Thanksgiving Outfit: Vogue 8750 & 8536 ; McCall’s 6844; Part 1

The plan, anyway.
The plan, anyway.

My family moved around a lot while I was growing up, and by the time we were all adults, we were pretty scattered around the U.S. (and overseas). When I graduated high school and went to college, traveling home for the holidays was impractical. I stopped celebrating many holidays, and getting together as a family has started to occur only at weddings and funerals. It’s a little sad, but us siblings have created new families where ever our lives took us.

Now, my parents aren’t doing so well and as much as I hate traveling during the Thanksgiving holidays, we’ve decided that we will leave our cocoon and head north to the family farm. Our son can visit with his grandparents and great grandfather while it’s still possible, and see his cousins. This sense of urgency has struck us all, as all but one sibling will be able to make the journey.

Not that I need an excuse to sew, I did decide to make something new for the day, especially as my mom will ask if I made anything new. And since I have limited time, it needs to be easy and comfy. I’ve been wanting to make the cardigan McCall’s 6844 (view C) for some time, and recently settled on the sweater knit in the photo. I’ve made the t-shirt (Vogue 8536) multiple times, and may get it done, though it’s the last of these three items I’ll tackle. I’ve finished the skirt (Vogue 8750), which is the subject of this post; I’ve cut out the cardigan and will start it later tonight. Hopefully, I’ll get some pictures of me in the outfit on thanksgiving day, which will go in the final post I make about the trio.

Line Art

The 2011 version. I made this skirt (view A) first in 2011, right after it was released and in a soft blue gray stretch denim from Emma One Sock. I was proud of my craftsmanship – and it was one of the first things I completed post-pregnancy (a huge accomplishment). But it didn’t fit. Oh, did it hurt to wear! What was I thinking, not measuring my body or doing a muslin post-pregnancy?   Silly girl. I still have it, and after my recent weight loss, I could put it on and close the zipper. But it was still too tight, rode like crazy when I walked, and the poorly applied grosgrain cut across my tummy. I’ve wanted to remake it ever since making it the first time. I even purchased the denim right away. The dark wash, very light-weight, denim has been languishing in my stash ever since (St. Johns, from Marcy Tilton)!

I have no notes on the first skirt about modifications I may have made. I know I pre-shrank the fabric, but I’m pretty sure that was before I learned the markings on my sewing machine for 5/8 was off (too wide by a couple hairs). But since I had the earlier skirt, even too tight, I used it to judge what adjustments to make in the width. Spoiler: I still should have done a muslin first.

The 2014 version. This is a really easy skirt too make, even with the reverse curves and all the edge stitching (more practice for the Rucci dress). I think next time I will construct the reverse curves the couture way, but the traditional/instruction methods worked fine. You could choose to highlight the lines of the skirt with contrast stitching, or even consider colorblocking (I saw one or two on PatternReview do this). I did semi-contrast edge-stitching on the first version. This time, the dark wash looked dressy enough for work, so I matched (not perfectly) the thread. The edge-stitching makes a difference on this skirt, turning it from home-made to something much nicer, so don’t skip it. I compared my edge stitching across the two versions – I’m getting better! And I’m really learning the value of basting – I’m now matching my seams nearly perfectly for the first time.

Matching the side seams.
Matching the side seams.

The instructions are pretty easy to follow, and I did so for the most part. I changed two things, and on a future version, I would definitely change a third. First, I prefer the look of an invisible zipper, so I followed the instructions from Lladybird’s tutorial. I’m still trying to perfect my zipper application skills, and realized from her post that my plastic invisible zipper foot may not be helping me. I still place the zipper wrong, as it was too close to the top to put a hook/eye closure. Next time?! Here’s a picture comparing the insertion method from the instructions (from the 2011) to the new version.

The 2011 version, left, with zipper as instructed and the 2014 version with invisible zipper
The 2011 version, left, with zipper as instructed, and the 2014 version with invisible zipper.

When I did, I sewed the entire CB seam – forgetting about the back slit – which became the second change. I took a chance and left it that way. Since I made version A, and I’m tall, I have no problem walking in the skirt without it. In fact, while it looks like a pencil skirt, the fit/cut is more in between a straight skirt and a pencil. It’s the seaming that gives the illusion of narrowness toward the knee.

The third change is related to fit – or at least the appearance of fit. I knew from the previous version, and from careful measurements, that I needed more girth through the hips and waist – mostly in the waist. When I measured, I used up all the ease at the waist. So, I decided to let out the seams a bit. For the CB, side seams and two front seams, I used ½ inch seams. This would give me an additional 1.25 inches breathing room. Since the CB contained the zipper, and the front seams were edge stitched, I basted the front and back together and tried it on – and whew, it fit, with a little wearing ease, or tucking in shirt. And the side seams were straight and centered on the hips. Happy me!

Well, I wore it to work today and the report is: it still rides, but in a weird way. It’s not tight, and standing still, I have no wrinkles. But when I made the walk to work (which I do quickly, and not lady like), it rode up a bit, and fell. What do I mean? Well some of the riding up may have to do with the panty hose I had on – it seem to “catch” on it. But the front waist “fell”. It’s a bit too roomy between the navel and you know where, but just when standing/walking. Sitting, things change. I think the fix it easy though. The grosgrain ribbon waistband finish is definitely not the right way to go. I did it, even though I had misgivings. My heart told me to cut and interface facings in a different fabric. But I didn’t. Because this skirt sits at the waist, it needs more support to keep its shape than one that sits low on the hips. So, that would be my third change.

Another hypothesis – I have very athletic thighs, and while the skirt is not tight through the thighs, the skirt is riding to a narrower point. That’s where my legs join the pelvis.  An interesting wrinkle developed – it almost looked as if I should take a sway back adjustment right there.  It’s widest point was at CF, tapering to nothing at the seams.  Any thoughts?  I tried to take a picture, but just couldn’t manage the selfie. Perhaps when I’m at the farm.

Of course, I will make it again in a couple of years. It’s a classic look and easy. For those who want the slimmer look that is so trendy right now, consider making it in scuba or ponte (adjusting for the ease).

And, better/more pix in a few days.  This one is hard to photograph well.

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