Pattern Review: McCalls M6559 Bolero, AKA Snow Day Sewing

When the weather does that, and the fireplace does this, it’s time to head upstairs and sew!

Snow Day! I seem to get either my baking or my sewing mojo going during snowstorms. Today we have had at least 6 inches of snow -they’ve been forecasting a foot- and my sewing mojo made an appearance like a long lost cousin of Punxatauney Phil. Yay! I rummaged through my (long neglected) pattern collection and found this gem. I previously made the maxi dress, but I wanted something I can layer over tee shirts and tanks as the weather gets warmer. A girl can dream, can’t she? This fit the bill perfectly!

Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Close-fitting, unlined jacket in 2 lengths has front extending into single-layer tie ends (wrong side shows). A: Three-quarter length sleeves. B: Long sleeves. Very close-fitting, pullover dresses are sleeveless. E, F: Racerback straps, front seam detail, bias upper/middle fronts, and lower front/back (cut on crosswise grain of fabric. All have narrow hems. F: Star detail.”

I made view A, the shorter bolero with ¾ length sleeves.

Sizing: 6-22. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? I thought it was when I made it before, but now it appears not.

Fabric Used: Silk jersey in Soft Mauve from Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s long since sold out, sorry, but there are a few Here

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable Steam Generator iron, ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, silk press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Scraps of weft interfacing, Stretch 75/11 needle, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tricot – It’s Not Just for Lining any More, Anything by The Pressinatrix, Tip – Check the Grain on Knits, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? I did look at the instructions after I finished and they seem fine. I didn’t need them during construction, since this is pretty straightforward.

Construction Notes: I made a FBA. I also applied scraps of woven interfacing to the shoulder seams to stabilize them. I serged the seams. I Flat Set the Sleeves.

I made narrow hems all around the edges.

All in all, this took an afternoon to make, and that was with long breaks for checking in on orders and emails. I’d estimate this took me about 3 hours from first cutting out to final stitch.

Likes/Dislikes: Love it! This will make a great piece for transitioning from winter to spring. It’s also will be pretty tossed over a tank or dress for cool summer evenings.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! This one will definitely go into rotation. Great pattern. I made this one from silk jersey, but I’ll make a more “workaday” version with ITY.

Here are pictures on Shelley:

Front

Back

Conclusion: A great pattern, this will get lots of wear. It’s easy enough for beginners, but also a great wardrobe component.

Happy sewing!

Not Much Sewing Going On Around Here

Man, the winter doldrums have hit hard! Since I got back I have made a total of two things. I copied a Calvin Klein dress for my friend Renee. That dress is one of her favorites, and she asked if I could make her one from (sold out, sorry) Big Bold Chevrons ITY Jersey. It’s a perfect colorway for her, and she loved the bright and graphic print.

On the left, the original CK dress. On the right, the copy made by tracing off a pattern.

I simply traced her dress to create the pattern. The design couldn’t be simpler – it’s a close fitting tank top maxi dress with a flared hemline – more flared than any of the patterns I have without being overwhelming. It’s kind of nice because it gives a lot of freedom of movement to the legs. The pattern is two pieces, and I bound the neckline and armholes with Beyond Basic Black ITY Jersey. The order of construction was:

  1. Stabilize the shoulders with scraps of fusible interfacing.
  2. Stitch the shoulder seams.
  3. Stitch the side seams.
  4. Apply binding to neckline and armholes.
  5. Hem

Ta daa! A dress that took less than 3 hours from starting to trace the pattern to finished garment. I shipped it off to her last week so hopefully she’ll have it soon.

I had enough fabric left over that I decided to make myself a top. This time I did another StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top. Everything is the same as the Last Time I Made This Pattern. I did make sure to carefully place the pattern on the chevrons, to avoid any arrows pointing to the wrong place. Here’s a front/back shot on Shelley

This is one that DEFINITELY looks better on a real person than on Shelley

I haven’t decided what I want to work on next. I need some more knit tops, but I’ll make those from my go-to long sleeve tee, the Ann Tee Top from StyleArc. That’s not really worth a blog post. I also am inspired by Tany’s version of Paco Peralta’s Vogue 1527 Blouse, so I may start making a muslin of that.

So that’s what’s new here. What have you all been sewing?

Finally I Sewed Something! Pattern Review of New Look 6396 Capelet

I’ve been slowly making my way on this pattern. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen the progress. But with the holidays, children coming home to visit, refreshing our SCUBA skills, getting ready for vacation (YAY!!!!!) and the sale (yes, The Sale!) I’ve been too busy to post, or even to sew very much. But I did finally finish this cape, so here we go!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website (don’t even get me going on that), “These military style capes and classic cape and capelet are the stylish statement piece your wardrobe is looking for. For the cooler weather, view E offers faux fur collar that will keep you warm and cozy”

My take on the pattern description, “Capes and capelets in different lengths with neckline and armhole variations. I made View A with several changes.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Small

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Bouclé (sold out, sorry) lined with 4 Ply Silk Crepe left over from my Pippa Dress (also sold out, sorry again!). Silk Organza for interfacing, French cotton braid that was a gift from Susan Khalje.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Reliable Iron, Shoulder Stand

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needles, squared-off hooks and eyes from Pacific Trimming, Silke waxed thread (THE Best!! Never knots. I’m totally sold), thread, Clover Needle Threader (is that a tool, rather than a notion?)

Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.
Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.

Tips Used during Construction: Make the Lining First, Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Kinda-sorta. I left off the epaulets and the (really badly done on the pattern photo, but we won’t talk about that here) closures.
How were the instructions? They seemed adequate, though I made enough changes that I didn’t use them very much.

Construction Notes: I decided to take a more couture approach to this garment. I used sew-in interfacing (the silk organza).

organza-interfacing

I thought the sewn closures that were included in the pattern had a very Becky Home Ecky… well, not the look I want, so I used large hooks that I bought at Pacific Trim, which I sewed in right at the Center Front.

4-ply-silk-liningThis pattern has straight CB seam.  Simplicity does that because they have you turn the lining out during construction through the CB seam. A straight back seam? I don’t like unnecessary seams, so I eliminated that and used one of the side seams to turn the garment. It gives a much cleaner line.

back

I hand sewed the Trim around the CF, neckline and the arm openings.

trim-detail
Likes/Dislikes: This is a cute pattern, good for non-frigid days in the New England weather.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? No, I won’t do it again. One (I guess that’s me) only needs one of these.
Conclusion: A cute topper that goes together easily. It’s good for anyone who has a little sewing experience. Here are shots on Shelley:

front
Front

side back

 

Okay, so here’s the BIG NEWS

I am going on VACATION for the first time in 10 years. No phone, no internet, no nothing. The site will shut down (you can still view it but you won’t be able to buy) starting at 5:00 PM on Friday. We’ll move the warehouse and then we are all heading out!!! So if you want any fabric, grab it before 5 PM Eastern on December 23. We will be back on January 12, 2017. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you next year!

Some Details about the Sale

moving-sale-11-29-16

Thanks to some lovely folks who have kindly mentioned that our moving sale is going on, I’ve fielded a bunch of questions so I figure I’ll answer them here to have an easy place to reference.
  • First, our sale is not just for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. So go ahead and shop all you want. We’ll be here!
  • Second, you don’t need a coupon. The sale prices are already taken for you. You can tell fabric is on sale by the green “sale” button in the upper right corner of the fabric’s picture! Feel confident that you are getting the amazing 40% savings on your Gorgeous Fabrics!
  • Third, I’ve had some complaints about the fact that we don’t show original/sale prices explicitly. I won’t bore you with the technical details, but it has to do with the way our underlying shopping cart software works. You really are getting the discount, and we have put in a bug fix request to get it changed.
  • Fourth, during the sale, no other discounts apply, including Gorgeous Points. However, you will earn points for your purchases that you can use on future orders.

I hope that helps! Have fun with the sale and happy sewing
Ann

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 Paco Peralta Tuxedo Jacket

First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.

Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!


Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”

I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.

Sizing: 4-18. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Ralph Lauren Wool Double Crepe – Black for the body, Silk/Wool Satin- Black for the contrast lapels, Iridescent Rayon Twill Lining – Ruby for the lining.

BTW – we’re having a huge Moving Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics right now, and almost everything is 40% off store-wide. Just sayin’…

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Pretty much anything from The Pressinatrix, Make the Lining First, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, How to Use Sleeve Heads and Chest Shields, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes!

How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.

Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.

Whoops
Whoops

I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.

Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.

So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?
So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?

The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.

Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.

Another whoops
Another whoops

Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem.  This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.

Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.

Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA

This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it's pretty easy to adjust
This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it’s pretty easy to adjust

and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.

I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.

Top: inside. Bottom: outside
Top: inside. Bottom: outside

After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)

Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!
Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!

I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.

Couture Buttons!
Couture Buttons!

Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.

The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.

And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…

Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.

Front
Front
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still...
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still…
Side view – love this sleeve!
Overexposed to show the seams
Overexposed to show the seams
And the subtly contrasting lining - love it!
And the subtly contrasting lining – love it!

I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”

It's a dog's life
It’s a dog’s life

Happy sewing!

Muslin of Paco Peralta for Vogue Patterns V1527 Coat – and binge watching

Before anything else, a disclaimer. Paco is a close friend, and I am thrilled beyond belief that he has secured a license for some of his patterns with Vogue Patterns. Bravo, Paco!!!!

That said, I bought this pattern with my own money with no expectation of recompense neither.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that I started this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and I want to do this right, so I made a muslin. For my first muslin (yep, there are more than one) I traced off the pattern as-is in a size 12 and changed the seam allowances to 1 inch a la Susan Khalje’s couture sewing guidance. I knew this would need some adjustments, but going with the Vagaries of Fit: Shoulders, I started with the 12. That works well with my shoulder measurement. Here are some pictures of the first muslin.
collage-shot
You can see that the bust is not right, and the waist is a little snug. The sleeves are great. Normally I have to shorten all Vogue/McCalls/Butterick sleeves by at least 1/2 inch, but these are perfect for me. So I made those changes (I’ll show them in the ultimate pattern review) and made another muslin.. Here are shots on mesecond-muslin-shots-better-fit
And here is a picture of the back on Shelley – I couldn’t get a good shot on me, sorry
second-muslin-on-shelley

So far, I am really in love with this pattern! The next step is to cut it out in the fashion fabric. For that I will use Ralph Lauren Medium Wool Crepe for the main pieces, Silk/Wool Satin for the lapels, and Silk Habotai for the lining. All from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course.

Binge Watching “The Crown”! (I’m sure my Irish ancestors are spitting on me from heaven. Oh well.)

If you haven’t had the chance, check out The Crown on Netflix.

It is totally engrossing, and the fashion is amazing!

More to come shortly. Have a great weekend, and happy sewing!

Gorgeous Fabrics/Pattern Pairings for Sewing Inspiration

One of the things customers tell me they really like about Gorgeous Fabrics is our recommendations for patterns to pair with our fabrics. It’s one of the more fun aspects of my job, so today, I’ll talk about some of the newer patterns that have hit the market, and give you some suggestions for Gorgeous Fabrics that I think will work spectacularly well with them. Enjoy! -Ann

Dress for Success
cashmerette-pairing It’s heading into cooler weather here in the US, while our friends in the southern hemisphere are starting to warm up. A great silhouette that works for almost all seasons is the classic wrap dress. And one of the favorites of our customers is the Appleton Dress from Cashmerette. This great take on the look is perfectly suited to any of our ITY or rayon jerseys. It’s even a brilliant choice for some of our stretchier rayon doubleknits. Those will give you options for cooler weather. The three perfect pairings I’ve picked for this dress include, from the top:

Any of these will give you everything from work-ready to holiday party options!

Button Up Your Overcoat…
ccf-kelly-pairingOne of the hottest looks in outerwear right now is the anorak jacket. Closet Case Files just released their Kelly Anorak, and it’s got all the details you want! While traditionally thought of as cold-weather or rain gear, this jacket is more versatile – just think a little outside the box! You can, of course, make it into a hard-working, long-wearing coat for cooler weather, but it also makes a surprisingly elegant turn for an evening or dressier look with different fabrics. Try a satin or taffeta version for a fun, designer-inspired look! Check out these two options for dressing down or dressing up:

It’s Jean-etic
georgie-pairingI can’t live without my jeans. Even though I love dressing up, jeans are my go-to garment on many days. There are tons of great jeans patterns available to the home-sewing enthusiast, from classic 5-pocket versions to the more athleisurely take on the look: pull on stretch jeans. StyleArc has come out with a great pattern for this comfortable wardrobe staple, the Georgie Stretch Woven Jean. Make a “classic” take on it with:

For a bright look that will enliven any wardrobe:

Jacked Up Jackets
m7513-pairingA great jacket or blazer is a cornerstone of any wardrobe, and as sewing enthusiasts, we can make all different styles! One that just came on the market is McCalls M7513 Peplum Jacket. I really love that this pattern gives you both sleek and “foofy” options for the peplum, so you have lots of variety by varying peplum and fabric. From a tailored version with wool, to a fun animal print for dinner or weekends, to a showstopper in brocade, this versatile jacket can take you just about anywhere! Try it with:

Or for a slinky entrance-maker:

Formal Introductions
v1527-pairingWith the holidays just around the corner, let’s finish with a formal look. This one comes from my friend Paco Peralta, a couturier in Barcelona, by way of Vogue 1527. This three-piece outfit includes a lovely straight skirt, a blouse with a jabot style tie and (this is what I adore) a long tuxedo style jacket. On the pattern, they show it in black and white. But for holiday, I love it with a rich red and black print blouse. It’s beautiful, and it evokes Spain! I would make this (actually I will make this) with these three fabrics for the tux, blouse and trim for the collar. From the top:

I hope this gives you a little inspiration, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have putting it together for you.

Happy sewing!

Note: I have no affiliation with any of the pattern companies mentioned here, and I receive no financial compensation for mentioning their patterns or linking to them. In fact, they have no idea I wrote this post, so click away with a clear conscience!

Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top


Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website – Embrace the trend this season and wear the fashionable “Cold Shoulder Top” with its cut out shoulders this top is designed to hug the body and looks great with your jeans. Make it with a long or short sleeve.

I made the long sleeved version.
Continue reading Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top

Sucky Selfies

Thanks, all, for your thoughts and comments on Preferences. Special shout out to Sewing Faille, whose description of the time, treasure and talent involved in getting a good set of pictures was so painfully funny, it practically made me spew coffee on my screen. I will continue to post construction pictures, and I’ll try to get shots of me in the clothes, but no promises that it will happen every time. In fact, I can reasonably assure you that it will continue to be a minority unless I can get my stupid Amazon remote photo clicker thing to work. It supposedly does with my camera, but it never has, and I’m not even sure where it is right now… Oh well.

Continue reading Sucky Selfies

Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers


Pattern Description: From the pattern envelope: “Misses/Misses’ Petite Pamts and Belt: Above-waist, creased pants ABC have fly front zipper and back darts. A, B front darts. C, D: front tucks. A: button trim and cuffs. B: carriers and belt.”

I made view B, but I skipped the belt and I’ll used a purchased belt instead.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers