Pattern Review: McCalls M7470 Shirt Dress

Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Semi-fitted collared shirt and dresses have front and back princess seams, front and back yoke, sleeve and length variations. A: Shirttail hem. A, B, C: Long sleeves with pleat and button cuff. A, C, D: Pockets. C, D: Self-belt. C: Button tabs. D: Sleeveless.”

I made View D, but I cut it off at the length for View C and omitted the breast pockets and self-belt.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 12

Available as a PDF? I don’t believe so.

Fabric Used: Textured Cotton Shirt-Weight – Blue/Teal Tones from Gorgeous Fabrics. That is, alas, sold out, but Here is the Same Fabric in a Different Colorway.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Juki MO645DE serger

Needle/Notions Used: Fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I don’t see this one on the site, so it may be discontinued, but I would use ProSheer Elegance. Universal 70/10 needle, iron, ironing board, sleeve board, silk organza press cloth, buttons, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Sew From Wide to Narrow

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, though mine is shorter than the pattern as sold.

Fitting Adjustments that I made This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, which gives loads of instructions and lines on the pattern for adjusting the fit. I love these patterns for that reason. I made a straight up muslin and it fit pretty well, but not perfectly. I made a full bust adjustment, along with a small swayback adjustment. The FBA gave me more ease through the waist, so I’ll probably wear this with a belt, though it looks nice without one. I also adjusted the left shoulder to remove gapping at the back of the armhole thanks to a skiing accident 6 years ago.

How were the instructions? Good. This is a pretty straightforward design, and the Palmer-Pletsch fitting instructions are always excellent.

Construction Notes: The stripes on this fabric run from selvage to selvage, so I used a cross-grain layout. I toyed with the idea of cutting the center front bands and yokes on the bias, but I decided to go with the straight grain/cross grain instead.

I sewed the seams with a 2.5 mm stitch, and used a 3-thread overlock stitch to finish all the raw edges. I didn’t bother to topstitch the princess seams because I wanted to keep the look more airy than structured. I used a selvage of silk organza to stabilize the bias opening edge of the pockets.

One thing I noted on my Instagram Feed is that, when dealing with bias facings, like those used on this pattern, you need to treat them gently so they don’t stretch out too much in advance of sewing them in place. In this case, I cut out the fabric a couple of weeks ago, and in the moving around of pattern pieces over that time, one of the facings got stretched way out. Fortunately I had enough fabric to re-cut, but it’s worth keeping bias pieces out of the way and out of traffic. And when sewing and pressing them, treat them kindly and don’t apply too much tension or pressure to them. You’ll be glad you did.

I turned up the hem, trimmed it to 5/8″ and made a narrow hem. For that, and all topstitching, I used a 3.5 mm stitch length.

Likes/Dislikes: This pattern is very well drafted, and as noted above, the fitting instructions are excellent.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again, just because I have lots of other patterns I want to make. But I will be traveling this summer and this will be coming with me. I definitely recommend it.

Conclusion: A great pattern! Here are pictures on Shelley:

Front
Back

 

Left

Upper front detail
Back Yoke Detail

Haven’t been doing much sewing lately because…

Look who graduated from college!

DS the Elder graduated from UMass! What a wonderful Mother’s Day gift that was. I wore my Butterick B6446 and my Vogue V1527 coat. One of the physics professors (his major) stopped me in the hallway to say, “That’s a beautiful coat!” That made my day ūüėä

Well, that plus the graduation.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: McCalls M7249 Top

Or, “You Win Some; You Lose Some.”

After the Paco Peralta Coat, I wanted something easy, so I rummaged through my pattern stash and came up with McCalls 7249. It’s getting warmer and I thought the sleeveless version would be nice. It only has 3 pattern pieces, so even better!

Easy as 1-2-3?

The pattern calls for “Jerseys, Cotton Knit, Silk Spun Knit.” I used rayon jersey left over from last year’s (successful) Butterick Jumpsuit.

The front piece has two overlays that are gathered into the side seams. That’s where the first issue showed up. The overlays are self-faced on both the top and bottom. That’s where the second issue showed up. They are both sewn at the neckline to the v-necked under piece. That’s where the third problem showed up. The pattern is “designed” to be with sleeves or sleeveless, using the same front and back pieces. That’s where the fourth problem showed up.

As I gathered the overlay, I thought, “That’s an awful lot of fabric going into the side seams.” There are three layers, the middle of which is about a 3:1 gathering ratio. That’s a lot of bulk, even in a lightweight fabric. Another issue I noticed was that the gathered side pooched out at the top.

That little flap would drive me crazy.

Second problem, and this was a real issue with my fabric: the overlays are self-faced on the top and the bottom. The facing on the bottom is about 1 ¬ľ inches deep. With my nice soft rayon jersey, the facing kept falling down, so I ended up sewing the facing in place, which IMO ruins the line.

At this point I was starting to feel very “meh” about the whole project.

Also, the upper facing kept flipping outward as well. This was on a dress form, so you can imagine how often I would be tucking it back in during the course of a day.

One photo captures two problems.

As you can see from this picture, the third problem appeared at the neckline. The weight of the two overlays pulled the under-bodice to the outside. I tried every which way from Sunday to fix it, but nothing worked. It kept falling outward no matter what I did.

The fourth problem is that McCalls doesn’t give a separate armhole for the sleeveless version, so the armhole gaps like crazy. I should have anticipated this, but if you recall at the beginning I said I was looking for something easy.

When it looks lousy on the dress form, you know it’s not going to work out.

Before hemming it, I decided to try it on and see how I liked it.

There’s a whole lotta ‘meh’ going on.

The good news is I saved myself hemming it. This one is going straight to the fabric recycler in our town. Here are better lit shots on Shelley. You can decide for yourself if you think this is worth your time.

Well, not everything turns out to be a winner, even in my sewing room. I always ask the questions in reviews, “Would you sew it again, and would you recommend it?” Unfortunately with this one, the answer to both questions is “No.”

Reviews like this are never fun to write, but hopefully they are helpful. It doesn’t make me hate McCalls. In fact my next project is a Palmer/Pletsch shirtdress that I’ll make with a fabulous Textured Cotton Shirt-Weight from Gorgeous Fabrics. More on that later.

Happy sewing!

Sew the Current Trends, and Save 20% Off the Featured Fabrics!

Good afternoon, campers! I’ve been busy as can be on several things. You’ll see the fruits of my labors over the next days, and if you follow me on Instagram you can see the slow progress I’m making on my current project. But in the meanwhile, here’s a post that everyone seems to love: Gorgeous Fabrics/pattern combinations to make your own versions of the most current trends in fashion!

Trend 1: The Corset

I love¬†the idea of a Deeta von Teese corseted look, unfortunately,¬†it isn’t something that I can pull off. But just about anyone can manage a corset belt, and one of the ways to make it modern is to wear it cinched¬†over a duster style¬†dress. As luck would have it, BCN Unique Patterns released their Duster Dress and Sash just this week. Make the duster using our¬†Super Soft and Drapey Linen Twill ‚Äď Heathered Dark Brown¬†paired with a wide belt made from our¬†Sueded Leather ‚ÄúCorduroy‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Decadent Chocolate. You’ll be front-row-ready for any Paris show!

Trend 2: Off-Duty Model Denim

 

All the top models are sporting denim this spring, but not the skinny jeans that have been so ubiquitous in the last couple of years. No, the silhouettes range from voluminous dresses worthy of Tilda Swinton¬†to denim “suits” done up with mom-jeans and jean jackets. My personal favorite is the one that Vogue showed on model¬†Frederikke Sofie in Paris: an easy coat thrown over a denim jumpsuit. Make your very own version by pairing Stretch Denim – Black Wash with McCalls M7330 jumpsuit. Finish it off with a chic topper made by combining Italian Suit Weight Flannel – Black with¬†¬†Burda Style¬†01/2016 #127 Shell Jacket. You’ll have a look you can wear three seasons of the year! (skip the cigarette, though)

Trend 3: Hollywood A-List Casual

Want street style like Reese, Nicole, Shaileen or other A-listers? The cute-but-casual look is all the rage for shopping along Brighton Way. It’s easy to make and easy to wear, good for everything from a weekend on the Vineyard to picking the kids up at school. Make a Breton style top with our¬†Rule Bretagne Beefy Striped Jersey ‚Äď Navy/White¬†and¬†Liesl + Co.’s Maritime¬†Knit Top. Anchor the look with a cool, casual skirt made from our¬†Dress Whites Designer Denim ‚Äď White¬†and Seamwork’s Leonora¬†skirt. Instant paparazzi bait!

Trend 4 – You’re Blushing!

The blush pink trend that launched in 2016 shows no signs of abating. A look I love takes a mannish suit and makes it in pink. The pink tones down the androgyny while the androgynous cut of the suit takes away any saccharine tendencies of the pink. ¬†To get the look, pair our¬†Italian Double Faced Satin ‚Äď Peach Puree/Blossom Pink with Named Patterns’ Aava Tailored Blazer and StyleArc’s Eddie Pleated Pants. Now, that’s¬†a uniform for a tough-gal princess. Oh, and an added bonus – if you don’t want all pink all the time, you can make the jacket using one face of the fabric, and the pants from the other.

Save on All the Featured Fabrics Through Friday!

And to give you even more inspiration, you can save 20% on each of the fabrics featured in this article through Friday, April 21st!

No coupon necessary, the markdown is already taken for you.

I hope that gives you some inspiration for your spring sewing. Spring is coming to Boston – slowly! Until next time, which should be soon…

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: The Maker’s Atelier Tie Front Blouse

Before I say anything else, let me tell you that today, I got sent home by The Elves. I had a cold two weeks ago. I got over it, then DH got a cold and just before he left for San Francisco for business, he gave it to me. So today I went back to the office after an appointment that I couldn’t cancel, coughing up a lung. The Elves looked at each other and threw me out. Of course, by the time I got home, my cold medicine finally kicked in, so I couldn’t even go to sleep. What to do? Finish the blouse I started the other day, so here you go. Pardon me if the cold medicine wears off while I’m typing.

Pattern Description: The description/background from The Makers’ Atelier goes on pretty long, so to save you the TL;dr, here’s my summation: Very loose fitting, front button blouse with dropped shoulders, neckline tie and long sleeves. Two hem length variations.

Sizing: 1-8 I made a size 1-2, and it’s pretty roomy. Make that really roomy. To give you a comparison, I take a 12-14 in big 4, and an 8-10 in RTW.

Available as a PDF? No, it’s part of the pattern set in the book.

Fabric Used: Crinkle Jacquard Cotton Voile – Just Off-White (holy cow, it’s not sold out!)

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Juki serger to finish the stitched seam allowances, Reliable iron/board, ham, shoulder stand, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle, scraps of fusible tricot interfacing, Carved Coconut Buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with one minor exception/mistake that I made.

Fitting Adjustments that I made None this time – I wanted to see what the fit was straight out of the envelope. Next time I’ll do a slight FBA so the front hem doesn’t rise up.

How were the instructions? Eh… not great. To me, the instructions are pretty confusing in parts. But if you know what you are doing, you can suss it out for yourself. Here are some examples:

I thought the method for attaching the collar tie was really backwards/happy-hands-at-home. Here are pictures of some of the instructions so you can see them for yourself.

I’m sorry – WHAT is this with sewing the ends by hand???

The upshot was that I said, “to heck with it” and made the collar using the method in the Simplicity 8166 blouse instructions. Much easier.

The instructions tell you to sew the BUTTON on the right placket. I did that, and made my buttonholes on the left side, then I realized the instructions are wrong (look at the illustrations). I blame it on the cold medicine #anyportinastorm

 

The biggest sin in this pattern is that there is NO SHOULDER NOTCH on the sleeve!!! There is a front notch, and there is a back notch, but no shoulder notch, and the instructions tell you to gently ease the shoulder cap. I can’t make this up, so I took a picture.

I sent messages to three friends who are professional designers with backgrounds in pattern making and they were all shocked. As one of them said, there are three match points on any sleeve: Shoulder, front and underarm. I’m sorry to be a negative Nelly, but this is pretty… un… bush… I can’t even. Cold medicine talking but still. No shoulder notch.

Another designer said this method can work for knit garments, but this pattern is designed for lightweight wovens. I made mine in a cotton voile that is pretty gauzy. It has a fair amount of mechanical stretch, but with something like a silk crepe de chine or a cotton shirting, inserting the sleeve the way they say, with no shoulder notch could be problematic or worse.

Oh and the¬†hemming instructions are just pthbbbt. Don’t even bother. Make your hem the way you do with any Big Four blouse: turn the facing so it faces¬†the outer side of the garment, sew the hem at the facing, turn right side out and then make a narrow hem.

Likes/Dislikes: Now, despite my crank factor, this is a good pattern. It has great bones, and it goes together well. IF you already know what you are doing. I describe the aesthetic as Eileen Fisher meets Japanese boutique. It’s simple, and easy, and if it’s your thing it’s great. The instructions? Not so great, at least for this ¬†blouse.

Also, a point of style – this blouse may be a little low cut for some. You can remedy much of that by making a wider tie (the book has instructions for that) or by redrafting the front collar to raise it up a bit. You also really need to make this in a very drapey fabric. Any stiff cotton or linen will NOT work well for this.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Uh, hmmmm. No, and maybe with a lot of caveats. I think the blouse itself has good bones. The instructions were not good, but I was able to make it well because I know what I’m doing. I know that’s harsh, but it’s an expensive book, so I want you go to into it with eyes open.

Conclusion: Despite everything I came out with a blouse that I will wear and which I made well. If you know what you are about, you can make this work. I may have made the second most complex pattern in the book (there’s a pair of cigarette pants that I would bet have their own challenges). Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll try to get pictures on me when I don’t look like death warmed over:

Front
Back

Well, that’s enough for tonight. I hope you are all feeling better than I am.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: McCalls M6559 Bolero, AKA Snow Day Sewing

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

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

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

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

Sizing: 6-22. I made the 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I made narrow hems all around the edges.

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

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

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

Here are pictures on Shelley:

Front

Back

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

Happy sewing!

Five Pattern Companies I Love

Happy New Year, everyone! I know it’s been the better part of a month since I posted. Lots happened. I went on a bucket list trip. The website will be back up and running shortly (big updates, meaning little things broke and we want to fix them).

In the meantime, I want to share with you my favorite pattern companies. I try very hard to be egalitarian with my recommendations for patterns for the fabrics on Gorgeous Fabrics, but these are the ones that I sew for myself.

Vogue Patterns
I’ve sewn Vogue patterns since I was a teenager. They are the gold standard for designer patterns. They went through a bit of a fallow period, but recently they have brought in new designers, and the results are great! And hey, they have recently engaged with one of my favorite pattern designers…

BCN Unique Patterns (aka Paco Peralta Patterns)
Classic, Barcelona (the home of Balenciaga) inspired, fabulous for any age patterns. Amazing drafting, beautiful lines. Total LURVE! Full disclosure, Paco is a dear friend, but still – the patterns are great.

StyleArc Patterns
If you want to copy recent ready-to-wear, this is the company that you want to hook your little red wagon to. Recently they have embraced the athleisure wear trend, and that’s fine, but I really like their more structured looks.

Marfy Patterns
Couture patterns, meant for those who really (really) know what they are doing, but drafted so well that the less complicated ones are pretty easy to figure out. No instructions, no seam allowances. You are on your own but the results are almost universally FANTASTIC!

Jalie Patterns
If you want casual clothing with a truly RTW fit, and easy sewing, great drafting and adherence to trends without going all wacky, this is the line for you. Emilie and her mom design and grade the patterns, and most of them (all of them?) come in sizes from les petites to femmes/hommes and they all seem to fit beautifully. A real treat!

Lots of new stuff is coming once we get the small broken shoelace module *cough*shipping*cough* fixed on the site. It should be back tomorrow, and thanks for your patience.

Happy sewing!
Ann

Just to be very clear here, I have not received any recompense for¬†this post from any pattern companies. I don’t solicit or take reimbursement ¬†for any recommendations. I really like these guys, and I hope you will too!

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!!!!

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!

Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 4155 Shirt Dress


Pattern Description: From the KS website: “Dresses have fitted bodice with front and back princess seams, armholes are finished with facings, front placket with button closures and waist seam. Flared skirt has side-front and side-back seams with side seam pockets. A: Collar with collar stand. B: Collar stand.”

I made view A.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Medium.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Lightweight Cotton “Oxford” in Infinity Blue from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!)

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 sewing machine, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Supreme Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, 9 Buttons, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix, Clip the Selvages Before Laying Out Your Pattern, Sew from Wide to Narrow

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

How were the instructions? They were good. I would do things differently from the instructions on future versions (see Likes/Dislikes for details), but they were quite thorough.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. As I have found with many Kwik Sew patterns, this has a ton of excess ease in the chest area, and I had pretty major gaposis around the armholes. I took about 3 inches (!) of excess ease out by adjusting the princess lines. I could have removed about an inch more without suffering any ill effects. I did an FBA, and I adjusted the armhole facings to match the new gap-reduced bodice.

Because of the FBA, I re-positioned the buttons. I only used 9 buttons, and I put a skirt hook/eye at the waist on the button placket. I will wear this with a belt, so that gives a smoother line.

Kwik Sew’s instructions have you sew the collar stand to the wrong side of the bodice neckline, then turn the seam allowance on the outer side of the collar under and machine stitch through all layers. Instead, I attached the collar stand to the bodice on the right side, and I hand-stitched the inside of the collar to the bodice on the wrong side. After that I machine stitched around the edges. I find that’s a better way to ensure that your collar looks good.

I also added a bar tack on the side seams at the bottom of the pockets, for reinforcement.

To give it a little more security.

Here are a couple of shots of the in-process bodice…

Bodice Front before attaching skirt
And Back

Likes/Dislikes: I like very much the way this pattern is drafted, and I like the lines. I am not that crazy about their order of construction. They have you construct the bodice, along with the button plackets, then construct the skirt, with the button plackets. I found that it’s very easy to slightly mis-align the plackets at the waistline. That happened with mine. It’s hidden by a belt, and even if it wasn’t, you’d have to get close to see it, but I know it’s there. In the future. I would sew the bodice fronts/backs together, sew the skirt fronts/backs together, attach them at the waist, sew the button plackets together and attach them in one piece. Even better, I would re-draft the plackets to be a single piece running from the neckline to the hem. Then I would attach the collar.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would do it again, and I do recommend it. I really like the way this looks. I was inspired to make this because of the McCalls Patterns Shirtdress Sew Along. I’m not usually a sew along kind of gal, and in fact I had to have this done before the sew along ends, because I wore it to DS the Younger’s graduation from high school today! I finished it at 11:30 this morning, and the graduation started at 2 this afternoon.

Here’s a picture of the front on Shelley:

And… gasp! A shot actually on me!

Proud Mama Moment!

Conclusion: I really, really like this pattern. I can see making this in a piqu√© for a dressier look, or a lightweight denim. Do make sure to make a muslin, since it does have (for me) a lot of extra ease. It’s really comfortable, and it goes together quickly. All in all it’s a winner.

Now it’s time to take the graduate out for a celebratory dinner. Happy sewing!