Wednesday, March 21, 2018

McCall 7243 In Review

Today I'd like to finally review a McCall's dress that I made for my daughter two years ago.  Yes, two years ago.  Occasionally, I share projects that won't high on my favorites list.  this one was lingering at the bottom of the "things to blog about list". 

After I photographed my daughter wearing the dress, I was less than satisfied with how it fit/looked on my daughter.  One the first things I noticed was the lines that formed along the collar neckline.  Then, I felt the dress was a little baggy through the waist and hip area (an easy fit, right?).  Finally, the photos were not the best.  So, I immediately thought let me think about whether or not I want to post the review. It took me two years and then some to finally post.

The first time that Lauren wore it was to the Haute Couture Club of Chicago Holiday Luncheon in December 2017.  She added a cute wide belt shaped much like a obi belt which made the dress quite flattering.   

When we arrived at the luncheon, Eve was wearing her version of the very same dress.  I had to chuckle to myself.  Both of us, yield similar results.  And both Eve and Lauren decided to belt the dress for a better look.

So, of choice, I had to take a few pictures of them together!   On Pattern Review there are about sixteen reviews.  So I think most of the construction do's and don'ts have been discussed.  So I will be brief with my review as this is not a difficult dress to sew.

Pattern Description:  Close-fitting, pullover top and dresses have wide bertha collar, and stitched hems. A, D: Long sleeves. B: Sleeveless. C: Contrast collar and three-quarter length sleeves. Narrow hem finish on collar, and armholes A.

Pattern Sizing:  4 to 20; I used size 12 with a few modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  There was nothing difficult or confusing about the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  This is really a simple knit dress.  The collar and the double sleeve variations are what encouraged me to buy and make the dress.

Fabric Used:  Ponte knit from JoAnn's Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I made very small changes to the pattern.  For the front dress and front collar, I did a pigeon chest adjustment and the back dress and collar I remove about a inch from the neckline. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  For the most part, there is nothing difficult about it that would discourage someone from sewing it.  But I probably will not make this one again.  I have at least 100 difficult dress patterns to try.  So, if you think this the dress from you, try it.

My DD with My Baby Sister

Conclusion:  My daughter is now happy to wear this dress with a belt.  And after seeing Eve wearing the same dress, I have a new appreciation for it.  ;-)  This is a likable knit dress that is easy to sew.

Friday, February 23, 2018

McCall 7725 -

At first site, I had to have this pattern.  I told you I'm partial to varying hemlines.  This version I made view B.  sizes 6 through 22; I made 14.

McCall describes the skirts as:  semi-fitted skirts have waistband and side invisible zipper A, B: Ruffles. C: Flounce D:Pleated flounce.

The drawing and the photos are spot-on.  The instructions; very easy and typical no problems to follow.

My fabric was a gift from my fellow Haute Couture Club member, Adrian Birken.  I think it is a cotton blend.  More cotton than other.  It was pretty wrinkled when it came from the dryer.  Starch and steam straighten it out though.  I love the embroidered flowers on top of the plaid. It ran lengthwise.  The length of it was about 1.5 yards enough to easily cut view B.  I do have some scraped left that I could use as trim for a simple top.

I didn't make changes to the front and back of the fitted skirt patterns.  I did line it with a cotton/poly blend to conceal  from my stash. I shorten the flounce by six inches as I needed to cut two.  And there was only so much with the embroidery on it.   I installed a lapped zipper instead of an invisible one.  I used what I had on hand. Lastly I made french seams on the ruffle for a clean finish.

As I was making this version, I tried the skirt on before the waistband the fit was fine.  But when I finished the waistband and did the final press, the skirt was too snug, in my opinion.  Can you gain weight in three days?  I'm just asking.  Grrgh.  Maybe tomorrow it will be better.   Anyway, I will sew it again, another view B and view C.

I do recommend it.  It's easy and style.  A great flirty, fun skirt for summer.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Vogue 8956 - Purple Plaid Skirt In Review

Today's pattern review is a simple wrap skirt with length and hem variations.  (I gravitate towards uneven hemlines.)  Anyway, this project was a very easy one that does take very long to make.

Vogue 8956 is a multi-size pattern.  I used size 14 with no modifications.  Usually, I don't need to make any extreme modifications to the pattern.  Also, I wanted see actually were the skirt hem would fall, view B, without me lengthening it. 

I can clearly see myself using this pattern again for view B as well as for view F.  It took me about three hours to sew.

One of my goals last year was to put more striped garments in my wardrobe.  This year I'm hoping to add more plaids and checks.  This cotton/poly blend was purchased at JoAnn's before the holiday season.  After the "big" snow I pulled it from my 2017/18 fabric stacks to make this skirt.

Instead of pre-washing the fabric, I gave it a good press with a lot of steam.  When it came to layout the pattern on top of it, it was very apparent that the print/weave of the plaid was uneven crosswise and lengthwise.  So I had to figit with it to try to closely match the plaid across the individual pieces of the skirt.

There is really nothing to dislike about the style of the skirt.  Everyone can wear it. Several fellow bloggers have made it and they look great in it.  As far as the pattern design is certain, I think the facing could be narrower.  This could be addressed with very little effort, just reduce the width of it.

This is a great staple, versatile with various hemlines.  This is a good skirt to have in your pattern collection.  So you will see at least one more version of this skirt on my blog.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Spring 2018 Inspiration

It feels and looks a long way from spring.  The temps in the 20's and mounds of snow everywhere.  The good news is spring fashion inspiration/trends are popping up everywhere.  So here is a little inspiration for your spring 2018 wardrobe.  I like a few of these trends and hope to incorporate them in my upcoming spring and summer wardrobe.    How do you feel about them?



Bold Pattern Play/Mixed Prints

Fringe (several years now)



Pockets/Zippers - Utilitarian



Haute Denim



Happy sewing and designing!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Winter Clothes - Cozy Sweaters with McCall 7574

It is insanely cold in the mid-west.  Between today and Friday evening we are expected to get 8 to 14 inches of snow!  In the midst of snow storms and arctic winter temperatures, I need the right gear to brave the season.  I really started late with my preparation for it all.  Christmas is really too late to start thinking about cozy separates.  I almost needed to start in the summer considering the cold November.  But nevertheless, the bite of the January winds encouraged me to make my previously posted sweater dress and these sweater knit pull-over tops.

I used McCall 7574 making my usual adjustments these sweaters tops are the answer to the winter blast we are experience right now.

This is a Melissa Watson, Palmer/Pletsch pattern. The views are described as:  close-fitting pullover tops, tunic and dress have raglan sleeves, sleeve and length variations. D: Uneven hem, wrong side of fabric will show.  The available sizes are 6 to 22.  I used 14 with modifications.

The tops are semi-fitted to me.  Even the dress on the model isn't close-fitting.  I guess that my FBA may attribute to some of the looseness.   The cream sweater is view B lengthen with long sleeves, and the multi-color orange is view c with long sleeves.

The instructions are typical, and I didn't notice any confusing construction steps.  Palmer/Pletsch instructions are included for making adjustments, which may be helpful for anyone needing to make them.

My likes:

  • The shape of the sleeves
  • Center back seam
No dislikes.

I made my usual adjustments:
  • A small FBA. The cream sweater I didn't make a bust dart.  I eased in the excess.  The multi-colored orange knit really hides any sign of a bust dart.  So I just sewed it as I normally would.

  • Small swayback adjustment.  Because the top was on the boxy side to me. I didn't make the full swayback adjustment.
  • Adjusted the roundness of the sleeve near the shoulder.  Too much fabric.
  • Lengthen the cream sweater, view B and lengthen the sleeves of both views.

Both sweater knits came from JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts.  Currently, they have an entire section of sweater knits. I believe they are acrylic/polyester blend.
I can't say that I will sew either again anytime soon.  But I do recommend this pattern to others.  It's easy and a great staple (wardrobe builder).  During this cold blast, I will definitely get a lot of wear out of them.

These two tops complete the four garments that I made in January 2018.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Neutral Staple Coat -- Italian Tan Angora Wool Coating B6385

I have wanted a tan, wool coat since forever.   Last year I decided to move this coat to the top of the list after I stumbled upon this gorgeous Italian Tan Angora Wool Coating.  It is exquisite.  Perfect for the classic silhouettes as well as the oversized boyfriend coat.  I wish Mood had this coating in every colors.

Please forgive the frown, the sun was very high.

The surface is super soft with a brush-like hand.  The drape is a little stiff; but no matter, it is the perfect match for Butterick 6385. 

Tan is the perfect  neutral to wear with anything.  I wanted a simple, softly tailored everyday coat that was warm, soft, and beautiful, coat that could stand up to the harshness of the strong winds that jet across lake Michigan.

By no means should this neutral be restricted to a "tailored" look.  You can pair it with many styles:  wide lapels, double breasted, or a flirty peplum on your styled coat.  All would showcase the beauty of this Italian wool.

My journey to make this coat was a long one.  I started working on how to fashion it  December 7, 2017.  In the beginning, I was slow to start.  There were many things to consider.  First, the pattern to be used.  Then, how closely I would actually follow the pattern's style and construction.

Once I decided, I was good to go, ready to see if my plan would work.  Let me start with my pattern description and why I chose it.   It is fitted, with princess seams, back yoke with forward shoulder seams, two piece sleeve, collar and pocket variations.  I closely followed the style of view B.  I wanted to make minimum pattern adjustments.  This one included separate pieces for A/B, C, and D cup sizes, a big help with reducing fit time.  It comes in sizes 6 to 22.  I used sizes 14 and 16 with additional modifications.

My modifications did not change the overall style lines of the coat.  So my coat looks similar to the picture/diagram.  I made several changes to the construction of the coat with my standard fit adjustments.

Fit Changes:
  • Skipped the FBA.  I added 1/2" to the length of the center front.  I don't like the marked distance from the edge to the button hole.  I like a little more room across the center front.
  • Lengthened the sleeve by 1".  Most coat sleeve are not long enough for me.  I always add a inch or so to make sure the edge of the sleeve covers my wrist bone.
  • Lengthened the body of the coat by 3".  I wanted it to fall below my knees.
  • Lowered the pocket 1.5".  They were at an uncomfortable height for resting my hand in the pocket.
  • Lowered the bust dart 1.5".  Too high in my opinion.
  • Swayback adjustment.  I tucked about 1/2" access at the lower back.  But I don't think it was enough, though.
  • The shortened the length of the shoulder seam.  I actually didn't cut the excess away.  It helped form the roundness of the sleeve cap.
Construction Changes:
  •  Bound Buttonholes instead of regular ones.  Six button holes instead of five.  It took my a long time to decide on the size of the buttonhole lips.  BTW- bound buttonholes are on my goals list for 2018.  I've made them several times before, but each time I nervous about how they will turn out.  I always do a practice test before making them on the garment.  Such was the case with this coat.

  • I interfaced the entire coat except for the sleeve.  I only interfaced the upper portion and the last 3" of the sleeve.

  • I made my own shoulder pads. 3/4" instead of 1/2".  The sleeve fits easily around and under my arm.  

Even though I changed a lot of the construction of the coat.  I did read the instructions.  They are typical and I saw nothing confusing in them.  For #17  edgestitch and topstitch ends of flap to side front was difficult to do because of the thickness of the fabric.  I hand stitched the flaps to the side front.

I'm very pleased with how my coat turned out.  I must admit when it came time to finish the inside of the bound buttonholes, I decided to sew something else to give me a break.  That is, three something elses.  ;-)   

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  I have a million buttons.  When it came to finding the "right" buttons from my stash, I only had sets of four or five.  So initially, I sewed some round button on the coat.  Nope..,  no go.  So I made a trip to a local store to get yet another set of buttons.

So let me point out my likes:
  • Sleeves
  • Princess seam and back yoke
  • Buttonholes
  • The tan angora wool
My dislikes:
  •  The excess fabric above the bust area on the side front.  I tried eliminating it.  No luck.
I'm planning to make a coat for my daughter using the same pattern, but view A.

Overall, I am very pleased with my new tan (neutral) coat.  A perfect winter staple for the mid-west.  

Happy Sewing!


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