M6612- Short floral t-shirt dress

Line Art
Line Art for M6612, from McCall’s Website

I needed something super-easy to get things going again.  I did make a linen skirt, but didn’t check measurements (new pattern company for me) and couldn’t zip it over my bumm (silly me).  I have also done muslins for a pair of shorts and a kaftan which are up next.  Enter M6612 – easy close-fitting pullover dresses with a variety of lengths, sleeves and necklines.  I’ve made view D before, and when I wore it the other day, I got so many compliments, I decided to make view C to warm up for the shorts/kaftan.  Here’s view D, which I made in a cotton lycra print from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I really love the green print on this version, and got really lucky with the placement in this case:

View D, made fall 2013 (not blogged).
View D, made fall 2013 (not blogged).

This time, I used the remaining floral ITY knit that I used to make my niece’s Christmas gift.  Easy to sew, no rolling, but a synthetic (not fond of synthetics).  The only fitting alteration I made was the same one I made to view D, which was to add 1.5 inches at the waist in length to accommodate my long torso (cut a 12 since I knew how close-fitting this was, though I’ve been cutting 10s in the bodice lately).

Pre-hem, late night trial.
Pre-hem, late night trial.

I pretty much followed the directions – though you don’t need them  – this is a super easy one night hit.  I did set the sleeves in flat instead of the way the directions requested.  I had plan to do the neckline, hem and sleeve hems with a double needle, but I got so much tunneling, I abandoned that idea.  Instead I turned a narrow hem and top-stitched it.

I encountered two sewing issues.  First, I had skipped stitches with my regular machine on the hems (you can see it in the neckline photo).

Second, I had a terrible time with control on the serger (Babylock 1034D). By control, I mean, maintaining a perfect 5/8″ seamline.  I was mostly wider, leading to a more snug fit than I would like.  The way the machine is designed, the easiest control over the seam line when serging is at 3/8″ seam. Does anyone else encounter these issues – if so, how do you compensate?


The neckline.
The neckline.

Pjs for the little guy (McCalls 6236)

IMG_1134A last minute Christmas gift for my little guy.  I was in Joann’s getting stuff for the tree skirt, when I spied the print (ok, I looked for it).  Paw Patrol is his favorite TV show, so I knew he’d love it.  He’s been living in them since.  I took the pictures Christmas morning, after he slept in them; please excuse the wrinkles

Pattern Description:  From pattern envelop: Robe has tie belt and patch pockets; top with long or short sleeves has partial front button closure and front pleat; pull on pants or shorts have either drawstring or elasticized waistline;  pants have optional elastic at ankles.  I made the long sleeve top with pants (elastic waist, open legs).

M6236, Boys'/Men's Robe With Tie Belt, Top, Pull-On Pants or ShortsSizing: Boys 3-4, 5-6, 7-8.  I made size 3-4.  My son is 43 inches tall, 22.5 inch waist, which matches the pattern description. He wears a 4 in Old Navy.  I knew these would be too big – the pants would not stay up and I had to make an emergency 2-inch tuck so that he could wear them right away. I shortened the pants two inches from the start.

Fabric Used: A novelty cotton – licensed character print from JoAnn’s Fabric.  Not high quality – the print was a little off grain. And no, it does not meet flammability standards for children’s sleepwear. For the interfacing, I used Pro-woven light crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I thought it would be too crisp, but it turned out just right.

Tips Used during Construction: A Tutorial on Topstitching, from Ann Steeves.  What I learned from her post was to try different techniques to get a straight even line.  She found an overlock foot gave her the most control on her project. Here, the topstitching is 1.25 inches from the edge, so I used electrical tape on the machine/needleplate to give a raised edge.  This, along with going slow, gave me the control I needed. I also used the instructions at Colleterie for the felled seams. Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide.

Yellow electrical tape is serving as a guide for the top-stitching.  I marked the pivot point.
Yellow electrical tape is serving as a guide for the top-stitching. I marked the pivot point.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

IMG_1136How were the instructions? Good.  I had no real problems, though I deviated here and there (see below).

Construction Notes: I used flat-felled seams for all seam finishes.  Where I could, I used the felling foot.  Otherwise, I carefully measured, trimmed, etc.  I used the 6mm felling foot, and it took me a minute or two to figure out how much to trim (duh, 6mm, or 1/4 inch).  I also did the shirt tail hem using the directions from Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide for a narrow machine hem.  It looked much nicer/professional than what the pattern suggested. Finally, the drawings showed the top of the casing for the pants as edge-stitched, but don’t ask you to do this.  I did it.

Likes/Dislikes: like how cute they are, but don’t like how big they are.

From the back.  Yes, it's still dark Christmas morning.
From the back. Yes, it’s still dark Christmas morning.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? yes, but I have other boy’s pj styles to try first.

Things I learned: I’m slowly getting the hang of the felling foot!  And trust my instincts on the size.  Since this was a surprise, I couldn’t fit him directly – but I used a pair of pjs that fit him well as a guide.  These are huge!  But he loves them. Oh, and I didn’t try to match the pattern, only made sure it was even horizontally. I’ve got to work on that.

Pushing myself… But ended up forcing it?

The project, view B
The project, view B

I haven’t made a (button front, collared) blouse in decades. To me, they are super challenging to do well, look professional. I’ve avoided it since starting back, even while amassing patterns and appropriate fabric in the stash.

I took the plunge this week. I had some leftover white linen. I chose a pattern (Vogue 8747 View B). I read David Coffins shirt making book several times. I knew I wanted flat felled seams (a completely finished inside, especially with linen).

So many challenges! Do you know how many tutorials exist for a felling foot? I have a four mm, and after trial and error, and reading Coffin again and again, I got the look I wanted. Very narrow, very finished seams. Not perfect, especially on those front princess seams.  But I liked the look:

Love that side back seam!
Love that side back seam!

Small misstep on the shoulder seams. Still okay.

Tonight I did the armsyce body seam (set the sleeves flat) a la Coffin. Using white linen. My back hurts. I forced it. In one way they look great. I can see the potential. But they aren’t even close to even and with white linen, you can see. Looks worse on my dress form.

Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front.  Yuck.
Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front. Yuck.
And from the inside.
And from the inside.

I’m so close to done. Side seams- last of flat felling, collar, front placket.

But I have to walk away and do something else.

I know I need some more practice! Advice and suggestions welcome!

(Looking at it this morning, yes, it’s bad, but I think I can pull it out and fix it.  Just not yet).