Tag Archives: mccall

Completed: McCall’s 6952, Peru-Style!

14 Jul

I’m so happy that I finally got to use this fabric!

McCall's 6952

This piece of lovely came aaaall the way from Peru, when I was there for 2 weeks last year. Coming into the country with only a backpack meant I had to be really careful about what I bought and brought home (I did end up buying a small bag to carry some stuff back. And I wore my new alpaca blanket like a cape for the flight home. NO REGRETS), including fabric. Not that there were a lot of places to buy fabric in Peru, at least not what I came across. Gamarra is a big garment district that did come up in my searches, but everyone I spoke to said it would be really dangerous for me to go. Our host in Lima took me to a small strip of fabric stores during our last few days there – sorry, I’m not sure where it was exactly or what the stores were called! Anyway, I knew I could really only justify buying one piece, and this one definitely jumped out at me.

Even just buying the fabric was an adventure. The store we went into didn’t have any people working who spoke English, and my Spanish is mostly limited to being able to say hello and ask where the bathroom is πŸ™‚ (and our host didn’t speak English either! She was seriously a trooper and treated us to such a nice time, even with the language barrier) I eventually was able to ask for, find, and buy 1.5m of this fabric. It’s a double georgette, some sort of silk blend (definitely with some acrylic, based on my burn test). I thought the print was really pretty and certainly have never seen anything like it at the stores here in America! Plus, it reminds me of all the beautiful tiles I saw while walking around Iquitos. It’s a lovely piece of fabric and a perfect reminder of my time in Peru. With all that at stake, though, it did take me over a year to figure out what to sew it into πŸ™‚ Especially since I had such a small piece!

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

I have enjoyed wearing my green silk version of McCall’s 6952, so I decided to use that pattern again for this dress! This time, I made the version with the plain neckline and back cutout, to mimic the geometric pattern on the fabric. I used blue silk crepe from my stash to do the back contrast (the same fabric I used to make this dress, actually); it’s not a perfect match but it’s close enough!

McCall's 6952

Cutting the pattern pieces was a BEAST. After I’d already had my heart set on using *this* pattern with *this* fabric, and after I’d already cut a couple of pieces… I realized there was a very strong line in the print that would need to be matched. Since the pattern has Princess seams – both front and back – that meant a lot of pattern Tetris to get everything to line up. I ended up cutting everything on the single layer, which is a really good way to squeeze out every last drop of your yardage. Even with that, I still couldn’t get all the lines to match up across every seam – specifically, when it came to the side seams, decisions had to be made. I figured the princess seams were more important than the side seams, so I let those go a little haywire. Honestly, I doubt anyone would even notice that the print doesn’t match across the side seams – but I wanted to do it right, even if I’m the only person who sees it. That’s why I sew. I like the challenge, even if it makes my eyes cross and gives me a reason to drink at the end of the night πŸ™‚

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

Speaking of challenges, the construction of this dress had it’s fair share of those, too! Since I already went the extra mile with the cutting and print-matching, I continued that trend and gave the inside of the dress the respect it deserved. Lots of French seams all over the inside of this garment, which are both strong and beautiful. Since the fabric had a fairly high synthetic content, it was a little difficult to press – I just used high heat (my iron has a silicone shoe, which acts as a press cloth and prevents scorching on stuff liek this) and then held everything down with my clapper while it cooled, which gave me a nice sharp press. Instead of using the facing pieces to finish the arm holes and neckline, I used bias facing that I made with the silk crepe, which I just find to be a more refined finish (plus, I wasn’t sure how to finish that facing edge without there being a lump across my chest – the fabric frays too much to use pinking shears, and a serged or turned under edge would be too bulky for this lightweight fabric).

McCall's 6952

I wasn’t sure how the back cutout was gonna work – I didn’t do a muslin (unless you count that green silk version – but it had a plain back, so it was only a half-assed muslin ya know), so things were pretty up in the air as far as whether this would work out or if it would be a gaping mess in the back. (My tip is to always have a Plan B should things not work out – in my case, uhhh, this would make a fabulous skirt! haha!) It actually turned out pretty nice, though, so I’m happy about that! The back piece is interfaced to give it some strength and smoothness, and also faced so the inside is clean and pretty. I think random cutouts are starting to not be trendy anymore, but I don’t care. I think it’s fun. LOOK AT MY BACK U GUYS.

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

The other change I made was the elastic at the waist. The pattern calls for 1/4″ elastic, applied in a casing. I like the 1/4″ elastic ok, but it doesn’t allow for a belt to sit very well over it (and I am not a huge fan of how narrow elastic waists look, at least on me). I used a 3/4″ elastic on this dress instead, which meant I had to widen the casing that it goes in (not a problem; it’s just bias strips. Which, again, I made myself – out of that blue silk crepe), but that’s about it. I also topstitched right through the middle of the elastic, which keeps it from twisting around and also just looks cool. I am thinking the waistline could be a hair lower, but this is good enough. I ain’t ripping that shit out!

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

Anyway, that’s all for this little dress! It’s pretty casual, which I love, and the pattern is simple enough that all the focus is really on that awesome fabric (until you see the back cutout and then it’s extra awesome!). I try not to hoard my special fabrics any longer than it takes to decide on a project for them, simply because them sitting on the shelf doesn’t exactly give me a lot of joy. There is, however, joy in wearing said fabric. Every time I wear this dress, I think about those awesome 2 weeks I had in Peru.

McCall's 6952

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: 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 theΒ  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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚