Odds and Ends and One Thing You Mustn’t Miss

Sewing has been, well, challenging this summer.  In reality, I think I have been able to accomplish just about all I could have hoped for – so far, at least – but it certainly doesn’t seem like very much.

When I packed fabric to bring along to our new vacation home in Wyoming, I tried to think ahead and determine exactly what I would need.  For instance, I brought two decorator fabrics which I had picked out for two of our “new” bedrooms, with plans for making decorative pillows and at least one bed skirt.  I also brought two fabrics with which to make dresses for our two little granddaughters who were arriving, along with the rest of our immediate family, in late July.  I also brought some vintage Moygashel linen, many pieces of shirting and dress cottons, skirt fabric, and a piece of Viyella cotton/wool blend.  What was I thinking?!!  Certainly no one could accuse me of being under-ambitious!

I totally misjudged how much of my time would be taken up with organizing and setting up a new household.  So – what have I been able to sew?  A number of decorative pillows, for one thing. I find them – and all that self-bias tape I had to construct – utterly boring to make, but satisfying once they are completed.    The bed skirts have been moved to the “still to do” list.

was able to make dresses for my granddaughters.  My original intent was to make each dress out of a different fabric, but when I stretched out my ladybug embroidered, striped fabric from Emma One Sock, I realized I had more than I needed for one dress.  With one minor compromise, I knew I could get two dresses from my existing yardage.  So I changed plans and made matching dresses.

I made white piping for the pockets and collars out of kitchen string and white batiste.  The ladybug embroidered fabric is really so cute!

The compromise I had to make involved the sashes, as I did not have enough fabric to cut sashes for two dresses. Fortunately I had enough of the coordinating red fabric to make the sashes. Now I’m glad it worked out that way, as I think it makes the dresses cuter.

I had pre-purchased red decorative buttons, thinking I would need them for just one dress. Normally I would put three in a row centered beneath the collar, but with four buttons, and two dresses … Well, you do the math!  Two on each dress it is!

Having spent many summer days and nights in Wyoming before this year, I knew  from experience how chilly the mornings – and nights – can be throughout the summer.  (The days are warm and glorious, however.)  Warm cozy slippers and a winter-weight bathrobe are necessities. And that is why I brought along the afore-mentioned Viyella fabric.  Although I packed a winter-weight robe which I made a few years ago, I wanted to make a new robe which I can leave here, therefore eliminating one bulky item from future suitcases.

How lovely to have the opportunity to use this vintage Vogue pattern once again.

This robe takes a lot of fabric, and it was a tight squeeze fitting all the pattern pieces on it and matching the plaid as well.  I had to make the sash out of two pieces of fabric, seaming it in the back. Additionally, I had enough fabric for only one pocket (I prefer two.) But, I am happy with the outcome, and very pleased to have used one more piece of fabric from my sizeable collection!

Viyella is the perfect fabric for a lightweight, but warm bathrobe. It is machine washable, and gets softer with age.

While the bathrobe, and the little dresses, were enjoyable to make, neither were challenging in the “couture” sense.  So I did my  “couture” dreaming vicariously through the Susan Khalje  Couture Sewing Club, where inspiration abounds in many forms.  Earlier in the month, Susan was interviewed for the “Love to Sew” podcast.  Treat yourself and spend a lovely hour-plus listening to it, if you haven’t already done so.  The interview, Episode 106, dated August 12th, can be found here:


Among Susan’s new pattern offerings is this jacket:

When I arrive back home in Pennsylvania, I will be searching through my fabric closet for the perfect pairing for this pattern.  I am just itching to challenge myself with such a project.  No more pillows, at least for now!


Filed under Bathrobes, Buttons - choosing the right ones, Fashion commentary, Sewing for children, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s

15 responses to “Odds and Ends and One Thing You Mustn’t Miss

  1. Mery

    These are each perfect makes. The girls dresses are charming as ever. Your cozy robe even has the label. The new Susan Khalje jacket will be fun to make.

    I have lately come under the strong impression that home dec is a lot faster on a serger. That may depend on the project. Gathered ruffles for bed skirt instead of pleated. I don’t know first-hand.

    Thank you for sharing bits of you golden summer and that view with us. It’s hard to believe we’re only 94 days from Thanksgiving Day in the USA.

    • Ah, you spotted the label! I love these vintage fabrics which come with their own labels. Those were the days, as they say…
      You are probably correct that a serger would make home dec sewing easier, but I will probably just bumble along with my boring projects, dreaming of couture, as I do so! Enjoy these last days of August; time is flying by, isn’t it?

  2. Love the red pin dot contrast on the girls’ ladybug dresses, just right. They are cute as can be but not too girly. 😍 Don’t you just love the way that altitude allows for glorious sunny days and lovely cool nights? We have missed that here in SD this summer; so much more humid after two years of over the top rain fall. The garden loves it, but I have missed those cool nights. I expect you have the house set up now and can look forward to future summers of sewing adventures!

    • Thank you, Kathy. I think you and so much of the country have been extra wet this summer. I know at home in Pennsylvania, it’s been a very humid and hot summer. How lovely to be here in the clean, dry, now chilly, air! It certainly is putting me in the mood for Fall sewing! Hope your garden bounty is overflowing with goodness!

      • This wet weather has indeed had boom and bust qualities to it. I M loving the weather this week, highs in the mid 70’s and lows in the low 50’s. We are sleeping well! The garden is still busy, need to check broccoli again tomorrow and then blanch everything. That will catch me up for a day!

  3. Peggy Warren

    You have been busy! I commend your dedication to sewing even though you’ve got a new house to claim a lot of your focus. The dresses are exquisite for your granddaughters. The white trim looks wonderful. I’m jealous of your robe. I’m sure its as comfy as it looks. Thank you for the links in your article. I was not aware of Emma One Stock and I followed the link and love all the wonderful things to view. As always, I look forward to your postings. They are gifts to be enjoyed.

    • Thank you, Peggy! So happy I could introduce you to Emma One Sock Fabrics. They have incredible customer service; I highly recommend them. My focus this summer has definitely been scattered, but it feels good to sew and dream about more sewing to come!

  4. Cissie

    Wyoming sounds wonderful and I hope you and your family will spend memorable times there. The dresses for your little girls are adorable! And I love your cozy robe!

    • Thanks so much, Cissie! This is a beautiful part of the world to spend time in, and yes, we are definitely creating memories. It will be fun to come back next year and know I have a cozy robe waiting for me.

  5. Perhaps not challenging but still beautiful work.

  6. Heather Myers

    Thanks for the post, especially the bathrobe! I got …almost… enough yarn died soft cotton for a comforter cover, so one plan B – a light bathrobe with French terry lining. I have utilitarian projects so try to do one between more fun garments. I was unfamiliar with viyella, thanks for the inspiration.😀

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