewing.  I sewed the front skirt to the front bodice and back skirt to the back bodice and then sewed the side seams.  That gave me the opportunity to baste the side seams and check for fit.

The only fit alteration I made was in the shoulders, to adjust for my square shoulders.  If I were to make this dress again I would make the neckline a little smaller, as I have narrow shoulders.  I might also allow for a deeper hem, as I had to make a narrow one.  I almost did a rolled hem, but on my test run with scrap fabric I noted the jersey curled upward a great deal when given a rolled hem so I abandoned that idea.  The jersey trim is applied liked-shirt ribbing, then topstitched.  The pocket trim is between the skirt and pocket pieces, like piping.  Here’s a pocket close up:


The red “trim” above the pocket is actually the belt.  I love the pockets:  they really make the dress special.

I sewed this dress in an afternoon:  it’s barely more complicated than a t-shirt.  I think it will be a fun casual dress for summer. And I may make a few more!


Workout Wear


New exercise outfits really motivate me to workout.  The top is Kwiksew 3036, a basic knit top with short dolman sleeves, and the exercise skirt is Jalie 2796.  Both patterns are quick to sew up and may qualify as 2 of my few “tried and true” patterns as I have made them before.

i love trying new patterns, but sometimes it’s nice to use a pattern that’s all ready to use with all the fit issues worked out.

Onion 2049 with added pockets

When I saw this Onion Pattern





I thought it would be great if the seam in the front side panel of view B (and C) was a pocket.  It isn’t, and the seam is really too high for a pocket placement, but the pocket idea had taken hold of me.  So when I decided to order some Onion patterns


I included Onion 2049 in my order.  I had not bought an Onion pattern in years, but they are some of my favorite patterns.  The instructions are in Danish, but the designs are not complicated.  They are well drafted designs and they have many unique knit dress patterns.

I had some leftover fabric and wanted to use it to make my daughter a nightgown.  The fabric remnant was an odd shape, long and thin, and I thought the princess seam panels of onion 2049 would work with the remnant–they did! Then I started to think about pockets.  Nightgowns don’t usually have pockets, but I thought they would be fun.  The existing decorative seamline is actually above the waist (though it doesn’t look like it in the drawing) so it wasn’t going to work for a pocket.  So I drew a new line, lower than the waist, as the top of the pocket.  I drafted the pieces like so:



Oops! The pattern pieces are upside down. The top panel piece and lower panel piece overlap and that makes the pocket.  I also added a pocket lining piece.  It isn’t necessary, but made the inside of the pocket nicer and also eliminated the need to see the pocket stitching on the outside of the dress.

Here’s a close up of the pockets


And an extreme close up:


And this is what the pocket panel looks from the inside of the garment


The pocket is the width of the panel and is enclosed on the sides by the panel seams.

My daughter won’t model the dress, so I can’t show you how nice the princess seams make this dress.  Here is a close up of the bodice


The ribbing I used at the neckline is almost a good match for the fabric, except the pink.   I raised the neckline in my daughter’s version as she is petite and the original neckline would have overwhelmed her.  I also shortened the torso.

Here’s entire dress



My daughter is not much of a dress person, but she will wear this as a nightgown.  I may make myself a version–maybe with pockets too.

Murphy’s Law of Trousers

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Ottobre Woman 5/2011 zip hoodie


I made some navy yoga pants and wanted a jacket to wear with them so I chose this zipped hoodie from the Autumn Winter 2011 Ottobre Woman.

I have a ton of this navy blue Polartec 100 fleece and found some white ribbed knit in my stash which I used for the hood lining, sleeve cuffs, and the binding for the pockets and hood edge.  I think the navy with white trim gives the jacket a little bit of a retro look.

attaching knit strips as a binding is not difficult.imageSew the edge of the binding to your fabric, stretching the binding a bit as it is shorter than your fabric’s edge.  How much shorter?  It depends on the stretchiness of your fabric.  I made my pieces about 20% shorter as my ribbed knit wasn’t as stretchy as some are.  I used a narrow zig zag.


Press the seam open and bring the binding over the edge of the fashion fabric to the wrong side of the fabric


Fold under the edge and pin or clip into place, then topstitch from the right side, being careful  to catch the folded over edge of the binding on the back in your stitching.

A coverstitch or twin needle could work for the stitching here.  It is possible to do this in reverse, and start with sewing on the binding to the back of the fashion fabric and flipping it over to the front and tucking under the edge, but if you do it that way you would still topstitch front side up.




Finished edge (hood)

Binding the pockets is a little fussier than the hood, as the edges are more curved, but they are done the same way.

A nice thing about this pattern is that there is a center back seam, which starts straight and then angles outward so I didn’t have to do a sway back alteration.

If I were to make this jacket over again, I would make the cuffs shorter in comparison to the arms:  the proportions were off with my shorter arm, especially with the stark contrast between sleeve and cuff on my version.  I find myself folding up the cuffs when I wear them, but then my sleeve is 3/4 length.

The fit is consistent with other Ottobre Woman patterns and I made my usual alterations (minus the swayback which was built in)