Mendocino Spring Dress

Mendocino Spring Dress


The perfect fit every time! I am so pleased with the fit of this dress for my daughter, Leah. Since I have her measurements stored in my Lekala account, I can make her a dress, top, skirt, or any style, and know that it will fit perfectly without her even being here for a fitting. This time I made her a sleeveless dress with a design element in the front bodice. I changed the pattern slightly, and made a gathered skirt instead of putting in the pleats because I only had enough fabric to do it that way. I also added red piping around the waist. I’d like to try a pleated version and cut it on the cross-grain of  striped fabric, like the styling in the picture, before summer is over. Maybe I’ll make it for me.



Fabric: 100% cotton print  –Dress #4282
Year: contemporary
Notions:  invisible zipper, thread, piping
Time to complete:  6 hours
First worn: April 20, 2014 – Easter Holiday
Wear again? My daughter loves it!
Total price: 3 yards $15.00,  Pattern $2.24












Filed under Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Family, Lekala, Sewing Sewing Patterns is having a Sale!

All patterns are only $1.49 Friday April 18-to Monday 21. If you haven’t tried these patterns, this would be a great time to take advantage of the sale price. All patterns are made to your exact measurements and ready to download within minutes! I love the new wide format PDF option, for just a few dollars you can have the pattern printed out on one piece of paper at your local copy house.



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Double Bow Back Tops


Again, as I did for my own sparkly bow back top around Christmas, I used Lekala Sewing Pattern Company  pattern # 4284.


I input the measurements of the girls I made them for, and then printed the patterns out and taped them together. I always opt for the seam-allowance, which is smaller than 5/8 in, because it works great for the serger and saves on fabric. You can get the pattern without seam-allowence, if you prefer to add your own. I’m busy editing the hundreds of patterns that Lekala Sewing Pattern Company offers, so I’m happy to say that an ever-increasing number of patterns are more user friendly.

IMG_7695This is one pattern, that I never tire of sewing up. It’s fun to try it in different colors and patterns. I’ve even made it out of extra large men’s tee-shirts, done some stash busting with it,  experimented with shibori dying, and most recently, a cute teal and white striped bow back top for my IMG_7587youngest daughter, Leah.














Filed under Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, Sewing, Tutorial, Upcycle

Shibori Fish Scale Top


Fabric: Medium Stretch Jersey Knit from Dharma Trading Company  – Top – Sewing Pattern #4020
Year: contemporary
Notions:  Procion Dye in Yucca and Marigold
Time to complete:  Several days, for the dying process,  about 1.5 hours to sew
First worn: April 10, 2014
Wear again? Yes, a great canvas for trying out dye colors and Shibori
Total price: 1 yard stretch knit jersey $4.00,  Pattern $2.24

I tried a new technique, applying dye with a squirt bottle onto shibori tied fabric. I used #4020 as the garment that would be made from the dyed fabric. It’s a very simple top with a bit of draping in the front and two front sleeve bands.

Here is a step by step pictorial of how I did it:

1. Print out the pattern, tape it together.


2. Lay fabric on top to see how much you need.


3. First, process fabric with soda ash according to instructions at the Dharma Trading Company website. Shibori Fish Scale Design: Fold fabric in fourths, draw scooping lines, end to end, across the fabric with a washable marker.

4. Scrunch or accordion fold around the fabric, following drawn lines.


5. Squirt one color on the tied section. Saturate, let it soak in, and squirt again. I placed my piece up on wire racks so it wouldn’t sit in puddles. Turn over and dye other side.


6. Apply second color to the outside edges. You can use a squirt bottle or a foam brush. Saturate both sides.


7. Wrap up in plastic wrap and let sit over night.


8. Rinse under cold running water until water runs fairly clear. Wash in warm water, rinse, and hang to dry.


9. Cut out the pieces and sew together!


10. Have someone take your picture.

















Filed under Art, crafting, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, Sewing, Tutorial

Orange and Pink Striped Top


366_small_image_1822Fabric: Medium Stretch Jersey Knit from Beverly’s
Pattern: Tee-shirt Top – Sewing Pattern #5922
Year: contemporary
Notions:  matching thread for top-stitching
Time to complete:  A few hours
First worn: March 26, 2014
Wear again? Yes, it’s comfortable, and looks good with jeans.
Total price: 1 yard stretch knit jersey $4.00,  Pattern $2.24


I’m editing a batch of Lekala’s Stretch Knit Tops at the moment. They have interesting design details on many of the tops, as well as the typical tee-shirt styles. I like to go through the construction of some of the patterns, just to see how they look.

IMG_7886 On this particular pattern, I enlarged the neckline,  and shortened the sleeves for a more flattering look on me.  Jersey knit tops are easy to alter as you go. I just marked a new neck and serged it.


IMG_7885I made the pleats on the left, following the marks on the pattern. They were a little tricky, so I suggested that add some arrows to the pleat marks for clarity.


I’ll be making up  more of Lekala’s unique Jersey Knit Tops over the next several months.

If you have any particular style, you’d like to see  made up, just leave me a comment, or email me at baechtel12atgmaildotcom. Sewing Patterns–Made to Fit Your Personal Measurements





Filed under Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Lekala, Sewing, Tutorial

Japanese Robe



Fabric: Silk Habotai 8mm- 45″ wide-  3 yards.
Pattern: Short Dressing Gown – Sewing Pattern #5247
Year: contemporary
Notions: thread, fabric dye, resist, string, paintbrushes
Time to complete:  About 3 days.
First worn: March 23, 2014
Wear again? Yes! During the hot summer months
Total price: Silk was about $6.50 a yard,  Jacquard acid dyes: Sky Blue and Burgundy $10.00. Pattern $2.24


This was an excellent pattern to use for my midterm project at the local college. has the option of printing out your entire pattern on a large scale printer. I selected the large PDF format and transferred the file to a usb drive. I took it to the local printer and using their 36 in. printer, I received my entire pattern on one piece of paper! The best part was the cost. It was only $5.00! That saved me printer paper, ink, and taping together all of the sheets at home.

IMG_7872I cut out the pieces on the cutting line, so that I could use my rotary cutter around the edges of the pattern. I knew if I tried to use my scissors to cut silk, it wouldn’t turn out nice and straight. I also used my homemade pattern weights instead of pins. I have a DIY here, if you  are interested.

IMG_7873First, I sewed the shoulder seams of the fronts to the back using French seams, attached the sleeves, and sewed, then serged the side seams and bottom edge.  Next, I choose a Shibori technique to design the top part. I wanted to hand-paint a wide boarder on the bottom so I masked that section off with tape and a plastic bag. This part was easy to keep out of the dye bath by clothes-pinning it to the side of the dye pot. I wrapped and bound the top section tightly with jute cord (sorry no picture).

IMG_7874For the boarder, I decided that I needed big plain shapes to coordinate with the business of the top section. I had to do the boarder in 4 sections, using my stretcher bars. First I drew the shapes with disappearing ink, traced them with the resist, let it dry, and then painted the blobs burgundy and the outside blue. I sprinkled salt on the wet dye, to give it texture. After I completed all the sections, I steam pressed the boarder between paper, using my steam iron and paper on the top and bottom of the boarder. This helps set the color.


I was hoping for brighter colors, but the dye mixed for painting and then steam set, resulted in lighter colors. I dyed the rest of the fabric burgundy, according to stovetop instructions. This I cut into strips using my ruler and rotary cutter for the robe front edging, sleeve edges, belt and ties. I folded it in half, pressed it and serged the raw edge side to the robe. You could fold it over and try topstitching it, but it can be tricky to get silk to behalf like you want it to. The silk liked my serger better than my regular machine.






Filed under Art, crafting, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, School, Sewing, Tutorial

Elegance is Good Taste Plus a Dash of Dazzling


For this post I’m sharing a video tutorial on the quick and easy steps for putting together Lekala pattern #4324. I used a novelty quilting fabric from Beverly’s to test the pattern. It’s quite charming with black fashion magazine text in the background and fashion related quotes, surrounded by high heels in the foreground. I usually break up instructions with pictures, but this time I thought I’d try a short video production using imovie. It was fairly simple for me to jump right in and be successful, but I must admit that I’ve always enjoyed the movie making process. Youtube lets you do a bit of editing, allowing you to add copyright free music, and annotations. The music selections were not quite long enough for my video, but it will do for this one.

Anyway, back to this very pretty look! I just love how it turned out. I received several compliments from strangers, while out with my hubby for the photoshoot. The fit is perfect too! I like the method of making the entire front, and the entire back separately, this allows you to quickly make any adjustments to the the sides seams. If you haven’t tried for patterns yet, this would be a perfect one to start with.

Here are a few tips: If you don’t have a serger,  just use a zigzag stitch or pinking sheers to finish your edges. On this particular pattern, I cut facings for the waistband, and installed them, like you would a pillow case border. If you are not sure how to do this, it’s easy to research on the internet. It’s a little tricky to explain. But…. you don’t have to do that part, I just prefer a little more stability there. In the video, you won’t see me include the waistband facing. I wanted to stay true to the pattern instructions.


I’d appreciate any feedback you would like to leave in the comments. I’m always ready to improve my tutorials and instructions for dressmaking. Thanks for looking and happy sewing!


Filed under Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Lekala, Sewing, Video Production