Tag Archive | sewing blogger

Kwik Sew 4015: DIY Floral Print Shower Curtain Hooded Rain Jacket Anorak

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

Hi Friends,

I think its been more than a month since my last blog post…life has been (and continues to be) busy! Kezia and I have been to the USA to attend my cousin’s wedding, and there is a post to come on the Indian outfit I made for that, but today I wanted to share a hooded anorak I made using Kwik Sew 4015 and two floral printed shower curtains, purchased from Marks and Spencers (now sold out but lots of others to choose from). Why shower curtains? I just couldn’t find anything in a shower proof fabric that had a print on it that I liked. You all know me: I like a floral print.

First up, I need to thank Ange from Blacklabel blog for kindly sending this pattern to me. Sewing friends are the best! I probably wouldn’t have bought this pattern myself, but, with some modifications, it turned out to be a corker.

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

What I didn’t realise when I bought the shower curtains, was, that actually the design ran centrally down the length of the curtain, so I needed to be careful with my cutting out to balance the design across the jacket. There was a fair bit of waste. I did spend quite a bit of time cutting this jacket out using a single layer layout, and using cut pieces to get matching mirror image pieces. I think it worked out ok in the end.

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

As designed, this jacket is intended to be lined edge to edge, with the lining providing a pop of contrast against the outer jacket fabric. I decided I didn’t want that kind of look, so I drafted a facing for the front as well as the hood. I also added elasticated cuffs and extra eyelets under the arms for ventilation.

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain – front facings and lining

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain – lining

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain – underarm eyelets

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain – elasticated cuff

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain – hood eyelet detail

One thing I would say to watch out for, is sewing the side slits: I found it hard to get the slits even on either side. I used a walking foot and french seams for most of the construction, just because I thought that would make the jacket a bit more water resistant. This is not a jacket that I would wear in heavy downpours, but light summer showers, and I think it serves that purpose well enough. It is a true shower curtain shower proof jacket 🙂

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Jackets have long sleeves. A: Stand-up collar, button closures and purchased bias binding. B: High-low hem, lined with contrast fabric, has patch pockets, hood with drawstring in casing and snap closures.

I made view B.

Pattern Sizing:

XS – XL

I made a straight size XL – I could perhaps have done a FBA but I think I have just about got away without one.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes,  but with some minor modifications.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This really is one of those patterns where you need to look beyond the envelope styling and check out the line drawings and use your imagination! I am very happy with the finished garment. I could see me making this again maybe in a solid waxed cotton? It is a cute, casual jacket. Love the hood too. Where I live, with the amount of rain we get,  hooded jackets are a must. There does seem to be a slight discrepancy in the length of the front and back shoulder seams, and also the dots for the side slits don’t seem to match.

Fabric Used:

Two floral shower curtains for the outer, with a polyester lining. I was worried it might feel too hot and sticky, but really, it doesn’t.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch sway back adjustment, with the removed length added back to the hem.
  • Drafted facings for the front and hood.
  • French seam construction.
  • I did use an iron with iron-in interfacing and a silk organza press cloth throughout.
  • Added elastic cuffs.
  • Added extra eyelets under the arms for ventilation.
  • TIP: I avoided using pins and used pattern weights to cut out and quilting clips to hold pieces together.

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

Yes, I might sew again. Yes. I recommend.

Conclusion: 

Who says rainwear has to be boring? I love my summery fun jacket that brightens up even the dullest of days.

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Kwik Sew 4015 floral hooded anorak made using a shower curtain

Hopefully it won’t be so long before the next post. I am now all about sewing for autumn…it is definitely autumn weather here. Until soon.

 

 

 

 

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Pauline Alice Faura Top and Vogue 1411: DIY white crepe tunic top and black faux leather leggings

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

*Edit: Pauline Alice kindly sent me the Faura pattern as a gift to review, but as ever, all opinions are my own.

Hi Everyone,

Today I am back with a new me-made outfit which was super speedy to sew. Let’s start with the top.

The top is the Faura Top, which is the latest offering from Pauline Alice, and comes with the option to also make it as a dress. This top features an oval (ish) neckline in the front, an opening in the back, front and back princess seams, no side seams, an A-line shape and a waist tab to provide some shaping which is fastened using D-rings. The facings are topstitched in place. As ever with Pauline’s pattern, despite this being a simple top, the details are well thought out.

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

I made mine in a viscose crepe. I rarely seem to make things in white but I am trying to make neutral basics which make getting dressed for work in the morning easy, and so that’s probably what influenced my colour choice. Not a huge amount to say about this top which I don’t cover in my pattern review below. It’s a good wardrobe basic to have and I think there are so many different looks you could achieve with this pattern depending on fabric selection.

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

Now about the leggings: these are made using Vogue 1411, a Sandra Betzina pattern and I chose to make mine from faux stretch leather. Possibly not the best fabric choice to start with on a pattern which I hadn’t tested before. Overall, I am ok with the fit and they are definitely wearable (not to work though!) The thing I am least happy with in terms of the fit is the lines I have at the backs of my knees. I am wondering if I need to do a full calf adjustment? I think I will try that if I make this again. That might also alleviate some of the lines in the front too? There is lots of interesting seaming on these leggings, which unfortunately you can’t see much of on my black fabric. Here’s the line drawing (I made view B).

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Vogue 1411 line drawing

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

They are definitely very comfortable, even if they do seem to make a somewhat alarming squeaking noise 🙂 I think these will get worn lots but I would like the chance to refine the fit somewhat.

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

Faura Top Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Top or dress which features an oval (ish) neckline in the front, an opening in the back, front and back princess seams, no side seams, an A-line shape and a waist tab to provide some shaping which is fastened using D-rings. The facings are topstitched in place.

Pattern Sizing:

Sizes 34 – 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 like the simple design with the princess seams which make doing an FBA relatively easy (you will have to add in a side seam to do the FBA but tape it back up once you have finished if you want to keep the seamless side piece). I like the waist tabs with the D-ring feature and the fit. I think it looks very contemporary. Personally speaking, I think maybe I might add in a side seam for next time: I think I would prefer something to break up the fabric there, but maybe if I had used a pattern fabric I might feel differently about that?

Fabric Used:

Viscose crepe

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch FBA
  • Added about 1 inch to the side back seams from the high hip down to the hem
  • Lengthened top by 3.5 inches
  • 1.25 inch full arm adjustment
  • Added interfacing to the facings and staystiched the necklines (not mentioned in instructions)
  • Made a bias rouleux loop and added a button for the fastening

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

Yes, I might sew again and yes I do recommend.

Conclusion:

Contemporary, comfortable and some interesting features make this top a winner.

 

Vogue 1411 Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Close-fitting pants elasticized waistband, front guide, seam detail, edgestitching and stitched hems. A: Straight leg. B: Tapered.

For moderate stretch knits only.
I made view B.

Pattern Sizing:

A – J.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes. Ish.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yep. Very thorough

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I know I will wear these and the only reason I am not fully happy with them is not to do with the pattern but the fit: I think I need to do a full calf adjustment to eliminate the lines at the back of the knees? But that is the risk you take when you don’t muslin. I love the interesting seaming detail. Also, its great that a seamless pant AND legging front is included in the pattern to cut a muslin or use to make plain front pants or leggings. Great value for money. Fitting pointers are included with the instructions.

Fabric Used:

Faux stretch leather.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I was advised on Instagram that this pattern ran a bit small so I sized up. The fit through the waist, bum and hips is good but I ended up narrowing the lower legs quite a bit
  • Added 3 inches to lower leg length, but ended up removing 2.75 inches of this.
  • FOR NEXT TIME, I would try the full calf adjustment and also a slight full bum adjustment of maybe 1 inch to raise the height of the back.

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

I would like to try these again. I do recommend.

Conclusion:

A great pattern to have in the stash: very comfortable and not your boring basic legging.

Next up for me is more wedding sewing!

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Pauline Alice Faura Tunic Top and Vogue 1411 Faux Leather Leggings

 

 

Simplicity 8292: DIY Flutter Sleeve Fuschia Pink Crepe Sheath Dress

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe

Hi everyone,

I am going on a flying visit to the States at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding and I made this dress thinking I would wear this to the daytime/ church ceremony. Now I am having second thoughts as to whether it will be too warm (New Jersey at the end of September – Carolyn or anyone else, any thoughts?). Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity 8292. The main thing to note about my version is that I have moved the under bust/ empire line seam down to create a waist seam, which I personally find more comfortable and flattering. More details on that in the review below.

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe

The fabric is this triple crepe in fuschia pink, purchased from Minerva crafts. I have worked with this triple crepe before and it is quite weighty. I was worried it might fray like mad, but it wasn’t too bad. I put it through a hot 60 degree prewash and it cut and sewed very well. I did use a medium heat for pressing with steam and my clapper to get a crisper finish on my pressing.

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe

Can I just say I am thrilled with the fit through the back of the skirt? I would never be able to get a sheath dress like this to fit me RTW and I love the princess seams on this pattern for the fit opportunities. I did do a full bum adjustment and it worked very well.

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe

The main attraction of this pattern of course is the statement flutter sleeves. They do make this dress very of the moment, but other sleeve options are included in the pattern (including a cold sleeve option as well as a plain short sleeve option), so I would consider making this dress again for work in a neutral colour with the short sleeve option – now I have got the dress to fit me so well. One thing to watch out for: I wish I had chosen another seam finishing technique to finish the sleeve seam instead of overlocking. I mean, you can’t see it in these pictures when I have the dress on, but personally I think it looks a little ugly, and if I was making this dress again with the flutter sleeves I would reconsider this aspect.

I chose to fully line my dress. I used this tutorial to fully machine the lining around the armholes which I think worked well. Inside shots:

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe – machine finish lining attachment around armhole

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe – full lining

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe – machine finish lining attachment around armhole

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

This Misses’/Miss Petite dress features three different sleeve options, princess seams, invisible back zipper, lined bodice and your choice of either long flare or pencil cut each in two lengths.

I made view C with some alterations.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, although the most noticeable difference between the pattern and my version is that I moved the under bust/ empire line seam down to hit at my waist.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes. I kind of did my own thing when it came to the lining.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the finished dress: the fit and the statement flutter sleeves. Love the princess seams which give lots of fitting opportunities. I wish I had chosen another seam finishing technique to finish the sleeve seam instead of overlocking. I mean, you can’t see it in these pictures when I have the dress on, but personally I think it looks a little ugly, and if I was making this dress again with the flutter sleeves I would reconsider this aspect.

Fabric Used:

Triple crepe outer and polyester lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut my usual size 18 through the shoulders and bust and graded out over the waist and hips.
  • I cut the skirt pattern off at the marked waistline and taped the pieces I cut off  onto the bottom of the corresponding bodice pieces, overlapping the seam allowances, and re-adding new seam allowances at the bottom edges and at the new top edges of the skirt pattern pieces. I did this in order to move the under bust/ empire line down to waist level, which I personally find more comfortable and flattering.
  • 1 inch FBA
  • Added about an inch to the side seams but probably removed most of that when fitting the dress. Used a slightly larger seam allowance than suggested to insert the zipper in the centre back seam
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment on bodice
  • Added a full lining
  • Used the princess seams to fit: let them out approx. 0.25 inch in the tummy and bottom area
  • Did 1 inch full bum adjustment largely to add length to the back of the skirt to account for my full bottom
  • After making the FBA etc some of the seams didn’t match so had to make some adjustments to make the bodice and skirt seams match
  • Interfaced the skirt hems, vent area and zipper opening
  • Hand stitched hems

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

Initially I thought my answer to this would be no. But the fact that a plain short sleeve is included means I could see me making this dress again in a neutral colour for work. Yes, I recommend.

Conclusion:

I love the fit, the colour and the statement sleeves. Remains to be seen whether I actually wear this to the wedding at the end of September in New Jersey or if it will be too hot.

Over on Instagram, Diane and Helen are currently running #sleevefest2017 – the deadline for which is on 31st August, so I think I am just in time.

Enjoy the long weekend if you have one, otherwise enjoy your week.

Until soon.

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Simplicity 8292 flutter sleeve sheath dress in fuschia pink triple crepe

 

 

 

Kwik Sew K4111 and Burdastyle 06/2016 #140: DIY Green Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress and Girls Tie Front Blouse

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress

Friends!

This dress was born out of Instagram: I saw the fabric on Fabricgodmother’s feed, and I couldnt resist the super saturated colour (hard to capture the true colour in these photographs) or the floral print, so I ordered 3 metres a couple of weeks back. This was one of those rare occassions when, as soon as the fabric arrived, I was determined to sew something from it. I had Kwik Sew K4111 in my stash and I thought the crepe paired with the tulip skirt and feminine bodice would work well together. Also, I am no horticultural expert, but aren’t they tulips on the fabric? Seemed like a match made in heaven to me.

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress

I am super pleased with the fit I got on this dress, which I tissue fitted. I love the tulip skirt. It is very secure, with the underlap being sewn into the side seam, so even if the front were to inadvertently blow up, you won’t be showing anything you shouldn’t. Also, I LOVE the facings and the instructions which showed you how to get a completely clean, machine finish all around the armholes. Magic! Be bored with several pictures just of the inside:

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress – back facing (don’t ask me why I bought a purple zipper! It’s a good thing I am pretty good at sewing a concealed zipper in, because you can’t tell from the outside)

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress – front facing

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress – clean finish armhole

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress

I just love the finished dress, even if I am sad that the summer seems all but over for us and so I don’t know how much opportunity I will have to wear this until next year.

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Dresses have bodice with partial gathers at waist seam, scoop neckline, back zipper, overlapping front tulip skirts with pleats, back darts and stitched hems. Neckline and armholes are finished with facings. Self-fabric belt. A: Sleeveless with neckline notch and topstitching at armhole. B: Self-faced cap sleeves.

I made view B.

Pattern Sizing:<

XS – XL

I cut a size L through the shoulders and  bust and graded out over the waist and hips.

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 particularly love the facings and the clean (machine) finish you achieve around the armholes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the finished dress. I love the tulip skirt – very feminine – and also very secure, with the underlap portion sewn into the side seam of the dress. As mentioned above, love the finish inside with the facings. Love the overall drafting. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used:

Polyester crepe.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Graded out slightly (total 3 inches) over the hips.
  • 1 inch FBA, rotating the formed dart into the waist for extra gathers there.
  • 5/8ths inch full bottom adjustment on the back skirt piece.
  • Lengthened skirt 1.5/8ths inch.
  • Used an invisible zipper.
  • Staystitched neckline – no mention of this in the instructions.
  • I think I did a sway back adjustment of approx. 1 inch?

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

I might sew again, maybe? I highly recommend.

Conclusion:

I think this dress is super cute and feminine. Sometimes that’s nice 🙂

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Kwik Sew K4111 Floral Crepe Tulip Skirt Dress

Now, there was a little bit of fabric left over so I thought, seeing as I had the machine threaded up etc, why not whizz up a little top for Kezia?

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Burda Style 06/2016 #140 girls tie front blouse

I used Burdastyle 06/2016#140 and there isn’t a great deal to say about it. It’s a simple, boxy top with cut on sleeves and incorporates a tie front. Of course the instructions were confusing and I think they intended for you to finish those front ties using a facing, but I could not be bothered to figure it out so I just did a narrow hem around the ties. It’s not my finest sewing but it works, and it will probably survive more washes than the time Kezia will fit into this top, the rate at which she is growing! Just for reference, this top was cut at the 140 cm height size.

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Burda Style 06/2016 #140 girls tie front blouse

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Burda Style 06/2016 #140 girls tie front blouse

Have a great week everyone!

Until soon.

 

 

 

Simplicity 8295 and Closet Case Patterns Ginger Skinny Jeans: DIY Linen Lace Up Eyelet Tunic and Skinny Jeans

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Simplicity 8295 linen tunic with eyelet and front lacing detail and stone coloured Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans

Hey Friends,

Hope you are all doing well. Today I am sharing a me-made outfit that has already had lots of wears. Neutral coloured pieces in great (breathable) fabric that can be mixed and matched with other pieces in my wardrobe are winners in my book.

Let’s start with the top: Simplicity 8295. This is a great pattern with some lovely details/ options. The only thing I would be wary of is, IMO, it is cut quite straight through the hips, so whilst its fine as a top, if I was making this again as a dress I would have to widen the hips.

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Simplicity 8295 linen tunic with eyelet and front lacing detail and stone coloured Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans

The fabric is a linen/ cotton mix purchased from Fabworks. Unfortunately it looks like this particular fabric is sold out but they have lots of other linens at very reasonable prices. I just love the fabric!

Here’s a close up of the eyelet/ lacing detail. I used eyelets I already had in my stash. I couldn’t find any twill tape in a colour I was happy with so I ended up making my own lacing in self fabric. I find that in order to get eyelets that are really robust and not going to fall out you really need to experiment with your particular fabric to find out how many layers you need to support the weight of the eyelet. I interfaced scraps of the linen so it would be the same thickness as the placket and then experimented adding further layers of linen behind the eyelet to get an appropriate thickness. So behind every eyelet, inside the placket, there are extra squares of linen to take the weight of each eyelet. My other tip would be don’t make the size of the hole for the eyelet too big: better it is slightly smaller to hold the eyelet in place.

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Simplicity 8295 Linen Tunic – eyelets and lacing detail

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Simplicity 8295 linen tunic with eyelet and front lacing detail and stone coloured Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans

You can see my first pair of Ginger jeans here. They were the first pair of jeans I made and they looked great when I was standing up….but my gosh they were so uncomfortable when I was sitting down, and I think that was largely down to the pocket stays that I had included (cut from a firm woven cotton). As a result, I think I have worn those jeans about twice. This time around I eliminated the pocket stays and gosh, what a difference! These jeans have already been worn so much. The light colour is great for summer, they are smart enough to wear to work without looking like they’re jeans and, whilst I will probably only ever wear them with longer length tops, they are just so much more comfortable. The fit still needs some tweaking (see my notes below), but these are a huge (wearable) improvement for me. The fabric for these jeans was purchased locally to me.

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Simplicity 8295 linen tunic with eyelet and front lacing detail and stone coloured Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans

Pattern Review Simplicity 8295

Pattern Description:

This tunic or dress Inspired by Project Runway features optional lace up or trim at the neckline. Make the tunic length to wear over skinny jeans or dress length for a casual event.

I made view C with the collar from view A.

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, although I used my own techniques for a neater finish.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Love the finished garment. Love the eyelet/ lace up detail. Nothing to dislike as such, although I would say this pattern is fairly straight cut so if you are making the dress length I would say you might need to widen somewhat at the hips if you carry weight there like me 🙂

Fabric Used:

Cotton/ linen blend.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I did a 0.5 inch FBA
  • I shortened the bust dart by about 2 inches
  • Next time around I might lower the bust dart just a smidge
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment, adding removed length back to hems
  • Shortened sleeve length by 1.5 inches. I don’t think I will ever wear the sleeves unrolled, but if I wanted to on future versions I might add some length back again: the cuffs are actually quite narrow
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • Cut 2 back yokes and used the burrito method for a clean finish inside
  • Took 3/8ths inch seam allowance at hips
  • Increased length of side slits by about 2.5 inches (making them 8 inches in total)
  • Flat felled the sleeve seams so it would look neat when the sleeves are rolled up
  • Took 1.25 inches for the hems

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

It’s quite a distinctive look: don’t know if I need another one right now, but never say never. Yes, I recommend.

Conclusion:

Love the detail on this top, which elevates it somewhat. Great summer piece.

Notes on Ginger Jeans:

  • Added 0.25 inches at front and back sides and 0.5 inches to waistband
  • Removed pocket stays
  • Scooped out front and back crotch by 0.25 inches
  • Removed 3 inches from length
  • Let side seams out fractionally at knees
  • Next time around I need to remove some length above the knees
  • Still not happy with some of the wrinkling in the inner leg: need to play around with this
  • For next time I am going to raise the back pocket position up by 1 inch
  • I have already made a 0.5 inch full calf adjustment on the pattern for next time, tapering back to the original width at the ankle

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Happy sewing!

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Simplicity 8295 linen tunic with eyelet and front lacing detail and stone coloured Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans

 

Simplicity 8341: DIY Pineapple Print Cold Shoulder Ruffle Front Button Up Shirt

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Simplicity 8341 pineapple print ruffle cold shoulder button up shirt with collar (worn with Butterick 6331 white denim boyfriend style jeans)

Hey Everyone,

Today I am excited to share my review of this Simplicity 8341 pattern by Mimi G. We have had a spell of wonderful hot weather and this shirt has already been worn lots. It’s made from a fine, soft viscose voile and it’s been perfect for keeping cool but with an element of coverage.

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Simplicity 8341 pineapple print ruffle cold shoulder button up shirt with collar

This was not a fast make: there are a lot of narrow, rolled hems to sew on both the upper and lower front ruffles, as well as on the sleeves. My fabric was quite challenging to work with but it worked out ok in the end. Less confident sewists might want to try a more stable cotton shirting. It’s important to take the time to ensure the front plackets and the points where the sleeves join the yokes match. Speaking of which, I think that possibly larger size sewists may find that their sleeves don’t match the yoke points. The only reason mine match in the front is because I pinched out a 0.5 inch dart at the armhole (and transferred the dart volume to the side bust dart), but in the back the sleeves are about 1 inch lower than the yoke. (See also this picture on my Instagram account which shows a definite pattern discrepancy). I decided to just live with the discrepancy in the back on this version, but if I make this up again I would have to do something to address that. FYI I cut a size 18 through the shoulders and bust and graded out through the waist and over the hips.

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Simplicity 8341 pineapple print ruffle cold shoulder button up shirt with collar

My overall conclusion is that I love the finished blouse. It’s an absorbing sew which keeps you on your toes and very on trend. Check out my full review below for full details of adjustments made – note that I deepened my ruffles!

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Simplicity 8341 pineapple print ruffle cold shoulder button up shirt with collar

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Mimi G Style shirt dress and top pair perfectly with high waist leggings. The button-down top and dress have a collar and feature cold shoulder with ruffle on the sleeve and across the bodice.

I made view C.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 24

I cut a size 18 through the shoulders and bust and graded out over the waist and hips.

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 especially like the way the hem is formed. Neat. Also, I think the collar instructions match those given on the Four Square Walls blog, which is my preferred way to sew a collar. The armholes are finished with bias tape.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the finished garment, especially in the fun pineapple print viscose voile I chose. It’s so light and breezy and this style is very on trend.

I think that possibly larger size sewists may find that their sleeves don’t match the yoke points. The only reason mine match in the front is because I pinched out a 0.5 inch dart at the armhole (and transferred the dart volume to the side bust dart), but in the back the sleeves are about 1 inch lower than the yoke. (See also this picture on my Instagram account which shows a definite pattern discrepancy). I decided to just live with the discrepancy in the back on this version, but if I make this up again I would have to do something to address that.

Fabric Used:

Pineapple print viscose voile.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Deepened upper and lower ruffles by 1 inch to account for my larger bust. I thought the proportions would look better, and I think they do.
  • Lengthened sleeves by 1 inch to match ruffles.
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment, with removed length added back to hem.
  • Shortened bust dart by 1.5 inch and moved bust dart down by 1.25 inches.
  • Pinched out 0.5 dart at the armhole and transferred the dart volume to the side bust dart.
  • Changed direction of grainlines on neckband, sleeve band and collar to preserve direction of print.
  • Instructions don’t seem to mention interfacing the sleeve band, although it’s shown in the cutting layout.
  • Added interfacing to the button placket area.
  • Note that only single yokes are cut but I don’t think it would be too difficult to cut double yokes and use the burrito method to clean finish the insides. I overlocked my sew allowances.

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

I might sew again. Like I say, it’s not a particularly fast sew. I do recommend, although maybe to more confident sewists.

Conclusion:

Love the finished top. It’s an absorbing sew which keeps you on your toes and very on trend. Make it fast before the trend disappears!

This top is being packed to take with us for our holiday next week in Cornwall. Here’s hoping for warm weather. Have a great week ahead everyone.

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Simplicity 8341 pineapple print ruffle cold shoulder button up shirt with collar

 

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.

 

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

 

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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