awesome sews #1: the Holy Grail of simplicity

Hello, and pardon the unsophisticated pun, which, I’m afraid, might be here to stay. As you may guess said “awesome sews” are beautiful clothes made by other sewists that I like so much I want to spread the word about them.

My own sewing newly revived by the miraculous repair of the machine* is nowhere near that Holy Grail standard but very much in the category of repeat offence. I celebrated Mr. Zippy’s** return to the land of the living by immediately sewing up another Scout tee and Laurel tee. No photos, no proof, no worries, though.

There is hope that I might expand my simple top repertoire thanks to the Hayden top from the new Seamwork.  

Hayden from Seamwork Magazine, illustrating my topic.

Who knows when that might happen, though, as even with the machine back and running I would be like the tortoise to the Machineless Sewist’s olympic gold medalist hare — and she’s machineless (which, given her sewing speed, should be machine-free). Here is her Hayden, whipped up what seems like minutes after the pattern release. It’s beautiful and I’m really sorry that it doesn’t fit.

That’s the first garment I would like to share with you. The other examples of perfection in their simplicity are mostly dresses. Here they are:

  • Liza Mae’s take on this ’60s shift pattern. The piecing on the front yoke gives it a certain je ne sais quoi — because I have no clue how to define it but it made that dress so much cooler for me than the envelope art would have me believe was possible (and I love me some wacky pattern illustrations!)
  • This terracotta rayon dress. I’m always in awe of Carolyn’s sewing and her sense of style. In this case what she’s done with the pattern is really magical — if you click on the tiny pattern envelope at the bottom of her post you will see that she really went beyond what it advertised.
  • This black dress worn — and, I’m guessing, made — by Natalie Purschwitz during her Makeshift Project. Sadly, the blog post doesn’t offer any details about the pattern. It reminds me of the Pattern Magic books, but I’m not sure that that’s where it’s from.
  • Once again, a dress by Liza Mae — she’s made my dream of the ’90s here. Well, it’s not my dream if you just showed me the pattern envelope. That would make it merely a memory of the ’90s.
  • Jo’s great version of the Kenedy dress. I agree — I like it without the ties!
  • Lindsey’s version of the Astrid wrap pants from Named Patterns’ new collection. I’m not sure I could pull them off but I’m really intrigued by the design.

What’s your idea of perfect simplicity?
* teamwork with my talented husband, helped significantly by online tutorials
** yes, that’s what I call my machine; it had to come out eventually


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

7 thoughts on “awesome sews #1: the Holy Grail of simplicity”

    1. I really love those dresses. They have that kind of combination of casual elegance and comfort that I hope for when I sit down to figure out my sewing.

      I have a soft spot for ’90s fashion. And by “soft spot” I mean that I’ve forgotten a lot of its sins and replaced them with something like this Pinterest collage.Often when confronted with actual ’90s clothes I realize how many of the cheesy, ill-fitting parts of that reality I’ve censored for myself.


  1. Haha! Thanks for the mention 🙂 although I’m not sure that my sewing counts as speedy when I can’t even wear the finished product! And oh my I love that terracotta dress by Cassie – that really is beautiful simplicity – if only I wasn’t so obsessed with prints…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean — prints are just so memorable. And when shopping for solids, you really need to think about the shade of the color. It’s especially tricky if you’re shopping online.

      I think I saw at least one more sewist commenting on how small this pattern runs. I’m wondering now if perhaps there’s an issue with the pattern grading/scaling in the file itself… Colette Patterns aren’t usually known for running small.

      That fit and the color of that terracotta dress are just fantastic, I agree absolutely 🙂


      1. Really? That’s interesting… I did think that it was so small, it seemed like a big difference based only on printing differently. I haven’t got around to starting on the next version, but I think I will measure the pieces this time!


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