12112014_10101987320989668_4397884618896652780_n Congratulations to all of the kind commenters during my celebratory month of September! There’s been a whirlwind of activities this past month with the marriage  of my step-daughter.  Friends and family came from all over the the U.S and as far away as Australia to attend the quaint beach wedding at Bodega Bay. I had plans to make my own dress, but ended up borrowing a dress from a friend.  There just wasn’t time!   :)


Me and daughter number three!

Before the wedding, I altered and hemmed four bridesmaid dresses, three of which were for my youngest daughter and my two granddaughters. Chiffon does not scare me any more! I discovered my own best way to hem chiffon and made a tutorial to share with anyone who may be curious about my method. If you happen to watch it, I’d love to know what you think!

Now for the winners of the Give-Away celebrating all of the wonderful followers of my humble sewing blog. If your name is listed below, you have until October 11 to email me your address and I will send you a token of appreciation. Please put Give-Away in the Subject Line so that your email doesn’t get overlooked.
Linda of Nice Dress


My oldest granddaughter

Happy Sewing!

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Let’s Start the Party with a Giveaway and Blog Hop

Party Time!

Party Time!

I have way over 500 followers either through email, Bloglovin, or other ways that you might follow, so it’s time to start the party! I’ll be giving away at least 10 cute little handmade business card holders to folks that comment between now and the end of September.

Please tell me “how you follow this blog” and you will be eligible. Also, if you would like to email me a post link of a party dress that you have made. I’ll start a list, so that we can all blog hop to your party dress post and see what each other has to share!

*****************Here’s my email: baechtel12atgmaildotcom **************************

Party Dress Links:

Party Dress by Dahlia of The Little Cave
Party Dress by CraftyCreeky

My Dress:
I wore this vintage inspired party dress to my daughter’s bridal shower. It’s made from silk chiffon and  poly charmeuse. It turned out rather splendidly, if I do say SEW myself! I made a muslin to check the bodice, then made slight alterations to Butterick pattern 6049.  Then I did a “slow sew” because I was working with slippery fabric and wanted it to turn out nicely. I used my regular sewing machine and the serger in tandem to neatly finish and hem all seams. I let it hang overnight so that the bottom of the dress would relax into it’s final shape, which was quite a sight to see! Then I trimmed and hemmed it by measuring the charmeuse from the floor up, then tackled the chiffon.

Relaxed and uneven

Relaxed and uneven

Trimming it even

Trimming it even


Invisible zipper and free overlay below waist. Tricky but worth it.


Even hemline


Pretty in Purple

Happy Sewing!


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It’s a Celebration!


9-6-15 UPDATE: Only 10 more awesome followers needed before I start the giveaways and the Linky Party!

I’m getting very close to 500 awesome followers and if you’re one of them, I just want to say thank you in a celebratory way. That’s right! Get ready for prizes, and  a blog makeover! Any day now I’ll be popping open a bottle of champaign and wearing a party dress! I hope you will help me celebrate by adding your party dress to a linky party. Anyone who leaves a comment to my prompt during the celebration will be eligible  for one of several handmade gifts.


You can easily keep up with the latest by following me. I expect the surprise party to happen sometime during September!

Happy Sewing!


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Fashion Lives On!

This is precious! I hope it inspires every woman, young and old, to embrace the art of dressing.

Happy Sewing!


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I made the local news!

As Heidi says on Project Runway, “I’m sorry, you’re out.” After making it to the simi-finals on the Super Online Sewing Match hosted by Sew Mama Sew, I received that same disappointing news. But I dare not dwell on it. Other more exciting and rewarding things are sure to happen. Why look at this nice article that appeared in our small town newspaper, The Willits Weekly! That certainly cheered me up.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 6.03.42 PM

Here are the 4 items I made for rounds 1 through 4. To see the related posts, just click!IMG_1143IMG_1257IMG_1256

Version 2

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Classic and Casual Carolyn Pajamas

Update: I was eliminated in round four. :( One of these talented ladies: Leah, Shannon, or Teresa, will win the grand prize during round 5.

SOSMII2 Here’s my entry for Round Four of the Super Online Sewing Match II: The Carolyn Pajamas by Heather Lou of Closet Case Files. Thank you, Heather, for designing a pattern for sewing these classic pajamas. IMG_1501 Do you know what makes this particular style of pajamas “classic”? My research suggests that it’s the contrasting piping around the notched collar and on the chest pocket. I also found out that women started borrowing men’s pajamas early in the 1900’s and then women’s pajamas came out in the 1920’s, thanks to designers like Coco Chanel. She invented the lounging pajamas and beachwear versions. Suddenly, pajamas became a stylish alternative to the nightgown. The piping is a signature detail of the “classic” pajamas. IMG_1529This is the first pair of pajamas that I’ve ever made for myself, so I’m glad they are classic and have so much history behind them. IMG_1519IMG_1527I traveled up the coast to Eureka, CA with my daughter for an overnight stay earlier in the week and while she worked, I shopped at Joann’s and Eureka Fabrics. Choosing the material was hard. At Joanns, I browsed and touched fabric for over two hours until I spotted just what I wanted. It was love at first sight! My fabric is a 100% white cotton with turquoise machine embroidery all over it. I also bought turquoise quilting cotton to make the coordinating piping. At Eureka fabrics, I spotted these handmade mother-of-pearl  buttons that were just the right shade of blue to match the pajama fabric. IMG_1427Back home, it was time to make the piping according to Heather’s excellent tutorial. IMG_1417Then I cut and sewed the pajamas. I bought extra fabric so that I could also make the Carolyn shorts for a hot weather variation. I made the stylish short-sleeve top to go with the long pants and the shorts. IMG_1484IMG_1479 It was exciting to see how perfect the piping turned out, thanks to Heather’s advise to make it so that it lines up with your 5/8″ seam allowance. I’m glad I had a generic piping foot for the sewing machine, because my piping turned out neat and even, without any stitches showing. I sewed it to one layer by moving the needle over to the right 5.1 and then when I sandwiched  layers, I moved the needle to the left 3.1. It was a hassle to unscrew my regular foot then screw on the piping foot, but the results were worth it. IMG_1419The Carolyn Pajama directions were easy to follow with great illustrations. I had a couple of questions about a few of the procedures, so I emailed Heather. I really appreciate her prompt, helpful response. After that, the pajamas went together like a dream and the fit was perfect! I didn’t bother with a muslin for fit corrections, but just went by the sizes on the pattern. I made a size 12 top and size 14 bottoms. IMG_1472Here is a peek at the inside of my pajamas. You can double click on it for closer examination, if you want.Carolyn finishingsI used woven fusible interfacing to interface the lapels. I sewed it, right sides together, to the inside edge of the lapel, turned it wrong sides together, then fused it for a neat clean edge.InterfacingWith the leftover fabric, I made a casual tank top to go with the Carolyn Pajamas. I used the Ella Top by Leila Patterns. I faced the neckline and armholes with the leftover bias strips not used for piping, and made the back yoke from the pajama fabric. Now, I have options for hot or cold weather and for dressing casual or classic! Shortswtank3Even though I’ve been sewing since the age of 12, there’s always something new to learn like making piping and then sewing it in, choosing the right fabric for the right pattern, and learning about the history of the classic pajamas. It’s all a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for me! Version 2Also, sewing along side Leah, Shannon, and Teresa (three accomplished and talented sewists) is fun and exciting. I can’t wait to see their versions of the Carolyn Pajamas! IMG_1498 Many thanks to Sew Mama Sew for organizing the competition and to Sew Modern for the generous gift certificate. I’ve already ordered Cotton and Steel fabric to make several Caravan Totes to give to my girls for Christmas! ….oh no! I’ve ruined the surprise ;)

Happy Sewing!


Posted in Art, Blogging, Contest, DIY, Dressmaking, Family, Fashion, Hair, photography, Sewing, sewing contest, Tutorial, Upcycle, Video Production, vintage, Vintage sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Sewn

I’m competing in the Super Online Sewing Match II hosted by Sew Mama Sew and I have made it to Round Four. In between each round the contestants are asked to answer a sewing related question. For Round Four, the question is, “What is the best thing You’ve ever sewn?” Without any hesitation I’m going to say that the dress I made to meet Tim Gunn is definitely the “BEST”!

IMG_0336I attended a discussion and book signing of the well-know television personality and author, Tim Gunn at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

IMG_0329You can imagine that I was more than excited to meet Tim and listen to him speak so personally about his life, his experiences on Project Runway, and about his new book, “Tim Gunn: the Natty Professor”.

IMG_1928.JPG Tim Gunn, is the mentor and advisor to the designers on Project Runway. These designers go through grueling fashion design challenges each week.  The outcome of the show is to see who will go to Fashion Week and who will earn some very awesome prizes to help them jump-start their career. Tim explained that it isn’t easy to complete the challenges in the time frame of the show. The judges can be pretty hard on any puckers, bad stitching, and finishes. He says that his roll is to listen very clearly to the designers, then advise and motivate them to “Make it Work!”


My daughter, Kimberly, presents Tim Gunn

I had to make a new dress for this special event, so I chose Gertie’s vintage inspired Butterick 6094. It has a close fitting lined bodice and contrasting facings. Version A has a full circle skirt cut on the bias, and a petticoat.

IMG_0322IMG_0328It has the cutest back detail, with the contrasting fabric opened out above the zipper and decorated with buttons. I made a muslin of the bodice first, tweaked the pattern to fit me, and then cut and sewed it together. I wasn’t going to add the petticoat, but at the last minute I decided that I should just go for it and make the dress as directed. I drove to the nearest fabric store, 40 miles round trip, and bought 3 yards of lining and 3 yards of crisp veil-like fabric for the ruffle. I sewed French seams on the petticoat and machine gathered the 8 inch ruffle that attaches to it. I was able to roll hem the ruffle, the petticoat, and the skirt bottom on my serger. I used wooly nylon on the upper looper and it worked like a dream! I covered two buttons with the dress fabric, and inserted an invisible zipper. The  lining was turned and hand-sewn inside the bodice and along the zipper tape.


At the reception, my daughter who works for the Commonwealth Club introduced me to Tim and we posed for pictures.

IMG_0334I told Tim that I had made my dress. He was very impressed! I wore my RTW faster pin proudly and was delighted to explain that all of us fasters had pledged not to buy ready-to-wear clothing. Our goal is to make everything. You can see by his studious look that he was intrigued.


This is definitely my best and favorite dress of all time. It is so lovely that I have planned  to make another one to wear to my daughter’s wedding in October. It will be made of silk chiffon and taffeta. It might be the next best thing I make!

IMG_0337Enough talk already! Here are some more pictures!



Thank you, Hannah, for snapping some cute pics of this darling dress!

IMG_0360 IMG_0354 IMG_0350

Posted in Art, Blogging, DIY, Family, Fashion, Sewing, theatre, Tutorial, vintage, Vintage sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments