Things to Make with Less than 1 Yard – McCalls 6963 Cowl Neck Top

Carrying on with my “things you can make with less than a yard”, here’s a great top. McCalls 6963 by Palmer/Pletsch

The sleeveless version in size 12/14 takes a little less than a yard

Here’s another pattern for a top that uses just about a yard of fabric. According to the pattern envelope, View A (which I made) takes 1 1/8 yards. But I was able to fit it on a yard of jersey with leftovers.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ TOPS: Close-fitting, pullover tops have draped front neckline variations, narrow hem on back neckline, and stitched hems. A: armhole bands. I made View A, the sleeveless version.

Sizing: 8-24. I made a size 12, grading out to 14 at the waist… sigh.

Fabric Used: Super Soft Rayon Jersey in Foggy Sunshine from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course)

Machines and Tools Used: Juki home serger for most of the construction, Bernina for the finishing.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle. A scrap of weft interfacing to stabilize the shoulders. Thread. Steam-a-Seam on the hem.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix. Trim Your Knit Selvages Before Cutting Your Pattern

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

How were the instructions? They were very good. The Palmer-Pletsch patterns have tons of instructions and fitting lines for getting the fit you want, which is really nice. In the version that I bought (today at the $0.99 sale at JoAnn) there was a very small error. There are seven pages of instructions (lots about fitting, as I said), but one page said “Page 2 of 8”
Okay, that’s totally minor, but just in case it makes anyone look twice, know that there are only 7 pages of instruction.

Construction Notes: I made my FBA on a size 12, then I graded up to a 14 at the waist, back to a 12 at the hip. I used my serger for all the seams and I used a .1 mm zigzag to finish all the hems and the topstitching at the armholes. I used Steam-a-Seam on the hem. I’m not sure if the one I used (it wasn’t the Lite version) is too heavy or I just don’t get how to apply it correctly, but I’m not totally thrilled with it. As you can see from the finished pictures, it’s wavy.

I also did a slight swayback adjustment, using the markings on the pattern.

Likes/Dislikes: I really like that this pattern is drafted so it doesn’t sit too low on the armhole (a big complaint with many patterns)

This is a great pattern for using up a yard or so of fabric. On the pattern envelope, View A calls for 1 1/8 yards, but I didn’t need that much. 1 yard worked fine.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I will definitely make it again and I recommend it.

Conclusion: This is a great pattern that will work well as a wardrobe builder. Here are the front and back views on Shelley – wavy hems and all:

Front, with wavy hem
And this is why I usually hand-hem my tops.

So all kidding aside, I’ll probably cut off the hems and re-do them so they aren’t wavy. Other than that, this is a winner!

Pattern Review: McCalls 6930 Shorts

Also known as Ann’s Epic Fail, but soon to be a save, dammit.

Nice try, chica.

Let me take you through the steps first, then we’ll get to the subtitle…

Pattern Description: from McCalls website: MISSES’ SHORTS AND PANTS: Fitted shorts or tapered pants (below waist) have shaped waistband, side front pockets and back zipper. A and B: back pockets. C: carriers and stitched hems.

I made view A.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a size 14 (see below)

Fabric Used: Herringbone Linen (sold out, sorry) from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course. A remnant of another sold-out stretch charmeuse, also from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine, Juki home serger.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, 7 inch zipper, two trouser hook/eyes, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Press That Bad Mamma Jamma, “J” or “L”?

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

How were the instructions? They were good. I didn’t use them too much, but I did check them over and they seem quite adequate.

Construction Notes: I used my Pfaff to stitch all the seams, and I finished the seam allowances (this fabric is, like many linens, ravelly) with my home serger. I changed the zipper to a lapped zipper application, using the instructions in my 1980 vintage Vogue Sewing Book.

The pockets are even, and I’m going to fix that underlap

I used a charmeuse for the pocket linings:

Charmeuse lining is to the left


And the front,

I’ll tell you, my construction on these shorts was nothing short of excellence. Seriously. I got my mojo going and I finished every seam, pressed every detail, did elegant hand sewing in small areas and generally was smug as all get out about what a good job I was doing.

And then…

Likes/Dislikes: Here’s both a big complaint with this pattern and a major “Doh!” face palm moment at myself. This bugger runs BIG. REALLY big. Like, borderline huge. Shame on me for not doing a flat pattern measurement, but the last time I made a McCalls shorts pattern they ended up being a bit too tight. I had made a 12, so I figured the 14 would be fine. Wrong. The 14 is seriously about two inches too big through the waist. Shame on me for not doing a flat pattern measurement and assuming the pattern draft was consistent. Hah! My favorite ever boss, Joe, had a favored saying: “When you assume, you make an ASS of U and ME.” Joe was so right. I will do flat pattern measurements from now on. As it is, I’ll take in the side seams and be done with it. I don’t get too wound around the axle about summer shorts. After all. I live in New England. Summer will be over in, oh about 3 weeks.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Mmmmmm,no.

Conclusion: Good looking shorts. Check the pattern measurements against your own before you cut, or make a muslin. I didn’t do either and the little b*stards are Just. Too. Big. But they are excellently prepared! Here’s the front view.


Coda: Wildlife Among Us!
This evening, these two hen turkeys and their little drumsticks came wandering through our front yard. Hoover really, REALLY wanted to go chase them.
Turkeys 7-15-14

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: McCalls 6700 Fashion Star Dress

Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website – “Pullover dress has fitted, mock wrap bodice, shoulder ties, elasticized shoulders and raised (seamed) waist, fitted, narrow hem, thread carriers and self belt.”

Sizing: 8 to 24. I made a 12.

Fabric Used: A soft flannel-type finish jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. Alas, it’s long since sold out, but Pretty Much Any of These will work equally well.

Machine(s) Used: Juki MO654DE, Pfaff 1320

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, thread. ½ inch elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Tips Used during Construction: Sewing With Knits, Anything by the Pressinatrix.

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

How were the instructions? Good. Honestly, this is a pretty simple dress to put together. If you have more than a little sewing experience, you can glance at the instructions and just go for it.

Construction Notes: Everything went together easily on this. I cut the pattern from a maxi dress to knee-length. I serged all the side seams, and I used a .5 mm zigzag stitch on the armhole and hem. I used a 2mm zigzag to stitch the elastic casing. I tacked the front bodice pieces at the CF mark to avoid any peekaboo issues.

Likes/Dislikes: I wanted a cute, fun, summery dress pattern to restart my mojo and this did the trick. No real dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Would I do it again? Yes. Will I? Probably not – there are lots of other patterns to sew out there. But this was a great little dress to get me sewing again!
Here are some pictures on Shelley:

Front view
Front view
Back View
Back view

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – McCalls 5975 OOP Dress

5975Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISS PETITE DRESSES AND BELT: Close-fitting dresses A, B, C, D, E with waistline seam, neckline variations, back zipper closing and mid-knee lengths; dress A is sleeveless; dress B has cap sleeves with pleats; dresses C, D have three-quarter length sleeves; dress E has long sleeves; dresses C, D, E have tie belt. I made View C, the cowl neck version

Sizing: 8-24. I made a Size 12, tapering to a size 14 at the waist/hips.

Fabric Used: Lace Impressions Rayon Panel Jersey – Gray/Ivory from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machine(s) Used: Pfaff 2130, Janome home serger

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/10 needle. Pro-Sheer interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. Gütterman thread color 102 gray. Maxi-Lock ivory cone thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by the Pressinatrix, Sew from Wide to Narrow, Tutorial on Flat-setting a Sleeve, Tricksy Fabrics.

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

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them, since this goes together easily. They look pretty good.

Construction Notes: I did an FBA:

I cut the adjusted pattern piece onto muslin

I cut the adjusted front bodice on muslin first, so I would have a complete pattern piece. I did that so I could control the placement of the pattern piece precisely, like in the video. I spent a lot of time matching the vertical and horizontal motifs on the fabric. I didn’t get everything I wanted on the back, but it will do.

I omitted the zipper. With the open cowl neckline and a stretchy knit, there really isn’t need for one. Had I realized in advance that I was going to do that, I would have joined the back bodice and skirt to make a single piece. If I do it again, I’ll make that change. I also cut the back neck facing on the fold, eliminating the seam allowance (and the bulk that it would bring).

The fabric I used is a panel print that has a lacy trompe l’oeil effect. It also has scallops at the ends of the panels. I decided to use that at the hems, and I carefully cut along the scallops on the skirt and sleeve hemlines.

This fabric doesn’t run so I left the edges raw.
Same effect on the sleeve hems

Likes/Dislikes: I wanted something that would highlight this fabric nicely, and I wanted to try to use some of my pattern stash up. This has been sitting in my stash for a couple of years and it fit the bill. No real dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. But I do like this pattern and I do recommend it.

Conclusion: A good, basic pattern. Here are some shots on Shelley, both plain and styled the way I am thinking of wearing it to dinner in Paris. (!!!!)

Styled with a cashmere sweater and patent pumps. Bateau Mouche, here I come!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – McCalls 6756 Shorts View B

If you recall, I made a Modified Version of View A earlier this month. I wore them yesterday and I got a ton of compliments on them. They are a little shorter than I like to wear all the time, but I really liked the bones of this pattern, so I decided to make the Bermuda Shorts version, view B.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ SHORTS: Semi-fitted shorts have waistband, pocket variations, and mock fly zipper. A: lined. B: stitched hems. I made View B, which has hip pockets and is Bermuda length.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12.

Fabric Used: Take a Paige From This Book Stretch Denim from Gorgeous Fabrics for the shorts, Androsia stretch cotton from my stash for the pockets and waistband facings.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, 7 inch zipper, hook/eye closure, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, When Single Layer Layout Pays Big Dividends, Sew From Wide to Narrow

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

How were the instructions? Good. I’ve made this before so I didn’t need the instructions, but they were fine.

Construction Notes: I didn’t change anything in the sizing or style. I did decide to try an experiment. I pulled a pair of jeans apart recently and discovered that the waistbands were uninterfaced. These were not inexpensive jeans, either. They were Lucky Brand. So I decided to try going without interfacing on these to see how they hold up. I’ll let you know.

Likes/Dislikes: Comfortable, easy to make and wear. They go together quickly and fit pretty well. No dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would, as you can tell. 🙂 Here are some pictures on Shelley. I’m wearing them right now, but I’m in ratty weekend mode (no makeup) so no pictures on me for the time being!

… and Back

Conclusion: This is a great pattern that has become my go-to for shorts.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – McCalls 6756 Shorts

Greetings, salutations and valutitations! Or whatever they call it.

This weekend, DS the elder will graduate high school. You know what that means, don’t you? It means that, for the last, oh, 7 months or so, it’s been all about the seniors, all the time. Not that that is (always) a bad thing, but it does mean that we’ve been at Spring concerts:
Chorus 2013

Scholarship nights:
Scholarshipand lots of other things celebrating seniors. This weekend we have the graduation party on Saturday, the graduation and dinner on Sunday. Can I just tell you? DS the freshman is feeling MIGHTY neglected. But come Sunday night at 9, I’m going to put on my jammies, pour a glass of wine, watch the season finale of Game of Thrones (while recording the Tonys to watch over breakfast on Monday), and call it a school career! He’s decided on UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College for physics. Come Monday? It’ll be alright (okay – who can name the song?)

In the meantime, I have been trying – TRYING – to sew between events and just general stuff. And I did manage to make myself a pair of shorts. How sad is it that this is such a big accomplishment? You’ll see what I mean shortly…

I look exactly like that!

Pattern Description: (From McCalls website) MISSES’ SHORTS: Semi-fitted shorts have waistband, pocket variations, and mock fly zipper. A: lined. B: stitched hems (Ed. note: Really? Really???? Since when do shorts NOT have stitched hems?)

I made an unlined variation of view A.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12.

Fabric Used: Betsey Johnson polka dot cotton sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out, sorry).

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, Pro-Tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. Thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Press That Bad Mamma Jamma.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Mmmm, sorta. See below

How were the instructions? Good – didn’t use them.

Construction Notes: I wanted a pair of short-shorts, and I had this pattern in my stash. The pattern as shown calls for a lace overlay. I skipped that, and just used this cotton. I laid the hem at the point where they indicated you should put the scallops of the lace, and it worked out well.

I also pulled out the pockets. Originally, I inserted them (for this view the pockets are in the side seams), but I didn’t care for them so I took them out and sewed up the side seams.

Likes/Dislikes: Cute, casual shorts. L curve!!!!
6756 L Curve
No real dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes to both. I’ll probably make the longer version (View B) in the future
Conclusion: Cute shorts. Here are views of the front and back on Shelley:
6756 Front

Contrary to what you may think from this picture, my butt does not hang out.
Contrary to what you may think from this picture, my butt does not hang out.

Gosh, I’m ready for real life to resume. I need a vacation bad, but none are in the cards for the near (or far) future. Sigh…

Oh well, enough of that.
Happy sewing!

McCall 6506 v.2 – Hana Honey version

I have been busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger recently, what with DS the elder’s impending graduation, traveling to the Haute Couture Club of Chicago’s fashion show, working about 70 hours a week, and just doing “stuff”. So I haven’t been sewing as much as I would like. I cast about trying to figure out what to make, and I decided on McCalls 6506. I made this pattern last year, and you can See the Original Review Here. I’ll highlight the differences in this review.

First up, the Fabric
I used Hana Honey floral cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Yes, it’s the same fabric I used for DH’s Aloha shirt.
No, we will not wear them at the same time.

Lost them. Didn’t need them.

I got rid of the patch pockets and inserted side-seam pockets instead.

Belt Loops
I added 4 belt loops at the waist. Of course, I don’t have any belts that go with it, but I’ll try to remedy that this week. I always wear the other version with a belt, so it was a natural addition.

Since I lost the instructions, I forgot the darts go on the outside. Oh well. Don’t miss that feature.

Press press press!
Dammit, just do it.

This went together quite readily, and I like the result. I’ll get a bunch of use from it this summer. Here are some shots on Shelley:

and Back

I’m not sure what I’m going to work on next. I haven’t been terribly inspired recently, but hey, who know’s what tomorrow may bring, right?

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: McCalls 6707 Fashion Star Pants

Pattern Description: “MISSES’ PANTS: Semi-fitted, tapered pants (below waist) have contour waistband, side front pockets, side back seams, mock fly zipper and hook & eye closure. A: edgestitched crease.” I made view A, without the edgestitched crease.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12

Fabric Used: Italian Stretch Denim – Dark Indigo, from Gorgeous Fabrics (naturellement). For the waistline facing and pockets, I used stretch cotton from Androsia in the Bahamas that I bought about 10 years ago.

The motif is a conch shell.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 80/12 needle. Gütterman thread, two trouser hook/eyes.

Tips Used during Construction: And Now, a Word From the Pressinatrix, Press that Bad Mamma Jamma (dammit!)

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

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is a pretty well-drafted pattern, and it goes together without any difficulty.

Construction Notes: I’ve noticed that the McCalls pattern family sizes seem to run pretty big these days. By my measurements, I should be a size 14, but I made a 12, and I still had to take in a solid inch at the center back waist:

I decided not to interface the waistband, since the denim already has good body to it. I also understitched the waistband facing to keep it in place.

I changed the crotch curve from the standard McCalls “J” curve to an “L”, which fits me much better and eliminates baggy butt.

I made a fly stitching template using a scrap of pattern paper.

I double-stitched the fly, to give it a little more contrast. Since I used matching thread, rather than contrast, I thought that would add a nice touch. It’s not really visible from the front, so here’s a shot of the wrong side:

Likes/Dislikes: I really like the design lines at the side seam and back. It’s a very interesting pattern for that.

What did I dislike?

Hobbit pants. Seriously, if I had hairy feet I would look like I belong at Bag End. I’ve always claimed that capri’s are a crime against humanity, and this does nothing to change my opinion. Don’t ask me what compelled me to give them a shot; I’ll claim temporary insanity. Pity – the pattern has good bones. I’ll cut these down to shorts length and wear them for summer.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I might make the longer pants. I would not make capri length again. Evah. But I do like this pattern. As I say, I’ll salvage these by turning them into shorts.

Conclusion: A nice pattern with good lines.

Happy sewing!

Misson Maxi/McCalls 6556 in Action!

Even in a surgical boot, my baby can busta move!

Last night was the Winchester Hospital gala, and we had a great time! The party was a blast, but man, I’m too old to party like a rock star any more. I now have several requests for McCalls 6556 for my friends who were there. This was such a comfortable outfit to wear, and I’m going to wear the top over a black turtleneck and black jeans for holiday get togethers. It’s a GREAT top and one of my favorites. If you’re on the fence about this pattern, take my word for it – get it!

We partied Gangnam Style! (thanks for the picture, Kevin)

Happy sewing!

Pattern Reviews, Sort Of – Gala Dress Finished!

I can’t believe it. The gala is 4 weeks from today, and for the first time ever I’ve finished my outfit well in advance. This year I decided to go for comfort and ease over couture. I’ve made both of these patterns before, so my life was made much easier. For this year’s outfit, I made McCalls 6556 as a top. I am going to wear it over Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi. I’ll highlight the differences between the two versions of each below:

McCalls 6556 (First Reviewed Here)
Fabric used: Mini Sequinned Rayon Knit Novelty – Pinot Noir from Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s sold out, sorry. But can I tell you? It is SO gorgeous! It drapes beautifully, and when I move in it, it looks positively liquid and so rich. I can’t say enough great things about this fabric. Neener neener neener! Oh wait – that’s not very gracious of me, is it? Anyway….

Construction Notes: I shortened the pattern to top length, by folding it up and pinning the extra pattern paper out of the way. Because of this, I only had two tucks on the front and back pieces (there are 3 in the original dress length)

As you can see in my previous post, I debated for a while on how best to finish the neckline and armhole. I thought about binding them with foldover elastic, but Phyllis pointed out that binding the outer edges would make it sportier rather than dressy, so I decided to bind the raw edges, fold them under and sew them by hand. For the neckline and armhole edges, I used silk jersey. I didn’t have black jersey, but I had some left over from my Paco Peralta top. Since you can’t see them, I didn’t fret over the color, and the jersey is soft against the skin.

You can’t see the red binding from the outside of the garment

For the bottom hem, which can be seen at certain angles, I bound the raw edge with Black Silk Habotaicut on the bias.

Black silk habotai binding can be seen at times, so I wanted it to blend.

Likes/Dislikes: I really love this pattern. It’s very versatile. Yesterday, when Phyllis was over, I tried it on over my top and jeans to show her, and it looks great over a pair of jeans. I think it may be my go-to holiday outfit. It also looks fantastic layered over a long sleeve shirt. I think I’ll wear it with skinny black jeans and a black turtleneck top. Paired with dramatic chandelier earrings, it will make a heck of a holiday look.

Jamie Christina Mission Maxi (First Reviewed Here)
Fabric Used: Italian Rayon Matte Jersey in Black from Gorgeous Fabrics. And hey! It’s still available!

Construction Notes:It’s interesting to note that I had to take in the side seams on this one. The matte jersey drapes and clings very differently than the original ITY that I used. Aside from that, the only thing I did differently from before was to use a rolled hem at the bottom. I’ll probably cut this down after the gala to be a street-length dress, and I’ll get tons of wear out of it. I think I’ll make a shrug to go over it so I can use it year-round.

You can never have too many black dresses in your closet.

The way the McCalls 6556 is drafted. I can wear it as a scoop-neck or turn it around and wear it as a bateau neck with a lower back. I like both ways, but I think I prefer the scoop neck over the maxi dress. Here are pictures of it both ways.

Scoop neck Front…
High in the back. Or…
Bateau neck in front…
And a scooped back neckline. Decisions, decisions.

I have lots of time to decide. For now, it’s just nice to have it all done!

Conclusion: I love both these patterns. They go together easily, and they are classy/funky enough that I can wear them for many different occasions. I definitely recommend them!

Happy sewing!