Monday, July 21, 2014

~Tara Tank Nursing Dress

One of our lovely seamstresses, Sarah Lewis, made this beautiful nursing dress from the Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress pattern. The Tara Tank dress is the main style while Baker Lane's Catherine's Choice dress is the inspiration for the nursing access. We thought all of you would like to see this creative use of these two patterns. Don't you just love those beautiful tucks? Here at Practically Pretty by Design, we customize clothing to fit your needs and style! Don't hesitate to think outside the box and contact us for your own custom dress!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy Seamstress, Happy Daughter

My dear friend in sewing has sent me a photo of  her daughter, wearing a dress made by adapting the Peasant Blouse Pattern to make a dress! She says:

I made Viola a dress from the blouse pattern I bought from you, and figured I would share a picture of the finished product.   I love the pattern and it is super easy to put together!!!    

I really appreciate your efforts in designing this pattern!

In case you were interested here are my sewing notes:    I used the Girls' Peasant Blouse pattern size large. Viola's measurements:  Chest 27", waist 23 1/2",  and hips 32".  For the front blouse I added 1 1/2"  at the hip area, and I didn't take in the curve of the blouse I just cut that straight.   For the back blouse I added 2  1/2"  at the hip area and again I didn't curve the  waist, instead I cut it straight from the arm pit down.  For the waist line elastic and contrast trim,  I measured the blouse from the arm pit down 3 1/2" and that was perfect for her.  I wanted this dress long, plus enough extra length to add a tuck, so I measured  29" down from each edge of the blouse, and made each half of the dress 16" wide at the bottom.  This gave her a total hem width of 64".   For the neck and waist  elastic measurements I kinda went by the girls shift dress pattern.  Viola has plenty of room to grow in this dress, so I'm hoping to be able to use this pattern for another year or so yet.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year Pattern

Would you believe it?! The peasant blouse pattern is ready to post, after many computer and server glitches over the past few months, both in West Virginia and in Kenya, where my daughter Jennie Chancey lives.

While we were visiting Jennie's family in Kenya this Fall, I was privileged to introduce the Simple Peasant Blouse Pattern to Jennie's sewing guild. We had a wonderful three hours showing the ladies how to measure, cut and sew several blouses. It was a challenge, since I only had with me my personal pattern sized for me! We adjusted the size for each lady, but did not have time to complete all the blouses we cut out. The leader of the guild was going to help the rest of the ladies make their blouses after we left.


We hope you will be happy with this simple pattern which comes in Girls' small, medium and large, and also in Ladies' 10--16 and 3X. The directions are similar to the Girls' Simple Gathered Shift pattern many of you have been using. It is easy to adjust the pattern to suit you, since it has just three pieces. Have fun making your own creative alterations!

Add to Cart


Add to Cart


May God bless you with a wonderful New Year! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Presenting ~Catherine's Choice

The Practically Pretty seamstresses are now pleased to announce a new offering for motherhood, and every season before and after. Visit the Ladies Dresses page for more information on Catherine's Choice!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oops! Design Glitches Found

Wouldn't you know? As soon as we said the pattern was almost on its way, I found an error! By "accident," I discovered a mistake in the long sleeve version of this blouse when I decided to make myself one for the Fall and Winter. I had made many short sleeve versions for children and adults that worked well, but it was not until I made a long sleeve version for myself that I realized I needed to improve the pattern.

Back to the drawing board, I adjusted the pattern for the long sleeve version and made myself a new blouse with the altered pattern. Now we must take the new design back to the company who scans the pattern, transforming it into a down-loadable file usable for our customers. When we finally get that done, you will be able to purchase the pattern here.

Our desire is to give you a pattern that can be easily adjusted to your own needs and altered creatively by you. Thanks so much to the friends who have encouraged us to persist in making sure this pattern will be truly practical and pretty for all those who love to sew for themselves and their daughters.

To God alone, who helps us frail mortals, be the glory!

Monday, July 23, 2012

At Last! The new Simple Peasant Blouse pattern is on its way!

After working over a year on our new blouse pattern, we see the end in sight! It took the help of several friends acting as models and pattern testers to get the final pattern design ready to go to the printers!

The blouse is simple to make-- only three pattern pieces-- and can be adjusted several ways to achieve different looks.

Thank you for your patience. We hope you will like it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pillowcase Project

Whenever I go to yard sales and flea markets, I always look for interesting pillowcases, since some of our granddaughters love to make skirts out of them. They cut off the bottom seam, turn the edge under, stitch, install elastic, and voila`: an instant play skirt.

Recently, I found some pillowcases with ruffles at the opening edge and wondered if there might be something I could make out of them besides skirts. So I experimented with the Girls Simple Gathered Shift pattern. Here is a photo of three pillowcases I had found.

First, I checked out all my bias tape colors on hand to see what would be the best for each dress. I thought the white one with a red ruffle, and the yellow print with cream ruffle would be easy to make into dresses for 2 to 4 year olds, depending on the length of the cases. The blue check was from a king sized pillowcase, and looked almost too plain for an attractive dress.

Then I placed the pillowcases on my dining room table and cut off the stitched bottoms.

Since I liked the red and white one best, I wanted to start with that one, so I opened up the case and folded the pillowcase with the side edges together, so that the seamed side of the pillowcase was in the middle of the pillowcase fabric at the arm side of the pattern and the front and back pattern pieces were on the side folds of the pillowcases. (NOTE: The center fold edges of the pattern will not fit the limits of the pillowcase. Just make sure they are parallel with the edges of the pillowcase.) Then I placed the GSGS size 2 pattern pieces over the case with the arm sides overlapping in the center.

The photo at left shows the red/white dress laid over a yellow ruffled curtain for contrast. I hope to make a larger dress out of the curtain.)

I cut the yellow print dress using the red and white dress as the pattern.There was not enough of the yellow print left to make sleeves, so I may make that one a sleeveless dress that can also be used as a jumper.

Since I like doing the hardest chores first instead of my favorite chore, I decided to start on the pale blue checked dress. It was the king size pillowcase, so I made it large enough for a 5 year old, and was able to get sleeves, too. When I placed the GSGS pattern over the blue check, I was able to make it 30 inches long to fit a size 5.

After cutting out the dress, I used the remnant to cut two sleeves on the fold.

You can see how much longer the blue is compared to the yellow.

I had decided on a pale yellow bias trim for the blue check dress, since the blue was such a pale check; but it did look too washed out. Until-- I found some scraps from one of my skirts that worked great as a second tier ruffle above the blue check ruffle. After adding a pocket from my skirt scraps, the dress looked better than I ever thought I could make out of that plain old checked pillowcase!

It is a great satisfaction making a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear!” Some days I think I will just throw away all my “quilt scraps” in that big bag of scraps I keep in the laundry room– but then again, I would lose all those wonderful possibilities of making a lovely dress out of an old pillowcase! Or curtain!

Speaking of curtains-- the ruffled curtains make wonderful petticoats or bloomers! Have you tried making a peasant blouse out of the GSGS pattern by simply cutting off the top to the blouse length you want? (BEFORE you cut out the pattern, fold up the GSGS pattern piece to the desired length for a blouse, plus hem allowance.)

Please share any other ideas for using the Girls Simple Gathered Shift Pattern!