Ho ho hello

I haven’t written a post on this blog since April of 2019. Wow have things changed since then. Not as much personally, but the world. You don’t need me to recap the open wound of 2020, you were there.

In my life, it’s been mostly a quiet year, being careful and safe and trying to keep myself occupied throughout the pandemic and the pathetic, negligent handling by the dumpster fire of our thankfully-outgoing wannabee dictatorship of an administration (a big silver lining of 2020!). Making things is one of the ways I cope with stress. I don’t always—in fact 2020 came on the heels of an incredibly stressful and draining several months last year for me, during which I barely made anything. I didn’t have it in me. Sometimes I create to get away from the stress, which I’ve been doing this year. It gives me a different thing to focus on.

Last year, that didn’t work for me. So after jumping from one kind of stressful period to another—a kitchen remodel last winter (a story for another time)—and then jumping into the pandemic immediately after, I have been full force in creating mode this year. It’s definitely helped manage stress for me. But we’re all different. If that’s not your way that’s just as good, too. It’s hard enough getting through a day right now, just do what you need to do for you. For me it’s meant trying to be occupied as much as I can. In some ways I feel like I’ve been running on steam for a year and a half, but for the last several months, being occupied with my hands has really helped.

Well before all this though, I was sort of trailing off blogging for awhile already, in large part because my computer was old and it all just became a giant slog to try to deal with taking photos and writing, and I just didn’t feel like it. But the reason I got into blogging is actually because I like to write, not because I like taking photos of myself wearing things (I hate that part), and I’ve felt like doing that again lately, and we finally got a new computer, so here I am. I’m not sure how many people even read blogs any more. A lot of folks were falling off blogging at the same time I was. But I’m starting to be in the mood to blog a little bit, maybe. I definitely have at least a few posts in me. No promises though. And if I’m just writing mainly for myself, well hey, so be it.

So since I have you here, you deserve something for reading that long-winded intro, but it’s the only type I do after all, and if you used to read this blog, you’ll know that. So how about a Christmas dress for your troubles? It even has a saga. I mean, I really brought it for you!

For at least a few years now, I try to make some article of clothing for myself for Christmastime, so that I have a few festive things to wear throughout December. Due to the pandemic and needing some extra joy, hell we’ve had our tree and decorations up since early November so I’ve had more time for the festive attire!

This year, I bought some flannel with a lovely poinsettia print. The seller had 4 yards only, so that’s what I got. It’s nice enough but kind of almost slightly an open weave which was problematic in a few areas. Not the nicest stuff, but serviceable for a holiday dress, and warm and cozy. I am really into flannel in winter.

I wanted to use the same bodice I made for a flannel Christmas dress in 2015, this one:

It’s a mashup of Emery by Christine Hanes, and the sleeves of a vintage blouse, Butterick 6223 which I’ve made a few times, like this one. Plus this year’s version used the skirt from Butterick 4002, which is pleated in the front and has plain gores in the back. (I used it for this flannel dress too.)

I love that snow globes dress, in fact I wore it just a few days before I embarked on my flannel poinsettia dress. Which means you’d think I wouldn’t have made a mega mistake, but alas, I did.

When I started this project, I went looking for the pattern pieces. Now I’m a fairly meticulous note-taker, and I (usually) write extensive notes in a sewing journal and some key scribbles on pattern pieces. So I should have been setup to win. I pulled out the pieces I thought I used—after all, they did say “Emery and Butterick 6223 mashup”, which is what the entry in my sewing journal said.

I realized I was going to have to cut the bodice on the cross grain, given the width of the front piece. That was even noted on the pattern piece. Well, I figured it worked once, it would work again. Trouble was brewing, though I didn’t know it yet at the time.

It wasn’t until I tried the nearly finished dress on and it was way too tight, that I realized the cross grain had zero give. I’ve cut other bodices on the cross grain a couple times and they’ve been predictably a tad tight, but this was worse. I should have checked before diving in. So I set about letting out the side seams and front waist darts a bit, to give myself as much extra room in the bust as I could (not really enough, but doable) and in the waist. I did get it wearable in the end, even if it’s a bit on the tight side. Phew!

While I was in the trying-it-on stage still, I did also wonder why the sleeves seemed baggier than I remembered on the other dress, but I kind of tabled that thought while I dealt with, y’know, actually getting it to fit me.

Once that was mostly resolved, I started thinking about the original dress again, and how come it didn’t have this same fit issue since I cut it on the cross grain, too?! And how come the sleeves seemed more fitted than this one, even though I had no notes to that effect?! So I pulled the dress out.

What did I discover? I hadn’t cut it on the cross grain and the sleeves were several inches shorter than my new one! Whaaaa? Well, it started to come back to me when I found the actual pattern pieces I’d used…right next to the ones I thought I’d used.

When I originally had the idea to mashup the patterns five years ago, I realized that the front bodice would only fit on the cross grain. And then… I re-cut pattern pieces with the sleeves short enough to fit on 44″ wide fabric on the straight grain. Because I didn’t want to cut it on the cross grain. And I narrowed the sleeve slightly in the process. Hahahahaha.

You can see the original pattern piece on top of the new one—not the same thing!

Can you see me slamming my head on my sewing table? Yeah. The explanation for why my poinsettia dress didn’t fit the same as the snow globes dress was because they didn’t, in fact, use the same pattern pieces, much like I thought. Oops!

In the end, I have a pretty dress that’s a bit too tight but I’m happy, and it means I actually have the ability to re-create the bodice of the snow globes dress that fit me better, and I’ll probably be doing that again soon!

And I do quite like the dress in spite of its flaws. The cut-on sleeves are neat, even if I didn’t mean to use exactly this version of them. They have 3 darts at the elbow which you can just see in a closeup.

And I love this skirt, the fact that front is flared and pleated and the back just plain is kind of unique, and still gives plenty of swish to the dress with a lot less fabric than, say, a circle skirt, which is what I’d have picked if I had enough fabric (that’s what the snow globes dress has).

I’ll leave you with that. A small sewing saga and a pretty dress. Until we meet again—be it sooner or later—stay safe, social distance, wear a mask, enjoy the holidays as best you can if you celebrate, have empathy for others, and don’t be a selfish prick.

xo

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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Golly, 46 Comments!

  • I have read your blog for quite awhile. I was sad when you stopped but really glad to find you on Instagram.
    Hope you will keep on with blog. It’s fun to see what other people are doing and sometimes I pick up a tip.

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    • Thanks, Lois! Yeah at least for me, when I stopped blogging I was already quite active on Instagram. It’s a different kind of sharing for sure though.

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  • Laura Poehlman December 16, 2020 at 12:07pm

    I was just revisiting your blog last week to look at all your wonderful holiday outfits! I feel like I wished this new post into existence! It’s a joy to read your writing, and your pattern piece mishap is very much how planning my new makes have been going as well. I guess if each new garment didn’t require an adventure of disjointed thought my me-made wardrobe would grow too large.

    Happy Holidays to you and Mel! Thank you for the cheer of poinsettias. The fit you achieved looks terrific.

    Reply

    • Thanks, Laura! I actually go back to my own blog posts sometimes as a reference when I’m looking back on a project. lol

      <>

      Very aptly put! 😉

      Happy holidays to you too!

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  • It’s such a treat to read your writing again. The poinsettia dress looks beautiful, inspite of your pattern issues. Stay safe this winter 💞

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  • Delighted to read your blog post again. I have read your blog for lots of years & re read bits frequently. Lately your sewing table ideas & the brown plaid dress lining tips. My sewing room is coming on electrician put the lights up today – THE cutting table in progress! The poinsettia dress looks terrific & it is great to hear of your issues with the fit & your solving methods. I really learn so much from your writings – thank you. Stay safe & have a Happy Christmas.

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  • A flannel dress for winter sounds brilliant!
    I don’t think I’d go so far as to make mine a Christmas-themed dress, though, as Christmas is high summer here. Still, I’ll put it on my list of One Day I Will Make (when my sewing skills are good enough).

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    • Ooh yes, Christmas flannel won’t work for you, ha ha! But yes generally speaking I love flannel in cooler months, when I realized it didn’t have to be saved just for PJs and plaid shirts it’s like a whole new world opened up.

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  • It is so great to hear from you again! It is an early Christmas present!

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  • I recently discovered you via Instagram so it’s nice to read a post from you in blog format! Evidently I have lots of catching up to do! I’m a writer as well and I want to start a blog about my beginner sewing adventures. I too wonder if people would read it and whether I would be able to create a readership, but, as you say, even if we’re writing primarily for ourselves, that’s OK. It’s still enjoyable.

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    • Aha, now you will see what I would say if I could fit more on Instagram, lol! I would encourage you to start your blog, all it takes is an idea and making it happen. For me it’s kind of a good time to blog again in that there’s a lot less pressure since there’s not as many people doing it, and I just feel like hey, if I want to do this for me, I should. It’s a great documentation of your creative process, too. I’ve had this blog for 10 years now and I’ve frequently looked back on my posts as references!

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  • Fiona J Fletcher December 16, 2020 at 7:50pm

    I definitely still read blogs! Every day I do a quick check of my bookmarked blogs (a blog reader is far too advanced for me!), and I was delighted to see a new post from you. I have gained so much information and inspiration from reading your blog over the years, and it’s lovely to read your voice again. Happy Holidays to you!

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  • Yay!! I’m so glad you wrote this all up in a blog post! I always enjoyed your writing and it’s such a delightful way to “hear” someone’s voice and personality. Plus, it’s great to see all the steps and pierces of the SAGA together in one place. I miss blogs. I hope 2021 is the year we return to blogging!

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    • Thanks, Moe! It was really nice to feel like I had the elbow room to spread out and write whatever I want. I know my blog posts tend to be a lot longer than some, but it’s how I write, and that’s definitely limited on Instagram, much as I do like sharing there. I’d love it if 2021 became the year we all returned to blogging! We deserve that pleasure.

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  • Sooooo glad you’re back! I love your attention to detail, and sharing the creative story. Love the dress, the fabric is just the Christmas cheer we all need right now. And how cute does your hair look? 😘 Merry Christmas to you & Mel xxx

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    • Thanks so much! I really do love that poinsettia print, I scoured ages for the right one. Well two, I don’t know if I’ll get to that one before Christmas after all but we’ll see. 😉 And thank you about my hair! It was a good year to grow it out for a change. I still like it short but now I can set it or wear a ponytail which I’d missed! Merry Christmas!

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  • Lynne A Johnson December 17, 2020 at 4:09am

    I really enjoy your blog and am happy to see you’ve picked it up again. The dress is scrumptious! That print is bright and cheery and cozy flannel….nice. As usual you look adorable in it! I just noticed all your cool decorations for Christmas in the background. Again cheery!
    Yes, this has been a horrid year and it doesn’t look like it will quit being horrible either. There has been a slight improvement in some areas, but then something else causes an even greater stink. So there it is. Maybe next year we’ll all be able to sigh in relief.
    You and Mel have a good Christmas and stay safe.

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    • Thanks, Lynne! Yes that’s my step-grandmother’s hutch and I love to decorate it, we’ve had a couple of new Christmas additions to it this year like the ceramic trees (I adore those), we deserved the extra cheer!

      No things won’t magically get better in 2021, there’s a lot of awfulness to wade through yet. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for some of it after the election, and at least we can sleep a wee bit easier as a result. Merry Christmas!

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  • Good to hear from you again, I’d been missing your blog quite a bit!! Beside, I have a love-hate relationship with microblogs such as Instagram, so I tend to stay away from that and I assume that many of the sewing bloggers have migrated to that platform, but I have chosen to visit only when necessary.
    Well, at least you guys across the pond have much to celebrate towards the end of 2020, the American Electoral College has confirmed that Biden will be your next president. So I guess, that’ll be a relief. Let’s hope he can undo some of the damage that orange arsehole has done to your country. (You should have a look on YouTube to see what the British Satire -Spitting Image – has protrayed the outgoing US president… 🙂

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  • Beautiful dress, and what an annoying saga that comes with it. So happy you’re back. 🙂

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  • Charlotte Newland December 17, 2020 at 5:34am

    Long-form Tasha is a gift. Thank you, love

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  • Please keep blogging about your nice sewing makes. I was so disappointed not to see any postings for such a long while. Sewing is what keeps us happy! This is a beautiful dress. I am sitting here typing to you wearing my Joiuss reading glasses (all your fault LOL) everyone is crazy about them that has seen them. What do your red ones look like with that dress or is in overkill? Can’t help but wonder! All the best to you.

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    • Thank you! Honestly I have to get my Joiuss glasses adjusted and I got them in a new-but-don’t-like prescription, so I don’t wear them often. I need to fix that once the pandemic calms down. lol But there’s never enough overkill with red for me! 😉

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  • The best Christmas gift is blogs you thought were dead coming back with a post! I think something was really lost when most bloggers jumped ship to instagram primarily, and am always happy to see a wonderful blog like yours post something new. The dress looks great even if it did have a few issues in its creation!

    Have a very happy holidays and I look forward to reading more from you if you decide you’ve got the time and energy to post a few times in the new year!

    P.S. As usual your choice of flats is amazing. Where do you find them?

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    • Thank you! I love sharing on Instagram stories as it’s a lot less pressure to have “pretty” photos, but it really was nice to write a real post again. 🙂 The flats are Rothy’s, definitely some of my go-tos. I’m out of practice in posting what I’m wearing along with the thing I made, ha ha!

      Happy holidays to you too!

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  • Tricia Wilkerson December 17, 2020 at 5:12pm

    What a fantastic dress!! Love how it turned out. I really like the idea of the front of the skirt being pleated and the back being “plain”! I’m also glad to read another blog post from you. Your blog is one I continually return to for help and inspiration…for this, I thank you.

    And a final note, your conclusion is spot on…wear a mask, social distance, and don’t be a selfish prick. Hit the nail on the head with that! Happiest of holidays to you and your love!

    With gratitude,
    Tricia

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  • Seeing a new post from you honestly feels like (and is) a joyful + wholly welcome holiday season present. Thank you for penning this entry.

    While the site I do so on is no longer the same, I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) stay away from blogging in 2020 either, so launched a new blog on the first day of the year. Little did I – or most of us – have any clue as to just what would unfold globally in 2020 on that first fresh-faced, optimism laden day of the year.

    It’s safe to say that (in many corners at least) the blogging sphere has changed a fair bit in recent years and that considerably fewer people still blog (or start blogs) in many niches. Yet like yourself, I hold fast to blogs and blogging.

    This ecosystem feels is a beloved online home coupled with a creative act (writing, photos, etc) that I too derive a great deal from, just as I do the inspiration that comes from reading + seeing what others share.

    Your blog has been a tremendous inspiration and source of enjoyment for me since the moment I first discovered it, and will continue to be on reading list for as long as you pen it.

    May you and your loved ones have an extremely safe, happy, and enjoyable festive season.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

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  • Tasha, it’s such a treat to read you in long-form again!
    I love the more personal and laid back interaction that instagram allows but i still really enjoy reading blogs…I learned most of what i know about sewing from blogs and I still have my Saturday morning ritual of checking my favourite blogs while I have my tea, even if there’s much less happening these days than 10 years ago.
    Happy to see the dressed worked out in the end, it’s such a lovely festive fabric and a flanel dress sounds super cosy. I really like the skirt too, I would not have thought to do pleats just at the front but it works really well.
    Have a great day!

    Cynthia

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  • Another person who still reads blogs here! It’s lovely to read a new post from you – Instagram is great for some things, but doesn’t lend itself to detailed explanations. The dress is stunning, and it’s good to see your adorable mini-house in the pictures, too!

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  • Another blog reader here, too. I was just putting my Victory Turban in the WIP pile after all these years, and thought “what’s Tasha up to now?” And here you are. I’m glad you’re safe and still stylin’ it! Take care.

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  • From a longtime silent reader :Glad you are back!!!!! Happy New Year, Stay safe and be careful.
    Your dress is just grate . 🙂
    Jeannine

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  • I just shared your flannel house dress with some friends and then I saw you had a new post! I have always enjoyed your writing and the beautiful things you make stay in my memories for years. I am so grateful for the things you share and will enjoy what you are willing to do. No pressure for more than you can or want to do! Now you have me itching to sew again!

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  • You’re back! I totally get not wanting to blog though if you’re having a tough time with a computer.

    Love the dresses, and as always you are an inspiration!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  • Have so enjoyed reading a blog post from you again. I can only imagine the frustration of the pattern piece mix up but the finished dress looks fantastic. Interesting to read about all the little details. Happy New Year.

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    • Welcome back! I opened the blog up on a whim to read through the “Sew for Victory” jacket (been watching Bomb Girls again and getting hype about 40s fashions!) and what do I see but – after so long – a new post! There are a few of us that still follow blogs after all. Love the new Christmas dress and I totally feel that frustration – I just uncovered the bodice pieces to my favorite dress pattern that have been hiding for two years! All I’ve had to work off of while they’ve been away was a piece I copied, chopped up to resize and had to tape back together when I resized it far too big!

      Glad to see you back, if even only for a minute.

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  • So happy to see a post from you, your blog has always been one of my favorites when it comes to sewing! Your dress is beautiful and I’m so glad it still turned out wearable despite the pattern mishaps!

    Wishing you a very happy start to the new year!

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  • Oh! So glad to see you posting again! Glad I decided to check back! And flannel for a winter dress? What a fabulous idea. (also, same as someone previously commenting, I was lead back here by your Sew for Victory Jacket post 🙂 )

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  • […] to have to excuse my Christmas decorations. I took photos of this project at the same time as my flannel poinsettia dress. Look at me being all prepared like I still know how to do this or something. Except I forgot to […]

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  • […] you for all the kind comments on my last blog post, and hey guess what, I didn’t make you wait over a year for another one! It’s nice to […]

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  • Mary Mitchell January 25, 2021 at 5:29pm

    Read your blog religiously and enjoyed it so much. I was sad when you were on hiatus. I don’t know what made me check today, and I’m glad I did. Welcome back! Love the idea of holiday clothes. Any knitting lately?

    Reply

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