Simple Floral Cotton Frock (Butterick 6718)

Wow! Look at me – I sewed a newly released pattern from Butterick!  I made View B of Butterick 6718, with a few changes.

Image result for butterick 6718

As busy as November was, I did manage to find time to sew: I finished three (simple) items and am nearly finished a far more complex one.  This is one of the simple ones.

I bought the Lifestyle Wardrobe for the featured view (ACE): the pantsuit.  I purchased the fabric (ivory silk wool satin with red silk crepe for the blouse), but need to muslin everything before I can start that. I started with the dress, it is the basis of the blouse, using a coordinating fabric from my stash.

The dress is fitted, with front  and back fish eye darts and a gathered neckline.  It’s unlined: the neck is finished with self binding and the armcyse with narrow facing. I made a size 14, with modifications.  I find that this style dress to be too fitted in the torso, between the bust and waist.  Rather than lose the darts, I simply added 1/4 inch to each side seam, tapering to the size 14 under the arm.  This also gave me more ease for sitting/ at the thighs.  Though the dress feels loose when standing, it’s much more comfortable to wear all day (sitting, standing, driving) with a tad bit more ease.  Also, hot/humid Florida means tight clothes are not comfy.   I also added 1.5 inches in length at the midsection add/lengthen line – my normal adjustment, but I think I could have done a full two inches here.


The fabric is one I’ve had a while – a stretch cotton sateen in a brown and black floral pattern.  I read recently that dark florals are in this fall. I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2016.  Finally found a use for it!  The dress is not lined, and I really like my dresses with linings, so I used a black silk twill I purchased in 2013 (also from Gorgeous Fabrics).  It was intended for lining an unfinished trench coat I started back then, but at some point cut into it for another project…  It’s a lovely, lovely lining.

I found that I needed to make a few more changes as I fit as I went… first, I had to add shoulder darts/back darts, as I had too much fabric between the shoulder blades.  I think is do to the rounding I’m starting to notice in my shoulders…  The cotton sateen has body, so it was pretty obvious… (the recommended fabrics run the gamut from brocade to challis).

Shoulder dart.

The neckline is gathered, and I knew that between the body in the sateen and the lining,  gathering was not an option.  I opted for a some small inverted pleats at the neck line.  I think it’s a slightly more sophisticated look.

New Neckline with Pleats.

Since my lining is black, I chose not to line edge to edge, but kept the binding and facing.  I did not edge stitch the binding or top stitch the facing.

One last thing, this is shorter than I would have thought (never pay attention to the model picture) even after adding length to the torso. It’s also more flattering in person than my pictures below indicate.

This is an easy make, and your choice of fabric can glam it up or make it office worthy.  I wore it with a black leather blazer and low black pumps to work (the shoes in the pix are not comfy so I ditched them immediately after pictures.)

I probably won’t make the dress again (too many others in the queue), but look forward to making the other pieces from this pattern.

Last, my 8yo son took pictures this morning before work, but once again, out of focus.    The rest were this evening after work.

IMG_4445 (2)


Successful Failure? B6554

Summer sewing?  But it’s fall!  Yes, it is even fall here in Florida, but summer warmth is still part of our days.  This dress started as McCall 7745, and ended up as skirt.  Last May I determined that I really liked view D of McCall 7745, and purchased the yellow viscose/linen that became a hi-lo skirt.  When the fabric arrived, I changed my mind and ordered a lovely blue print Hawaiian rayon challis (Tori Richards) to make the dress (fabric from Fabric Mart).

McCall 7745, view D

The reviews for McCall 7745, view D, were overwhelmingly negative, so I made a muslin for the bodice.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the muslin.  It was too big through the bust, but with no wiggle room at all to lift the arms!  I gave up and switched to view B, but wasn’t thrilled about the design.  It had too much flounce for me.

Butterick 6554

Butterick 6554, view B has a very similar feminine silhouette but a little less frilly, so I thought I would try again.  I spent some time tweaking a muslin, and then it was time to leave on vacation for summer – and I hadn’t even cut anything out.  Three weeks ago, I thought I would pick up were I left off, and cut it out for the Luau we were throwing.  I didn’t finish in time for the Luau, but I did finish it for my kid’s school carnival today.  And I hated it!

I must have misread the markings I had transferred from the muslin to the pattern tissue. And I’m convinced that wrap dresses with raglan sleeves are not a flattering look for me.

Without any hesitation, I cut the bodice off and stitched on a grosgrain waistband with hooks and eyes.  Much better, very comfortable, and still feminine without being too girly.

We’re thinking about a vacation in Portugal next summer – so even though it’s cool enough for a sweatshirt here (in the morning), I’ve got something to take with me!


Before pressing. I had a bad feeling about it. Trying it on confirmed it.  This long-waisted gal can’t wear this wrap dress.

Much better!

Stash-busting: Kay Unger Color Block (V1329)

Need a quick, comfortable, easy dress that is also figure-flattering?  Look no further than Vogue 1329. I’m not kidding.  This dress is easy, very flattering, and comfortable. And, if you want the ultimate, it would be easy to add pockets (which I wish I did, as I looked for them several times yesterday).  The figure-flattering torso pleats are easy to do.


I’m afraid I wasn’t very original in my color choices – I just stuck with the envelop design.  My fabric is leftover designer rayon double knit in black and slightly off-white from Gorgeous Fabrics.  Ann keeps these heavier weight double knits in stock in various colors.  In  my case, the fabrics were remnants from projects a year ago.  I lined it with a white stretch silk crepe de chine, also from Gorgeous Fabrics (but from 2017).

I had no issues with the directions. I would warn that there is no provision for above waist adjustment.  I made this straight from the envelop in a 14, and I’m happy with the fit (a bit looser than the model).  For comfort?  I wore this for a 12-hour day yesterday that ended with a recruiting event.  I was comfortable, except for my feet!

The pictures on the dress form were taken this morning, without pressing out the 12-hour wrinkles.  My 8yo son took the blurry photos.  Two things: he has an eye issue, so these are pretty good considering his vision is blurry.  He also turned them into selfies with mommy.  Since he doesn’t want his image on social media, I cropped him out.  It means even less focus, especially since I was too far away.


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.

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.

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!

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


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.


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).



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.)







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: