McCalls 7094 made for Love Sewing Magazine: DIY Open Back Pullover Top

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McCalls 7094 open back pullover top

Hey Friends,

Today I wanted to share a review for McCalls 7094, which is the pattern included in this months Love Sewing Magazine, which is available to buy right now!

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Me with Amy, editor of Love Sewing Magazine, and author of the sewing blog, http://almondrock.co.uk/

Amy is the editor of Love Sewing Magazine, and also authors the sewing blog, Almond Rock. We have met each other before a couple(?) of years ago at the Minerva bloggers meet up (how time flies!) and follow each others blogs etc.

Anyway, Amy reached out to ask if I would be interested in sewing up a version of McCalls 7094 to be featured in the magazine.  (She also invited me to the Love Sewing photographic studio to get these photographs taken – more on that at the end of this post!) Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of the McCalls pattern company anyway, and the style of this particular blouse is right up my street. Abhakhan fabrics were kind enough to supply me with the fabric I used to make my blouse, a 100% rayon javanaise viscose fabric in a biscuit base colour with ditsy bow print. It’s the perfect fabric for this blouse, with beautiful drape and movement.

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McCalls 7094 open back pullover top

This is the first time I have worked with a McCalls pattern where in all sizes (XS – XXL/ size 4 – size 26) were included in the same envelope. I found that all the pieces were logically set out on the pattern sheets, and it was easy enough to find the relevant pieces for my size.

I cut a size L (16 – 18) through the shoulders, arms and bust, and graded out to a size XL at the hips. I actually selected the bust size based on my high bust, rather than my full bust. This pattern has more than 10 inches of ease, so I decided to go with my high bust measurement and I think the fit is pretty good. I found I did not need to do a full bust adjustment, which is normally a standard pattern adjustment for me.

Pattern alterations I made were to remove 3 inches from the length of the sleeves, lengthen the top by 1 inch, do a 1 inch sway back adjustment (adding the removed length back to the hems) and I also raised the height of the front placket by 2 inches. These are all standard adjustments for me.

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McCalls 7094 open back pullover top

In terms of construction, I used the burrito method to enclose the shoulder/ yoke seams by machine, and omitted all the hand slip stitching that’s instructed, choosing instead to use my machine to sew the plackets and collar closed. I used my overlocker to finish the side, sleeve and armhole seams.

The hardest part of sewing this blouse was definitely the collar! This is the first time I have sewn a collar like this, and it was hard to get a clean, neat and even finish. However, it is a nice feature and really frames and elongates the neck. Another attempt may see me finding this a lot easier.

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McCalls 7094 open back top

 

I love wearing loose fitting blouses like this with skinny jeans or slim cut pants. I love the open back detail – something I don’t have in my wardrobe, and, worn over a matching nude camisole, this will be perfect summer wear.

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McCalls 7094 open back pullover top

All About the Photo Shoot

Erm, so, I have never taken part in a professional photo shoot like this before. It was a lot harder than those models make it look! Amy had arranged for a professional makeup artist to be there to do my hair and makeup, and there was also a professional photographer and another of the Love Sewing magazine staff members there at the shoot, which meant that, together with Philip who drove me to the shoot, there were 5 people in the room, watching me getting photographed!

Gosh, trying to make your body behave and showcase the clothes in the best possible way was not easy. BTW, the magazine had got some clothes for me to wear with the top I had sewn. The pants I am wearing in these photos were from Boden I believe, and the shoes were from George at Asda.

Anyway, I am not saying I would never do it again. It was a good experience, and, I do think having these photos taken has made me feel more relaxed and wanting to introduce a little more movement into my own blog photographs that we take at home. It’s all about angles guys! 🙂

In conclusion, having all the sizes in the single pattern enevelope is a great idea (why should plus size sewists be excluded?), and well worth the price of the magazine for everything else which you get.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Until soon.

Vogue 8882 and McCalls 6886 (modified): DIY Custom Printed Satin Full Skirt and Cropped Fitted Sweater

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Hello Friends,

A little while ago I was contacted by a new to me company called Fashion Formula, who offer a custom digital printing service onto fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, cushions, aprons and tea towels. This was a completely new experience for me, and I am very grateful to Fashion Formula for allowing me to select a fabric and print of my choice for this project. The fabric was provided at no cost to me, but as ever, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Initially, I did toy with the idea of uploading a design of my own creation, using one of my watercolour paintings. But, I really wasn’t confident about getting the repeat on the fabric right, so in the end I perused their almost 1,500 fabric designs and selected this one, Asian Inspiration, by Botal. There are some stunning designs to choose from (already, since I selected I can see there are new designs which I love), and the only thing I would say you need to be wary of, if you are selecting a print for garment fabric, is check the scale of the design (all information is provided on the website), and make sure you are happy with that aspect. The website itself is well designed and easy to navigate and you are provided with a preview of the length of fabric you require so you get to see how the print falls across the entire length.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

There are more than 40 different fabric options to print onto, including, twill, denim, velvet, scuba, poplin, sateen, bamboo, chiffon, organza, ITY jersey, various crepes, georgette, lining fabrics and organic cotton panama. Again, some of these options were introduced after I made my selection, but in the end, I decided to go for heavy satin. Why? I had a vision of making a skirt using Vogue 8882 which I had in my stash, and I have never come across heavy printed satin to purchase before. I can confirm that this fabric went through a hot 60 degree pre-wash and the colours did not fade or streak and the fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. Overall, I am really happy with my experience of using Fashion Formula and I would definitely consider using them again.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

On to the pattern review! First I will say I made the top using McCalls 6886 and an acrylic sweater knit. You can see my previous versions of this pattern here, here and here.

The details:

  • Cut a size 14 (2 sizes smaller than usual)
  • Did a 0.5 inch FBA, rotating the dart back into the side seam
  • Cut off at the waist and added a 4 inch deep waistband
  • Cut off just below the elbow and added a 3 inch deep band
  • Added a neckband
  • Removed 0.25 inches from length at back before adding waistband

Initially, when I tried the sweater on, I really wasn’t too comfortable with how close fitting it is. But, after a lot of Instagram support, I have decided I do actually like it, and I wore it all day yesterday with a denim skirt.

Vogue 8882 Pattern Review

The main review is below, but I just wanted to point out the major issue I had with this skirt, which was in relation to the hemming. So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully (see here), and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do. I have since found out that buckram is usally only recommended for bag making etc. Why Vogue recommend it is beyond me, unless it comes in different weights?

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt – satin bias tape facing hem finish

Pattern Description:
Flared skirt (cut on crosswise grain) has waistband, pleats and back zipper. A, B, D: Interfaced hemline. C: Contrast waistband. D: Attached tie ends. E: High-low hemline, wrong side shows. C, E, F: Narrow hem.

I made view B.

Note that this skirt is cut on the cross grain.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I DID NOT like the suggestion to use buckram for the hem interfacing – see below.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I actually really do like the finished skirt shape. I think it’s quite easy to wear and flattering. I REALLY DISLIKE the suggestion to use buckram as the hem interfacing.

So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully, and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do.
Fabric Used:
A custom printed heavy satin from Fashion Formula, based in the UK.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Absolutely no alterations made. If I was making this skirt again I would reduce the height of the waistband by about 5/8ths inch – it’s a little too high for me. I did substitute an invisible zip in as the back closure.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again. I do recommend – its a pretty easy sew – just don’t go near the buckram.
Conclusion:
I am glad to have this skirt in my closet because I think I can dress it up or down and it’s a perfect colour for spring.

At the beginning of May, after a career break of 5 years, I am returning to my former job as a project manager in the field of Animal Health Pharmaceuticals (3 days a week). So, blogging and sewing may slow down somewhat, and perhaps, stylewise, I may sew different things? Who knows. What I do know is I am too addicted to sewing to give up altogether. Here’s looking forward to a new phase in life! Happy Easter and happy sewing.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

 

McCalls 7542: DIY Statement Pleated Sleeve Blue White Stripe Cotton Top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Hello Friends!

This year is, apparently, the #yearofthesleeve, and I decided to dip my toe into this trend by making up McCalls 7542 in a blue and white stripe cotton shirting (another trend of the moment) purchased from Fabworks.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

I have to say that I really had mixed feelings about the bodice for this top as I was making it, and I do think that for lots of people, some amount of adjustment may need to be made. But, having worn it for the day, I have to say I do love it and especially those cool pleated sleeves.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

Lets talk proportions for a moment, shall we? This top, as drafted, is quite short and boxy. I decided to add three inches to the length. This makes this top much more wearable for me. I can wear it just like I have done in these pictures over slim trousers or skinny jeans. But, even though I added some width at the hips, it felt too tight so I ended up adding slits to the sides. I also decided to lengthen the sleeves. Or rather, I used the piece for the pleats from sleeve C, but attached them to the sleeves which I cut at the longer length, as per View D. My reasoning for doing this was because I felt I wouldn’t want to wear anything on top of this top, and, for that reason, I wanted a little more arm coverage.

There was some discussion over on Instagram about whether I should have cut the sleeves shorter but I think the new proportions work. I actually think if I had kept the shorter length as intended, the fullest part of the sleeve would probably have ended at my bust line which would have made me look wider. As the fullest part of the sleeve now ends closer to the narrowest part of my body (my waist), I think it works. But hey, I love interacting with everyone over on Instagram and its always nice to have a second opinion.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted tops have sleeve variations. Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.

I made view C but cut my sleeves at the longer line intended for view D.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes…my version is longer with longer sleeves.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I had some misgivings about the bodice as I was making it up. It is short and boxy as drafted. I made some adjustments to suit me (see below). There is a little tightness across the front of the sleeves when I raise my arms. I love the end result with the pleated sleeve. Very on trend.
Fabric Used:
Blue white cotton striped shirting.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the bust, shoulders and arms and a D cup.
  • I added 3 inches to the length.
  • Inspite of me adding some width at the side seams at the hips, when I initially tried the bodice on it felt tight in that region so I ended up adding side slits.
  • 5/8ths inch sway back adjustment, adding removed length back at hem.
  • Dropped bust dart by 0.5 inch.
  • Shortened bust dart by 1 inch (don’t know if that was really necessary).
  • Cut sleeve length as per view D (but used pleated sleeve pattern piece from view C).
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment (adding the extra one inch to the pleated sleeve pattern piece; 0.5 inch to either side seam allowance).
  • Lowered back opening slit by further 2 inches. Be warned: some people may want to lower the neckline a bit. In the end I left it as is and its fine for me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I want too many of these in my wardrobe, but I might like to try another view and maybe try it is something with more drape like a viscose.
Conclusion:
Make this one up fast for summer because fashions come and go. Right now, I feel very on trend wearing this.

Have a great week ahead!

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

 

Pauline Alice Tello Jacket: DIY Utility Military Khaki Jacket with Patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

Hello again Friends,

Today I wanted to share a jacket I made using one of Pauline Alice’s latest patterns: the Tello jacket. I tested this pattern for Pauline, under no obligation, and liked it enough to make a final version up. Pauline did send me a final copy of the pattern, together with a copy of the new Botanic trousers (BTW, love the look of those!) but all my opinions are my own.

Pauline describes the Tello jacket as “a classic utility jacket, unlined and with many pockets. It features a topstitched collar, one-piece sleeves with dart, one vertical zipped chest pocket with lined interior and one patch pocket, large hip pockets and six button closures”.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

As you can see from my version, I omitted the chest pockets, did a FBA which brought in a bust dart, and added iron-on military inspired patches to add a bit of interest (please don’t anyone comment on the authenticity of my patch selection! I just went for ones that would look good, lol). My fabric is a lightly brushed cotton twill trousering from Croft Mill fabrics. It is rather heavy weight but it’s softening down with wear. I could see this jacket made up in so many different fabrics which would all give unique looks: denim, cord, linen or even a printed fabric.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

As ever with Pauline’s patterns she really thinks of interesting details which elevate even her basic patterns to something special. Here I have included a close up of the topstitched elbow dart, and the angled patch pocket at the hips which extend back over the side seam.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – topstitched elbow dart detail

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – hip patch pocket detail

For the inside finish I chose to use a combination of a bound finish (around the facings/ yoke and centre back seam), and an overlocked finish. This is something I see a lot in RTW and I am happy enough with the finish on this style of jacket.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – inner jacket front view

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – inner jacket back view

Here is a list of modifications I made:

  • Omitted breast pockets
  • 1 inch FBA which brought in a bust dart
  • Graded out at hips at front and back side seams and also added a little to the lower part of the centre back seam. (Pauline tells me the final pattern has had the hip circumference increased slightly. Note, I do fall slightly outside Pauline’s hip measurements)
  • Widened hip patch pockets by 1.5 inches
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to hem
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • Shortened sleeve by 1 inch
  • Lowered armholes by 1 inch (Pauline tells me armhole depth has been increased in the final pattern)
  • Lengthened jacket by 1.5 inches

 

Things I love about this jacket

  • I don’t have a style like this in my wardrobe
  • I think it is very on-trend, especially in the khaki colour, and I feel cool wearing it
  • It is only 27 pages long and has only 9 pieces – not too many for a jacket
  • I see so many PDF patterns now retailing for 12 euros/ USD plus: I think the price is so reasonable! (BTW, this jacket is also available in paper format)

 

Things you should watch out for

  • Depending on your fabric it might be worth considering added at least a half lining. I do find it a little hard to get this jacket on and off easily. But it’s totally not going to stop me wearing it!
  • Also, the pattern does not call for interfacing at all (intentional). I chose to interface my facings, yoke and collar.

At least over this past weekend and today it has been beautiful blue skies and warmer. I don’t know if that is set to last, but I have already been wearing this jacket and I just love it. Check out Pauline’s shop for some offers on her newest range of 3 patterns, which include this one.

See you all soon and thanks so much to everyone who has voted for me so far in the Dressmaker of the year contest.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

 

Dressmaker of the Year Competition – please vote for me!

Shortlisted

Dear Friends,

I have some exciting news and a favour to ask of you.

Remeber this coat I made for Kezia?

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Vogue 9043 DIY Linton Tweed Girls Flared Coat

I entered it into The Dressmaker of the Year Competition, and it has been shortlisted in two categories: the childrens wear category (which will be decided by the judges), and also in the Readers Choice category – which is where you come in. I would be so grateful if you could take a moment to click on this link and go vote for me!

Voting is open until 25th April and if you do vote you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of 11 sewing books and subscription to Sew or Make it Today magazine – that’s a prize worth over £230.

It’s a great honour to have been shortlisted and tomorrow I have to parcel the coat off and send it off to be judged! Exciting.

Until soon. I mean, how could you resist that little face? 🙂

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Vogue 9043 DIY Linton Tweed Girls Flared Coat

Butterick 6288 and Vogue 1517: DIY Silk Shirt and Pull on Ponte Pants by Anne Klein

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Friends,

has it really been a month since I last posted? Wow. I have been sewing…quite a bit…but a few things I can’t share with you just yet, and then the weather…oof! I was holding off for some outdoor shots of this outfit, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Also, I know this post includes photos of pants/ trousers that you can’t see too much detail of, but you’re just going to have to go with it.

Let’s start with the shirt, and first of all the printed fabric, which kindly sent to me by a new-to-me fabric supplier: FC Fabric Studio, based in London. This is a gorgeous abstract printed silk crepe de chine, priced very reasonably, at £8/m. It pre-washed absolutely fine and feels wonderfully light and airy to wear (the contrast plain blue silk crepe de chine was in my stash, and by contrast just refuses to look anything but slightly rumpled). Go check their website out because they have a good variety of high fashion fabrics at reasonable prices, with new stock being added every day. They sent me a second piece of silk (this one if you want to see), so expect that to pop up sometime soon.

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt

The pattern I used to make this shirt was Butterick 6288, view B with the sleeves from view C. I did make some alterations to the pattern (see below), but the main thing I wanted to mention was the fit through the bust. I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, arms and bust, and the finished pattern measurements give the finished bust size as 52 inches. This might sound like a lot (it is!) but be warned this measurement may well include the fullness through the back – whereas I need fullness through the front! That’s why I did a 1 inch FBA. However, I don’t know if it is to do with the fact my bust dart is about 1 inch too low, or if I need a bigger FBA, but I feel like I could do with a little more width through the upper chest. I mean, I am definitely going to wear this shirt as is, but for next time round I have moved the dart up by 1 inch and added a further 0.5 inch to the FBA, this time slicing up almost to the shoulder seam to give more room there (Fit for Real People call this a Y-Bust alteration).

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

In lieu of interfacing I used silk organza. I omitted all directions to hand stitch, using the burrito method to attach the yokes and adding top stitching only where necessary. I overlocked the side seams but french seamed the sleeve seams and sleeves into the armholes. Some details:

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt contrast placket

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt hidden button placket

Pattern Review Butterick 6288

Pattern Description:
Very loose-fitting shirt has collar, collar and front bands, self-lined yoke back, back longer than front, wrong side shows, narrow hem, and fly front button closing. A: Bias armholes facings, pockets, and topstitching. B: Stitched hem on sleeves. A, B: Side slits, back pleat and gathers. C: Back pleats, shaped hemline, continuous lap and button cuffs on sleeves.

I made view B with the sleeves from view C.
Pattern Sizing:
8 – 24
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
They are ok but I prefer to use my own methods of construction which don’t involve hand sewing.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I do like the finished shirt with the split hem and the relaxed fit. The button placket took a little bit of working out. I didn’t like all the instructions to use hand sewing.
Fabric Used:
Patterned silk crepe de chine for the main body of the shirt (FC Fabric Studio) with a contrast plain silk crepe de chine for the cuffs, sleeve plackets, button bands, collar stand and collar.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, arms and bust and graded out 2 sizes at the hip.
  • Although the finished pattern measurements for a size 18 are given as 52 inches, this may include the fullness at the back. So I elected to do a 1 inch FBA. My bust darts are about 1 inch too low. Whether it is due to the bust dart position, or whether it is because I need a bigger FBA, I feel like I need more room across the upper chest. So I have altered the pattern for next time, adding a further 0.5 inch to the FBA, and slicing up almost to the shoulder seam (Fit for People call this a Y-Bust alteration). I will still wear this shirt!
  • Shortened sleeve by 2 inches.
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment – adding removed length back to hem.
  • Increased armhole depth by 0.5 inch.
  • Used silk organza in place of interfacing.
  • Ignored instructions to handstitch and top stitched where necessary.
  • Used burrito method to attach yokes.
  • I overlocked the side seams, but french seamed the sleeve seams and the sleeves into the armholes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I might sew again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
This is a fun take on the traditional button down shirt and I like the way the button placket doesn’t go all the way up to the top of the neck but has that neck lengthening V-shape.

Now the pants. They are made using Vogue 1517, which is an Anne Klein pattern, and some ponte knit. Someday I am going to make the jacket from this pattern. Anyway, I have never owned or sewn ponte knit pants, but I thought I would try them out. Two things you should know about these pants:

  1. They are pull on pants and the instructions have you sew in an exposed (on the inside) elastic waistband. I didn’t like that idea (largely because I had white elastic!) so I cut two waistbands and encased the elastic inside.
  2. They feature a centre front and back seam detail which I actually thought were edge stitched, but it turns out they are just topstitched in place. TBH it’s probably a good thing they are not edgestitched because, at least for the back, the seams are no where near the centre of the back of my leg. I have altered the pattern for future use to move the seam over by 1.5 inches.
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Vogue 1517 Pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Initially, I put the finished pants on and thought “meh”. They made me feel like I was wearing track suit bottoms. But I have worn them properly for the first time today, all day, and I have to say I am sold on  how comfortable they are but how smart they look. They didn’t bag out or stretch; I do recommend. Perfect for a day in the car, office or travelling. BTW, you can see a bit of the back fit in this instagram photo.

Pattern Review Vogue 1517

Pattern Description:
Close-fitting pants have elasticized waistband, seam detail, and stitched hem
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished pants. So comfortable but still smart. They have kept their shape after a day of wearing, mainly sitting. I didn’t like the instruction to have the elastic exposed inside, but I just cut two waistbands and enclosed the elastic inside.
Fabric Used:
Ponte knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Full butt adjustment to raise the height of the back waistline up by about 2 inches.
  • Removed 5/8ths inch from inner back seam.
  • Tapered lower legs slightly to suit.
  • Shaped the straight waistband by removing two 0.5 inch wedges from the upper edge.
  • For next time I have already scooped out the front crotch about 0.25 inch and added 0.25 inch to the legnth of the front crotch and also removed 3/4 inch from the length.
  • Note that the centre back seams are not central, at least on my legs, so I have moved the seam over by 1.5 inches for next time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I believe I might. Yes, I definitely recommend.
Conclusion:
I didn’t think I would like these pants as much as I do but I am a convert. Perfect smart casual piece.

*Check out this post for links on how I did the full butt adjustment on a previous pair of pants.

**Also, this instagram photo shows how I did the same adjustment on these particular pants across the princess seams.

Back soon – until then, happy sewing!

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt: DIY Plaid Shirt with Pearl Snaps – now with FBA!

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Hi Friends,

I think this is my 7th time of making this pattern. Quite a record for me. This is my third plaid version. I have also made versions in denim, linen and cotton shirting and voile. BUT this version is an new and (mainly) improved version.

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Why start messing around with a pattern on the 7th time of making you ask? Well, it started when I was featured in one of the “Same Pattern, Different Bodies” posts, about the Archer Shirt, on the Curvy Sewing Collective. (If you read through the comments section on that post, you will see that I did get rather irritated. Oh dear!) Anyway, moving on, one of the commentators said that she felt that all the shirts that were featured basically needed an FBA. I have never felt like I needed to do an FBA on the Archer shirt, but here’s the thing, when you sew a shirt in plaid then the checks can be very telling when it comes to the fit. Here are the first two versions of this shirt, sewn in plaid, without the FBA:

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Jalie Eleonore Pull on Jeans: DIY Mustard Jeggings worn with Grainline Archer Shirt

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Plaid Flannel Archer Button Up Shirt

I don’t think the checks look too bad over the bust, but I decided that maybe I could do with just a small 0.5 inch FBA. So that is what I did, using the method described by Paprika Patterns (how to do a FBA on a dartless shirt). I eliminated the dart, and redrafted the side seam as I decided I did not want a bust dart interfering with any futher plaid versions of this pattern I might make.

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Yes, I think the checks now lie just that tiny bit more horizontal. So FBA successfully completed.

Other changes I also made:

  • I finally got round to adding 0.25 inches to the armholes, sleeves and side seams to facilitate flat fell finishing all those seams.
  • I don’t mind using the continous lapped placket method for some shirts – in fact for light weight fabrics I probably prefer that method – but for more weightier fabrics I think a tower placket is more appropriate. So that’s what I did on this shirt, using this tutorial from Off The Cuff – excellent tutorial and surprisingly easy to do.

 

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt – tower placket detail

Now let’s talk about what is not so good: the comically large cuffs. Readers, I am completely baffled as to why the cuffs are as large as they are. I didn’t add anything to the cuff seam allowances, I did the pleats as usual, and the only thing I can think of is that either the plackets have somehow made them bigger, or that this fabric has just somehow grown?! I am stumped. Another version will probably have to be made to investigate. Sigh.

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

This is my first time using pearl snaps, and I basically followed exactly what VeryKerryBerry says to do in this tutorial, including buying the pliers and a set of Prym jersey snaps so that I would have the plastic attachments. Conclusion: using the Prym snaps gave the best results (rather than the generic snaps), and using the pliers with the plastic attachments gave pretty much fool proof results.

I love how cosy this version of this shirt is, and let’s face it, spring, at least in this corner of the world, is still a way off. If I can resolve the cuff issue this will continue to be a firm favourite.

Happy sewing!

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Grainline Studio Archer Shirt

Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 and Kwik Sew 3504: DIY Red Dress and Men’s Jeans: Valentines Outfits

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Hello Dear Readers,

Life has been busy and it’s taken me longer than I would have liked to have blogged. But here I am back today, sharing my most recent makes: a red wool crepe dress I made for myself and a pair of jeans I made for Philip, both for Valentines day.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Let’s talk about my dress first! This was made using a Plus Size Burdastyle pattern 08/2016#131. This is my first Burdastyle dress. I really didn’t know where I would be in terms of fit with this pattern, so I made a muslin (long time readers of this blog will know how much I dislike making muslins!). Anywho. Thanks to Instagram friends (who helped an awful lot with this dress), I learned that Burdastyle Plus Size patterns are apparently drafted for a D cup. Who would have thought? I refer you to this post from the Curvy Sewing Collective which is a great resource for plus size sewists. Long story short, I didn’t do an FBA on this dress, and the fit through the bust is good. In fact, I did minimal adjustments – you can find the full details in my review below.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

The fashion fabric is a wool mix crepe. When I made my muslin I felt it would benefit from some extra width through the hips and I added some extra to the seam allowances. But this fabric behaved quite differently to the muslin fabric and I ended up removing any extra I had added in. The dress is unlined, and in an effort to make the insides feel special I made around 18 metres of bias binding from left over viscose lining and used it to bind every seam using the hong kong method of seam finishing. Time consuming but worth it I think.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

You just get to see a cheeky peek of the gold binding at the back vent slit.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Over on Instagram there was quite a discussion as to what might be causing the diagonal wrinkles through the forearms of the sleeves. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to comment on that post and offer up suggestions. Sheryll (who authors the amazing blog Pattern, Scissors, Cloth), offered up what I thought sounded the most promising solution: she thought the sleeve head was too short, and the way to fix it was to lower the underarm of the sleeve only to balance things out so that the bicep line becomes horizontal. Well, I tried pinning some fabric out of the underarm of the sleeve only, and…it didn’t seem to work. So…the next approach was try and slim the sleeve down (I had, of course, already bound all the edges by this point – thank  you Amanda who suggested looking at that). Well…that’s what I ended up doing: I ended up removing approx 1.5 inches of width from the sleeves. It is better. I can live with it…but if I made this dress again I would try and figure out what was going on a bit better.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
A sheath style dress. The inlaid pleats and the attached tying band give definition at the waist, while smoothing over any extra padding in the area. Darts in the elbow add extra shape to the sleeves.
Pattern Sizing:
44 – 52
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not really. This is burdastyle. I think the first part of the instructions are missing. I didn’t understand how they wanted you to do the vent, so I did my own thing. Saying that, everything worked out ok in the end. It’s probably worth making a muslin so you can understand what they want you to do – particularly in reference to the pleating at the waist.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished dress with the asymmetric waist pleating and the tie which comes around the back and ties in front. I love that Burdastyle patterns are apparently drafted for a D cup – I didn’t have to do an FBA on this dress. In fact, minimal alterations were required. There are some diagonal lines in the forearm of the sleeve – most of these seemed to come out when I tightened the sleeve up. I would need to investigate this further if making this dress again.
Fabric Used:
Wool mix crepe. This dress is unlined so I made around 18 metres of bias binding using left over viscose lining fabric and used a hong kong technique to finish every seam.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 0.5 inch sway back adjustment.
  • Shortened skirt length by 3/8ths inch
  • Shortened sleeve by 1 inch
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment (turned out this was probably unnecessary – at least in the wool crepe – as I ended up narrowning the sleeves by approx. 1.5 inches)
  • Interfaced zipper openings and hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I would make another of these, but it’s a great pattern. I recommend.
Conclusion:
I love this modern classic style. I think this dress could take me to many places.

Now, a brief mention of the jeans. I first made these back towards the end of 2015 for Philip. The main alterations to these jeans were to shorten the rise by two inches, slim the legs down, add interfacing to the waistband, remove approx. 5/8ths inch from the waist either side, front and back, and narrow the hips down. Here they are being modelled – the fabric is a lightweight denim purchased I think from Mandors in Glasgow.

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

I also added some valentines day appropriate embroidery to the inner waistband and made some bias binding to bind the waistband.

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans: inner waistband embroidery and bound waistband detail

Now, I expect you are all dying to know what my husband’s thoughts were on the dress and the jeans. Well, he liked the improved fit on the jeans. But the dress…hmmm…in his (paraphrased) words…the dress is not tight enough or low cut enough. LOL. I have said it before, and say it again, husband, you stick to cutting up and sewing patients together and I will stick to cutting up and sewing fabric to make things that please me to wear. We had a lovely lunchtime valentines day date. Hope you enjoyed the week and have a great week ahead.

Bye for now!

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

 

 

New Look 6374: DIY Dark Floral Tunic Top

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

Hello Friends,

How are you? Today I am sharing a tunic top that I completed a couple of weeks ago, using New Look 6374. It’s a simple little top that I made using some dark floral polyester fabric that I purchased locally to me. In our climate I don’t have a problem wearing the odd polyester item and I just couldn’t resist the print and – bonus – it doesn’t crease up easily either. IMO it’s the perfect top to wear over skinny jeans if you like more coverage in the back (at least if you sew View A like I did).

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

As ever, you can read my full review below, but the one thing I wanted to point out is that for me, initially, when I tried the top on, it felt very high up into my underarm. Like uncomfortably so. I subsequently went back and resewed the underarm portion taking a smaller seam allowance which made the top  feel much more comfortable (and wearable!) I have adjusted the pattern to lower the armhole depth by 0.5 inches, but I might even go slightly deeper than this. I know Beth made this pattern up without issue so this particular pecularity could just be me!

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Misses’ top pattern includes half sleeve top with shirt tail hem, sleeveless top with contrast yoke and band, sleeveless top with contrast yoke, and 3/4 sleeve top with contrast yoke, center front and sleeve band.

I made view A.
Pattern Sizing:
10 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but I didn’t like the instruction to finish the hem before sewing up the side seams. I ignored that.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the finished top. I think its the perfect tunic top to wear over skinny jeans, especially view A, if you like more coverage in the back. I like the placket construction: they came out nice and I like the slight V-shape formed by the plackets – flattering. I would probably have preferred if the back yoke had been double layer and not single.
Fabric Used:
Polyester.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut my usual size at the bust/ shoulders and graded out a size at the waist and a further size at the hips. I also ended up only using 3/8ths of an inch seam allowance below the bust.
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • o.5 inch sway back adjustment.
  • I found that, initially, when I tried the top on, it felt very high up into my underarm. Like uncomfortably so. I subsequently went back and resewed the underarm portion taking a smaller seam allowance which made the top  feel much more comfortable (and wearable!) I have adjusted the pattern to lower the armhole depth by 0.5 inches, but I might even go slightly deeper than this.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I would sew this again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
If you like longer length loose fitting tunic tops with the shirttail hem then try this one out.

Current world events maybe unsettling and frightening but here’s hoping things get better. Have a great week ahead!

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

 

Vintage Style Pattern 3247: DIY Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

Hello There Friends,

This is the last of my unblogged projects from last year, and, I think, my first ever project sewn using a vintage pattern. The pattern used was Style 3247; you can see the (obviously aged!) pattern envelope below. (I wonder who Mrs. Clark was and which part of the world she lived in?)

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Pattern Envelope

The pattern actually has rather cleverly designed facings which mean the front buttons are fully functioning, and how the pattern intends you to get in and out of the dress. I decided that a double breasted look was not going to be the most flattering for me, and so I decided to omit the front opening and instead install an invisible zip in the centre back seam. I also ended  up adding some fish eye darts in the back to provide more shaping.

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

Here are some inside shots. The pattern included facing pieces but as the outer fashion fabric is a wool/ cashmere blend that I purchased locally to me and is dry clean only, I opted to also add a full lining. The pattern made no mention of interfacing but I did add interfacing to all the facing pieces, as well as to the centre back seam where the zipper was being inserted. I also chose to draft hem facing pieces to finish the hems.

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress – front facings and lining

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress – hem facing

Pattern Alteration/ Sewing Notes:

  • Omitted front opening and inserted centre back invisible zip
  • Removed 2.25 inches from length and ended up taking 1 inch seam allowance when attaching hem facings
  • Drafted hem facings
  • Added full lining in addition to facings
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length being added back to lower back hem
  • Added interfacing to all facing pieces and to centre back seam
  • Added fish eye darts to back
  • Narrowed shoulder straps (removing approx. 5/8ths inch from outer edge of each strap)
  • If making again consider narrowing width at front neckline

So, anyway, after I saw the pictures….I don’t know…I just wasn’t sold on this whole look for me. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I feel like it makes me look broader somehow through the front? Is it the square neckline? Is it the lack of waist seaming? Maybe it’s one of those garments I just need time to play around with and style a few different ways? It is lovely and warm and I like the colour. But hmmm….at present it’s not a wadder, but just a bit meh.

That’s the last of my 2016 makes! Already sewn up a tunic style top and most of an Archer shirt in 2017…but this week I am doing a spot of pattern testing.

Until soon!

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Vintage Style Pattern 3247 Wool Cashmere Mini Houndstooth Pinafore Jumper Dress

 

 

 

 

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