A Love for Vintage

I have a huge love for vintage style dresses, but the price tag and smell on true vintage clothing is not a love of mine. Instead I gather inspiration from actual vintage clothing styles or high quality pin-up style clothing. I have to say my favorite decades are the 40s and 50s. I especially love the big dresses and skirts.

When I saw wide stretch mesh, I knew it would be perfect to recreate a dress that I fell in love with many years ago, if I paired it with Phee’s supplex. I had a hard time trying to decide between the plum and navy since I usually gravitate toward navy dresses, but I opted for the plum supplex because I knew it would go great with my mustard heels and blend perfectly with the black wide stretch mesh.


My next task was to find a pattern that would work for my dress. There were a few that I had in mind, then I realized that I already had the Manhattan Peplum & Dress pattern by New Horizon Designs. I realized that the cap sleeve version would then be perfect!

Disclaimer: Please note that my images are not in the order that I’m telling you to do this. From my own trial and error, I have written this to make things easier for you. I followed the same process for this post as I do when I write projects/hacks for sewing magazines, although I have not taken time to illustrate pictures. If you have questions, please comment and ask.


  • ½ yard wide stretch mesh
  • 2-2 ½ yards supplex (dependent on size)
    • I made a size 8/10/10, forgetting to account for a strapless bra, and should have sized up through the bust, but that’s an entirely different issue. I had enough fabric (it was the required amount for my size), and was also able to also lengthen my skirt by 2”.
  • ½ yard circular knit or knit lining (bodice lining)
  • ¼” clear elastic – This is not something that I measured, I wouldn’t start unless you have 2 yards minimum. Phee’s ¼” clear elastic is perfect in every way. I’m glad I don’t have to cut down 3/8” clear elastic anymore.
  • New Horizon Designs Manhattan Peplum & Dress or similar pattern.
  • Pattern/tracing paper, tape
  • Thread, scissors

Hack the Manhattan Bodice

Start by tracing out the bodice front and back pattern piece in your size, using the cap sleeve and the both of the underarm lines.


Around the lower part of the armscye on the front and back, add the seam allowance from the pattern in, so that you can begin to draw your style lines in. Since we began with the upper underarm line, even though this one isn’t the one that is intended for the cap sleeve, it gives a great starting point for the style lines.

On the bodice back, draw straight across, perpendicular from the center back fold to the point in the armscye.

On the bodice front, I wanted my mesh to be about 2 ½” down from the neckline (including the binding), as I didn’t want to worry about bending over and having my girls be seen by the world. So I measured 2 ½” down from the top along the center front fold, and made a 90 degree angle. I then created a curve that angled down toward the lower armscye, meeting with the seam allowance curve.

Cut the top and bottom pieces apart, make sure to mark the front and back top pieces. Add paper to where they were cut apart at, and add your seam allowance back in so that you can sew the top to the bottom.

Now is when you want to use the bottom underarm curve, I have marked this line in my pictures with a red line to point it out.

Cut Fabric

  • Wide Stretch Mesh:
    • Bodice Front Top – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Top – Cut 1 on Fold
  • Lining:
    • Bodice Front Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
  • Supplex:
    • Bodice Front Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Bodice Back Bottom – Cut 1 on Fold
    • Skirt – Cut 2 on Fold
    • 2 ½” Neckband – Cut 1 on Fold
      • Use the neckband pattern piece provided, but cut at 2 ½” wide.
    • 2 ½” Armbands – Cut 2
      • This length will be determined by the length of your cap sleeves plus an additional inch to tuck into the bodice. You can cut these when you get to this point with extra fabric.

Sew Dress

Sew the top mesh front and back pieces together. In my post earlier this month, I mention how I did this on my fishnet tights.

The neck and arm bindings will be added to the bodice top before attaching the bottom bodice pieces (this is different than my images). It doesn’t matter which is first.

Add your arm bindings, making sure to mark ½” on both ends of the binding to keep these free so they are easier to tuck down into the underarm seam. When measuring for how long your binding needs to be, make sure your mesh is fully open and not skewed in any direction.

Attach 1 long strip of the binding to the arm sleeve right sides together. This is easiest with a serger, as it helps to hold everything in place, but a wide narrow stitch zig zag on your sewing machine would work as well.

Once your binding is attached, fold the other edge in, for me it was easiest to clip this edge before moving on. Fold this edge over one more time, bringing the side into the fold that is attached to the mesh to conceal all raw edges. Pin or clip in place. Topstitch with a stretch stitch through all layers near the mesh edge, I used the triple stretch stitch on my sewing machine.

For the neckline, sew the two short ends with right sides together in the same way that the armbands are sewn. Evenly space out your neckline band around the bodice top neckline.


Attach the bottom bodice to the top. The process is the same for both the front and the back:

Sandwich the layers of the bodice (front or back), matching the seam that you created before cutting out the fabric:

  • Bodice (Front or Back) Bottom – Supplex – Right side up
  • Bodice (Front or Back) Top – Mesh – Right side down
  • Bodice (Front or Back) Bottom – Circular Knit or Lining – Right side down

Stitch together, using the seam allowance you created if it was different from that of the pattern. Do not stitch arm bindings down yet. Repeat to the other side.

Stitch side seams of bodice front to back, supplex to supplex and lining to lining. Baste the outer bottom to the lining bottom bodice at the side seam along the seam allowance. Turn right side out. Adjust the arm bindings so that they lay in the proper shape, and pin to the seam allowance by reaching under the exterior fabric to pin.

Once all the arm bindings are pinned, flip open the hidden seam attaching everything, and sew the under arms. Reinforce the corners with stitches from a machine if serged. Add clear elastic to all seams, holding taunt, possibly even pulling a little on the front seam line so that it hugs your curves (this is something I did not do, and need to fix it after looking at my pictures and my ill-fitting bra). I chose to leave my corners free of the clear elastic to reduce bulk. After this picture was taken, I then trimmed the corners to make the seams lay flatter.


Turn bodice right side out, and press the seams with your iron on a nylon setting.

Slightly trim 1/8” to ¼” off the bodice lining to help pull it to the inside of the garment and not show through the mesh.

Complete the skirt per the pattern’s instructions.

Attach the bodice and bodice lining as one piece to the skirt, following the remaining instructions in the pattern.

I am seriously in love with this dress, and the fact that it’s a full circle skirt so I can wear a petticoat with it. Now my next task is to start figuring out this bra thing so I can maybe make a strapless bra that actually fits me.


Note: This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Wiggle and Essential Tank Hack

Down here in Sunny Florida our month long Winter just ended and it was brutal, I am talking 50’s haha! Now that it is warm I have swim on the brain! So when I found out Wide Mesh was the promo this month I was so excited because I finally had the excuse to make myself a new coverup with the amazing, wide mesh I had been hoarding since September!

I have been dying to make the Wiggle Dress from Patterns for Pirates into a coverup. I did not necessarily want it so form fitting and thought it would mesh nicely with the Essential tank.

I am so happy with the results that I think I am going to make one from Rayon Spandex to wear everyday. Especially after all the new color options that Phee just listed. I only purchase my Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics because it is so high quality and it does not pill. Yes, that is what I said, it does not pill! It is seriously the best!

Not only was I extremely happy with the pattern but I loved the wide mesh so much I had to make another coverup and decided on a pair of Brassie Joggers. I was not disappointed with these either!

Materials: All from Phee Fabrics

Wiggle/ Essential Tank Hack

I already had both the Wiggle and Essential Tank patterns cut in my size, so after laying the pattern pieces on top of one another, I began by tracing the wiggle dress on the top portion and graded at the skirt to blend into the essential tank. I wanted the dress to be less form fitting through the waist and hips and more fitted on the top portion.

The front piece was much easier and straight forward because both fronts are cut on the fold. The back however was more difficult due to the fact that the back of the Wiggle is 2 mirror cut pieces and the Essential Tank is again cut on a fold. I wanted both my new pieces to be cut on a fold.

For this I concentrated on lining up 3 points: the grainlines, the centerback and the armpit. Once these 3 points were matched up I traced the cut on fold line and graded the skirts to blend together gradually becoming more fitted the higher up the waist.

After I had my two pattern pieces, it was sewn according to the original Wiggle pattern directions, except I used binding instead of elastic. I also used binding to finish off the sleeves to give it a more finished look. The skirt was left raw. As Monica explains in her blog the other day the binding can seem intimidating but the trick is to take your time and pin!

*If I was using this hack with any other fabric besides the wide mesh I would not have used binding and used the elastic and hemmed my sleeves and skirt.

Review of Heiress Bikini

This was my first time sewing the Heiress Bikini from SwimStyle and it is honestly one of the best swim patterns I have used. The techniques used leave you with the most professionally finished pieces and the fit just feels amazing! It is not a beginner pattern but has great instructions that easily guide you along.

I wanted to make this with the adjustable straps and used the new metal ring and slider set Phee is carrying. I was beyond blown away with the quality of this hardware and it was honestly the part people pointed out when they were shocked I made my own swimsuit. I highly recommend it!

I also used Powernet as the liner in my top because who can’t use a little extra support? If you don’t have this stuff on hand I also highly recommend it because you never know when it will come in handy!

Review of the Brassie Jogger as a Coverup

I am in a long term love affair with the Brassie Joggers from Greenstyle, because who isn’t! I decided to use the wide mesh and make a coverup version. This was one of those projects that turned out way better than I had originally envisioned. I receive compliments on them every time I wear them and even sold a pair the last time I wore them!

Thanks for taking a peek at my projects!

Wide Mesh Bag with Drawstring

I grabbed some of Phee’s hot pink wide mesh specifically for some produce bags and I thought I would share with you a quick step-by-step!

Here’s a half yard of the wide mesh lace, some elastic cording (non-stretch would work too!) and drawstring toggles. Picking up these supplies gave me a chance to check out the back packing supplies at our local outfitters, Redding Sports, Ltd.


What are you wanting to use the mesh bags for? They would be great for either produce while grocery shopping or even lingerie bags for washing your delicate pretties!



I decided on a 10″ wide bag so after squaring up my fabric I ended up with a 20″ wide by 18-ish” long piece of mesh to work with.


For the drawstring channel I used black twill tape and stitched it onto the wrong side of the mesh about 2″ down from the top edge. A straight stitch would be OK here since the tape has zero stretch but I opted for a zig-zag stitch to get a good catch on the mesh.


Fold the top edge down over the twill tape and sew, forming the drawstring channel.


The length of your drawstring will depend on what kind of cord you chose; I cut mine about 3″ on either edge of the bag to allow room for a knot and burn the ends (to prevent fraying).


Burn, baby, burn … just enough to melt the ends. This can be stinky!


Pretty neat that you can see the elastic strands in there, huh?


A little trick to make your life easier: stick a rigid straw through the channeling  …


… then run the cording through the straw! Ta-dah!


Go ahead and add your toggle now. I did mostly because I kept losing it on my sewing table and wanted to be done with it!


Fold your mesh right sides together to form your bag!


I don’t really know what happened to this next photo AT ALL!

I sewed twill tape along the joining and the bottom edges but because I am not able to adjust the foot tension it wanted to shift a little. I just made sure to take my time and not let me lead foot take over! Folding over the tape and adding another seam really helped to make sure all of the mesh caught and to reinforce the edges.


Your bag is ready to turn right-side out! Don’t forget to tie a know in your cord so you don’t lose your toggle.


Now you are ready to roll to the grocery store or farmers’ market with a bright, cheerful, reusable AND machine washable produce bag. Enjoy!


Fabric: Wide Stretch Mesh from Phee

Elastic Cording and Toggles: Redding Sports Ltd.

When February’s theme was announced (using a variety of fabric bases), I took it as a challenge, and my ideas just kept rolling. I ended up with 3 solid ideas, but backed up to 2 as I was becoming frustrated with one and I began to realize that in the end I wouldn’t ever wear it other than for the pictures that needed to be taken. Instead, I dove head first into my other ideas, the first I’m sharing with you today, and the other I will share later in the month.


One thing that came to mind was fishnet tights using the black wide mesh with The Wolf and Tree’s Gazelle Ladies’ Footed Tights pattern. The pattern comes with pieces for both fabrics that have only a 2-way stretch and also fabrics with a 4-way stretch, as well as petite, regular and tall lengths. Due to the amount of vertical stretch in the fabric, I found that after sewing one leg, I needed to move the crotch down 2 inches. If I would have realized this to begin with, I would have used the petite length. Since there is also greater than 30% horizontal stretch I used my size down in the hips so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them moving.


The pattern calls for 1.75 yards for the footed tights. I measured the length of my pattern piece, as I knew I could get both legs in my size with the fabric folded selvedge to selvedge, and found that 1.5 yards would be plenty, with extra, for the low rise option. I used the yoga waistband, but made it 3 times the height, making this out of the black circular knit.


Gazelle has a ½” seam allowance, this is so that you can use French seams, which I do love, but they were not going to work for this mesh. I opted to use a narrow 3 thread serged seam on all of the mesh to mesh seams. After completing each seam, I then moved my blade out farther, so that I could sew an additional seam to reinforce and capture any edges that were missed without cutting the stitches that were already there. In the center of the crotch, where the 4 seams join, I went over that a few times to make sure it would hold. I then attached my waistband with a regular 4 thread serged seam.

I used to wear fishnets all the time, I was one of those punk girls in high school, I had black boots and plaid skirts. The worst was catching my tights on something and having them snag. Oh, and I wasn’t cheap with my fishnet tights, I think I paid $15 for DKNY ($22 from Macy’s site now) because they fit the best. I feel like these are going to hold up so much better than those did, and the price is basically the same.


Because I wasn’t going to take pics in just my tights, I decided to finish off a few other things I had on my list to make. The Liv Skirt (German pattern) was made with supplex, I ended up reducing the amount of fabric at the waist by 2” because it was too big, but now I know better for next time. This skirt was literally made in 10 minutes (cutting and sewing), as it’s that fast. I wanted a contour waistband, so I used the waistband from my GreenStyle Strides, and it fit perfectly!


I’ve been searching for the perfect raglan, so I have set out to try a handful of raglan patterns from different designers. This one is the Demi by Sinclair Patterns, with the scoop neck and straight hem made from light heathered gray rayon spandex (I am seriously obsessed with Phee’s rayon spandex if you can’t tell already). This pattern has a lot of different neck options that I want to try out including an off the shoulder option. The pattern has options for petite, regular, and tall.


The top looks great as is, although it looks like I need to make some changes on my next one. It appears as though I need a swayback adjustment, but this could possibly be corrected by reducing the size of the back through the waist. Fit says it’s to be semi-fitted, but I feel as though it’s a little larger than semi-fitted through my waist and hips with my measured size and grading. Upper arms are a little loose for my liking with about 2″ of ease, by this is something I’ve found with a lot of knit long sleeved tops.


As time goes on during the next month of making my raglans, I’ll learn more about the fitting of them and the differences, so I’m not going to share a complete pattern review on this until I’ve completed my journey of raglans.

Note: This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Poison Ivy with every day pieces!

For my Halloween costume to every day wearables, I used my dyed green mesh to make a made for mermaids mama stella. It also happened to match the walls at my mom’s house where I was taking photographs!

I made a scoop back with long sleeves.

I also bound the neckline and sleeves with fold over elastic and gave myself a thumb hole, because come on…its a thumb home!

It really had a great grungy punk look when paired with skinny distressed grey jeans and a black camisole tank.

I also made a self drafted a yoga skirt because I was fed up searching for what I really wanted. It’s a highwaisted skirt that is 16 inches from waist to hemline (I was lazy and didn’t hem) and has a 4 inch wide yoga style waist band. I basically measured my waist and hips and graded out.

I paired them with a store bought corset that I covered in a rayon crepe. The final result was a little Victorian prostitute meets Poison Ivy….I kinda dig it! I added some fake leaves, vampy makeup, and knee high boots, and boom! I may add some green pleather spats later, but the jury is still out.

Always with the Dying…or Dyeing: A Stove Top Method with Phee Fabrics

Dyeing fabric can be intimidating to the uninitiated. It’s easier than it seems, I swear!!

In this video, I go step by step through the stove top method of dying a polyester blend mesh fabric.

Necessary tools:


Appropriate dye for fabric content (and any dye additives as required by your dye!)

Aluminum, stainless, or enamel pot, large enough for your fabric to move freely

Wooden spoon

High wristed gloves

Particle mask

Plastic sheeting

Masking tape

Miscellaneous masking items (foil, press and seal)

Cleaning supplies (clorox wipes, paper towels, magic eraser)

Where did I get my dye? dharmatrading.com

Confused or have more wild and crazy dye-tastic questions? hit me up – alyssamoser@gmail.com or thirteenstardesigns@gmail.com