Hot! Put a Bird On It Dress! (and Hello!)

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of this wonderful group. Quite honestly, I can’t believe I am able to hang out and collaborate with the likes of the rest of y’all!  Here’s to an amazing 2012!

Name & Location: Cheryl Parmenter, Chicago IL

Blog: KimballandClyde

How long have you been sewing: I started sewing when I was 10, but took about 15 years off before beginning again, so about 4-5 years total.

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge: I am a teacher and get insanely into my work during the school year.  Up until about two or three years ago I felt as if I had no hobbies whatsoever.  Sewing was a way to reinvigorate my creative side and also reach out to my grandmother, the one who originally taught me how to sew.

What do you love most about sewing garments: I love when the fit works out just right. I also love the planning process. I could really, truly, just buy fabric and patterns and not actually sew a darn thing (isn’t that horrible?!?!?)

What do you hate most about sewing garments: I hate the tracing of patterns and the cutting.  I am horribly impatient and math deficient and therefore tend to rush.  It ALWAYS results in problems, but due to my stubbornness and general impulsiveness this is a reoccurring issue.

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge: I am really excited to be part of a community, but I am also really competitive.  If I can lean on others when my stubbornness or impulsivity kicks in I hope to avoid many of the pitfalls I’ve experienced in 2011.  At the same time, I hope that being a part of the Sew Weekly community will provide a creative challenge, allowing me to make a garment that I am truly proud of. In the end, I am hopeful that I will train myself to act in a positive way independently.

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: My biggest non-sewing goal is to maintain a daily positive attitude and to work hard in order to create balance in my life. I can get really caught up in the hustle and bustle of the school year, which usually results in my sewing, martial arts training, or personal relationships taking a bit of a back seat.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs: I love to read (obviously) The Sew Weekly, A Beautiful Mess, Molly’s Sewing and Garage Adventures, Tilly and the Buttonssewithought, colleterie, modcloth

Here are the details on my 2011 sewing project pictured above!

The Facts:

  • Fabric: Michael Miller Tammis Keefe, Cage Free Birds
  • Pattern: Colette Macaron Pattern
  • Year: 2011
  • Notions: 19 inch sage green zipper (don’t judge, I was desperate!)
  • Time to complete: 5 hours over a two week period
  • First worn: June 18th, 2011
  • Wear again?  Only with a zipper fix
  • Total price: approximately $25.00

So here’s the deal. This was my second official dress that I sewed for myself.  My good friend and coworker was getting married on June 18th. I knew this date back in December, but I decided it would be better to browse the newly launched BHLDN for dresses I couldn’t afford than to actually start planning and sewing one of my own.  So fast forward about five months and there I was, a week before the wedding practically in tears, because I had been drooling over my laptop for five months despite the fact that I had promised myself to sew something just as beautiful.

Each year, towards the start of May, I spend a lot more time catching up on various blogs.  I teach high school, and three of my five classes are AP; once they take their test during the first week in May we are free to do whatever we want. So I show the kids Dr. Strangelove, LOST, Dr. Who or Downton Abbey (whichever I think will provide them the best cultural literacy) and I get to zone out with my blogs for about 20 minutes or so while they watch…Honestly I should be grading for my other two classes, but I am forever the procrastinator.  Anyways, during one of those ‘zone-outs’ I came across the Michael Miller fabric and simply fell in love.  The only problem was that I couldn’t find it anywhere! It was sold out.  It was only the week before my coworker’s wedding that a local fabric store, the needle shop, began to carry it.  It was a sign! The dress could still work out!  I bought up the 3 yards I needed and got to work well before the intended due date.
Then things took a turn for the…worst.
Mind you, this was only my second dress that I had ever sewn in my life.  I knew it too. At the same time, I came into this situation knowing a few things:
  1. I have ZERO patience
  2. I have one dress experience
  3. I have a math deficiency
Knowing those three things I should have been extra cautious, and I should  have measured twice and cut once. was all just so exciting!  Excitement led me to cut everything perfect except for the bodice, which was cut upside-down (more like upside-awesome)!  I was so sad and angry that I left my project for more web dress browsing allowing for the procrastination to set in officially.  It was the day before the wedding that I finally decided that I wouldn’t ever leave a dress behind!  I found the time to drive to the Needle Shop early in the morning and I bought another yard of fabric. This time I did pay attention to my issues mentioned above and everything was working out brilliantly.  Then disaster struck (again) when I realized that I only had a 19 inch zipper.  Now, in hindsight, I would have sewn a ‘stop’ at the length Colette mentioned cutting off the rest, however, I was (again) impatient, lacking in experience, and with a math deficiency; all of which made sewing it a 19 inch zipper (basically a zipper from my mid thigh to my arm pit) make total sense.
The result was this awesome dress that was only semi-uncomfortable/obnoxious in regards to the super long zipper.  I think with a smaller zipper it might ‘flow’ a bit better while walking or while sitting.  The picture above does a decent job to hide the deformity.  It could also be my super slick looking Target sunglasses that perfectly matched though…heehee.
Long story (really) short, I got a few really nice and sincere compliments on the dress, of which I was not expecting.  It renewed my spirits overall, and if anything, reminded my that procrastination and sewing does not mix. Patience is a requirement for a sewer and for me, learning patience would be my summer goal.



Cheryl is a teacher, martial artist, crafter and sewer just trying to find balance in a busy world. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin she's now trying to fit into and explore the vast expanse that is Chicago, Illinois.


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  1. I am such a stinker! My blog is actually here:


  2. How cute! (Yay Portlandia!) I adore the print! I too am a major sewing procrastinator! 3 am the night before the event, totally a good time to start a project!Lol!
    This dress is super cute!

    • Haha, you are so right! Luckily the new season starts soon so I’m thinking of using it as a way to get these challenges completed!

  3. Fantastico! :D That fabric is awesome!