Too Much Frosting, Not Enough Cake

I finally have a cute term to explain the problem with my wardrobe. There’s too much frosting and not enough cake! If you’ve seen the things I’ve sewn, you probably have already figured out what I mean by frosting and cake.

Here are some examples of frosting:

(simplicity 3965 – original post here)

(mccalls 7743 – original post here)

(colette chantilly – original post here)

Frosting with sprinkles and icing roses:

(simplicity 5669- original post here)

Even the socks are frosting-type socks, far from basic!

(bff socks – original post here)

And here’s cake:

(colette beignet – original post here)

More cake:

(sewaholic patterns renfrew tee – original post here and get the pattern here)

Frosting is the fun, bright, pretty, exciting things we make! Frosting isn’t always sewn with cake in mind. It’s like making an awesome, shiny blouse but not having a single solid bottom that coordinates. (And that’s the reason why many of us default to jeans and a fun top. Jeans make great default cake.)

I love sewing frosting! Who doesn’t? I am terrible at sewing cake. Who wants to make dark, solid pieces when there are so many great mutlicoloured printed fabrics in the world!? Apparently not me. And because I don’t supplement my wardrobe with shopping, buying up those solid pants and skirts to go with the novelty tops, I have a closet full of frosting.

So what’s the answer here? Sew the frosting, shop to fill in the cake? Find ways to make sewing cake more fun? Plan the cake at the same time as the frosting? (Is this analogy making you hungry yet?)

I don’t know what the solution is for me. I think it helps to choose the anchor piece at the same time as the novelty one, buying the fabric for both at the same time. I used to think ‘I probably already own a black skirt, no point making one!’ But now I know, with a limited wardrobe, I don’t own that solid piece. I need to buy it, thrift it, or make it – or risk having an awesome top with nothing to wear it with. Of course, being budget-conscious, if I have to choose between the fabric for the fun top, or the fabric for the solid skirt, the fun fabric always wins! (Because it’s more fun to sew with.) And then the same problem happens again, I’ve sewn another ‘frosting’ piece with no cake to go with it!

Style guides suggest focusing on classics when your budget is limited. If you only have a little money to spend, focus it on classic pieces that will last. The bigger your budget, the more pieces can be trendy compared to the number of classic, timeless pieces. If we apply that same theory to sewing, and our budget is limited, we should sew more practical wardrobe pieces. Except that half the fun of sewing is making whatever you please, in whatever colour or crazy print catches your eye!

What do you think? How do you balance your sewing projects (and wardrobe) so there’s the right distribution of cake, and frosting?

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204 Responses to Too Much Frosting, Not Enough Cake

  1. PepperReed April 10, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    Is it really solid vs patterned or dresses vs separates, or both? I think you can have colorful separates, instead of feeling like you need to have all neutrals or black (this, coming from someone who dresses like she’s in the Ramones!) to ‘balance’ your wardrobe.

    Making and wearing a red skirt (instead of another black one) in a pattern that you LOVE and wearing a print top (or vice versa) would let you have your cake and frost it too!

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      It’s a bit of both! It’s more the sewing of items that are fabulous on their own, as individual pieces, but don’t mesh into the wardrobe. (Or have anything to go with them!) It can be a blouse that doesn’t match any bottoms. Or a patterned skirt that doesn’t go with anything but plain white tops.

      I love the idea of colourful separates! Or pretty neutrals. I think my biggest problem is following through and actually sewing the coordinating bottom for the fun top. I always want to sew the next super-fun thing! It’s the ‘having something to wear with it’ problem that gets me. Even having a dress with no coordinating outer layer can make me default to wearing it with the same plain jacket all the time. (Or buttoning up the coat so you can’t tell the under-layer doesn’t match!)

      • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        And I’d much prefer a red skirt to a black one, anyways! Someone mentioned later in the comments to add pretty details, bright linings – something to make it more special so it’s enjoyable to sew!

        • Stevie April 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

          I’m currently doing a thing called Sewing No Orphans. I have to plan projects that will fit in my wardrobe. So they aren’t orphaned like your frosting analogy!
          I have had to buy basics recently just because I haven’t been able to sew a decent pair of pants. But with a red pair and a black pair at £20 each it definitely eased the amount of orphans in my wardrobe!
          I hope this helps a little!
          Plus you gotta remember the better the quality of the fabric on the basics the more you will love them!

        • SabineC April 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

          I’ve been thinking about the same lines: if you sew a “basic piece”, maybe it’s worth it to take real care of which techniques you use. I sat musing over this after I’d read Marina von Koenig’s blog entry at She’s using couture techniques on BurdaStyle patterns.

          The high-waisted skirt she made there is a simple pattern in itself (alhtough probably a bit challenging to get the right fit if one’s pear-shaped :-) ) and the fabric is a solid one, but she used boning, underlining, created an “ease pleat” – all very interesting and fascinating. Maybe “simple” garments are actually the best ones to exercise such couture techniques, plus it can make sewing them really interesting and quite the learning experience.

  2. Roisin April 10, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    I love this analogy! My wardrobe is basically ALL frosting, however at the moment that suits my lifestyle. I work in an office with a smart-casual dress code and I take the train to work, so I can get away with pretty dresses and heels all the livelong day if I wanted to. Which is nice, because that’s what I like. I used to be a teacher and I really struggled with getting the balance right because I wanted to be wearing frosting all the time and didn’t enjoy shopping for basics – but when you’re running around after teenagers all day, standing on desks, doing playground duty etc basics are what you need! So I don’t really have an answer, but I understand your predicament :)

    One suggestion I have is to work on projects that can make the frosting work more as cake – I can wear dresses etc to work with tights, or smart jackets or cardigans – maybe if you enjoy sewing frosting, rather than worrying about too many basics, think about how you can fit the frosting into your life as it is?

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      I’m lucky in that frosting-type dresses fit my lifestyle, for the most part! Like you, I can wear dresses to work, as long as they’re bike-able. Good point about finding ways to work the frosting-type pieces into regular life – and I do, it’s more when I have a crazy top but no bottoms to go with it, or something like the plaid cape, which is awesome all on its own, but if I sewed up a navy dress it would be even better and more wearable!

    • Nethwen April 11, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      Agreed. If the “frosting” makes you happy and you feel confident wearing it, then why not default to that? Sure, you may need some plain pieces to be able to wear all the patterns, but who cares if you wear the same jacket with all your patterned dresses? If the styles work together, why not? Embrace the frosting and wear what makes you happy, not what you think you should wear.

  3. Sara Noemi April 10, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    Love these terms. Very cute and pretty self explanatory! I found that the few exceptions to making more frosting than cake garments are during the holidays and summer. I even spent a good portion of my time before an upcoming vacation just making a wardrobe for the trip.

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      Oh fun! I love the idea of making a holiday wardrobe. You can totally get away with brighter colours, crazy prints and a little less coordination on holiday!
      I’m planning a vacation this year – thanks for the suggestion to start thinking about what to sew for it! :)

  4. Kalle April 10, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    I love that button front skirt – would you be willing to share what pattern it is?

  5. Sunni April 10, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    This is like a revelation because this is exactly what I do and how I feel!!! I always wonder why I never have anything to go with anything else after I’ve made something. I too am just like you. I only want to sew the frosting – in fact, I only want to buy it too! I never actually think about the cake. I think your idea of making the cake with the frosting is a great solution. Trying to see the frosting as part of an outfit rather than just another sewing project is definitely the way to go! Brilliant post!

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Exactly! Making outfits, that’s where it’s at. That way we can even get the silhouettes right. Sometimes I think I must already have a skirt that will work, but actually I would prefer it if the skirt I owned was fuller, or A-line, rather than the one I own. It ends up in a lot of ‘close, but not really’ pairings.
      This is why things like Polyvore are so much fun – we can find a fun top, stick an imaginary pair of black pants underneath and bam – an outfit! Too bad real life doesn’t work like that (unless you love to shop and have unlimited funds, neither of which are me!)

  6. Seraphinalina April 10, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    Would it help your thinking to see some details as frosting? Like a black skirt that has a really cool pleated area at the kick pleat? Even the beignet skirt, all those buttons makes it a little more frosting like than just a pencil skirt.
    I am also drawn to a lot of prints. I’m still haven’t sewn pants (although I’m getting there) so it’s okay to be more frosting when I’m making tops and dresses. I find a print dress is a good balance of cake and frosting. I get the frequent wear of cake but it’s okay to go a little frosting with the print.

    • Esz April 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

      This is a great idea :-) Its those little details that can make a garment subtly special.

      I basically live in “frosting” :-D And the only thing that could be considered “cake” in my wardrobe is skirts, which are fun and easy to make anyway. The only times I wear jeans is when I’m riding my Vespa and I don’t ever plan on making my own of those so its okay.

      I do like the analogy! It makes a lot of sense. I have a weakness for making dresses – and while I wear them a LOT, I ought to make more tops and skirts.

      Currently my biggest cake/frosting debate is lingerie. It could definitely be frosting as it can be very frivolous and fancy, but I haven’t got round to making it. Even though little knickers and things would be so easy to do. I’m not sure I would ever make bras though because I like the RTW ones which come with ‘enhancements’ (curse my small bust!).
      I think that would be a great topic to cover too Tasia!

  7. Josephine April 10, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I tend to sew my frosting and buy my cake. Yet sometimes I do sew a nice simple pair of pants or a basic blouse. For me it helps to take a colorful piece and go shopping for a matching basic-fabric. Then I know why I’m sewing the boring pants; otherwise I can’t wear the cute bird-pattern-top!!!
    And yes, sometimes I hang the top on the front of my closet by the sewing-machine just to remind me. And eventually the pants can be worn with lots of things, so it’s a win win. Of course one look at my bum in a horrible fitting, low quality and cheap-looking pair of pants makes me run to the fabric store as well…

  8. edenz April 10, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    I guess I’m just more of a cake person. (Metaphorically and literally). I sew almost exclusively “cake” items. One idea you could try is coming up with a palette for your wardrobe – I’ve found that really helps me because if I choose only (or mostly) fabric that fits with my palette then I always have something to wear with that make.

    My palette is 16 colors that pretty much all go together – my “neutrals” are charcoal, grey, mustard, terra cotta, and navy. Which might also help you want to sew more cake – pick a set of neutrals that are fun :) Mustard is my favorite color, so I’m always excited to sew a mustard make, even if it’s my fifth pencil skirt.

    Just based on the frosting you’ve highlighted, you could choose grey, royal purple, olive green, navy and pink for your neutrals. I don’t think that a pink beignet or royal purple clovers are particularly boring.

    I also find that cardigans (in my “neutrals”) can make even very ‘frosting’ dresses every-day appropriate. If you add a cardigan to any of those dresses they’re perfect for office wear.

    • PepperReed April 10, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Great Idea on choosing a palette to work from. I’m totally lazy on doing this, but I know there’s colors I prefer (and look better on me) that would help nudge me out of a sewing rut. It would also ‘stretch’ me to try other colors I may shy away from.

  9. Nuranar April 10, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Hmm… Why do you call the dresses “frosting”? Just because they’re colorful? For me, “frosting” is something that MUST be worn with something else essential to be a complete outfit – decent/covered. Like a fancy blouse, or your cape. So I don’t see dresses as frosting. They’re cake AND frosting, because they’re complete in themselves. :)

    Separates are another matter, of course! I have plenty of blouses, and some are definitely more frosting than others. Fortunately I have a good selection of “cake” skirts, particularly my workhorse black “swing” skirt and a pleated khaki number. For the summer, I am SET. Although I do want more dresses. There is nothing easier to wear!

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      I suppose I think of frosting when I see the bright colourful dresses, because they require something more toned-down to go with them – and that’s the very thing I’m missing! For sure, I can wear the dresses alone in the summertime. But if there’s another piece involved, it needs to be simple (a classic trench, a solid cardigan) to complete the look!

      No wonder I like getting dressed in the summer so much better – a dress is a complete outfit! In winter or fall, it requires a few more pieces to make it warm enough to go outside. :)

      Agreed about the frosting-type blouses! A couple of workhorse skirts like you said is all you need. Maybe a pair of trousers too, or dressy shorts in the winter. Maybe my problem is with bottoms specifically, bottoms and classic jackets.

      I agree, nothing is easier in the summer than throwing on a cute dress, instant style!

      • Seraphinalina April 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

        Completely agree on dresses in summer. I cannot wait until tights go by the way side in favour of open toed shoes and I can pull on a dress in the morning and go.

  10. Bold Sewist April 10, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Great post! I started sewing precisely because I felt my whole wardrobe was plain plain cake and the frosting I found in the shops either didn’t fit my body or was out of my price range, or just didn’t inspire me! I find it a lot easier to be inspired by wonderful fabrics and seeing what other people have been making.
    Now I’m slowly slowly creating a wardrobe which I hope will have a balance of both elements – some workhorse skirts, because it is impossible to find well-fitting ones, and fun tops and dresses!

  11. Irene Bullock April 10, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    What you call cake I call utility sewin (bah!). I love to make the frosting and for me it’s almost the only reason to sew. Yet, I have often the same internal debate, and I’ve come to the conclusion that: 1. I love sewing beautiful and impractical dresses – period. And 2. I’m really going to wear those dresses – even if that means to ban myself from wearing jeans and force myself out of that comfort zone.
    BTW, in May there’s a new me-made month and I’ve promised myself that I’ll wear mostly dresses, it’s just a shame to sew beautiful stuff to let it die in the closet, no way!

  12. Ms.Cleaver April 10, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Boy do I hear you! The Frosting is much more fun. But I was just telling myself the other day that I REALLY need to sew a black a-line skirt.

    But there’s nothing to say I can’t make it fun on the INSIDE with a fun lining or by using brightly colored seam binding right??

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Exactly! A great way to make basic styles more fun. I like when garments have hidden prints, or contrasting details or fun linings.

      It’s like wearing great underwear – only you know it’s there but it feels so much more fun!

  13. agirlinwinter April 10, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Thanks for a thought-provoking blog post. I’m learning to sew at the moment, and I’m just getting started on planning what I’d like to make. I want a wardrobe of clothes that co-ordinate with each other, so I am making myself think about the basic building blocks (skirts in neutral, sold colours) as well as pretty blouses and dresses. Love your dresses!

  14. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) April 10, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    I am frosting all the way! I am drawn to the pretty dress patterns, even though I look in my closet most days searching for a cute business casual outfit – and do not find it. Why oh why don’t I make more sensible tops and useful skirts? great post. Half the fun of sewing is being able to make the fun things.

  15. TriMama April 10, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Ha! I sometimes have this problem too. I love to sew cute tops and skirts, but I mostly wear dress pants. A couple months ago I hit a big fabric sale and picked out fabric for 6 pairs of pants. Four of them are going to be basic every day pants, two will be more fun. I also picked out fabirc for 2 quick to sew tops that will coordinate. I’ve found that mixing some frosting in with my cake is keeping me motivated to sew all the items up.

  16. Hearthrose April 10, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Frosting is fun, but I am concentrating on more cake at the moment. I have to echo the other cake-sewers’ sentiments – concentrate on the details.

    I’ve got some plain sleeveless blouses coming for summer… but I’m going to be working to make sure the fit is flawless and the execution exquisite. I want to make a plain 5-gore skirt in natural linen… but I’m planning to do some topstitching to make it just a little bit more “there”.

    I think “cake” is where you make your skills sharp, and frosting is where you let your creativity flow!

  17. Katie April 10, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    I have the same problem! I end up buying jeans as my cake filler. There have been too many times to count that I have made up my mind before heading to the fabric store that I will buy a nice black or brown piece to make pants, and I fail every time. I do manage to make skirts every now and then that have some nice outfit foundation qualities to them, but that is as close as I get.

  18. Sassy T April 10, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Aw I love the frosting. Really like those three dresses. Next time you show us your pretty creations be kind enough to tell us the pattern numbers lol. Am really liking them. I think as a beginner its good to indulge in a little frost as it keeps you motivated.

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Ha, good point! I’ve added the pattern information and links to the original blog posts under each item. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

      I agree, you have to enjoy what you’re making, otherwise it’s not as fun!

  19. Katy April 10, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Great analogy! I wouldn’t class your Chantilly as frosting – it can easily be turned into cake if worn with a cardigan and casual sandals! I am pretty good at sewing basics because I don’t want to put a lot of effort into a novelty piece that will hardly be worn!

  20. Burke April 10, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I am like 80% cake – I even started sewing to make more basics in simple styles. Unfortunately, black fabric is extremely boring to sew for some reason, so I’m working on more icing, which is far more fun to make! I just need to be ballsy and stop wearing black all the time.

  21. Tea Kristin April 10, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I love frosting! I love bright colours and pretty dresses, and I’m not even sure I own a black skirt and black pants.

    Anyhow – being pregnant and having a rather serious case of morning sickness, all this talk of cake and frosting is starting to make me a bit sick. ;)

  22. BuffaloJen April 10, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Exactly where I am at. Lots of frosting and nothing I want to wear for everyday life. For me sewing is about being creative but also enabling me to wear individual/pretty clothes I love at a price tag I can afford. Unfortunately, my creative efforts tend towards novelty items for ‘perfect days’ and occasions when what I really need is a wardrobe full of utility (yet flattering and pretty) coordinated items. As I stare at my clothes rail in despair in the mornings I am starting to realise that perhaps I need to me more constructive and directed with my energy. I love your blog and your patterns. Go u.

  23. Heather April 10, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Hey Tasia, cute post!! I think perhaps reworking what “cake” means to YOU might be in order. For example, I think aubergine, teal, cranberry, turquoise, cream and mustard would be your “neutrals” – perhaps black, brown and navy are too boring for someone with your sunny personality and bright clothing choices. Maybe incorporate some solids (top or bottom) in colors you love to bring in the cake.

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Oooh yeah.. teal and cranberry and mustard are totally my neutrals! I can picture it now. I like your choice of ‘sunny personality’ instead of colour-crazy or print-loving! :) I agree, for some people, black and charcoal is where it’s at for neutrals in their comfort zone. Once I had a job that made me wear all-black from head to toe and I felt so restrained! (I had to wear a bright blue scarf on my way in to work just for *some* colour..)

      Excellent point – everyone’s version of cake is going to be completely different from someone else’s!

  24. Lisa April 10, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Oh yes, that problem. I think a lot of people have it. What I try to do is sew cake but add just a little frosting to it. Like a normal black batwing sweater, but with fun buttons down the back. The best thing is, that sweater goes with all the fun skirts I have sewn because black goes with virtually everything. Or use accessories to tone down the frosting, like a solid colour shawl or scarf. You don’t need a lot of cake, just a little!

  25. Sar April 10, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Could you possibly be thinking of designing some “cake” ? Then we’d have our cake and eat it too!!!!!!! Thanks for your great patterns.

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Maybe I am! :) I’m so glad you enjoy my patterns!

  26. Tanit-Isis April 10, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I guess I’m pretty good at sewing “cake”… maybe because I’m not much of a prints person at the best of times? While I love my frosting pieces, I find the “cake” more satisfying, because I get to wear them more—every week, even multiple times a week.

    If I’m feeling bored with a cake pattern (like jeans) I like adding little details—a different kind of top-stitching, maybe a different pocket; maybe piping or some other little fun change. But sometimes it’s nice to sew up something plain and simple that doesn’t have anything fancy about it—not much thought required.

    Now in real life, I’m all about the frosting. I could totally do without the cake. :)

  27. nothy lane April 10, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    I think I have too much cake and not enough frosting. This comes from needing clothes for work and not having a lot of money to throw around. I’m learning to broaden my wardrobe though. I find sewing has really helped me to make the fun things. I made a Renfrew t-shirt in a fun pink floral that I love! So maybe I am getting into more frosting these days.

    nothy lane

  28. Emma April 10, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I see nothing wrong with owning few basics and a lot of frosting type items. Personally I own more dresses than anything else in my wardrobe, and I accessorize with shoes, socks, tights and fancy coats. On average, 1-3 random strangers in any public location will complement what I’m wearing that day, so it seems to be working out.

    As funny as it sounds, I actually made a concentrated effort to eliminate most basics from my wardrobe. When I was in high school I wore only the basics of the basics and only one pair of shoes. I fell into the habit of wearing what was safe and functional rather than what was fun and interesting. I decided I wanted to stop being the boring girl and be the fashionista I always wanted to be, and I eliminated my safety zone so there was no temptation to fall into old habits. As a result, I consistently get amazing customer service everywhere I go because I’m about 15% overdressed on every occasion (which is just the right amount).

    So, long story short, I’m kind of happy that I have too much frosting because I get to feel pretty every day.

  29. Corinne April 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Your terminology is spot on. I think this is a situation that is more common than not. I finally moved past that because I frequently had “nothing to wear!” I am in the process of starting a new wardrobe plan because my basics have done their duty so to speak and need replaced. My plan is nothing revolutionary, I just need to narrow down my basics colors. Right now, for spring/summer the basics are tans, browns, off-whites and pink with a hit of navy. I have huge plans, I have not huge time. Story of my life. I just went out and purchased the new shoes, so I am sort of bound by my color choices. . I plan my “frosting” in accessories this season and maybe one or two dresses. Again, big plans!!!

  30. prttynpnk April 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I am the same way! I only like to sew bright shiny objects- I have a closet full of dresses I love and never wear and a million fancy tops I wear with jeans. Ask me to attend a sedate mature function and I am paralyzed! If my boss takes us from scrubs to office attire I’m going to look like the secretary at a clown college!

  31. Cindy April 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I think you’ve pinpointed the problem with my me-made wardrobe! I love your terms for the two categories, too. I think one of my problems is that I sew mostly from thrifted fabrics, and the ones I end up purchasing are more suitable for frosting than cake. Which leads to the dilemma — purchase new cake fabric that might be more useful, or try to give old fabrics a new lease on life but end up with all frosting?

    • Tasia April 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      Oh! That’s totally my problem too – the fabrics I buy without a purpose are generally more fun and colourful! So when I’m sewing from fabrics on hand, the ones I have are all printed and bright. I’m guessing what attracted you to the thrifted fabric in the first place was either the print, or the colour!

      I’m guessing the answer is a bit of both. Find an awesome thrifted print for a blouse, sew a skirt to match! Or if you love the print but know it’s not something you’d wear regularly, use it on the inside, for contrasting linings or facings like Ms Cleaver suggested?

  32. Tasia April 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I thought of another way to explain it – frosting is the item you base the outfit around.

    So even though yes, a floral dress is basically cake in my world, it’s the item I start with and build the rest around it. Which if we stick with the baking analogy, doesn’t totally add up because the cake goes first.. anyways, I think it still works for an explanation of an off-balance wardrobe with primarily bright and printy things and not as many ‘workhorse’ items like little black dresses or solid skirts.

    Great comments, everyone! :)

  33. Reana Louise April 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Solution: Wear the frosting! Embrace the pretty and outrageous.

  34. Latrice April 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    I think I generally have cake in mind when I sew. I work as an admin, so I can’t be too frosting with my closet. As for the weekend, I really keep it simple unless I am going out at night.
    I personally don’t really go after the skirts and the dresses, because I have thick thighs and don’t like them rubbing together. Just not comfortable unless I have stockings or tights on.

    I would just add a quality of frosting into your cake. Like ice cream cake or cake pops. Like a solid pant with a secret fun pocketing print, and add in an printed fabric belt. I have a pair of khakis (i know boring, right) with some red stripes in the cuff.

    Also keep in mind, that even if it is a solid, you can have a world of fun with style lines and silhouettes . For me fashion wise, its all about the silhouette.

  35. Stephanie April 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Haha! LOVE this =) I have the exact same problem – I love making either floaty, silky dresses or ones with florals or stripes. Basic, utilitarian wear? Not so much =) The closest I’ve come so far is making a basic dirndl skirt… but it’s still mustard yellow! Awesome color, but not one you can wear on a regular basis. It’s no black. Hehe. Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I made something in a neutral… hmmm… I suppose using your favorite patterns with neutral fabrics might be a start, eh?

  36. aleah April 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Ha, this analogy is great! I’ve found that when I started sewing, I made all frosting, but as I started really loving wearing things I’d made, I got way less interested in shopping and more interested in sewing cake. For me, though, cake is colorful solid jersey dresses and tops. I’ve found that knits, even in solid or neutral colors, are almost more fun than “frosting” dresses since they’re lower stress (don’t want to waste that fancy frosting fabric!) and much, much faster to sew up – there’s nothing better than the feeling of wearing something you started just the day or two before! I guess knits are how I have my cake and eat it too…

  37. Becky April 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I love this analogy! I have the same problem– I’m always drawn to the crazy prints that I can only wear with black pants or something, in both my fabric shopping and my thrift shopping. I’ve gotten a bit better about sewing the “cake” over the past couple of years–a solid black skirt here, a solid brown jacket there. But I like to find patterns with some interesting details for those things, and I have a “rule” that solid-colored items must have fun printed linings! I also like to go for interesting buttons when I can. So then I get to have my cake and icing too. I guess one of the challenges for me is that I’m also trying to use up my fabric stash to a point of manageability, and most of my fabric is frosting!

    Also, nothing wrong with jeans as “cake”. It’s the perfect pairing for fun handmade tops! I know the one Renfrew I’ve made so far looks great with them. ;) Also, I love the idea someone mentioned about teal as a neutral. It should be. I wear it all the time.

  38. Melanie April 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I have an overwhelming amount of frosting, also consisting of a very large number of scarves that I have nothing to wear with.. almost everything I own is covered in flowers or dots!

    I’ve started buying some plain fabrics and have succeeded in making one solid colour wearable dress this year (a navy gabardine Peony) but I always gravitate back to flowers!

    You’ve hit the nail on the head Tasia – perfect description of the problem. The remedy? I’m just trying to keep making those basics even though it’ll probably be 1 out of 3 things I make.. that’s still one cake!

  39. maddie flanigan April 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I used to have a similar problem and what has helped me it to think, shop, and sew in outfits. When I sew or shop, I don’t look at a top singularly, I look at how it can be incorporated into my current wardrobe. Do I have other pieces to wear it with? Does it go with what’s currently in my wardrobe? And if it doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe, what else do I have to buy/make so that it will. Also, every time I shop, I make it a point to pick up a few staple pieces – white tees, jeans, comfy flats etc. Those are pieces we all love and that go with everything.

  40. Amanda D. April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    It’s nice to read posts like this because then you know you’re not alone! I like fun prints but I’m trying to be more practical (trying). I’m working on a solid navy blue skirt and busy print blouse at the same time so I know I’ll have an outfit at the end of it. I think what gets me excited about making more solid pieces (in theory at least) is that I’ll get a lot more use out of them. I don’t get around to sewing very much so that’s important!

  41. Lydia April 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I would not want to take the ‘frosting’ or fun out of sewing! If I have to make the basic neutral ‘cakes’ or anchors in my wardrobe, (which by the way, do not have to be black pants or skirts — my neutrals are yellow, grey, and bright blue — basics, never have to be what others think) — it takes the imagination out of the hobby of sewing — for me (though obviously, others sew for different reasons and such). I like to sew items in colours or patterns that are more difficult to purchase — I love yellow, and now that it is popular for summer, I will sew it up less, and focus on something that is more difficult to find.

    I like to buy my ‘cake’ or more basic wardrobe items (dark blue, or dark greys — hard to sew with for me…). I am not going to sew a cardigan, or a jacket — I would rather buy one, and make the floral dress that would ‘frost’ it. I guess though, I am more of an occasional sewer, rather than someone who endeavors to sew most of their wardrobe. I do have a huge respect and admiration for those who sew most of their clothes!

  42. kaitui_kiwi April 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Love it, perfect, that is exactly the distinct two types of sewing, cake or frosting. Last year my goal was to balance my cake and frosting sewing but in the end I learn’t that I just love frosting so much more and I prefer to buy my cake rtw ;) so, new goal, enjoy all the frosting I can make and mix it up with classic rtw cake to keep it real.

  43. Noelle April 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Good golly, I love those first three frocks. And you are such a cutie patootie!

    I’m trying to make things that I can wear out and about on my days off and to work. But they are pretty things. I work at a snooty boys’ school so I have to look kind of smart but I hate the corporate look.

  44. Catherine April 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Great post. I just came to this realisation recently. As I work full-time, I need lots of cake items. I recently completed the Truffle dress by Colette in a nice pink georgette. Now this is quite the “icing” dress. I then made it again in wool and removed the ruffle, and now it’s a “cake’ dress, effectively a wool tunic for winter. BTW, I’ve just ordered your Renfrew pattern to make some tops that can go underneath the wool tunic. More “cake” :)

  45. Jessica April 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    I primarily sew “frosting” items I suppose. But to be fair, I do wear them constantly! What it comes down to for me is this – could I buy it? For a reasonable price? Then I will. I buy t-shirts and pants and basic skirts. I can’t find dresses in interesting and beautiful prints that fit well – at least not for what I consider a reasonable price (it seems like the more casual we become, the higher dress prices rise.) I have a fair amount of sewing time, but not enough to spend sewing things that I don’t love.

    I almost exclusively sew prints, but I don’t see that as a problem – I just make sure to own plenty of black skirts and cardigans to wear with them!

  46. sophie (monbouton) April 10, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    interesting question! I’m really torn between both, but I think in the end, cake wins as I really need to fill in some gaps in my wardrobe and as a beginning sewist, every project takes a loooong time.
    I must say I enjoy my cake projects because they get a lot of wear: I recently made view C of the Renfrew top and I’ve been wearing so much that I haven’t had time to take pictures yet!

  47. Erika April 11, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I have the same problem! Except the other way around… I look at patterned fabric, think “This is pretty, but is it practical?” and then I end up with another solid fabric in my stash. However, lately I’ve started breaking the trend. When standing there, with the fabric in my hands or looking at the screen, I imagine the item I want to sew of it, and then picture it with the garments already in my closet. If it’s a separate I’m making and the fabric doesn’t go with at least one item in my closet (preferably 2 or three) then it’s a no-go, no matter how lovely the fabric.

    Also, I’ve started to plan my wardrobe. I make a list of what I have (for everyday wear), and then adds to the list things I would like to make that fills up the gaps on the list. Next comes drawing the garments, planning the sewing, buying/stash-thrifting the fabrics etc. I’ve found it to be the only way I don’t end up with huge stash of solid blues! =)

    Good luck with sewing cakes! ; )

  48. VJ April 11, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Dresses are great winter wear too – black (or other plain) long sleeve top, tights & boots. Cake you can buy; icing you can sew!

    For me (6 ft) – sewing is all about fit, so I make cake, but not plain butter cake, always with a little twist (eg lime & pistachio in the actual cake; an slightly unusual fabric in a classic darted pencil skirt for work in the sewing).

    Have you read the Barbara Emodie article in the latest Asutralian Stitches? A great reminder that to take some of the “shoulds” out of our sewing . . . (but latest not yet listed – is a tops & jackets special).

  49. scuffsan April 11, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    It’s the same for me as well. The frosting is so much more fun to make! I keep thinking that some day soon I will be the kind of girl who wears the frosting all the time, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever get there. I do like the cake as well, but it’s not as fun to make and I don’t really like shopping for it either. For me it seems impossible to find pants and skirts that actually fit so if I want them I should just make them myself. I’ve made a few skirts but the only one of them I’m happy with is the black corduroy crescent I made (I just LOVE that pattern!) and I haven’t even attempted to make pants. Dresses on the other hand… I’ve made quite a few of those.

    This post really got me thinking, and now I’m actually inspired to make a pair of pants.

  50. Gail Ann Thompson April 11, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    I sat in my daughter’s car in a busy parking lot one early Spring Saturday morning. As I waited for my daughter to complete her shopping, I watched folks, young and old, men and women, walking from the parking lot into various shops and restaurants. It seemed as if there was some sort of uniform involved:
    Jeans or black pants, paired with a variety of pull overs.
    Too boring, even to be discribed as ‘cake’.
    After reading your post, I’d call it the wearing of the unleavened bread.

    That said, I watched from the vantage point of 60+ years. Remembering a time when no lady would go Saturday morning shopping, without girdle and stockings underneath her ‘frosting’. Cake was the housedress, apron, and headrag we wore at home, doing chores.

    My mother passed away recently. I recieved more than one condolence card saying, “Your mother was the very first woman I ever knew who wore slacks on the street.”
    Times, they are a’changing.

    Let’s remember, ‘it is only progress, when we are changing toward something BETTER’.

    • Kat April 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      What a great reminder–thanks for reminding me about the everyday elegance of the past. That’s why so many of us gravitate (at least occasionally) toward vintage patterns.

  51. Uta April 11, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I have no problem at all with buying the cake! In the past I also thought I ought to make more cake, or in my case more like “bread” – I wear quite a lot of colorless, very classic (boring to sew) clothes, but I think I’ve gotten over that. Why not buy a few stategic pieces and sew what makes me happy? You’d get pretty far with a classic trench, a pair of jeans, a gray pair of trouser pants or classic skirt, and a neutral cardigan. Combine that with twenty colorful pieces and you have a hundred outfits!

  52. Alex April 11, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Since you only buy clothes second hand, I think the easiest solution is to look for your cake at the thrift store. This may take some time and patience, but not nearly as much as sewing your own basics/neutrals/cake. I used to mostly look for frosting at the thrift store, but I’ve done very well since I started looking for things like work pants and knits (items that I can’t or don’t want to sew) instead of dresses and skirts (the things I’m most excited about sewing, that are often easier, too!).

  53. The Slapdash Sewist April 11, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Oh man, I hate sewing the cake, too. I have limited time to sew and boring basics is not how I want to allocate that! But, like you, I don’t buy clothes. So there is a serious lack of basic skirts, especially bikeable ones. I might have a cake project planned for 3 projects out, but a lot can change in 3 projects!

    • Tasia April 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      I totally agree! Limited time to sew + so many fun fabrics out there = a serious lack of solids and basics in our wardrobes. Which doesn’t matter if you’re planning to shop for the rest but does pose a problem if you plan to sew your whole wardrobe.
      I always think of your projects as well planned-out! You’ll often show how different items work together or how they can be worn different ways. Like the mini-travel wardrobe – everything went together to make a bunch of different (and bike-able) outfits!

  54. kristin April 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    such a terrific post, i LOVE the comments! i tend to thrift/buy cake and sew icing. i have ‘plans’ to make cakes, but somehow the frosting always draws me like a raven to a shiny! that being said, i do have a color-blocked silk tee (frosted cake) mostly finished and plans for shorts and (polka dots=cake for me, and another print which is frosting) and a couple pencil skirts (cake). so maybe i’m learning from doing a lot of Zoe’s me-made challenges!

  55. Amanda April 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I love this analogy! :) I’m almost always drawn to solid colours of fabric, but that doesn’t mean they get sewn into cake, unfortunately LOL. I’m working on that though, but still learning how to do a lot of things so that I have the skills to make something I would consider wearable enough to be cake :)

    Frosting for me is more about the styles I’m drawn to; all manner of retro and pretty dresses that aren’t really practical for daily wear – so I’m trying really hard this year to wear more dresses – at least when i go out on the weekend – so that my frosting can BECOME cake!! LOL.

  56. Jessica April 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I have to say, given my limited time to spend on crafting, I have decided to focus on making what I really like to make — and I hate making basics!!! (cuz then I overobsess with fit and drape and it just robs all the fun from the process) For me, I don’t mind buying or thrifting basics. But I have to say – I’ve found that a couple basics can go a long ways! And also, that a couple “frosting” pieces can really be mixed and matched quite versatile-y, and what helps with that is a small collection of solids (can be red or aqua or orange or purple or whatever) that coordinate across your frosting pieces. For me, a small collection of solids and a couple neutrals take me a long, long ways.

  57. Suzi April 12, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Who wouldn’t prefer a bowl of frosting over a bowl of cake??? I sew for joy and the “frosting” items are the kind you can’t buy off the rack…for me shopping is for cake items!

    You can eat cake with Marie Antoinette…or sew frosting with Tasia – I know which I prefer!

    • Tasia April 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      Love it! ‘Sew frosting with Tasia,’ that’s what I do best! :)

      • Tasia April 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

        Good name for a sew-along, actually. ‘Frosting with Tasia’ – much more interesting than “___ Sew-Along”!

        • Suzi April 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

          I love your sew-alongs – but i’d definitley be in on that sew-along!

          I’m actually in need of an amazing wrap dress pattern that has options for ultimate frosting frou-frou but can be tonned down for a Sunday brunch with the in-laws… any plans for a new pattern for the summer???? Or recommendations for a nice, quick sew pattern???

  58. Melissa April 12, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Hah… I also noticed my clothing consist of lots of dresses and they are pretty colourful. I recently decided that instead of making only dresses, I am gonna work on making skirts and shorts. Mind you, while I am fine into boring dull colours, I reckoned that if I made them in denim, they can be used with anything and to anywhere. Imagine a denim pencil skirt!

    Plus, when I think about it, a dark skirt that has stain won’t annoy me as much a bright coloured dress with a stain. Now, time to make another skirt. Perhaps something less tighter or as fitted as a pencil skirt.

  59. deborah April 12, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    I think the home ‘baker’ SHOULD do fun stuff that is unique and harder to find! It’s just the kind of thing that you’d have to pay top dollar for if you went to a specialty boutique. Box cake is easy enough to purchase anywhere…

    • Tasia April 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      True, it’s easy to find basics for ‘cake’ in stores, but not to get it to fit right! For me it’s so hard to fit pants that fit, and skirts that aren’t cut straight up-and-down. I’d love to find anything in store that’s designed for small waists and big bums! And I hate alterations, I’d rather start from scratch.

      I’m not about to stop sewing fun stuff! Don’t you all worry, I have plenty of fun frosting fabrics that are dying to be sewn up into pretty tops and dresses. That’s what gets me excited, details and prints and colours and fancy buttons. I just need to find ways to get equally excited about the ‘workhorse’ pieces as well if I plan to sew all my own clothing. :)

      • Pearl April 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

        I was going through my fabric cupboard the other day, and I’ve got so much “frosting” fabrics in there! There’s a fair amount of “cake” as well, and the last piece I picked up from Fabricana was some organic cotton twill in chocolate brown (I will be going back to get a couple other colours – they are great!). Wait…that’s not right…the last piece I picked up at Fabricana was a brown toned floral print…sigh…more frosting! Oh well, it goes with the cotton twill :-)

        • Tasia April 13, 2012 at 10:05 am #

          The organic twill from Fabricana is great! It softens after washing and wearing, too. I got the taupey brown. Looks like you have a balance of both frosting and cake! I have ‘cake’ fabrics but never feel quite as inspired to use them. Frosting gets sewn up first! :)

  60. Pauline April 12, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    It seems I only have frosting and almost no cake at all.I mean, who’s going to choose a plain skirt over a fun and colurfull dress? Well, not me at least! Even the patterns that I could use as simple and easy to combine, I tend to make in difficult to match fabrics (Minoru jacket in plaid, crazy much?). But as I don’t mind wearing colourfull and patterned dresses, skirts and jackets, it’s ok. I might commit fashion crime by wearing plaid and dots at the same time, but for me, sewing shoulb be fun!

    • Suzi April 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Pauline – you sound like a fashion rebel! I totally understand your frosting fashion ideology… do you keep a blog where you post about your sewing exploits?

  61. Bella April 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Frosting is what you make…cake is what you buy (hopefully on sale at Macy’s or Marshall’s). Why buy cake–it’s easy to come by? Frosting is what you’ll never find in stores–it’s an unusual pattern that fits you perfectly w/ the coolest fabric you got on sale that no one else will have.

    I don’t get to spend that much time sewing–so I’m not using that time on basics.

    Interesting post. Thanks!

  62. Kirsty S April 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    I guess I tend to sew cake more than frosting, when I look in the fabric cupboard so many are solids colours (but not so much neutrals). Prints I find tricky to choose, whereas it’s easier to know if it’s ‘my’ blue. Somehow the frosting seems to be a bigger decision and commitment – although when I go down that track I am delighted with the results. This post has inspired me to look at the frosting patterns and fabrics and do some matchmaking. my photos from Tilly’s OWOP made me realise there’s an awful lot of cake in the wardrobe and some frosting is needed.

  63. Clio April 13, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Chiming in a bit late… Since my sewing time is limited, I deliberately sew only frosting. It’s what I enjoy sewing the most and get the most joy from wearing. So, the best use of my sewing time. I buy RTW cake.

  64. Michelle April 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    My problem is that when I am fabric shopping, I am drawn to the cake fabrics. But, when I get home all I want to sew is frosting :( Which is why my stash tends to grow, but I never feel motivated to sew any of it.

    • Tasia April 13, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      I am the opposite – I’m drawn to the shiniest, brightest prints and colours in the store. Then I get home and I realize I’ve bought a third bright yellow-and-hot-pink floral print!
      I read somewhere that we should buy fabrics in threes – one print, with two coordinating solids, or two prints that go with a solid fabric. That way we’re thinking of what we might wear together, and keeps our buying balanced. Perhaps I’ll try that! For me it’ll help add some solids into the mix, and for you it’ll help remind you to pick up something fun along with your practical buys.

  65. Frédérique April 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Perfect analogy. I was quite proud of my last fabric-shopping trip: I found an awesome navy wool pinstripe in the remnants bin, perfect for a basic ‘cake’ skirt for winter. Only $7! I then went browsing for ‘frosting’ – and found a pink flower print silk to make a blouse to go with my skirt. Bonus: not feeling one bit guilty for the silky splurge, knowing I’d have something to wear it with!
    …of course, that approach kind of negates the financial benefits of shopping the remnant bin…

  66. Mrs Dagnell April 14, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    I definitly agree! But it is not only the colours and pattern… I often end up sewing pieces in velvet or silk that isn´t that practical for a mother of 2. I really need to start focus on sewing clothes I can wear daily but brighten up the day with colours and pattern.
    But thank you for this wonderful explanation! Frosting and cake… I can finally put a word on it!

  67. Alessa April 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    I love to sew frosting, too! I’m glad to say that I can usually wear it whenever I want, though. I wear scrubs at work, and nobody cares which clothes I arrive or go home in. :D
    I actually still have a few basics from my non-sewing days, which help. I guess what you need to do is take a good look at your wardrobe and think about which pieces would go with the most of your frosting? I have a couple of denim skirts as well as a couple red ones and one in black, and I have a navy one (with nautical buttons) on my to-sew-list. Also, a couple of basic jersey tops and blouses. A few basics go a long way!

  68. Hanna April 15, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I have only one word and someone else has already used it: palette. It helped me a lot to make an actual plan of what I’m going to sew during this spring. My starting point may be a little different though. I tend to wear mostly black (because then everything goes with everything) and I actually consider my solid black Beignet as forsting.. So my wardrobe would be cake and bread?

    In general I get more joy out of sewing and knitting clothes that will get a lot of wear than making things that end up sitting in my closet because they don’t coordinate with the weather. I do add interesting-to-sew -type of details on my basics and it makes me happy to know that I’m wearing something that has been finished well. (Also, my grandmother has a habit of instantly inspecting the wrong side of every piece of clothing I’ve made.)

  69. Moo April 16, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I have no frosting at all :( After having three babies in 4.5 years, I don’t fit into my old wardrobe. I recently went through and got rid of most of my old clothes because I decided if I do lose all of this weight then I deserve new clothes! I just started sewing clothes for my kids. Maybe by the time I lose the weight I’ll be good enough to sew my own clothes! O wouldn’t that be fun? Thanks for the idea! I love your frosting by the way :)

  70. Elizabeth April 25, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    I’d never thought about this, but I can see your point. It’s so easy to get carried away sewing for creativity and end up with a lot of garment orphans. I recently finished up a wardrobe basics sew along, and it was really helpful for me to not only get some anchor pieces in my closet (I rarely shop or thrift because it’s difficult to find petite styles that fit me that aren’t all Grandmaish). It got me thinking about how to combine things as well. Sometimes though I like to sneak in some frosting with my cake–I’m thinking of a length I have of solid cotton with frayed clipped rectangles on the surface that wants to be a skirt.

  71. Tatiana April 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    I am feeling really bad now… My life is pretty pathetic at the moment, I work from home most of the days, and the dress code in my office is really casual, so if I was wearing one of these dresses, I would look really ridiculous… I also live in a small town, so I don’t have a lot of places to wear pretty clothes as well… Should I change my life in order to be able to sew more frosting patterns? I keep sewing cake patterns, just out of necessity… Gosh, I need a change right now!

  72. Chrysilla May 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Lol. Actually, I started sewing b/c I suddenly gained a lot of weight due to an illness, which put me into plus sizes for the first time, and made shopping for frosting a lot more difficult (on top of my tendency towards dark jewel tones, which are already a tough find in spring/summer).

    In the plus-section buying cake is still mostly easy, but well-fitted frosting is really hard to find. And when it comes to vintage fashion, just forget it. So I just sew frosting and costumes and vintage reprints for the most part.

  73. Meraj May 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Wow, this post (really liked the photos) actually makes me want to sew more frosting! Or rather, more cake, because your cake is my frosting — wait, I think that’s pushing the metaphor too far. Let me rephrase that: what most consider cake-clothing, I consider frosting-clothing.

    Basically, I tend to go for really neutral-toned, sharp-seamed pieces, so now I’ll try and remember to also get some cake/frosting in there, so that my sewing’s not all about savoury meat pies, if you know what I mean.

    Thanks for the post!

  74. Maureen May 11, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    I looked into my wardrobe and saw – not even cake – but just plain old wholesome bread! So, I started to add a little cake, then, I decided that as summer was coming I would put some summer frosting in there and I made/bought some dresses and blouses.

    Since then it has rained!

  75. Alli May 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    wow i know EXACTLY what you mean! i have the saaame problem. i’ve pretty much stopped shopping for clothes because when i do i always buy frosting and have NOTHING to go with it. so i’ve decided to shop for cake (jeans, skirts that can go with a lot of things) and sew my own frosting. I’ve never had a term for it either! That’s adorable, I LOOVE it.

  76. Alli May 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    I bought a shiny hot pink and lime green zebra print and made a one shoulder top. Then i stopped and said. Seriously, WHAT am I supposed to wear this with. The bright purple and blue cheetah skirt i just made?? I don’t think so. I ALWAYS sew frosting. Thank goodness for blue jeans on sale ;D

  77. Brittany Cole May 29, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I am a frosting girl at heart. However, since I had my son last summer I have been forced to make more cake. (Not so easy/modest to roll around on the floor in a dress.) I think this is a good thing though because it has forced me to move outside my dress sewing box into separates sewing. I have learned so much and my skills have increased dramatically over the last few months. I still wear my frosting pieces but usually out to dinner/dates with my hubby instead of everyday wear like they used to be.

  78. Haley June 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    As I was staring at my closet this morning, I realized I have the exact same problem. But I’ve always loved frosting more than cake!

    I have been realizing as I get older that focusing on the cake really does help with day to day dressing. I’m going to try making more cake pieces and then do still do occasional frosting stuff from now on.

  79. EM January 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    You seem to be devaluing your own personal style by referring to it as “frosting.” I see absolutely nothing wrong with having a wardrobe full of brightly colored garments — in fact, I see it as being preferable to the boring garments that you have described as being “cake.”

  80. Rain August 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Whenever I sew clothing, it’s usually for an elaborate costume, or it’s yoga pants out of a tshirt. Or just reconstructing a tshirt. So I think I have too much cake for my frosting!

  81. Mersang May 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    In keeping with the analogy, I started out sewing sprinkles – dolls’ clothing, where practicality is not a concern, and minor embellishments to my own wardrobe. Then I moved on to frosting, because I wanted a particular dress silhouette and could not for the life of me find it anywhere, or at least not in my size.

    Finally, cake – much like with the dress, I had trouble finding pants that fit me, so I decided to make my own. It’s easy to find fun tops at a bargain, but difficult to find plus-size pants in colours other than black. Sometimes there was dark brown or blue available, but never a forest green or burgundy or purple, and forget about finding a print or a light, bright colour! It’s not that I have anything against black pants. It’s just obnoxious to me that I didn’t have options. Factor in my preference for a fitted, non-elasticized waistband and the fact that my waist is high enough a lot of commercially-available high-waist pants look like low-waists on me, and you see why making pants myself has become my go-to solution.

    I also enjoy pudding – home décor items like pillows and embroidered tapestries.

  82. Katarina July 1, 2015 at 6:40 am #

    Hi Tasia,

    I’m definitely like you, love to sew the frosting pieces! Today I’m wearing a skirt made from golden fabric I crushed for :)
    My solution is to buy “cake” pieces, so I’m wearing a khaki shirt from Zara with this shiny skirt.
    And I manage to wear everything I sew. But, like you, there are many many dresses among my homemade garments.
    Wait, I love to sew the real big pieces, coats and furs, so this would be “cake”, I suppose :-)


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    […] days. I really need more ‘cake’ pieces (as per Tasia’s recent posting about Cake vs Frosting sewing) and this top is a step in the right […]

  8. OLD YELLOW OR YELLER | Swell Sewing - April 24, 2012

    […]  Just like Tasia mentions in her blog Sewaholic,  I have too much frosting (fun dresses for dressing up), and not enough cake (everyday clothing). […]

  9. Ginger Made: Pajama* Party, or, the Pink Nightmare Pajamas! | Ginger Makes… - April 28, 2012

    […] saving it with the intention of making a dress.  But with all this talk around the internet about cake vs. frosting and making clothes that you will actually wear, I was inspired to cut into this for pajamas and […]

  10. Wardrobe Planning: Inspiration, Comfort + Compromise | Lazy Stitching - May 7, 2012

    […] has been many a meaningful discussion of late around what we sew and why. Sewaholic’s take on frosting vs. cake and Colette Patterns’ practical wardrobe posts both put into words the thoughts I’d had […]

  11. Week 1 Recap of Me Made May 2012 | - May 8, 2012

    […] been thinking about the concept of wearing “frosting” vs. “cake” like Tasia blogged about 2 weeks ago… and I’m not sure I 100% agree with what she […]

  12. MMM ’12: Week 2 in pics | Stitch and Witter - May 14, 2012

    […] not worn yet plus quite a few dresses. But the dresses are all a bit ‘frosting’ (as Sewaholic so succinctly put it) and tbh I’ve kind of gone off my Beignets, plus they feel a bit weighty for the season. […]

  13. Meat and potatoes | No Moa - May 27, 2012

    […] read a post by sewaholic here which really struck a cord. Too much frosting – fun, frivolous sewing- and not enough […]

  14. MMM week… the rest « no time to sew - June 9, 2012

    […] I suggest a me-made-cold-month next time? The other reason for the duplicates is that same old cake-frosting debate – I have a lot of fancy dresses that don’t get worn that often. So while MMM was […]

  15. Completed project: Arrghh kimono | Stitch and Witter - June 17, 2012

    […] from the vintage styles I’ve been doing recently. It feels quite modern and practical. Less frosting – more cake, albeit a glamorous cake. Not sure what Gracie makes of the parrots though. […]

  16. A FABRIC DIET | Sew Busy Lizzy - June 18, 2012

    […] has free shipping in Australia. It would have been silly not to buy them. And it’s a bit of cake AND icing. Give me five! Balanced diet! Woo hoo! Tasia would approve. Speaking of dieting… I […]

  17. HAZEL’S NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER | Sew Busy Lizzy - June 19, 2012

    […] seemed to be the sensible option). It’s not perfect but it’s grungy fun. This is not cake clothing, it’s just very naughty self-saucing winter […]

  18. Cake or icing? More like cucumber sandwich, I’m afraid … « The Very Best Jumper - July 6, 2012

    […] browsing the sewing related blogosphere will have seen this post by Tasia, and quite a few responses to it in other blogs. Her analogy about cake (basic, every-day […]

  19. 4 months sewing – more cake or more icing? « Kim-ing - July 16, 2012

    […] Recently Twisted Yarns posted about whether he creation fitting into the cake or icing debate and pointed to this post by Tasia from Sewaholic. […]

  20. Introducing Cake Patterns! « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World - July 18, 2012

    […] what’s Cake?  There’s been some chatter on sewing blogs about sewing “cake” vs. sewing “frosting.”  It’s a sweet way to describe the difference between sewing frothy, fun or “out […]

  21. Seamless pledge, or how the cucumber gets on the sandwich | The Very Best Jumper - September 3, 2012

    […] when everybody and their grandma seemed to discuss sewing “cake or icing”, triggered by this post by the lovely Tasia of Sewaholic. Of course, I had to share my view of things, and the insight for […]

  22. Sewing for the Life You Want « Disparate Disciplines - September 13, 2012

    […] has been a lot of talk around the blogosphere about sewing cake vs. frosting, ie basics that you can wear in your everyday life vs. fun things that you can’t wear on a […]

  23. Announcing the Tiramisu circus and pre-sale « Pendle Stitches - September 26, 2012

    […] line of pattern under the “Cake” label.  As Steph explains: Many sewists use the term “cake” to refer to useful sewn items- pencil skirts, knit tops, knit dresses, jeans: the kind of utility […]

  24. Completed: The Mustard Renfrew (plus some announcements!) « LLADYBIRD - September 26, 2012

    […] Instead of focusing all my sewing power on stuff that rarely gets worn, this is some straight-up cake. I am going to snuggle into this outfit all the time – I would be wearing it right now, if I […]

  25. The Climbing Tree · Practical or Pretty? and a giveaway…. - October 1, 2012

    […] references Sewaholic DisparateDisciplines […]

  26. Guest Post for Frosting Fortnight « Cation Designs - October 17, 2012

    […] by now you are probably very familiar with the terms frosting and cake. Ever since Tasia’s post, they have become sewing blogosphere shorthand for garments that are too whimsical, frothy, and […]

  27. Whimsy Through Chic Embellishments: Guest Post by Cation Designs « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World - October 24, 2012

    […] by now you are probably very familiar with the terms frosting and cake. Ever since Tasia’s post, they have become sewing blogosphere shorthand for garments that are too whimsical, frothy, and […]

  28. Butterick 5778 – a sleeper hit « no time to sew - October 26, 2012

    […] amount of gathers… overall, just a win. It’s another one of those “make your cake and eat it too” sort of […]

  29. 4 Lessons learned: 2012 « Green apples - December 21, 2012

    […] link to Tasia’s discussion of cake vs frosting in our dressmaking.  If cake is the basics (pants, t-shirts etc) and frosting […]

  30. Winter sewing: successes so far. | Thea's adventures in Sewingland - January 23, 2013

    […] They’re definitely the cake of my wardrobe. After my initial fear of tidying out my wardrobe, I bit the bullet and found that yes, I have roughly as few clothes as I thought I did. Therefore, currently, cake is essential. More cake please! (For the cake/icing analogy, see Tasia’s post here). […]

  31. Any day, every day or everyday: which wardrobe are you sewing? | the secret life of seams - January 31, 2013

    […] been a hot topic for a while, sewing for your day-to-day life: Tasia posted about cake and frosting and Sunni’s been talking about how wearable she wants her sewing to […]

  32. Completed: Hollyburn skirt! | Thea's adventures in Sewingland - February 10, 2013

    […] quite a few items in my wardrobe – many more than originally thought. It’s definitely cake, rather than icing. My favourite top to go with it so far? The ueber-snuggly jumper I’m wearing above. My mum […]

  33. Sewing for the Life You Want - February 24, 2013

    […] has been a lot of talk around the blogosphere about sewing cake vs. frosting, ie basics that you can wear in your everyday life vs. fun things that you can’t wear on a […]

  34. Tiramisu! Finally | heteronormative lovefest - March 14, 2013

    […] day. It’s just how I dress. So by that definition this firmly falls in the cake-not-frosting category, even though most people would never wear it. I’m generally not too concerned about sewing […]

  35. wardrobe sewing | heteronormative lovefest - April 18, 2013

    […] putting off because I don’t really have the right fabric in stash. And they’re total cake projects – wardrobe staples I just don’t have right now, and would get a ton of wear […]

  36. Me Made May 2013 - mabelmakes - April 20, 2013

    […] take part and wear my handmade items more often though. To mention a phrase coined by Tasia, I have too much frosting and not enough cake in my wardrobe right now. So, I also plan to take the month to identify what casual wear items I […]

  37. Me Made May; Week 3 | VickikateMakes - May 24, 2013

    […] sewing (things I wont wear all the time but I want to make anyway), commonly known as cake and frosting sewing.  The cake sewing though will hopefully still be pretty and challenging in some way, as well as […]

  38. The Scout Tee(s) — Sew, Laura, Sew! - July 5, 2013

    […] I’ve been taken over by the idea of making a whole bunch of cake, as in, the boring clothes that go with everything as opposed to the pretty party dresses I […]

  39. PATTERN REVIEW: Bonny Knit Sailor Top by Cake Patterns RiFFS | TheSeedsof3 - July 8, 2013

    […] You can make them basic, wardrobe staples, or you can jazz it them and make them frosting […]

  40. — Sew, Laura, Sew! - July 22, 2013

    […] to my recent quest to make more cake, I decided to make another Miette Skirt, this time in something […]

  41. Completed: cake and vinegar dress | By Gum, By Golly - August 28, 2013

    […] of you who sew may be familiar with the concept of cake vs. frosting in sewing (see Tasia’s post here on the subject if not). Frosting refers to the fun and fancy stuff, while cake refers to the basics […]

  42. Hey, It’s OK… | Eclectic Threads - September 11, 2013

    […] post by Sewaholic got me thinking about this one. I certainly sew too much ‘frosting’ […]

  43. Sewing for my style - what is my style?? | Bobbins Bikes and Blades - September 27, 2013

    […] from Sewaholic talks about sewing the fun stuff and not enough of the everyday necessities. She calls it sewing cake not frosting. Tilly […]

  44. I’ve been sewing in Russian !! (Lekala patterns) | Sewing Tidbits - October 14, 2013

    […] NY than with chance…), I am the happy owner an adorable Anna Sui print! Let’s sew cake with frosting fabrics! The whole thing feels kind of 90′s but hey, I grew up in the […]

  45. PATTERN REVIEW: Bonny Knit Sailor Top by Cake Patterns RiFFS | TheSeedsof3 - October 27, 2013

    […] You can make them basic, wardrobe staples, or you can jazz it them and make them frosting […]

  46. Making more cake – New Look 6193 | Pootle and make - November 3, 2013

    […] rather than dresses with limited wear. Tasia from Sewaholic summed this up aptly in her post ‘Too much frosting not enough cake’. I also want to do more seasonal sewing so I can wear my makes now. To this end I’m using NL […]

  47. I made this for you* | these are the thoughts that fall out of my head - November 8, 2013

    […] clothes. Wearing things. Too Much Frosting, Not Enough Cake. I have this desire to sew some unstructured tops, the type that all those fashion bloggers wear […]

  48. Navy Kelly skirt | reiny days and mondays - December 4, 2013

    […] trying to sew more cake and less frosting for myself and well, it’s really hard. I’d much rather sew the floraliest, most […]

  49. Sewlutions 2014 | My Sewing Melee - December 30, 2013

    […] this is the old Cake vs. Frosting debate. My two Hollyburn skirts get worn ALL THE TIME, but they’re worn almost exclusively […]

  50. Happy New Year 2014! | reiny days and mondays - January 2, 2014

    […] more cake for myself! I really need solid/neutral tops and bottoms so I can actually mix and match my […]

  51. New year, new language, no sewlution | Made in my living room - January 3, 2014

    […] 5. Sew more dresses. I didn’t sew any of these, but I did make two BHL Anna and other 3 dresses. Out of 5, only 2 are cake. […]

  52. “You look like a Cupcake”: Sewing for my lifestyle | Bows and Bunnies - January 6, 2014

    […] with Rochelle, Clare along with a bunch of others posting similar sentiments lately. Not to forget Tasia’s great post a while back on sewing “frosting” rather than […]

  53. Four Shirts, One Pattern: Class Samples from Flat Patternmaking | Whipstitch - January 23, 2014

    […] lots of activities and chances to share your ideas; you should totally get in on that) and sewing more "cake" and less "frosting" (Tasia does such a great job of encouraging all of us to use our sewing time to make things we'll […]

  54. Cake: Basic Black | - January 27, 2014

    […] sure all of you are familiar with Tasia’s (from Sewaholic) reference to “cake” and “frosting” within our wardrobe.  I think the definition of […]

  55. Pink Frosting Dress: Lekala 4282 | Miss Parayim - March 7, 2014

    […] a year ago, Tasia of Sewaholic wrote this brilliant post that instantly added two terms to the sewing blog lexicon: sewing cake, and sewing […]

  56. Quand la Simplicité volontaire rejoint The Wearability Project | Somewhere over the rainbow - March 15, 2014

    […] Souvent les couturières (et moi la première) sont attirées par les robes “de gala”. Les jolies robes qui nous mettent en valeur et nous font sentir princesse. Seulement les jolies robes, on ne les met pas forcément tous les jours. Nous portons souvent des basiques et ce sont les basiques, aussi jolis soient-ils qu’il faut privilégier dans sa garde-robe. Tasia, la créatrice de Sewaholic a trouvé une jolie expression : “too much frosting and not enough cake“ […]

  57. Making Clothes Again | lazylinchen - March 24, 2014

    […] me sewing, I should remember that more often. The top is nothing special, it’s just “cake“. I was joking recently that I mostly sew cake, not enough frosting, which results in a […]

  58. Sewing Analgesia {How To Take The Pain Out Of Sewing} | Ask Sarah - March 25, 2014

    […] a Me Made May collage or make a silly youtube, you’re all set! Fill those holes with cake As a great blogger once wrote, too much frosting, not enough cake. Tasia wrote a great post about how we tend to sew the fun and frilly and not the more boring but […]

  59. Coffee Date Friday! | Pincushion Treats - April 4, 2014

    […] started to slow down. Now I know the next project I want to pounce on. I’ve been craving frosting like nothing else. But then…the practical side of me thinks I need some cake to fill in the […]

  60. Happy Ever After dress: Sew Dolly Clackett | Scruffy Badger Time - April 21, 2014

    […] once we have accumulated a number of pretty dresses do we recognise the other truth – the icing versus cake debate- & decide that if we do want to develop a hand-made wardrobe, and unless we can build frock […]

  61. Five Things Having a Baby Taught Me about Sewing | Ms. Cleaver Chronicles - May 16, 2014

    […] coined the whole frosting vs. cake terminology, but sometimes, even cake is too fancy of a word for some […]

  62. A Bit of Cake | Ms. Cleaver Chronicles - May 20, 2014

    […] few weeks ago Tasia had a great post on sewing “frosting” (fun, often patterned, not necessarily everyday items) versus […]

  63. MMM1 comes to an end | Béa's Sewing Adventures - June 2, 2014

    […] try to ensure that what I make will be readily integrated into my regular wardrobe. I make cake, not frosting. Sometimes my cake may have interesting flavours and ingredients. There may even be frosting on the […]

  64. MMM14 comes to an end | Béa's Sewing Adventures - June 2, 2014

    […] try to ensure that what I make will be readily integrated into my regular wardrobe. I make cake, not frosting. Sometimes my cake may have interesting flavours and ingredients. There may even be frosting on the […]

  65. Me-Made-May 2014 Wrap-Up | The Geeky Seamstress - June 13, 2014

    […] many basic wardrobe staples as I’d like. I’m guilty of what Tasia refers to as “making frosting.” I have lots of pretty, fun things to wear, but not functional, everyday pieces. The items […]

  66. i really can turn anything into major life question, reader. | Seam Ripped - June 15, 2014

    […] this becoming a classic frosting v. cake debate?  I generally try to make my sewing patterns come down to about $5 per garment, or one garment for […]

  67. Announcing the August Challenge! | The Monthly Stitch - July 1, 2014

    […] yourself some “frosting” (bonus points if you are eating some cake in your […]

  68. shoes and blues. tales of a girl, a boy, a cat, and other such things - July 7, 2014

    […] only recently read Tasia’s summary of Frosting vs Cake, but it struck a chord with me, which I briefly mentioned when making my Maudy Arabella dress.  I […]

  69. Thinking about a piece of cake? | The Monthly Stitch - July 25, 2014

    […] concept of sewing ‘cake’ vs. sewing ‘frosting’ – Tasia from Sewaholic wrote a great post about this idea. (Or you could sew a piece of ‘cake’ and some ‘frosting’ to go with it for […]

  70. Jeg har syet kage | KnitBitch - August 8, 2014

    […] nu. Kage og Glasur Første gange jeg stødte på det var da Tasia fra i 2012 skrev denne blog-post om, hvordan hun havde tendens til at sy for mange spraglede kjoler og toppe, men ikke noget basis […]

  71. A-fest Lineup | The Geeky Seamstress - August 14, 2014

    […] of the day, so I’m going casual(ish). For this month’s Monthly Stitch, I made an “frosting” dress based on Captain Marvel’s new […]

  72. cake or one of (what will be) many plantain tops | gathers and darts - August 16, 2014

    […] is a lot of talk in the sewing world about cake vs frosting, a metaphor I love because it works so well.  I am in the cake part of wardrobe building, lots of […]

  73. The Great Tee Shirt Measuring | Sorting Buttons - August 17, 2014

    […] most often. There’s actually a widely-accepted term for this in the sewing blog community: you sew too much frosting and not enough cake. In other words, you focus all your efforts on making the kinds of clothes that are special, […]

  74. the ‘black tie requested’ dress | root branch bole - August 21, 2014

    […] The deadline in this case was my dear friend’s wedding this month. Like lots of others who sew, I’ve lost my taste for buying clothes, and after enough time spent at the sewing machine, I’ve lost my taste for sewing frosting. […]

  75. Anna Sui Rose Trellis Simplicity Dress Patterns - August 21, 2014

    […] Too Much Frosting , Not Enough Cake | Sewaholic – I finally have a cute term to explain the problem with my wardrobe. There’s too much frosting and not enough cake! If you’ve seen the things I’ve sewn, you …… […]

  76. Anna Sui Rose Trellis School Dress Code Debate - August 22, 2014

    […] Too Much Frosting , Not Enough Cake | Sewaholic – I finally have a cute term to explain the problem with my wardrobe. There’s too much frosting and not enough cake! If you’ve seen the things I’ve sewn, you …… […]

  77. August Challenge: More like Captain Marvel-ous! | The Geeky Seamstress - August 22, 2014

    […] beautiful Captain Marvel dress. As soon as I saw it, I wanted it. I thought it was a perfect “frosting” project for this month’s theme, since I’ll probably only wear it out to geeky […]

  78. About as “cake” as you can get | Modern Vintage Cupcakes - August 28, 2014

    […] hey, since I was sewing ‘cake‘ I figured, may as well go for ‘ultimate cake’ and make a plain black tee, […]

  79. Completed: Some Tshirts! | LLADYBIRD - September 26, 2014

    […] hey, head’s up – this post is all cake and no frosting. No apologies, though! Lord knows I can never have enough […]

  80. No Sans-Culotte anymore | parva sed apta - October 6, 2014

    […] fabric and I am quite happy with the linen. And additionally it is so neutral, you might call it a cake-project, at least I would. In my opinion it doesn’t look that “vintage-y” at first […]

  81. Sewaholic Tofino PJ pants | Sew Independent - November 1, 2014

    […] occasion piece or something that is not really a wardrobe staple.   Tasia has talked about sewing too much frosting and Mari puts her spin on redefining […]

  82. Throwback Thursday: A Parade of Renfrews | Sew RED-y - November 20, 2014

    […] the Sewaholic Renfrew. Beloved by all and probably the most sewn cake pattern out there. It’s definitely my most-sewn pattern for sure, including some […]

  83. THE CLASSIC WARDROBE – Investment Sewing - November 27, 2014

    […] course I’m not suggesting that we all completely abandon those crazy icing projects (v’s cake as originally coined by Tasia), that’s a heap of fun – and let’s face it, fun is what it is all about. But just as the ideal […]

  84. Top 5 of 2014: My Wardrobe | The Geeky Seamstress - December 22, 2014

    […] My home wardrobe really is just PJs/comfy pants and t-shirts. I would like more weekend wear, but I feel like my sewing is slightly out of balance in that realm. I have several fun, campy makes, but not a lot of staples. Not unless you count items like my skater dresses. The ever present conflict of too much icing and not enough cake. […]

  85. Have Your Cake and Wear It Too! Simplicity 3850 Pants | tinkerandstitcher - January 9, 2015

    […] you sew “cake” or “frosting”? as Tasia from Sewaholic wrote about. I think I have always been a frosting kind of sewer as cake was so easy and cheap to […]

  86. The Wildflower Dress - Shona Stitches - February 15, 2015

    […] the frosting vs. cake debate, lately I’ve been feeling that maybe I make too much cake. I definitely could use more […]

  87. Doing this Me-Made-May thing again. | Maggie Makes It Better - May 6, 2015

    […] – a few simple separates, a few t-shirts, a pair of leggings. Though I’d known of the too much frosting, not enough cake concept before last May, and I’d been considering how it should influence my sewing, I […]

  88. Me-Made-May Week 2 | Sew RED-y - May 11, 2015

    […] I was expecting it to be harder to find items to wear at least 4x per week, but I guess my “cake” sewing binge that started last year is paying off. The week was OK, nothing too special […]

  89. Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe « Practice Makes Pretty - May 20, 2015

    […] the best part about it? Having a capsule wardrobe is not incompatible with sewing frosting, or splurging on the perfect accessory that only matches one outfit. The capsule wardrobe is […]

  90. Me Made May 2015: final thoughts | Hungarian Housekeeping - May 31, 2015

    […] But what about all those bright floofy dresses? Those colorful cotton skirts? Clearly, I have too much frosting and not enough cake in my wardrobe, and I’m not sure how to deal with that […]

  91. wiwo wednesday: sewing for my style • Fluffyland Craft & Sewing Blog - June 17, 2015

    […] What this pile of fabric best represents, though, besides magic and a steal at under $30, is my most recent attempt to sew clothes that I will wear. I’ve realized that I like to buy pretty fabrics in bright colors and fun prints, and I like to dream about sewing dresses, skirts, and fancy shirts, but I like to wear neutral colors and dependable, casual tees with jeans. I think Sewaholic says it best: many of us are sewing Too Much Frosting, Not Enough Cake. […]

  92. Sewing the cake: Liberty self-drafted dress | What Katie Sews - August 8, 2015

    […] dress is such a cake make. Me to a tee and seamlessly fitting into my everyday wardrobe. And it’s (half) drafted […]