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Showing posts from 2015

Butterick 6244 - Graphic print dress

It's been a few years since I made myself a new "Christmas" dress. This one qualifies with even a couple of hours to spare.


This is Butterick 6244. Most of the people that have used/reviewed this pattern have made the coat. I really liked the dress even though it is hard to see any details in the pattern photo. (I wish there was a way to just scroll through tech drawings on pattern sites). I liked the high neck, princess seams, and gentle A-line of the skirt.


The fabric is a black/ivory ponte knit that I bought online more than a year ago. I was a little disappointed that the ivory part wasn't brighter, but thought I could make it work for winter rather than summer. The print is a bit bolder than I usually wear (okay, any print at all is more print than I usually wear).

The pattern calls for woven fabrics, so I sized down for the muslin and then took it in a bit more all around before cutting the real thing. I also raised the bottom of the armholes. They seemed rathe…

McCall's 7094 - Green Rayon Blouse

I don't like the word "blouse." I don't like the way it sounds or looks. The word doesn't have very attractive connotations in my mind. I don't know why. Anyway, I think what I have here is a blouse. Or maybe it's a blouse-y tunic. Whatever it is, I'm not sure it's a keeper.

This is McCall's 7094. I made it once before in silk, seen here. I thought it would look better as a tunic worn over slim pants rather than tucked into trouser-style pants. I loved the green color of this rayon challis (more emerald than it looks in the photos) and thought it would be a good match.


I had removed much of the fullness of the back with the first version and I think that came out well. But, the front is still just too full and ...blouse-y. A side view photo would be helpful here, but we didn't get one of those. I want to like this style, but this pattern isn't what I wanted it to be. I retired it after this project.


A few more pattern notes that may be…

Final Summer Sewing

This shirt was the last of my summer sewing. Like most summers, there are many things left on my "want-to-make" list, but summer is a short season here and consistently my least productive time of year for sewing. After this shirt, I did make a few back to school things for my kids, so fall sewing has already begun. 
I’m really happy with this shirt, but nothing was surprising about it. I knew I liked the fabric and used my tried-and-true shirt pattern.

This fabric has been in my stash for a few years. I bought it on deep discount at an end of season sale. I like that it has the tie-dye feel without being overly hippie-ish. It is a lightweight cotton (lawn, perhaps?) with a stable weave and soft feel. It was lovely to work with. Unlike the fabric for this shirt, which felt a little bulky, this  worked wonderfully for the collar, plackets, etc.

I continue to tweak my collar making methods. For this one I combined Tasia’s tutorial (bleached muslin, glue basting) with Pam’s po…

Gingham Shirt

I made this shirt back in early spring. My wardrobe needed something fresh and I really just wanted to make a shirt. It's nice to end up with a lovely product, but when it comes to shirtmaking, I really just love the process. The original pattern is Burda 04/2010 #114, but I've used it multiple times and made several changes.

The gingham is not really the ideal weight for a classic shirt. It's more like quilting cotton - not real fine and a little spongy. It is nice quality and was pleasant to work with, but the bulk was a little frustrating at some parts of the process.

I added some bright yellow-green accents to the shirt. The color isn't accurate in any of these pictures. I had both yardage and bias tape in the exact same color. That was a surprise to me (I guess I really like that color…) but I made use of both of them.

I did consider binding the hem with the tape so that it showed on the outside of the shirt, but decided against it. The other details are more sub…

Sisters in Stripey Sundresses

Sewing for my kids has been pretty minimal the last few months. I told my girls I would make them each a sundress and seeing as how July is just about done, I thought I should get on it. I had these two cuts of striped knit and told them they needed to decide together who was getting each one. They settled that quickly and then I gave them two options for patterns/design. They each picked a different one.

My younger daughter picked the narrow stripe and wanted "a loooong dress." I used a tank top pattern (Ottobre 4/2015#26) and extended it to maxi dress length. Then I followed the same stripe placement scheme as McCall's 6559.

I recently purchased a binder attachment for my Baby Lock serger and thought these would be good dresses for trying it out. I got the basics down, but I have a lot more learning/playing to do. I can get it to work great for wovens, but knits were pretty awful. So, these bindings are done on my regular sewing machine with a double needle (more det…

McCall's 6992 - Sheer White Sweater

While it took me awhile to get on board with the stylish sweatshirt trend, I’m really liking it now. The key to making it work for me is using a fabric that isn’t bulky or sweatshirt-like. When I saw a sheer white sweater knit on the clearance rack at Jo-Ann Fabrics,  I thought it would make a nice pairing with McCall's 6992 for spring.


There isn't a lot to say about the pattern. It's a very easy style to sew up. Several options are included in the pattern, making it easy to include several versions in your wardrobe without feeling like they're all the same. Not that that matters to me - I use the same patterns over and over again even if they do all look the same. But I know not everyone gets excited about that.


Necessary alterations were blissfully minimal. I added an inch of length, but I don't think I really needed it with this fabric. In something less stretchy, it would have been important. For the bottom band, I disregarded the pattern piece and cut the band j…

McCall's 7094 - Blue Silk Blouse

Figuring out how to dress for work (alluded to here) has led to some experimentation on my part. If I’m going to need new clothes, I might as well try some different things.  Awhile ago I included a couple pieces of silk crepe de chine in an order from Fabricmart. My experience with silk is pretty limited – both the sewing of it and the wearing of it, but I was curious if I’d like to do more with it. The pieces I bought were a good deal and good for experimenting.
I really liked McCall’s 7094 and thought it would be a good match for a drapey silk. I preferred view D, but didn’t have the yardage it required. The blue silk matched the blue in this wool, so I figured if the top turned out I could wear them together.

As other reviewers note, the top has a lot of ease through the bodice. I chose my size based on the width across the shoulder yoke. After basting the bodice together and trying it on, I took some width off the front at the side seams and recut the back. The pattern includes g…

Wool Trousers, Part 2

I made this pair very shortly after the first version, with only a couple of changes to the pattern. I took out some height at the CB (I don't remember exactly how much), tapering to nothing at the side seams. I also changed the size of the pocket bags. I'm happier with this pair, but still need some more changes.


Half grimace, half smile. It was so cold and windy. I thought outdoor pictures would be better, but the sun was so bright (not complaining!) that it makes it hard to see any details.


The fabric is a black and blue loosely woven wool. From anywhere but up close, it looks like a very dark navy. It is the same fabric used in the Lisette moto jacket sew-along. I think I used what would be considered the "wrong" side of the fabric, but I liked it better.


Other than the fact that it frayed pretty quickly, the fabric was easy to work with. Most of the pattern details are the same as the last pair. The fabric pressed well and the finished pants are smooth despite t…

Wool Trousers, Part 1

I work part-time as a bank teller. The bank has a pretty tight dress code (but not uniforms) and the town where I live and work is pretty conservative. While my position doesn't have much (if any?) authority, I think it's important to look professional and I would prefer to be overdressed rather than underdressed. I also walk to work and during the winter that means I need my legs covered. All that to say, it was time to revisit making pants. Not faux-leather leggings, not pajama pants, but real trousers.
The last pair of great trousers I made are too small for me now. Truth be told, they were always a little small. They were fine when I was standing, but were uncomfortable when sitting. The pants I copied for the pattern had just the slightest bit of stretch. I thought it was slight enough that I could make it work with a non-stretch fabric, but that little bit of stretch did matter.
So, then I debated about starting from the beginning with a new pattern or revisiting this o…

Mondo Bag

Remember this bag? I like that bag. It's quirky and unique and I get funny comments about it when I carry it. However, The Preacher does not appreciate that bag. He claims to be embarrassed to be seen with me when I have it. That doesn't usually stop me, but now I have a second option when I need a very large (and respectable) tote bag.

This is the Mondo Bag from Quiltsmart. The pattern was a gift from my mother-in-law, who works at a quilt shop. The pattern includes fusible interfacing printed with a grid for doing the patchwork. The technique is similar to the one I used here. You produce four patchwork rectangles and then sew them together in a swirled plus-shape. That’s the best description I can give - it's rather unique and the final result looks more complicated than it actually is.

The fabric I used for the outside is from CherrywoodFabrics. I purchased a pack of fat quarters at Quilt Expoto use with this pattern. I would not have combined these colors on my own, …

Pajama Pants

Shortly before Christmas, I made all three kids some new pajamas. Then I made them each a set as a Christmas gift and my mom gave them each new pajamas, too! Pajama overload perhaps, but it was really a good thing. Even The Preacher got new pajamas. The ability of good pajamas to bring comfort and joy is not to be underestimated. My pajama drawer and I were feeling left out.
Finally last week I was able to remedy that. I do not enjoy the bunching up around the legs that happens with traditional pajama pants. I had been wearing leggings and tunics as pajamas for awhile and that worked well. Last fall I made a pair of sweatpants (track pants? lounge pants? I don't know exactly what they are...) using Ottobre 5/2011 #5 and I really liked them.

Combined with the plentiful race T-shirts I have, they would be great as pajamas - comfy, stretchy, and tapered at the ankle so they don't bunch up.

I bought two pieces of cotton interlock from JoAnn's and made them assembly-line sty…

Back At It

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here and I'm finding that I miss it. This past year has been full of changes and transitions for our family and this blog couldn't be a priority. We're settling into a new community and I've returned to work part-time. Time has felt tight over the last several months, but I have been sewing when I can and continue to enjoy a dedicated sewing space in our new home. Sewing and blogging come from the same pool of "free" time. When made to choose between sewing and writing about sewing, I will always choose sewing.
I appreciate having this blog as a record of what I've made, just to help me remember some of the actual articles I've made and also as keeper of notes, links, and details that are helpful for current and future projects. I also just miss the writing. My day-to-day life doesn't require a lot of writing, but it's a skill I value and think it needs to be treated like a muscle: use it o…