Sunday, May 22, 2022

McCall's 6744 - Everything Comes Back Around

I first made this patter about 6 months after learning to sew, in 2013. Last summer I revisited it - HERE and, it's just a winner for me! :)

I really love it!

Just like in my most recent version, I cut a size medium, added 1" to the back bodice at the waist and on the back skirt from the waist, tapering to nothing about midway down the thigh. The front neckline is cut as a size small but the rest is a medium. I didn't want the maxi length but knew the shorter length was too short. I decided to add 4" to the shorter length and hemmed at 5/8".  I also shortened the bodice 1" in back and at the side seams, tapering to nothing in the front. On my last version I had some pooling in back, this adjustment corrected that.

A much neater fit through the back!

The fabric is a Fabric Mart find that I planned on making a wrap dress with it due to the print...but I really just, true wraps. I don't know quite why that is. 

I know someone commented that the print was tough on the eyes. I just love the colors so much, and it doesn't do too much "waviness" for me, on screen or in person, though I get that it happens.
I wore it immediately and can see it getting tons and tons of use this summer. Everything about it is perfect to me!! 

My yellow blouse is in time out because that silk crepe de chine refused to be managed. Even with starching it (which has worked well for the poly wovens I've used). 

This is a WIP of version #2 of Burda 4/2019. This pattern is just SO COOL. I worked on it this weekend and just need to stitch down the facings at the zipper. I love how it turned out. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Vogue 1250

This pattern was SUPER popular back in the day! There are 127 reviews on Pattern Review and many, many people made the pattern multiple times. It's a winner. 

I was stuck on how to use Lily to fit a knit pattern. If sewing pants I would choose a size 18 and make crotch adjustments, with skirts I use a 16 front and 18 back. For tops I used to use a 14 neckline but that's not right anymore. Ultimately, I looked at the intended amount of ease and decided to use my normal Big4 sizing choices: 16 top and 18 for the back skirt.  

If you somehow managed to own this pattern but have never sewn it, it has a very interesting construction! There are 2 main pattern pieces - a front with back skirt integrated into the pattern piece and a back bodice piece. There's also a binding for the back neckline. 

I think this construction is pretty standard for cowl necks, but I am always enthralled with how neatly it finishes. There is a pleat that ends right where the cowl begins. I pinned and basted the pleat by hand. When I turned the cowl facing back on the shoulder seam, I hand basted the corner where it intersects with the back neck binding and then ran it through the serger to sew it. It ensures nothing stretches out of shape or shifts. 

For the armhole, I suggest pinning front and back bodice together, stitching for reinforcement at 5/8" about an inch and then clipping. This will allow you to hem that armhole opening neatly. Where it called for "narrow hemming", I just turned up 5/8" and coverstitched.

There were lots of versions of this by the fitting mavens of the sewing blog community and after reading a bunch of posts, I decided I would be fine just cutting the CB seam of the back skirt at an 18. Many cut along the side dart (where the side seam would sit) to add width, but I don't need extra on the front skirt...just the back. 

Here you can see the dart that closes this seam - this is where others added width. 
I just cut the CB seam (left) at the size 18 mark.

the white arrow shows the dart end!

I added 3/8" to the waist on the back bodice piece to match up to the size 18 skirt back and shortened the bodice 1 1/4". Did a 3/8" high round back adjustment, keeping the space created at the neckline (did not sew the dart). I only had 1 5/8" of fabric and the integrated front piece is a hog, so I added a CB seam to the back bodice (no fitting here, just a seam for construction and I added the seam allowance directly to the fabric).

I added 3" to the front cowl tapering to nothing at the point (do this! it helps it sit better!).

Lastly, I decided to do a 5/8" coverstitched hem (instead of the 1 1/4" included) because I liked the length.

The horizontal seam in back sits low and I was worried about it bisecting the body in a weird way. It's fine! I think it's important to get the back length of the bodice right in order for this seam to not feel "wrong" on the body and to avoid pooling. 


The wind was blowing fiercely, but you can see I achieved a nice fit through the waist and lower body. Yay!

I picked this fabric up from SAS Fabrics while I was in Phoenix. I went to take a pic of the finished dress on Lily and was like, what the heck?! (WTH funny vid) I did NOT see this pattern in the fabric. I moved the phone camera and looked at the dress - nope. Put the camera up - pattern. IDK what kind of optical illusion is happening! 

It is off center but I can't be bothered by that because I LOVE THIS DRESS!!! And, I just don't see the pattern when it's on my body - LOL!!!!!!

Alterations Summary:
size 16 with size 18 skirt back
add 3/8" to back bodice waist
shorten bodice 1 1/4"
3/8" high round back, adding neckline width too
2.5" added to cowl at CF
hem at 5/8" instead of 1 1/4"

I also worked up a top version using fabric from the other dress I made over the weekend. I told myself 20" but in retrospect, that doesn't even sound right! arrrgh! 

It will only be able to be worn tucked in because it's just long enough. I got this blue suiting from SR Harris and am going to make another pair of Burda 2/2013 SOON!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

QT in the Sewing Room and a Hot Topic

My parents relocated to Georgia almost 15 years ago, my son and daughter live out of state too. Mother's Day then gets a little difficult for me. And this weekend, my husband had a motorcycle training course that was from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. So I decided it was perfect timing for a sew day. 

On Thursday and Friday, I did some pattern prep and cut out Vogue 1250 and McCall's 8174. I got up early Saturday, really pumped, and started my pattern adjustments. I took a break around noon, went and got lunch, and took a break for awhile once my husband got back. Got back at it and finished up the McCall's dress, then cut out another version of M6744. 

This morning, I was moving quite a bit slower :) I finished M6744. Here are the 3 finished dresses and a top from V1250

top left: SAS fabrics
the others are Fabric Mart

I was ready to cut out my yellow silk for a top from Burda 5/2017, and realized I didn't have enough fabric. Womp. Womp. I always forget silk is typically 45". So I traced off a top version of V1250 since I liked the cowl so much. 

I have plans to make pants from this fabric 
which is why I got so excited about a top from this pattern!

And I was not doing hair and makeup (or bras - sorry, not sorry) while having sew-day so I have quick and dirty shots as each garment was completed.

And I'm ECSTATIC about them all! 

Can we talk about disliking finished garments? People often talk about not seeing enough posts about when things don't work out. But, often, when someone posts something and explains why it's a fail, people jump in to tell them that it isn't. I get the instinct to reassure...but can we just take the sewer's word that it truly is a fail? 

My husband says I react because I am very keen on saying exactly what I mean -- words mean things. If I say, I'm not sure about it or I don't know, but something seems off...that means it might work out if I can figure it out. When I post something and I say, I do not like this. That is exactly, precisely what I mean! LOL! 

I posted the New Look dress and had comments on IG and here on the blog that I was "being hard on myself" / "self-critical". Now, this is not any kind of attack on those posters, again, I get the instinct to jump in with helpful comments. But it was interesting to me that I never once said anything about ME; I said I don't like the dress. Not that I felt bad. Not that I looked bad. Again, nothing negative about myself, but for some reason, that's how it was interpreted (and this happens all the time, it isn't a one-off).

There ARE times when something goes wrong and I'm bummed about it. And, I'm pretty open about that. But I am also 100% okay with sewing projects not working out. I'm not going to force myself to keep something or to wear something that I know I dislike / am uncomfortable in just because I made it! Remember in my last post I mentioned donating those black trousers because honestly, I just don't like them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them...they're a heavier cotton blend, they're slim and ankle length, they fit; but I don't like them. I have lots and lots and lots(!) of clothes. The occasional fail doesn't knock me down, and I don't need those fails cluttering my closet. 

Do you share your fails publicly? 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Dozen Drafts: New Look 6600

I hate this dress.

I don't hate the pattern...or the brand, just the dress. 

This is a true wrap dress that would work well with a drapey linen or voile. This rayon challis-like fabric did not have enough structure. I was worried about something too firm with the fit of the skirt, but the drape of this fabric made every part of sewing it a horrible experience. 

I started with a size 16, 18 at the waist and hip. I made my half muslin and compared to the McCall's and Simplicity, the starting point was great! On the right, you'll notice I made a point of where I thought my shoulder was...but you'll see in the photos below that I was WRONG. My shoulder point is a good 3/4" away from where I thought it was on the form. This explains why the couple McCall's I made since getting the Beatrice were still wide in the shoulder. Huzzah!

1/4" armhole tuck
shortened 1" at waist

shortened 1" at waist
added 3/8" to neckline at shoulder
added 1/8" to shoulder at neck
(should have done the high round back adjustment)

I shortened the pattern 6 inches, ideal length for me would have been about 2" shorter. After stitching, I ended up taking in the side seams another 3/8". Typically with skirts, I cut a 16 front and 18 back. Also, I didn't use the facings and bound the armholes. I stitched a 1/4" guide for my bias tape (cut at 1 1/8") and then trimmed it down, turned in and topstitched.

I just couldn't get good pics, I was so over it. LOL!

Aside from my posture being worse than Lily's, it's cool to see  how the garments are the same 
on me and the form!

I really need to start adjusting for my low left shoulder.

I'm going to be so sad when these cord stops are all used up. 
They were a great addition to my stash! One of those one-off Fabric Mart finds.

I feel that the fitting process with this pattern demonstrated my ease working with New Look patterns in the past. I do feel that I should have draped the dart as it isn't quite right (same with the back skirt darts), so that's something to keep in mind. 

I'll continue to snag the NL patterns I'm interested in as they're a good fit for my body. 

some fabrics I pulled while organizing my sewing space
The mustard print and solid blue are woven, all others are knits
Fabric Mart | LA Finch x2 | SR Harris
LA Finch | Fabric Mart | SAS Fabrics | Fabric Mart

As mentioned in my abruptly ended wrap-up post, I have sewing mojo but am lacking energy. I cut out Vogue 1250 (an oldie but goodie!) and McCall's 8174 today in preparation for some sewing this weekend. I'm also hoping I get to a top from the yellow silk charmeuse I got at Fancy Tiger Crafts, as well as turning that yellow tie-dye into another nightgown using Burda 5/2016 (THIS nightgown is my absolute fave and it is now 6 years old...time for another). 

Monday, May 2, 2022

April Wrap-up and May Plans

Work is busy and life is hectic and while I have sewing mojo, I don't have much energy. This year we've been to Nashville, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver, and Atlanta. I've had several migraine attacks in the last month. I knew my time with having my daughter's family here was running out so I started spending every free moment with them. My colleague is going on maternity leave and I'm taking about half of her client portfolio. My direct report resigned for a new job so I'm searching for her replacement. 

I feel like I'm on a precipice. 

I am not complaining, I just don't know (at the moment) what I need to do differently. Probably "less". I do have a time alone this upcoming weekend and am hoping to spend some quality time in the sewing room. 

This month I sewed 1 garment and 2 crafty items. I also machine knit 3 items.

I sewed:
  • New Look 6600 - 2.5 yards
    • horizontal tan & black (rayon?) woven
    • cord ends
  • Zip top bag
    • black quilting cotton and faux leather
    • zipper
  • Cover for PS5
    • Chicago White Sox and solid black quilting cotton 
    • black piping
I knit:
  • a triangle shawl (but I may frog this)
  • girl's ballet cardigan
  • infant drop shoulder sweater
This month, I also did a deep dive in my wardrobe when I pulled out some spring items. I got rid of like 40 items! So funny, I pulled out this pair of pants and thought, "I hate these pants". But they're black and ankle length so I kept them. And then I wore them one day and when I took them off after work I said, "I hate these pants!" So they've since been washed and placed in the donate pile, where they belong.

I also organized my tops by color and I really could use a few new tops. 

aaaaand I just heard the news about the (likelihood?) of Roe v. Wade being overturned and I don't have anymore words right now. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

WIPs and Fitting and Stuff...

This has been a weird month. I feel like nothing has happened and yet, we're halfway through! It's currently snowing in Minneapolis. Meh. 

I ordered from LA Finch for the first time ever! The last time I was in Long Beach visiting the kids, I posted my trip to Mood and someone mentioned I should visit LA Finch, but, they were closed. All the days I've spent in Long Beach on my visits and I had no clue I was so close! My daughter and son-in-law's place is a 5 mile straight shot down Long Beach Blvd! Next time :)

I was drawn in by the 4.5 yard (3 cuts, 1.5 yards each) of the rayon twill plaids. I was hoping at least 2 of the fabrics would coordinate and, yay! I like the red and green together. I am going to make a mixed-print shirt in the fall. 

Then I saw the pink ribbed knit (after having just purchased the True Bias tank/dress pattern). So I snatched that up (it's a bit lighter weight than I'd hoped). The white knit with tonal stripes was a remnant, so I scooped that. The yellow challis I was on the fence about but it gets me close to the mustard color that I like, but not ON me. This is nicely in the middle and I plan to make New Look 6692 or Simplicity 9326:

Speaking of New Look...

My A Dozen Drafts project is in progress. I am making NL6600 and had very minimal fit changes to make. I haven't made a ton of NL patterns but I've generally been happy with them. This is the fit on my Beatrice, straight out of the envelope, pics from my IG stories:

A couple of things that I'll dive deeper into once I'm reviewing - I realized I've incorrectly identified my shoulder point on the form!! It makes so much sense on why my last two makes were still a little wide in the shoulder. I blamed McCall's giant shoulder, but I have it marked out about 3/4" further than it actually is. Again, why I still want to do an in-person class to draft a sloper, because it isn't readily apparent where certain markers are on the body. 

Specifically to this pattern, I should have lowered the bust point a bit but otherwise, it explains why I've generally been happy with the fit of NL patterns. I shortened the bodice an inch and it fits SO well through my back. Woot!

you can see in this pic that the bust dart is a little high

This fabric?! Oh my word. It is so difficult to work with. As a sewing friend said, it's a very sassy fabric! It won't listen!!! So while I'd planned on the print being vertical on the body, it was NOT working to go on the crossgrain so I gave up. This pattern takes surprisingly little fabric (caveat: sleeveless and shortened 6") so I have another cut that may work for a #2. 

Speaking of the Beatrice :) 
I still owe a review. I want to learn where *MY* markers are on it though. This dress was started during the pandemic (Burda 5/2019). I got it to the basting stage and bwahahaha! It did NOT fit. I folded it and put it away. 

Now, I have decided it isn't worth trying to make it work, but I will remake this dress 1) in a bigger size(!) and 2) with the necessary adjustments.

Shoulder is wrong:

While I commented that the back 'v' fit well...that's not true as the whole dress is too small and who knows how the back will fit in the right size.

maybe 2 sizes bigger? lololol!

ain't no butt room!

my waist point (twill tape) vs the pattern seam (my finger)
And we can again see the INCHESSSSSSssssssss of too smallness.

But my NL dress is working out well, so let's stick with that :-p

On the machine knitting front, I bought this Target cart to hold my Hague linker. It's fine but I hope I have the chance to get an actual stand. I'm going to a MK seminar next weekend and I may find one there. Otherwise, I'll eventually order one from Hague (in the UK), but I will have to be able to get an electric winder too to make the shipping worthwhile :-D So annoyed I didn't know they were available when I ordered the linking machine!

Thought I like the extra shelf options!!

And, I finished the cardigan!! I think it's about a size 5/6 so I made it with my friend's 4.5 year old in mind. I used the linker for all the seaming - the raglans, the band, and the side seams. The lavender yarn was actually a bit thick for the linker so I used the teal, I hope to find the perfect "linking yarn" that I can buy in a few colors (sort of like serger thread!). 

And I started a sweater for the youngest grandson. Not an exact match to big brother's but using the same yarn colors. 

I have ordered yarns from ColourMart (they specialize in luxury mill ends) because I can't keep being afraid to try! What's the worst that can happen? :) 

I leave you with this pic of the grandson who decided he wanted to go outside event though no one else wanted to, because it was 21 degrees. Can you spy him over by the shed? hahaha! 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

McCall's 6996 Cardigan

I have made a few versions of this pattern over the years. I was planning to make up M7476, but then I couldn't find it :( So I made some adjustments to this one to get what I wanted.

I used the front of view B and the back of view C/D. I had a size medium cut out, but I am definitely larger than the last time I made it. I did a slash and spread to add 1" to the front waist and back hip. I added 1/2" to the front hip and back waist (protruding belly & protruding butt!). I add 1" to the length and added a back seam with a 5/8" swayback adjustment. I added another 1" to the bicep (had previously added 3/4") and I think I overdid it a bit here and have some excess room. 

Also, the shoulder line is too long. This is an area with the Beatrice that I'm still working out. Since there's no shoulder, I haven't yet worked out exactly where my shoulder line is. I thought it was too long but hesitated. Should have narrowed it at least half an inch. 

The fabric is a wool double knit from Fabric Mart that's been in stash for YEARS. It is really heavy and I was never quite sure how to use it. I had planned a knit blazer (and that would have been a very good use for it!) but the cardigan is a nice compromise. 

The fabric washed up so nicely! It did full a little, but not so much that the texture is ruined. 

No detail shots because honestly, it's just a cardigan. I constructed it primarily on the serger and coverstitch machines.

I've also been experimenting more on my mid-gauge knitting machine. I was practicing a technique for something similar to half-brioche and the standard gauge was just SO tiny that I pulled out the mid-gauge. Also, I happened upon a video on YouTube by CreativeTien and really liked the way her cables popped. This is a 3x3 cable with 9 rows between crossovers. I will try latching up the stitch that I dropped on either side as I was told they would pop even more.  

I used a simple formula on the Knit it Now website to use up my skein of Knerd String fingering weight yarn that I got at Fancy Tiger Crafts. Note: There's not a whole lot you can do with 1 skein of fingering weight yarn! LOL!!!! So this is not so long, but it drapes really beautifully after a wet block. 

I also purchased a couple of machine knitting magazines (to decide if I want to subscribe). Working on this kid's ballet style cardigan to get a feel for the pattern instructions. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Finished Travel Bags and March Wrap-Up

I have wanted to complete this project for SO LONG! I bought 2 yards of this border print cotton shirting last January, with hopes that Covid would soon be behind us and the world would be opening up. Haha! I have made simple drawstring bags before, but I really talked myself out of them over and over again, complicating it more than needed. And then, when we went to Phoenix earlier this year, and ended up taking an ATV tour, our clothes were so dusty and sweaty that I wished I'd had a separate laundry bag for them. And I was determined to complete the bags before my next trip. I didn't make it...we went to Denver last weekend for a wedding. But, I flew out Saturday evening and we were back home Monday evening so I didn't really need it, this time. But I'll be ready for my next trip!! 

Oh, and using a border print just made the whole process so much easier and simpler! I measured the width of the border less the selvedge and with seam allowance and cut the top part of the laundry bag at 20" wide x 10.5" long. Then I cut the plain white fabric at 3", and the bottom at 4.5" for finished dimensions of 17" x 20". But I cut the fabric at 20". 


And I didn't allow for the casing area. 


So, it's smaller than I intended, and I'll likely make another one slightly bigger :) 

I cut the shoe bags for a finished dimension of 13" x 15" and made some of the same measurement mistakes. Seriously. BUT, they fit my shoes so, WIN.

I like the narrow black border that almost looks like piping!

If you're noticing a difference in the text, I blame Cricut! I had the bright idea to buy an Infusible Ink tee blank. I had some black infusible ink in stash and I knew it would outlast iron-on heat transfer vinyl. But, Cricut made this product to perform best at 380 degrees F. The original Cricut Easy Press only heats up to 360 degrees F. So it's not quite hot enough to fully sublimate into the fabric. Booooooo! 

When I got my Beatrice, I ordered a 144 yard spool of 1/4 cotton twill tape from Wawak for the low-low price of $7.91. I used it to mark my form up and still have a gazillion yards of it, of course, so expect to see it often! 

On the laundry bag, I made the casing too narrow and the double strings don't work as well. They work perfectly on the shoe bags though! (see my IG grid for a quick video)

The lining is white athletic mesh that's been in stash for I'm not sure how many years. I love that it's just slippery enough to not stick to the cotton, it has a little bit of weight to it but not too much. 

I sewed the top fabric to top lining, pressed it out, left about 1 1/4" open on either side of that seam and then sewed down the lining, around, up, left the other side open, then down, around, and up the main fabric. The only suggested change is to turn it once the sides are sewn and just sew/serge the bottom together to anchor the lining. I was going to shape the corners but just didn't have the room to do it and the results on the laundry bag are meh.

They're so cool! :-D I expect to get lots of use from them!

This month, I sewed 2 things outside of the bags and a PS5 cover that I started for my husband. I sewed 5 yards this month: 
  • McCall's 7834 dress - 3 yards
    • rayon challis from Fabric Mart
    • 12 buttons
  • McCall's 6996 cardigan - 2 yards (WIP)
    • wool double knit from Fabric Mart
The McCall's dress was my Dozen Drafts project and I put a lot of time and work into fitting so yes, I love it! The cardigan is working up well and just needs hemming ("just" = the entire front, the lower hem and the sleeve hems!)

This doggone extra long McCall's shoulder...more on that later
Excuse my dirty mirror and toilet plunger. Doh.

I also had a goal of making two Machine Knit projects. I "only" got the 1 but, WHEW! The plaid-like pattern was hand manipulated the entire way and was a doozy! All worth it though because they are beautiful! Ravelry project

I started two books - one on Machine Knitting. While it is a resource, I do tend to read these types of books cover-to-cover. I am also a good way through The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

As of now, my plans for April include:
  • Finishing the WIP I intended to complete in March
  • Complete "A Dozen Drafts" dress
  • Complete 2 machine knit projects
More to come potentially, after I pull my spring clothes out. I didn't get to that either this month! After finishing the McCall's dress, I had so much momentum, and then over the course of 3 work days I had 17 hours worth of meetings. I was EXHAUSTED every day! April is a little quieter. I do have plans to get with a MK friend, but hoping to get lots of sewing in!