Dressmaking part 2

Earlier this year I took a dressmaking class at the lovely Evanston Stitchworks.

Then when my mom came to visit, instead of heading to the Mall we picked out my new future wardrobe based on the gorgeous fabrics owner Amalia curates at Stitchworks. It was good to get a second opinion on some of the fabrics I had been eyeing.

My first mission was to re-make the dress I had learned to do in class. What I learned is that I had some serious beginners luck with the blue version.

I prepped the new fabric and impatiently waited for it to dry.

Because this fabric has birds flying in a specific direction, I already needed help in the cutting stage, not sure how to account for the direction of the fabric based on the layout in the booklet. I swung by Stitchworks with photos, and I was directed along the right path.

I also cut up the other pattern, so I checked the interfacing template against the old dress just in case.

Then, I realized that it had been a long time since the workshop, and I forgot the steps to many sewing parts. So I consulted notes and a sewing manual to jog my memory.

I pinned everything together and started following instructions.

Soon the shoulders, sides and skirt were joined. I tried it on to make sure the darts were in the right place.

Then I realized that Amalia had helped me along on the dress-fold in a different way than the pattern instructions. The instructions called for sewing the dress sides before the skirt fold.

With French Seams, this made for some bunching on the sides. It had already taken me 3 tries to get the side seams right.

In my bonus session, we had actually sewn the top and skirt together first and then closed the side seams, but I had been too engrossed in following the written pattern instructions this time around.

I didn’t want to rip up the sides of the dress (again!), so, I soldiered on with ripping, re-stitching, and ripping again for the pleat. After a few adjustments, I made peace with attempt 3.

Replicating the perfect collar seams was a challenge too. While there are a plethora of Youtube tutorials out there, finding the one resembling what I learned was a challenge, so I did what I could.

I know the flaws the armholes have, but hopefully the fabric will detract from all the (re)stitching. Then, in the final stretch, it turns out my neckline was larger than the bias I had cut out.

Oh seamripper, here you are again…

Thankfully I had purchased bias tape for a future project that matched the current fabric, so with the help of YouTube tutorials I was able to finish the dress in time for the Evanston Made Sip and Shop. I took pictures for visual reference next time.

I actually like the accent, so this mishap was a blessing in disguise.

It was fun to meet friends and hang out with local art for the final night of the exhibit.

Amalia was happy to see the dress finished in time as well, and rocking her latest creation.

I am happy with how it all turned out, and looking at both dresses cheers me up. I may shorten one of the hemlines, but haven’t decided on that yet.

Next up is a more complicated project, for which Amalia warned me to start with a sheet to get the sizing worked out. I’ll be planning some tutorial trips over to Stitchworks for that one. I am looking forward to having a studio dress in addition to then trying on a bolder fabric for outside wearing.

The Fall workshop line-up is in the works now, so check back on the Evanston Stitchworks page for new patterns and techniques to be taught. Meanwhile, I have many fabulous fat quarters awaiting conversion into pendants.

It’s fun to play with how the wax interacts with cotton and the different effect that has with the wire.

These are bigger pendants than my usual preference, but I know they will find homes.

One dragonfly stake with my blue dress fabric is undergoing garden testing in Germany right now. My own outdoors dragonfly is still doing well after a few storms and heat waves.


Trunk Show Fun

Before the Independence Day festivities I had some fun at Aurora Rose Boutique.


Mannequins were adorned with my pieces.


I might play with a scarf pendant necklace in the Fall.


I set up for my trunk show there with a pretty and whimsical view.


Having extra surfaces to display my wares was nice, as well as not having to worry about the weather.



I’ve amassed quite a few pendants now, and hope to see more explore the world with new owners.



I accessorized my Make by Megan K. Dress with a Hello Kitty Ring, Rock-A-Ring, and Spiced Up Shoes.


Other vendors came in to restock their wares, and I became enamored with these crochet animals from The Happy Star.


Luckily I was too busy to pull out my wallet, but the Octopi might get a cuddle and a ride home next month.


Kim provided tasty treats by Tastefully Simple.


I met fellow vendors, new Maraviglia fans, and friends during the afternoon, and enjoyed seeing a few adornments go home with new owners.


Kim was happy with the custom Scarf pendant I made, featuring the story and music score of Aurora Rose, or Sleeping Beauty as most of us know her.


I enjoyed the inspiration of other vendors.



And am pondering the projected survival rate of a terrarium with my no-green thumbs.


My July inventory is freshened up.


With a few new scarf pendants and necklace pendants. Detailed photos of the ones I left are here.


The next #AuroraRoseTrunkShow will be held on July 26th with A&Z Designs, a must for steampunk fans. Join Al & Zivi for a demonstration, meet and greet, and check out their handcrafted jewelry, hand-stamped metals and steam-punk inspired pieces.


Always shop local and handmade. It is so much more gratifying to own one-of-a-kind pieces and know you supported someone in your neighborhood.


NOTE: Only vendors already registered with Aurora Rose can have trunk shows there.

The Custer Fair is Saturday and Sunday

The hammer is down and I’ve made all the wire pieces I can make for Custer’s Last Stand. Here’s a sneak peek at the pieces that will be present on Saturday and Sunday.


My friend and tent lender Jason McPhillips is bringing his paintings, including cowboys and Indians, like General Custer and Crazy Horse.

Paintings by JasonMcPhillips

The fair began in 1972 on historic Custer Avenue named after General George Armstrong Custer in gratitude for his service to the Union during the Civil War. Eiden Park will have a Civil War re-enactment with canons and soldiers.

Civil war cannon Custer Fair

You’ll see General Custer and his entourage march through the fair at various times.


The 42nd annual Custer Street fair will be held on June 15th and 16th from 10 am till 9 pm around Custer Avenue, between Washington and Main Street and spilling out to Chicago Avenue in Evanston.


Come see us at Booth #48, on Custer Avenue just past Lupita’s on Main Street. We’ll be near the Show Arena.


The Chicago Painters and Artists’ Meetup will gather at 11 am on Sunday to peruse the festivities as a group. 250 Artists and craftspeople from across the nation come together to exhibit and sell paintings, ceramics, pottery, photographs, jewelry, graphic arts, wearable art, country and home craft, antiques and collectables. They are joined by 150 local businesses and commercial exhibitors who put on an old fashioned Sidewalk Sale. More than 30 food vendors offer a full international menu.

food at Custer Fair

Live Music will be playing throughout the day. Down the street from our booth, at Custer and Washington street, the Arena Stage will feature:

  • 11a Native American Dance Troupe
  • 12:30p  Piccolo Commedia Troupe
  • 1:30p Evanston School of Rock (15th) / Jutta & the Hi Dukes (16th)
  • 3p Ajoite Drummers
  • 4:30p Kraig Kenning
  • 5:45p Hip Circle
  • 6:30p Pyro & Penumbra Fire Spinning

Custer Fair music and dancing

The Festival Stage at Main St. & Chicago Ave. Showcases the following talent, with some seating so you can eat snacks while you watch rather than just inhaling their aromas from the food booths along Chicago.
Saturday June 15

  • 10a Evanston School of Rock
  • 11:30p Kent McDaniel band
  • 1:30p Hurricane Saxophone Quartet
  • 3:30p Highland Park Pops Big Band
  • 5:30p Country Doctors
  • 7p South Blvd Band

Sunday June 16

  • 11:30a Mark Cleveland Band
  • 1:30p John Temmerman Quartet
  • 3:30p Paul Maslin Group
  • 5:30p Chris Greene Quartet
  • 7p TCO featuring Rich Maisel & Terre Cohen

In Eiden Park the kids have a great time enjoying the kid centered exhibits, with free balloon sculptures, hula hooping, bubble blowing, fairy wing booths, water-guns and many games and toys to peruse. I personally hope the Raven stops by again this year.


At the Main Street Metra Station, smack in the middle of the fair, Piccolo Theatre presents the Marvelous Medicine Show extravaganza. Fifty variety performers perform throughout the fair amazing their audiences with juggling, magic, comedy, music, aerial acts and stage shows in Piccolo Theatre.


Admission to Custer Fair is free (with a suggested donation of $1), so save the dates and get ready for a rompin’, stompin’, shoppin’ good time! Click for an interactive map.


The Fair is accessible via the CTA Purple Line, Main Street Station, which gets you right into the Festival Stage action.


On the West side, those disembarking from Metra’s Union Pacific North (UP-N) line (Chicago to Kenosha) at the Evanston Main Street stop will land right into the Custer Avenue Arts & Crafts section (yep, that’s Maike’s Marvels and Studio McPhillips!).


Note that Chicago Avenue will be closed as of Kedzie Street with Traffic detours. You can find Street Parking on Judson and Hinman Avenues (East of Chicago Ave). Meters are free on Sundays. Garage locations are here.