McCall’s 7501: Two versions

Hi all! I’m back with two versions of a McCall’s 7501, both made with fabrics from my stash (YAY!). When I first saw this pattern, I knew it had to be mine. I love the drama of a wide collar. It has a vintage vibe I love.

 

My  first version is made from a textured sweater knit with moderate stretch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite enough for a dress, but this sweater knit has a loose weave that’s probably better suited for a tunic top anyway.

img_2756The collar is designed so that it fits very neatly on your shoulder, which makes this so comfortable to wear. On me, it’s a teeny bit off the shoulder, which I love! Because the sweater knit is an open weave, I’m wearing it here with a tee under it because, baby it’s cold outside. When the weather warms up though, this will be the perfect spring sweater.

Version two is a Little Black Dress, made from ponte knit. I have a special ‘dress-up’ event coming up this weekend, so I couldn’t resist making a version out of a dressy ponte knit I had in my stash. It’s really thick and yummy, embossed with a design that looks like velvet.

 

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It’s so hard to take photos of a black dress, so I hope you can see the cool design on this knit. Even though this dress is close fitting, this stretchy knit makes it comfortable to wear. If my husband wanted to dance (ha), I could! There aren’t any darts, and the sleeves are raglan, so this is an easy sew. Even though the pattern doesn’t call for lining, I did line my dress with a lightweight black stretch satin so that it won’t cling when I walk. The collar is supposed to be faced, but my knit was so thick I just turned the edges under of a single layer of fabric.

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I think the body and weight of this fabric is perfect for this dress, so I’d definitely recommend chosing a similiar ponte knit. It has nice crosswise stretch, which helps the collar to cup over the shoulder. I don’t think a ponte without some give would work as well.

I love my new top and dress. They’re both comfortable, but fitted, which is a great combination.

I’ve become such a fan of making two versions of the same pattern one right after the other. It’s such an efficient way to go, because the second time is so easy and fast. I wonder why I don’t do that all the time (?), especially when I find a pattern I love. Of course, it’s a bit of an assembly-line approach to sewing, but that didn’t seem to diminish the fun factor for me. Maybe some of you are wondering why I just came to this method because you’ve been sewing this way for years! Would love to hear any and all opinions.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Cardigan for Early Spring:McCalls 6802

img_1938Yes, I know the title of this post is optimistic. Sure, there are several months of cold weather between me and Spring, but I can dream, can’t I?

This knit fabric is so soft, I knew at first sight I had to make a sweater-y wrap from it. This new cardigan is a perfect seasonal transition piece: it’s as cozy as a coat, but as soft and light as a sweater. I’ve had this knit in my stash for several years (!!). You know how it goes..sometimes you love a fabric so much, you can’t bear to cut into it.I’m glad I finally settled on this cardigan though, becuase I’ve worn it constantly since I finished it.img_1876I am a big fan of any garment that has a hood. They’re so useful when battling the elements of course, but also just to keep the chill off my neck. So the fact that McCall’s 6802 had one was a big selling point for me.

m6802_aThis loose-fitting cardigan could not be easier to make! It isn’t lined and the sleeves are cut as part of the bodice. So easy! I was able to finish it in about 3 hours. I did make one modification though. The pattern is designed to have an unlined hood with the wrong side showing. Although I like both sides of this fabric, I wanted the inside of the hood to provide contrast, so I cut a duplicate  of the hood and the front band pieces to use as a facing.

img_1968Not only does the lining provide contrast, but the facing makes the hood  warmer too. The sizing on this pattern is generous.  I cut a size 8 (the smallest size), but it was still too big, so I had to take in the seams until it fit. Also, the pattern doesn’t call for a front closure and, although I love the oversized look of it when worn open, I’ll likely wear it with a belt to keep it from becoming a parachute in the wind. If that gets tiresome, I’ll probably just add a couple of buttons down the front.

img_1900Because the cardigan is unlined, I finished the seams with my serger.A note about the sleeves: I like rolling them up a bit when I wear them, and I forgot to take photos of them unrolled. So, just so you know, they are loose and about three-quarter length, cut ‘kimono’ style. img_1947My style is pretty casual these days, so I think this cardigan will be a great addition to my wardrobe. I like the weight of this knit. It’s not too heavy, but warm, so it should be great to wear outside when the weather improves just a little. This fabric is a cat hair magnet though! Hmmm, a certain feline is going to have to stay away from me when I wear it. The colors are great though – -Not only do they blend with Dustin’s fur, but the earthy tones have just a pop of warmth that makes me feel cozy when I wear them.

Even though there’s alot of cold weather ahead, I’m feeling the urge to sew with Spring fabrics…crisp cottons and linens, maybe even some silk. But do I have anything planned? Not so much. I seem to be enjoying ‘sewing on a whim’ these days, and working through my stash. When do you transition into Spring sewing? Is now the time, or am I too early?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

The Reveal: Day and Night Dress Challenge

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img_1209Hi all – – I’m pleased to be showing you my dresses as part of the Day and Night Dress Challenge Blog tour. Thanks to Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This for this challenge. What better way to jump-start our sewing after the holidays! There’s a blog tour and a community challenge so check it out for some inspiration. You’ll find a list of the bloggers that are participating and links to their sites at the end of this post.

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My Day Dress: 

img_1004I’d wear dresses every day if I had enough of them! Dresses are perfect for everything a day can dish out: running errands, a business meeting, or (!!) happy hour. But to me, a day dress just has to have pockets. I feel weird if I don’t have somewhere to stick my hands! That’s why I picked McCalls’ 7464 for this make. It has curved pockets, a design element that mimics the line of the curved inset.The pockets were lined, but very easy to sew. The challenge was cutting and placing them on my plaid woven cotton. There’s nothing like a plaid matching challenge to test your determination!

img_1027I love how the curved insets add shape at the waist. I used a solid ponte knit for the insets and the sleeves so that it would provide a calming contrast to the busy plaid. The ponte knit, although stable, has a teeny bit of give, and since it’s placed at the waist, this means this dress is really comfy.

McCall’s 7464 is a pretty easy pattern to put together, yet it has a lot of fun detail.

 I modified the design only slightly. I added a short knit collar to give my dress a more casual look, and finished the sleeves with a narrow knit cuff too. I know I’ll wear this dress a lot.

My Night Look

img_1196I’m crazy about lace (as if y’all didn’t know that!), and when I saw this black lace at the Mill End Store, it was love at first sight. For the challenge, our night dress needed to be black, so I knew I’d use the lace as part of that look.  I decided to make a simple, unfussy dress so the lace could shine.

img_1184I paired the lace with black velvet, because, well…it’s velvet! To make the dress, I lengthened one of my favorite top patterns, Vogue 8952.

I like the Raglan sleeves on the top, and thought they’d look interesting in lace.img_1177 I love Swing-y dresses when I go out, because they have a dressy-vibe, without being fussy. To get the swing look of this dress, I extended the a-line of the top pattern by 8″. Then, I added an 8″ border of lace to the hem. I didn’t line the lace border, because I like the see through quality of the lace. With black hose/tights, I hope it’s not too revealing, just dramatic?  I know this LBD will get a lot of use.

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The Day and Night Dress Challenge blog tour is a great way to visit some new blogs and find some inspiration for your own makes. Thanks to Elizabeth for putting this together for us all to enjoy! There’s a community challenge too, with cool prizes and great sponsers. You can find the details on Elizabeth’s blog, Elizabeth Made This.

THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones

Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite

Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling

Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine

Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks I Made Them, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor

Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte

Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes

Check them out! If you decide to make a dress, I’d love to know so that I can feature your dress (s)  in a post here.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

2016: Top Five Hits

1Hi All! It’s almost time to ring in the new year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to review my top five makes of 2016.

Looking back at my sewing projects always makes me a little nervous, because I can’t bear to face the facts. Sometimes the makes that are the most fun to finish or the most time consuming, are not the ones I love to wear (sigh). They hang in my closet, lonely and ignored. Huh. But without further analysis, here they are….my top five of 2016.

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  1. This little coat:  This topper makes it into the top five because I wore it more than any other make this year! It was so versatile, more than I expected. I wore it constantly. The sewing pattern is great too….Butterick 5927, a new favorite.

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2. The linen and lace dress – – Well, of course I love it. It’s blue, it has statement sleeves and lace trim. This dress made me a fan of clothes with simple lines. I love to wear it.img_8499

3. This coat: OMG, it’s so warm! The stretch wool…the quilted collar…love. To make things even better, when I step into Anthropologie wearing it, the girls that work there swoon, the ultimate compliment. It was supposed to inspire me to rake leaves, but that didn’t happen.

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4. This blouse: Well, because it’s blue. Need I say more?

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5. This poncho: Okay, it had to make the list because wearing it makes me so happy. Yes, fringing it was a nightmare, but the end result made this poncho such a wardrobe stand- out. I have a ‘boho’ moment every time I put it on, something I sorely need.

Honorable mentions:

I was obsessed with denim this year too, so I just have to mention these ‘makes ‘. I didn’t wear them quite as much as I expected though (not sure why?), so I won’t give them ‘top five’ status.

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1. This button up denim skirt: What fun this was to make! The top stitching, the ‘jeans’ buttons up the front…my favorite things.

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2. This denim shirt dress: I love a good shirt dress, and I felt so great when I finished this one! I also learned about snaps. They look great, and you also get to pound them in…If you haven’t tried it, do!

There were a few misses in 2016, but who wants to talk about those? Overall, I had alot of fun at my sewing machine, which is the true test of success for me. I even made my first pair of jeans.

But the best part of 2016 was meeting all of you. I love our community and our conversations. You and your makes are a constant source of inspiration and joy for me. I want to thank you for visiting here and for being a part of my life.

Here’s to an even better 2017! And thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for encouraging us to celebrate a fabulous year with our Top Five Makes.

Happy New Year, and thanks for stopping by!

McCall’s 7476 (#2) in textured wool

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Hi All – – I’m back with another cardigan, this time in a nubby sweater knit. This fabulous wool came from the remnant section of Fabric Depot, a fabric I had longed for from afar, but didn’t purchase since it was really expensive. Then, one day, Lady Luck looked my way. When I was there to buy a zipper, I perused the remnant rack and found two small pieces of this wool for 50% off! How could I resist?

Okay, there was a small problem though. My two pieces were a scant yard and a half. This is where being a small person comes in handy. No, I cannot see the dirt on the top of the refrigerator, but I can make something out of two little remnants.

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Well, it took me an about an hour and a half to figure out how to cut this sleeveless cardigan out of my little pieces of fabric (LOL). It’s a good thing I was determined because it was not easy! This cardigan is my second version of my new favorite pattern, McCalls 7476.

I made another version here. The only change I made this time was to leave off the sleeves and to raise the front opening by two inches. I also used three buttons to fasten it instead of one as the pattern suggests. I LOVE this pattern. It’s easy but stylish and you can cut and sew it in only a couple of hours, (two episodes of my new binge watching obsession, The Crown). My nubby knit is a very loose weave though so  I did use my serger to finish the seams since the fabric wanted to fray with very little encouragement. Still I love this fabric. It’s warm and the texture makes it so unusual.

I was able to find a moment when it wasn’t raining to take a quick outdoor shot. This was a true test of this wool, and it held up to the brisk temperature.

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I’d say the only thing I’m a bit worried about with this sweater knit is snagging it. Not sure what to do if that happens? I know some of you would find fixing a snag an easy challenge, so please sure any tips you have, as I’m sure it will happen.

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My winter sewing plans are in full swing. I’m finishing a velvet and lace swing dress which I will post soon, and have plans for a cape and a coat. Yes, that’s a lot to take on when I also want to bake holiday cookies and shop for presents and sing in a few holiday concerts. I’ll be fine IF I stick to easy, simple projects  with tried and true patterns that don’t add unneeded stress to life. Then sewing is fast and fun without alot of unpicking to do.

I hope your holiday sewing is progressing nicely, and that you’re enjoying the season. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

McCalls 7476-A cardigan for all seasons

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Hi All! Fall means cardigans because they are the perfect layer to throw over shirts and tee shirts when the weather begins to shift, so I’m always searching for new patterns. I was so pleased to find this new McCall’s option; a cardigan destined for ‘tried and true’ status. It’s easy and versatile with just the right amount of tapering for fit.

img_9071I like that it works with a collared shirt like this tie blouse, or over a collarless tee as well.

 

img_9707Because this sweater knit is pretty heavy with a bit of wool in the mix, I will likely wear it instead of a light-weight coat, so I made it really long. But I plan on making a shorter version with a shawl collar as soon as I can find another perfect knit!

The Details: My sweater knit is from Fabric Depot, a furry knit with lycra and wool in it, perfect for a cardigan jacket. The pattern is McCalls 7476, a cardigan with dropped shoulders, length options and collar variations.

m7476I love the fact that there are so many great options with this pattern. I cut my usual size small and didn’t have any fit issues. I wanted a snug fit when buttoned, but if you want a looser fit, you might want to jump up a size.

img_9692This pattern is super easy and fast to sew. I think from cut to finish it took me about three hours. I used a serger to finish my seams, but a zigzag would likely work.

It’s been a long while since I added a cardigan pattern to my pattern stash and this one has reminded me that I love them. If only I had a few more options to choose from. Do you have a favorite cardigan pattern? Let me know!

I hope your fall sewing is going splendidly. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

McCall’s 7430- A sweater dress

 

img_9604As you all know, I am a big fan of sweater knits, so much so I tend to stash/horde every one I find. Yes, I have quite a few squirreled away in my sewing nook, so (fair warning here) this is only the beginning of my annual sweater knit obsession.

Here is why I love them so, so much.  Most sweater knits are easy to sew (even without a fancy serger, just use a zigzag stitch) and wonderful to wear. I’m talking about those moderate stretch wonders with just the right amount of lycra with a dense, cozy weave. This houndstooth sweater knit is a perfect example of why I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect mix of stretch and cozy…destined to become a fall/winter wardrobe staple.

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McCall’s 7430 is the perfect sweater dress.

I love the side panels, the neckline variations, and the front and back yoke. I also love the sleeve caps. You could really have fun with contrast and color blocking here. There’s so much you can do with this pattern to make it your own.

The only modifications I made to the dress were to add front patch pockets, each 6 inches by five inches (gotta keep those pinkies warm!). I added contrast sleeve bands to finish the cuffs as well, but this is so optional. You could easily hem them with your machine as the pattern suggests.

One note about fit. The side panels eliminate the usual side seams so it’s a bit harder to use them to modify fit. Yes, I’m a big fan of taking a dress in at the sides, and I hate making muslins on a knit pattern.  It’s not impossible to adjust this pattern that way. It’s just a bit more time consuming, and if you adjust those panels too much, you run the risk of changing the look of your lovely dress. So, I’m glad the sizing is pretty true on this pattern because I didn’t need to make any adjustments at all. Phew!

img_9581I guess my obsession with sweater knits isn’t likely to end in the near future :). I’ll probably make another dress from this pattern, out of a solid knit with a contrast, since it’s so comfy and versatile. I think it’s one of those patterns you can dress up or down, maybe even make as a tunic length to wear over leggings. Love these inspiring versions from Vince Camuto…

 

Hmmmm, so mamy options, so little time to sew! Curious if you all are as obsessed with sweater knits as I am? Pretty sure there’s a color blocked version of this dress in my very near future!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

McCalls 7333- An Easy Jacket for Raking Leaves

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Hi All…..It’s leaf-raking time here in Oregon, a task that requires a specialized wardrobe, don’t you think? Well, here they are, piling up on the deck.

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Yet, I do not have a rake in my hand. But, if I do decide to grab one, I’ll be dressed for it! As you can see, the rainy season is upon us here in Oregon, making outside photos a challenge. I just managed to sneak one in before the rain and wind started. Good thing I chose a jacket pattern with a hood. It will come in handy in the weeks ahead.

My inspiration for this jacket was this poncho from Anthropology. I tried it on and LOVED the fit, the fleece, the tie front and the big sleeves, but didn’t love the color or the fact that it didn’t have a hood.

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So, I grabbed a heavy knit in my stash and made McCalls 7333. That’s the beauty of sewing isn’t it, the ability to get what you want? This pattern is a fun sew, a loose-fitting, unlined jacket that has a front that extends to the hood and drop shoulders, which I really love. The waist is enhanced with a tie that you can cinch as tight as you want. This style is perfect for those of us who are ‘waist-challenged’ because we can fake what we  don’t have!  You can make it out of a variety of fabrics, including lace.

I chose a stable knit from my stash that’s pinstriped. It’s more like fleece but you could probably make this pattern out of cotton or wool too. Here’s a shot of the cinched waist from the back.

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For contrast, I used a gray quilted cotton knit for the hood lining and front band.Because my knit was double faced, the jacket is VERY warm, so I didn’t need to line it. The pattern is very straightforward with great instructions. The tie waist is a cord that is encased in fabric, which sounds harder than it is. To construct the casing, you merely sew a long piece of fabric to the outside. The challenge of this pattern for me, was managing the thick fabric. It was a bit tricky gettting the sleeves in smoothly because the fabric wanted to bunch, but after a few tries, I managed. I serged the seams for a nice finish.

 

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Oh, and the jacket has pockets too, great for long walks on crisp days. The navy pinstripe is better on me than the bright orange-y red of the Anthro. jacket. And I’m calling my jacket an on-trend make (LOL) since pinstripes are all the rage this Fall. So nice to finish this warm, little jacket before the monsoons start.

The Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee is on right now, lots of fun makes to see there, and Froctober is happening on the Monthly Stitch. There’s so much going on in our sewing community in the Fall. There’s no shortage of inspiration to be found! I didn’t participate in the Sewing Bee this year, but I do try to keep up with the Monthly Stitch challenges, although I have missed a few lately. Still, I love seeing everyone’s posts over there. If you haven’t, you should really take a peek. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things

 

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I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries!  When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.

IMG_3568To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.

IMG_3504 My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.

The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.

To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.

To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.

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I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did!  There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress?  Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?

I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

A lace top inspired by Dolce & Gabbana

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I used to think lace was reserved for prom dresses, frilly wedding dresses and other  hyper-girlie looks. But I think I’ve given that up. I can’t resist the combination of feminine lace with the edge of denim it seems. And if the lace is blue, I’m all in!

My inspiration for this top was this tunic length top/dress from Dolce and Gabbana.

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I fully intended to go the whole way with lace on the sleeves and the longer length of the top/dress, but as luck would have it, when I ordered this lace (Fabric.com), I thought I’d ordered two yards, but ended up with one. Not sure if I pushed the wrong button or if the order was messed up at their end, but when I tried to order another yard, the lace was already gone!

I grumbled about it for awhile, then found a great sheer silk to use for the sleeves and lining. It’s so perfectly wonderful to touch and wear, I decided the mistake was a good thing after all. It forced me to use a contrast silk sleeve which is more comfortable than lace by a long shot.

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The pattern is one I’ve used before McCall’s 7285.

I made view D, and used the silk for the sleeves.

Other modifications:

  • I raised the neckline by an inch.
  • I made 3/4 length sleeves with a rolled hem.
  • The hem is cut ‘high-low’. Because my lace didn’t have a scalloped edge, I merely finished the bottom with a rolled hem.

It’s an easy pattern that’s well designed, a good template for your own creativity. The only challenge here was lining up the lace so that it was perfectly centered.

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I’m wearing this top with my recently completed Jalie Jeans and love the look! It’s comfortable but sufficiently dressy. I wore it to a party just last week.

IMG_1547I only wish I’d bought more of that lace! Honestly, I have got to get in the habit of buying more not less!  I think this top might travel with me this summer. The good thing about this lace? It doesn’t wrinkle, nor does the silk. I’m guessing this top would look dressy if I wore the right jewelry and skinny black pants?

I hope you’re enjoying all of the sewing events in the blog world right now.  I love what’s going on over at the Monthly Stitch. The McCall’s blog has been great too, with a shirt dress sew along. And Pattern Review is hosting a skirt contest. There are so many ways to find inspiration, I feel a bit spoiled. Are you participating in any of these events?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!