McCall’s M6707: some kind of cummerbunded, tuxedo-striped capris 

The Pattern:
McCall’s M6707, MISSES’ PANTS, copyright 2013 The McCall Pattern Co.
This pattern is inspired by NBC’s Fashion Star. Whatever that is. 

The Fabric: 
The main fabric is black canvas, the contrast stripe and waist band are a very dark irredescent green. Like a beetle. Which is cool in real life, but does not photograph at all. 
Seriously, after trying a bunch of different photo-adjusting, black and white is the only option that showed the seamlines. And I think the seamlines are the entire reason for these pants? Because other than a stripe/yoke combo they’re just kinda regular pants with an awkward, tapered, loose fit and a dorky length? 
Why did I even buy this pattern? 
I always think capris are going to be great and then, there it is. 
Actually, I know why I bought this pattern. It was on sale, back before I had the JoAnn’s app, when the pattern sale was this phenomenon that not even store employees could predict. For reals, I asked a lady once if the pattern sale was on some kind of seasonal schedule and she was like, “oh no, we never know when it’s going to be.” So whenever I stumbled into it, I would just buy all kinds of crazy mess. 


Grainy black&whites! Wheeeee!

Here below is the point of this whole pattern: my butt. No wait I mean the tuxedo stripe and back yoke, which are cut in one piece and have a corner you have to reinforce and clip, and which is just not cool enough looking for all the trouble involved. 

And here below is the part that I find most interesting. Changes!
Rather than describe all the changes, I took a photo of the pattern piece diagram and drew in red the changes I made. 


Ok a little description. The main changes are that I made a fly,
—this is the second modern McCall’s pants pattern I’ve done up that had no fly. It has a fly facing cut in one with the front, but no separate fly. Why no fly, McCall’s, why no fly???—
I made the waistband higher and more like a cummerbund, which is more comfortable for me than the mid-low rise of this pattern,
And I reshaped the crotch seam. Which I had a fun time thinking about, how when you let the seam out at the center back, as per the top blue arrow, you give more room for your body, but as the seam continues under, letting out means you are actually going higher into the crotch and giving your body less room, so instead you have to drop down as if you are taking in but you’re really letting out, as per the lower blue arrow. So crazy!
And I made the crotch shape more of a rounded square than a U. 
And some other things. Slits at the ankles. Took in the back inseam more than the front. Would’ve taken the whole thing in even more but this fabric has no give and I need to bend my knees sometimes. 

Time:

13 and a half hours. Mostly checking fit, reshaping, checking fit, changing, checking fit. The pattern calls itself easy, and it really is if you just do it as is: the zipper is the biggest construction challenge on pants, and these pattern instructions are nice and succinct. 
My only beef with the zipper, other than the no fly weirdness, is that the zipper and waistband close right-over-left. Technically correct as these are women’s pants and women’s closures are supposed to go right-over-left, but a front zip is traditionally a menswear detail, and I wish the pattern had just bowed to tradition on that one. You know, like how womens jeans open the man way, because jeans were menswear long before women started wearing them. 

Sew It or Throw It:

Throw it. 
This pattern was not made for my body. All those changes, just, lord. I mean good practice, but lord.  I think I could achieve this sort of cummerbund tuxedo stripe look better if I started with a heavy stretch fabric and a high waisted leggings pattern and cut them as is from the knee up and straight and stove-pipey from the knee down. 

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McCall’s M6782, this time as a winter coat

  

the pattern:
McCall’s M6782 CHILDREN’S TOP AND JACKET, copyright 2013 The McCall Pattern Co.
I know, this old thing again. I should probably buy an actual coat pattern instead of repeatedly asking this pattern to do things it wasn’t designed to do.
But I probably won’t.

This time around I used this simple jacket pattern —recommended for fleece or sweatshirt knit— to make a winter coat for my boy.

   
 

This might be the best thing I’ve ever made. Not in terms of technique but in terms of the happiness I feel every time I see my kid in this coat.  

   

the fabric:
Upper: red corduroy yardage from a yard sale.
Lower: grey wool skirt with stripe. Originally from the Gap, I found it in a thrift shop. The tag says it’s a recycled wool blend. I think this is neat, that the recycled wool is moving on to Life Number 3 with this coat. The double stripe ran along the hem of the skirt. Not quite enough for this project, so I ended up seaming a non-striped piece from elsewhere on the skirt into the lower back of the sleeves.
Flatlining: polar fleece left over from another project. It’s red, not that that matters since it’s inside and completely hidden. It’s also soooooo nice and warm. He will really only be able to wear this coat a few weeks out of the year. 
Lining of hood and body: turquoise satin acetate with embroidery, was originally a kimono-style robe, purchased at the Pasadena City College Swap Meet. The robe was kind of cheap looking but had a fabulous machine-embroidered dragon on the back, which I used in a dress. The satin acetate feels super luxurious with the weight of the polar fleece behind it.
Lining of sleeves: another blue satin acetate, because there wasn’t quite enough of the other lining.

  

He wears a size 3, but I cut the size 8. So the coat is huge. Maybe it’ll still fit next year! 

  
    
 

what I changed from the original pattern:
This is meant to be an unlined jacket in a medium weight moderate stretch knit, and instead I made it as a heavy weight, non-stretch, fully lined coat.
I worried that the sleeves would become too tight by being filled in with the polar fleece flatlining, so I stitched the sleeve seams at 3/8ths inch instead of the 5/8ths they want.
I also added a snap placat over the zipper.
I added it to keep out the wind, but it had the side-benefit of hiding the zipper from view. Which might be why it turned out to be the easiest zip ever.
Construction-wise, I pieced together the red and the grey, making sure the stripes and everything lined up, and then flatlined those pieces to the polar fleece and from there each flatlined piece could be treated as one unit.

  

Oh and the label! My husband had a stamp made for our son’s books. I used it here on muslin, and heat set it with the iron. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew it. So far it’s made a great bathrobe and a great coat, I can’t wait to see what it will do next.

Simplicity 8924, Butterick B5585, Simplicity 4479, and McCall’s 3510: a whole bunch of nope. 

These four are definite Throws. I’m not going to bother putting these to the test, and here’s why:

First up, Simplicity 8924 YOUNG JUNIOR/TEENS’ AND MISSES’ VEST, MINI SKIRT, BLOUSE AND PANTS, copyright 1970 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.
I recently discovered eBay! So exciting!
I got a box of miscellaneous vintage patterns, mostly good stuff that I’m excited about, one Throw.  This is it.
I like the variety of 1970’s hair-do illustrated on this pattern. However, the collarless tunic-ish vest-y thing and elastic waisted skirt and pants are not for me. Because gross. 

Next up, Butterick B5585 INFANTS’ JACKET, DRESS, TOP, ROMPER, DIAPER COVER AND HAT, copyright 2010 The McCall Pattern Company.
I bought this in 2012 at full price, while I was pregnant. I never buy at full price, so I’m gonna classify that one as an emotional purchase.
Here’s what happened with this pattern:
One day I got the onesie all cut out from an old band t-shirt. The next day my son was born. Time managment lols!
It was months before I got back around to sewing, and by then he’d outgrown the onesie I’d cut, and I realized that I didn’t actually want to make a onesie at all, for him or anyone else. They are a lot of work!
I tried making the hat later, but didn’t love it. The tie is not integrated into the design, it’s a separate piece that’s tied onto a loop, and that bums me out. I like the magic of an integrated design. 
Cute baby on the pattern cover though.

Third up: Simplicity 4779 MISSES’ KNIT TWIN SETS, copyright 2004 Simplicity Pattern Co.
Found this at a thrift store for the strange price of 79 cents. I remember I actually bargained with the guy at the cash register and got this one for free, which I feel kind of bad about because it’s a charity store and, like, why’re you gonna shortchange a charity store, but there you go, I totally did.
Oh well, now they’ll be getting it back to re-sell at their leisure.
Nothing wrong with this one, except that it’s not my style at all. My opinion on this sort of shrug/cardigan hybrid is PICK A LANE.

And lastly: McCall’s 3510 MATERNITY DRESS, SWIMSUIT, TOP AND PANTS, copyright 1973 The McCall Pattern Company.
This one is adoooooorable.
Especially View C, which has bloomers!!!!!! It calls itself a swimsuit but would really make a fun summer lounging outfit for summertime pregnant ladies.
The only problem is, this is not how pregnant ladies dress anymore. It’s a lot easier to throw on a stretchy t-shirt than to bother sewing something that might only get four month’s use.
The bloomers are patterned to be longer in the front, so you pull them up over the belly instead of having them sit underneath. I know because I considered making a pair for non-pregnant loungewear, but decided it wasn’t worth the repatterning.
 

Bye Patterns! Have a nice time at the thrift shop! Find someone who loves you! 

McCall’s M6782: all made of towels

the pattern:
McCall’s M6782 CHILDREN’S/BOYS’/GIRLS’ TOPS AND JACKETS, copyright 2013 The McCall Pattern Co.
Bought this one on $1 clearance sale in 2013, when my little boy was a baby and I had no time for sewing, but figured I’d store this away for some future day when I can make him a hoodie with cat ears. Someday.

  

I love this cover art.
The little girl is like, “Mason. Honey. You can turn off the Blue Steel now. No one is looking.” And he’s like, “That’s where you’re wrong, Daenerys. My fans are always looking.”

 

Instead of hoodie with cat ears, I made him this:
It’s a bathrobe!

   

the fabric:
Towels! We had six of these green towels. They are small, just his size. I used three to make this robe, so now he has three towels and an Exactly Matching robe.
Matching as in same color, same amount of fade, same occasional bleach spots, same worn-in softness.

  

Just one button.
The center back seam in the collar and body are topstitched to keep them nice and flat.
Hems and edges are overlocked, because I want the robe to dry as quickly as possible so I avoided double-layering the fabric where ever possible. Nice thing about sewing with towels: both sides are the face, so a garment with a collar that rolls out doesn’t require a double layer or facing at the lapel and collar.

  
  

See above: one of those is a towel, one is a robe! Hahahhaaha!
See below: I made a muslin so I could figure out the shawl collar, which is not part of the original pattern. Here you can see the shape of the new front pieces I ended up with. The shape I was going for was that cocoon silhouette that men wore in big bulky fur coats in the 1920’s. 

 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew It.
I haven’t truly made this pattern yet anyway, just used it as a jumping off point.
One interesting thing about this pattern: all the pieces are printed with the words CHILDRENS’/GIRLS’, which, as the mother of a boy, I suppose I could get all up in arms about, but meh.

Easy McCall’s M6173: it was just leggings and then I put a skirt on it


the pattern:
Easy McCall’s M6173 MISSES’/MISS PETITE PANTS AND LEGGINGS, Copyright 2010, The McCall Pattern Co.
Wait, why are these petite? I am not petite!
Oh right I remember, I bought these on sale and petite Xsm-Med was the only size left.
Well whatever.
Although I hate all the shoes the ladies on the cover are wearing, this is a nice, basic, versatile leggings pattern.
Actually, what I hate worse than the shoes is the fact that none of these photos show the waistband of the leggings. How wide is it, where does it sit on the body, is it an elastic casing or some other method? You know, all those things one actually cares about when buying a pattern, rather than just answering the important question of “Gee, will these leggings work with ugly flats or ugly heels? Oh look, both! Yay!”
Whatever whatever.
The line drawing and description on the back clue us in to the fact that View A is pants-like, (with waist darts, an interfaced waistband, and mock fly front zipper. Also zippers at the ankle but we don’t even need to talk about that) while Views B and C are your more typical pull-on leggings with elastic waist.
What is not mentioned is the part that makes this pattern nice and versatile: View A has an outseam and an inseam, while Views B and C only have inseams. Having that outseam on View A as well as the back darts is really nice, because it means you can easily create a back yoke and fake side pockets, making the leggings look much more like pants, or you can use that side seam to insert a stripe to make the leggings look more sporty and fast.
So that’s nice.
I made View A because I’d been thinking about making a yoke and inventing a skirt to seam into the yoke seam, but ended up inventing a skirt and seaming it into the waistband instead, so I should’ve just made View B
View A has a lot of extra room in the leg, I ended up taking them in from mid-thigh through the knee down to the ankle. A lot too, about an inch on the double on both seams through the knee. Maybe they fit loosely on purpose to achieve a more pants-like fit? One of these days I’ll make View B and then I’ll know.


the fabric:
This 4-way stretch printed Lycra did not come to me as yardage, it was two dress fronts, two long sleeves, and some scraps. They were partially sewn for some movie, a comedy obviously, and then at some point abandoned. Either the look got cut from the movie (too bad for us), or the scene got cut (too bad for us, too bad for the actress), or the entire production was shut down (too bad for everyone). So that is why the skirt is in so many pieces. Fabric extremely limited and hilarious.

The biggest change I made here, other than adding the skirt, is the waistband.
The pattern for A wants you to interface, the pattern for B and C want you to insert 3/4″ elastic into a fold-down casing.
I don’t have any 3/4″, and I am too grumpy to go to the store, plus I don’t really groove on that style. So I used View A waistband, half lined it in Spandex for a flexible but firm stretch, interfaced the center front and made two button holes, then made a drawstring, coverstitched a channel, inserted the drawstring, and attached the whole thing to the garment.
It could look better, the lower stitching for the channel was too close to the seam allowance and dips into the seam, but I’m pretty happy with it. Will do again.

Sew It or Throw It:
Yes. Sew It. I will probably wear these at least once a week. Look out spin class.

update 5/January/2016: That prediction came true, I do wear these at least once a week.

McCall’s M6754: it’s getting hot in here…so, uh, put on this dress.

Now! Here! The conclusion to the Super Mysterious Mystery that started here and then went here

here it is!

   
 

the pattern:
McCall’s M6754, copyright 2013 The McCall Pattern Co.
Whew!
This is a great little pattern. It’s flattering, it’s super simple.
—View B there at least, the pink one. The version with sleeves looks a little more Very—
and if you made it out of stretch material like the pattern wants you to, you could probably have it done in a day.
I bought this during one of those pattern clearance sales at the JoAnn’s. Hot Tip: get the JoAnn app so you can stalk your local store and know exactly when those clearance sales are and save yourself from ever going there during non-dollar-pattern-sale times. Unless you’re there to check out the remnants. Or buy quilt batting. Ok fine, go there all the time, I do. 

the fabric:
I picked up this stuff at the Michael Levine Loft in downtown LA, which is this hot mess above Michael Levine Home Fabrics. The loft sells fabric By The Pound. That is correct! 
I don’t remember how many pounds of this stuff (stretch cotton with pink, black, and yellow crystalline print) I bought, but it wasn’t enough. The print is fantastic. I love this stuff. Should’ve bought wheelbarrows full.
Side note: I really enjoy those stretch diagrams they print on the back of pattern envelopes!  See that one up there? Black rectangle with arrows that says Your Fabric Must Stretch From Here To Here Or Suffer The Wrath? Those things are great. Of all the decisions you have to make while sewing, at least there’s not that one. Thanks, stretch gage.

This stretch gage told me that my fabric isn’t nearly stretchy enough, but no bigs, that’s what center back seams and zippers are for.

Ok blah blah blah sewing whatever, here’s Meghan!
btdubs, if you are liking what you see here, go check out Identity Crush on FunnyOrDie

  
Girl, quit fooling around! This is a sewing blog!

   
  

Nothing to see here, move along, she’s just about to be frisked for concealed cuteness, ok?
  
This picture is to show the headband, ok?? Eyes up top!
   

Ok that’s better.

what I changed from the original pattern:
The pattern already has a center back seam, which one could totes eliminate if one was making the dress in knit like one is supposed to. I put an invisible zipper in that mug.
Black piping in the neckline, to define and stabilize. The pattern wants you to finish the neck and armsceyes with a simple turn-under-and-stitch, which I’m not a fan of. In this case I full lined the bodice with self, to clean finish and to annihilate any possible transparency. I had a really fun time actually, clean finishing the neck, armsceyes, and most of the waist seam allowance. It’s pretty magical when you turn it all right side out and everything is clean and smooth.
I also changed the angle of the straps, they were a little too wide-set, and raised the back neckline an inch for that Work Appropes look, aka keep that bra well out of sight.
Oh and I made a headband.
Oh, and the pattern for that bizarre olde timey bathing house handbag thingy that you probably noticed on the pattern photo? It’s not included in M6754, but I’m pretty sure I remember seeing and laughing at it in the catalogue. I mean, if you were wondering.

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew It, definitely. Looks great, goes easy. I really want to get into View C and D, with that princess seams meet raglan sleeves thing it’s got going on. For me next time.

So which was her favorite? Which is YOUR favorite?

Party People, maybe you remember this post? The one about that time when I texted the picture below to codename “Meghan” and asked which was her favorite?
And she answered right away and then I made it for her?

  

Right?
Which one was it!
Which one did she pick!
Was it the one you’d’ve chosen???
Oh the suspense is killing you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before I tell, I’m going to draw out the Killing Suspense a little more with some backstory:
When I decided to make something for “Meghan”
—ok lets get real, codename “Meghan’s” real name is Meghan—
I went through my patterns looking for 1)dress 2)tiny waist 3)flared skirt 4)bodice with no sleeves but at least somewhat of a shoulder seam rather than straps, aka No Bra-Straps On Display, aka Work Appropes/Play Appropes.

These being the qualities I’ve observed as her jam.

Right, so, top left there we’ve got New Look 6487, no copyright but soooo 80’s. This is the one I thought she’d go for. She likes the 80’s. As is the norm for people who were too young to dress themselves in the 80’s. Anyway.
This one could totally be cute if made up in a non-shiny, non-velvety, non-partytime fabric. Without those sleeves of course. The sweetheart neck and pointed waistline have potential. Maybe.
But nope! She didn’t go for this one.

Top right, we have Simplicity 3876. No date but someone helpfully wrote “early 1960’s” on the cover. Thanks for that, Helpful-Yet-Duh Stranger.
This is the ringer. I just threw it in there to make her laugh. But! This too could be really cute! The dress itself, without a petticoat underneath to create that totes hilar helium balloon silhouette, could be good! And the visual contrast between the trim at the waist and the trim at the hip might be kinda hot and vavoom?
But no, this was not the winner.

Bottom left is Butterick 6157, also not dated, COME ON PATTERN COMPANIES! GIVE US SOME DATES, JEEZ!
Anyway. This one is kind of a dark horse, like, I never even really notice it in my pattern box and then suddenly it’s in my face like HI! I’M CUTE! YOU LOVE ME! and I’m like “Whoa I do love you where did you even come from?”
I’ve had this pattern for years. Happens every time.
But this was not the winner either!

So by now you have figured out because you are totally clever that Meghan’s immediate, no hesitation answer was, “Bottom right, pink one.”
Which is McCall’s M6754, copyright 2013, FINALLY SOME COPYRIGHT DATES UP IN HERE THANK YOU MCCALLS.
Post with lots of pictures coming soon!!!!

It’s like a super high-stakes game. Don’t think, just react. 

 
I texted this picture to someone, let’s call her “Meghan”, and asked which one is her favorite.

“Meghan” didn’t waste any time with annoying questions like, “why?” “what are you talking about?” or, “who is this?” No hesitation. She immediately named one, so that’s the one I made for her.

Which one would you choose?

Which one did she choose??

Stay tuned!!!

So exciting!!!!

Wedding dress project: completed. 

For the backstory, please jump back here. To feast your eyes, please read on.

 

This pattern has come a long long way, and many pencil lines and pieces of tape, from it’s early beginnings as McCall’s M6893

  

Above: the under bodice is silk dupioni, flatlined with linen. I finished the seam allowance by pinking it, and then (lost my mind?) hand-stitched each zig of the zig zag to the flatline instead of dropping in a lining. This way it is cooler —temperature wise— for the bride, plus cooler for me in that I like seeing all that interior structure, keeps the whole thing mechanically honest IMO. 

Below: you can see the removable ribbon hanger-loops safety-pinned in (to be removed before wearing), the facing, a bone, the poly-grosgrain interior waist-tape, the exterior milliner’s grosgrain waistband, and the big clear plastic trash bag I kept the dress in whenever I worked on any small part. Clean Zone!

  

Below: neckline and center back of the lace over-bodice are finished with a folded bias strip of the over-skirt’s silk chiffon, machine sewn along the face and hand sewn along the inside. 

  

  

Raglan sleeves. Dupioni shoulder straps with 1/4″ elastic inserted into the back 1 1/2″ for ease of wear during hugs and dancing. 

  

Above: Bodice back view. The lace has a great scalloped edge that worked out just right for the sleeve hem. There’s a dance-gusset in the lace where all the underarm seams meet, again for the hugging and dancing. 

Below: setting the waistband. The bride ended up covering the grosgrain shown here with a strip of lace from her mother’s wedding dress, which I think made a really lovely touch. 

  

  

Above: Antique pearl drop in place of boring old zipper pull.

Below: Bodice, front view. 

  

Below: trimming the chiffon hem with my totally hot appliqué scissors. This chiffon is a super sheer and almost irredescent weave that I usually hear referred to as onion-skin chiffon. I was afraid it would be hard to work with because it is so light and sheer, but it was actually really nice. Don’t fear the onion skin, you guys. 

  

Below: the beauty shot. 

Deets are: boned under-bodice in eight pieces, made of silk dupioni flatlined to linen, with shoulder straps; a lace overbodice with raglan sleeves. Skirt is a somewhat reserved A-line in floor length with gored French-seamed over skirt in onion-skin chiffon, underskirt in silk dupioni, lined in anti-static lining as I was a little worried about the chiffon and dupioni waging war against each other. Which they didn’t. Thanks, fabrics. 

The only photos I got of me and the bride together are a couple of exceptionally dorky selfies, so instead of all that just imagine a beautiful redhead here. Looks like I forgot to take a full length shot of the back view whoops. 
    

Below: If you like To-Do lists, check out these puppies. Oh hey, do you like my stationary? I worked on that movie. #awyeah 

For serious though, I like a To-Do list. A lot of the things on this list are obvious steps, but writing them down means I don’t have to keep them in my head, plus there’s the Huge Satisfaction of crossing things off. 

  

Below: the final To-Do list, after the final fitting. This list was made when I was at that point in the project where it begins to stretch into infinity, like you look into the horizon and all you see is dress dress dress forever. So I wrote down every single last thing, including ridiculously obvious things like sewing the hooks back on that I had just taken off, so that I could look at the list and know, for sure, that that was really it and when I had it all crossed off it was really really finished. 

  

So that’s it!

Anyone out there ever been a guest at a wedding for which you made the dress? Did you secretly bring a sewing kit to the wedding in your tiny wedding purse? I meant to secretly bring one and then forgot, and then felt silly for meaning to and for forgetting and for feeling superstitious about the whole thing, like if I had brought one I definitely wouldn’t need it, but because I hadn’t, you know, what if. 

But then I had some champagne and got into the spirit of things. 

Yay weddings. 

PS, if you are on the instagrams and you like seeing progress shots of sewing projects, I’m SewItOrThrowIt. 

Wedding dress project, starting with McCall’s M6893 

In a couple months I’ll maybe post a photo of a wedding dress, but only if the bride says it’s ok. She’s a friend, she’s gorgeous, it’s her world we’re just living in it.
In the meantime:
the pattern

  

McCall’s M6893, copyright 2014 The McCall Pattern Co.
I bought this for $2 during a sale and actually hid it from the bride until after I knew that she knew that I knew what she’s after, because girl, this cover art ain’t it.
But if you look past the flocked polka dots, it’s a good place to start.
Muslin Fittin #1 

  

This was straight out of the package, except the skirt, for which I used the top half of the darted short skirt version,  attached to this guy: 

  

 
McCall’s Evening Elegance 3435, copyright 2001, for the skirt length but with more flare to the center back seam to avoid that butt-cupping late 1990’s thing it’s got going on.
After Fitting #1, changed the bodice so that the waistband sits on top instead of being seamed in, because seamed doesn’t even make sense.
Plus I changed the overbodice from set-in sleeves to raglan sleeves. Afterward I needed a stiff drink. Because that mess is hard to do.
Plus changed the lines of the bodice, lowered the neckline, less sweetheart more Portrait Of Madame X, and a bunch of other little things.

  

There we have bodice after Muslin Fitting #2, during which we confirmed that everything was right&tight before getting into real fabric.

  

Gusset pattern for the overbodice, so the bride can hug. 

  

Marking bone placement on the flatlining. Linen.

  

Silk bone casing, had the perfect amount left over from another wedding dress, hells yes. So satisfying when that kind of thing works out, like good bridal karma.  

  

Big ol’ mess of bodice pieces pinned, rolled, ready to flatline. 

That’s it for now, wheeeee!