Completed: OAL2015 (M6887 dress + Vianne sweater)

31 Jul

MY GOD, you guys. I am so happy I got this finished in time for the OAL deadline! I’ve had the dress finished for a couple of weeks now, but I worried about that sweater as the time drew closer! I ended up needing to take a couple marathon days in order to finish, but I did finish! And now I’ve got an outfit to show y’all!

OAL2015 - M6887I’ll start with the dress. Again, this is McCall’s 6887, which I used cotton ikat fabric from Mood Fabrics to make it up with (this isn’t a Mood Fabrics allowances fabric; I bought this on my own dime while I was in NY last year). I used the version with the back cut-out, as well as the cap sleeves, omitted the lining in favor of bias facing, and added pockets. I’m not going to go into detail about the construction, since there’s a whole series of blog posts on the making of this dress! You can see them all here:

We are just gonna look at pictures instead. Btw, I walked through a lot of spiderwebs to take these. Appreciate me, dammit. OAL2015 - M6887

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OAL2015 - M6887Now for the sweater part! OAL2015 - Vianne

Vianne is a sweet little top-down cardigan with lace details and a open mesh back. It’s supposed to be knitted up in DK weight yarn, but I used Cascade 220 worsted weight and was able to get gauge using size 6 needles. I knit the size XS, and the only modification I made to the pattern was to knit full-length sleeves. As in, I followed the sleeve directions and just kept knitting/decreasing until they were long enough. I’ve found that I don’t have much need for 3/4 sleeves – if I’m cold enough to wear a sweater, I am cold enough to need the full sleeve – so I went with long sleeves. I did keep the mesh back, though. The mesh back is awesome. I found the mesh+lace a little confusing to follow, so I used a bunch of stitch markers to stay on track and that helped a lot.

While I normally finish my buttonbands with a strip of petersham ribbon for stability, I did not do that with this cardigan. Vianne is a looser fit on me, and the button bands are so wide that they don’t really stretch when they are buttoned. So I left off the petersham and just sewed the buttons directly on the ribbing. One thing I will say about using a stabilizer with your button band – it makes sewing on the buttons a helluva a lot easier! Oh well! Anyway, the buttons are vintage glass from my stash – I’ve had them for YEARS and been hoarding them for a special project, which I’m happy to have finally found! I only had 4 buttons, so I left off one of the button holes. And by “left off,” I mean I originally knit it and then later closed it up with a slipstitch haha.

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OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneAs with all of Andi’s patterns, I REALLY enjoyed knitting this sweater! The yarn was so nice to work with (after a long Cascade 220 hiatus, I’m happy to be home! And I’m really happy to find a local source that is still selling it – Ewe & Company, who happen to be located here in Kingston Springs! What are the odds?) and the color is my favorite. The only thing I didn’t like was feeling rushed at the end, but that’s my own damn fault for not pacing myself earlier during the OAL. I’m glad I got it finished in time, at any rate!

As a side note, wrangling the last sleeve of the sweater got me really wanting to start doing seamed knitting. I’ve always been a fan of in-the-round, because it’s so easy, but I’m starting to feel a little comfortable and I’m kind of craving a bit of a challenge. It would be fun to learn how to properly seam a sweater. Not to mention all the pattern possibilities that open up when you’re not hung up on just one particular construction style!OAL2015 - M6887

Anyway, that’s it! Here is Vianne on Ravelry (spoiler: not any more info than what you see here!). Don’t forget to post your finished outfit in the OAL 2015 FO Thread on Ravelry for a chance to win prizes! We have prize donations from Indie Stitches and The McCall Pattern Company, as well as from Andi Satterlund herself (winner’s choice with all of these, so you won’t get stuck with something you don’t want!), and there will be 4 winners. Also, if you have blog posts to share with your FO, post them here so I can see! I need to get my lurk on ;)

Time For A Sewing Room Tour!

29 Jul

Finally, a tour of my new sewing room! This post has been a long time coming – honestly, this room has been set-up and fully functional since the first couple of weeks after we moved (because I have priorities), but I’ve put off sharing the big reveal until I felt that the room was “finished.” As always, I’ve realized that this room will never really be finished – I still want to hang some more lights, make a new ironing board cover, get a couple more rugs, etc etc – but it’s as finished as it’ll be for now. And now it’s time to share!

Soooo – welcome to my new sewing room, the Kingston Springs edition!

Sewing RoomThis room is funny shape, so getting photos was a little difficult. It’s basically an L shape – there are two little nooks off each end, and the corridor between is wide enough so that you can shove furniture against the wall and still be able to walk through. Here I have drawn you a shitty not-to-scale diagram to give you an idea of the layout. I used Comic Sans as my font choice to make it extra obnoxious. sewing room layout So, as you can see – two nooks with a bit of a walkway. The hallway going off the photo leads to our bedroom and bathroom, and the diagonal line off to the side of the cutting area is a doorway leading to our private living room/Landon’s office. The rectangles are windows and doors – one window in each the sewing and cutting nook, and the door is to the side of the desk. Our apartment is in the basement of the house, so the stairs lead up to the main floor. I’ll admit that when Morgan asked if I wanted to move into her BASEMENT, I was like, “lol no fucking way I ain’t your kid.” But, forreal, this is a pretty happy basement – it has windows and a door that leads outside, so it gets a good amount of light. Although it was a little scary when I first saw it, and it definitely took some TLC to get it to the point that it is now. The room is quite smaller than it looks – my rough measurements put it around 130 square feet. My old sewing room was about 200 square feet, so there was some downsizing and furniture Tetris in order to get everything to fit. It was a little brain-bending at times, but I think it turned out pretty awesome!

Before we moved in, we had to fix the basement up a little. We were really lucky that Morgan moved into the house a few weeks before we did, so we could do this at our leisure (and not live in the middle of a construction zone). The basement is finished and was fully carpeted. We tore out the carpet in the sewing room area – it was completely soaked with cat urine and was beyond saving. The carpet in the bedroom and living room, as well as the stairs, was ok, so that’s still there. Since the unfinished concrete floors were pretty beat-up looking (although thankfully not stained with pee odor! THANK GOD FOR THAT) and nobody wanted to invest in flooring right now, we simply stained them with.. um, some shit from the hardware store haha. We also installed the screen door outside; eventually I’d like to replace the door with one that has a window, but I ain’t got the budget for that now.

I painted the majority of the room by myself – the color is “Aquatic Mist” by Valspar, and the insides of the windows is some color called “Blanket” (I don’t recall the brand, but I will fully admit that I bought the color based solely on the name alone. Who names a paint color Blanket?? Michael Jackson?). Well, majority except for the long hallway leading to the back half – that stayed unpainted for like 2 months, because I wanted Landon to help me with rolling and we kept putting it off. He actually painted it for me as a surprise while I was in Peru, which might very well be the best welcome home gift I’ve ever been recipient of. Ok, I think I’ve talked enough! I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story :) Sewing Room

Starting with general layout photos – here’s the desk area.

Sewing RoomThe hallway leading to the back of our living area. And that giant wall that Landon painted! Sewing Room

The top photo in this post is the sewing area – here’s a view of the wall behind the machines. That tiny nook under the stairs ended up being exactly the right size to fit my pattern cabinet.

Sewing RoomThe opposite nook is the cutting and pressing area, as well as my fabric stash along the wall. Sewing Room

The ironing station. I REALLY wish I’d been able to find a way to keep the ironing board closer to the sewing machines, but the room layout just wouldn’t work around it (and I wanted to keep my desk in the center of the room). It’s not so bad to walk to the ironing board, I guess – I tell myself that a little exercise won’t kill me haha.

Sewing RoomMore of the cutting area. Sewing Room

Standing behind the cutting table, looking back toward the desk.

Detail shots:

Sewing RoomThese bookshelves are below the wall shelves in the cutting area – I keep my collection of sewing books here, as well as my yarn stash (it’s ALL in that basket! I can’t keep my fabric stash under control, but I’ve managed ok with my yarn stash!) and embroidery supplies (in the 70s floral filing box). The blue metal basket up top is where I keep my lingerie sewing queue, and the wooden FL box is my regular sewing queue. I’ve found it’s easier for me to do all my cutting at once for a few projects, and then I can work through the bundles without having to stop and cut another project. Sewing Room

Over the bookshelf are these two wall shelves that I hung ALL BY MYSELF (like a boss). I wouldn’t normally get all riled up over hanging a wall shelf, however, these were heavy AF and I somehow even managed to get them level idk. Anyway, the boxes are for small notions/tools that I have masses of – mostly lingerie supplies and zippers. I haven’t filled all the boxes quite yet, but I figure that’ll happen in due time haha.

Oh, and the plants on top are fake. Obviously. They are the only fake plants in this room, though… for now.

Sewing RoomI love this pattern so much, I hung it in a frame so I could admire it all the time :) Sewing Room

The wall at one end of my cutting table is where I have my cork boards and tools. One board is for general inspiration/love notes – just things that make me happy. The other board is my project board – I’ve found by having a visual running list with swatches and sketches out where I can actually see it (i.e., not in a book or lurking on the internet), I can more easily keep track of my make list. Sometimes I forget what patterns or fabric I have in my gigantic stashes, and this is really helpful!

Sewing RoomHere’s the other end of the cutting table, and one of two windows! That plant is totally alive and not fake, btw. Sewing Room

This is the view from the window. Ahh! We are totally ground-level and I look straight into the woods. Amelia loves to sit in this window and watch the birds, and sometimes Turtle (the beagle) will come sniffing around when she’s outside and it always freaks Amelia out because they are eye-level haha.

Sewing RoomA little more about the cutting table! I built this myself (well – I use the term “built” loosely; it’s IKEA furniture that I screwed together haha) and it’s pretty awesome! I used two Kallax shelves and a Linnmon table top (there is a whole list of links at the bottom of the post for the specific products I used), and 4 sets of Kallax casters to raise it to counter height/make it moveable. One end, I installed 2 drawers on top, and bought 2 little fabric boxes for extra storage (if you were wondering – one box holds swimsuit fabric, and the other holds a mass of vintage zippers still in their packages – too big for the cardboard boxes on the shelves). I also installed a rod to hold my scissor collection on S hooks. They do sit in front of the drawers, but it’s easy to slide them out of the way when I need to access the drawers (which isn’t terribly often). Due to the width of the rod where it screws in, I could only install it on that side.

Those of y’all who have seen previous sewing rooms of mine (we’re on #6 as of this writing… I’m a dedicated woman for sure. I also live in an area with a low cost of living. Yay!) will recall that I had a Norden Gateleg table as my old cutting table. It was ok for a cutting table – I liked the size and that it folded down to be very narrow. However, the height was always bad for me, even when raised on blocks (and, again, I’m 5’2″, so I don’t have extra height to deal with here). I also hated that I couldn’t fit anything under the table due to how the legs were arranged to raise the leaves. And the drawers were a funny shape that I never found useful. I like this table a lot better – it’s pretty much countertop-height with the casters, and I have lots of storage options with the shelves/drawers/boxes. Plus, if I ever give up on sewing (lol no), I can always disassemble it and use the pieces individually on their own. Or sell it – Nashville doesn’t have an IKEA (we have to drive 4 hours to Atlanta), so people here seem to think that shit is made of gold and will pay top dollar for it haha. Which is exactly what I did with the Norden. Bye, Felica!Sewing Room

The inner side of the cutting table has more storage boxes – silk scraps, leather scraps, craft supplies, knit swatches, and my dye pot.

Sewing RoomThis little cart fits perfectly under the table as well. I keep a bunch of weird stuff here – cutting and marking tools, pressing supplies, extra pincushions, my hammer and a spray bottle. Sewing Room

The ironing station is right next to the cutting table. My iron is a silver star ES-300, which is a gravity feed iron and it’s AWESOME. The one thing that seems to scare people the most about using a gravity feed (other than the sheer steam power behind it) is that it doesn’t have an auto shut-off, and they are afraid they’ll accidentally leave it on and burn the house down. I solved this issue by plugging my iron into a power strip that also has paper lantern lights running from it – so if the strip is on, the lights are also on (and, thus, the iron is on). It’s pretty easy to tell if the iron is on that way! That overflowing box of fabric houses all my scraps from cutting. I try to find homes for that shit as quickly as possible because the pile can quickly get overwhelming otherwise.

Sewing RoomNext to the ironing board is my fabric stash – organized somewhat by type/color (jerseys/knits on one side, wovens on the other). I installed little cabinet doors on the bottom, to hide unsightly stash (fabric scraps and linings) and boxes for the unfoldables (interfacings and lingerie fabrics). The roll of paper on top is super handy for pattern tracing or if I just want to make a giant doodle of something. As far as *how* I stash my fabric – I used to fold, but now I roll. Folding looks really pretty, but I could never seem to keep it neat (mostly because my attitude went somewhere along the lines of “ah, fuck it.”). Now I roll my fabric and just stack it in the little cubes. It much easier to keep everything organized this way!

As you can probably tell, this area is also Cat Central. Amelia likes to hang here – on the rug, in front of the screen, all up in my silks – so I keep her scratching pad here, and there’s always at least one toy lurking around.Sewing Room

I like having my desk in the middle of the room, so I can easily hear music/videos while I’m working. It’s also close to the door (which is open 99% of the time, bc fresh air lol yay). I work from home a couple days a week, so it was important for me to have a nice workspace to sit at. I also hung those shelves above the desk, also by myself. I really love shelving. And boxes, for that matter.

Sewing RoomTo the left of the desk is the sewing area. This is where I keep my machines, patterns, and a bunch of notions. Sewing Room

And here’s the view out of that window, in case you were curious :)

Sewing RoomOn one table, I keep both of my standard sewing machines – I have a Bernina 350PE and a Pfaff 7570. The Bernina is my main machine, but it’s really nice having 2 when you are working on a project that requires a lot of thread changes (such as jeans). For those, I use the Pfaff for construction and the Bernina for topstitching. Above the machines are buttons, notions, and thread racks. Sewing Room

More thread racks, plus my favorite sewing room art :D

Sewing RoomThe dedicated serger table has additional storage, which is handy. My serger is a Babylock Imagine, FYI. Sewing Room

Behind the sewing machines, in the weird little nook under the stairwell, is where I keep my pattern stash. On top of the cabinet, I have storage for trims and elastics, plus a running queue of the patterns I want to make next (before I cut them and put them in the cut queue box by the cutting tables. Man! All these systems!). That bag hanging on the lemon hook is my knitting bag.

Taking photos of my sewing room is hard because it's such a funny shape! Here's a shitty panoramic to give you an idea of what I'm working with.

Finally, here’s an Instagram panorama of the room!

SHOPPING LIST:
Most of the stuff in this room is either thrifted or from IKEA. I’ve tried to compile everything here, but feel free to ask if you are curious as to where I got something! If it’s not on the list, chances are I bought it used (like from the thrift store or flea market). Like I said, I’ve had an on-going sewing room in every house I’ve lived in for nearly the past 10 years, so I’ve had a LOT of time to collect stuff and learn what works best for my set-up and organizational needs. Oh, and one more thing, because I’m always asked this – yes, it does always stay this clean! “Messy” for me is if there is a project on the cutting table. I never lets piles accumulate and I’m pretty good about putting stuff away when I’m done with it. I can’t stand to work in a messy room, plus, this area is the walk-through to get to the rest of our basement suite, so I have to be mindful of that for Landon’s sake.

Wall paint color: Aquatic Mist by Valspar

Sewing nook
Serger table: thrifted + painted
Sewing machine table: family hand-me-down + painted
Pattern cabinet: thrifted + painted (for info on the boxes inside the cabinet, check out this post!)
DMC thread organizer: thrifted
Thread racks: given to me by Elizabeth, but here are some similars on Amazon- thread rack + serger thread rack
Turquoise hanging shelf: thrifted + painted
Chairs: thrifted
Sewing room art: Joanna Baker, via Madalynne giveaway
“I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” chalkboard sign: Custom made by Kaelah
Rug: Old Time Pottery

Desk area
Desk: Nashville flea market
Chair: Nashville flea market
Ceiling light: KNAPPA
Wall shelves: EKBY JÄRPEN / EKBY BJÄRNUM
Mesh drawer unit: LENNART
Rail/basket (above desk): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL BASKET
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)
Rug: Nashville flea market
Sewing machine print: Madalynne
Kitty Cat clock: gift from Landon

Fabric // Cutting area
Fabric shelf: KALLAX with 2 doors
Industrial paper roll: Given to me when my old job (advertising) was downsizing and clearing out the art room!
Paper lanterns: IKEA, like 10+ years ago
Rug: Nashville flea market
Wall shelves: EKBY JÄRPEN / EKBY BJÄRNUM
Bookshelf: thrifted
Cutting table: 2 KALLAX shelves + LINNMON tabletop + 2 KALLAX drawers + 4 KALLAX casters. Scissor rail is BYGEL RAIL + s-hooks
Tool baskets (under the corkboards): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL container
Turquoise utility cart: RÅSKOG
Yellow storage boxes: DRÖNA
Large white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Small white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Fake plants: FEJKA

Ok, I think that’s it! Let me know if you have any questions :)

Completed: McCall’s 6952

27 Jul

I think this summer will forever be known as the Summer of the Silk Sundress, well, for me, anyway. That seems to be all I want to sew/wear – not that I’m complaining!

McCall's 6952So, here’s my newest addition to the closet – McCall’s 6952. I think this pattern is actually from last year, but I only just discovered it this year. As far as dress patterns go, it’s pretty basic – wide shoulder straps (aka BRA FRIENDLY STRAPS), princess seams, and an elastic waist. The dress doesn’t even require a zipper; you can just slip it over your head. And I don’t know what is with me and elastic waists lately, but it’s basically all I want to wear these days. I’m not pregnant or anything. I’m just constantly in search of comfort haha. McCall's 6952

Simple is good, though, if you want a nice plain backdrop for showing off amazing fabrics. Or not even cool printed amazing fabrics – sometimes a luxe silk in an incredible color is amazing enough, you know?

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

The silk I used here is another fabric gift that I’ve been too terrified to actually use. Sunni sent it to me last year in a big grab box of fabrics – any of y’all who lurk her blog or perused her store (which I’m really bummed to hear about it’s closing!) know that woman has got some taste when it comes to fabric. I believe this silk crepe was actually dyed by her, even. Of course. And she sent me like 4 yards (or something generous like that) and here I’ve been too skeered to actually use it.

McCall's 6952This pattern seemed like a good place to start. The dress isn’t super close-fitting, so I didn’t have to worry about fitting issues (other than the length of the straps, which were surprisingly almost perfect for me). I originally noticed the pattern because I really like view A – with the plain front and cut-out back – but I decided to make view B for this dress – with the cool little ruffled boobie flounce. My boobs need all the help they can get, y’all. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Construction-wise, I didn’t follow the instructions at all. The instructions have you line the dress, but I like wearing as few layers as possible when it comes to summer heat. So I just finished the neckline and arm holes with self bias binding (jeez, I sound like a broken record. I should rename this The Summer of Self Bias Binding haha). All hems are rolled by machine, and the inside is entirely finished with French seams. The elastic casing is a strip of bias binding, with the elastic threaded through. McCall's 6952

And I totally prewashed/dried this silk in the machine so this is some shit that will never see the dry-cleaners. Machine washed silk FTW!

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Fit-wise, I only needed a couple very minor adjustments (minor enough where I was able to fit them as I sewed). The shoulders were almost perfect, but I did raise them by about 1/4″. I also ended up taking about 2″ off the hem, as I think the shorter length is a bit more flattering on me. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952I am thinking this will be a good pattern match for the cool fabric that I bought in Peru. The plain version with the cut-out back, I mean. Right?? I better do it before I change my damn mind again haha. McCall's 6952

Completed: Hand-Dyed Blue Silk Vogue 1395

24 Jul

Ahh, Vogue 1395. First, I made you up in cherries, and it was good. Then, I modified the shit out of you and made you up in silk plaid gingham, and it was good. And now, we’ve come full circle back to square one. And that’s good, too.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkSometimes, ya just gotta stick with the ol’ TNT’d version, amirite? Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I am also realizing that I took way too many pictures for a dress that will essentially warrant the same post as the cherry original, but, you know, whatever. My blog, my rules. I was having a good hair day that day. And my back yard looks BEYOND gorgeous. I will never tire of all that green!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Speaking of gorgeous- how about that hand-dyed silk that I used? I can’t take any credit for it (other than the actual sewing of the garment) – it was given to me by Elizabeth after a big studio clean-out. She made me an entire grab bag, full of mostly silks – some stamped, some natural, some dyed (in both solid colors and what you see here), and all of them amazing. I think a lot of this was leftover from discontinued collections, but some of it was from her personal stash. Needless to say, this is a woman with fabulous taste in fabric and I was really happy with everything she gave me. I also spent WAY too long agonizing over what to make with it! It was so special and I was afraid to cut into it only to later regret using it in case I later ended up having better idea.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkThis piece of hand-dyed silk crepe was probably my favorite. It’s so thick and lush and it has an amazing drape. I love the soft colors so much. Pairing it up with V1395 seemed like the best idea – a pattern that I already know fits and sews up well, that I know I love to wear. I actually made this way before I even left for Peru – so, it’s been in my closet for more than a month at this point. ha. Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkI can’t think of anything else to say about the pattern that I haven’t already gone over in my previous posts. The giant arm hole issue has now, thankfully, been fixed, although the neckline is strangely a bit wider than it is in the cherry version (probably due to fabric choice – this crepe is a heavier than the silk cherries). I didn’t follow much in order of construction – this is made with French seams and machine-rolled hems, both of which were a lot easier than what the pattern directions were asking me to do. I also used my own method for applying the binding, again instead of following the directions. The finishing on this dress is definitely an improvement over the last dress.Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Here, you can see both the arm hole and how the dress looks untied. As well as what I guess is now my superhero pose. Damn, that arm hole still looks low. It’s ok, though, because the overwrap covers it when it’s tied.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I love all the little details on this dress… especially the elastic waist. Totally buffet-friendly! :)

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

The skirt in this pattern is lined, and while I tried to get away with not lining it – I realized that the silk is pretty freaking see-through. It’s not so bad on the top, because of the overlay, but the skirt was pushing being almost sheer. For these sorts of linings, I prefer to use china silk, as it’s really thin and lightweight. Of course, I had NONE of that on hand and I didn’t feel like ordering any, so the lining I used is just white silk crepe. It makes the skirt a bit thicker and heavier than I’d prefer, but at least it’s not see-through!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I always have a hard time cutting into fabric that is given to me – sometimes it takes me YEARS to actually settle on a pattern. I’m always paranoid that I’ll have an even better idea later down the line, and be pissed at myself for already using the fabric. But that’s kind of a crappy way of looking at things – I mean, it’s not like the fabric is doing me any good just sitting on the shelf, you know? So it feels good to get past that and actually use some of the gorgeous stuff that’s been given to me!

With that being said – I have a few more pieces that I finally cut & sewed that were also on the “too nice to actually use for something” list, so watch this space for those! Who else has dream fabric that they’re afraid to cut into? Maybe we should start a support group!

Completed: McCall’s 7119

22 Jul

Allow me to introduce you to my ridiculous summer sundress for 2015.

McCall's 7119I guess it’s not really that ridiculous, but it feels a little over-the-top (for me, that’s a good thing haha). This is totally the time of year for getting away with this sort of loud dressing, but I haven’t really taken advantage of it until now! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I used McCall’s 7119 to make this, which was originally sent to me by the McCall Pattern Company (contrary to popular belief, I usually buy my Big 4 patterns because I live in the mystical land of $1 Joann sales, but I’ll take free, too haha). I really love the photo on the envelope and was dying to make my own. I was not, however, dying to plunk down $$ for the 3 yards of fabric necessary to make this sucker up. Damn wrap dresses and long maxi-lengths! As if! McCall's 7119

Anyway, I noticed that this blue cotton poplin paisley went on massive sale at Mood Fabrics for all of $4.99 a yard, and I realized that it was perfect – both in weight and cost – for the dress I was wanting to make. I’ve never been a huge fan of paisley – I’ve made a couple garments in the past with beautiful pieces of paisley fabric, yes (and I have a couple more pieces in my stash as of this writing), but for the most part, I’ve always considered it to be kind of an ugly print. Mostly because it reminds me of the horrible ties that my dad used to work to work in the early 90s haha. Sorry, dad! This paisley, though, is definitely much prettier (or that could be the $5 price tag talking to me, I dunno!). I think it’s due to the monochromatic color scheme, which tones down the tack and lets you focus on the pretty design. Or, again, could be that $5 price tag. Whatever.

McCall's 7119Despite this fabric being inexpensive, it’s not cheap. It has a really nice hand and drape, the colors are beautiful and saturated, and it’s opaque enough to not warrant a lining. The right and wrong side are almost identical, which is good for this sort of dress – as you can see the wrong side through the back hem dip. The fabric cut & sewed like a dream, and it is fairly good at resisting wrinkling (see: these photos after a day of wearing). It also feels reeeeeal nice in this heat, a bonus! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119The pattern was easy enough to make up – I finished it over a long marathon sewing weekend. I started with a size 6 at the bust and an 8 at the waist/hip, based on the finished measurements. I did make a quick little muslin mock-up of just the bodice, to see how the fit was before I cut into my fabric. The bodice fit well enough, except that the center front gaped like crazy! Surprisingly, the easiest fix was also the most efficient fix – I raised the shoulders by 3/8″, and then took 1/4″ off the side seams starting at the underarm and tapering into the existing seamline below the bust dart. I do think the bust darts are a little high – I should have lowered them after raising the shoulders – but the fit is pretty nice as-is, and the print is busy enough to where you can’t see it. Also, I don’t know what the horizontal fold/wrinkle is doing over my boob. I think it’s from how I’m standing, because it’s normally not there. Except, of course, in these pictures, and it’s making my eye twitch. Argh!

The last fitting alteration I made was right at the end – where I took off a massive amount of skirt length. I don’t even know how much, because I kept chopping and chopping. I started with about 4″ off the pattern tissue itself – because the measurements on the back showed that the back dip would drag the floor on me (I’m 5’2″, so, yeah). Upon finishing the dress – well, apart from the hem and closing up the facings – I realized it was still waaaay too long and the whole thing – print+style combo – was totally overwhelming on me. I just kept cutting that hem, and curving into the front wrap (definitely don’t cut too much off the front wrap or you’ll end up with something very indecent!) until the length looked good. McCall's 7119

To sew this up, I used a brand new 70/10 Microtex needle and navy thread. The seams are all French seams – except where the hole is in the side seam (to feed the waist tie through), that one is just turned under and topstitched. I finished the neckline facing with tiny little invisible hand stitches, and the bottom hem is machine rolled. I think that’s it? Pretty straightforward pattern if you ask me!

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I don’t know what possessed me to drag the dressform outside for these photos. I mean, they look really nice, but holy hell that thing is heavy! Never doing that again lolol McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119Here’s the inside – look where my fingers are pointing, you can see the hole for the waist tie. There is also a tiny snap right at the bust where the wrap crosses over, to prevent any northern wardrobe malfunctions. Due to the  wrap, a big gust of wind will definitely show some leg at the skirt. I’m ok with this, though. Legggsssssss. Also, see how similar the right and wrong side look? Because of my finishing, it’s actually hard to tell when the dress is inside-out! I have to look for the French seams :) haha! McCall's 7119

Overall, I enjoyed working with this pattern and I’m definitely not opposed to making it up again – although probably a different view, because this particular one is a little fancy for my daily use. I’d like to try the shorter, mullet-less skirt with some contrast on the facings. Maybe in a silk? Fancy without really being fancy, yeah?

Note: Every month, Mood Fabrics gives me an allowance to purchase fabric with, in exchange for writing a post on the Mood Sewing Network. This fabric was purchased with that allowance. The pattern was also given to me by the McCall Pattern Company. I like to think it’s because they love me, because I am forever an optimist :)

Completed: Um… another Hollyburn :]

17 Jul

Y’all, I don’t know how many times is too many to make the same damn pattern over and over again… but here’s Hollyburn #5. Hahaha.

Striped Hollyburn

I am pretty sure I don’t have anything else to say about the making of this pattern, considering I’ve sewn (and posted about) it soo many times. This particular rendition with the wide navy stripes has actually been in the plans since my very first Hollyburn skirt. Ever since I made my solid denim version, I’ve been on the hunt for a good striped fabric to make my dream striped flared skirt. Actually, I think I’ve been on the hunt for that fabric since way before this pattern was a little twinkle in Tasia’s eye. It’s been a couple of years, at least. And yet I’ve never been able to find what I’ve been looking for – medium weight cotton fabric with 1″ wide navy and white stripes – despite all odds being that that should be a common enough fabric. I’ve found similar stuff – but the stripes were too narrow, the wrong color, or the fabric was the wrong weight.

Striped Hollyburn

So let me tell you about where I found THIS fabric. Back when I still lived in the ‘burbs in West Nashville (ok, it wasn’t the suburbs because we were like 5 miles from the city, however, it’s more ‘burby than where I am now in the woods of Kingston Springs, so there’s that!), I went to a yard sale at the neighbor’s house 2 doors down. That whole experience was an adventure in itself – the woman living there was in her 90s and had lived in that house since she was 6. SIX!! Oh man, and she had the BEST neighborhood gossip. She also had this amazing little garden paradise of a backyard – all overgrown in the most beautiful way, and totally private and lush and green and dammit I was so jealous of that garden. AND she told me a bunch of ghost stories. Most awesome lady ever. Anyway, the yard sale was kind of like going to the flea market – lots of odds & ends and antiques and random stuff, all collected and resold for extra cash. I sniffed out the bag of fabric hidden in the shadows of the carport (I am telling you, I have a nose for this sort of thing) and found my dream fabric lurking at the bottom. Not just my dream fabric – but somewhere around 15 yards of it. Which I bought the whole lot of for $1. Apparently, this fabric lived a previous life as a kind of faux curtain/drape, arranged just so by some famous interior designer.

Striped Hollyburn

This is a really nice home decor weight cotton fabric. Unwashed, it has a little bit of a sheen to it and quite a bit of body. I tore off about 4 yards and washed it – just to see what would happen – which made is lose the sheen and gave it much more drape. It was really easy to sew and press. AND I still have over 10 yards of this stuff! Striped dresses in my future, yeah? I’m just ashamed that it’s taken me a year to get to sewing it. Too much ahead in the queue, I guess.

Striped Hollyburn

Check out how well those stripes line up at the pockets! Yeah buddy! In an effort to make this post at least somewhat useful, here is how I did that:

Striped Hollyburn

After cutting out the front skirt pieces, I laid them on top of the pocket/pocket facing piece (for this pattern, it’s all-in-one. If you’re using a pattern that has 2 separate pieces, choose accordingly) and traced along the pocket edge. Then I used a ruler to draw the pocket lines as they continue from the skirt front to the pocket facing, so that the lines were unbroken.

Striped Hollyburn

Here’s what my pattern piece looked like. Not shown but SUPER helpful – it’s a good idea to mark the colors of the lines as well, so you don’t end up with inverted stripes :)

Striped Hollyburn

Then just lay the pattern piece on your fabric and arrange it until the lines of the print match up with the lines you drew on the pattern piece :) Easy!

Striped Hollyburn

I also made sure to pin each stripe before I sewed my pieces together, which made for very accurate stripe-matching.

Striped Hollyburn

I guess that’s it! Easily the cheapest garment I’ve ever made :) Now tell me – what’s the sewing-related yard sale haul you’ve ever been lucky enough to experience? I think this $1 mass of fabric might go right up there with the $1 DVF Vogue Designer Original pattern (that happened to be in my size, no less) score.

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