Comfort Wear Skirt and Tee: McCalls 7022 and 6944

Painting by Georgia O'Keefe, from the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.
Painting by Georgia O’Keefe, from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.

I’ve spent much of the last two months traveling by car – both here in Florida and in the American Southwest.  We took our 4 yo son out to Colorado to visit relatives. We made many stops on our road trip – train museums, Houston Space Science Center, Roswell, NM and 5 national parks.  It was a great trip.

Of course, all that time in the car and eating out meant some weight gain, even with all the hiking.  No sewing for a long time meant I needed a warm up before starting (or finishing) anything ambitious.  It also gave me glimpses into what is missing in my casual wardrobe – one that needs to be comfortable and suitable for eating out in at a decent place.  So, a simple skirt and tee.

From McCall's website: 7022
From McCall’s website: 7022

The skirt: McCalls 7022, view C.  This is a simple a-line skirt with a yoke.  No fancy anything, make in an evening.  I made a 12, and with my weight gain, I should have made a 14.  Still, a 12 fit almost perfectly.  It tends to ride up the hips a bit (meaning it needs more ease) and I added 1.5 inches to the length (and it’s still a bit short for my comfort).

For fabric, I used a mottled denim from Theory, that I picked up as a roll end from Emma One Sock.  I love the fabric.  It’s not heavy, but it has a fair amount of body, so it stands away from the body a bit. IMG_1507

I didn’t follow the directions, though I glanced at them. I love skirts – making them and wearing them.  I’ve made this style many times, and knew my order of construction and changes.  BTW, it’s very similar to Vogue 1247, the super popular Tracy Reese skirt (if you do a faced waistline and get rid of the pockets which always stick out weirdly on me).

First change: invisible zipper; prepared front and back, then zipper, basted sides to check fit.  Second, I used the directions from the Pattern Runway Sweet Scalloped Shorts to apply the facing to the yoke.  It’s easier, looks more professional.  To paraphrase, sew facing together, finish the lower edge (with serger),  trim the seam allowances from the  facing at the zipper, sew these edges to the zippered edge in a narrow seam, sew facing to yoke at top, press, understitch, turn facing in place and edge stitch facing to yoke (from right side) at the yoke seam line.  (Instructions say to turn the lower edge under, then slip stitch, but with the denim…unnecessary bulk.)

The Tee: My default tee has always been Vogue 8536, though I’ve never been thrilled with the results.  I’ve made it 6-7 times, all pre-serger days.  I wanted something different, so I thought I’d try McCalls 6964.  I have the Palmer Pletsch book (one anyway), so I thought I’d try a pattern.  Turns out, I didn’t use their suggestions (more later).  PatternReview was all over the place on this pattern, from too loose, too long sleeve, too tight armcyse, etc. The fabric is an organic black cotton knit with lycra from Marcy Tilton that I purchased a few years ago.

From McCall's website: 6964.
From McCall’s website: 6964.

I like it, much more than the Vogue tee. I made the size 12, but had to add width at the hip (graded out 1 inch from the waist, adding a total of 2 inches).  I like that it skims the body – doesn’t hug it.  The heat and humidity makes tight clothing far less desirable.  And I like that I almost got the neckband in perfectly (a bit more practice needed).

I thought that the P/P guidelines would help me with fitting.  But have you ever tried tissue fitting yourself?  Alone?  Yeah, you know what I mean. So, I made up a trial version, adjusting the hips only (an obvious change I needed), as if making a muslin.  And it’s wearable!  Turns out, the only P/P adjustments that might have come in handy are the sway back (which went away after letting out the hips) and narrow back.

Still using an iPhone for pictures, now adding a selfie stick.  Took many photos, this is the most usable one.
Still using an iPhone for pictures, now adding a selfie stick. Took many photos, this is the most usable one.

I didn’t follow the directions, except for the neckband. The directions have you stitch the seams on a regular machine and then double stitch or serge; I just serged the seams all at once.  It also has you do shoulders, sides, set- sleeve as if for a woven, neckband, hem. I reversed the sides and sleeves to set the sleeves in flat.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.  The fits feels just about right, though I’m sure I’ll tweak on the next version.  The v-neck is perfect for my small bust/frame – not too wide or low.  I’m still getting used to the serger, and had trouble keeping my seams straight.  Hey, I’m used to a 5/8ths guideline, and this serger has optimal control at 3/8ths (I’m going to trim the extra quarter inch off in the future). I almost got the neckband perfect.  Even though I basted in place, I still ended up with a small hole at the bottom of the v – likely from struggling to keep the seam allowance even.  More practice!