I made pants! (Vogue 8717 & the Mandy Boat Tee)


First, the pants:

Pants. Been scared to make them.  Can never get the fit just right, especially through the crotch.  Surprise, surprise, Vogue 8717 is easy and fit pretty well right out of the envelope.

V8717, Misses'  Vest, Jacket and Pants
From Vogue’s website (http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8717-products-13664.php?page_id=865)

The pants are from the Very Easy Vogue series and is shown with a cropped jacket (which I made almost two years ago).  They feature a high waist, front pleats, back darts and pockets.  You can cuff the pants or not.  The legs are wide – a style that seems popular right now.

Since these were the first pants I’ve made since I was 16, I made a muslin.  I was surprised that a size 12 fit so well, and didn’t seem to need much in the way of alterations.  The crotch curve/depth (not sure of the right term) in the front needed to be shortened slightly (1/4 inch).   And I need to add two inches to the pant leg so I could wear high heels with the pants. (I’m 5’9″). I also switched to an invisible zipper.

IMG_1236The fabric is an absolutely stunning black stretch tropical weight wool twill from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as of this writing).  This is the second item I’ve made from the wool. I also made a skirt about a year ago (same pattern as the floral skirt I posted about last week).  This is a beautiful fabric, and I have just enough left from it to make a pair of shorts. (No photo can do it justice).

Anyway, I wore the pants today, and I have to say just a few things.  First, I felt very Katherine Hepburn with the high waist and classic, flowing wide legged trousers.  I’m glad they are back in style.  Second, I’m not sure this is the right pant pattern for me to make a second pair – because they are so high-waisted.  I didn’t notice on the muslin, but these are REALLY high. Good support for your back, but not so comfortable sitting at a desk all day.  Third, I still don’t have the front crotch depth right, but this was a good first pair of pants to try.

One thing I did do very differently:  The waist band facing.  I wanted a sturdy waist that wouldn’t collapse while wearing.  I re???????????????????????????????ad in one of my books a while ago about how to interface high waists to prevent that. I’ve done it so often now that I can’t remember which book.  In any case this is what you do:

  1. cut the facing from the fashion fabric or something lighter
  2. cut another facing from silk organza (this is a must)
  3. cut the interfacing from sew in hair canvas
  4. layer the three and baste, sandwiching the organza (if you leave it out, you midsection might itch)
  5. stitch the facings together, then channel stitch along the long edges, about a quarter inch apart.
  6. Attach facing to pant.


Seems to work for me anyway.

The Mandy Boat Tee

So was I channeling Katherine Hepburn or french casual chic?  The top is a free pattern from Tessuti fabrics.  The downloadable pdf is one-sized, and judging from the pictures on the website, the tee is really big on small frames.  It’s 58 inches around at the bust.  That’s okay – it’s supposed to be boxy and oversized.

Still, I edited.  I reduced the circumference by 4 inches, folding out one inch from the middle of each shoulder through to the hem, front and back.  I also shortened the top by nearly 3 inches to give more of a cropped look.

IMG_1237This went together super-fast and was very easy to do.   And this was my first project with the new serger (Brother 1034d).  Where has a serger been my whole life?  I never understood what the fuss was about – omg – I’m in love.  Sewing knits, finishing casual items?  I’m sold.   I used the four-thread overlock on all seams, hemming the neck, sleeves and hem with the twin needle on my old machine.  Thrilled!

Only thing that gives me pause – mistakes.  On a machine I’m okay with picking out mistakes, but now part of my seam is gone.  In this case, my stripes weren’t perfectly aligned on the side seams (another reason I shortened the top, because I noticed right away that my alignment was off).

It helped that the fabric is very stable – 1/4 inch black/white stripe with a fair amount of lycra from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as of this writing).  It’s a beefier cotton jersey, with a lot of body (as you can see by the way it flares from the body).   It was super-easy to sew.

IMG_1239I was concerned that the 3/4 sleeves and wool trousers would be too warm today – it was nearly 90 – but I was very comfortable.  The pictures were taken at the end of the day.  BTW, I think I like the Mandy tee with shorts better.


Retro & Floral with Vogue 2778; Wearability of the Donna Karan Shirt (Vogue 1440)

IMG_1194Every once in a while, I see a fabric I have to have, and snatch it up. Wait, that’s all the time.  But sometimes, I see something and know exactly what I want to make and even make it up fairly soon after it arrives.  This is true of this floral pique cotton I recently purchased from Marcy Tilton.  When it arrived, I almost changed my mind – it would make a great bath robe too! But I saw a pencil skirt, and it leaped into the front of the project queue.

IMG_0684I’ve made Vogue 2778 before – it’s a 1991 Ann Klein pencil skirt.  I didn’t blog the first time(s) I made it (I made one in the 90s too), but liked the overall fit and feel of this skirt, so I reached for it again.  From my previous experience, I knew I wanted to lengthen it, so I added three inches.  I considered going for midi-length, but didn’t.

IMG_1226There isn’t much to say about construction – it’s a pretty basic skirt.  I switched to the invisible zipper, which I feel I have mastered.  I cut a size 12, but sewed half inch seams to give a bit more ease (I’m not quite a 12, especially in the waist, but definitely not a 14).  The fabric has a fair amount of stretch and is fairly substantial, so I probably didn’t need the ease.  Still, the pattern called for underlining (and this needed underlining, because I wasn’t confident about the recovery on the fabric – didn’t want saggy butt after a wearing or two). I didn’t have anything on hand with stretch, but I did have an amazing, easy to sew silk CDC from Gorgeous fabrics (more ivory than white).IMG_1234

If I make the skirt again, I’m going to change how the facings are done.  Here, it’s about a two inch facing, but needs to be slightly longer to hold the high waist comfortably in place.  It’s also underlined, not interfaced.  I didn’t do that though – I was concerned about bulk, so I used the CDC interfaced with the pro weft medium interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  No bulk, but the waist crumpled a bit after a full day at the office (and four of my nine hours today was standing).

IMG_1229I paired it with the Donna Karan top I finished last week – Vogue 1440.  Not the best choice, but I was running out the door this morning and the other tops needed pressing.

As for wearability, Vogue 1440 is SOOO comfortable.  It was 88 degrees

Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don't stand still!
Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t stand still!

today and I was super comfy all day, indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t really look great tucked in with the high waist skirt, though.  And, it has a slight modesty issue with the button placement – at least if you are like me, doing presentations all day and don’t want to worry about flashing folks.  I’m a small b cup, and the top button hits right at the bra band.  I’m going to need to adjust this on the next version and add a modesty snap to this version.

Early morning photos, with no help on pictures with the phone – well, my little boy tried to help as you can see in the last one.

Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!
Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!

Little Hip Skirt, version 1, for my niece.

The fabric, very spring like!
The fabric, very spring like!

I made the Little Hip Skirt from Favorite Things Patterns, using an ITY knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out).  I made it for her for Christmas, but I only recently received photos of her wearing it (and she was a reluctant model).  But she does love it!

A reluctant model.
A reluctant model.

The first skirt I made for her was from Butterick, and while she loved it, it was way too big for her.  I decided to make the LHS for her, but one size down (this was a knit). The fit is much better, yet she still has plenty of room for growing.

The pretty floral was very stable to sew and took no time at all to make.  This version is the four panel, full circle skirt, double layered.  It has a bias cut yoke, and elasticized waist. I did make the belt, but not the loops (they looked terrible, so I did thread loops).


I made this so long ago now that I’m having some memory issues – I do know that I think it would be better with a lighter weight fabric.  I also got the report that a wider strip of elastic would be better (calls for a 3/8th inch elastic).

Look closely, and you’ll see a gap between the tape and the fabric, just to the right of the presser foot.

I do remember this:  for some reason when I sew knits on my regular sewing machine, the fabric “pulls away” from the marked seam line.  I know I’m not describing it right.  In the photo, the fabric was lined up to the yellow tape to make a half inch seam.  When I started to stitch, the fabric pulled away to make a narrower seam. Any thoughts?

Anyway, it’s cute, it fits her, she likes it. I’ve got another variation on the LHS on the cutting table (the A-line button front).  As soon as I figure out the new serger, I’ll get going on it.

and, the close-up.
and, the close-up.