Tiramisu Dress – Two In One Week!

I wanted to sew a Tiramisu Dress since I first saw you all making them. I finally completed one – then I wanted to make changes, so I instantly made a second one with a lighter weight and stretch knit fabric.

tiramisu dress sewing cake pattern knit fabric

I finally made a Tiramisu. Two of them!

I love a knit dress. I also like dresses with high waistbands. I have had my eye on making a striped knit Sewing Cake Tiramisu Dress since I first saw one. I made a Little Black Dress Red Velvet Dress in November of 2013. I looked for striped fabric for the Tiramisu since then. I made the grey & black one first, but wanted to make changes. I dug through my minimalist knit fabric stash & decided to try it with the blue & grey one.

knit fabric stretch recovery stripe matching

These two fabrics were different weight, stretch, & recovery

The grey & black dress is a fairly substantial knit with great recovery. When I finished it, I realized it would be much too thick & hot for summer. I also found that I wanted to make a few alterations to my pattern. If you consider making a Sewing Cake pattern, know that when it says to go with a smaller size for negative ease, that it really means go down a size! I don’t like super fitted clothing, so my Red Velvet Cake dress was made with zero ease. I ended up taking 3 inches out of the top. This time I made a whole size smaller. I like the fit across the front, but the back is pretty snug. It works because it is very stretchy & has fantastic recovery. I wanted make it right away before I forgot what I needed.

sewing cake tiramisu stretch knit stripe

First pattern on top, redrafted pattern on the bottom

Since I was stripe matching, (which includes shoulders), I wanted to keep the shoulder seams equal and the edges of the sleeves the same distance. I dropped the back of the neck down a tiny bit and took most of the underarm scoop out. I kept the length of the bodice the same too. I did a slight Pivot and Slide Method to start my pattern alterations, but evened them out by comparing it to the first back bodice. I was left with an inch added overall. So I made a note to add the same to the neck/front binding as well as the front & back midriff.

knit fabric stripe matching tiramisu dress sewing

Matching stripes

I had not attempted to match stripes for years. I noticed it made me slow down on the whole process. I opened up the fabric to cut a single layer. I made notations on my patterns where the stripes were. I was careful to not let my fabric hang over the edge of the table & stretch out.

knit fabric cotton no stretch no recovery

Super dry cotton-y knit fabric with almost no recovery

I purchased both fabrics at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkley, CA. This light grey one was very lightweight & had almost no recovery. The pattern said T-shirt material was an acceptable choice, so I used this one for my second dress. I also wanted to make my second attempt at this dress pattern in a fabric that was totally different from the dark one. The dark fabric is VERY stretchy with great recovery. The blue one curled up the second I cut it!

stripe fabrics heavyweight lightweight

The left one is a light summer weight, the right, a thick, winter weight

I almost hate to point it out, but I was so careful in matching the stripes on the bias, I somehow lost my way in attaching the skirt to the midriff of the light one! D’oh! Oh well, maybe if I keep moving no one will notice. It is very light & cool, and will work great for summer.

I did sew the skirt to the midriff with the midriff on the top so I could see the stripes under the foot. When I cut out the second one (left) I did think about what I would like in the colors on the center of my waist. But be aware that you must also match stripes at your waist at the side. See below:

waist side stripe matching sewing

Side stripe matching

I am not sure if I am going to hem this or leave it cut. I was careful to stitch from bottom hem to top while joining the side seams so the bottom edge is crisp & perfect. Matching, matching, Matching!!

dress knit stripe knit side seam matching sewing

The inside!

I used a soft rainbow variegated thread to serge all the inside seams. I buy two cones of variegated thread & use them in the upper & lower loopers to make this soft pretty inside secret. Thank you for all your inspirational Tiramisu dresses!


Oh Yay! Liebster Awards for Blinky

Woo hoo, I have been nominated for a Liebster award! Yes, I am just n00b enough to get one, AWESOME! Since I did not jump on the first one, I got a second one. Whooops. What am I going to take from that? I will take my favorite questions from each person of course. Sounds a little bit like bending the rules, doesn’t it?

A big thank you to both to Melanie from The Seeds of 3  and Kat from Couture Academic for the nominations. Thank you dolls!


A little about the Liebster award:
The Liebster Award is an award for newer blogs. Liebster is a German word that means: BELOVED, CUTE, LOVELY, DEAREST, and WELCOME.

To accept the nomination I can choose to:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers (I’m going by Bloglovin’ stats!)
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them

Sound good? Okay let’s go!

No freakin’ order, check them all out!
Mercury – Handmade Fashion

Jo Sews

Sew Tiger Sew

Let’s Eat Grandpa

Sew Exhausted

Sew a Crooked Line

An Entheusiast

Loran’s World

C Sews

I ride a scooter
I *hate* sleeping
I have an amazing garden
I met my husband on Craig’s List
In an emergency, I am the calmest person in the room
I am never late – “If you’re 5 minutes early, you’re already 10 minutes late”
Favorite movies include: *Blade Runner & anything by David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch
I have two rescue dogs. One was tied to the door of the pound, one was born in a van going to a no kill shelter

Asked of me:
1. What is your dream sewing machine(s) if money was no object?
I’d love an Ovation serger.
2. What superpower?
3. What is your favorite food?
The most perfect food is Donuts, but I rarely eat them. Italian style pizza. Onions. Balsamic vinegar.
4. What do you like to sew?
I often sew items I would not wear – I give them away. I sew just for the enjoyment of sewing.
5.  Where are you from?
I am from Sonoma County, California. My father was a pilot for Pan Am – I experienced many countries.
6. Do you prefer hot or cold climate?
Warm! But I don’t want to look at a beach all day. I like trees & mountains – just not cold.
7. You started sewing how?
Mom hated cutting out. I found the patterns, the fabric, & cut them out – she sewed. I was not allowed to touch the machine. I learned everything *but sewing.
8. Have you done a sew along?
Yes, a few! I loved the steps, seeing everyone else’s makes, plus meeting a lot of new people!
9. Do you have a favorite cocktail?
I love champagne. I like bitter & sour. I hate sweet drinks.
10. Do you have a favorite pattern to sew?
I like the independent pattern companies. Those patterns are made with love.
11. What would you tell your younger self?
Relax. Jettison. Relax. A messy house is just fine.

My questions for you:
1. Why did you start a sewing blog?
2. Do you have a favorite sewing tip?
3. What is your favorite sewing notion?
4. What is your dream sewing machine(s) if money was no object?
5. What super power would you like to have?
6. What is your dream job?
7. Where would you like to visit? (Where are you from?)
8. Do you have a favorite pattern or item to sew?
9. What do you like to do when you are not sewing?
10. What is your favorite food?
11. Where are you from & where do you want to go?

Vintage Flavor Knit Cocoa Shrug – Cake Sewing Patterns

cocoa knit shrug cake patternHi everyone! I print tested the Cocoa Knit Shrug pattern for Cake Patterns, so I decided to make one up & share my pattern experience. Used as an accent piece over a top or dress, the Cocoa Knit Shrug can be used for warmth, coverage, or a pop of color. It’s quick, fun, & easy to make. Let’s take a look at the pattern!

cocoa knit shrug find grainlineThe back piece is not laid out on a fold, it is two pieces on a soft bias. I make sure I line up my grainlines by carefully folding my knit. If you look closely at your knit, you can see the ribs making a clean fold line edge. Lay the pattern piece down & use a clear ruler to find the edge of the fold.  Then slide the pattern piece until the grain line & edge of the fabric are perpendicular to each other. (see the pink lines)


cocoa second grainlinesTo line up the front piece, add a second clear ruler & line up the back grainline with the front grainline by butting the rulers up against each other. (pink lines) Weigh those suckers down & cut them out! (I made the sleeves longer to go to my wrist)


 pattern from cake patternsThere are 8 basic steps to complete this shrug. This pattern is one of Cake’s RiFF collections. This means that there are written instructions, but no illustrations. Anyone who has sewn a garment before can use this pattern no problem. One of the suggested web pages that support this pattern are now live.


cocoa pattern highlightAfter printing out & putting the PDF pieces together, I usually mark each piece with a highlighter. Marking darts, grain lines, notches, & how many of each makes cutting out faster. You can also go through the instructions & highlight things you might want to pay special attention to. It only takes a few minutes & it saves you from checking & re-checking which line or mark that is used for the size you chose.


cocoa knit textureThe neck facing was easy, but when it comes to attaching the front facings, I hesitated. The instructions say, “… pin front A at shoulder seam, taking special care at the neck end of the seam.”  Wait! Special care of what?! After I attached the two front facings, I realized it meant take care to line up the facing edges. When I am working with curly knits, I often serge the edges before attaching, so mine was not as even as I would like.


cocoa inside facing detailI was going to finish the inside facings with a simple serged edge, but I thought it might look unfinished if left open. I turned the serged edge under, pressed & stitched it before turning it all back under again. When I pressed my fluffy sweater knit though, the doubled over facing showed through to the front. It left a ridge. Fail. Next time I’ll think, flat, flat, flat.


cocoa dartsThe elbow darts & bust darts do not have specific instructions, but stitch them up if you need them. I liked where they were located, but ned time I would probably  take an extra inch off the bottom. I like it longer too, but snug under the bust would be cute too. Check out Steph’s version here. I was thinking mine would look a little more “sweater-y”. I ended up doing a hook & bar closure.

cocoa back viewI received my pattern in PDF format. Occasionally I have weird dropout issues with PDFs & I have tracked it down to having Acrobat PRO installed on my machine. If I try to print with Acrobat Reader, I have issues. If I use Preview, they work fine. Keep that in mind of you use Acrobat Pro & find missing numbers & letters using Reader.

cocoa knit shrug front view finished
I love Cake patterns. The way the bust is measured & fitted works well for me. I’ve done the Red Velvet dress & had a great time with the sew-along last fall. I hope she does a sew-along for the Tiramisu dress this summer.

Create Custom Sewing Patterns with Bonfit Patterner

Bonfit America Patterner

Hello Sewists! Do you like sewing gadgets? Ever thought about drafting your own pattern? Check out this fun pattern making system called the Bonfit Patterner.

The Bonfit Patterner is a set of flat stacked plastic pieces that you move & slide according to your exact body measurements. This creates your pattern pieces. You then trace around the pieces, making all the usual marks.

Bonfit America Patterner

There are 3 sets of patterners; one for Bodice, one for Pants, & one for Skirts. Each set comes in a long flat box. They contain plastic patterners, an instruction book, a quick start guide, & a VHS instruction guide.

You are instructed to take a variety of body measurements & note them on a card. They have a cool thing for the bodice & skirt which is a 4 part waist & hip measurement. This gives you a better fit for asymmetry as well as the angle from the bottom of the booty to the front the crotch.

skirt instructions

Then, plan your design details. For example on your skirt, do you want it straight, flared, a wrap? Pockets, closures? Then, lay the plastic patterner down & set your waist measurement. There are little knobs you loosen, slide, then tighten. All the panels have numbers & letters, & if you go step by step, it’s pretty easy.

bonfit marks

Mark the grain line, darts, & simply trace around the parts. I add my seam allowances while I do this part. I remember when I got these (yeah, in the 90s) I made a perfectly fitting pants pattern & made like 10 pairs. I never did try the bodice patterner. Have any of you ever tried these, or ever even heard of them?

bonfit books

There are a few more extra books you can purchase from this company. I have “Fashion Concepts & Design” and “Fashion Sewing Instructions”. When researching this article, I saw a couple more at Amazon. Check Ebay as well, I occasionally see someone selling these for a song!

Fabric Questions? Cool Books For Your Sewing Library!


Fabric Questions? Cool Books For Your Sewing Library!sewing sew fabric book

Wouldn’t it be cool if fabric books were written in plain english? How about if they came with swatches? Some history & stories about each fabric? Great! I have three books you might want to know about.

In the mid 90s, I purchased these three “All About” fabric books. All About Cotton: A Fabric Dictionary & Swatchbook, All About Wool, & All About Silk. Fabric vendors love to use hundred-year-old cryptic terms to describe fabric, most terms referring to the manufacturing method. This book closes the gap and explains how the fabric is made, where it originated from, the main use of the fabric and its sewing characteristics. If you have a fabric stash, this might help you decode it.

Silk fabric swatch in book

Each of these books come with a stack of swatches. You can tape or glue in the swatches as you learn the history & details about each item. Each book is part dictionary, part swatchbook. A detailed description of each swatch is illustrated with a real cloth example, right there on the same page, which clarifies in the simplest way what a silk taffeta, cotton seersucker or boiled wool actually looks and feels like.

40 Fabric Samples included

40 Cotton Swatches  included

35 Wool Swatches included

35 Wool Swatches included

32 Silk Fabric Swatches included

32 Silk Swatches included

On the facing page, a comprehensive checklist provides more information about each swatch, covering everything from garment suggestions to wearability, care and price.

boiled wool


These books are a great set of references, I still use them to this day.

book stack

From All About Cotton: A detailed description of each fabric is illustrated with a real cloth sample, right there on the same page, which clarifies in the simplest way what a broadcloth, poplin, seersucker or voile actually looks and feels like. A comprehensive introduction covers fiber characteristics, history of cotton, the main sources of cotton and the cotton textile industry, followed by two-page descriptions of the main fabric types, each illustrated with a 2-1/2 x 4 cloth sample and simple black-and-white drawings. In the back of the book, space is provided for the reader to collect more samples and record personal notes, followed by a list of mail-order sources, glossary, bibliography and index.


Have a Favorite Leggings Pattern Yet? This Might Be It

sewing pattern cake leggings

I love wearing leggings. I love sewing leggings. The Espresso Leggings sewing pattern from Cake Patterns makes it easy.

Why do I love them?

  • They are a great pop of color for an outfit
  • They sew up fast
  • They are a comfortable item to wear
  • You can make them subtle or crazy
  • They are easy to make
  • They take only one yard of fabric

I downloaded the PDF file for this pattern when I was participating in the Red Velvet Dress sew along in November. I liked that pattern so much, & purchased the Espresso pattern via PDF so I could have it that day. This pattern is one of their RiFFS, which means little or no illustrations.

Don’t let that scare you! These are incredibly easy to make. Let’s check out this clever pattern.

sewing cake patterns leggings

Start by taking your measurements as directed. When I first did this, I got a little confused about how to measure the front & back crotch rise. You’re instructed to sit on a chair & measure from your desired waistband down to the center front on the chair. I measured to the center of the *body*, or crotch inner seam line. When I went to plot it out, I knew that was terribly wrong. I sat & wondered where that room was going to come from.

Steph has cleverly added seam allowances & ease into the pattern. What you are really instructed to measure is from the desired waistband level to the chair as you sit. That being said, here’s how I would suggest you measure — if you have a booty & need ample room, curve the tape in a bit in the back. I needed a little more room for mine. If you have a more flat figure, measure down to the chair.

sew sewing pattern layout cutting

With your careful measurements written down, start at the target dot & enter your numbers through step 7 on the pattern. After making marks for your measurements, you simply connect the dots.

There is a curve template included in the pattern. Use the curve as instructed to mark the front & back crotch. Don’t be afraid if the front one looks almost flat. The built-in allowances take care of how much room you need.

The waist level was great right away. I suggest you wear a favorite pair of leggings to know where to measure from while you are sitting down. On my next one, I wanted to try a wider waistband elastic. I simply added the amount to the top of the pattern.

copper jungle january leggings pattern shiny loud

Leggings are fun to make with the LOUDEST fabric I can find. If I wear them under a dress & with a pair of boots, only a small part peeks out. I find the crazier the better works for me. I have made quiet staples too! After making & testing your first pair of Espressos, I find it only takes about 15 minutes to make them. One yard? 15 minutes? Sign me up, I have made 10 pairs so far! Have you tried them yet?