The Belated Sewalong Dress (McCall’s 6696)

The Belated Sewalong Dress (McCall’s 6696)

Albus photo bombs.
Albus photo bombs.

Recently, McCall’s announced a shirtdress sewalong, and I immediately jumped on board. I’d been planning to make the full skirt version of this dress for awhile, in a vintage repro fabric I had laying around, so it seemed like perfect timing. NOPE. My machine ate shit and it took me two months to finish the dress. Oops.

Why am I doing that with my neck?
Why am I doing that with my neck?

I was really excited to use this fabric, I love the retro, almost-curtains print. Plus, it’s 100% cotton, so sewing it would be a breeze!! While it did press beautifully, wear from ironing and pre-washing began to show pretty much immediately. The gold doesn’t hold up, perhaps there’s some trick to pressing fabric with metallic print, that I don’t know about? If there is, let a girl know!!! I hate to damage beautiful fabric.

Needs to tuck in more at the waist, ya know? Also, wrinkles, I know. Shut up.

I kinda think this project was doomed from the beginning, really. First the machine dies, then I cut my skirt fabric upside down. After correcting that mistake, I barely had enough fabric to finish cutting. While doing this pattern puzzle, I of course jammed my hand down in the pin dish. Smart, right? Some days are just not sewing days, and I should stop trying to force it. Oh well…

image
Sometimes, I try to brighten photos and they just look weird. Like this one.

I cut this pattern at a size 14 (view A minus the carriers), last time I cut a 12 and it was WAY too tight. At a 14, it’s too big. Next time I’ll do some grading and actually make a muslin like a normal person. Weirdly, last time the armscye fit well, but I don’t like the way this one fits at all. I think it needs to come in a bit on the top, yes? The only other change I made was to take out a bit of the gathering in the back. For some reason, and I’m not alone in this, I find the back to be super fucking poofy. Even now, with so much taken out, I still think it’s too poofy. Oh, and this collar is far from my best sewing. Not an alteration, but still worth mentioning.

POOF
POOF

Despite it’s flaws, I still dig the 50’s housewife look of this dress. It definitely has enough ease for sitting and eating man sized meals, so silver lining. The skirt was also full and long enough for me to sit crossed legged and not flash anyone, as you’ll see in this next photo. Great pattern, bad sewing! I’ll leave you with this adorable doggie picture, happy sewing πŸ™‚

This is Minerva, one of my nursing puppy momma fosters. Don't judge her bod, she's feeding lots of pups!
This is Minerva, one of my nursing puppy momma fosters. Don’t judge her bod, she’s feeding lots of pups!
A Kit Dress (McCall’s 6885)

A Kit Dress (McCall’s 6885)

Posing gets even more awkward than this, I am so sorry.

I’ve been on a pretty serious destashing kick, so buying this Craftsy kit came as a bit of surprise to even me. That said…fabric and a pattern for $15? No way I was passing that up!

I don’t know why I insist on looking down

The pattern is McCall’s 6885, and the fabric is Robert Kaufman’s dotty chambray, and I’m a big fan. The model on the pattern packaging is wearing something truly heinous, but please don’t let that deter you.

Photo "credit" to McCall's. Yes, the hat pattern is included.
Photo “credit” to McCall’s. Yes, the hat pattern is included.

I really liked the look of view D, kind of like a oversized men’s shirt but wearing it as a dress look, so that’s what I went with. Based on the pattern size chart, I should have graded between a size 14 and a 16. Based on everything I know about myself, I cut a 12. I do not like my clothes that loose, but that’s just personal preference. I liked the way the 12 fits, but I would cut the sleeves a teensy bit bigger if I could do it again. Also the sides come up a bit high, but that’s just the pattern design. I would suggest wearing tights if you want to look classy. I give no fucks about that.

Trying to look cool but even Amy’s dog is judging me.

The construction is pretty simple, as far as anything with a collar goes. There are various methods for collar constructing, but I opted to just go with the pattern version. The button placket is way easier than I expected!! If that kind of thing scares you, have no fear. Mine is far from perfect, but that’s honestly just because I get in my own head and freak myself out. There are also plackets (tabs? I don’t know) on the sleeves, but those are even easier. There is no yoke in the back, unlike the previous shirt dress I made, seriously a no fuss dress.

Okay so maybe the back is bit snug. Whatever.
Okay so maybe the back is bit snug. Whatever.

I did snap buttons on this one again, because I still haven’t replaced my buttonhole foot. Yes, you should definitely button/snap to the second button/snap. I like to have cleavage, so I don’t. Again, preference.

A little boobage never hurt anyone, probably.

I will for sure sew this pattern again, it’s easy and it would definitely fit into my wardrobe. I also really dig this fabric, I really want to make another dress with it and button down, at least. This is the second time I’ve sewn with chambray, and I would definitely say this is the higher quality fabric. It doesn’t wrinkle nearly as easily, though the skirt portion did wrinkle when I sat at my desk for a long period of time. All things considered, I really like this, I’ve actually worn it a few times since I made it! If the Crafty kits ever come back in stock, I’d suggest snatching one up. Happy sewing πŸ™‚

Cardigan Trials (McCall’s 6844)

Cardigan Trials (McCall’s 6844)

Check out my wingspan, yo.
Check out my wingspan, yo.

It’s hard to look through all these smiling pictures from weeks ago, when I can’t muster a smile now. I lost a very dear friend, and one of the few people on the earth I’ve ever connected with, on Friday. I won’t go on and on about it, but forgive me if I’m a little morose, okay?

Why do jeans have such tiny pockets??
Why do jeans have such tiny pockets??

This is the McCall’s 6844 cardigan pattern, you’ve probably sewn it yourself. It’s been done by everyone, I think. I cut this particular version last year, before I had even started blogging. The fabric is a lovely sequined sweater knit from Joann’s, and unfortunately, they don’t seem to carry it anymore. πŸ™ But yay for finishing projects!

Long enough to cover the ghetto booty.
Long enough to cover the ghetto booty.

Somewhere along the line, I managed to lose this pattern. So the garment you seen here is the product of cut pattern pieces and what I felt like should happen to them. I serged the bodice portion together, added the lower pieces, scarf-type pieces, and then sleeves. All just serged, no darts or gathers of any kind. I vaguely recall the pattern calling for interfacing, but this didn’t get any. I also have two extra scarf pieces that I did NOTHING with. We’re calling this one a wearable muslin, okay? And, just like before, I have no idea what size I cut.

Awkward Cousin Itt photo

Apparently, when I cut this fabric, I did so with reckless disregard for the strips on the fabric. For the most part, it actually came out pretty okay. In the photo above, you can see where it did not! Β Also, just like in my previous post, it’s a bit snug. When I make this again, I’ll grade up in the sleeves. Since this is just a muslin, and a knit, I didn’t finish the hem or the sleeves. I kinda dig the way it came out, though!!! Perfect for work, comfortable to wear around the house. Oh!! And check that tank underneath, recognize it? It’s the peplum top I made! I wear the hell out of this thing, definitely my most worn make!

Remember me?
Remember me?

This quick cardigan was definitely worth a make for me. And I get the deeply satisfying feeling of cleaning up old UFO’s in my sewing room! Win win. Pardon the short post, this is all the cheer I could manage. Happy sewing πŸ™‚

Fabulous Fall (McCall’s 6754)

Fabulous Fall (McCall’s 6754)

I really can't make any more posing excusing.
I really can’t make any more posing excusing.

McCall’s 6754 is my go to pattern. I think I’ve made it at least 7 times. This is a knit pattern, but I’ve made it in everything from quilting cotton to some weird poly-crepe type fabric. I’ve made it sleeveless and raglan. I’ve added pockets, zippers. I added horsehair braid once. It’s such an easy pattern, and who doesn’t love a good circle skirt!?!

So many dresses.
So many dresses.

I purchased this fabric last year (yay for destashing!), and have been struggling on what to do with it. I love that it’s reversible, but couldn’t think of a way to showcase that. Finally, I decided fuck it. The fabric is soft and cozy and perfect for a fall dress. Wearing this dress feels like being wrapped in the softest blanket, it takes “secret pajamas” to another level.

I like that dress, but it would look better on my floor.
I like that dress, but it would look better on my floor.

The very best part of this dress is that it was sewn up after work on Tuesday. Fabric cutting included, it took about 3 hours. It’s crazy fast and easy. I do, however, wonder about darts on the raglan sleeves. It’s a knit, why have a dart on the sleeve? Any ideas? Other than the darts and finishing, I did all the sewing on my serger. Originally, I had intended to do bands at the sleeves and hem, in the stripes also, but I ran out of energy. The pattern doesn’t call for bands, just fold and stitch, but I really like the look and stability of it. I would suggest sizing down. This fabric tends to “grow” as you wear it, so I think could have even gone down one more size! It is very easy to edit along the way, so if you cut it a bit too large, no worries. I’ve sewn this so many times, I disregarded the instructions. I believe it calls for elastic at the waist in all versions, though. I don’t add it. I don’t think it needs it and I just don’t like the look. But if you do, go for it! It’s an easy add.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I'm dizzy.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand I’m dizzy.

This is my last make for the Sew Long Summer Sew Along!! I hope you’ve all enjoyed it. Happy sewing πŸ™‚

Never Ending Summer (McCall’s 6696)

Never Ending Summer (McCall’s 6696)

This post features extra bad posing
This post features extra bad posing

We’re in week two! I’ve changed my mind a few times on some of my projects for this sewalong, but this week was always going to be the McCall’s shirtdress. I’ve read about it on so many blogs, so many people are in love with it…and I just feel “enh” about it.

I’m trying to copy that shrugging guy people are always typing.

I had always intended to make this dress in this fabric. I love this print, but the colors just aren’t really me. But hey, shirt dress, seems appropriate, yes? That bit turned out well, at least. I should have given more thought to doing stripe matching with pleats on the bottom and darts on the top. Whoops. On the cutting table, I realized that I’d have to do view C, the more fitted skirt. Not my favorite look, but the darts (and print) lined up perfectly. Worth it. When it comes to the back…stripe matching with pleats and gathers, not so much. And that yoke…I don’t know what happened there. But…rtw clothes have terrible print matching, right? It’s totally not even that noticeable?? Right? RIGHT!?!?

I know I know, stop slouching.
I know I know, stop slouching.

While we’re talking about gathers…I feel like this dress needs more. In hindsight, I do remember another sewing blogger saying that she added more to her version. Look, I know what you’re thinking here. “But Ashley, didn’t you make a muslin??” No, no I did not. This fabric was purchased about two years ago (yay for de-stashing), for about $4 a yard. With fashion fabric that cheap, this basically is the wearable muslin.

Way too poofy.
Way too poofy.

Another fun thing was when I managed to lose my buttonhole foot before making a shirt dress. Real smooth. Luckily enough, I had just purchased some crazy cheap pearl snaps. Being honest…the first few snaps didn’t come out so great. After a few and some wine, I’m pretty proud of my work. The neighbors probably didn’t enjoy the 9pm hammering, though.

Ohhhhhh shiny snaps!
Ohhhhhh shiny snaps!

For the collar, I followed Grainline’s collar sewing method. Easy peasy. With the yoke, I used the burrito method, my favorite yoke sewing method. I’m tellin ya, you’ve never seen a more beautifully finished yoke. Burrito method, almost impossible to fuck up but looks so professional. The rest of the sewing is fairly straightforward. I cut a 10, but really should have done a 12. It’s a bit too snug for my liking, but I’d also like to lose this 10 pounds I found somewhere, so…yeah. I used self made bias tape on the arms, and also did a small dart on each, to get them to lay a bit flatter.

Self made bias 4eva

I also somehow lost the pocket pattern pieces, so mine are self drafted. I totally intended to get pictures of said pockets and details, up close. I forgot, again. I am the worst at details and I apologize. I promise to improve, eventually. All and all, I like this pattern. I will for sure be making an improved version of this soon. Happy sewing! πŸ™‚

The Tulip Dress (McCall’s 6956)

The Tulip Dress (McCall’s 6956)

Oh hey, more awkward posing.
Oh hey, more awkward posing.

Have you ever had a dress that looks great in the mirror, but in pictures, makes you look like a lumpy ham? That is this dress for me. I swear, I thought it was flattering. Whatever, I’m still going to wear the hell out of it anyway!!

Pretending to be interested in grass.
Pretending to be interested in grass.

The pattern is McCall’s 6956, and the fabric is some random Robert Kaufman tulip quilting cotton I’ve had for ages. I opted for version B of the pattern, with the a/b cup sizing. I love a good strapless dress, but I hate pulling up my dress all night. Since this dress has tons of boning, you actually DON’T have to do that, it kinda stays up on it’s own. I added cups, just for extra stability, and I also added some ruching to the bodice, just to help adjust the fitting a bit. Other than that, it pretty much fit straight out of the package.

Close up bodice detailing, kinda.
Close up bodice detailing, kinda.

Top is fully lined, while the skirt is unlined. With that, boning, and the heavier weight cotton, the dress still felt cool and comfortable, even in yesterday’s heat. The boning gave me a bit of grief, but that could have just been me misinterpreting the instructions. As I understood them, the boning was to extend past the pleating, which was a headache. I decided to just end it at the pleating, and from there it was smooth sailing. I left off the bottom band on the skirt, only because it made no sense with my fabric pattern.

This is where I almost fell down.  Smooth.
This is where I almost fell down. Smooth.

Honestly, I love a well fitted dress and I think I’ll wear this one quite a bit, even if it has reminded me to lose 20 pounds πŸ˜‰ It’s such a fun party dress! I hope all your summer sewing is going well, happy sewing πŸ™‚

The Tank that Almost Wasn’t (McCall’s m6359)

The Tank that Almost Wasn’t (McCall’s m6359)

Weird smiles.
Weird smiles.

When I first started sewing again, I made my first garment with my dear friend Amy. After the nightmare that was that dress, I thought I would try this simple knit tank. Easy, right? WRONG! At this time in my life, I was sewing on a base model machine, with no knowledge of how to work with knits. What’s worse, I had no clue about pattern fitting. I was hopeless.

Lucille is drowning in it!
Lucille is drowning in it!

I remember when I was originally sewing this, the fabric kept getting sucked into my machine. The stitching just seemed off (zigzag stitching and a ball point needle MAY have been helpful πŸ˜‰ ) The bust darts were too pointy. Using bias tape for the first time, I found it to be wavy and unsightly. In my frustration, I shoved this thing into the bottom of my scrap fabric tote, never to be seen again. That was until I stumbled across the pattern, while browsing the McCall’s site. I’ve sewn plenty of knits now! My machine is much improved! I have ballpoint needles! I HAVE A SERGER! Out came the old tank!

Please pretend you can't see my bra.
Please pretend like you can’t see my bra.

The pattern had been lost long ago, so this was all improvisation. First things first, take in the sides. I was on my way to Amy’s to sew on this particular day, so I did this quickly and without a second thought. I quickly pinned the sides down, turned it inside out, and ran each side through the serger, using the furthest seam line guide on my machine. It fit!!! Perhaps not in the way the pattern intended, but still in a way that I liked. My second step was was to fold the bias tape over, on the inside of the garment, to give it a stable, less wavy finish.

Also please ignore that ridiculous neck tattoo and my love handles.
Also please ignore that ridiculous neck tattoo and my love handles.

That was it, folks! Just a few alterations and this garbage tank is in regular wardrobe rotation. Originally, I had intended to use this embarrassingly simple pattern to make old band shirts wearable again. Now that I’ve conquered it, perhaps you will see a few embarrassingly angsty but modified band shirts on the blog (looking at you, extra large the Get Up Kids shirt).

Happy sewing πŸ™‚

Me-Made-May’15 Week 3

Me-Made-May’15 Week 3

I really need to get better at this me-made photography. At the very least, I could post the full outfit instead of just waist up photos πŸ™ I promise to improve!!

Terrible photography.
Terrible photography.

For week three, I opted for my anchor dress. On this particular day, it was hot here in Ohio and my air is still out, so easy, comfy clothes were the way to go.

The "I'm working" pose.
The “I’m working” pose.

My second outfit was yet another McCall’s M6754. For some reason, the solid green was a huge hit at work, even though I think the floral is a much better fit. The one was a very early make, and it shows in some of the extremely wonky stitching! Oh well, I still wear this stuff with pride.

I have to say…this challenge is a lot easier than I expected. As an added bonus, it’s really driving me to finish/mend some old projects I have lying around! I’m looking forward to sharing week 4 πŸ™‚ Happy sewing!

Me-Made-May’15 Weeks 1 & 2

Me-Made-May’15 Weeks 1 & 2

So I must confess: I only wore one me-made item the first week of May πŸ™ In my defense, that week was only two days long, though…

Week one also happened to be half priced frap week!
Week one also happened to be half priced frap week!

Week one I opted for the lace tank from the Back With a Peplum post. At work, I cover up my half sleeves, so…also features a rtw cardigan. You’ll notice, I finally got around to finishing the neckline and arms with bias tape. Also, I have spectacles now! Though I don’t really need to wear them all the time, you’ll be seeing them often, as I’ve always wanted glasses.

For week two, I opted to wear two versions of McCall’s M6754, my go-to pattern. Expect to see more of these in the future, and probably a blog post about them πŸ˜‰

On the way to work, no cardigan.  No spectacles, because check out that eyeliner.
On the way to work, no cardigan. No spectacles, but so much makeup.
Bathroom selfie and and the return of the spectacles.
Bathroom selfie and and the return of the spectacles.

The hardest part for me has been getting decent photos, obviously! My apologies for the low grade cell phone photography, I need to recruit someone to take photos for me. I hope you’re all having as much fun with this as I am! Happy sewing πŸ™‚