Pattern Review: New Look 6557 Dress (OOP)

Wow,the first time I made this dress was in 2006! I made a striped version, which I used for a Threads Magazine article on grain, and they never sent back to me. I also made a version that year in a beautiful floral eyelet, that I still have and wear. And I never did a review of either dress. So here you go…

Pattern Description: Misses Dress with neckline variations, bias-cut midriff panel and ¼ circle skirt. I made View B, the surplice bodice with shoulder straps.

Sizing: 8-18. The first two versions I made size 14. They run big, and I’ve lost a little weight recently, so this time I made a size 12.

Available as a PDF? It’s out of print, so no. You can find it on Ebay and Etsy occasionally.

Fabric Used: A tropical floral print stretch cotton from my stash. It was a gift from a fabric wholesaler and there’s no more available. You can find similar fabrics here at Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable Iron/Board, pressing ham, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, Pro-Tricot and Pro-Weft interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread, Japanese hand-sewing needle, silk organza, invisible zipper.

Tips Used during Construction: And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix – Press As You Go, Sew from Wide to Narrow.

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

Fitting Adjustments? I made a FBA.

How were the instructions? Well, between 2006 and now, I managed to lose the second page, so I didn’t use them. The first page only has the instructions on sewing the bodice. I don’t really like their method – it is a little kludgy, but I didn’t realize it until I was already committed, and in the end it turned out fine. If I do it again I’ll write up a different method.

Construction Notes: The pattern includes a narrow self-belt, that I didn’t bother to make. I sewed all the seams on the Pfaff with a straight (2.5 mm) stitch. I finished all the raw edges of the seams with the serger.

I self lined the bodice, rather than use a lining fabric. I installed an invisible zipper, and I bound the edges with a Hong Kong finish, using bias cut silk organza.

I could have just serged the seam allowances and zipper tape together, but I thought the bright red added a fun little touch.

I made a 5/8 inch narrow hem, and used a 3mm straight stitch.

Likes/Dislikes: 11 years after I made this, the pattern still looks fresh. I wanted a fun sundress for summer, and this fits the bill quite nicely!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. This is a classic dress that looks great in so many different fabrications. Keep in mind that it runs rather large, so check the size before you cut. (I recommend making a muslin.)

Conclusion: Great pattern, great fun fabric. I love the tropics and tropical prints, and I can’t wait to wear this! Here are pictures on Shelley – I fill it out a bit more than she does.

Happy sewing!

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:

… 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:


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: New Look 6838

I’ve been hankering to make a Breton-style top for summer. I love Jean Paul Gaultier’s tops, but I can’t afford one unless I hit the lottery, so I did a search on the web for a pattern. I was almost resigned to shelling out a fair amount of cash for an indie pattern when I stumbled across a (new to me) blog called Jet Set Sewing. Voila! The blogger had done all the work for me. I love when that happens, don’t you? Thank you, Jet Set Sewing!

When I saw the New Look pattern I knew I had hit pay dirt. I know what adjustments I need to make to Simplicity/New Looks, so I was off.

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website, “Misses Separates Misses Pants and Knit Tops.

Wow, that’s really helpful… not. How about this instead: Misses knit tops with neckline and sleeve variations. Woven drawstring pants in two lengths.

I made view A, the bateau neck top with bracelet length sleeves.

Sizing: XS to XL (translates to 6-24). I made a Small.

Available as a PDF? Yes.

Fabric Used: Striped cotton/lycra beefy jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (natch). Alas, it’s sold out, but you can see Similar Fabrics Here.

Machines and Tools Used: Juki home serger, Pfaff home machine, Naomi the Naomoto iron, pressing ham, shoulder press.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, double needle of indeterminate size (it was floating free in my needle drawer. Two scraps of fusible interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits, And Now, a Word From the Pressinatrix, Can 4 Way Stretch Eliminate the Need for an FBA, How To Flat Set a Sleeve

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

How were the instructions? They are fine. I checked them but I didn’t use them. This is a very straightforward pattern and it goes together very easily.

Construction Notes: This pattern is super easy. I made it, from start to finish, in under an hour. I serged all the seams, and I used the double needle for the hems and necklines. Rather than set in the sleeve after sewing the side seams, I set it in flat. I made a FBA. Rather than cut the front on a fold, I mirrored the pattern with a piece of tracing paper, making it a full front piece. This allowed me to see exactly how I was laying it out on the stripes.

Likes/Dislikes: Easy, classic, well-drafted. What’s not to love? One thing that I really like about this pattern is that the back has a CB seam, allowing you to fit it better than a piece that is cut on the fold. Nicely done, New Look!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I definitely will do it again and I do recommend it. This is a great pattern, it’s readily available and it’s inexpensive. All great things for a wardrobe builder. I think the next one I make with this pattern will be the sleeveless version. I need a bunch of tops for summer and this pattern will help fill that need.

Conclusion: Love it! I’ll wear it today, but in the meantime here are pictures on Shelley

and Back

Hapy sewing!

First Project Hemmed with My New Toy Machine

Presenting New Look 6632, straight skirt. I really only wanted to make it so I could try out my new blind hemmer. It took me a few tries, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m not going to bother doing a full review; it’s just a straight skirt with a yoke. Here’s the end result:
Sorry for the crappy pictures – I only had my phone with me.

A couple of notes about construction and the pattern
First up, this pattern runs Huge! I’m talking humongous. Gigantic. Vanity sizing run amok. I cut between a 12 and 14, and it swims on me. It’s more like an 18. I could go down to a 10 with room to spare. Don’t pay attention to the numbers printed on the pattern. If you’re going to make this, do a quick muslin first and be prepared to go down at least two sizes from your norm.

I made this from an Italian Designer Bouclé from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). Since the bouclé has a fair amount of loft to it, I decided to use a poly charmeuse (since sold out, sorry) as the waistband facing to eliminate bulk. And while I was there, I figured I’d line the skirt, too. To do this, I just used the same front and back skirt pieces and basted them to the outer shell at the upper seam. Then I attached the waistband.

I used an invisible zipper and I interfaced the waistband with fusible tricot from Fashion Sewing Supply. Construction was super easy. I used my new blind hemmer. I love it! It turned out great. I can’t wait to try it on other fabrics now. I’ll donate this skirt to a thrift store near my house, but the hemmer will get lots of use on future projects.

Now I want to get back to work on my Chanel jacket. Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – New Look 6813 Top

Pattern Description: Raglan top with sleeve and neckline variations. Pleated, full skirt in two lengths. I made View A, the scoop neck top

Sizing: 6 to 16. I made a 12.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, though I haven’t entirely finished it. I still need to do the topstitching, which I will when I get my Coverstitch Machine all set up.

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them, but I will comment on one part of them further down. This is a very straightforward pattern and it is well drafted and goes together rather easily, as long as you are paying attention. Why do I say that? Because, dear reader, if you aren’t paying attention, it’s really, really easy to sew both sleeve backs together and not notice it until after you have set them in to the arm. You know how I know? I wasn’t paying attention. Doh! I spent last evening while the jerk pork was cooking picking out black stitches from black fabric. My eyes are still aching!

Fabric Used: A fabulously soft Fireworks in the Night Sky jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is soooo comfortable. It almost feels like wearing your favorite flannel jammies. One thing to be mindful of is the placement of the white dot pattern on the print. You don’t want a “bulls eye effect”, if you get my drift.

Construction Notes: I mentioned above that I didn’t use the instructions. I did, however, note that they call for you to attach one neckband to the neckline of the top. Then they have you turn up the lower seam allowance of the neckband facing, sew the bands together at the top, then hand stitch the facing in place at the neckline seam. I’m going to rant for a moment. Can you say Becky Home-ecky? It’s so obvious that the pattern companies (and I am not singling out New Look – all the Big 4 companies do it this way and it drives me crazy!) are merely cutting and pasting instructions from the Pleistocene era. Technology and times have changed, so let’s move it up to the 20th Century, shall we? Grrr… snort!

Okay, rant over. Here’s how to do it to get a much cleaner finish. Sew or serge your neckband and facing together at the top edge. If you are using a sewing machine, trim your seam allowances to 1/4 inches. Turn right side out and press. Baste the lower edges of your neckbands together. Serge or sew the lower edge of your neckband to the neckline of your top. You’ll get a result that looks like this, and takes far less time than the “standard” way.

Likes/Dislikes: Aside from the neckband application, there was nothing I didn’t like about this top. One minor nit is that the neckline is quite wide on the scoopneck version I made. I made it once before in the V-neck, and I think I like that neckline better. It’s more bra-friendly. I wish this pattern had a long-sleeved version of the top, but that’s also a minor point.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would and I do. I think this is a great little top pattern that will work well for many fabrics. I could see making a whole lot of basic wardrobe pieces from it.

Conclusion: A real winner! Here’s a picture of the finished top:

Next Up (Almost Done, Actually)

I spent much of yesterday cleaning the studio and resetting all my machines. DH said to me “Gee Ann, it looks like your own little sweatshop!” Ha. Ha. Darling. Not funny. He had the good grace to be abashed. I’ll post a picture when it’s done. I took my inspiration from my friend Emmett. He has a new design studio and we’ve been trading pictures back and forth for ideas. I had my machines flush against the wall, but after looking at his setup, I tried setting them perpendicular. It works! Like I say, I’ll post pictures later.

So once I got that done, I had to take a little time for me. And I figure this pattern:

Plus this fabric:

Will make a fabulous little top for fall. So I started working on it and got more than halfway through when – DOH! I realize I had sewn the two back sleeves together, and set them in to one armhole. How much do I hate when I do that? Worse? I used my 5 thread industrial Juki serger. Guess how easy it is to rip out seams once that puppy has done its thing? Not easy. Not easy at all.

Okay, I know you’re saying, “Hey, you have more of this fabric, don’t you? Well, yah, but it’s so popular I don’t want to pull any I don’t have to. So I’m sitting here with a surgical scalpel ripping seams while watching Young Frankenstein.

So since I don’t have a picture of a finished garment to show just yet, here’s a great recipe. We made Jerk Pork Roast today. I have a wonderful jerk rub recipe that I have used for years. It always gets raves. Now mind you, it is h-h-h-hot. But it is also very savory, and you can make it less or more spicy by varying the number of Scotch Bonnet peppers you use. I don’t take pictures of food. I don’t have the photographic setup to make food look good. Trust me. Your taste buds will love it.

Jamaican Jerk Rub
1 Four-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
5 bay leaves, crushed
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
5 Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until just all ingredients are chopped, but not too fine. Spread on your favorite meat. Grill and enjoy!

Happy sewing and cooking!

On the Sewing Table

I’ve cut out and mostly sewn up the View C top from New Look 6813:

I’m making it with a combination of two (sold out, sorry) fabrics that I stole from Gigi’s Post were inspired by Gigi’s Post:

First up, the body of the top is made with Modern Dots Jersey

And for the contrast trim, Dainty Dots Jersey

Tomorrow I’ll have a completed photo, and I’ll put a review up. I’m thinking this one will look smashing with the new HotPatterns Croisette Skirt:

More tomorrow. Meanwhile

Happy sewing!

Black is Black….

I got a very sweet note from Miriam the other day. She said, in effect, “Yeah, nice singing and all, Ann, but let’s get down to brass tacks. What did you wear???”

Fair question. Concert dress was all black for the ladies, so I pulled out a couple of concert standbys. First up was a camisole that I made back in 2005, Simplicity 5327 (now out of print):

For a skirt, I wore my slit-up-to-there silk straight skirt that I wear for most concerts:

But I didn’t have anything black to wear with the cami, so I made a repeat of my fave-rave New Look 6543 Shrug. Here it is with the cami underneath.

So that’s what I wore. I don’t have a picture of me in it, but I completed the outfit with heels and fishnets.

Happy sewing!

Oh, I'm Likin' These!

New Look just came out with their Fall Patterns, and I really like a bunch of them! I think I’m going to pick up these ones when I’m out next:

6729 is a fun top. I think I’m going to make it with one of the “Supah Soft” jerseys, probably this one

6723 is so very “Jackie in India”! I’m loving it in Chocolate Silk Duchesse Satin for the holidays.

6725 will be perfect for my niece. It reminds me a little of Built By Wendy, and I know she just loves these kinds of looks.

I also like 6727, but I’m not sure if I would really wear it.

Maybe in Diamonds Are… jersey. I’ll have to think about this one. Like I say, I love the pattern; I just don’t know if it will work for me.

What a cute wardrobe! I’d make the coat with Ooo La La boucle and the dress with Pink Twill.

Oh lordy, so many patterns, so little time! Today, though, I’m off to the sewing room to work on my jacket.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – New Look 6521 Top

Since I finished Barb’s Cosmopolitan Dress early today, and since I had a little time on my hands, I decided to dig into some of the silk jersey I bought at Rosen & Chadick when I was there with Gigi and Phyllis in January. Because it was so dear, I only bought 1 1/2 yards of it, so I cast about in my pattern stash to see what kind of sleeveless or short sleeved pattern I had lurking about. This one presented itself to me, and it reminded me of a favorite Nanette Lepore top I bought about 5 years ago and which I still wear. So, let’s pull it out and have at it!

Description: Misses sleeveless top with tie detail at shoulders, wrap top, capris and pants. All sizes (8-18) are included.

What did you like/dislike about the pattern? I liked the lines of the top. As I said, it’s reminiscent of one I paid a lot of money for at Wish on Charles Street several years back. It’s a very easy pattern – 3 pieces (front/back/neckline). This is not a dislike, but it is worth noting that the top is lower cut than it appears from the line drawings.

Fabric used: Silk jersey print that I bought at Rosen & Chadick in New York City.

Any alterations? I did a FBA. I also inserted the neckband using my serger, and I think the differential feed was a little off, because it stretched out a bit as you can see. I think I will be able to fix it, and on me it’s not as noticeable as it is on my dummy Sharona. One other thing I did differently was with the shoulder gathers. The instructions have you use lengths of store-bought ribbon. Instead, I opted to do what Nanette Lepore did and I made narrow bias tubes of silk jersey instead. I think it looks better that way.

How were the instructions? Easy-peasy. Really, they are quite clear, and very beginner friendly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it? Yes to both. I have this same print in pinks, and I think I’ll make it up using this pattern.

Conclusion: A real winner! Oh yes, here’s the top:

Happy sewing!