Sewing for my niece: McCalls 7079 & 7583, Little Hip Skirt

Everything is crazy here.  And sewing for myself hasn’t been going well… fit, design, motivation.  But, my sweet 4th grade niece recently asked me to make some dresses for her stuffed bunny… “and maybe, while you’re at it another skirt for me?”  Of course!  It’s been two years since I sewed for her, and I got excited choosing fabrics and trims.

Because she’s grown, and wants to pass the “finger-tip” test at school, I made up a sample dress for her (and one for bunny) and a sample skirt for her.  I used the size chart based on her favorite Lands End dress, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be too big.  I also used fabrics I had on hand, saving the pretty prints and cottons for when I have a better sense of her fit.  She’s a two day drive away, so I’ll have to re-estimate her size based on a FaceTime chat in a week or so.

From McCall’s Website, 7079

McCall’s 7079:  This dress almost identical to her favorite dress.   I used an amazing navy Rayon Doubleknit from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as I type).  I need some for myself.  Yes, the picture shows a plain dress, but for a fitting dress, I think it works.  I made the flared skirt, plain back with sleeves, all to match school dress codes.  The hand-applied pink floral trim is from Farmhouse Fabrics.  This very easy dress comes together quickly.

Little Hip Skirt (OOP):  I have made this skirt before, but she said it’s too short for school now.  This time, I upped the size (for longer wearing) and made a single layer circle skirt (with yoke).  This time I used a woven, instead of a knit.  I chose the Loden Green Cotton Moleskin from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as I type).  I bought it for another purpose (a lot of it), but it didn’t work for it so I set it aside.  Now I need a skirt made from this yummy fabric – very easy to work with, drapey and soft.  The hand-applied rosette trim is also from Farmhouse Fabrics.

From McCalls Website: 7583

McCalls 7583:  I have no idea how to fit a stuffed bunny.  Best I could guess from photos and measurements her mom sent, the bunny is a little smaller than an American Girl doll.  I used some floral cotton batiste leftover from making a maternity dress for myself 6.5 years ago (also from Gorgeous Fabrics).  The trim her is from Joann’s. I made this one in an hour, and it was pretty easy (except those quarter inch seams).  I’ll do the prettier dresses a little differently than the directions next time for a better finish (especially the neck and armholes).

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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.

 

My experience with McCalls 7542

Apparently, McCall 7542 is one of the most popular patterns of all time.  A simple boxy shirt with sleeve variations.  It’s the sleeve that draws you in and they are ever so popular right now.

Image result for mccalls 7542

My first try did not please me, however.  I had misgivings from the beginning – mostly about my fabric choice.  I wish I had done a muslin.  Consider this a muslin, but not wearable.

The fabric is a nice crisp red shirting fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I really like it, but it’s better suited to the Donna Karan shirt from Vogue 1440.  I knew this and proceeded anyway, after watching the little vignette on FB from McCalls that structured fabrics work well.  It’s my fault for continuing though.

Since the fabric is super crisp, I went with view C, the pleated sleeves.  I lengthened it the top, as the cropped version would not work for me.  I spent a great deal of time basting to get perfect pleats (and I got them).

Generally speaking this is an easy pattern.  Here is where I encountered problems:

  1.  The neckline.  It doesn’t call for stay-stitching, but I couldn’t get the facing to lie flat without lots of clipping, so stay stitching is a must.  It still doesn’t look great though it’s hard to see in the photo. IMG_2886
  2. The sleeves, part 1.  As I noted above, I took a  great deal of time basting, and executing those pleats perfectly.  I didn’t miss.  But the lower sleeve is smaller in circumference than the upper sleeve by about 3/4 of an inch.  Others have mentioned the need to ease here, and I did need some of that to ease the two, but I did take in the underarm sleeve about 1/4 inch first.
  3. The sleeves, part 2.  Even after taking out 1/4 inch in the armscye by bringing in the underarm sleeve, I couldn’t ease this sleeve cap properly.  Multiple tries yielded terrible results. I don’t think it’s because there is too much ease (I think it’s probably right), but here is where my fabric choice failed me – this fabric is difficult to ease.  Keep that in mind when you choose the fabric.  The photo shows my basting stitches as well.IMG_2887
  4. Fit – You can see on the model that the top doesn’t fit her well in the upper chest.  Mine doesn’t either, even though I’m narrow and shallow there.  I get pulling on the sleeve (not the bust – but above it).  The bust dart ends in the wrong place too (too low for me).  I think these are specific to me – I usually make a 12 (often a 10 in shoulders) without issues. I’m not really sure how to fix these issues – I may experiment with changing the shape of the armscye.  None of my fitting books seem to address this, except that that Vogue Sewing suggests making the changes to the bodice, not the sleeve.  It’s as if I need more width across the upper chest.  Hard to describe, and I could not get a good picture.  In the photo, on my dress form, it looks perfectly fine (though you can see the bust dart is too low).  On me, it pulls at about the point where the ease dot would be.  Note it pulls to the hip – I didn’t add circumference when I added length.  Another thing to fix. IMG_2888

I like the top enough to work on the problems, and to look for a more suitable fabric.  For now, this top is finished, while I turn to finishing another project.

Hot weather comfort: Style Arc Anna Pant + McCall’s 7411

I’ve been away for a while, at 8000 feet, with no humidity.  I’m back in Florida, and not only is my sewing mojo in full swing, it says: comfort clothes, please; nothing too tight!  So, flowing  linen pants paired with a loose cotton voile top was my choice.  I’ve had the Style Arc Anna pant on the docket for a while, and decided to pair it with View C of McCall’s 7411 tank.  The navy stretch linen and the printed cotton voile are both from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love the fabrics absolutely and both were very easy to work with.  The Style Arc Anna pants are fantastic, the top doesn’t pass the wearability test.

As always, photography is not my strong suit, the pictures are barely adequate.

Style Arc Anna: This is a straight leg pant, with a drawstring.  This pattern is super easy to make and goes together well.  If I make it again, however, I will purchase the pattern, rather than use the PDF.  I had a lot of trouble with lining everything up, and I’m pretty sure the pants are slightly off grain as a result.  I’ve used many other PDFs before, but this is my first Style Arc attempt – it may be my printer.

From the Style Arc website:Anna Pant - Straight leg drawstring pant, casual & sporty

I really love my Lily Pulitzer beach pants, but not the $180 price tag that comes with them. I wear the medium in Lily; here I sewed the 10 with only one modification.  The crotch curve (more of an L than a J) and rise match the Lily pant perfectly.  However, I wanted to make sure that the leg had enough ease to swish – and my thighs measure 23″ at their fullest point (hey, I run). So, I added 1/4 inch to the outside front and back seams, for a total 1/2 inch each leg.  Perfect – not tight when I sit, and the right amount of flowy beach swish when I sit.

The lily pant has three inches of ribbing for a lower rise pant, and the drawstring is merely decorative.  I didn’t have ribbing, so I constructed the fold-over waistband as directed.  I did switch out the fabric drawstring for navy 1/2 inch twill tape (much more comfortable, less bulky) and used 1/4 inch eyelets instead of button holes.

Last, an important improvement over the white Lily pants; – the 31.5 inch inseam is perfect to wear with flats/flip-flops.  The Lily pants are longer, requiring 3 inch heels, hemming, or rolling up.

This was my first Style Arc pattern, and I like it enough to try another, especially in pants.  I also love these pants and can see myself wearing these regularly.

McCall’s 7411 Layered Tank:

From McCall’s webpage, view C

I chose this pattern, but wasn’t thrilled with it.  The line drawings showed potential, even though I didn’t like the way it fit the model. I thought it was simply a lack of effort from the manufacturer, especially since the pressing job was less than adequate.  I also thought the neckline was boring.  I thought I could improve on this one, but I was wrong.

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There is a lot of ease here.  I mean a lot.  I wear a 12, but sized down to the small (8-10).  The finished measurements for the medium are 41″ (bust), 44″ (waist) and 37.5″ (bust) and 40.5″ for the small.

I decided that I wanted to add piping to the neckline and armholes, though I considered other options.  I made my own piping using the facings from view A as a guideline (cut on the bias) with 1/4″ piping.  This decision led me to abandon the order of construction.

I had never made my own piping before, nor added it to a neckline.  I referenced a few sources, but none that I found quickly suggested how to do it sandwiched this way.  I found, after doing the neckline, that the piping foot did not give me a tight “pipe” or abutment to the fabric edge.  I used a traditional zipper foot and was far more successful in getting the look I wanted. You can see the piping in the pictures below, and the rearview problems as well.

For the neck, I made the piping, stay-stitched the edges, then basted it to the overlay.  I then added the base layer and stitched.  I closed the back opening as directed at this point in the directions.  I did the same thing with piping the armsyce, except this time I stitched the piping to the overlay, pressed and then hand stitched the base layer in place (I couldn’t figure out how to turn things otherwise).

I was surprised at how comfortable the fabric is, but how terribly this wears.  I took great pains with the pressing, yet I still end up with the wrinkles and pulls in the chest and “sleeves” as in the model.  I also get gaping at the back opening, and it’s not just from the pose.  The darts are all wrong – two short, wrong angle.  I thought, okay, fine for grocery shopping.  But all the fit/pressing issues only got worse in real life.  So, this shirt is for the charitable pile.  I love the fabric, though and will be re-ordering it, but I doubt I’ll make the top again.

 

 

 

Quick Tee: McCall 7127

A short post, from my mobile, as I’m packing for an extended trip.  Still, I found time to make a t-shirt with an interesting back. (Terrible shadows in the photos!)

Front
Back

This tee is very easy-it took no time at all.  I used my straight stitch machine and serged seams.  Instead of narrow hems, I serged the edges without trimming, folded over the hem allowances and top stitched 3/8 inch from ghe edge (7/8 on the sleeves).

My only quibble with the construction is that you hem the bottom of the front and back before sewing the side seams.  I don’t really care for the way that finishes the side seams.  I had to tack them down by hand. 

line art

I sewed a 12, view B, no alterations. This is closer fitting than I expected even in the arms (I have skinny arms).  It has no shaping at the bust or waist, so consider a muslin first.   It’s cute, but a little fussy.  Those back panels don’t like to stay just so.  

The fabric is an organic cotton jersey from Marcy Tilton purchased last summer.  Mid-weight and no rolling, it’s long sold out.  I love that she is thorough in her descriptions of the knits, including the rolling.

I am not sure how often I will wear this, and I won’t make this version again, but I am considering the version with the keyhole back.

No time for live shots, and you can see my final pressing still needs to be done.

 

Jean Skirt + Fun Tunic (McCalls 7392 +7390)

Yes, I made something with recently released patterns and fabric that I just purchased!  The fabric came from Emma One Sock: the denim is/was an Italian 2-way stretch cotton in bark; the tunic is/was an Italian silk linen blend in spring green. Both were amazing fabrics, so stunning and beautiful. The denim was very easy to work with (I used the reverse, which is solid brown), while the silk linen was more challenging – it’s very lightweight and I struggled with placing the stripes (I gave up on matching).

The skirt:  McCalls 7392. 

From McCall’s Website.

Don’t pay attention to the picture on the model.  It’s too big for her and doesn’t really reflect the way this skirt fits.  It’s supposed to fit at/slightly below the natural waist – it’s hanging on her.

This pattern is very easy.  The only really challenges are related to fabric choice, top-stitching and getting those snaps set right.  Two minor nit-picks with the directions – the stitching line on the pockets will not be where the pattern places them.  On the pattern piece, it’s perfect if you do not fold under the pocket flap edge as directed (otherwise, it’s 5/8th inch off).  Second, the directions tell you to stitch the front band on, but don’t really indicate that this should be for both the left and right side of the skirt.  It didn’t take long to figure out, but a novice might struggle.

I made view B, the length of view A, before you cut the scallops, with snaps.  New to me (because I’ve avoided them):  snaps, patch pockets, carriers.  I purchased three types of snaps before I found one that I could set without mangling them.  I really liked the ones from Wawak, but couldn’t get them set (without purchasing their >$100 tool); I ended up using Dritz #981.  The patch pockets were much easier than I expected. I followed the directions from my Vogue sewing book instead, where you top-stitch before hand slip-stitching the pocket to the skirt (reinforcing the top of the pocket to the skirt with the machine).  Last, I tried turning those denim carriers.  Yeah, right.  Ended up following directions I found on Collette Pattern’s blog.

 

I really like the skirt and am happy with my work.  I sewed a size 12, grading to 1/2 inch seams from the hip curve to the waistline.

The tunic (McCalls 7390).

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.sewologie.com/media/mccalls-m7390-i-425x584.jpeg
From McCall’s website

I fell for the picture on the package.  I like this tunic, and it’s comfy.  It’s not really what I wear much, but maybe that can change.  My five year old son complained that the stripes go in two different directions, and I must have made a mistake.

This is a super easy top to make.  Still, I made a muslin, and decided to cut the shoulders and upper torso a 10, grading to a 12 at the waist and a 14 at the hip.  Perhaps too much ease – it’s rather big through the small of the back.

One thing of note on the pattern:  ignore the bust point. It’s totally in the wrong place, unless bodies have changed recently. It’s two inches too low, and two inches or so in the direction of the armpit.  When I did the muslin, I was baffled for a bit at how “off” the fit must be.

I like the top, but I probably won’t wear it with the skirt so much.  It hides the interesting details in the skirt.  It also looks better with my Lily Pulitzer white linen beach pants (which is how I styled it yesterday.)

A Tale of Two Skirts (Vogue 8835 & McCalls 7022)

I’m trying to get back in the swing of things – so how about a couple of skirts to warm up those rusty skills?  Short story: I’m pleased with my sewing quality, but displeased with my fitting work.

Vogue 8835:  This is a very basic (now out-of-print) work skirt. I made view A, with modifications.  The first time I made it back in 2012 or so, I threw it away.  I thought it was the cotton poplin I was using, but I really do think something is up with the way it was drafted.

I used a very fine grey wool suiting from Emma One Sock, in “banker’s grey” (sold out). I really love the fabric, but it is “superfine 120” and needs a lining.  This skirt is unlined.  I decided to flat-line it with a silk/cotton batiste from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I didn’t have the right buttons on hand, so I left them off.  I added a 2-inch hem, and a self facing to the flap that opens.  In the original, these are all done with narrow 5/8 inch hems.

I also made this in a size 14, based on my measurements.  I should have made a muslin to perfect the fit, because this doesn’t fit well – too much pulling across the hips/thighs, but too large in the waist. Something to keep in mind for the next project.

I’m not sure I’ll keep this.  I won’t have a need to wear it until Fall, so if my waist/hips change more, we’ll see.  Otherwise, off to the charity bin.  I won’t make this skirt again.

McCall’s 7022:  I made version C before, in a denim.  I love it and wear it all the time. I’ve always wanted a circle skirt, and I like having a yoked skirt.  I paired view F with a beautiful and drapey fine black linen from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It’s the last of the linen from when I made this color-blocked dress a few years back.  I have no more, and it’s sold out!

Since I’m still wearing the denim version, I made the same size (12). I made no changes to the pattern.  I should have though – the yoke is cut on the bias, and it grew on me, even though I was careful and interfaced pretty quickly. I didn’t have this problem with the denim, so I might have cut it on the cross-grain – and should have here.

I love it – though I’m not convinced it’s my style.  It’s super-comfortable and breezy.  But fair warning:  the finished hem width is huge!  It took a very long time of careful machine stitching to make a narrow hem.  Don’t forget to let it hang for a day or two to let the bias set. I measured multiple ways to make sure I got the hem even, but it’s tough to do without help.

 

Last, what about my time-hop choices?

I haven’t decided yet.  My mother-in-law suggesting finishing the red Patou.  I tried it on and it is very tight.  I’ll have to do some major work to get it to fit my body after all this time.  But we’ll see.  The Balmain got the most votes from friends and family, but I’m not sure on fabric choice.  Assuming a muslin shows it works for my body, I’m going to make the Finnetti in either a pique or stretch cotton sateen (I’ve got six fabrics in contention).  My 30th (!) high school reunion is three weeks after the anniversary party, and it will work well for that.  Whether I end up with one or two  dresses by the beginning of August remains to be seen!

Another skirt & top (Vogue 9030 & McCalls 6964)

I love skirt and shirt combos.  So comfortable, so versatile.  I saw Vogue 9030, and thought, View C i just what I like – simple, graceful, comfortable to wear, without fear of wardrobe malfunction dealing with a small child.

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Vogue 9030, view C:  The back of the envelop states bias skirt, with side zipper, raw edge finish, and raised waist; suitable for moderate stretch knits and stretch wovens.  This pattern is super easy, with two pieces.  Just remember to hang your hem!

I did a mock up in a knit and discovered a few things.  First, that I would be able to make this in a non-stretch woven with few modifications.  Second, even in a knit, you need that zipper.  I made a size 12, noting that this moderate stretch only pattern has two inches of ease at the waist, and five inches of ease at the hips, and it is cut on the bias.  This means that the high waist is going to stretch with wear and would work just fine with a woven. And it does.

My modifications were simple.  Instead of a raw hem, I did a narrow machine hem (the fabric frays).  Last, I cut the interfacing for the waist on the grain, instead of bias, to stabilize the stretch.  I inserted an invisible zipper – though for the first time ever – I got a wavy zipper!  Thoughts anyone?  Should I have interfaced the zipper area, or purchased a lighter weight zipper?  I used a YKK#2 from Wawaks.

The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It’s a silk-linen blend in golden tan – just a few yards left.  It has a very light sheen, yet sueded in feel, and subtle striations.  It’s got both body and incredible drape.  I purchased this for something else, and have enough left for a pair of wide-legged, flowing pants.

McCall’s 6964, modified: I made the skirt around Christmas, but realized as I failed to reach for it again and again, that I didn’t really like any of the top options in my closet. I’d also resolved to stop making things that don’t coordinate with what I have!  It’s been chilly here, so I wanted something a tad warmer for the core.

I had some very lightweight berry-red wool double-knit from Mood, purchased in 2012.  I used it to color block Vogue 1313 – I still have the dress, but it always reminds me of a Star Trek uniform.

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Look closely: the original v on the left, from V8536 on right, and the dark line was my final choice.

I modified McCalls 6964 some to account for less stretch in the knit.  I made a size 12, but with 3/8 inch side seams.  I also changed the v-neck to a rounded neck by overlaying Vogue 8536.  That was a bit too modest, so I lowered it slightly from there – in the photo, it’s the middle chalk line.

I considered shortening it, but didn’t so I could hide the wavy zipper.  I wanted it to resemble a sweater more than a t-shirt, so I blind hemmed the sleeves and lower hem.  For the neck line, I cut a two inch strip of silk habotai and made a facing. It works, thought I did have to lightly tack down the facing to keep it from flipping up.

Overall thoughts? The combo looks nice enough for running errands and dropping off the kid at school.  Not sure about it for work – not stylish enough.  It seems rather plain – I am trying to think about accessorizing it.  I tried a leather and brass chain belt around the hips.  I think that is the way to go, but the one I have is too wide.  Any thoughts?

BTW, I probably won’t make the skirt again, though I will go back to making t-shirts from this pattern, as all I’ve made have been successful.  I did note on this version that I get some pooling at the back.  I think I needed to make a sway back adjustment.

 

 

 

Sewing for Others

IMG_1854I’ve got [too] many projects cut out for myself, half started, nearly finished, planned. Some are easy, others quite challenging.  I’ve gotten myself in the situation of not knowing where to start to finish.  Well, not quite true.  I know I’m going to finish the Marfy top next, in a beautiful print silk chiffon.  But it’s going to require patience and focus… and I’ve been working on overcoming a nasty cold. Or will it be the Marcy Tilton raincoat?

So, how to keep sewing when your have a nasty cold and are super exhausted?  Say yes when your niece politely asks for a new apron.  Her mom and I selected a pattern via texting and then I was off to JoAnns, where I bought cotton prints for not one, not two, but three aprons for McCall’s 5720.  Oh, and some new Star Wars Force Awakens flannel for pajama bottoms for my son.

M5720, Misses'/Chldren's/Girls' Aprons
From the McCall’s website.

McCall’s 5720, view B:  I decided to surprise my sister and niece by making coordinating aprons for them. This is a simple pattern, and goes together fairly quickly.  The fabric is okay – lots of body which is fine for this view (and loads of sizing, that washing didn’t eliminate).    I have a very strong aversion to rick-rack, and an aversion to most trims I find at JoAnn’s, so I ordered some 1/4″ rayon braid in orchid from MJ Trimming.  The buttons are JoAnn’s. The most challenging elements were the patch pockets and attaching the braid neatly.

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Like many McCall’s patterns for crafts/costumes, it uses 1/2 inch seam allowances. Still, on several pattern pieces, like the ties, it calls for 5/8 inch seam allowances. If you follow the pattern pieces, the ties won’t align with the dots.  It doesn’t always call for the best techniques for good results. I especially disliked the idea of the narrow, essentially shirt-tail, hem on those deep curves.  On my niece’s apron, I did the hems using Claire Schaeffer’s way. While they are very stiff, you do get a better result than when you use the pattern directions, which I used on my sister’s version. You can see the puckering at the waist – that’s from the finishing, not from how I tied it.

There is an error in the placement of the notches on pieces 7 & 8 of the girl’s pattern.  they don’t align at all (not even close).

This came together quickly, and it was off to the post office.  My niece was very happy that her mother got one too!.  On the other hand, I made the largest girl size (7-8), and it looks mighty small (though it works).

McCall’s 5720, view C: Since I was there, and I had the pattern, I thought I would make view C for myself.  I was curious to see how the layered flounces would look on an adult, and I needed a “pretty” apron for when I have company (or I will wipe on my good clothes without thinking – I’m a messy cook).

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I made a mistake!  I meant to make the bottom layer the dark blue, not the middle.  I didn’t catch it until I cut it out.  I think I would like it marginally better if the base color was the darker blue.  The pictures are washed out, but the three prints are meant to work together in a quilt, I guess.  Aesthetically, in the end, I don’t really like this for me.  And, the fabric has a lot of body, so it adds weight to the bottom half of the figure.

This view went together much more professionally than the other one – a simpler design, no real issues. There is an error in the directions however, between steps 12 and 13. You need to fold the waistband down, right sides together, stitch, and trim.  Again, watch the seam allowances and hems, which differ on the pattern pieces, specific directions and general directions.

Blank Slate PJ Bottoms: I said I wasn’t going to use this pattern again. Then it got cold (yes, it gets below freezing in my part of Florida).  My son also decided he liked his pjs styled like his dads: bottoms with a t-shirt. Most of the problems I have with the pattern are with the top, and the fit on the bottoms is spot on right now.

IMG_1857I let my son help me.  This upped the difficulty level.  He wanted to randomly mix the two prints; I convinced him of this more subtle variation.  He was a good helper – he really wants to learn how to sew, and is taking sewing lessons after school.  He just wasn’t always patient or wanted in my lap to see better.

A couple of notes about this flannel:  it’s not intended for children’s sleepwear.  It’s also pretty low quality.  What I bought was very much off grain, and I wasn’t able to straighten the grain. The red Republic emblem bleeds, even on cold, even after multiple washings.

Note to self: When purchasing fabric from a place like JoAnns, buy extra.  Every single piece was cut poorly, sometimes resulting in several lost inches.  When I order online, I almost always order extra, because I often change my mind about how I will use the fabric, and figure extra is good. Need to do the same in person, too.

 

 

Calling it quits on McCall’s M6963

I don’t like to give up, but this is one time I will.  McCall’s 6963 has been well reviewed elsewhere.  Given my success with another Palmer Pletsch top, I thought it would work for me.  It just does not.  Here’s the line art:

Line Art
Line Art from McCall’s webpage, M6963.

I made view C, with short sleeves in a super comfy awesome black silk jersey I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics several years ago (I have a little left, so perhaps something else).  I was unable to get any good pictures – black is hard to photograph.

Aside from just not flattering me (and cowl necks often work for me), here are some of the problems I encountered:

  1.  The back neckline just stretched out and would not sit flat without gapping.
  2.  I cut a size 12, same as the other t-shirt, but got serious pulling across the bust points.  I’m a straight B cup  (really barely a B cup), so a FBA does not even enter my imagination.  Almost every review I read was from bustier gals, all of whom did the FBA.  I let out the side seams, but just couldn’t make it work. BTW, I measure a 10 for shoulders, grading to a 12 waist/hips, but this one was too narrow at the shoulders for me at a 10.  I didn’t tissue fit or make a muslin, so my bad.
  3. I think for this top to really work, you need to do the deeper cowl.  The shorter cowl isn’t very flattering.  I chose it because I’m smaller chested and worried about the flashing issue when I lean over.

So, I’ll hem it and donate it.  I may try it again in the deeper cowl, but I don’t know.  Meanwhile, my sewing agenda is super full:

  1. Star Wars costumes for the whole family (finished the 4 yo, the only one that matters).
  2. Figure out how to resolve the button placket and finish the silk blouse.
  3. I’ve figured out the fitting issues from the Alice and Olivia skirt I made last year and made a new version.  It needs a hem and final pressing.
  4.  A light weight jacket now that the mornings are cool.
  5. A pant and blouse combo.
  6. And more, and more and more.