Sewing

McCalls 7407 Palmer and Pletsch

Can I just say I am loving all of these 1960’s and 1970’s patterns coming back? I think I could literally buy up every trapeze or tent style dress and wear them over and over; they are becoming my go to! So naturally I scoured the internet for more trapeze style dresses and landed on this one by McCalls that included the Palmer and Pletsch method for fittings. On a sidenote, I really liked their sample of that included with the pattern and now I am looking into reading their book to learn more. It is basically a really good tissue fitting method but they also tackle things like if your clothes always fall off your shoulders it might mean you have forward shoulders and they give the solution for how to correct it through the pattern. It was very informative doing this pattern, I feel like I learned alot!
The fabric was so pretty for this one, I just love the blue. I intentionally chose the floral because I wanted to go with something soft and flowing since I knew there would be a lot of twirling going on. However, because it is a wide skirt the possibility of it flying up in the wind or catching air was greater. I saw that some people created this pattern with lightweight material and regretted it. I went with a jersey viscose and it was great for this. Did you know that the royal women put weights in the hemline of their dresses to prevent them flying up? Well no need here. If you use the suggested fabric you won’t have anything to worry about. You can definitely see why it was recommended now. Although I will say the actual dress working with it was surprisingly heavy. It didn’t matter so much when I had it on but as far as working with it, it had its challenges.


I didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments with this pattern other than the hem. I had to cut off a good 2 inches before even folding it under 5/8 inch to do the hem it was almost tea length on my 5”3 frame. I wanted it to be more like the picture so I had to chop off some of it so that it would land just above my knee cap. I also don’t hate the 2 lines down the middle seam and back seam but I almost wondered if I would have liked the dress more without them so next time I might omit them.
I wanted to take the top of the sleeve in to make the strap smaller but I was really afraid that it might make the fabric stretch too much over time since there is a lot of weight on the bottom of this dress it made sense why they had a wide sleeve. My mother in law had the great idea to make ties to take the straps in but not actually messing with the integrity of the dress, genius! I love that idea for an even more feminine take on the dress.
Overall I really recommend this pattern! This was another one I was able to complete in one night. All of the directions for it are on one page, it was so easy to assemble and so nice to do a simple project for a simple win. I strongly recommend it for a beginner and more so for intermediate to advanced sewists to do just to have a quick, fun, and easy win for a project!
Pattern: Mccalls 7407
Fabric: Viscose Jersey Knit Fabric Pale Blue PH-7153

Sewing

Simplicity 8887, My favorite shorts pattern!

It has been raining here in Raleigh for the past 2 days because of tropical storm Elsa and let me tell you, I have been sewing up a storm! This may be unpopular opinion but I happen to love it when it rains. It’s the perfect opportunity for some afternoon tea and a lot of sewing. There’s no pressure to be outside or taking the kids to socialize, just a bunch of guilt free sewing.
These shorts were something I could whip up pretty fast; they are one of my tried and true patterns for shorts. I have made them 3 times now and each time they turn out pretty dang good. They are along the lines of the paper bag shorts that seem to be really in right now. They come to your waist which is a great seller for me because I am still on that postpartum mom train and they hide quite a bit down below. It’s nice because they cinch at the waist and create a great waistline if you tuck them in with a tighter t shirt or tank top. The trick to wearing them is definitely in the waistline and defining it though whether it is with a belt or just a knot on the top.


The pattern itself has a lot of ease, some people have said they size down but I do not, I like the feel of some looser shorts because in North Carolina summers there is so much heat and humidity living close to the coast you need loose fitting clothing to breathe. The elastic in the pattern also is generous so several times I have taken their suggestions for the elastic sizing and then still pulled a little tighter and pinned it onto the shorts when I try them on before sewing. I would probably not ever size up in this pattern though, I made my normal size, a 12 and could probably size down but I’m happy with where it is at.
The fabric is just so perfect for shorts. It’s lightweight enough that it can breathe but it still has enough structure being a medium weight that when I made pleats in the fabric for the shorts it still held on nicely to the design of the shorts. It is a viscose linen and very smooth to the touch, not at all what you would imagine when you think of linen which sometimes can be stiff. I also really love the different colors within the fabric. I ended up getting the cream color and it has just the slightest amount of brown in it. I really love how that added some depth in the fabric and I was glad for it.
Overall I would definitely do this pattern again and I would use this fabric again as well. If I did sew with this fabric again I would try some kind of sassy tank top that would be so good for a date night or even a mini skirt. If I did this pattern again I would really love to try it in faux leather like the front cover. Or even this fabric with some faux leather would be a really cute match.
Pattern: Simplicity 1887
Alterations: tighter elastic. Made normal size but could size down if you want it tighter.
Fabric: Gifted by Minerva 1250138

Sewing

Simplicity 1105, Cynthia Rowley Tent dress

I became absolutely obsessed with this dress style after I saw fellow friend and Minerva Maker Amy Lostroh do this dress a few times. I happen to love the 1960’s style with tent dresses or parachute style dresses and knew as soon as I saw the bow in the back I had to have it. As a vintage lover I knew the one thing missing in my closet was a cute tent style dress.
This particular pattern is by Cynthia Rowley circa 2015 by Simplicity. It looks to be out of print online but I was able to find it easily on Ebay for around $3. The only catch is it is sizes 14-22 and I am usually a 12 or so. I knew for $3 it was worth a shot to cut out the smallest size 14 and if I had to alter it so be it. We all know it’s easier to take something in rather than adding fabric to let it out so that was worth the $3 to me! The good part is the style is so nice and loose I thought the 14 actually fit pretty good so I had no alterations with that.
I opted to not to the contrast binding or extra emphasis on the skirt, I thought it would be cute just like it is with one type of fabric. Next time I make it or if I made it in a solid color I would try the contrast in colors as I think it could turn out really cute. I made version B and I would definitely be open to trying the other pattern versions, there is a really cute loose flirty top and a skirt that this could turn into so I might try that next.


The fabric I got for this project was a dreamy pink Lawn by Lady McElroy. It is a newer fabric and was seen in the first episode of The Great British Sewing Bee! The fabric is so happy and beautiful, it is like a real life piece of a dreamy candy land. It is a flirty feminine print with just the right amount of other color sprinkles, or polka dot colors, but I could also see a younger girl wearing this print and being just as cute. Actually, come to think of it this would be a perfect fabric for a mommy and me shoot as I feel both would look very cute in this fabric.


The fabric itself is a woven cotton lawn and it very lightweight. It washed and dried beautifully and did wrinkle a little but a light iron took it right out. The fabric is lightweight enough it would be great on something like a full circle skirt but it also is crisp enough to hold some shape with a bodice pattern piece.
Overall I would 100% make this dress and use this fabric again, both were a dream to work with and very straight forward to use. I believe lawn is starting to become my favorite fabric to use because of how easy it is to sew with and I love all the great colors it comes in.
Pattern: Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1105. Alterations: I did not use contrasting fabric with this pattern.
Fabric: Gifted by Minerva, Lady McElroy Marlie Cotton Lawn in Pink 1250827

Past blog updates · Sewing

McCalls 8213, Summer 2021 New pattern

Anyone else obsessed with blue and white pottery? My mom always had all these dishes of blue and white when I was a child and seeing those beautiful colors just brings me right back to a feeling of home. That is exactly what I was thinking when I saw this fabric, it reminded me of home. Imagine wearing these colors and hues, it just has such an elegant nature to it but you could wear it somewhere more casual like on one of our North Carolina Beaches.

This Linen Rayon blend was gifted to me by Minerva and as soon as I saw it I gasped, I just love all the little details on it. Not only does it have the blue flowery scroll on it which makes the biggest statement on the fabric but in the white background of the fabric if you look very close there are small white polka dots. Seeing the small details on it were like finding Easter eggs at Easter, it all is very simply intricate.

The linen in the fabric is amazing, I washed and dried it as normal and I did not see much shrinkage. It also seems to be slightly heavier weight then normal linen so it seems more resistant to wrinkles which I appreciate. Have you ever sat down in a linen dress at a party and then got up only to find that your garment wrinkled under your butt and made marks for the rest of the party? Well not with this one. It also was less fragile than other linens because when I messed up a few times I had to do some rip seaming and I didn’t have to completely repair a hole from doing that like I have had to do in the past with other linens.

The pattern itself is also a huge winner in my book. I think this will be the pattern of the year for McCalls because it is so versatile. It also took me no time at all to cut it out and then sew it up, which I did in the same day and that never happens. There are only 6 pieces to cut out and sewing the dress together goes very quickly. I got the whole dress together and finished in less than 2 hours time, which is a miracle. The pattern I purchased comes sizes extra small, small, and Medium. I chose to do the size medium although I could have gone down to a small but I do like the loose fit in a sundress.

The directions were also very straight forward and it was very clear and easy to perform. I actually learned something new with the way they baste the straps into the facing and then sew it up and I think that will be how I do my dresses from now on with self drafting patterns. I made version A in this dress but now that this one is completed I also want to make version B with the ruffle on the bottom. Version C looks like it would be a really good version for fall as well. I love the simplicity and versatility!

Overall I would definitely make this pattern and use this fabric again, I am very happy with the way this turned out and I will be living in it until summer is over.

Pattern: McCalls 8213 Modifications: Omitted interfacing

Fabric: Gifted by Minerva, linen rayon blend 1253806

Sewing

Hacking Mccalls 8175

If you want to know how to hack McCalls 8175 into being more modest keep reading!!

Here is where it pays off to have a little bit of skill and a lot of guts in improvising. I first made McCalls 8175 and it was going well until about step fifteen in the directions. After I completed the top it was almost impossible to get the crop top part to cover my bust at the bra line. I made my normal size and it was also a little tight so I knew right off the bat this just wasn’t going to work. I also laid out the skirt and after getting that all together it almost went to my ankles on my 5’3 frame. Whew. Here we go, this is my design now I will be taking over.

I also didn’t realize it was a crop top, I thought it connected on the sides of the dress and that was a major oversight on my part. I realized real quick this is not hot mom summer for me and that chasing 2 small children in this just wasn’t feasible. However, I loved the sleeves and the bones of the dress I just knew I had to get creative to save it.

So here’s how I hacked it. I first began by attaching the front of the dress to the skirt just like I would any other dress. When I did so at the seam line it looked pretty awkward since there’s an extra triangle piece on the front of the dress in order to connect it to the skirt and continue to be a crop top. So what I did was I came in with the seam line right at the bust in a curved nature to make it just like any other bust line in a dress, it worked perfectly. Then I cut off the excess

On the back I added one more sliver of fabric where the zipper would have been, going all the way down to the hem line, connecting it to the two back pieces. It made the dress loose and prevented me from having to use a zipper while also being able to connect the dress. At first I thought I would add a small piece of elastic in that back top channel to bring it into my waist. However, I actually liked it better without doing that in order to make that back triangle bottom piece a straight line instead of a gathered curved one. So all I did to finish the back was slip stitch those side top pieces together in that channel that I couldn’t get to when just attaching that sliver into the back skirt. Then at the top I added a button and twisted thread to make a loop over it to complete the triangle open back.

The fabric was gifted by Minerva and it’s a beautiful linen slub with navy pineapples on them. At first glance they look like black and I will say it is a very subtly navy, to the eye at first glance they seem black but as you look closer it is navy. I personally loved how dark the navy was, I think it contrasts very well with the white background on it. It is a lady McElroy fabric which is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and it is very lightweight. I really do like that there is some design on the front of it in terms of texture, I think it really adds to the fabric and makes it feel very designer to me. It’s all in the details my friends!

Pattern: McCalls 8175 found here.

Fabric: Gifted by Minerva, Lady McElroy Florenza slub crepe linen pineapple in navy blue 1180996 found here.

Dress lining: Joann Fabrics dress lining in ivory found here.

DIY · Fashion · Sewing

Review of McCalls 7995

I can’t believe everyone is sleeping on this pattern, it was so easy! I think because it was a winter release it got pushed aside in everyone’s brain but it really is great!

I feel like this dress is something I really would have paid a lot of money for. This dress makes me feel fabulous. I originally made it to wear to our cousins wedding this summer so not sure if I will make anything that will beat it before then but I am happy to have this in my closet because it’s gorgeous. I can see myself wearing this out to date night or dressing it up with a vintage vibe to wear at something fancier like a graduation or wedding.

The fabric was gifted by Minerva and it was a dream to sew. As always I just feel like their fabrics really are top notch. My biggest reason for saying this is because the fabric is high quality so it has the ability to have amazing drape and flow without being see through. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a store or ordered fabric and it was beautiful on the print but when it came time to sew, it was see through I had to add a lining or a slip. Let me tell say, I don’t know about you but I am never trying to add extra steps to projects!

The fabric washed and dried beautifully and was very forgiving when I had to seam rip a few times. I also thought it had wonderful twirl action when I spun around in this one. It had that flow when you walk that makes you feel like you are in a movie, I just love this one so much. My mother in law said this was by far her favorite dress I have ever done, I think I agree!

The pattern itself has also become a favorite. It really was easy! I would just pay attention on the collar where you are attaching it to the bodice so you leave open the parts you are supposed to leave open and close the parts you need to close. If you get that wrong you will have to do that again, which I read in reviews was something that happened to some people. Overall though I think this pattern is highly underrated! It was really quick to sew up; it took me an afternoon after having it cut out. I strongly recommend giving it a try. It is beginner friendly as well.

As far as modifications for the dress, I omitted the fusible interfacing which I’m now seeing why it was included so maybe next time I will add that in. I also didn’t add interfacing on the neck facing part because I was afraid it would make the dress too heavy or show through. I don’t regret that but I did have to add some tacks into the facing now as a result. I also had to finish the facing as opposed to being able to turn it inside out so I think I just made the project take longer. Next time I make this dress I also would probably raise that lower armpit area; it shows the bra a bit. I also shortened this pattern by about an inch on the front and back bodice before cutting it out being a petite, I hope all that helps!

Pattern: Mccalls Version A M7995

Fabric: Lady McElroy Cyril Bubble Crepe Fabric Multicoloured 1230285- https://www.minerva.com/mp/1230285/lady-mcelroy-cyril-bubble-crepe-fabric-multicoloured

Past blog updates

McCalls 8021 Review

I can now mark a sequin dress off my sewing bucket list! I have never sewn with sequins before, and as my very first one I have to say I am proud of myself. I don’t know why the idea of sequins always scared me so much, maybe it was because a lot of people mentioned how needles would break when doing sequins. I might have this irrational fear that a needle will break on my machine and into my eye one day, comical right? I will say though it didn’t happen with this dress, so this game of “chicken” with the needles continue.


I did do a lot of prepping on this dress and I feel like that is maybe what took the longest. When I went to cut out the pattern I used kitchen scissors so that I would not ruin my nice sewing scissors on sequins. It was really hard to do this because the kitchen scissors did not want to cut right and weren’t really sharp enough for this. I remedied this later when I was at an antique shop and bought a vintage sharp set of scissors that will now be my “dull” cutting scissors. I ended up cutting everything a little bigger than the pattern and then went back and slimmed down the fabric to the size of the pattern with my nice scissors, while being careful around sequins.


Then I went around all the dress pieces and belt to take off sequins in the seam allowance. I actually asked a poll on this and 60% of people said they just run right over them with their sewing machine, I was not expecting to hear that! Since these sequins were dangly I just had to make sure I removed only the ones sewn in the seam allowance. To get the dangly effect on the bottom of the dress I knew I would have to leave the dangle over the edge on the seam allowances there.
Sewing it actually went way better than I thought it would. I used a slightly longer stitch since it was mesh and I never had a problem with it getting stuck in the machine, jammed, or bunched up. I was prepared to use a walking foot but the fabric did just fine, I was so pleased!


The pattern itself was actually really easy as well, which I was happy with since I was using a more complicated fabric that required more prep than usual. The pattern was very straight forward though and it was really easy to complete, even with these sequins! The only thing that was a little difficult was under stitching the outer edge through the armhole of the dress before slipstitching and finishing those.


The pattern also would have taken little time to complete had I not been using sequins so I would definitely like to try it again later with a different fabric. I did omit the pockets because I figured an evening dress doesn’t usually have pockets anyway and I didn’t want to add bulk to that area. I also shortened the dress by 1 inch and was very glad doing so being 5”3 it hit me perfect on the legs.
Fabric: Gifted by Minerva, Sumatra Gold Sequin Mesh
Pattern: Mccalls: #M8021

Past blog updates

McCalls 7756

Fellow sewists, meet the pattern that almost broke me. Have you ever had a pattern that just drove you insane? This was mine. I think I went through all the 5 stages of grief before figuring it out, haha! I have never became so frustrated over a pattern but I suppose there is a first time for everything. It really is so hard trying to learn a dying art with no one to ask advice to. I suppose that’s part of our charm right? We are literally expert level puzzle masters and play advanced Tetris everyday with little to no help from anyone usually. It is this advanced game of solitaire every time we hit the sewing machine, by ourselves.

Where I went wrong on the pattern was that I didn’t understand the top consisted of 4 pieces and that you sew two together at a time and then all 4 together at the end. I was getting so frustrated that the right side and wrong sides weren’t matching up, at one point I said I just don’t know if I should give up or try harder. I ended up grabbing a margarita and I decided to put it to bed for the night. The next day I stared at it for 2 hours, even thinking at one point of just trying to put it together based on how I thought it could go together, but I had all the seams on the wrong side. In the middle of a breakdown it finally hit me, they wanted me to split up the 4 pieces as pairs then sew them together.

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out my mistake, but victory is mine. It feels so good having figured it out by myself too. This community of sewists on the interwebs is so great, the moment I asked for help I got so many suggestions. Sewists really are genuinely nice people and so smart, I love being part of this community.

The fabric is a gorgeous mixture pink and purple lawn by Storrs London. It is Egyptian cotton and my goodness is it ever, I could seriously sleep on this stuff forever. This is my second or third time sewing lawn from Minerva and it never disappoints. It is 100% woven cotton and it sews so beautifully. If you are a beginner or just wanted some fabric that doesn’t slip or maybe even some that you just don’t have to fight the whole time I strongly recommend lawn. I feel like it’s very forgiving in terms of accidents as well, I had to rip seam quite often and the fabric really stood up to all the mistakes I made. It also washed and dried beautifully. I really am a big fan of the lawns and will continue to be based on their performance. I also really love how soft it becomes after pre washing and drying.

So all that to say go conquer something today! If you get frustrated sometimes the best thing to do is just get a margarita and sleep on it. It worked for me atleast! haha

P.S. We went to a bachelorette brunch on Saturday in VA and next door was this vintage fabric and silk trading post. I wished so bad it was open, I would have had to buy something!
Fabric: gifted by Minerva, Storrs London Egyptian Cotton Lawn in Pink
Pattern: Mccalls 7756 #m7756

Past blog updates

Simplicity 8932 (Vintage 1970)

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl! This weekend the warmer temps and smoking ribs made me homesick for Texas. I was able to whip this poncho up in about an hour; it might be the fastest thing I have ever made. I used a vintage pattern gifted to me by my grandmother and it was surprisingly easy to make! Does anyone else feel that way about vintage patterns? More often than not I find that they are easier and with less pieces and I appreciate that!
The pattern itself is a vintage Simplicity pattern printed in 1970. It was very straight forward and I did version 1 without the liner in it. I also omitted the scarf, collar, and pants option but that also looks fun to make. It was printed as a size 12 so I added a little onto the seam allowance just to give myself some wiggle room and I’m so glad I did because the neckline was still pretty small. If you buy vintage patterns you will find out that most were just printed as one size and that was the size you bought so if you are a bigger size you will need to add onto the seam allowance. I also find that vintage patterns run slightly small so I ended up adding a button clasp on the back neck so I could get the poncho over my head. I did end up omitting the liner since I did alter the pattern but I also really liked the feel of the inside of this flannel. I also figured for a spring poncho that might be quite hot and I just wanted one cool breezy layer.


I was gifted 2 and a half yards of this cotton flannel by Minerva and it did not disappoint. This medium weight flannel was perfect for a spring poncho and it washed and dried beautifully. This Robert Kaufman Taos cotton is non stretch which I also think gives it more structure. I also really love the Aztec pattern as the print. The blue, brown, and white really made me think of dancing in the desert. I also really think this blue is more striking in person and is definitely what drew me initially to this fabric. I ended up using the salvage as the poncho’s edge and I really like that it frayed just a little.


As an alternative I think I might end up fraying the edge some more, or maybe adding some fringe trim. If I do end up fraying it more I will eventually add a thin line of fray check or even a loose line of stitching so that the fray does not creep up the poncho. In the future I would maybe order just a tad bit more fabric as well. I double checked the amount of fabric the pattern suggested and the amount I received and both were correct but I was short when cutting out this pattern. I think I may have slightly had some shrinkage but I was able to just use the other side when cutting. The poncho was basically just two really big triangles.


Overall I am very happy with my poncho and how it turned out and I would do this version again with the same fabric.
Also, I really think my chicken liked her new poncho, so stylish.
Pattern: Simplicity 8932 (vintage 1970 copyright)
Modifications: omitted liner, collar, and pants
Fabric: gifted by Minerva, 2.5yds 1236763
Chicken poncho: Same fabric used, none were hurt in the making

Past blog updates

Simplicity 8606 Review

How do I love thee, let me count the ways. This silk skirt just rose to the top for my favorite make ever. First of all the material is 100%silk and it’s a liberty London Kensington silk crepe de chine fabric. It is absolutely gorgeous. I knew by looking at it online that it was going to have fabulous drape and was screaming to me that it wanted to have a flounce of some kind. It hit me that I had the most perfect pattern for it, Simplicity 8606. It’s a really simple skirt pattern with beautiful drape and a long flounce across the front; I knew it would be perfect for this silk make.


From the beginning I had to take special care of this silk and did tons of research for it before cutting into it. I also consulted with Minerva who encouraged me to launder it because it still has a 10% shrinkage sometimes. So I used special silk delicate detergent by Tide and it worked great. I started by getting lukewarm water and then swishing a small amount of the detergent in there. Then I soaked the silk and gently agitated it for about 3 minutes. Then I rinsed the silk and placed it on a towel. I rolled the towel up slowly, squeezing as I went to get the excess water out and then immediately unrolled it. I hung it to dry away from sunlight and on a clean shower rack. It dried very fast but I let it continue to dry overnight.


The next day when I cut into it I realized I needed silk pins and by luck I had those. I went through a lot of trouble to cover the table in tissue paper and tape it down so that when I laid the silk on top it would not move. The advice I had received was to sandwich the silk in between 2 layers of tissue paper then lay the pattern on top and cut, I did not do this. I only laid tissue paper down on the bottom, then laid silk on top of it, then laid the pattern on top of that. I also used minimal pins and only in the parts I knew would be seam allowance. The rest of the time cutting I used pattern weights and a combination of the rotary cuter and scissors. I had absolutely no problems and I do think the bottom layer of tissue paper really helped, highly recommend.


The pattern itself was very straight forward and went together really quickly. The only thing I omitted was the button hole you are supposed to make in the waist so that it hooks through there, I decided to leave this out. I did a test run on some silk fabric I had leftover when cutting and the buttonhole went disastrous on the test run. I decided that it wasn’t worth ruining this beautiful piece of fabric for a possible buttonhole so I decided I will just tie it around instead. I had no problems with it staying up or any wardrobe malfunctions.
Fabric: gifted by Minerva: LL-02349003B Liberty London Kensington Silk in Pink
I ordered 2.5yards for this project and sized up on sizing for this, made a size 14 per recommendations
Pattern: Simplicity 8606 modifications: omitted buttonhole