Pattern Review: Butterick 6061 Shorts


Pattern Description: From Butterick’s website, “Semi-fitted shorts and tapered pants (below waist) have bias, front button, contour waistband, carriers, side-front pockets, mock-fly zipper and stitched hems.”

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: A Ralph Lauren pinstriped denim from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). That’s been sold out for a couple of years, but we have other suitable denims Here.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, Clover Hold It Stiletto, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Japanese hand-sewing needle, Pro Weft Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, zipper from stash, “couture” waistband closures, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: “J” or “L”?, Anything by The Pressinatrix

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

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is a very (very) easy pattern to sew.

Construction Notes: I made a 14, and it runs big. I could definitely go to a 12 with no ill effects. I made the shortest view (A), which comes to about mid-thigh. The fabric I’m using is a regular stripe, to to get things to match up I cut one front and back, then used that piece as the template for the other side.

Likewise for the pockets, I laid the fronts on the fabric, lining up the stripes, placed the pocket pattern piece over the front piece, lining up the markings. Then I pulled the front piece from under the pocket pattern piece and cut it out.

Anchor the pattern piece once you’ve got the layout you want, then pull the front out from under it.

I also made an effort to line up the stripes at the center front. Here, though, I made a minor boo boo. I ended up reversing the left and right waistbands, and I didn’t realize it until after I had installed the waistband closures. Doh! Oh well. It’s not that noticeable, and since I usually wear my shirts untucked unless I’ve belted the shorts, no one will see it.
Here you can see the waistband “oops”

Speaking of the waistband closure, I bought waistband hooks and eyes that you install with pliers, rather than by sewing them in. I’ve heard them called “couture closures” though I prefer the term “industrial strength.” I did a practice run with one to make sure I installed it correctly. I didn’t worry too much in the test run about placement on the stripe, obviously.

L: the components. R: installed test run

After the test I decided to add a bit of interfacing to the CF waistband on the otherwise-uninterfaced side.
Just a small square, to lend more support.

That gives the fabric a bit more support. You need to be attuned to the order of construction with these. You don’t install them at the very end like you would a regular hook/eye or a button. You have to install them before you finish sewing the waistband facing. I like them a lot. They are quite sturdy, and since one of my least favorite sewing activities is attaching hooks and eyes, the fact that these go in with just a needle nosed pliers is a big plus.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very easy, well drafted shorts pattern. It runs big, so do be sure to check the fit. I’ll go down a size next time. The one negative thing is this pattern doesn’t include a back pocket piece. It’s a minor nit, but I like to keep my phone in my back pocket, so I’ll probably add pockets to these.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes, with that one caveat about the sizing. My husband commented yesterday when I finished, “Boy, you’ve been on a shorts jag this year.” I guess it’s true. I am contemplating another pair, maybe capri-length.

Conclusion: An easy pattern that gives good results! Here they are on Shelley:

Front

Back

I finished these in time for July 4th dinner with friends and family. I’ll leave you with a parting shot of the cocktail we had before dinner, The Cherry Bomb (thanks to Epicurious).

Love the color!

Happy sewing!

Double Header Pattern Review: McCalls 7412 Top and McCalls 6930 Shorts

McCalls 7412 Top

Let’s start at the top. I saw this pattern when it first came out, and I thought it was just adorable. It’s WAAAAAAY out of my wheelhouse, but I’ve seen women my age (and some older) wearing this kind of open shoulder top beautifully. I had some Milly fabric left over from my StyleArc Artist Tunic, so I decided to take a gamble.

Pattern Description: From McCalls website, “Loose-fitting, pullover tops and tunic have scoop neckline, cold shoulder detail, and sleeve/hemline variations. A, C, D: Flared sleeves. B: Purchased scalloped lace trim and bishop sleeves. C: Hemline ruffle. D: Layered sleeves”

I made View B, omitting the lace trim.

Sizing: 4-26. I made a size 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: A remnant of the Milly voile that I used for my StyleArc Artist Tunic.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, Clover Hold It Stiletto, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, 1/4 inch elastic from stash, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, more or less. I screwed up a little bit on the shoulder band so it ended up wider than the picture, but it’s not terrible and I’m not going to go back and pull it out.

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is very straightforward to make. The only slightly tricky part is making sure you line up the openings for the cold-shoulders properly.

Close up of the cold-shoulder

Construction Notes: Nothing unusual. I sewed the seams with my Pfaff, and serged the seam allowances together, rather than sewing a double seam. This pattern would work quite well with French seams.

Likes/Dislikes: You know how I said this is WAAAAAAY out of my wheelhouse? Well there’s a reason I don’t stray too far from my wheelhouse. I finished it, tried it on…

And I hate it.

It makes me look like a mile-wide stump, and a pregnant stump to boot. It even makes Shelley look fat.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? No, I will not make this again. This was a fail for me. The word “blowsy” came immediately to mind when I looked in the mirror. Though I still think it’s cute and I think on the right person it can look great. I’m just not that person.

Conclusion: Win some, lose some, learn something. I’ll donate this to Sister Thrift near where I live so hopefully someone will love it and it will benefit the dogs and cats at the local Humane Society.

McCalls 6930 Shorts

These, on the other hand, are right in the middle of my wheelhouse!

Pattern Description: “Fitted shorts or tapered pants (below waist) have shaped waistband, side-front pockets and back zipper. A, B: Back patch pockets. B: Scalloped hem. C: Carriers and stitched hems.”

I made view A, the short-shorts.

Sizing: 6-22. I started with a 14, but backed it down at the waist significantly.

Available as a PDF? Yes!

Fabric Used: A heathered dark wash denim from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). That fabric is sold out, but you can see similar Here.

Machines and Tools Used: The usual suspects (see above)

Needle/Notions Used: The usual suspects (see above) as well as stash interfacing, a zipper from stash and two trouser hook/eyes.

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

How were the instructions? They’re fine. Again, this is a straightforward pattern and goes together readily.

Construction Notes: I started with a 14. I’ve noticed in previous McCalls shorts and pants that I end up with a lot of gapping at the back waist, so I tried them on before applying the back zipper and sure enough… I took about an inch out at the CB. That did the trick without distorting the side seams. I sewed all the seams on the Pfaff and finished the raw edges on the serger.

Likes/Dislikes: Love these! They went together readily, and they are really cute. I’ll probably make the longer versions as well.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes.

Here are shots on Shelley. I won’t subject you to my Mary Melanoma pasty white legs again. 🙂

Front
The side pocket detail
And the Back, slightly overexposed to show the pockets

Conclusion: These are a winner – this weekend I was batting .500 – ah well. This happens sometimes.

Happy sewing!

Shameless Plug: Gorgeous Fabrics’ HUGE Summer Sale!

July 4 Sale Starts 6-22-16

I give Shameless Plugs for other people’s businesses, so why not for my own?

Starting right now (actually, starting yesterday), it’s our biggest sale of the summer!

10% off? Pffft. That’s peanuts.
15% off? Guffaw.
20% off?? Keep going…

Everything* is on sale at Gorgeous Fabrics for 25% to 60% off site-wide, so you can stock up and save big. This is our biggest sale of the summer, and you won’t see savings like this again anytime soon, so come on over and get your stash on!

Click Here to Start Shopping and Saving Big at Gorgeous Fabrics!

On top of the super sale savings, orders over $50 before shipping receive a free gift with purchase, and orders over $200 receive free shipping in the US!

Happy saving and sewing!

*The fine print – there are a few exceptions: muslin, gift certificates, swatches and notions. Other than that, you’re good. 

Pattern Review: New Look 6428 Knit Dress

Update on May 23, 2016 It was a warm day today, so I said, “What the heck!” and wore my dress. I got three compliments on it. One from DS the Younger (“Nice dress, Mom”), one from DH (“Nice dress! When did you get that?” “I made it yesterday.” “Wow, really? Nice!”) and one from the young woman working the cashier at the grocery store when I stopped there after work (“I really like your dress!”) I’d say this pattern is a real winner!

Good luck finding this if you don't have the link. Simplicity's new website sucks.
Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website, “ These preppy Just 4 Knits dresses for miss are easy to sew and figure flattering for comfortable stylish wear. Dress can be long sleeve or sleeveless with round or notched neckline. New Look sewing pattern.

Sizing: 8-10. I started with a 12 at the shoulders, and tapered out to a 16 at the bust (to avoid doing a FBA). Then I made a 14 everywhere else.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Lightweight Athleisure Cotton Jersey in Heathered Black/White from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home sewing machine, Juki MD654DE home serger, Naomi the Naomoto, sleeve board, ham.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needles, lightweight mesh invisible zipper from Botani in New York, Pro-Tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (BTW, in case you need interfacing, Pam is having a big sale through Wednesday, May 25. NAYY, just a good friend and happy customer), thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Check the Grain on Knits, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits, And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix.

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

How were the instructions? Good. Basic, but understandable. This is a well-drafted pattern and it goes together easily. For inserting an invisible zipper, I prefer Els’ instructions from The Sewing Divas.

Construction Notes: I serged all major seams except the CB, which I sewed with the Pfaff. I serged the edges of the CB seam, catching the edges of the zipper. I also serged the raw edges of the facings.

Zipper and facing finishes

I lowered the side bust dart one inch.

The original dart point was 9 1/2 inches down from the shoulder.

Since this is going to be a weekend dress/beach coverup for summer, I didn’t bother doing a ton of fitting. I applied scraps of interfacing at the back shoulder seamlines before stitching to stabilize them. I undertstitched all the facings, and I stitched in the ditch along the seam lines and neckline darts to affix the facings. They still have a tendency to roll out, so I may tack them in several other places as well.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a really cute dress for casual wear. As I say, this is for my summer weekends and I’ll wear it over a bathing suit at the beach. It reminds me of an independent pattern that I have seen, but it was a fraction of the cost and I like the neckline darts and the CB seam that gives you the ability to fit it easily.

Closeup so you can see the neckline dart

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would do both. I am tempted to make this in the sleeved version. The fabric I used has some stretch, but I think that if you use a fabric with a lot of stretch you can eliminate the invisible zipper. In fact, if I make it again, I’ll probably eliminate the zipper, sew the CB seam up to a few inches below the top, and add a button/loop closure so I can just pull it over my head.

Conclusion: Cute dress! I was able to make it from start to finish in less than one day (today). I definitely recommend it. Here are shots on Shelley:

Front…
… and back!

Also this weekend, I made myself another StyleArc Alannah Tee. This one took me less than 2 hours yesterday from start to finish. I don’t have much to say beyond what I said in my first review of this shirt. I made this one with Designer Viscose Jersey in Cashmere Rose. I love it – it’s so comfortable! I’m wearing it now. Here’s a shot on Shelley yesterday:

Alanna3

On top of all that, we got the tomatoes planted, put the kids’ old bunk beds up on Craigslist, got DS the Younger a bicycle to take to college, swam Hoover and cleaned up a good chunk of the house. Dang, what a productive weekend!

Happy sewing!

 

Pattern Review: Vogue 1374 Badgley Mischa Gown


Pattern Description: Close-fitting, lined, pullover dress has bias neck binding, shoulder yokes, back pleated drape with weighted tab, back extending into fish tail hemline.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Sequined Designer Mesh – Gunmetal for the outer shell, Tricot Mesh Lining – Black (sold out, sorry) for the lining, and scraps of Swiss 4-Way Stretch – Black for bindings. All are from Gorgeous Fabrics, naturally.

Machines and Tools Used: Juki DDL8700 industrial machine, Juki MO2516N industrial serger, Reliable 3000IS iron/board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10, Serger 75/11 needles, thread, pennies

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Hints for Working with Sequins, Make the Lining First, And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix, Fear Not the Fabric

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

How were the instructions? They were very good. This pattern is not difficult to construct, so I didn’t really need them.

Construction Notes: I made this dress for a photo shoot, so I made it straight from the envelope with no fitting adjustments. What a luxury! Because of that, I got to see how it sews up with no modifications, and it goes together beautifully. The upper back piece was a little longer than the lower back, which I discovered when I made the lining.

I took about 1/4 inch off the upper back at the CB fold when I made the sequined outer shell, and that seemed to fix the problem. I bound the armholes with Swiss 4-way Knit to protect the wearer’s skin.

This is better than tricot for protecting from irritation

I used two pennies as weights in the back cowl.

Just adding my two cents’ worth…
ba dum boom!

The toughest part of this was just psyching myself up to cut into the sequins. But once I started cutting, it went very smoothly. If you work with sequined fabric, I recommend using a rotary cutter with a fresh blade, and resigning yourself to the fact that your blade will go straight to the recycle bin after you finish.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very straightforward pattern that leaves the wow factor to the fabric. It’s rated Average by Vogue, but I think it’s easy, if you use a plain knit. I think this would also look great cut to knee length, either in a sequined fabric like this, or even in a plain knit. It’s got that “business in the front/party in the back” vibe that you can exploit with a less showy fabric. Ooo, you know what else would be cool? To make it in a subdued fabric for the majority of it, but use just one blingy or beaded piece for the upper back and let it peek out. Kind of like what I did on the bodice of my Pippa Dress. How fun would that be???

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. I would probably make this in a less showy fabric for myself to wear.

Conclusion: This is a spectacular dress, if I do say. The pattern goes together beautifully. I love the subtle sexiness of the design.

Front
Side
Back
Sexy!

This dress will be used in a photo shoot (on a mannequin), then I am going to donate it to the Cinderella Project at my local high school. Hopefully some young lady will like it and will feel like a million dollars at prom this year.

Happy sewing!

Sorry to be AWOL!

I haven’t disappeared or stopped blogging. It’s DS the Younger’s senior year of high school so there are so many events to attend for that, and recently all my time has been taken up making garments for a photo shoot later this month. So I have been sewing up a storm, and if you follow me on Instagram (and I’m not surprised if you don’t since I never talk about it), you can see snippets of what I’m working on.

I probably won’t blog much until those garments are done and photographed, so please bear with me. Here are some pictures from the IG feed so you can see I haven’t completely dropped off the face of the earth.
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I promise I’ll blog as soon as the photo shoot is done and the pictures are released, which will happen at the end of this month. Maybe sooner if I come up with something semi-brilliant (ha!). I’m really, really excited about that last shot. But for now all I can say is bibbety boppety boo. 🙂

Happy sewing!