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April 27, 2016


With all of the off the shoulder love everywhere in ready to wear right now, I realized that the Roscoe Blouse and Dress is the perfect pattern the easily hack for this look. With just a few changes you get an easy to wear boho / beachy dress or blouse and it takes just a couple of hours to sew up.

Can I just say how much I love this new trend? It’s pretty friendly to those of us who want to hide some problem areas like the tummy or hips. And yet it’s still super sexy and natural. I’m a big fan. So much easier to pull off than the crop top trend of the last couple of years. I really think that almost anyone can pull this look off.


  • Roscoe pattern pieces 1, 2, and 3
  •  1 ” elastic
  • fabric (I’m using rayon challis)
  • matching thread
  • safety pin


First you will need to print off pattern pieces front, back and sleeve (you won’t need any of the the others unless you want to add a ruffle or bind up the bottom of the armhole). I printed off the dress length, but you can also trim at the line for blouse length if that is what you are making.

Next, take your front piece and make a mark about 4 inches down at Center Front. Go lower or higher depending on your preferences, but remember that there will be a 1 ” elastic casing above this marking.

Make another marking about 1″ above this one, but on the armhole. Make the marking perpindicular to the armhole curve.

Connect this marking to the CF marking, curving naturally between the two. This will be your cutting line for the front of your dress or blouse.

Put your sleeve pattern piece on top of your dress front pattern piece, lining up the armhole notches. Transfer the point where your cutting line on the front piece hits the armhole, to your sleeve pattern piece at the same point.

Draw the line out, perpindicular to the armhole, for about an inch. Curve the line naturally until you can go straight across (perpindicular to the grainline) until you are close to the back armhole of the sleeve and then curve up a bit so it is perpindicular to the back armhole curve. It should look something like this. It will be the cutting line for your sleeves.

Put the sleeve pattern piece on top of your back dress pattern piece. Line the back armhole of the sleeve up with the back armhole of the back dress (matching notches) and transfer the marking of the line you just made to the armhole of the back dress.

Draw the cutting line of the back dress to CB like you did the others. (Draw out for about an inch perpindicular to the armhole and then straight across to Center Back.)

Now, cut all of the tops off of your pattern pieces along the cutting lines you just drew.

Draw a stitching line 1/2″ below the cutting line on all pieces.

Measure all stitching lines and add them up. Multiply this number by 2 and then subtract  3″ for seam allowances. (Mine was about 58″.)

Take this number and cut a piece of fabric that is that width and 3 1/4″ tall.

Cut out your dress front, dress back, and sleeves as well.

Sew your dress up much like the regular roscoe by first sewing each sleeve armhole to the matching front or back armhole. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner.

Now sew up sides of the sleeves and dress (or blouse) starting at each sleeve end and ending at the bottom of the dress or blouse. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner.

Sew the two small ends of your long skinny pieces together, right sides touching. So it makes a long loop.

Press the loop in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Pin the raw edges of your loop to top of your dress, right sides touching. Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave a 2 inch section unstitched at center back (to insert the elastic).

Wrap your elastic around your shoulders to get an idea of how long your want it. Add some extra length and cut. Using a safety pin, insert the elastic into the loop and all around so that it enters and exits at the opening at CB. Pin the ends together and try on. Adjust the length of the elastic until it’s snug enough to stay up, but still comfy. My experience is that you want it on the looser side. Your arms and chest will keep it up. If it’s tight it will inch up all day which can be annoying.

Sew the two ends together of your elastic, insert it back into the casing, and stitch the opening at CB closed. Finish the seam allowances of your elastic casing in your desired manner.

Check the length of your dress or blouse and also the length of your sleeves. I ended up cutting a few inches off of the length of the sleeves to hit at my elbow for a different look. Trim as necessary and finish in your favorite way.  I am going to simply serge the edges and fold it up at 1″ and then stitch.

You may want to Stitch through all layers of the elastic and elastic casing at CB and maybe a couple of other places to keep the elastic from flipping around with wear.

Give the whole thing a final press and you are done!

Let me know if you guys have any questions. I can’t wait to wear this out and about.



April 19, 2016

Thank you so much for all of the positive responses from all of you about the Colfax Dress and also the fabric that I made for the projects. It’s been really fun working with My Fabric Designs for this launch and I wanted to put together a little post to show you how easy it is to make a repeating pattern using their design tools so that you can make your own fabric too. Creating a pattern that repeats evenly and seamlessly can be a tricky part of designing the fabric. You can do it all in photoshop or illustrator if you prefer. Here are a few youtube tutorials that helped me a ton when I was learning how to do it. Click here, here, or here for the videos or tutorials.

Or you can just do it straight through the My Fabric Designs website. It’s really simple and you don’t need any fancy programs to it. Before we even start I recommend that you watch this youtube tutorial. It goes through their design tool and will give you a great overall idea of how it works.

Next you are going to need some images. I made up 5 different shapes or groupings of shapes in illustrator. These could also be something that you draw and scan into your computer. Or it could be online images that are stock or free domain. Whatever they are you need to save them as separately files.  If you are going to be overlapping them or making a colored background make sure that the background of your images are transparent. I recommend saving them at 300 dpi and at a larger scale than you think you will actually print them. You can always scale them down when designing, but you can’t go bigger.

Now, go ahead and open the fabric creator. Click File / New and decide what size you want to start with. Go smaller like 6×6 inches if you want a small repeating pattern like you would use for quilting. I like mine larger so I chose 20×20 inches. You also select the background color at this time. I went for a black.

Hit apply. The middle square will be the one that you work on (light gray background) and the right square will show your finished repeat pattern.

Go to Add / Image and choose your first image to upload.

It will drop it in the middle of your work square and show the repeat on the right. Cool right? Continue to upload all of your images.

Move around the images and scale them. You will notice that as some of your images overlap the edge of the working square that they will create a repeat. The right square makes it really easy to see what your repeat looks like and where to place each object for the best visual affect. You can scale the images or rotate them with the handles on the outside of each object. You can call arrange them by sending them in front or in back of other images. Keep playing around until you like the way that the repeat pattern looks on the right.

Once you are ready make sure you save your pattern to your desktop. Then click order fabric. This will bring you into the area where you can choose the type of fabric you want to print it on and how large you want your pattern to print (it can go down to 150 dpi).

Then order your fabric. Make sure that you use the code TRUEBFS for free shipping on your order this month.

I hope this tutorial made designing your own fabric a little less scary. I have had so much fun playing around with this tool. Just a reminder that My Fabric Designs is providing the prizes for the Colfax Sewalong Contest. So if you want to give it a try this is the perfect opportunity. Click here for more details.





March 25, 2016

I love that the idea of designing and printing your own fabric is becoming more and more accessible to home sewers. I think that there is such a hole in the market for modern, graphic, apparel fabric. It always has baffled me that I could go into a huge fabric store in NYC and still have such a hard time finding modern, on trend fabrics. There seems to be a huge disconnect between ready to wear fabric designs and what home sewers have access to which is really frustrating to me.

OK, rant over. Am I the only one that feels this way?

That’s why I was so excited to hear about another design and print your own fabric company coming on the scene. When My Fabric Designs asked me to try out their services I seriously jumped at the chance. I dream of large scale graphic patterned fabrics that I never seem to find. What I would design was pretty much all I could think about for the next week.

I ended up putting together a very simple green, black, and pale pink abstract design. I designed it in illustrator in just a few minutes, the harder part was learning how to make a repeat pattern. I am still learning all the ins and outs of this but it’s really fun and rewarding to figure out. Also, youtube is a lifesaver when trying to learn this kind of thing. I received the fabric a couple weeks later and it was perfect! The colors were exactly like I had prepared and the silk crepe was soft and flowy. I am so happy with how it turned out!

I only ordered two yards of the fabric so I knew a top or blouse was probably in order. While trying to decide, Caroline of Blackbird fabrics posted this amazing tutorial on the Sewaholic blog for hacking the saltspring dress into a ruffle cami. I loved it right away and it seemed perfect for this flowy fabric.

I followed Caroline’s tutorial almost exactly including the full bust adjustment and single strap. The only change I made was to line the entire bodice instead of doing facings. The silk was the tiniest bit see through so I chose to line the top section with some white rayon challis that I had in my stash.  I didn’t feel like I needed to line the ruffle so I left that as is. I love the cami so much. Perfect for layering with a jean jacket in spring. I want to make a few more now. I love Caroline’s chambray one and I think a white one would get so much wear in the summertime. I havn’t actually worn this out of the house yet because we just had a blizzard, but I’m excited to see how the fabric wears and washes over time.

My Fabric Designs has generously offered to give one reader a $35 gift code to try out their fabrics. You can either design your own pattern and upload it, or choose from one previously designed including the one I made for this top. To enter the giveaway, simply add a comment to this post telling me your favorite color (just for fun). I will choose a winner randomly and announce the winner this Sunday evening. Good luck!


Comments for this post / giveaway have been closed. The winner of the My Fabric Designs prize is Aleah of No Time to Sew  (Who’s favorite color is yellow by the way).