New Wardrobe Challenge: Part One

Let me be upfront with something as I begin this post and since this blog is still in its infancy. I am no style maven. I know- this is a shocking thing to grasp. I’m sure you have been thinking to yourself “Jeez, that Amanda must be so hip and stylish after two outfits that have kind of been seen in a handful of grainy phone photos”. I shall give you a paragraph break and a picture of a marshmallow pie I made to regain composure after this dreadful news of the style vortex that is my wardrobe…

Marshmallow Pah

And we’re back.

The reason I felt you needed to know such news is that I am trying to reform my image. Mid 2011 I started working at a museum and it was quite the eye opener after years as a high school teacher. I’m now surrounded by fashionistas rocking well put together, edgy outfits with quirky accessories they got on their last trip to New York. My poor old comfortable separates from Kmart just aren’t making the grade. So in 2012 I am making an effort to start sewing myself a new wardrobe and bring some epic handmade glory to the office.

Belt prep

This brings us to The Peony. I found the most amazing 1950s reproduction cotton sateen last week on a fabric foray and had to have it. I have had an earlier attempt at the Peony that just didn’t work out at all (between us- it was a hot mess) but I was committed to making a muslin and trying again from scratch. And what a success! Here Peony is.


What I loved about this pattern:

  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Cute boat neck. I totally feel like I am in a 50s movie!
  • Quick to make
  • The zip is totally invisible (yay me!)
  • The world’s cutest pocket linings. This is the first time I have made pockets out of contrasting fabric and they make me SO happy!


Things I would change for next time:

  • Placement of the vertical darts on the bust. These are perilously close to looking “awkward”.
  • Using two buttons on the belt instead of one for a better fit and look
  • Playing around with the ruching on the cummerbund. It looks a little bulky where the front and back joins. Has anyone had any success with the Peony cummerbund? Are there some tips or tricks I need to follow?

Boat neck

Overall, I’m very happy with the first addition to my work wardrobe. Look out fashionistas- one day a week I’m going to be rocking it with you!





  1. Thanks! The pockets are definitely my favourite aspect of the dress 😀 I’ve been eyeing off lace edged hems- that may be my next challenge.

  2. Thank you so much! I’m very happy with how it turned out. And I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how my style evolves over time 😀

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