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McCalls 7543: DIY Off the Shoulder Top

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McCalls 7543 Off the Shoulder Top – worn with Simplicity 8019 Denim Skirt

Hi Friends,

Today is a quick review of McCalls 7543, view A. This is a great little pattern which sews up fast with minimal alterations and has some good variations included in the envelope.

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McCalls 7543 Off the Shoulder Top

I think I am with a lot of fuller busted women who feel they perhaps can’t partake in the off the shoulder look because of bra issues: or rather we hate to wear strapless bras. I wanted to try this particular view out because it has straps which I hoped were bra friendly. And on the whole they are. The way you are instructed to sew this top is to attach the straps in the back of the top first, before creating the casing for the elastic. The straps are sewn to the front of the top at the last step. So whilst I was able to move the straps over in the front of the top, in the back it hasn’t been quite as successful. That’s not to say I won’t wear this top because I do like it, but if I make this top again I know I need to move the straps out, and by how much.

The fabric, BTW, is from my stash. It’s a cotton with an embroidered/ cut work scalloped border. The border just ran along one side of the 2 metre length of fabric I had so I just had enough to cut the front and back pieces. Maybe I should have had the scalloped edges along the sleeve hems but it is what it is. A fun piece to wear on hot days (if we ever get them!)

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McCalls 7543 Off the Shoulder Top

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Pullover tops, tunic and dress have elastic on shoulders and sleeve variations. A: Straps. C: Shaped hemline.

I made view A
Pattern Sizing:
4 – 26
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 like the finished top. It comes together very quickly with little fussing. I like the option to have straps. I widened mine slightly but I need to alter the strap position in the back of the top for next time to cover my bra straps better. The straps are sewn in place in the back of the top first before the casing is created and the straps are secured in the front of the top as the final step, so it does make altering the back strap position more difficult. But we will call this a wearable muslin. Nothing to dislike as such.
Fabric Used:
A cotton with an embroidered/ cut work scalloped border along one length. I cut the fabric on the cross grain to utilise the border.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 0.5 inch sway back adjustment, adding length back to hems.
  • Used 0.25 inch seam allowance to sew the straps so the finished strap width was 1 inch.
  • Moved the straps out on the front of the top but need to do this for the back next time round.
  • Shortened straps by approx. 1.5 inches.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might. I like the other options that are included. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
Cute and fun, I will wear this top if we ever get hot weather but I will alter the back strap position for nex time.

Until soon!

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McCalls 7543 Off the Shoulder Top

Butterick 6331: DIY Pale Pink Trousers

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Butterick 6331 trousers in bengaline (worn with blue denim Grainline Archer shirt)

Friends,

Pink is having a moment in the fashion world apparently, and so I found some cheap pink bengaline online to make a wearable muslin of Butterick 6331 (remember, I made the trench from this pattern a few weeks back?)

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Butterick 6331 trousers in bengaline

As ever, full review below, but overall I like these. This trouser pattern is a useful one to have in the stash because it is intended for woven, non-stretch fabrics and is an easy sew. It has a back yoke (so essentially it is a basic jeans pattern), front pockets and tapered legs. In fact, I have already made these again in a white denim as a boyfriend style jeans (you can see a sneak peak here on Instagram). Here’s the dreaded back view:

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Butterick 6331 trousers in bengaline

There are some diagonal lines under the bottom: I am no pants fitting expert but I have removed a tiny bit of width from the inner back leg and scooped a tiny bit out of the back crotch for next time (any experts please chime in!)

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Butterick 6331 trousers in bengaline

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Loose-fitting, unlined, double-breasted jacket has notched collar, side-front seams and pockets, belt loops, back button shield, elasticized back casing, tie ends, stitched hems, two-piece, rolled raglan sleeves (wrong side shows). A: Below elbow sleeves and button tabs. Semi-fitted, tapered pants (slightly below waist) have waistband, belt loops, side-front pockets, yoke back, and mock-fly zipper. C: Cropped.

I made 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.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like that the pattern is intended for non-stretch woven fabrics and is essentially a jeans pattern, with a back yoke, pockets and tapered legs. Nothing to dislike, although I will add a fly shield next time round.

Fabric Used:

A pink bengaline which actually has lengthwise stretch. I stitched the crotch seam using my stretch stitch to prevent any stitching from popping.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 2.75 inch full butt adjustment.
  • Removed 1 inch in length from above the knee.
  • Changed the straight waistband to a contoured waistband and interfaced both sides.
  • Interfaced zipper area.
  • Slimmed leg seams down slightly once sewn by removing 0.5 inch from the side front and back seams below the knee.
  • Removed 3 inches from the length.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Really, this was a wearable muslin and I have already sewn this up again as boyfriend style white denim jeans. Review coming soon! Yes I recommend.

Conclusion:

Quick to make and very easy to wear. I like the smart, casualness of them and the fact they are a different silhouette for me, and not another pair of skinny jeans!

I seem to be a on a jeans sewing kick at the moment (just finished a pair of ginger jeans which I love!) hope your sewing is going well.

Until soon.

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Butterick 6331 trousers in bengaline

 

McCalls 6885: DIY Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

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McCalls 6885 Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

Hello Friends from Sunny Cumbria,

It’s  not often I write that! But we have been enjoying some sunny weather lately and I thought I would share this shirt dress I finished recently – infact, I am wearing it right now!

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McCalls 6885 Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

This is McCalls 6885McCalls 6885, which I have made before, and you can see my first version and my review for this pattern here. This time around I made view View B but with the sleeves from view C, using this beautifully soft cotton gingham purchased locally to me some years back.

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McCalls 6885 Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

There is not a huge amount to say about this dress except for how glad I am to have it in my wardrobe. Gingham is very much on trend right now, but it is also timeless and this pattern is so quick, easy and satisfying to make.

Be warned, I am 5’3″ in height and had to remove 2 inches in length from the back. I debated (on Instagram) whether to add darts but in the end opted for the ties at the back and am happy with the end result (I did try darts: didn’t like how they looked). You will notice that I chose to cut my button placket and back yoke (not a standard pattern piece) on the bias to add a bit of interest and avoid having to pattern match 🙂

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McCalls 6885 Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

I want to make this dress again! But as ever, it’s that case of waiting for the right match of pattern and fabric to occur.

My first (only 2 days this week) at work went well and here’s looking forward to summer.

See you soon .

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McCalls 6885 Popover Gingham Shirt Dress

Butterick 6331: DIY Short Length Trench Coat

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Hey Friends,

I firmly believe we all learn so much from our mistakes. Everything we make, whether good or bad, is a valuable learning experience. That’s why I like to document my “failures” as well as my hits. I am not saying this trench is a complete failure…I think it will get worn, and I think I will probably try and make the pattern up again as intended, but it’s definitely not a perfect make by any means. Read on to find out why…

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Butterick 6331 is one of the Lisette patterns, designed by Liesl Gibson, and honestly, I think it’s a great little pattern (spoiler: I have already made the pants from the pattern – see here on Instagram, and love them). The problems I encountered arose from my decision to fully line this jacket. First some detail shots.

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

I added the sleeve tabs and shoulder epaulettes myself: these features are not included as part of the pattern. I substituted traditional buttons for snaps and omitted any fastenings from the front of the jacket as I wanted a clean look. I have worn the jacket a couple of times actually and it seems ok without fastenings.

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench – shoulder epaulette detail

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench – sleeve tab detail

So, as designed, the trench is intended to be unlined. Initially I was all set to do a bias bound finish on all the seams, but I started off sewing the pockets (which use 0.25 inch seam allowance I think?) and therein the problems arose. I mean, maybe I could have french seamed them or something but gosh, they looked awful. I think I am correct in saying that the Sewaholic Robson trench (which is also unlined) uses 5/8ths inch, so maybe that facilitates getting a neater finish using bias binding, and possibly the same applies to the new Deer and Doe Luzerne trench (?) but nope, wasn’t happening for this sewist. So I then made the decision to fully line the trench using a checked viscose lining I had in my stash (BTW, the outer fabric was also from my stash – a supposedly ex-Burberry shower resistant fabric I purchased some years back from eBay).

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench – inside lining

Two problems I encountered with lining this jacket:

  1. Initially I didn’t use the included facing pieces and cut a full lining using the outer jacket pattern pieces. This resulted in a show of the lining at the lapels when turned back. See here for a picture of that. So, then, I had to do a patch job with the remaining fabric I had and as a result, my lapels have a join in them, which you can just see when the jacket is being worn.
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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench – front facings

2. I just couldn’t get my head around what alterations to make to the sleeve lining to get them to join smoothly to the facing. Even now, I just don’t know what alterations to make to the pattern pieces. I mean, I did it, but it’s not perfect and, as a result, I think the sleeves are not hanging perfectly straight.

In short, a catalogue of disasters: none of which, I hasten to add, are the patterns fault. As I said above, I would like to make this jacket up again, maybe in a sturdy twill or even a linen but not add the lining!

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Loose-fitting, unlined, double-breasted jacket has notched collar, side-front seams and pockets, belt loops, back button shield, elasticized back casing, tie ends, stitched hems, two-piece, rolled raglan sleeves (wrong side shows). A: Below elbow sleeves and button tabs. Semi-fitted, tapered pants (slightly below waist) have waistband, belt loops, side-front pockets, yoke back, and mock-fly zipper. C: Cropped.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yep.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, although I added a full lining.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern itself is a good pattern (including the pants which I have also made up – review to come), and the issues I encountered were to do with my decision to add a full lining, also not helped by the fact that I had to patch my front facings which has resulted in a join which is slightly visible when the jacket is being worn. I like the overall shape and length. I would like to make this jacket up again as intended. I wanted to do a bias bound finish on the interior seams but the pockets are sewn with a 0.25 inch seam allowance (I think this is correct) and my binding just looked awful. I would love to know how the designer intended to finish the interior seams.
Fabric Used:
The outer fabric was purchased a few years ago from eBay and is supposedly an ex-Burberry shower resistant poplin (?)

The lining is a checked viscose.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, bust and arms and ended up grading out 2 sizes at the hips as well as adding a further 1 inch at the side seams.
  • Removed 3 inches from the sleeve length.
  • Lowered bust fullness by 1 inch.
  • Added 1 inch at lengthen/ shorten lines to get waist in to the right position and a further 1.5 inches below the pockets (to ensure the pockets didn’t move down too low).
  • Raised the position of the back elastic by 1.5 inches and lowered the carrier positions at the front by 6/8ths inch.
  • Added sleeve tabs and shoulder epaulettes with snaps.
  • Omitted front fastenings.
  • Added additional topstitching to the belt and belt carriers.
  • Added a full lining – I still cannot fathom what alterations I should have done to the sleeve lining to get a smooth join to the front facing. I just did it and as a result I suspect the sleeves are not hanging entirely straight.
  • Sewed through the lining on the back piece to create a “casing” through which I fed the elastic and sewed the ends closed through all layers of the jacket plus elastic.
  • Note: my front facings have a join which is just visible on one side when the lapels are turned back because I ended up having to patch my facings when I cut my lining pieces.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I do think this is a good shape for me and I would like to sew it again – but unlined! I have already made the pants from this pattern – review to follow – and they are good. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
A bit of a catalogue of errors on my part – not the fault of the pattern – but I have worn it a couple of times and I think I would like to make this one up again.

Until soon, have a great week (next week is my first week back at work, eek!). I have lots of unblogged things to come.

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Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Outfit details: red Jalie Elenore pull on jeans and striped McCalls 6886 (modified) breton top.

 

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

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