Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
Fitting Adjustments that I made I made a princess line FBA
How were the instructions? They were fine. If you have pretty much any sewing experience you can make this dress (and by extension the top) readily.
Construction Notes: I made the FBA mentioned above, and I gave myself a bit more room by cutting it out to a size 14 at the side seams. I used my serger for many of the seams.
I must say, I really don’t like the pockets very much. In my (very soft) fabric, they fold and flop around. And the pattern instructions show them as overlapping at the center front, so I would probably eliminate them in a future version. If you have any kind of a pooch, they could be very unflattering.
Likes/Dislikes: Love the design and lines, not so crazy about the pockets.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I plan to use this again for an online class I’m going to teach.
Oh, should I not have mentioned that? 🙂
Conclusion: Great pattern, great results! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll photograph it on me either before I send it off to the class or after I get it back 🙂 More about that later!
Or… Every Once in a While You Have to Let Your Inner Disco Diva Out!
Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website: “Semi-fitted, unlined jackets have collar, side-front seams, bands, side-front pockets, exposed front zipper contrast panels and sleeves with shoulder dart. A, B, C: Welt pockets. D: Kangaroo pocket.”
Actually, the description is very slightly inaccurate. The version I made (View C) has an in-seam pocket. There are no welts on that version.
Sizing: 4-26, sized as XS to XXL. I made a Medium, which translates to a 12/14
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
Fitting Adjustments that I made None!
How were the instructions? When I was starting on this project, someone mentioned that she thought the instructions for attaching the bottom band were not very clear, and I agree with her assessment. I did some things differently because of that, and you can see those in the construction notes.
Construction Notes: First off, I wanted something FUN! I had a lot of sequined fabric left over from the Prom Gown I made, and I decided this should be the perfect way to use some of that up. This pattern (in the version that I made) is great for using up leftover scraps from prior projects. I used less than a yard of the sequin, and just about a yard of the doubleknit.
Because the sequin mesh is lightweight and slightly transparent, I underlined it with some stretch lining I’ve had in my stash for several years.
I sewed through the sequins (I know, I know. But this is not couture, this is FUN!). I wanted to finish the seam allowances of that fabric so they wouldn’t catch anything I wore underneath, or scratch me. I thought about using silk organza, but then I glanced at the fabric and noticed the 3-inch wide plain mesh selvages on either side. Eureka! I used those for Hong Kong finishes. I was pretty ecumenical in my seam finishing. In addition to the finish on the sequins, I also used a slightly long whipstitch to finish the neckline, and the serger to finish other edges.
I used the same fabric for the bands and collar as I did for the contrast panels to give it a more dressy finish than the recommended ribbed knit.
The pattern instructions have you baste the raw edges of the front bands together, then, matching raw edges, attach the waistline band around those, then sew to the lower edge of the jacket… yeah, no. I just sewed the bands together at the seam line, graded and pressed the seam allowances toward the waist band, folded the whole shebang in half lengthwise, and sewed it to the bottom of the jacket. Sorry, no pictures, My advice is pin things together as a mockup and then see how you want to proceed with the construction. If the instructions work for you, great. If they don’t take Fleetwood Mac’s advice and Go Your Own Way
I used the stretch lining for the pocket facing, and the doubleknit for the pocket.
At one point, before I attached the zipper and the bands, I put the jacket on Shelley to take a look at it. I noticed right away that the weight of the pockets were distorting the lines of the jacket. You can see at the bottom it’s pulling away from the dress form.
To fix this, I simply whipstitched the pocket to the underlining on the front:
Here’s a shot of two pockets: the one on the left has been attached, the one on the right is hanging free, per the instructions.
You can see the results on the outside of the garment.
I ordered a custom-cut Riri Zipper from Pacific Trimming in NY. It arrived in 2 days. They (both Pacific Trimming and Riri Zippers) are GREAT! I’ve tried Lampo zippers from Botani (also in NY), but I keep coming back to Riri. It’s just my personal preference.
Likes/Dislikes: This is a great pattern! The instructions on the band are a little wonky, but if you rate yourself an advanced beginner or beyond, I think you can handle it and get good results.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes!
Conclusion: I haven’t made such a fun garment in ages. This one really makes me smile – it appeals to the Jamaica Plain girl in me (Day Street, for those of you who know the area). I showed it to DH and he said, “Ooooh, that’s so cool! We have to go someplace you can wear that!” It is really fun, and I love it. I can’t wait for it to get cool enough so I can wear it. It will look great with jeans or (maybe, if I’m feeling it) pleather leggings to get my 80s on.
Imagine, if you will, this scenario: You own an online fabric store. You get some beautiful cotton rough-weave panels in. The panels have fringe at one end. You must cut swatches in case customers wish to see/feel the fabric before they buy (been known to happen). So, you dutifully make a batch of swatches, leaving a piece of fabric that is the length of the panel, and 42 inches wide. It’s a shame to send this beautiful fabric – no, make that Gorgeous Fabric – to the recycler. What to do? Here’s your answer… A simple skirt will do nicely, thank you! I made this skirt once before, but it used entirely different pattern pieces. So here’s a review of this version.
Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, straight skirts A, B, C, D, E, above mid-knee, have back zipper closure. A, B, C, E: Darts. B, C: Waistband. C: Self-belt. D: Front and back princess seams. D, E: Raised waist. E: Back princess seams.
This time I made View A, the darted version with a faced waist.
Sizing: 8-24. I made a 14, but I should have made a 12 this time. Oh well, no big.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with some slight exceptions.
Fitting Adjustments that I made None, I made a straight 14. As I say, at this point I can go down to a 12, but habits die hard.
How were the instructions? They were good. This is a very straightforward, easy skirt. You just have to sew the seams, apply the zipper and facings and finish the hemline.
Construction Notes: I didn’t make any big changes, other than the hem. I finished all the seams and the waistline facings using the serger
I marked the hemline (2 inches) on the pattern pieces and aligned the bottom of the fringe with that before cutting out the pattern pieces.
I used the Clover Fork Pins to ensure that I got a good continuous line at the borders:
I didn’t have enough fabric to try to match the patterns across the seams. If I had had a full width, I probably could have matched all the elements for a continuous line, but I was happy with the result anyway.
Likes/Dislikes: This is a great, easy pattern that goes together quickly. From start to finish, it took less than 2 hours to make. It’s a classic design that works with all sorts of fabrics.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Absolutely, to both questions.
Conclusion: Classic pattern, great lines, versatile – what’s not to love?
Oh, and here’s what I had left of the fabric when I finished:
Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted, pullover tunic have contrast inset at center front, contrast binding and uneven hemline: wrong side of fabric will show. Loose-fitting pants have no waist band. C: Contrast insets and binding. D: Contrast binding.”
I made View A, the shorter tunic, along with View D, the longer pants.
Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12 for the tunic, and a 14 for the pants, though I think I could have used size 12 all the way through with no ill effects.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
Fitting Adjustments that I made I checked the pattern measurements and determined that I would need a FBA.
I made a muslin of the result, and I was happy with it (you can see it in my Instagram Feed), so I started in on the linen.
How were the instructions? They were GREAT!!! Seriously, and you know how fussy I am about instructions. The drafting and instructions for doing the mitered corners on the tunic make this pattern a must-buy for anyone, IMO.
True confession – I lost the second sheet of instructions and they didn’t show up until I had finished and cleaned up my sewing area, so I didn’t use them for the bulk of the pants construction, but the pants are beautifully drafted and went together without a hitch. Also, when I did find the instructions, I checked them out and the second page is just as good as the first.
Construction Notes: As mentioned above, I made a FBA. I finished the facings, per the instructions, with a Hong Kong finish using bias cut silk organza. To tell you the truth, I didn’t bother using the pieces provided in the pattern for the bias binding, I just cut long 1 ¼ inch bias strips and that did the trick. I used the serger to finish all the seams.
I didn’t have a brown invisible zipper handy, so I did a lapped zipper application instead. It’s not my absolute best work, but it will be hidden under the tunic, so I decided it was Good Enough.
There is one thing I would probably do differently next time. The neckline is cut on the bias, so I recommend staying the front neckline with a selvage of silk organza or a twill tape. It is faced, and the facing is interfaced, but I think that a bulk-free stay with organza would also help keep it from distorting.
Likes/Dislikes: I LOVE this pattern! It’s chic, and looks great on a variety of body types. The mitering instructions alone justify purchasing this pattern, but the rest of it is great, too. I’m going to wear this as separates as well. The tunic will look great over leggings, and the pants work beautifully with a tank or tee.
Here are some styling suggestions:
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I DEFINITELY recommend it! I may do it again. You know what would be fabulous for the holiday season? Make this using 4-ply silk crepe. Oo la la!
Conclusion: I love this pattern. It’s very Balenciaga-goes-Japonesque. It’s rated as Average, but I think it is suitable for advanced beginner or beyond.
A Note About Blogging
I feel like this poor blog has been suffering benign neglect of late. I am much more active these days on Instagram, where you can see my work-in-progress pictures. I am not giving up blogging. As I complete projects I’ll post them here, but you’ll see me more actively over on IG. You can check it out from the web, without having to set up an account. Click Here to find me on Instagram.
Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Semi-fitted collared shirt and dresses have front and back princess seams, front and back yoke, sleeve and length variations. A: Shirttail hem. A, B, C: Long sleeves with pleat and button cuff. A, C, D: Pockets. C, D: Self-belt. C: Button tabs. D: Sleeveless.”
I made View D, but I cut it off at the length for View C and omitted the breast pockets and self-belt.
Needle/Notions Used: Fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I don’t see this one on the site, so it may be discontinued, but I would use ProSheer Elegance. Universal 70/10 needle, iron, ironing board, sleeve board, silk organza press cloth, buttons, thread.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, though mine is shorter than the pattern as sold.
Fitting Adjustments that I made This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, which gives loads of instructions and lines on the pattern for adjusting the fit. I love these patterns for that reason. I made a straight up muslin and it fit pretty well, but not perfectly. I made a full bust adjustment, along with a small swayback adjustment. The FBA gave me more ease through the waist, so I’ll probably wear this with a belt, though it looks nice without one. I also adjusted the left shoulder to remove gapping at the back of the armhole thanks to a skiing accident 6 years ago.
How were the instructions? Good. This is a pretty straightforward design, and the Palmer-Pletsch fitting instructions are always excellent.
Construction Notes: The stripes on this fabric run from selvage to selvage, so I used a cross-grain layout. I toyed with the idea of cutting the center front bands and yokes on the bias, but I decided to go with the straight grain/cross grain instead.
I sewed the seams with a 2.5 mm stitch, and used a 3-thread overlock stitch to finish all the raw edges. I didn’t bother to topstitch the princess seams because I wanted to keep the look more airy than structured. I used a selvage of silk organza to stabilize the bias opening edge of the pockets.
One thing I noted on my Instagram Feed is that, when dealing with bias facings, like those used on this pattern, you need to treat them gently so they don’t stretch out too much in advance of sewing them in place. In this case, I cut out the fabric a couple of weeks ago, and in the moving around of pattern pieces over that time, one of the facings got stretched way out. Fortunately I had enough fabric to re-cut, but it’s worth keeping bias pieces out of the way and out of traffic. And when sewing and pressing them, treat them kindly and don’t apply too much tension or pressure to them. You’ll be glad you did.
I turned up the hem, trimmed it to 5/8″ and made a narrow hem. For that, and all topstitching, I used a 3.5 mm stitch length.
Likes/Dislikes: This pattern is very well drafted, and as noted above, the fitting instructions are excellent.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again, just because I have lots of other patterns I want to make. But I will be traveling this summer and this will be coming with me. I definitely recommend it.
Conclusion: A great pattern! Here are pictures on Shelley:
Haven’t been doing much sewing lately because…
DS the Elder graduated from UMass! What a wonderful Mother’s Day gift that was. I wore my Butterick B6446 and my Vogue V1527 coat. One of the physics professors (his major) stopped me in the hallway to say, “That’s a beautiful coat!” That made my day 😊
After the Paco Peralta Coat, I wanted something easy, so I rummaged through my pattern stash and came up with McCalls 7249. It’s getting warmer and I thought the sleeveless version would be nice. It only has 3 pattern pieces, so even better!
The pattern calls for “Jerseys, Cotton Knit, Silk Spun Knit.” I used rayon jersey left over from last year’s (successful) Butterick Jumpsuit.
The front piece has two overlays that are gathered into the side seams. That’s where the first issue showed up. The overlays are self-faced on both the top and bottom. That’s where the second issue showed up. They are both sewn at the neckline to the v-necked under piece. That’s where the third problem showed up. The pattern is “designed” to be with sleeves or sleeveless, using the same front and back pieces. That’s where the fourth problem showed up.
As I gathered the overlay, I thought, “That’s an awful lot of fabric going into the side seams.” There are three layers, the middle of which is about a 3:1 gathering ratio. That’s a lot of bulk, even in a lightweight fabric. Another issue I noticed was that the gathered side pooched out at the top.
Second problem, and this was a real issue with my fabric: the overlays are self-faced on the top and the bottom. The facing on the bottom is about 1 ¼ inches deep. With my nice soft rayon jersey, the facing kept falling down, so I ended up sewing the facing in place, which IMO ruins the line.
Also, the upper facing kept flipping outward as well. This was on a dress form, so you can imagine how often I would be tucking it back in during the course of a day.
As you can see from this picture, the third problem appeared at the neckline. The weight of the two overlays pulled the under-bodice to the outside. I tried every which way from Sunday to fix it, but nothing worked. It kept falling outward no matter what I did.
The fourth problem is that McCalls doesn’t give a separate armhole for the sleeveless version, so the armhole gaps like crazy. I should have anticipated this, but if you recall at the beginning I said I was looking for something easy.
Before hemming it, I decided to try it on and see how I liked it.
The good news is I saved myself hemming it. This one is going straight to the fabric recycler in our town. Here are better lit shots on Shelley. You can decide for yourself if you think this is worth your time.
Well, not everything turns out to be a winner, even in my sewing room. I always ask the questions in reviews, “Would you sew it again, and would you recommend it?” Unfortunately with this one, the answer to both questions is “No.”
Reviews like this are never fun to write, but hopefully they are helpful. It doesn’t make me hate McCalls. In fact my next project is a Palmer/Pletsch shirtdress that I’ll make with a fabulous Textured Cotton Shirt-Weight from Gorgeous Fabrics. More on that later.
Happy May, everyone! It’s been a busy several weeks, with work, teaching a very fun seminar (“The Pressinatrix Live!”) for ASDP, and all sorts of things going on. One of the biggest things that is coming up is that DS the Elder is about to graduate from college.
Oh. My. God.
And of course, I had to make something to wear. I made my Butterick 6446 Dress for Easter, but Easter here in Boston was 87 degrees, and we had dinner out on the deck, so rather than sweating in my new dress I decided to save it for wearing to the graduation. Now, since mid-May Boston weather is notoriously fickle, I wanted to make something to wear over it, and after some thought I decided to make a spring version of Paco Peralta’s V1527. I’ve made this before in a heavy wool crepe, so I didn’t make any major changes. I’ll highlight the few differences. First, I shortened it by about an inch.
I made this version from a twill satin from Gorgeous Fabrics. That is long since sold out, but you can find Similar Fabrics Here. It’s got a lot of body, and it stands away from the body. It’s not heavy but it has a pretty stiff hand. This fabric, while lovely, was NOT interested in easing.
It doesn’t shrink and while it didn’t catch and get tucks under the stitching, it also wouldn’t ease into the armhole smoothly. If I were to do it again, I would probably do a slightly different sleeve-head treatment – maybe a darted sleeve head. As it is, it turned out okay, but I’m not really happy with it. You can see why in the detail shot of the shoulder:
Good afternoon, campers! I’ve been busy as can be on several things. You’ll see the fruits of my labors over the next days, and if you follow me on Instagram you can see the slow progress I’m making on my current project. But in the meanwhile, here’s a post that everyone seems to love: Gorgeous Fabrics/pattern combinations to make your own versions of the most current trends in fashion!
All the top models are sporting denim this spring, but not the skinny jeans that have been so ubiquitous in the last couple of years. No, the silhouettes range from voluminous dresses worthy of Tilda Swinton to denim “suits” done up with mom-jeans and jean jackets. My personal favorite is the one that Vogue showed on model Frederikke Sofie in Paris: an easy coat thrown over a denim jumpsuit. Make your very own version by pairing Stretch Denim – Black Wash with McCalls M7330 jumpsuit. Finish it off with a chic topper made by combining Italian Suit Weight Flannel – Black with Burda Style 01/2016 #127 Shell Jacket. You’ll have a look you can wear three seasons of the year! (skip the cigarette, though)
The blush pink trend that launched in 2016 shows no signs of abating. A look I love takes a mannish suit and makes it in pink. The pink tones down the androgyny while the androgynous cut of the suit takes away any saccharine tendencies of the pink. To get the look, pair our Italian Double Faced Satin – Peach Puree/Blossom Pink with Named Patterns’ Aava Tailored Blazer and StyleArc’s Eddie Pleated Pants. Now, that’s a uniform for a tough-gal princess. Oh, and an added bonus – if you don’t want all pink all the time, you can make the jacket using one face of the fabric, and the pants from the other.
Save on All the Featured Fabrics Through Friday!
And to give you even more inspiration, you can save 20% on each of the fabrics featured in this article through Friday, April 21st!
No coupon necessary, the markdown is already taken for you.
I hope that gives you some inspiration for your spring sewing. Spring is coming to Boston – slowly! Until next time, which should be soon…
Wow, it’s been over a month since I posted something about actually sewing. I’ve been busy, just not with making too much. But I have been slowly working on this dress, from muslin to finished project. This will probably be long, so settle in…
Pattern Description: Fitted-through-the-bodice dresses have lined bodice and sleeve/skirt/length variations. B, C: Sash
I made View B, the sleeveless tea-length version with a sash.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? They were good.
Construction Notes: First I made a straight muslin, then I lowered the bust dart and did an FBA (kind of a cheat, in that I added an inch to the bodice CF length and started at 12 at the shoulder and armhole, but cut to the 14 at the side seam.
One of the standards from RTW that I incorporated was trimming the neckline/lining seam allowance to to ¼ inch.
I decided to line the entire dress (the pattern only called for lining the bodice). I used the view A skirt for the lining (it’s not pleated) and I lengthened it to 2 inches shorter than the outer skirt.
I basted the lining to the outer skirt at the waistline, and attached both to the bodice, finishing the waistline seam with a bias cut binding of soft organza (also sold out, sorry, but oh man it feels nice).
Now, adding a lining presented some construction quandaries, so I decided to use a hand inserted zipper, a la Susan Khalje’s excellent method from Threads Magazine. Alas, my hand sewing skills are rusty, so the tension was all sorts of bad.
So this morning I woke up, undid the hand stitching (which was a major pain in the butt, but worth it), and redid it on the sewing machine.
Lastly, I added some thread chains (made on my serger) to hold the sash at the sides.
Likes/Dislikes: This is a pretty pattern that appeals to the girly girl in me. No real dislikes – it goes together quite easily.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes to both.
Conclusion: Lovely pattern, goes together easily. IF it ever warms up here in Boston I’ll get a picture of me in it. In the meantime, here are shots on Shelley:
Here’s hoping we eventually get warm enough weather that I can wear this.
Exactly 5 years ago, I made this top. I wore it tons in the summer of 2012, until I spilled something on it that wouldn’t come out, so I recycled it. The pattern sat in my pattern stash until today, when, as a diversion from trying to decide what to make with some Milly Silk I have (see my Instagram if you want more about that). I wanted something quick and easy, so I pulled it out.
Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website, “Particularly attractive neckline slightly fitted top”
My addition to that: Semi-fitted tank top with deep v-neck.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.
How were the instructions? Didn’t need them, didn’t use them. This pattern is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
Construction Notes: Because I was using a remnant of silk jersey, I didn’t have quite enough to lay out the pattern pieces (both of them) in the same direction. And because silk jersey will tend to run in high stress areas, I ran a 4-thread serger stitch along the bottom raw edge. Because of the style, it’s not going to see a lot of stress, but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.
I serged the seams, and instead of just turning and stitching the neckline and armholes, I cut 1-inch wide facings on the bias (to make sure nothing would run). I serged them to the neckline and armhole edges, then I turned them under and stitched them
I used a 2.5mm x .5mm zigzag stitch to finish the hems.
Likes/Dislikes: Easy to make, easy to wear. Nothing to dislike.
One thing to note is the neckline can be pretty low, depending on your build. You might want to raise it a little bit (maybe an inch).
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Absolutely! This is a great wardrobe building pattern. Make a bunch of these in different fabrics for basics you can wear by themselves or under a jacket.
Conclusion: Great pattern! Here are pictures on Shelley:
And check it out – a sucky selfie on me!
It’s been in the high 60s for the past few days, so I wanted something springy. I guess I made this top just in time for the temperature to drop closer to normal. Oh well – spring is coming!