If it’s May, then it’s my birthday!  If it’s my birthday, then it’s time for the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival!

This year was a little extra special – it is my 40th birthday!  (My mother feels she’s too young to have a 40 year old child, but I reminded her that at 63, she’s still young, especially in spirit!)

The Burlesque Festival did not disappoint and neither did this popular pattern!

I used Butterick 4790, the reproduction pattern for the walk-away dress.  I had my heart set on a specific fabric, but couldn’t find the yardage I needed, at a price that was reasonable, that I could get my hands on in time.  Boo!

While I was sulking, I found a delightfully kitschy zombie print at .  Not exactly what I wanted, but a fun 2nd place.

THEN, I stumbled upon and found exactly what I wanted, for the price I wanted and shipping was reasonable and fast!   Michael Miller’s Atomic in Turquoise!

Love both choices, but my heart called for turquoise!

Full disclosure:  I made this dress for my friend a couple of years ago and already knew what kind of alterations I would need for myself.  The neckline on this dress isn’t as scooped as it looks in the picture, so I went ahead and dropped the neck about an inch and half.  I have narrow shoulders, so I narrowed the shoulders by half an inch.  I purposely made this dress a size smaller, as I planned to wear a waist cincher.  I’m also 5’2″, so I brought up the hem by two inches.  Instead of a button and loop to close the back, I used elastic tabs and snaps – much more comfortable! I also used two inch horsehair braid for the hem of the full skirt.  It’s worth the extra time!

I had heard the complaints about the skirt flying up, so I decided to wear a vintage slip, and lucky for me, I had one in coral that matched the fabric!

Oh la la la!

I was rushing around and didn’t get very many post-able pictures, but here’s one that shows the full length view.  I was stopped a couple of times and asked where I purchased my dress!  I was also asked if I was one of the performers.  Those ladies are always so pulled together and elegant, I was pleased to be mistaken for one of them!

Awkward blocking the stairs pose in the theatre.

Here’s an extra picture of me and my friend being silly before the rest of the girls showed up!  Happy 40th to me!

Cheeky selfie!


A couple of months ago, I found myself in between projects and I wanted something quick to sew to cleanse the sewing palette.

I went digging through my out of control collection of vintage patterns and found this Advance 8816 in size 16 I picked up last year from Etsy.

How adorable is this pattern?

I scrounged around my fabric stash and found something that would be suitable for a pair of cute pyjamas.  What I found was ridiculous, but perfect.

Pretty underthings.

Why not make a pair of pyjamas out of a lightweight cotton with lingerie printed on it?  I was sold.  I didn’t QUITE have enough for the pant view, so I had to make the shorts and use white broadcloth for unseen facings.  I also realized too late that I didn’t have enough cotton bias tape for the shorts, so I made do with rayon bias tape for them.  Sometimes you just have to compromise on a spur of the moment project!

The top is a little more involved than I would have originally thought, but I love the sheer ridiculousness of the finished product.  The shorts were straight-forward and easy-peasy.

My dress form doesn’t have “legs” so the shorts look awkward on her, but check out the top!!!

Ridiculously cute I say!

After some discussion with my friend, it’s agreed that I should make this again in a sheer, flimsy fabric.  She suggested mauve fabric with bubblegum pink satin piping.  Pastels aren’t my thing, but I like the idea. To be continued?…








I’ve been busy the last couple months with sewing that wasn’t vintage.  There were a couple of zombie events where I needed to make a Pride and Prejudice costume and a steampunk-ish costume.  Then I needed to make three Santa themed costumes.

I digress, this post isn’t about those projects.

A bit of back story – my husband spends pretty much 99% of his days in shorts, tank top and button down shirts.  EVEN WHEN IT SNOWS.  It use to be T-shirts, but as he’s the owner of his own tech company, I finally talked him into wearing shirts with buttons.

Quite a few months ago I posted about a box of retro patterns I was gifted by a friend and her family.  It was filled with patterns from the 50s-70s for men, women and kids.  This project is a button down shirt from that box of patterns.

Simplicity 5029 - View 3

I showed the hubby a couple of different patterns and he chose the pattern above, view 3 (short sleeves).

The hubby is a big fan of orange and plaid and I managed to find plaid shirting for $4/m.  I pre-washed and matched the stripes before cutting.  I know a lot of people find matching plaid intimidating, but a shirt project is a good place to start.  You don’t necessarily need to match every seam – it’s up to you.

I decide to cut the front pocket, the collar and back yoke on the bias to give the shirt some visual interest.  This patterns had the ease in the back dealt with slight gathering instead of pleats.  For a casual shirt, I think this is a great idea, but would still use pleats if I was making the dress shirts.

Back yoke.


Close up of front details.

One of the little details this shirt has that I love is the notched sleeve.  Simple detail, but a really nice touch.

Notched sleeve detail.

My hubby LOVES his new shirt, but he’s too shy to model it for us, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  My petite mannequin doesn’t quite fill out this shirt adequately enough to stand in for my 6’2″, 195lb hubby, but she’ll have to do.

The finished shirt on my female mannequin.

Until next time – keep your machines purring along!
xo girliefrank




I’m in the midst of making my Pride and Prejudice and Zombies costume, but as much as I’m enjoying it, there is a whole lot of cream going on with the dress.  I decided to whip up a colourful little dress for my friend’s wee girl.

If you have read my previous posts, you’ll know that I was lucky enough to receive a box of 68 vintage patterns for my birthday from a friend’s mum.  This little dress is the first pattern used from that amazing gift.

Butterick 4246 with the pink linen found in the envelope.

I used this Butterick 4246, View B – Sleeveless A-line dress with large bow detail in back.  When I opened up the envelope, I found the pink linen and a pink zipper tucked inside.  I was told by the gifter, that her family member remembers the pink dress!

Gum drop quilting cotton from my stash.

I found just enough of this quilting cotton to make the dress in my stash.  I love how colourful and cheerful this fabric is.  I like to use quilting fabrics for kids clothes.  They usually hold up pretty good to wash and wear and they’re easy to work with.

I’m addicted to using Hug Snug – even in kids clothes.  If I had just over-locked the seams, the dress would have been whipped up in an afternoon, BUT as I said – I’m addicted.

Here are pictures of the finished product:

Simple front.

Back of dress with the sublime bow.

Finished seams with Hug Snug.

Now, back to the zombie dress with me!