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The Confident Stitch

  • We Have The Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern

    Kate in front of store wearing Cashmerette Appleton dress Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern sewn in Organic Soy Knit

    Close-up of hem basted in place Wrap Dress Hem Basted in Place -- Ready for the Cover Stitch Machine

    Closeup of Wrap Dress Basted Hem Bottom Hem Basted in Place from the Wrong Side -- Ready for the Cover Stitch Machine!

    I am so excited that we have the Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern! Jenny has designed six patterns for curvy women in the past year, and I'm sure she has more in the pipeline. Sizes range from 12 - 28, with cup sizes C - H. Woo Hoo! Here is the link to our pattern.


    Based on my hip and bust measurements, I cut out a size 12 with cup size G/H. The size 14 with cup size G/H would have been better. You can see in the photo that the skirt wrap is pulling to the side. Next time I will cut out the size 14! (And, there will definitely be a next time.)

    Using the sewalong on the Cashmerette website made sewing the dress a breeze. The fabric I used was The Confident Stitch Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Navy and Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Loganberrywhich were both easy to sew with and super comfortable to wear.

    Extra Steps lead to success!

    A few minutes of hand stitching can set things up for success. I wanted to sew the hems of this dress with the coverstitch machine, which meant stitching from the right side without being able to see if I was catching the hem. So, I hand basted the hem with our Japanese fine silk basting thread from the wrong side, which allowed me to see the stitching line from the right side, and get a perfect cover-stitched hem the first time. The silk thread slipped out easily after I stitched the hem.

    I recommend this pattern with only one caveat -- It has negative ease in both the bust and the hip, meaning that the final bust and hip measurements will actually be smaller than your bust and hip, so you may want to size up, or at least be honest with yourself about your measurements (a lesson I need to learn over and over again!).


  • The Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric

    Front of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt Front of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric


    Closeup of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Closeup of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric

    Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Pattern Review:

    Bonnie created a lovely Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in our beige woven striped fabric. The Liberty Shirt is one of Kate’s favorite patterns, and many of our customers love it! Now Bonnie is a convert, too. She really liked the French seams and the clean-finished mitered corners. She also loved the unique, slightly ruffled collar, and how the diagonal lines enhance striped fabrics.

    The Liberty Shirt can be a flowy shirt, a jacket, or even a vest. As with all Sewing Workshop patterns, it is impeccably drafted. It also runs a little large.

    We all love Bonnie's fabric choice -- the striped woven was easy to sew with, and it created a hefty-yet-flowy jacket.

    Bonnie made a size medium. She liked the fit everywhere but the shoulders. She was surprised that the shoulder seams extended beyond the end of her shoulders, so she pivoted the armscye 1.5 inches, making the top of the armscye land at the point where her shoulder meets her arm. Kate doesn’t mind that the shoulder seam extends a little past the end of her shoulders. Just be aware that you may want to move the shoulder seams a bit. Bonnie also shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches, while Kate lengthened them by 2 inches (yes, she's tall).

    Our Conclusion:

    Bonnie would definitely make this shirt again, and Kate has already made three of them (all in size large)!

    Front of Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen The Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen

    Back of the Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen Back of Kate in her Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen

  • Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen

    IMG_7181 Bonnie's Colette Laurel dress from the side

    Bonnie, our seamstress, whipped up a Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen for herself a few months ago. She made Version 3 – the one with the bell sleeves. It turned out great.

    About Bonnie:

    You can learn more about Bonnie on our About Page, but I want to say a few words about her here. When Bonnie owned Custom Fashions here in Missoula, she was everyone’s favorite tailor. I am new to Missoula, but my husband Fred has lived in Missoula on and off for the past 40+ years, and although he is not the tailored-made type, he knew I had to get Bonnie to help out in the shop. After making Missoula look great for over 20 years, she now sews for herself and the shop mannequins. Her workwomanship is precise, and she knows which of our fabrics work for all of our patterns. We will all learn from the clothes she makes. Triple win!

    Bonnie's Colette Laurel Pattern Review:

    The Laurel was Bonnie’s first Colette pattern, and she has some tips for sewing the Laurel and Colette patterns in general:

    The pattern was a little wide and a little short for Bonnie. She suggests checking the finished measurements before cutting out.

    The bust darts are a little long – be sure to check dart placement before sewing them. Bust darts should not be noticeable, and they should stop approximately 1 inch from your apex. In Fit for Real People, Pati and Marta say, if you are very small busted, a dart can come to within ½-inch of your bust point. If you are full-busted, it should stop 1-to-3 inches from the bust point.

    Also, each sleeve bell is cut out of 2 pieces of fabric, and a seam is sewn along the bottom of the bell. The Brussels Washer Linen is a mid-weight fabric, and Bonnie felt the seam made the bell a little bit heavy. A good solution would be to either use a lightweight fabric for the inside layer, or to use the pattern pieces to create a new piece that could be folded along the bottom, instead of seamed.

    IMG_7184 The slightly bulky bell sleeve.

    IMG_7186 Colette Laurel Dress Pocket Detail

    Instead of a zipper, Bonnie made a key-hole opening in the back. She can still get in and out of the dress. If you’re intimidated by zippers, this dress could work for you!

    IMG_7188 Keyhole opening at the back neck -- No zipper!

    All in all, Bonnie is very happy with the dress, and working with the Brussels Washer Linen. Make sure to wash it and dry it before you cut out your garment – it does shrink!

  • McCall's 6355 Dress in Black Ikat Pattern Review

    McCall's 6355 dress pattern review McCall's 6355 Dress Pattern Review on a fall day

    If I had to pick my one favorite pattern (which I would hate to do), I would choose the McCall's 6355 dress and top pattern. I have made it so many times out of so many fabrics. I use it instead of a sloper pattern in my learn-to-fit bodices class, so my students can create wearable projects.

    Here is my McCall's 6355 dress pattern review:

    Pattern Description: Semi-fitted top and dress with optional front and back vertical darts, self-neck binding and optional invisible side seam zipper.

    Pattern Sizing: 16-18-20-22. I made a size 16.

    Did it look like the photo? Yes, it did.

    Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Not only does this pattern have the Palmer/Pletsch alteration lines already drawn on it, but also Patti Palmer wrote the instructions herself.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? I love this pattern. The alteration lines make it easy to make any changes. I can keep or remove the vertical darts for a loose or tight fit. I don’t have any dislikes.

    Fabric used: Designer Ikat Canvas with Rainbow Stripe from The Confident Stitch.

    Pattern alterations and any design changes you made: I did a 5/8” full-bust adjustment, and a ½” broad-back adjustment.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my second McCalls 6355 dress, and I’ve made 4 or 5 McCalls 6355 tops, so YES!

    Conclusion: This is a winner of a pattern. It can be made loose or fitted, long- or short-sleeved. It can be a dress or a top. The shape is universally flattering, and yet I have trouble finding ready-made dresses or tops with the same shape. I used a black-striped Ikat from The Confident Stitch for this dress, and it was easy to sew with. I made the stripes vertical so I wouldn’t have to match them, and to make the dress more slimming: Win-Win.

    Have you made this pattern? What is your McCall's 6355 dress pattern review?

    McCall's 6355 dress pattern review McCall's Dress Sleeve Closeup


  • We Have Luxurious Maiyet Fabrics

    Silk top and shorts from Maiyet A swoon-worthy silk top and short set from Maiyet's 2013 collection

    Luxurious Metallic silk fabric from Maiyet We have this luxurious metallic silk fabric from Maiyet's 2013 collection

    Oooh-La-La Maiyet!

    Have you heard of the New York designer, Maiyet? Until a month ago, I had not. So, when I heard we could get a bundle of luxurious Maiyet fabrics from one of our suppliers, I quickly checked out the company's website. The site took my breath away. And, my quick internet search revealed Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Reese Witherspoon also love the brand.

    The fine garments sold by Maiyet are lovely and expensive because the Maiyet team is:

    "motivated and empowered by the promise of preserving ancient artisan techniques and elevating the next generation of master craftsmen from places such as India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, Bolivia, Japan and Thailand. From textile weaving in Varanasi, India to sourcing cashmere fiber from Outer Mongolia, Maiyet has worked with the world's most extraordinary talents in techniques as diverse hand knitting, macrame, crochet, hand block print development, reverse appliqué, embroidery, batik, shibori, metal working and hand carving."

    I am proud to be able to offer you these one-of-a-kind fabrics. We have between one and five yards of each fabric, so they are going fast. We started with 30 different Maiyet fabrics, and we only have 18 left. Click here to see all the Maiyets we have for sale. Click here to check out the Maiyet website for yourself.

  • Jalie Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Pattern Review

    Eleanore pull-on jeans Front View Eleanore pull-on jeans front view

    Bonnie made a cute pair of Jalie Eleanore Pull-On Jeans out of floral stretch denim -- available here.  They look cute on her, but she did make some major alterations. Here is her review of the pattern:

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yep it did, after many adjustments.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, they were.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I loved the style and the use of stretch denim. I didn’t like the lowness of the rise, or the single-layer yoke.

    Fabric used:

    Floral Stretch Denim from The Confident Stitch.

    Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

    After comparing the pattern to a pair of ready-made pull-on jeans I like, I made some changes based on the differences between the pattern and the ready-made jeans. My ready-made jeans had a much higher rise, so I raised the back rise by 3 inches, and the front rise by 1 inch.

    I also had trouble making the waist small enough, so I created a fake fly with 3 hooks, which allowed me to cinch in the waist and still get the pants over my hips.

    Would you sew the Eleanore Pull-On Jeans again? Would you recommend the jeans to others?

    Why, yes I will. I love my pants. I recommend this pattern to intermediate sewers who know how to alter patterns.


    The Eleanore Pull-On Jean is a great pattern for anyone who loves a low-rise. It is also a good pattern for anyone who wants a mid-rise and knows how to make the alteration.


    Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Side View Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Side View

    Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Back View Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Back View

    Eleanore pull-on jeans back pocket detail Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Back Pocket Detail

    Detail of the faux front pocket on the Eleanore Pull-On Jeans Eleanore pull-on jeans faux front pocket detail



  • Colette Peony Handmade Dress in Stretch Sateen

    colette peony sateen confident stitch Kate in her Colette Peony


    Colette Peony Sateen Confident Stitch Kate in her Stretch Sateen Peony

    Selecting the next sample to make is a collaborative effort around here. One of us has an idea for a perfect fabric/pattern combo, and we all discuss and decide together. Usually, Bonnie makes samples in her or Jane's size, since they are both approximately a size 6 -- the same size as our mannequins -- but, sometimes I luck out, and we decide to make something in a larger size. Enter the Colette Peony! You can find the pattern on our website here.

    Here are Bonnie's answers to the Pattern Review questions about the Colette Peony:

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yes, it did.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?


    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I liked the style lines and that Colette Patterns fit Kate in the bust without any alterations. I didn’t like the height of the bateau neckline (too high), and I didn’t like the back sleeve cap ease. I lowered the neckline almost 1 inch, and took out approximately ¾” of the sleeve cap in the back.

    Fabric Used:

    Two black and white stretch sateens: Figure Eights, and Polka Dots. I liked using fabrics with the same colors but different designs for this dress. They were great to sew and fit with, but I narrowed the skirt a few inches because the lack of drape in the fabric made the skirt very wide.

    colette peony sleevecap alteration Bonnie increased the seam allowance for the the sleeve cap in the back to reduce fullness there.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    I lowered the neckline almost 1 inch, and took out approximately ¾” of the sleeve cap in the back. I also narrowed the skirt by approximately 3 inches.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and yes. I really love the dress, and the alterations were not difficult.


    One of Colette’s original patterns, this dress is still in style and a great choice for those of us with hourglass figures.


  • Accidental Cool Jeans

    Looking powerful in my cool new jeans! Looking powerful in my cool new jeans!

    In case I haven't mentioned this before, I am extremely tall -- 6 feet tall to be exact -- and, most of my length is in my legs. I love to make pants that are long enough, but sometimes I don't add enough length to the pattern. The pants seem long enough until I yank the center back up a few inches to compensate for my flat derriere, and they turn out too short. Talk about a return to 7th-grade trauma!

    This is what happened with my beloved boot-cut jeans from a couple of years ago. Then I had an idea -- skinny jeans can be shorter than boot-cuts, right? I followed Jennifer Stern's advice on how to taper a pair of boot-cut jeans . I took out the hem in order to create the taper. I was planning to re-sew the hem after tapering, but when I saw the cool shibori look at the bottom of my well-worn jeans, I decided to leave them unhemmed. Now the jeans are longer, trendy AND tapered. Win-win-win for me!

    Shoes handmade in Missoula by Bean_an_ti. Shoes handmade in Missoula by Bean_an_ti.

  • Grainline Lakeside Pajamas

    1 Grainline Lakeside Pajamas made in Art Gallery Voile in Sunday Clippings. All photos by Bess Bird Photography.

    The very first piece of clothing I made once I started sewing in earnest was a Grainline Scout Tee. It's become an indispensable staple, along with its knit sister, the Lark Tee. I appreciate the simplicity of the designs (everyday wear, hurray!) and the well-written instructions.

    Last month, I decided to make Grainline's Lakeside Pajamas for our hot Montana summers. I. Love. Them. They have enough design to make them interesting, but are simple enough for a novice like me to sew up with no problem. This has been one of the few patterns I've cut and sewn straight from the box - no alterations needed. There is something so satisfying about having a pattern that just fits, right off the bat.

    Overlapping back detail. Overlapping back detail.

    When making a shirt or a dress, I usually I have to make the top one size and then grade out a size or two below the waist. With the Lakeside PJs, I was able to make the top in a size 6 and the bottoms in a size 10. (Try doing that with ready-to-wear!) I double-checked all of my measurements and then followed the sizing guidelines, and ta-da, they fit like a dream. As tempting as it was to make the entire set in a size 6 (oh hi, vanity!), I'm relieved that I actually made the size that was recommended for me; believe me, carefully sized and drafted patterns are not to be taken for granted!

    Miles and miles of binding.. but so worth it! Miles and miles of binding... but so worth it!

    The shorts required a leap of faith. You have to attach most of the bias binding to the edges of each piece before you sew up any major seams, which makes it really difficult to make adjustments once you're underway. (Of course you could baste or pin the shorts together without the binding before you get started for a rough idea of fit, but did I think to do that? Of course not!) The method for sewing on the binding and then assembling the shorts seems confusing at first glance. But I dutifully followed the instructions step by step, and, as promised, it all worked out beautifully.

    I made these PJs with Art Gallery's Sunday Clippings Voile. Because it is so silky and lightweight, the Art Gallery Voile was a little slippery, but I used a new needle and took my time, and I was able to handle the fabric with very few problems. If you haven't sewn with Art Gallery fabrics yet, you are in for a treat. The quilting cottons are finer and softer than most quilting cottons, and the voiles are even finer than Liberty of London (in my opinion).  AND, Art Gallery voiles make great blouses. Our customer, Debrah Fosket wore her lovely Vogue blouse to the shop the other day and graciously agreed to be photographed.

    _B9B1559 A well-made blouse in a pretty fabric. Nice work, Debrah!


    I highly recommend these jammies -- and of course I'm partial to the super-soft voile. They're comfortable, cute, and a fairly quick sew (especially if you use pre-made bias binding like this). Plus, either the shorts or the tank top can stand alone in the right fabric. No one needs to know that they're a pajama pattern! I'm already planning a light summer tank top with this pretty rayon and some casual shorts with this sweet tencel.

  • Merchant and Mills Shirt Dress in Rayon


    The Cotton + Steel Rayon makes the dress so flowy. The Cotton + Steel Rayon makes the dress so flowy.

    In order to showcase our lovely Cotton + Steel rayons, I had Bonnie make me a Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt out of Pixel Print Rayon in Neon.

    I think rayon is a great choice for all the Merchant and Mills dresses, which are not very fitted, and can look boxy. Bonnie made me a size 16 based on my measurements, but a size 14 would have fit just fine.

    I washed and dried the fabric before Bonnie cut it out so that I wouldn’t have any shrinkage.

    Bonnie loved working with both the fabric and the pattern – her only caveat is that the fabric is slippery, which makes it hard to cut out. We have been experimenting with Best Press for slippery fabrics. It is a clear spray that is touted as a “sizing alternative,” and it gives all fabrics a little stiffness.

    I love this dress! The curved bib in the front gives it enough shape, and the shirt-tail hem is so cute. I could wear it every day in the summer!

    I love the gathering below the back yoke I love the gathering below the back yoke

    The curved bib in front keeps the dress slightly form-fitting The curved bib in front keeps the dress slightly form-fitting

    Photos by Bess Bird Photography

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