The Mini-Monk

Name & Location: Quinn Kelley, Southern California

How long have you been sewing: junior high, but there have been some years off!

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge: Last year this blog was a lifeline to a world where women made time to make amazing things.  I’d like to challenge myself to take the time to sew beautiful clothes.

What do you love most about sewing garments: The beginning.  Sorting through fabric and pattern and seeing something I want to sew.  I also love the hand sewing part and the constant ironing (no kidding–it’s contemplative).

What do you hate most about sewing garments: Apparently I can’t leave a pattern alone.  It’s like cooking.  I find it almost impossible to cook a recipe as written.  I make a lot of extra work for myself by changing the pattern.  Finishing can become very difficult.

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge: I’d like to pick up some speed.  I’ve enjoyed reading about the challenges during the year and have wondered what it would be like to knock out a garment in a week.  I’d like to try to sew a pattern as written and extend my skills.

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: Right now work is winning, but I’d like to to try to find a better life/work balance.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs: Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing, Wearing History, Sunny Gal Studio, the Coletterie blog

The Facts

Fabric: brown wool gabardine
Pattern: Vogue 7362
Year: 2001
Notions: zipper, bias tape.
Time to complete: approximately 20 hours–I think!
First worn: sometime last year?
Wear again? It’s a standard

Total Cost: Probably around $30.00.  The fabric was bought on sale when Beverly Hills Silks and Woolens closed down.

I have the most fabulous dress, suitable for every occasion.  I bought it years ago at a church rummage sale.  My mother told me it looked like a monk’s robe and of course that’s what I’ve called it ever since.  It’s fabulous, but it’s also high-necked and long sleeved and falls almost to the ankle.  I thought it would be great to have a variation.  Something that has some shape to it, but is modest in nature and can accessorized to suit a number of occasions.

I started with Vogue 7362, but changed it radically.  The top fits fairly snugly through the shoulders and there’s a lot of ease in skirt.  I pinked the inside as the gabardine ravels, and put the zipper in by hand using the technique in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book.  The zipper took a lot of time to finish, but I think it’s beautiful.  I finished the edges by top stitching over bias tape.  I’ve been happy with this dress.  It gets a lot of wear, usually with a brown sweater or a little red vintage jacket.




Quinn lives in Southern California with her husband, a substantial amount of fabric/yarn/patterns and more books than she can possibly read in the next year.


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  1. I love hand sewing and ironing too, especially since hand sewing is a time when I can relax in front of the TV or something like that :) I learned to sew in SoCal – yay!

  2. I agree about hand sewing and ironing, especially since I can relax in front of the TV when hand sewing! Good luck this year :) Oh, and I learned to sew in SoCal – yay!