Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 View B Blouse

Long one coming up! I love this type of blouse, and I have since I was young. When I saw Paco had included it as part of his Vogue Pattern V1527 I knew I would have to make it. Then this silk came across my desk and the rest is history…


Pattern Description: (From Vogue’s website) Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs.

Sizing: 4-18, I made a 12

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used:

Note: Theresa pointed out that the pattern requires 3.5 yards and that seems like a lot. I pulled 3.5 yards per the instructions and I have a solid yard left over.  I think the yardage requirements are wrong. Do yourself a favor, especially if you have an expensive fabric, and measure the pattern. Realistically, on a size 12 body, 2.5 yards  of 45 inch fabric should do a blouse unless you have a very large print that you are trying to match.

White 3-ply Silk Crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics. Silk crepe is my favorite fabric to work with! This fabric is SOOOOOOO amazing. It’s got a heavy, luxurious drape to it, and it feels amazing. Swoon! I also used Wide Silk Organza – Off White for the cuffs (more on that later).

Even better, both these fabrics are still available! That almost never happens. I usually don’t get the chance to sew something until the fabric is long since sold out, so it’s a treat to show you a fabric that’s on the site. Did I mention we have our 10th anniversary sale going on right now? Get 10% off, plus US shipping is flat $10, regardless of how much you order! International peeps get a $10 gift certificate upon ordering, good for a future purchase.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable iron and board, sleeve board, ham/stand, shoulder stand, pressing finger, bamboo chopstick, point presser.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle in the sewing machine, Universal 70/10 needles in the serger. Vilene Shirt interfacing (a gift from Paco Peralta last year), pearl buttons, self-covered buttons, basting thread, thread, hand needles.

This interfacing isn’t available in the US, but any good shirt-weight interfacing will work as well.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, of course. Scary Silks,

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

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is not a terribly difficult pattern. The fabric choice can make it tricky to work with, but it’s a good pattern for anyone who’s been sewing for a while. If you’re intermediate level you should have no trouble with this.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. It went together pretty readily, but I noticed that the bust point on the pattern was really high:

What the Whut?

The pattern bust point marking is 8 inches from the shoulder line. I checked it against the printed pattern to make sure I didn’t make a transfer error. Nope. 8 inches. I don’t know anyone over about age 10 who has a bust apex 8 inches below the shoulder line.

I tried the muslin on to see if it mattered, and there was a slight drag line between the bust point and the armscye, so yes, it does make a difference, especially if you are large busted. I made a small FBA, mostly to drop the bust point down to where it should be. Drag line gone. I also shortened the sleeves about 5/8 inch, which is not unusual for me with Vogue patterns.

Vogue recommends lightweight fabrics like crepe de chine or charmeuse for this pattern. Because my silk crepe was heavier than recommended, I made some modification to the construction. They have you use French seams for the sleeve and side seams. I did a mockup to see what I thought of it with my 3-ply crepe.

There’s 4 layers of fabric in a straight seam like this.

With this fabric, that would put 8 layers of fabric into the seam at two points – where the yoke joins to the front and back. That’s a lot of bulk, so I decided instead to use standard 5/8 inch seam allowances and finish the raw edges with a 4-thread overlock.


This is a judgement call. If I had used a georgette or charmeuse, the French seam would be great, and would give an elegant finish. But my fabric was heavy enough that I think it would have been a bit of a disaster. I heartily recommend doing mockups with scraps when you are dealing with situations like this.

The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing. I decided instead to use sew-in interfacing. The Vilene that I used is nice and crisp, but I wanted to avoid bulk in the seams, so I cut both the Vilene and I also cut silk organza. I stitched the Vilene to the organza just outside the seamlines. I trimmed the Vilene close to the stitching, leaving just the organza seam allowances. Voila, less bulk!

Stitched Vilene to organza on the bottom, Vilene trimmed from the seam allowances on the top.

I used purchased pearl buttons for the front closure

I made self-covered button cufflinks. I fused a scrap of lightweight interfacing to the silk to give it a bit more support and to make it easier to cover the buttons.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It was a pleasure to sew, and the fabric was a joy to work with. The pattern is beautifully drafted and goes together without a hitch. Do test runs of your seams to see how the French seam works with your fabric.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would, and yes I do! This is another winner from Vogue and Paco.

Conclusion: A beautiful classic, something that I will wear for years to come. At some point I’ll get a shot on me, but here it is on Shelley:

Happy sewing!

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!

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!

Felicidades, Paco!!!!

My dear friend, Paco Peralta, couturier extraordinaire of Barcelona, was just published for the first time this week in the Winter/Holiday edition of Vogue Patterns. ¡YAY Paco! ¡Congratulations and felicidades!

Paco and I were internet friends for years, but I had the delightful opportunity to meet him and spend an afternoon with him, his sister, and our friend Vera when DH and I visited Barcelona a couple of years back. He is an absolute love, and his sister, Isabel, is just as wonderful. We had the greatest time, and I can’t wait to go back and see him again. Next time I’ll brush up on my Spanish!

I have to find the pictures with Isabel and Vera. Stupid Apple Photos lost them when it switched from iPhoto
I have to find the pictures with Isabel and Vera. Stupid Apple Photos lost them.

Continue reading Felicidades, Paco!!!!

Favorite Garments of 2015

I’m Not Generally One for Looking Back on the year past, but 2015 was a good year for things in my wardrobe that I just love, so here are my top 6. Yeah, I know – “What? Top 6? I thought it was Top 5?” What can I say? I’m a rebel. From number 6 favorite to number 1, these are the garments that I pull out of my closet or bureau and feel great wearing:

Number 6: Another Karen Short
Karen 3 On Me
It was a toss-up between these shorts and my Modified Kwik Sew Duster (okay, yes, I cheated and it’s technically 7 winners, but indulge me). The reason this one made the list is because I wore these incessantly from when I pulled them off the ironing board until the cold weather hit. That was about a two week span, here in Boston, so I am sure they will get lots of wear next summer. Plus I got some very good feedback on this pattern that helped me make the second one better. Thanks GOMI!

Number 5: Liesl & Company’s Maritime Top

Front
Front

Surprised by this? I am. When I made this top, I was unsure of it. It didn’t fit the ‘fit profile’ I was searching for at the time. But I thought it would be nice to do a compare/contrast between indie and big 4 Breton-style tops. Well. Over the months, this gets pulled out and worn on a very regular basis. So it’s a winner, and I will definitely make some more.

Number 4: Another StyleArc Kate Dress

Front
Front

After 2014’s Wrapapalooza, you might think I’d be tired of wrap dresses. Nope! Love them still, and this Kate Dress from StyleArc is one of my favorites!

Number 3: Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll Dress
6838 v2 Front
You know, I don’t buy from other fabric stores often, but when I do, it’s spectacular fabric that I can’t lay my hands on. I have worn this dress three times so far this year, and every time I get stopped by people asking me where they can buy it. It’s a testament to this dress and fabric that I’m going to wear it tomorrow night to ring in the New Year.

Number 2: Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat
Finished Front

If a piece of clothing could be the Perfect Man, this would be it. This coat is so beautifully drafted, yet so simple, that it sets off the wearer (that would be me) beautifully. It inspired DH to buy me a vintage Hermès “Petite Mains” scarf for Christmas to go with it (love that man!!). Paco – your designs are GORGEOUS!

Number 1: The Wedding Gown Refactor
I Would Do it Again in a Heartbeat
This year, I took a Princess-Di-inspired wedding confection and turned it into a sleek sheath dress for my 30th wedding anniversary dinner. I married the perfect man, and I wore the perfect dress then and gave it new meaning for now.

Have a safe, happy and wonderful New Year, everyone!

Pattern Review: BCN Unique Patterns Cassock Coat

ETA on October 19: Paco was gracious enough to send me a sizing chart for his patterns, which I have added at the bottom of this post. Thanks, Paco!
a.k.a. “Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat” I’ll preface this review with the disclosure that Paco is a dear friend of mine, so I am undoubtedly biased in my opinions. That said, I paid full price for this pattern. I get nothing for any recommendations I may make. I did not contact Paco about it nor did he ask me to blog about it. So go ahead and read and interpret my review with however many grains of salt you think are warranted. 🙂

Pattern Description: Pretty close fitting, lined, shoulder-princess-line coat. In-seam pockets and two piece, shaped sleeve. Button closure. Choice of rounded collar or collarless. I made the collarless version

Sizing: I believe this comes in 38-50. I made a 42.

Available as a PDF? No. Each pattern is hand drawn. How cool is that???

Fabric Used: A really wonderful pre-interfaced mohair blend bouclé from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!). Alas, it is sold out, but You Can Find Similar Fabrics Here. For the lining, I used a Yves-Saint-Laurent-Pink silk charmeuse that has been in my stash forever. It may have come from Gorgeous Fabrics, but I’ve had it so long it might even predate the business. Don’t you love having a stash?

Pink silk lining, with Paco’s label

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home machine, Naomi the Naomoto. Tailor’s ham, shoulder stand, silk organza press cloth, strips of file folders for pressing. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 80/12 needle for the bouclé, Universal 65/9 for the lining. “Cigarette” sleeve headers and Japanese basting thread from Susan Khalje (full disclosure, also a friend, but again, no affiliation and no solicitation). Japanese hand sewing needles that were a gift from a friend. Vintage shoulder pads, silk organza scraps, thread, buttons (temporary).

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, The Case for Muslins

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

How were the instructions? There are none. If you have a working knowledge (i.e. you consider yourself intermediate or thereabouts in your sewing skills), you should be able to work out the construction. These patterns are so beautifully drafted that they sew together quite easily. If you have a good sewing book handy, you are good to go.

Construction Notes: You can see most of my construction notes in my post about the Coat’s WIP. I ran up the muslin, and because the fabric is pretty thick, I added about 1/8 inch to the seamlines below the bust. The good news? I didn’t need an FBA, and I didn’t need to lower the bust point. THANK YOU PACO, on behalf of real women everywhere!!

Other than that, I didn’t make any changes.

I made buttonholes with my Pfaff, and I bought some inexpensive buttons at the local JoAnn. My friend Rosie is going to Paris soon and she volunteered to get me buttons while she is there. These look fine, but oo la la – I can’t wait to see what she comes back with!

Likes/Dislikes: How do I love this coat? Let me count the ways… Seriously, I love that I did’t have to change the bust point from a 13-YO-model bust to a real-woman bust. I love the fit through the shoulders. I love the lines. Really, there’s nothing I don’t love about this coat. I put it on (no makeup today so no pictures of me in it, sorry) and showed it to DH, and his reaction was, “That’s so elegant!” That’s why I married that man!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I’m thinking about shortening it and making a car-coat length. One thing to note is that this doesn’t have the massive amounts of ease you may be used to with some coats. In the 42, I can wear sleeves, but not a chunky sweater underneath it. So if you want to wear thick garments underneath, you may want to adjust the pattern or go up a size.

Conclusion: A FABULOUS pattern. I love it, and it will get lots of use this winter and many to come. Here are pictures of the finished coat.

Front with temporary buttons, but they aren’t too bad.
The back looks less interesting, but it moves so beautifully
Showing off the lining
How beautiful is that sleeve, I ask you?

I just love this coat. I’ll wear this with a scarf at the neck and boots for the winter. This is a wonderful pattern and I really recommend it.
Happy sewing!

BCN Unique Patterns Size Chart:

Paco Peralta Sizing Chart

Work In Progress: Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat

Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been really busy with work, and this weekend was a super band performance at the Salem Invitational, with DS the Younger conducting the HS band. DS the Elder came home to see it and cheer on his younger brother, so it was a great weekend with family.

In the meantime, I have been sewing, just more slowly. I’m working on Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat. I’ll do a full review when it’s finished, but here are some WIP shots. Before I begin, let me just tell you how impressed I am with the drafting on this coat. It is flawless.

Inside-out front, showing the seams.
Inside-out front, showing the seams.

I’m making it using a pre-interfaced mohair bouclé. This is a joy to work with, except for the lint that is everywhere. I’ve gone through about half of a lint roller getting the fuzz off the ironing board, cutting mat and myself. For those who took part in the poll on the Gorgeous Fabrics FB page, the YSL-pink silk charmeuse won by a landslide.

Sleeve with organza interfacing and "cigarette" sleeve head.
Sleeve with organza interfacing and “cigarette” sleeve head.

I took this shot before I put the shoulder pads in. I am using sleeve heads that I got from Susan Khalje. And my friend Thaïs gave me these brilliant vintage shoulder pads. They had belonged to her mother, and they are just the right thickness and shape for this coat.

Groovy, baby!
Groovy, baby!

Here are shots of the front and back as it stands right now:

Front...
Front…

 

... and back
… and back

The lining is about ¾ of the way done. I just have to attach the sleeves and then sew it to the garment. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make bound buttonholes or if I’ll take it to Jonathan in NY when I am there later this month. I’m kind of leaning toward the latter, since the mohair could be rather finicky. The other option I’m mulling over is making bound buttonholes with leather welts. I’ll do some samples and then decide.

So that’s what I’ve been working on. How about you?

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Paco Peralta’s Long Sleeve Drape Front Top


When I heard that Paco Peralta had one: started designing patterns again, and two: released a version of his Drape Front Top with long sleeves, I immediately hopped on his Etsy Site and ordered it. The pattern arrived on Friday and yesterday I pulled it out and sewed it up!

Pattern Description: (From Paco’s Etsy Store) With or without sleeves blouse with draped front; it can be made of silk or similar fabrics, includes stretch fabrics (knits). Te pattern is simple and easy to sew. It consists of five pieces: lower front, upper draped front, back, back neckline facing and sleeve. Sleeveless version: The armholes are finished with bias striips of self fabric (pattern not included), or using a special purpose hemming technique for stretchy fabric (if using knits). Blouse with sleeves: ONLY FOR KNITS. The pattern is drafted in three alternating sizes: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (Bust 31,5, 34,5 37,5, and 40,5 inch.). A smaller or larger size can easily be obtained using the pattern master lines for grading. The pattern is hand copied from the original and the designer labels is provided, granting this pattern with “exclusive model” status.

I’ll also add that the design is a dropped-shoulder.

Sizing: S-XL. I made a medium.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Chi Chi Chevrons ITY Jersey – Multi from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home sewing machine, Juki home serger, Naomi the Naomoto iron, shoulder stand, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, Gutterman thread and Maxi-Lock thread in the serger, Superior Threads Sew Fine #50 thread for hemming.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits, How to “Flat Set” a Sleeve.

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

How were the instructions? There are none included with this pattern, but the pattern is beautifully drafted and sews together readily if you have any experience. Also, there’s some great information on its construction out there from other bloggers, including this one from Core Couture.

Construction Notes: I used the Pfaff set on straight stitch (2.5mm) for the shoulders and back neck facing. I used the serger for all major seams, and I used the Pfaff to hem it with a 1.0mm wide by 3.0mm long zigzag stitch. I staystitched the front piece at the pivot point to reinforce it.

Wow, it’s kind of hard to see the stitching line with this busy print.

I used a 5/8 inch narrow hem at the bottom of the garment, rather than the two inch hem on the pattern. I like a little extra length. Also, for those who love cowl necks but are concerned about modesty (as one reader pointed out in my Review of McCalls 6963), this top is a great option. And the fact that the cowl neckline is an insert makes it easier to revise the depth of the cowl if you wish. But I don’t think most people will need to do that with this top.

One note is that on me, the shoulders are slightly wide. I think when I make it next I’ll start with a size small at the shoulders and taper out to a medium.

Likes/Dislikes: I love that the pattern is hand drafted and marked. I love that the cowl isn’t so deep that I need to worry about when I bend over. And I really love that Paco is back at designing again!!!

There’s nothing I dislike about it.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. This is a great pattern that will be a staple in my wardrobe. I’ll probably make a few short sleeved versions for summer. Here’s the top on Shelley

Front

and Back

Conclusion: Great pattern, wonderful designer, good friend. Welcome back, Paco!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Paco Peralta’s Apron Skirt

What happens when the boss lady comes down with the galloping crud and goes to work hacking up a lung? Let me tell you. The elves get all “go home and rest, we can take care of everything here.” So I did. Alas, thanks to the miracle of modern cold meds, I wasn’t able to get any real sleep today, but this afternoon I did feel well enough to put on music and finish my Paco Peralta skirt, so here you go!


Pattern Description: (From Paco’s Etsy shop) Very easy APRON Skirt sewing pattern for regular sizes. Fitted, lined, slightly tapered skirt, below knee. Has raised slightly waistband with self facing. Back longitudinals princess seams, without side seams, and center back zipper. Back slit. Finished fack from waist length: 62 cm. (approx 24,5 inches).

Sizing: S-M-L. I made a slightly smallish medium

Fabric Used: Stretch Double Faced Wool Crepe, the same fabric that I used for my Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern. For the lining I used a (sold out) rose print silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 65/9 needle, Metrosene thread, invisible zipper, handsewing needle, beeswax.

Tips Used during Construction: Sew From Wide to Narrow, Press that Bad Mamma Jamma, Wonderful Woolens.

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

How were the instructions? There aren’t any, but this pattern is beautifully drafted, and it goes together without a hitch. Also, if you need help with it, Paco has lots of information and tutorials On His Blog.

Construction Notes: Because of the nature of the double cloth. I decided to do a few things differently. The fabric doesn’t ravel, so I thought it would be kind of fun to do some interesting seaming and let the fabric take the driver’s seat. I decided to use one color for the front apron/center back pieces and the other for the side and lower front pieces. I mocked up the skirt and put the front on Shelley to give me a feeling for how it would look on the body.

Blue with black surround/sides?

Or black with blue surround/sides… Much better!

After making the big decision, I decided to overlap the seamlines on the apron and the sides as well as on the back and back sides, and use a zigzag edge stitch to attach them. I did this for two reasons: one, it’s kind of a cool idea, and highlights the double-sided nature of the fabric. Second, the fabric is slightly stiff, and this eliminates bulk, especially in the rounded corners of the apron. I mirrored that method on the back/side-back pieces as well. To do it, I machine basted right along the seamline of all the pieces. I trimmed the seam allowance off the apron and the sides of the back pieces (not the CB seam). Then I carefully laid the apron over the side seams, matching up the seamlines, and I used a zigzag stitch all the way around. I did the same on the back.

Seam on the side/front piece

Hint: use a rotary cutter for best results. No jagged edges!

I made the side seams normally, and my ham and clapper got a good workout thanks to this fabric.
One mississippi, two mississippi....

The pattern calls for a self facing. Again, due to the inherent stiffness of the fabric I opted to cut down the facing and raise the waistline of the lining, eliminating bulk. I understitched the the waistline seam so it would roll nicely toward the lining. I also did a mitered hem at the vent opening. I slipstitched the zipper to the back side of the fabric, to keep it flat, then I finished the lining and hemmed the entire skirt, pressed it et voila! A Gorgeous (if I may say so) Paco Peralta design! I still want to put a hook and eye at the very top, but I’ll do that tomorrow. Here’s a picture of the front:
I'm a little wider than Shelley, so you see more of the blue on me.

And of the back:

Likes/Dislikes: This is a great pattern. It hugs the body beautifully, and the seaming details make it so flattering! I can’t wait to wear it. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow and will be able to wear it to the office or out with DH.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I want to try this again in a “regular” fabric. It goes together beautifully and it looks fantastic on. Bravo, Paco!

Conclusion: This is about the only way you’ll ever see me in an apron. 😉
Here’s a picture styled on Shelley with my Marcy Tilton Jacket, my Kwik Sew Turtleneck and the fierce boots DH gave me for Christmas. I’m not posing for pictures until I get over this bug and no longer look like death warmed over.

Until then, happy sewing!

Wherein Colds are Suffered and Paco Takes a Back Seat

The title pretty much says it all.

It’s cold and flu season in Boston right now, and it’s a doozy. Both my sons have the galloping crud that’s been making the rounds at the high school. I had hoped beyond reason that I would get away unscathed. Alas, that was not to be. I have two words for you. Alka Seltzer Plus. Okay, three words.

Anyway, between feeling kind of crappy, I have made some progress on the Paco Peralta Apron Skirt. On the good advice of sewing friends, I haven’t done anything that requires much thought, but I did make the lining. I used some (sold out, sorry) rose print silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics. The lining is pretty straightforward with darts in the front and princess lines in the back. Here’s the lining as it stands right now:

I do love a silk lining, don’t you?

I’ll post more as I am able. Hopefully I’ll get over this bug soon. Stay well, and

Happy sewing!