McCall’s 7542 times two: Bubble and Tulip Sleeves

Hi all! I meant to post this earlier this week, but a horrid stomach virus took me out of action. According to my doc, it’s extremely contagious, but the good news? You can’t catch it by reading my blog :).

Spring hasn’t exactly sprung here, but I continue to sew as if it has! These two versions of McCalls 7542 are my attempt to lighten the mood in my closet by adding some more statement sleeves. It is one of the hottest trends around, probably because they are pretty fun to wear! You just have to believe warm weather is on it’s way when you’re wearing something this fun.

Bubble sleeves are how version one is described.IMG_5297Okay, I’d never heard this term, so I googled it, and was amazed at the varied interpretations of the word, ‘bubble’. The bubble look is made by simple gathering. After you’ve gathered the sleeve, it’s turned up to the outside to make the little ruffle where it attaches to the elbow of the main sleeve. It isn’t hard at all, and it’s a great way to take an ordinary sleeve to something special.

 

IMG_5324For fabric, I used a cotton shirting from Fabric Depot, and a remnant of rayon that I found on the sale rack there. Of course I love them both because they’re blue :), but they are also dreamy to sew with. The cotton shirting is crisp, but not too heavy, and feels as good as silk to wear! I wish I’d bought more of this!

My second version is with tulip sleeves.IMG_5386I made this version out of cotton double gauze from Fabric Depot and I love the way it drapes. The tulip sleeves are created by two pieces that overlap before you insert the sleeves into the bodice. It isn’t tricky or hard. These sleeves need to hang softly, so a cotton that was stiff or heavy probably wouldn’t work. I could imagine these sleeves would be fabulous out of rayon or silk or crepe. In fact, I just might have to try this again out of one of those yummy fabrics!

McCalls 7542 was easy and fun to sew.

The instructions are great, and I was happy that it fit without any modifications. I just made the size that I usually do in McCalls patterns. I made the longer version both times. I’m short waisted, but the cropped version was even a bit too short for me, and I wanted to be able to tuck them into my ruffled wrap skirt.  This pattern is a pretty quick sew because it doesn’t have a back zipper. The back opening is just finished with a hook/eye. I made it in a Saturday afternoon!

Both versions are part of my capsule wardrobe.

 

M7542 is going to be a TNT pattern for me, and I love how many options you get with this one purchase. I’m definitely a fan of the statement sleeve trend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t end up making all of these options!

My only ‘issue’ with these ‘makes’ is that on my second version, the tulip sleeves fall open all the time.  Even though the pattern instructions don’t tell you to stitch the two overlapping pieces of the sleeve together, I’m tempted. But then, the drape-y look might be ruined…What to do? Opinions welcome…

McCalls Pattern Company is having a #M7542 Contest to see who can make the best version of this pattern! How fun is that? There are even prizes. I just might have to enter:).

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Butterick 6057-Chambray and Floral Top

IMG_4012Hi All! It’s hot here in Oregon, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy my vacation wardrobe even though I’m back at home. Might as well keep those vacation vibes going as long as possible, don’t you think? This top was one of my favorites on my summer vacation, completed only a day before I left. In fact, it almost didn’t make the wardrobe ‘cut’. But I threw it into my suitcase at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. It was worth the space it took because it went with everything; skirts or shorts.   IMG_4001 (1)

The contrast print makes this shirt, if you ask me. It’s a Liberty remnant I picked up at a small shop here in Portland, Josephine’s Dry Goods. I love Liberty floral prints, but I can’t always imagine wearing something that’s all floral. But using a bit for contrast is something I can easily get into. I used the Liberty on the sleeves, the pockets and the back button band. I love these colors so much, I might just start calling them my color ‘palate’; blue, black, rust, green, colors that are perfect for fall too. That makes this top ‘transitional’, don’t you think?

This pattern, Butterick 6057, is genius. The buttons and button band down the back just give it that extra something. Oh, and I love the tabs on the sleeves too. I used a solid black for those to try to make that Liberty print stand out even more. This pattern is now, officially, a ‘tried and true’ for me.I made it before here. It’s easy to sew  and the cut is comfortable, but not ‘baggy’ and the high low hem is fun.B6057Here’s the top in ‘action’. This is Nuremburg, Germany,our last stop on the Danube. I’m posing here in chambray with my friend, Suzanne who is wearing a beautiful linen dress.  She bought a bit of fabric on this trip too :). Her shoes are cute, mine not so much. What can I say? My feet had minds of their own that day!!IMG_5747

I hope you’re enjoying the dog days of summer and are finding time to sew a few transitional wardrobe pieces for yourself! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Simplicity 1318 Kimono Love

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Hi all! I’m back from my travels, and, I’m happy to report, my travel wardrobe was put to good use. I’m now a big fan of the Danube, and my travels there were relaxing but inspirational too. So many of the communities along its shore have a rich history of handmade garments. Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to see and enjoy.

In fact, a garment I spotted on the trip prompted the title for this week’s post: Kimono Love. This is a handmande child’s kimono from Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (if you have a chance to visit this extraordinary museum, take it.) I could have stared at this all day.

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Another favorite:

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And here’s mine. Ha, not quite in the same league, but we do what we can!

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For this kimono, I used Simplicity 1318, a tried and true pattern I’ve made before (here) that’s so easy to sew!

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Because I knew it was a sure thing, I splurged and used silk. It’s a fabulous piece I found at Fabric Depot last Spring (gone now, sigh). For the front band, I used a silk in a solid contrasting gray. This is an unlined pattern, so I finished all the seams with my serger, but it would be lovely with french seams too.

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This kimono is a breeze to sew because the pattern has very few pieces. The style is loose and unstructured, so you don’t have to fuss with fit issues. The best fabrics for this are wovens with great drape, like this silk. Last summer, I made it from a sheer cotton which worked almost as well. I think a lightweight rayon would be great too, but really! Splurge and buy some silk! It’s so fabulous to wear and you deserve it :). I did prewash this silk, by the way, on the gentle cycle with some deteregent meant for lingerie. This made the fabric less slippery, and easier to cut and sew.

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I love the shape of this kimono and the high-low hem. This pattern must be a favorite of many of you, because it was one of the best loved patterns on Pattern Review for 2015.If you have a chance, take a look at the versions posted there. There are so many beauties! You’ll be glad you did.

My trip was fabulous, a much needed break, and I enjoyed the time I spent ‘unplugged’. But I missed visiting your blogs and chatting with all of you about your makes. I’ll be perusing all of your websites, catching up on things this week. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

New Look 6429- A Dress with an Inset

 

 

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Hi All! Summer is in full bloom here in Oregon, with blue skies and sunshine, the perfect start to my vacation. I thought I’d show one last addition to my travel wardrobe before heading out for a couple of weeks. Yes, I have alot of clothes (LOL) but wouldn’t you know it? At the last minute, I decided I NEEDED one more dress.  In a frenzy, I grabbed some fabric from my stash, a bit of lace, and a New Look pattern. Here’s the result.

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This sheath is New Look 6429, a dress I wanted to sew the minute I saw it in the catalog. With the options to add an inset or a cut out, this pattern was on my ‘must have’ list right away. I love the raglan sleeves and the great neckline.

I chose view C, because I can never  pass up an opportunity to add a lace inset.

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The pattern went together quickly and easily, but be forewarned. The sizing is really (!!) generous. I had to take seams in everywhere. This is one occasion when sewing a quick muslin wouldn’t have hurt, but as you all know, I don’t have the patience to take this extra step, and here’s the price I pay for it. An easy sew turned into a bit of a project because I had to fuss around with fit.

The fabric I used is a cotton with a  very, very slight stretch. The pattern is designed for wovens and stretch is not required, but I love just a little bit of stretch when I want a dress to be super comfortable, as is the case when I travel. If a dress can’t be worn all day, it doesn’t make the cut, you know?

IMG_4271I love this dress, and am so glad I found the time to squeeze in one more make as I know this will get alot of wear.

I’ll be away from my sewing machine for a few weeks, which makes me a little said. The good news? My stash has shrunk a bit over the last few months, making room for some new vacation purchases. I hope I’ll have some interesting finds to share when I return.

I hope your summer sewing is progressing nicely and that you’re enjoying some great weather. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

McCalls 7314: Burberry knock-off

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As you all know, I’ve got a thing for Burberry’s classic designs, and the Spring 2016 collection was one of the best. Being peplum obsessed, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this cute shirt.

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Okay, as Burberry prices go, the tag on this one wasn’t totally ridiculous…only $350. Yes, it’s a lot, but I could probably justify a splurge like that if  (1.) I didn’t have a fabric stash worth a small fortune (2.) I didn’t have an expensive shoe thing that is almost as bad as my Burberry obsession and (3.) I could commit to never buying another RTW, or piece of fabric for the rest of the year (ha, we all know that’s not going to happen!)

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So, a knock off it is!

The fabric: A plaid cotton gauze from Mill End Store. (They take phone orders, BTW. Although there isn’t much of this fabric left I noticed.)

The pattern: McCall’s 7314, a shirt dress pattern with a gathered skirt, elastic waist and sleeve options.

Modifications: I shortened the skirt by twelve inches. I cut my usual size, but made a small adjustment for my narrow shoulders. Other than that, no adjustments. were necessary. The sleeves are shorter on me than they are in the photo, by the way. Be forewarned…if you have long arms, and want 3/4 sleeves, cut them a bit longer.

The skirt on this dress isn’t fitted at all. You add a bit of elastic to the back to make the dress taper at the waist. You can cut the elastic as you wish, so that it’s as fitted (or not) as you want. This makes this top/dress so comfortable!!!

Challenges: Plaid matching! OMG, a nightmare!  I did okay, but I’m not happy with the sleeves. IMG_1421

I wanted them to match perfectly, but they’re a little off. I’d like to blame this on the gauze-y texture of this cotton, rather than on me, but we all know the TRUTH. The cotton is amazing to wear, well worth the effort it took to keep it straight. I have a bit of fabric left over, and might try to recut the sleeves, since I notice this mistake (LOL, you all know how this is!!) I should’ve used more pins and weights to keep it still. The skirt was impossible to line up, a fact I obsessed about until I realized, the Burberry one didn’t look much better. Still, I obsessed. Not perfect, but that’s how it goes.

This shirt is so comfortable! And I love the wide plaid. The cost: This shirt cost me less than $20 to make, since the pattern was on sale at Joann’s, and the fabric was purchased during a 25% off sale at Mill End. Yes, you have to figure in your time, but still….this is a good deal, right? Of course, the Burberry fabric is to die for….if only…

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I’d love to have more wide plaids in my stash because I love the look, but can’t seem to find many in the fabric stores. If you have a source, let me know. Another question..should I recut those sleeves? Opinions welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Morris Blazers

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A person can never have enough throw-on blazers, am I right? If you’re wearing a springy top or a dress and a bit of wind happens your way, it’s so handy to have a little blazer or cardigan to pop over it. The Morris Blazer by Grainline Studios is just one of those little toppers that’s stylish and comfortable, a perfect extra layer. Since my much-loved knit blazer hit the donation pile last spring, I  made not one, but two Morris’ to replace it.

My first is made from a fabulous striped Ponte knit, purchased at Mill End Store.

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Stripes are everywhere this spring; vertical or horizontal, thin or thick – – any stripe will do! When I saw this knit, I decided its peach and blue stripes were just right.  The Grainline Morris pattern suggests knits and stretch wovens are the fabrics of choice, so I knew this knit would be perfect.

Generally as blazers go, the Morris blazer is a pretty straightforward sew. It isn’t lined, so I serged all of the seams for a ‘finished’ inside. I did have a few scary moments during construction.

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Because it isn’t lined, the front and the hem are faced. Even though the instructions are generally pretty good on Grainline patterns, they totally lost me when it came time to attach the hem facing  to the front facing. OMG, I thought I would lose my mind! I screwed it up, twice ,before I remembered there was a Morris sew-along on the Grainline website. Those photos saved me.

Fit: I have narrow shoulders, and frequently have to adjust patterns significantly to compensate. This was not necessary on the Morris. In fact, even in the Ponte knit, the Size 10 shoulders are a bit snug on me, whereas the bodice for that same size needed to be graded down to an eight. To me, this means that even folks with ‘regular’ shoulders might find this cut a bit narrow.My knit Morris is comfy, however, the lapels pop up  (perhaps this is my error?) and it flaps in the wind. Plus, it doesn’t have pockets.I Need Pockets Desperately.

Enter Morris Number Two.

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This Morris is  a bit oversized, ‘boyfriend style’, with huge pockets that hold my cell and my keys. Here’s how I got there…..

  • I lengthened the bodice by six inches at the line provided on the pattern.
  • I cut one size larger in the bodice so that I could add buttons for closure.
  • I widened the lapel and front facing by an inch.
  • I drafted patch pockets by tracing the hemline of the jacket.

It’s a good thing I ‘sized up’ because the drape of the stretch twill is pretty different from the knit. Even though it had a lot of ‘give’, it wasn’t very forgiving in the shoulders so my boyfriend version isn’t quite as comfortable as I’d like. I do love that I can button-up this blazer though, and the wider lapels lay down nicely and stay down.  My one complaint about this version…I wish it was lined. The blazer doesn’t slip on and off that easily. If I venture down the Morris path again, I’ll likely add lining

Summary: This is a great pattern and I love both versions. For comfort, the knit wins. For versatility the twill ‘boyfriend’ version wins. If I were to make this pattern again, I would probably stick with the knit, adding pockets for sure. In my opinion, the drape of a stretch woven isn’t quite as nice for the design.

I’m sure I’ll wear the boyfriend version a lot this Spring, when the weather is still cool and windy. I will opt for shorter knit version when I want something over a tee this summer.

With this make, my spring sewing is officially ‘on’. And, it’s a good thing, because Me-made May is just around the corner.  Will you participate this year? I’m not sure if I will, as I don’t have jeans in my ‘me-made wardrobe. That problem will soon be corrected though as I’m starting a Jeans Class at Modern Domestic this Spring. So, who knows? I may pull it off after all.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Vogue 8894 – Stripes, Blue and Linen

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When I first saw this fabric, it seemed made for me.  It has most everything I love; two shades of BLUE, stripes and… it’s linen! Can you blame me for snatching it up? I was ecstatic, yet, once I got it home, it languished in my stash. I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Fabric love can be so paralyzing! I overthink, worrying that the style won’t do it justice, or that it will never look as good as it does on the shelf.
But our recent heat wave pushed me to act. I did not have a thing to wear (honest!!). Everything in my closet felt heavy and hot. This made my lovely fabric’s future quite clear. It would become an easy-to-wear, cool summer dress, a frock that could handle even a 100 degree day.
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The pattern I used was one I’d had in my archives, a basic Vogue I bought during a sale, then never used. To be honest, there are many (!!)  similar patterns in my archives, ‘honest mistakes’ purchased during some crazy-good 5 for $7 sale. I’m a sucker for those sales. No matter what, I can’t buy just three patterns. I have to buy five, because, well, it’s a good deal! Needless to say, that mindset results in a pattern stash that is unwieldy and huge. Some of those lovelies will never be opened, or cut. What to do, what to do? Does one vow to use all of them so that not one pattern will be wasted? Or is it better to admit defeat and send some of them to pattern heaven?
I digress, though.
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Pattern: I chose Vogue 8894 from my archives, A v-neck dress with a close fitting bodice, a raised waist, hemline variations and sleeves, and a back zipper. It was easy to put together, and the instructions were clear. I made my usual adjustments for narrow shoulders, and the fit was spot on.
Fabric: Linen from Fabric Depot.
Design Modifications: The pattern is designed with 3/4 length sleeves. This just didn’t feel right for summer. So I cut them off, and added a 4″ sleeve band. To make a long story short (Ha!), I  cut four (4) four inch wide pieces that were the width of the shortened sleeve. I sewed them together (right sides together) then turned the band right side out. The finished bands were then stitched to the sleeves.
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Contrast: The dress seemed too plain, probably because the pattern doesn’t have a lot of complicated design elements. So I added contrasting twill tape at the neckline, the shoulder seam and the sleeve band seams.
Hem: I opted for the straight skirt. Instead of a high low hem, I chose a straight hem.
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Lessons learned: Adding contrast was an after thought. I wore the dress once, then decided it needed a bit more pizzazz. Since the fabric was so great, I decided to go the extra mile and add contrasting twill, even though the dress was done. This was torture, since some of the seams had to be opened so that the end of the twill tape could be hidden in the seam. Since I’d  overlocked some to keep them from fraying, this was no easy task. In the future, if I get a bee in my bonnet to add trim/twill tape, I will decide that before (!!) I finish the darn thing.

That being said, I like the dress much better now, so I will probably wear it more, making the extra effort worth it. And the pattern is probably a keeper, an easy to fit, wearable dress.  I’m glad I found it in my archives.
I’d be interested to know what your strategy is regarding patterns. If you haven’t used them after awhile, do you send them on their way, or do you hold on to your patterns forever? If so, how do you organize/store them? Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!!