Pauline Alice Eliana Top and Butterick 6331: DIY Gauze Peasant Style Top and White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans: Stylish Fabric

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

Hi All,

Today I am so excited to share a perfect summer outfit made using fabrics from L.A based Stylish Fabric. They got in touch with me recently and asked if I wanted to try out some of their fabrics. The fabrics in this post were provided at no cost to me, but as ever, my opinions are my own.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top.

The blouse was made using this gorgeous cotton and rayon gauze in blush colour. This fabric is delicious to wear and was easy to sew. I was expecting it to fray like mad, but it didn’t. I overlocked all my seam allowances. One thing I would say to watch out for is that I think this fabric shrunk quite a bit in the wash (unless I wasn’t sent as much as I initally thought?) I asked for 3 yards but I think I had about 2 yards (?) to play with. So, yep, not sure why that was. But, no matter, I ended up with a beautiful blouse that I will be happy to wear in hot weather.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

The jeans are made using this white denim (currently 60% off). This non-stretch denim is the perfect weight for denim jeans, and is, I would say, ever so slightly off white. It washed, pressed and sewed beautifully. I used a Schmetz jeans needle and Gutterman top stitching thread, even though you can’t of course see the details. Full details on patterns below.

Top:

  • Made using Pauline Alice Eliana Dress pattern modified to top length. You can see my first version of the top hack here.
  • Moved the bust dart up by 1 inch.
  • Added 3/8ths inch to side seams at hip.
  • Made narrower self bias tape to bind the neckline and sleeve openings.

Jeans:

  • Made using Butterick 6331. See first version of these pants here and my floral version here.
  • These white denim jeans were actually version number 2, so see my first version for details of pattern amendments. Even though I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern from version number 1, these feel very different. Amazing what changing the fabric can do. These are boyfriend style, so fairly loose fitting, but still quite slim I think.
  • I essentially followed the Closet Case Ginger Jeans instructions to make these.
  • Interfaced the fly.
  • Omitted interfacing in the waistband.
  • Used lining fabric for the pocket bags to cut down on bulk.
  • Added back pockets, fly shield and topstitching.
  • Extended length of waistband by about 5 inches (much better to have too much length IMO that can be shortened as required).

Thanks to Stylish Fabric for the opportunity to add some really versatile pieces to my wardrobe. Sometimes plain basics can be the most valuable thing you can make!

Happy sewing!

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Pauline Alice Eliana Dress modified to top and Butterick 6331 White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans. All fabric from Stylish Fabric.

 

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress: DIY Fixed Wrap Jersey Dress

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

Hi Everyone,

I am probably one of the few sewists out there who has yet to find a wrap dress pattern they love. I kind of came to the conclusion that maybe true wrap dresses were not meant for me (constant fiddling/ fear of coming undone), so when Pauline Alice was kind enough to send me a copy of her Aldaia dress I was very happy to see that one of the bodice options offered was a surplice design. Coupled with the option to have a 6-gore skirt, I decided this was as close to my dream wrap dress as I was ever going to get.

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

There is not much to say about this dress which I won’t cover in my review (below), except to say I genuinely do LOVE this pattern! I made virtually no changes (at least not the “major” standard changes that I typically have to do), and I love the fit and finished dress. Couple of things to note:

  1. I think I sewed two of my front panels the wrong way, so the centre panel is on the side, and a side panel is in the centre. Shhhhh.
  2. The pattern instructs you to twin needle around the neckband. I tried this and it was a hot mess (in hindsight I wish I had used my walking foot, as I did on the hem). No matter, I unpicked the twin needling around the neck band and left well enough alone.
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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

The most amazing thing about this pattern is the number of different options which are included: 3 different bodice styles, 3 different skirt styles and 3 different sleeve styles. You can mix and match all the options to create your dream knit dress. I am now desperately searching for printed jersey fabrics that I like, and I am definitely going to try this out in a ponte knit and a wool jersey for autumn. Another winning pattern from Pauline!

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

The Aldaia dress is designed for knit fabrics, with no closure so it can be pulled up easily. Front princess seams and back darts make the bodice easy to fit. You can mix all the different necklines, sleeves and skirts options to make a unique dress.

View A: V neck, elbow length sleeves with bands and short panelled skirt.

View B: wrap style bodice, sleeveless and below-the-knee pencil skirt.

View C: jewel neckline finished with facing, short sleeves and 6-gore skirt.

I made the wrap style bodice from view B, the 6-gore skirt from view C and the elbow length sleeves from view A.
Pattern Sizing:
Size 34 to 48
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 this pattern, and all the variations that are included with the pattern. 3 different bodice styles, 3 different skirt styles and 3 different sleeve options. I love the fixed wrap bodice that I chose to use – so flattering and a perfect fit for me right out of the envelope. No gaping. Love the 6 gore skirt option that I also chose to use. Just love! Nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:
Cotton jersey purchased locally to me.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Shortened sleeves by 1.5 inches
  • Slimmed the arms and bands down by 0.5 inches
  • Shortened the neckband by 1 inch. For next time I have also removed a further 0.5 inch from the centre back of the neckband
  • Lengthened skirt by 2 inches

I did not have to do a FBA, sway back adjustment or full arm adjustment on this dress!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Totally yes I want to try this dress is jersey again, but also in a ponte knit and wool jersey. Yes I recommend.
Conclusion:
It doesn’t happen often and it might not happen for you, but for me, this dress is just so easy to fit, sew and wear.

Have a great week ahead everyone! We are currently enjoying a spell of warm, dry weather. Long may it continue!

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Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

 

Butterick 6331 and Simplicity 2446: DIY Floral Twill Trouser Suit made using Spoonflower Fabric

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Butterick 6331 trouser and Simplicity 2446 blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Worn with white cotton Grainline Archer.

Hi Friends,

No, I am not entering a Chris Evans look-alike contest (British reference there). Today’s post features fabric kindly sent to me by Spoonflower. I am sure many of you have already heard of the eco-friendly custom printing firm. About 1.5 years ago they opened a second factory in Berlin, and to celebrate they asked a few British bloggers to be part of a Blog Tour, and make items using Spoonflower fabric. You can see the list of bloggers here on the Spoonflower Blog. The fabric I have used in this post was sent to me for no charge by Spoonflower, but all opinions are my own.

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Butterick 6331 trouser and Simplicity 2446 blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower.

I have never ordered fabric from Spoonflower before. The choice of already uploaded designs on the Spoonflower website is vast (of course the option is also there to upload your own design), and somewhat overwhelming. I searched using key words of prints I have a passion for (like dark florals), and elected to go for Jungle Passion Floral Navy by Joan McLemore, printed on to the lightweight cotton twill (58″ width).

Because of my own indecision, Spoonflower ended up sending me this fabric in two separate lengths but I was not able to detect any differences in the colours between the two lengths. I think the colours are a pretty good match to what was shown on screen when I was making my selection. I also liked the fact that, at least for the design I selected, previews were provided of the fabric made up into a cushion and a dress, so I could guage the scale of the print.

I did run the fabrics through a hot (60 degree) pre-wash before cutting out and did not notice any running, bleeding or fading. This particular fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. It’s a good weight without being too heavy and bulky. Full disclosure: will I ever wear these two pieces together? Probably not, but as separates in my wardrobe I love them and how individual and quirky they are. I already have lots of things which these items will go with.

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Butterick 6331 trouser and Simplicity 2446 blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower.

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Butterick 6331 trouser and Simplicity 2446 blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower.

Some details:

The trousers were made using Butterick 6331. This is actually my third iteration of these pants (I haven’t shown you version two yet), but you can see my first version here. For this version I took on board what some of you said in the comments and scooped out the back crotch by 0.25 inches and added 0.5 inches to the upper back thigh. I know it’s hard to see in this busy print but overall I think it’s better. Other changes for this version:

  • I fully interfaced the waistband.
  • I had to let the side seams out a touch from the waist down to the bottom of the pockets.
  • I hemmed the bottoms by hand.
  • These are trousers but with some jeans details like additional topstitching, jeans button and bar tacks.
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Butterick 6331 Floral Twill Trousers – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Topstitching detail.

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Butterick 6331 Floral Twill Trousers – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Inside view of waistband and (modified) fly facing.

The blazer was made using Simplicity 2446, which I first made in wool ponte. I do love my first version, and since going back to work, have worn it a few times. But the shoulders are too big (although I did go back and alter them to be smaller). So for this version I made sure to do a small shoulder adjustment.

  • I did a 5/8ths inch small shoulder adjustment.
  • I shaved 0.25 inches off all the shoulder princess seams above the bust.
  • I added a centre back seam for shaping.
  • I shortened the pocket bag length by 1.5 inches.
  • I added small ready made shoulder pads but omitted sleeve heads and chest reinforcement.
  • You can see a picture of the internal interfacing here on Instagram if you want.

My previous two blazers have taken me approx. 3 weeks each to make: I slaved over this blazer to get it done in a week! Gosh it was tough but overall I am pretty happy with the finished result.

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Simplicity 2446 Floral Twill Blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower.

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Simplicity 2446 Floral Twill Blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Front lapel detail.

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Simplicity 2446 Floral Twill Blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Welt pocket with flap detail.

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Simplicity 2446 Floral Twill Blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Welt pocket detail.

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Simplicity 2446 Floral Twill Blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower. Sleeve vent detail.

Like I say, being honest, I don’t think I would be brave enough to go full on head to toe pattern,  but as individual pieces I think these are going to get worn lots. I am also very proud of how far I have come on with my sewing techniques tackling things like the welt pockets and sleeve vents and even the trouser fitting and sewing.

Happy sewing everyone!

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Butterick 6331 trouser and Simplicity 2446 blazer – made using Jungle Passion floral navy lightweight cotton twill from Spoonflower.

 

 

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

 

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