chic & simple sewing & home ec September 4, 2009

I got a copy of Christine Haynes’ lovely book, Chic & Simple Sewing, a little while back and had a chance to sew myself one of her pieces — the Retro Shift. It’s one of my favorite dresses ever!

retro shift dress

Christine gave me some advice on grading the pattern up slightly. (I’m about a size 12 in ready-to-wear sizes, so I just added a little width on each side of the front and back pieces following the cutting lines, but used the L collar piece provided in the book’s patterns as-is.) I made a simple sash to give it some shaping, but I really like the way it fits without it.

retro shift dress

I added a layered set of vintage buttons and some tucks to my neckline too. When I have time to sew for fun again, I’m definitely making another one, but this time I think I’ll make the Back-to-School version, which has sleeves and (optional) patch pockets.

buttons and tucks at the collar

What I love about Christine’s designs is how utterly adaptable they are. I was able to change the size of my dress pretty easily, and the simplicity of the lines on many of the pattern pieces give you an idea of how to adjust them to fit you in either direction. Even more, I love the custom bits and pieces you can add to her basic shapes — they make the clothes totally yours.

Diane sewed herself the Back-to-School dress and it’s gorgeous!

Diane and my first kanzashi flower!

She used vintage fabric from the Kitten and added a casing with a drawstring tie belt as well. So cute. I also adore the fabric flower she’s modeling here, from her wonderful book, Kanzashi in Bloom.

Diane and my first kanzashi flower!

I saw Karissa Jo’s fantastic Baby Doll dress in the Chic & Simple Sewing flickr pool and just loved it too.

Karissa Jo's anniversary dress

She made it as an anniversary dress, and added some very cool modifications, like custom pockets and contrast fabric, which you can read more about here.

Meanwhile, Christine has some fantastic sewing classes lined up at Jenny Ryan’s beautiful new Home Ec. store in Los Angeles!

Home Ec!

She has some amazing classes for fall: Sewing 101, Baby Doll Top, Reversible Wrap Skirt, and a couple of others.

Home  Ec!

And Jenny is throwing a party tonight to celebrate her beautiful new space — I wish I could go!

Home Ec!

Lots more details are here, and Jenny says:

Our Grand Opening Celebration is Friday, September 4 from 7-10pm. We’ll have snacks and drinks, and there will be fun crafty surprise giveaways to boot. Be there!

Home Ec. Silver Lake
3815 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90026

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