Tag Archive: Simplicity


HI DARLINGS! I love when I need to use up scraps, lol this is SIMPLICITY 8380 which I made and posted about HERE. I didn’t think I would be using this “muslin” but after I made it I really liked it so here are a few pics. This is made from double knits but the […]

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Simplicity has gone vintage reproduction crazy.

Well, I missed the last Simplicity catalog release in July during my blogging hiatus, and then they go and release another in August – and there are lots of vintage offerings in both.I will begin with my favorite.  I adore the style lines on this …

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Pattern Review: Simplicity 8378 (Pattern Hacking Line)

After my fellow editor Michelle highlighted Simplicity’s new “Pattern Hacking” line in her curvy pattern round-up in April, my interest was piqued. What exactly did they mean by pattern hacking? I associate pattern hacking with making changes to a pattern that go above and beyond what’s described in the instructions or on the pattern pieces….

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HI DARLINGS! I am so excited to post my NEW PATTERNS this is another one of my favorite SIMPLICITY PATTERNS  from my PRE-FALL collection. This skirt is AHHHMAZIG and can be worn all year round. You can change this up so easily by using different fabrics. The top is also really great and the color blocking option is always a win. […]

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HI DARLINGS! I am so excited to post my NEW PATTERNS this is my favorite SIMPLICITY PATTERNS yet, Yes, I know I said that last month with my PRE-FALL patterns, LOL! I have two NEW fall patterns and I will share the other one tomorrow, today it’s all about this gorgeous coat and dress pattern. […]

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What I Made: Alba

Want to hear a joke? Strapless bra. Until recently, I had a love hate relationship with strapless bras. Even when I was smaller than a 32A (I recently grew to a 32B/C), I felt like I had to wear one with anything strapless, the exception being a top that had some sort of bra built…

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Recap: Let’s Talk Bras with Brooklyn Craft Company

Give or take a few weeks, it was about a year ago that the Simplicity team and I melted in my studio filming the tutorial for the Madalynne X Simplicity 8229. Fast forward one year, last Thursday to be exact, we teamed up once again, this time partnering with Brooklyn Craft Company, a super cool craft…

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Floral Cropped Jumpsuit Using My #S8426 Pattern

HI DARLINGS! Ok, so I guess I am a little bias but this jumpsuit is amazing, lol. I knew after I designed it that it would release in the summer, although it is a pre-fall pattern, so I knew I would be making a cropped version of my jumpsuit for the summer months. I also […]

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HI DARLINGS! This #DIY is a winner. I made this top like a month ago and I had yet to find time to make the skirt and since I wanted to post them together I waited.  The patterns I used are NEW LOOK 6507 and SIMPLICITY 8388  and a gingham check I found in my stash […]

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Sign Up Now! Bra Making with Madalynne Fall 2017

It’s the height summer, and being a Floridian, I don’t want to think about the colder months that will be here before I know it. LONG LIVE SUMMER! I’m receiving emails on the daily about when the next workshops will be. So, I put the fall schedule together. I’m super excited about these classes because, drum…

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1950s style pedal pusher jeans

Ooh friends, I’ve made something I’m soooo happy with. 1950s-inspired jeans, in a pedal pushers length for summer! We took photos of them at an Air BNB cabin we stayed in up north in Wisconsin earlier in the month, near the Minnesota border. Pretty there, right?? I’ll hopefully put together… read more »

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Styling the Suit: Tips for Wearing Bodysuits

The bodysuit and its re-introduction to the fashion world is a truly beautiful thing. Why did they go away, anyway? Can someone please, please answer that? They’re a bit of a contradiction. They’re meant to have a lot of coverage, they can also be tight, scandalous and mysterious. A little mystery is alluring, don’t ya…

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What I Made: Penny

First came Converse’s, then came the mom jeans. Sometime in the last couple of years, I started dressing like I was transported to the 90s. Check me out here – I even dared to pair the previous two in the same outfit when I was stomping around Manhattan Beach a couple weeks ago (FYI –…

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HI DARLINGS! This dress has been made and hanging in my studio for over a month waiting for me to photograph in it, lol. I finally got around to wearing it and now I can’t wait to make another one. I love this dress! The pattern is SIMPLICITY 8380 by Cynthia Rowley and although the […]

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Lighten Your Lingerie: Part II

When we get dressed in the morning, the first thing we put on are our undies. Well, at least I hope you do! Sometimes, without giving much thought, they work with our outfits. Sometimes they don’t. Regardless, we rarely show off our lacy friends, instead we hide them with what we choose to put on…

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Idea for a programme entitled ‘Yachting Mishaps’. Some funny, some tragic.

Hello hello! What’s happening, folks? I’m grand – I’m honestly trying to blog more and stay in touch, especially as I have a backlog of lovely dresses to show you, but the part of my personality that is totally lame has been pushing itself to the foref…

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Simplicity 1654 in green ponte, also knows as Plenty of Pattern Pieces

Here’s another thing I recently sewed for someone else, that I thought might interest everyone out there who like to see the pattern manipulations for fit on a somewhat crazy pattern. Sometimes I think the simple patterns are more difficult to alter fo…

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New Pattern Roundup for June 2017

Summer is in full swing now, and that means that we’re starting to get our first glimpses of fall patterns for 2017. Butterick and Simplicity both released their fall collections this past month. We had a ton of indie releases in June, but as someone still very much in a summer mindset as a northern…

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NEW Madalynne Lingerie Kits!

Fresh from teaching at Mimi G’s sewing conference last weekend, I’m revved up to release my new lingerie kits. Okay, okay technically I listed them last week, the day before I taught. I wanted to give the students first dibs on my new patterns with Simplicity and kits. Now that I’m back, it’s your turn…

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Lighten Your Lingerie

It has been one hot week in Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love? How about city of sticky love. You know what is equally as bad as melting makeup and frizzy hair? Sweaty lingerie. Yuck. Your and my lacy underthings are supposed to be pretty, and frilly and girly, but in the dog days of summer, it…

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HI DARLINGS! I am so thankful for every single person who helps bring this conference to life every year. We work on this for eight months out of the year, and it is all consuming the last three months leading up to the big day. This year we almost didn’t get pics to recap, LOL […]

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HI DARLINGS! I feel like I have been gone forever but you all know that every year starting in late May my posts are not as frequent because the summer conference takes up all our time but it is over now and I am back! I will have recap pics of the conference for you […]

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Tropical seersucker capris

Cross two things off my summer sewing to-do list: work out a hidden inseam pocket, and sew capris. Done and done! Frankly, I’m elated about these capris, even though they just appear to be a simple project at first glance. And technically they kind of are, but they signify a… read more »

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Simplicity 4403 coat in plaid boucle

The subtitle for this post should be “all the interfacings” as I think I used a little bit of every type in this project. I’m coming around to the opinion that interfacing is the secret ingredient of sewing – along the lines of butter as the not-so-secret ingredient that makes so many dishes taste delicious.

Back to sewing: I recently made a coat for a sewing client using a familiar fabric. When she brought the project over I had to laugh, and then said “a coat?” Eek, I already had one bout with this fabric in a different color way when I made myself a Chanel-ish jacket a couple of years ago.  So plaid…yup. Although in its favor this is an even plaid so it does make matching slightly less painful.

Let’s start with that plaid matching. Not sure if you can see due to the dark color that this pattern is a shoulder princess seamed style, which I think is very pretty and nice to fit, it gives a very feminine look although it does mean more seams to match.

boucle coat front close up

I’m really happy with the way it turned out, including the sleeves where the pink lines continue across  nicely. This is both due to careful matching when cutting out and but also to a well designed pattern with a good sleeve.

It’s difficult to see in this photo but for a plaid I like to cut out one piece and then flip it over and use the cut out piece as a template to pattern match the plaid for its mirror image. So you can see the under sleeve pinned onto the fabric all lined up. And my trusty roll of blue painters tape. Every piece gets marked on the wrong size with a piece of tape as I cut out because I hate to realize later that I have lost the plot in terms of right and wrong side. Even if the sides are indistinguishable I live in fear that a finished garment will have a color difference in one piece due to being wrong side out. And this fabric is impossible to tell one side from the other but my mind is calmer when all pieces are marked 🙂 and I can just sew on autopilot without thinking about that detail.

boucle coat cutting out

Here’s the pattern envelope. I think it is from 2005 or so. There are 17 versions on Pattern Review and lots of really good and different variations that people have sewn over the subsequent years. Perhaps coat patterns don’t change as much as other garments because this actual coat looks very contemporary to me. The giveaway that ages this pattern photo are the shoes on the model on the left in the grey coat. Can you imagine walking in those and trying to keep them on your feet?

Simplicity 4403 pattern envelope

Back to the topic of interfacing. Since this fabric does not have a lot of body and is kind of dressy due to the slight sparkle of the fibers, I suggested that I do it in a soft tailoring style, kind of like a boucle jacket but coat length. It’s the type of coat that can be close fitting, it will be worn over a dress or a silk blouse, so not needing to have ease to accommodate winter layers.

With that in mind I started with silk organza for the coat center fronts, stitched in by machine. I suppose I could have used a fusible but I liked the feeling of the silk organza combined with the boucle.

You can see the whiskery threads of my tailor’s tacks, in pale green and then the stitching of the buttonhole welts in a dark red. My contact lens/eyeglass prescription is off the charts (seriously folks, the proverbial coke bottle eyeglasses*) so I always use a thread that I can easily see. In a fabric like this the stitches will never show and it makes sewing and seeing so much easier.

boucle coat sewing bound buttonholes

Once the bound buttonholes are done I baste them shut and even though there is a lot left to do it is downhill from here. Until a project is about 80% finished, then the finish line seems interminable.

boucle coat coat front without sleeves

Let’s pause here and mention how un-ravelly this fabric is. Annoying as anything. Big long strands want to come off with every shift of the pattern pieces. Threads everywhere. OK grumbling over for now. Although I decided I need to buy a new vacuum this week because I have killed my current one by feeding it a steady diet of stray pins and long threads. Oh well, I got about 10 years out of it.

boucle coat unravel fabric

The collar has both silk organza on the upper collar and then fusible on the lower. Front facings also have lightweight fusible (ProSheer Elegance) as well as the upper part of the side front panel. I think across the back also, in the shape of a back stay I put the fusible. It helps when the sections that marry together, such as the upper part of the front princess seam, and then the shoulder area area are all interfaced or otherwise changed to have the same drape and weight so the coat seems to hang better. Also the sleeve has some weft interfacing across the upper part, and then a bias wool sleeve head.

boucle coat close up sleeve inside

I don’t know what this is showing, maybe the fusible on the facing. And some of my favorite tools.

boucle coat buttonholes finished

So this is the unlovely look at the inside of the coat. I always kind of laugh to see how the guts look before they are covered up by a pretty lining. I did change the pockets to be on the side seams instead of the princess seams which I don’t think looks right. Just my preference. And I did check on the pocket placement on the muslin, the owner of this coat is quite tall and it’s nice to have the pockets in just the right place.

boucle coat inside without lining

One last finishing detail, you know I just about never bag the lining – I just like the control that sewing the lining in by hand provides. Plus it behaves better and the coat front is more sleek retaining its shape and not pulling anywhere. However to get that result the front facing must be stitched down to the coat front piece. Shown here in pink silk thread, using catch stitches which are secure but also have a bit of give.

boucle coat hand stitching facing

I’m sorry but I only took a couple of pictures once the coat was finished and none on the owner. My dress form is a bit too small for the coat plus the skirt is slightly a-line so it hangs off a bit but you get the idea.   Wouldn’t this look great with a salmon pink or coral color dress underneath?

boucle coat front on form1

boucle coat back on form

The lining is a chocolate brown Ambiance rayon.

boucle coat lining

Now time to admire those buttons – I tried so many selections from the wall of buttons at Stone Mountain and these were the one and only that looked good with this fabric. Not good but great!  The copper color complemented the coat fabric and they were a bit glossy, kind of like this coat. Score! Stone Mountain’s wall of buttons never fails me.

 boucle coat front facing and buttons

So that’s the scoop on this slightly out of season boucle coat. However living in the bay area the owner can pop over to San Francisco for a night out and have a coat that is hopefully just right for our fickle sunny one minute and foggy the next weather.

Up next I am finishing another shift dress for myself that strikes me as an homage to the Summer of Love, plus some steps out of my comfort zone and a foray into shirt dresses.

Last weekend’s Shift dress class at Hello Stitch was great – I’m really enjoying hanging out there and meeting lots of new stitchers.
For July we are repeating classes on sewing tunic tops and skirts plus just added a button-down shirt class.  By that I mean button front, collared shirt – so pick your pattern and join us!

Happy weekend sewing,

* footnote:  my reference above to coke-bottle eyeglasses is something that was often said when I was a kid, that someone’s glasses were like coke bottles, meaning that the lenses were so thick they were like the glass at the bottom of coke bottle. Being that there are not many glass coke bottles and improvements in eyeglass lenses to make them thinner I guess this phrase is on the way out. Do you think in a few years we will still say dial the phone? Officially on a tangent now…I still have an old dial phone in the garage which I kept for when the big quake happens and the cordless phones are all useless. However now the home phone is digital so I guess the dial phone is useless. Drat.

For today’s garden photo – it’s hydrangea time. I planted a couple of new ones this spring, so I hope to have a rainbow of different shades. We’re expecting 100˚F here on Sunday, I’m cooking, and of course my thermostat decided to croak today, but I replaced it and hopefully all will be well and truly Air Conditioned on Sunday at dinnertime!


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Inside Simplicity 1590

Last week I shared my second #VintagePledge of the year, a sweet 1940s blouse made using the reproduction pattern Simplicity 1590. My post about it mainly focused on my collaboration with Spoonflower and the cute fabric they sent me, but I th…

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Spoonflower Succulents

Whoop, I’m on a roll with my #VintagePledge! Thanks to Spoonflower’s British Blog Hop I’ve now tackled my second make – a 1940s blouse with reproduction Simplicity 1590 – just the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to go.

The American fabric/wallpaper/gift-wrap design and print company kindly invited myself and eight fellow bloggers to help celebrate a year and a half of its Berlin-based factory. Having a European branch is good news for everyone on this side of the pond, because you can order in your own currency and the delivery times are much speedier!

I would have happily picked wallpaper, but as we’re not currently decorating I decided to stick to sewing. I toyed with the idea of designing my own print, but wisely put my trust in the fabulous many designers registered on Spoonflower.

My project was very much dictated by the print, because once I found Succulents I was instantly smitten. When I decorate my sewing room I’m seriously tempted to paper a wall with this print AND make matching cushion covers!!!

However, falling for this print scuppered my plans for a dress as I don’t usually favour light-coloured backgrounds, so I compromised with a blouse instead. I was then gutted not to find a cotton voile on Spoonflower’s extensive list of fabrics, but I was so determined that I went ahead and ordered it in the Kona Cotton Ultra instead.

I knew all along that a quilting cotton is not the optimum fabric for a blouse like this, but I powered on with pig-headed stubbornness and luckily it’s wearable in a dramatically structured sort of way. I wouldn’t use quilting cotton again for this blouse, but I’m gonna own the drama nonetheless. It’s like wearing a bustle!

So, aside from picking an inappropriate fabric type for my project, what is Spoonflower’s Kona Cotton Ultra actually like? Well, I won’t lie, I’ve handled nicer quilting cottons before. It’s very canvas-like and a little scratchy, so if I was paying £17.71 per yard myself, I wouldn’t order it for a dressmaking project again. It may well be perfectly acceptable for crafty projects though and it can be ordered by the fay quarter, which is a good way to test the waters I guess. Also, it gets top marks for the printing quality, as the colours and vibrancy are great and there was no visible fading/bleeding after I washed it.

Out of curiosity I also asked for a swatch pack and what I would be very tempted by is their Organic Cotton Sateen Ultra, which feels really lovely. It is a whopping £25.16 per yard though! I was also quite taken with the quality of their jerseys and performance/sportswear fabrics, all of which seem to be a nice quality too. To get a more rounded opinion of Spoonflower, have a look at what blog hoppers The Fold Line, A Million Dresses, Sew Manju, Almond Rock and House of Pinheiro said, with final contributions from So, Zo…What do you know? and Kestrel Makes coming next week.

Have you designed for or bought from Spoonflower before? What did you think? One thing’s for sure, I might have to go back at some point for the remaining prints that stole my heart – Cacti in Mugs, Succulent Garden and Cactus Flowers.
As for Simplicity 1590, I’ll do a separate post and possibly vlog on the fit, construction and how it compares to original vintage patterns soon.
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They’re Here, They’re Here! PREORDER the New Madalynne X Simplicity Patterns!

I’ve been giving you snippets and sneak peeks at my new patterns with Simplicity and today, I can finally talk about it. It’s Facebook official. My first collaboration was a dream come true. I remember flipping through the catalogs at Joann’s and Walmart. Never in a million years did I think I would have a pattern… patterns! Before

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Let’s Talk Bras: Join Me At Brooklyn Craft Company

This summer is going to be cray cray around these parts. In June, I’m jetting off to California to teach at Mimi G’s Sewing Conference, and in August, I’ll be making a very sentimental trip to Lake Okoboji. My mom grew up in Sioux City, but spent her summers on the lake. Lace Okoboji is a

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All Sewn Up: Madalynne 8228 Blush Pink + Yellow Kit

I’ve shown you images of the fabric and notions in the Madalynne lingerie kits, but what does (or should) the final product look like? Let me show you! Here is the Madalynne X Simplicity 8228 all sewn up using the blush pink and yellow kit. I’m the type of person who becomes obsessed with things.

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Pride and Prejudice Preparation

Every year, I get together with one of my best friends and we spend a weekend together watching Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995), stuffing our faces with cheese, and drinking lots of wine.  We started this in 2004 I think, and since then we’ve both moved around quite a lot, changed careers, got married, and […]

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