McCall’s 6750 : nope

Pattern: McCall 6750

Sizing: I made a 10 blending to a 12 at the hips, then had to add an inch at the end.  Pattern runs small in the hips.  My measurements are 33-28-38

Fabric: Liberty tana lawn, 1 yard and a mystery poplin used as sew in interfacing on the fronts.

Notes:

I recently found myself with a single yard of tana lawn.  It was a gift, and I would not have chosen this pattern/colorway myself, but I wanted to try it out.  I knew I wanted to make a shirt, but with only one yard to work with I had to get creative.  I ended up choosing this pattern, a Palmer/Pletsch design, because A. I could cut everything except interfacing from the single yard and B. I already owned it.  I liked the idea of a lightweight buttondown for summer, and imagined myself wearing it to picnics (I hate picnics, but never mind…. that was my mental image!)

I do not think I will ever wear this shirt.  There are a number of issues I had with the pattern drafting/ fit.  First of all, that collar.  It’s insane, right?  It’s definitely serving up 1970s collar realness!  I probably could have cut it down, but it was hard to imagine before sewing.  It might be ok with sleeves, but it’s ridiculous without.  It’s also strange because of the back:

As you can see, there is no back collar.  The fronts simply fold over.  I used a fairly crisp interfacing, and I edge stitched the whole thing in an attempt to make it look less homemade, but in the slightest bit of wind the collar will blow together.

The next issue is the buttonband:

The shirt only calls for 4 1/2 inch buttons.  I feel that is insufficient, causing the rippling effect above.  The facings are also extremely wide, and they do not want to stay in place.  Note that the collar looks strange here – it’s just not possible to get it to lay gracefully on a human body, which is not as regular as a dressform.

I used a bias binding on the armholes rather than facings.  I think this was a good choice, because the armholes are huge even after I removed 1/2 inch from each.  The binding does show when I wear it, if I ever move my arms.  This is not my finest binding job, because I did it last and I kind of knew it was a wash.

Finally, the back:

It’s wrinkled here because I had worn it for a few hours.  I don’t know if you can tell from the dressform, but this pattern is very wide at center back.  I think that might be part of the issue with the collar.  I would eliminate the shoulder darts entirely, and probably narrow the whole piece.  I actually have a broad back, so I think this is strange.  At most, I occasionally remove darts that are meant to compensate for a rounded back, as I don’t have one.

There are 12 darts in this shirt, but I think it could have fit better with less.  I don’t know, there’s just something really off about the draft.  And I know, it does come with extensive instructions on tissue fitting and alterations, but the basic pattern should be better.  I also don’t like tissue fitting.  I’ve done it, but I’ve never felt it told me much of anything, so this time I just blended sizes and went for it.

I’m not upset about the fabric, since it’s not the best color on me anyway, but I am disappointed in the lost time.

One thing I did learn: be sure to use a short stitch length (1.8-2.00) on Tana lawn, or you will get oddness.

Oh well – these things happen!  On to something different, maybe a nice blouse with no buttons?

Liberty woes

I’m currently working on McCall’s 6750.

I’m making the sleeveless version, omitting the armhole facings.  I’m using Liberty Tana Lawn for the first time, as I got a single yard as a gift.

This colorway is Pepper E.

Anyway, I’m really starting to wonder if I’ve been misled, as this fabric is kind of terrible to work with.  Even using a walking foot, the layers shift and my stitches are uneven.  I tried rethreading the machine, cleaning out the machine, a new, smaller needle, different thread, changing the tension – the works, basically!  I really think it’s just that the fabric is so lightweight that it’s hard to control.  Is this just me?  Does my machine need to be punished with a visit to the shop?  I don’t have this issue with any other fabric, so my assumption is that I’m missing some vital bit of Liberty sewing info.  If I am, let me know, if not… well, I suppose I will continue, since I already sewed all 9 darts, and it won’t take long to finish.   I’m not looking forward to buttonholes!

Pattern review: Colette Patterns Hawthorn dress

Pattern: Colette Hawthorn

Fabric: Rayon/linen blend from Joann’s

Size: I cut a 6 in the bodice, graded to a 10 at the waist.  I should have cut at least a size smaller.  My measurements are 33-28-39.

Notes:

It’s been a long time since I made a Colette pattern.  They haven’t always fit me well, particularly in the back, but I decided to make this one anyway.  I made a small bust adjustment of 1/2 inch on the bodice.  I did not make any other adjustments to the pattern.  I did blend a 6 on top to a 10 in the waist.  As it turns out, that was too big, and I should have probably made  a 4 and a 8.  I’m always worried about things being too small, and inevitably cut a size larger.  I took it in at the side seams, but I think it could use another inch at least.

I used a hong kong seam finish on the entire facing, and I finished the hem and armholes with contrasting bias.  I made the bias of some random quilting cotton in my stash.

I like the contrast, and the hem band makes the skirt hold its shape.  It also looks much neater on the top facing:

I think I’m going to buy an edge stitching foot – that collar stitching is just not as neat as I would prefer.

Conclusion:

I think this is a great pattern. It came together more easily for me than other Colette patterns, and it fits pretty well with only a SBA.  I would make a few adjustments if I make it again.  I would cut a smaller size, and I would raise the waist by at least an inch.  I can’t wear a belt with this dress because the waist is so far below my natural waist.  If you are shortwaisted like me, that’s something to watch for.  It’s also perhaps a little big in the back – I don’t think I need the back darts to be quite so full.  This is a common issue for me with this pattern brand, I had just forgotten about it!  I did not make a muslin, because I don’t have the patience right now, but it still turned out well.  As always, I’d recommend sewing the side seams last in order to fine tune the fit.  That’s saved me on a number of occasions!

The pattern instructions were generally good.  There is an error in the printed version of the dress on the collar – you must sew the collar to facing using a 1/4″ seam allowance on the front short edges only.  Otherwise it will not line up.  I used sew-in interfacing, and while there are a lot of layers at the collar I was able to trim.  I used a clapper with lots of steam to get the seams flat, and then at the very end I sewed the collar to the dress at the shoulder seams to prevent rolling.  This is not in the instructions, but I would recommend doing this step.

So, overall I recommend this pattern, and I may make the sleeved version come fall!

Finding Balance

Current project: Colette Patterns Hawthorne dress

 

It wasn’t until I started sewing that I realized how much I missed it.  I have difficulty finding balance in my life because I’m pretty much “all or nothing” about most things.  But I have to tell you, I don’t want to have another semester like this past one.  I was busy, of course, and I like to be busy, but I didn’t have any time at all to do things for myself.  I found myself falling into unhealthy habits simply because I was so busy that everything was hard.  I didn’t read, I didn’t sew, and I barely had time to make it to the gym once a week.

My goal from this point forward is to make time for myself, and to not allow myself to fall back into my stress habits.  I don’t want to feel this way every summer, but I love what I do.  Here’s what I plan to do from this point forward:

1. I’m not teaching at home this summer.  I usually have private students at home in the summers, but this summer I’m going to focus on only my classes.  No one wants to come to piano in July anyway!  Come fall, I’m keeping the students I have but not adding more.  I’m teaching through our preparatory program now as well, which is less stress because it’s at school and can fit into my normal schedule and not have to run from place to place.

2. I’m keeping my house neater.  I have always struggled with neatness.  My house was pretty much a disaster growing up, and while I figured out how to be pretty OCD in my own place, I’m not good at being that way while living with someone else.  We had a cast party here in April, and I neatened the place considerably.  I’ve been keeping it up since then (much easier when you do it over time) and I keep pointing out to my husband how much less stressed I am when things are clean.  So far my strategy is working!  I need to paint the trim/walls in my bedroom, but I think this may be a time to hire a painter (blasphemy!) because I just don’t want to right now.

3.  Make it to the gym more.    I’m happier when I get some exercise.  We have a gym at school… perhaps I should use that on my lunch break rather than eating unhealthy cafeteria food?

4.  Make time to sew and read.  These are my primary hobbies, and I did zero of either last semester.  I’m not saying I have tons of time, but I need to carve out time – maybe on weekends – to sew every week.  I know I can find time to read… I just have to remember to do it.

5.  Take time to do something for myself.  I’ve been getting Shellac manicures.  It keeps me from my bad OCD habit of picking at my cuticles til they bleed, and it makes me feel better to do something for myself.  I always thought it was silly, but now I understand why women enjoy going to the salon!

6.  Schedule my time more carefully.  I am lucky in that I have a lot of control over my schedule.  So I need to make sure that I’m making a schedule that works for me, not one that works for every person in the world except me.  That’s hard, but I think I can do it.

I love what I do… and I’d like to keep it that way.   I know I won’t succeed with everything right away, but I want to try and keep these goals in mind so that I don’t burn out.  In the meantime, look for plenty of sewing posts this summer!  I’m going to start doing book recommendations again as well, maybe once a month.

Vogue 9005

Pattern: Vogue 9005, view A

Size: XS in the shoulders, medium at hips (for reference, my measurements are: 33-28-38)

Fabric: Lightweight rayon jersey from Fabric Mart

Alterations: I lengthened the tank portion only by 2 inches, and I reduced the armhole depth by 2 inches in order to combat stretching.

General Notes:

I always seem to be attracted to the strange tops.   Although I am perfectly aware that this looks a little bit like I’m carrying around a spare napkin, I love the style anyway!  I’ve been wearing more pants this year, particularly skinny jeans, and because I’m both pear shaped and have a long torso I have a hard time buying tops that are long enough and which fit in both the shoulders and hips.  Plus, as I mentioned, I like weird, arty, drapey things, which aren’t always in abundance in stores. I was attracted to this design right away, and I have an abundance of knit fabric, so I knew I had to make it!

Pattern instructions for knits don’t always make sense, as they are often written as though the fabric were woven.  This one wasn’t bad, really, although the tank does have darts, and I don’t like darts in a t-shirt.  The binding instructions were a little crazy – I opted to edgestitch my binding from the front and then trim it close in the back – you can’t tell, and bindings on knits are a pain.

The pattern piece for the drape is enormous, and I had to cut it on the floor.  It was actually rather simple to construct, although the directions had to resort to saying things like “sew as in drawing” when it was hard to explain.  All you are doing it creating the top and drape separately, and then binding them together at the armhole and neckline.  I didn’t copy the matching symbols because my fabric would not mark, and it worked out fine.

The drape, as you can see, hangs freely:

I had to shorten the armholes by 2 inches due to the weight of all that fabric.  The neckline is also rather deep, although I don’t have much cleavage so it works ok for me.  Anyone larger would probably want to adjust that.  I did lengthen the tank by 2 inches, and I did not hem anything.  I do wish that the bottom edge of the tank could be hemmed easily, but this fabric doesn’t take hemming well.

The drape continues onto the back:

As you can see, it tends to hang off to the side.  That’s ok, but I don’t think the back view on this pattern is the greatest ever.

I think this is an interesting pattern, and it was simple to make – I recommend it!

 

Simplicity 1419

Pattern: Simplicity 1419, view B

Fabric:  Mystery fabric from Joann’s

Notions: 22″ invisible zipper, contrasting sateen for collar and bias binding

Notes:

So, I guess I’m back!  The musical was brilliant, and I’m so very proud of all my students.  Next spring I hope to produce another!   Now that I’ve done it once, perhaps it will not consume my life.  I wouldn’t want to do anything else, and I am so very happy with my career!  But now I have a few months off, so I’m back to sewing again.  Well, I had to kick my husband out of my sewing room, which he had turned into a LEGO construction room, but never you mind.   I decided t0 start back with this pattern, a Lisette dress in a very retro style.

I bought this fabric at Joann’s, and I’m not sure of the content.  My guess is rayon/poly/cotton.  It does like to fray, but it will  hold a press.  I have wanted a striped dress for a few years, so I was happy to make this one!

I cut a size a size 12 in the bodice, blending to a 14 in the waist (my measurements are a 28″ waist and 33″ bust, if that helps anyone!)  Honestly, the waist is a little big, but I don’t like things that are tight, so I’m happy with it!

I didn’t follow many of the instructions, but I did use the zipper instructions.  Honestly, I can’t recommend them if you do view B (with the collar):

(I am very proud of my stripe matching – not perfect on the skirt, but excellent in the bodice!)  So, the instructions direct you to interface both the collar and the facing.  This results in a lot of bulk.  It then asks you to place the edge of the zipper tape at the seamline, and to later fold the tape over the seam line and tack it down.  Quite frankly, that’s a lot of bulk, and I would recommend interfacing only the facing, and finishing the zipper with a hook and eye to close.

I decided that I would rather just hand sew the neck together, so my dress lacks the button and loop called for in the pattern.

Sewing this dress made me realize how much I was missing sewing.  Hopefully I will be able to make some balance this year, so that I don’t have to disappear again!  I would like to thank everyone who emailed me, asking where I was.  Although  I wasn’t always able to reply, it meant a lot to me that you all remembered!  I’m really hoping to be here more consistently now, and to find more balance in my life.  Plus, look at all the awesome patterns I missed (planning post coming soon!)

But really, thank you, and I hope I haven’t been forgotten!

 

Is this thing on?

Hi there!  I know, I know… I’ve been MIA here.  My life kicked into high gear at the end of summer, and it hasn’t slowed down a bit!  I haven’t had time to sew, and I really miss it, but right now I have other things to focus on.  I thought I’d post an update, so people didn’t worry that something terrible had happened to me!

I’m still in graduate school, and I’ll be getting my MM in December.  At that point I’m giving serious thought to staying for a doctorate (I can’t believe I’m actually saying those words… so many things I never thought I would (or could) do!   I’m conducting a choir and directing a musical this semester, which as you might imagine leaves me little free time. 

I even have an official, conductorly (note: not a real word) head shot!

Image

I still love my haircut, and I never thought I would have hair this short!

I’m hoping to have time to do a little sewing before summer classes start – I have 6 weeks free.  No guarantees though – I now realize that you never know what life will give you.  We might go to visit my in-laws in that time, or I might finally get around to painting the woodwork in my bedroom – who knows?  I will be spending most of the summer in class every day, so maybe I will just rest and prepare.  But I do hope to be back – I miss sewing, and I miss the interaction with the sewing community.  I try to keep up with your blogs, though I feel so behind.  There are so many patterns I have pinned to my “want to make” board that I will never finish them all – ah well!  Farewell for now, hope to be back in a more reasonable amount of time!