Ah, bold stripes (McCall 7889)

I was determined to complete a project in February.  I started with the Guy LaRoche suit, but find myself frozen on the double welt pockets.  In an attempt to pull myself out, I decided to make this spring dress.  Easy, peasy, except…

Stripes.  Irregular stripes, with lycra. And a bold fabric with a flaw every 40 inches.  And, all of this with a 40″ wide fabric.  I knew the last two facts before purchasing.  I didn’t really read the stripes correctly until after I started cutting.  Doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t have had enough fabric to perfectly match the stripes everywhere anyway.  (And would have wasted a lot of fabric, too).  I feel pretty good about what I did manage to match, however.

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First attempt to match the stripes from the sleeve to the shoulder.  That small red stripe was off just enough to drive me crazy.  I pulled it out and got it right the next time.

Since this is a relatively new pattern release, I’ll do a “formal” review.

Pattern:  McCall 7889 (c) 2019.  Very loose fitting top and dresses, with button front closures. Sleeve, contrast, bias cut and neckline variations.  I chose view C, the featured view, with contrast bands and long sleeves.  PS: It’s really just a shirt-dress.

Fabric:  A really lovely stripe from Emma One Sock.  I purchased it last December, and I’m certain I bought the last of it.  It has black, raspberry, white and strong pink stripes.  The pink and black are the consistent stripes – the raspberry and white narrow stripes are very irregular.  The fabric is from the designer Diane von Furstenberg.  A cotton poplin, it also contains some lycra from crosswise stretch.  The pattern recommends poplin, gingham and cotton blends

Sizing:  I purchased A5, which contains 6-14.  I cut a straight 12, thought it feels quite big in the shoulders (very loose-fitting means lots of ease…).  The sleeves feel too long for the length of the dress – the model’s sleeves appear shorter.  I added 1.5 inches at the waist to accommodate my long torso.  I wish I had added some to the skirt for a slightly longer dress (though not much).

Instructions/changes:  the instructions were just fine.  This is a simple garment, complicated only by the fabric choice.  Because of the cross wise stretch, one layer of fabric would stretch as I sewed on the cross-grain with  the other layer on the lengthwise grain.  I basted a lot to help eliminate it, and it also helped to keep my stripes mostly matched up.  I didn’t press my pleats much beyond two inches (one inch either side); the directions say press, but not how much.  I didn’t have enough fabric for the tie, so I used a leather belt in my closet. Last, because of the stripe and width of the fabric, I did a single layer layout.

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I spent a day or two studying the layout.  Because the fabric was a series of panels, once I figured out what went where, I cut the panels apart, pressed the fabric, and painstakingly worked with the stripes to match them up the best I could.

Does it look like the pattern? Mostly. The sleeves seem longer, and I have long arms.

Recommend/Make again?  Yes, I recommend this, but take care if your fabric has stretch.  I don’t think I’ll make it again, unless I make the shirt version.  I just really liked the version on the model, and fell in love with the pink stripe.  I had to have it.  It’s not really something I would normally choose, so we’ll see how much comfort I have with it. I think it will make a good vacation/going out dress, but not so much going to work dress.

And the final photos… the selfie stick would stay locked in position, and I was too lazy to do make up and hair!

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cut my head off!
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Here you can see how long that sleeve really is!
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One more headless shot, that shows how short this is (I’m 5’9″).

 

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Comfy Summer Dress: Vogue 8645 (OOP)

It’s hot and humid in Florida in the summer.  But I’m headed to NYC for a few days, where the canyons can be just as miserable.  What do I need? – a simple, pack-able dress.  I bought the fabric with a long maxi in mind (before the trip was planned), but decided the pattern wasn’t right. I asked the fasters on the RTW fast FB page about a few options, but in the end, decided against a maxi.  Enter Very Easy Vogue 8645 (c 2010)IMG_0007.

This is a loose-fitting pullover dress, and without the sash and shoulder ties, strongly resembles some of the dresses on the Zulilly ads I see on my FB feed.  The dress is comfy (has pockets),  and I expect to make another, but with some modifications.  I was too lazy to try to do selfies, so the pictures don’t really show how cute the dress is.  The v-neck is relatively modest, compared to some v-necks from Vogue.  The ties hold the fabric tighter against the skin, so the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction is reduced.

The fabric:  a sold out viscose challis from Marcy Tilton.  I love the colors in it, but I’ve never worked with this type of fabric.  It’s very soft, and very drapey.  I will consider buying another viscose challis (especially for this pattern) now that I have a better feel for the fabric.  I decided that a maxi in this floral could over whelm me, so I went with the shorter version of the dress.

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I lined it with a cotton/poly batiste I bought from Susan Khalje.  It’s softer and drapier than cotton batiste, but in the end, I still think it’s a bit too heavy and crisp for the viscose.  I will go with a silk CDC or forgo lining it next time.  If I skip the lining, I will use narrow facings for the neck and armholes.

By  the way, the pattern recommends some crisper fabrics – batiste and handkerchief linen – but you’ll get a far different look.

Changes I made: I didn’t make many changes. Of the three that I did, two I will keep, the other go back to the original plan.  I like that I did a narrow machine hem for both the lining and the dress – it’s a cleaner finish in the viscose.  Second, I did not top-stitch the neck and armholes – I didn’t think it would work with the viscose.  I decided to hand apply the lining to the dress, because I  don’t always get a good result in the approach recommended in the directions (sew at arm holes and neck, pull  through shoulders, then finish shoulders).  I used the couture method from Susan  Khalje which I have used successfully before.  I don’t like the result as much this time (and doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, given the shoulders are hidden by the tie on straps).

A new dress (front on left, back on right).

 

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Basic, but oh so wardrobe friendly (McCall 7121)

Today, I would have arrived in Ukraine for a few days.  I’m a child of the cold war, coming of age in “West Germany,” graduating from an American military high school in West Germany the same year Chernobyl melted down.  I grew up with Realpolitik and understanding NATO and the Warsaw Pact far better than the US governmental system.  In college, I studied all things Soviet and Russian (and Ukrainian) – politics, language, culture, literature, history, geography.  Even though that world fell shortly after my college graduation, East of the Iron Curtain still fascinates me.  I was excited about Kyiv.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel at the last minute.

This is one of the dresses I made for the trip.  Simple – easy to accessorize with jewelry, hats, jackets/sweaters, scarves.   Modest, because visiting Ukrainian churches requires women to cover knees, shoulders and heads (men have restrictions too).  I like it, and it makes me feel better about my figure (yes, I still have a waistline).  I have some adjustments to do on the fit, but this will be a versatile piece in my wardrobe.

Sometimes, we focus on the fun and funky to blog and forget the everyday.  Well, here’s to the everyday.

From McCall’s website, M7121, view C.

The pattern:  McCall 7121.  This is a basic a-line dress, in three lengths, with options for color blocking or placing stripes on the bias.  Most of the reviews I saw were of the maxi-length, with the bias stripes.  That’s why I originally bought the pattern, but never made it.  I made view C, the just below the knee length, but changed the back. I made a 14, adding two inches to the length at the waist.  After wearing it, I think the shoulders through bust point should be a 12, and I should only have added 1.5 inches (I didn’t account for the slight blousing from the elastic).

The fabric:  a black rayon blend doubleknit from the new Gorgeous Fabrics.  Ann’s out of the black, but she does have it in other colorways.

What I did differently:

  1. I didn’t add the elastic, since I intend to wear this with a belt.  But the rayon is heavy enough that it needs the support of the elastic if you don’t belt it.
  2. The neckline, armholes and hem are the typical narrow hem: fold and press 5/8, open, then fold to the pressed line, top stitch.  This would be bulky in the doubleknit.  I used the lightest interfacing I had (Fashion Sewing Supply, Couture weight) to add 5/8″ strips to all of these edges.  I then serged these edges, trimming off 1/4 inch.  Then, I pressed under 3/8″, and top-stitched.  Cleaner, smoother, less bulk.
  3. I changed the back.  I didn’t want racer back, and I didn’t want a v-back either.  So I meshed together the pattern pieces for view A and view C to fill in the v-neck.

Final thoughts: I like this, but need to continue working to get the best fit.  When I sat in the car, the dress slumped in the front.  I didn’t do it so much at the restaurant (my posture is far better at a table than in a car, obviously).  But I still need to take the shoulders up a bit.  It’s also slightly big in the armhole above the bustline (in front and back).  I’ll make this again, perhaps in a fun print and shorter length, if I find the right fabric.  (Oh, and those front and back center seams – they aren’t straight or on the grainline, so cheating by using the fold line won’t save you time.  They add shape.)

 

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Butterick 6494 dress in Rayon doubleknit

Just a quick post.  I recently made Butterick 6494, view C, no pockets. It’s an easy make, but, sadly, it’s already too warm here for long sleeves.  Perhaps a cool evening?

From Butterick’s website.

This is an easy dress to make, so very little to write.  I made a size 12 in the shoulders, tapering in the sleeves and side seams only to a size 14.  It’s a slim, close fitting dress, and very flattering, but give yourself room if you have a clingier fabric.

As for the fabric:  a teal rayon doubleknit (with some elastine or lycra) from Emma One Sock.  It’s a medium weight, which is perfect here (the pattern calls for french terry).  The fabric was fairly easy to work with, though it wrinkles easily (see the photos).  I found that going up to a size 11 needle helped with skipped stitches.

I didn’t really change much or do things differently from the directions, which are straight forward.  I did eliminate the pockets, as reviews elsewhere suggested these could lead to enhancing the tummy area in an unflattering way.  I followed the instructions for the collar, but I don’t think it gives the best results.  I plan to follow David Coffin’s (Shirtmaking) instructions next time I do a collar, as I think it will result in a more professional finish.

Over all, I’m pleased, though I know where the errors are.

Some pictures:

 

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Fitting via Text (3 more McCalls 7079)

Last fall my niece asked kindly for some new skirts and a dress for her bunny.  She lives several states away, so I asked my sister for some new measurements.  I also asked her what my niece wore in RTW for her favorite dress.  Comparing the measurements, I determined that a size 14 (girls) would be the right size, so started on McCalls 7079.

Well, the dress hangs on her and the bunny dress would not button shut.  Fortunately, the dress fit her American Girl doll.  We’re doing this fitting via text message.

I cut out another dress for each and made some adjustments.  A size 12, plus raising the neckline another 1/2 inch (it’s far larger than the envelop shows).  And I added 4 inches to the bunny dress.  I got them there in time for Christmas, and voila!  Perfect.  I immediately cut out two more dresses, thinking I could send them in time for Christmas, but only made them this weekend.

The black and pink floral is a poly ponte from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The brown floral is poly ITY from Gorgeous Fabrics.   The green velvet (Marcy Tilton) is the same velvet I used for my shirt. I didn’t get a new picture of the bunny dress.

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Hope she likes them. I’m partial to the brown floral.

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At long last, the Rucci dress is finished (Vogue 1239)

What a journey with this dress!  I bought the pattern in 2011 when it came out.  I found the fabric in 2012.  The envelop back said edge-to-edge lining, china silk, 60″.  I searched forever for a matching blue silk habotai in a wide width.  Finally, I took the pattern out and studied it:  not edge-to-edge, but facings, and 45″ would do fine.  Started enthusiastically.  Started sewing the lining and remembered:  I absolutely hate working with and wearing silk habotai. Ordered silk CDC, cut it out, and… stopped.  I needed to make Halloween costumes.  It stared me in the face for months into three years, and finally, I got back to it last week (enthusiastically, too).

From Vogue’s website.

I was ambivalent last night when I tried it on, but wore it to work anyway.  It’s the first thing I’ve made (that could be worn to work) that ever received open compliments, from the cleaning woman to colleagues to students.  They loved it.  By the time I had gotten to work, I felt good in it, and decided that my ambivalence had to do with two things:  I know there are many small errors  and that I’m not used to being so covered up  (warm climate).  So, as the day wore on, I felt more at ease with the look, though it really is pretty fancy for work, and maybe is best for an evening of culture.

As for the look: some have described it as sci-fi, or lab coat.  That’s what I was expecting, an ultra-modern look.  But it felt more like the 1950s.  My husband said it looked nice, and had a 1950s vibe (before I even asked).  He also said it reminded him of June Cleaver.  I was not annoyed – it’s exactly what I thought too!  So, I donned my grandmother’s pearls and headed off to work.

I’ve blogged this before here, here, here, and here.  But now the details, plus pictures (including me):

The pattern:  Vogue 1239, Vogue American Designer CHADO ralph rucci. Close-fitting, lined to edge dress has shoulder darts, side front pockets, inside ties, hook and eye closure.

The fabric:  The pattern calls for a crisp fabric (poplin, taffeta, shantung), which is necessary to get the look pictured. I chose a silk poplin (Isaac Mizrahi) in deep blue from Mood Fabrics.  I lined it with a very dark navy silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics.

The directions:  were mostly good.  I didn’t have any issues except with steps 49 and 59.  In 49, you are directed to cut one upper front band lining section along line indicated in pattern tissue.  I apparently cut both when I cut the lining.  I  basted to see what would happen, and it was perfect.  So, I’m pretty sure you are supposed to cut both (and the pattern tissue seems to indicate this too).

Step 59 was a real problem. This was finishing those beautiful sleeves.  Well, I got mine done, but they aren’t as lovely as the photograph.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the directions wanted me to do there. So, I pressed under my edges, basted them wrong sides together, very carefully fell-stitched (or slip) them together by hand, then did my edge stitching.

Other things I did: I made a size 12, adding one inch to lengthen the torso.  I made a muslin, so this is what I concluded I needed.  I think now another half inch in length would have been optimal. I made no other adjustments on sizing.  After wearing it all day, I think I would decrease the circumference of the sleeve openings a bit.  They are on the long size, and make my skinny wrist even skinnier looking.

My initial tests with thread suggested a longer stitch for the edge stitching.  After several tests, I decided I got the cleanest look with edge, but no top stitching, silk thread and a length of 2.5.

The dress has no interfacing, and since I was not top stitching (which helps give the dress its structure), I interfaced all the facings with silk organza. In addition, to help keep the neckline from stretching, I basted organza selvedges along the neckline.

I reinforced my corners using the couture method from Claire Schaeffer’s book.

Finally, the dress may channel June Cleaver, but it’s a risky dress. With only ties, the belt and one hook and eye to hold it in place… well. Before I left for work, I added a snap at the bust line.  I also moved the eye over toward the side by nearly an inch.  The hook and eye is a little high and wanted to come undone, so I found myself tying the belt a little above my natural waistline.  I will move it down slightly, and add a second hook and eye.

Though it took me over night to warm to the dress, I like it. I would consider making it again, if I found a more casual fabric that suited the lines of the dress.  Oh, and I LOVE the pockets on this dress!

I’m not so great with photographs. I use an iPhone to get selfies. On top of that, my vision is such that I can’t see what’s on the screen without the reading glasses.  My contacts only correct for long vision.  Sigh, I need bifocals. Pictures of the odyssey:

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Yes, I pressed the fabric before continuing.

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Blurry, but look, it’s fall in Florida. Or winter. Okay, its 80 out.
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Focused, and you can see the oranges.  But I added the snap after this picture.  Did I say this fabric is impossible to press?  And puckers? The puckering was why I eliminated the top stitching and kept only the edge.

Summer Dress #3: McCall 7591

No, I’m not that fast when it comes to sewing.  Generally, the only time I can  work on the machine is after the little one goes to bed.  Amazingly, I can do handwork during daytime (non-work) hours. So I was able to work on the Marfy top and this dress concurrently.

But this dress didn’t work out so well, and I think it will go to the charity pile.  I love the fabric, and in principle, I thought the dress would work for me.  But it looks frumpy on – and adds pounds. In fact, I looked 6 months pregnant rather than just no longer having a flat tummy.  (I have seen this dress on others and it was very flattering – I’m a bit of a pear, so perhaps it doesn’t work well with that figure).

From McCall’s website.

The pattern: A 2017 release from McCall’s (7591).  From the envelope: Misses dresses and sash.  Fitted pullover dresses have lined bodice, front and back bodice variations, elastic waistlines and length variations.  I made view c, adding the sash from view a. I bought the XS-S-M; a medium corresponds with a size 12/14, which is what I made.

The fabric:  A very lovely silk jersey I bought from Emma One Sock in 2015. It reminded me of Pucci, and I was considering it for one of my Pucci patterns, but didn’t buy enough fabric.  I love the fabric, though the print  and colors are out of my comfort zone. Jersey is only one of the options listed, but you definitely want something drapey here.

Construction notes/changes I made:  I cut a size medium (12/14) and added 1.5 inches at the torso lengthen/shorten line – my normal alteration – but I could have gone with 2 inches here. The recommended lining is tricot, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used self lining. I added bra carriers to keep the bra from showing. Otherwise, I went by the instructions.  They were okay, but I’m thinking I could have done better had I not.

What worked/didn’t work:  For me, the overall look didn’t work.  What drew me to it was the neckline opening – and that was easy to do well.   Anyway, what didn’t work- the slit is shorter than it appears on the envelope drawings, and won’t hang properly.  The armholes are topstitched, but that (and the hem treatment) seemed to cheapen the dress.  I can never get elastic distributed evenly – here there is better gathering in the back than the front.  And those shoulders.  I did them three times, finally by hand.  This is something I cannot seem to master.  The approach is to sew the neck and arm seams, fold back the lining on the shoulder seam line, stitch the shoulder seam and then slipstitch lining opening closed.  It always looks homemade to me.  I definitely got better results when I inserted the lining by hand with the previous two summer dresses.  The sash could be wider.

You win some you lose some.  I’ll set this aside for a couple of weeks and then try it on again and decide what to do with it.