Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Springtime Calls for Bold Florals, Sweet Stems and Versatile Dressing

Do you have a sewing task that you have avoided because of repeated failures? For me it has been sewing buttonholes. When I started sewing all those years ago, I wanted to make all the things! I had a good foundation in sewing and did not expect problems not of my own making. No matter how well prepared I was, I would have one or more failed buttonholes. It got to the point where I just decided it wasn't worth it to try and fail with them. I have a new sewing machine with digitally calibrated buttonholes. I figured it is time to tackle my fear.

Looking through the Riley Blake catalog at the Sweet Stems collection, I was inspired to make a floral shirt-dress. I was drawn to Sweet Stems Main Dark Blue and  Sweet Stems Dots Green. The beauty of these prints could surely get  me over my buttonhole aversion. 

I wanted a pattern to use both of my fabric choices and reached into my vintage pattern stash and found Mccalls 4992.

Image result for mccalls 4992 vintage

This maxi shirt-dress pattern with its back/shoulder yoke and waist tie was a perfect canvas for these fabrics. The construction was a breeze and the buttonhole anxiety was much ado about nothing! All of the buttonholes sewed effortlessly on my Bernina 535. After stitching, I added Fray Check to the front and back of the buttonhole, allowed it to dry, then cut them open with my buttonhole cutter. This gives a cleaner cut to the threads and prevents frays over time.

I wanted to bring in a bit more of the contrasting fabric to the front of the dress. I used a button cover kit to make my own fabric buttons. It was a quick and easy process and a fun addition to this dress.

I am working on making a wardrobe of interesting yet, everyday wearable pieces. I love that this dress can serve as a layering piece over my staple of jeans and a t-shirt.

I love the ample crescent shaped side pockets that eliminates the need for a handbag for quick trips to pick the kids up from school.

I added simple thread carriers to the side and center back seams. Though not functional when worn open, I like the look of the belt tied in back.

The contrasting fabric balances the bold floral by adding an unexpected interest.

When I need to be more than casual Mama, I love wearing it as intended buttoned-up and with its' twice wrap around belt tie. 

This is a slight departure from the dresses I normally make and I am liking it loads.

The belt pulls in the fullness in the back for a nice silhouette. 

I love this dress and how I feel triumphant in finally getting past my problems with buttonholes. 

What sewing related task do you avoid because of fear or failure? It took a machine upgrade to get me through it. What do you think will get you past yours?

Happy Sewing,



  1. Just gorgeous! You are my sewing inspiration! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos, and for making sewing so much fun! Have a blessed Easter!

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate your saying that! Have a Happy Easter!

  2. What a great piece that fills so many requirements in your wardrobe!

  3. I loved those Marlo Thomas patterns from the late 1970s. Glad to know that the interesting silhouettes from that decade are finally coming back in style. They were so flattering to so many body types, easy and effortless to wear.

    We all have our sewing bugaboos. Yours is buttonholes, mine is zip fasteners. I'd rather eat a toad than install a zipper.