Tag Archives: McCalls pattern

McCalls 7240 Knit Dress Test Run as a Top

Line Drawings and Fabric Tag

A recent McCalls release included several knit dress patterns that caught my eye. The little contrast yoke with asymmetrical neckline  is just the right touch this simple dress needs.

I need sweaters and tops more than I need dresses. I had a piece of grey and black animal print Hatchi sweater knit from Fabric Mart, and some leftover black stretch velvet in my stash. I decided to use these fabrics to make this pattern into a sweater top.

The line drawings show a wide neckline. I usually don’t care for wide necklines, but I decided to try it as drafted anyway.

Somehow I managed to cut the contrast yoke piece to sit on the RIGHT side of the top instead of the LEFT. Luckily, I also got the front bodice backwards, so my sweater has the contrast yoke on the right. I think this mistake is mine, not the patterns, because I tend to mix up right and left.

My Sweater Top Version

Other than the right-left glitch, the pattern went together quickly and easily. I used my Babylock Evolve to coverstitch the neck, sleeve hems, and hem. Usually I sew major seams with the machine, test the garment, then finish with the serger. This time I threw caution to the wind and serged the seams, which sped up the sewing process.

The neckline came out Wide. Very Wide. It’s elegant, it’s feminine. It’s chilly for a sweater. It exposes my bra strap and a scar. It’s just not right for me.

I used scraps of the animal print knit along with steel grey and solid black knit jerseys to make a swirl scarf. All three fabrics I used were close to 72 inches wide, so the scarf came out a little longer than expected, but looks nice looped twice, covers my neck, and keeps me warm,

I like the look of the asymmetrical neckline and contrast yoke, I’ll a little sad that the scarf partially hides these fun features. I think I will make this again as a dress, maybe in a floral print, but I will make the neck much less wide.

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting, pullover dresses (close-fitting through bust) have left front yoke and narrow hem. A: Short sleeves. B, C: Long sleeves. D: Three-quarter length sleeves and contrast yoke.

All views feature a wide neck, Views C & D have an asymmetrical neckline

With Matching Scarf

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I made mine top length instead of dress length. And, I mixed up my right and left, so the contrast yoke is on the right side instead of the left

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear and easy to follow

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the contrast yoke and asymmetrical neck line. I dislike the wide neck line, it’s too wide for me.

Fabric Used: Hatchi sweater knit and stretch velvet

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made the pattern top length, because I need tops more than I need dresses.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes! I do want to make this in a dress version.

 

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McCalls 7262 Knit Wrap Coat

I loved the casual look of this waterfall lapel coat, both open showing the waterfall and closed, draping over the chest. It received favorable reviews, so I decided to try it.

I used a piece of alpaca wool for the body and deep brown wool boucle knit from Fabric Mart for the sleeves.

My coat is warm and cosy, and it feels like being wrapped up in a comfy, slightly itchy, blanket. I fixed the itchy at the back of my neck with a scrap of faux suede knit stitched to the inside of the collar. So I’m not sure why I’m not in love with it.

I think I might like this design better in a less bulky fabric. The alpaca is thick and soft, but perhaps a bit too thick to drape nicely. When it’s closed, it feels like an awful lot of fabric bunched up on my chest. Only one side of the coat fastens, the other side simply drapes down.

The pattern itself is simple and the instructions are clear.

This is an easy pattern for a unique, comfortable wrap with a touch of drama. A fabric with a soft, drapey hand is essential to this design. Also, the wrong side of the fabric shows, so the pattern need a fabric with a nice looking wrong side.

 

Front Closed

Pattern Description: 
Loose-fitting sweater coats and poncho have shaped hemline, wrong side shows and narrow hem. A: Layered sleeves. B: Stitched hem on sleeves. A, B: Draped cowl front extends into back collar, and front button band and conceal snap closing. C: Cut on crosswise grain, asymmetrical, mock-band and snap closing. I made View A.

Pattern Sizing:
Regular Misses.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did, except my fabric is more bulky. Too bulky, I think

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, the instructions were clear and easy to follow. This is an easy pattern

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I was drawn to the slouchy, casual yet slightly dramatic look. The end result is warm and cozy. Only one side fastens when the coat is closed, not really a full blown dislike, but something I plan to add another button so both sides will button closed.

Front Open

Fabric Used:
Alpaca wool knit, wool boucle knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None, but I plan to add a second fastener so both front pieces will fasten closed

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew it again, IF I find the right fabric. I have a piece of wine wool double knit that might look nice made up in this pattern. I would recommend this pattern, just make sure your fabric is not too bulky, drapes nicely, and is not itchy.

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McCalls 6612 – Cute, Quick & Easy Knit Dress

I was caught off guard on vacation this summer. I made and packed one casual, comfortable ITY knit dress. I knew I’d be wearing the dress more than once. But it never occurred to me that we might end up going out with the same people two nights in a row. But we did. And I wore the same dress two nights in a row, with the same friends!

So when I went to watch the Great American Eclipse. I wanted to bring at least TWO casual summer dresses. I picked a spandex kaleidoscope print from Ebay for my second dress.

I chose McCalls 6612 for the pattern. This is a  great basic dress, super simple and stylish. I made View B, it’s, just a front, a back, and a sleeve so it sewed up quickly. I finished the hem and sleeves with a three thread rolled hem. It’s easy to do on my Imagine serger and looked great on my other summer dress. When I tried the finished dress on, I realized that the kaleidoscope print was perhaps not the most flattering print for me.

I decided the dress needed a little bit of something, like a belt. I tried on a couple of narrow leather belts, in navy blue and muted green. I liked the visual from the narrow band of solid color, but the belts felt stiff and wrong against the soft knit. A quick dip into my scrap stash revealed a length of royal blue rayon. I cut a strip twice as wide as I wanted the finished belt to be, plus 1-1/2″ for the seam allowance. In other words (Width of Finished Belt x 2) + 1-1/2″.

The rayon by itself was too soft, so I interfaced the whole piece (except for seam allowances) with a medium weight fusible interfacing. Then, I folded it in half long-wise, and sewed from the center along the long side to one short end, turned the corner, and sewed the end. Then I did the same thing on the other side, ,leaving a 3″ open gap in the seam along the long side at the center. Finally, I turned the whole thing right side out, sewed the gap closed, and pressed the belt.

I cheated on the belt loops, and simply used a safety pin on one side to hold the belt in place.

After a few weeks, the rolled hems began to curl upwards. I’m not sure I like this. I have scraps, so if I decide to fix it, I can make facings for the hem and sleeves

The curling hem

Pattern Description: Misses pullover dress with sleeve, neck and length variations and a ruching option. Dress can have long, medium, short or no sleeves. Neckline can be smooth, slightly cowl, or with a deep cowl collar. Ruching on the sides seams of View A make it the shortest version. View D is full length.

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear. The pattern is simple with few pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the options! This is a great basic T-type dress pattern.

Fabric Used: Spandex knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a three thread rolled hem on the sleeves and hem. I’m not sure this was the best choice for my fabric, because, after several weeks, the fabric is starting to curl up a bit. Not sure I like this! But, that is my mistake using that particular finish with this particular fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes.

 

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McCalls 7538 Knit Bandage Dress

This is a flattering, easy to make and comfortable to wear dress. With careful color choices, the bandage wrap style can make the waist look slimmer, creating an hourglass shape.

My inspiration for this dress were these two designs by Proenza Schouler. These Proenza dresses have a dramatic one bare shoulder look that I could not pull off. I knew mine would have both shoulders covered and two longish sleeves. The Proenza dresses have a peek-a-boo effect built into the wraps, my dress will provide full coverage. McCalls 7538 matched the wrap portion closely. When comparing my finished dress to the inspirational images, it looks like the wraps on the Proenza dresses are more vertical, and the ones in this pattern are a little more horizontal, but it’s not a barely noticeable difference. I copied the Proenza lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I think the Proenza dresses are made from a softer, less firm knit.

I chose an easy to sew rayon ponte in a middle blue. I wanted the bandages to be darker, so my waist would (in theory) look a little thinner. And I wanted an extra accent stripe. Once I settled on the middle blue and a dark blue, choosing the final strip was a lot harder. I planned to layer the thinner strips over the wide base bandage stripe, so the more layers, the thicker the bandage. Two layers of ponte, middle blue and dark blue, was already thick. Another ponte would have been too thick, so I started picking in my scraps and leftovers. I found two potential options, and settled on the striped ity knit.

This is an easy to make dress that went together quickly without fuss. But, the skirt was SHORT!! Usually I find myself cutting off inches at the hem before hemming. This time the skirt was cut just long enough, turning up anything more than an inch or so for hem would be too short. So, I borrowed from the inspiration design and used a lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I’ve never tried this kind of finish on a fabric as thick and firm as the ponte, but it worked.

The end result is a comfortable, flattering easy to wear dress. The rayon ponte is comfortable and wrinkle resistant, so it’s a good garment for traveling.

It’s also something that could be worn to the office under a jacket or cardigan. Take off the cardigan, and you’re ready to go out for dinner and drinks, or to the theater.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with Bandage Wrap design

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I used different color blocking

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear, notches matched up, etc

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the wrap section at the middle. I did not like the length, this skirt is SHORT. I was a little surprised at just how short it was. I like my skirts to reach the knee at least, even with a lettuce hem that takes up no extra length the skirt is barely long enough. I’m also not thrilled with the way the shoulders/sleeves fit. The only reason I can move my arms is because the fabric stretches!!! When I first tried this dress on I was afraid that would be a big problem. I wore the dress anyway. It bothered me for a minute or two, by the time the evening was over I had forgotten it was a problem.

Fabric Used: Rayon/Lycra ponte knit, with contrast polyester ponte knit and a little bit of poly ity from my scrap bin

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a different color blocking design and added extra strips on the “bandages”

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With careful color choices, this is a slimming style that’s comfortable to wear.

Inspiration dress one

inspiration dress two

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McCalls 6927 Woven T

I knew it was going to be hot in Washington DC in June, and I knew I needed cool, comfortable clothing. and I wanted something dressier than the average t-shirt.Fabric Mart had some beautiful silk/cotton voiles on sale, and I already made up one piece into a peasant style top with lace accents. I used the second piece to make this woven T-shirt.

I made mine with a longer, flounced sleeve. The fabric is very light and airy, so it doesn’t get clammy, and the longer sleeve protects from the sun. Between the longer tunic length, the type of fabric, the print, and the long sleeves the end result looks more like a tunic than a t-shirt, but that’s Ok.

The pattern is easy, a front, a back, a sleeve, a neckband. I borrowed the semi circular sleeve flounce from a different pattern. It was easy to cut out and assemble, I used my serger. I finished the hem and sleeve flounce with a three thread rolled hem.

I also used a three thread rolled hem to attach the sleeve flounce to the sleeve and the neckband to the neck opening, so that the hem sits on the outside of the garment and resembles thin, thread-like seam piping.

Pattern Description: 
Simple darted woven T (or shell), in two lengths,

Three Thread Rolled Hem used as a seam

sleeveless or with long or short sleeves

Pattern Sizing:
I use RR (womens size).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes except for the sleeve flounce I added

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear and accurate

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it is a simple pattern that I can tweak to my taste and then use as a base for other designs, or surface designs (like dye, paint or embroidery).

Fabric Used:
Silk/Cotton Voile from Fabric Mart

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added semi circular flounces to the sleeves. I used a three thread rolled hem to finish the hem and sleeve flounces, and to attach the sleeve flounces to the sleeves and the neckband to the neck

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and Yes

 

 

 

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McCalls 7358 Wrap Top Make #1 and Make #2

First, a pink button front version

I needed a summer wardrobe of cool and comfortable tops to wear on vacation. The inspiration for my first make on McCall’s 7358 was an asymmetrical button front shirt from a catalog. I couldn’t find a pattern exactly like the inspiration shirt, but this McCall’s pattern came close enough.

I chose a pink rayon for my shirt, and large cream colored plastic buttons from my stash.

I used a normal shirt collar instead of the pattern collar. On the pattern, the front panel is squared off at the wrap point. I extended the slant all the way out to a point, and added buttons and buttonholes. It was actually quite tricky to get the buttons in the right place! I pinned and repined, pinned and repinned to get them correctly placed. I added a few extra buttons (but not buttonholes) on the front panel below the point at the side. I also made tabs for the sleeves.

Which way to put the buttonholes? Normally, front button shirts have vertical buttonholes. But, the placket on this shirt is diagonal. Vertical buttonholes might look weird. I thought about putting them diagonally along the placket, but I worried that might be tricky and might not hold the shirt shut. I settled on horizontal buttonholes.

The end result is not an exact duplicate of the inspiration top, but it’s really close. The inspiration shirt has a slim line, mine has a fuller line (for a fuller body). I have extra buttons on the lower section, and the collar sits a little differently.

Pattern Description: Wrap shirt with belt

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No, it isn’t supposed to.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear and notches lined up.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the wrap front and the comfortable, relaxed fit. I did not like the shape of the lower front facings.

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added a shirt collar and tabs to the sleeves. Extended the front panel all the way to a point, added buttons and buttonholes

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would sew this again. In fact, I already have! I liked it so much that I made a second version, below, even before I completely finished this version. Yes, I’d recommend it, but I’d point out that the front panel does not extend all the way across the front, it does not reach the side seam. Also, the lower front facing pieces are a little funny

Then, a blue floral version

I liked this top so much that I decided to make another right away. This time, I used a blue floral rayon print, with a solid blue rayon for accent. I tried to make the shawl collar into more of a double ruffle collar, but that didn’t work quite as I hoped. I also added double flounces to the sleeves.

The body, upper collar, upper sleeve, upper sleeve flounce and one side of the tie belt are blue floral print rayon challie. The undercollar, lower sleeve flounce, front facings, other side of the tie belt, and hem facing are solid blue. The neck and sleeve flounces, both solid blue and floral print, are finished with a three thread rolled hem.

I like this shirt! I feel a little bit like Carmen Miranda when I wear it. But, the event I planned to wear it to didn’t happen, so here is a photo of me wearing the shirt on my back deck

Pattern Description: Wrap blouse

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This time it came pretty close, except for the doubled up collar and sleeve flounce

Were the instructions easy to follow? Because this make is closer to the pattern with fewer design changes than the first make, and because this is my second time making it, everything went together a lot easier.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The lower front facing was a little funny, for this make I used a wide strip of blue bias. Also, the top panel does not wrap all the way around to the side seam, it stops about 3/4 of the way across the front

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Tried to make the shawl collar more of a ruffle or flounce, but it didn’t work quite as I expected. I doubled the collar and sleeve flounce, and faced the hem with solid blue.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I’d recommend this pattern. Will I make it again? Maybe.

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Matching dress and boots

The Look

Finished Dress & Matching Boots

Finished Dress & Matching Boots

I really liked two looks from the recent Chanel RTW and Resort collections. I loved the look of riding boots covered to match boucle suits and dresses. I also loved the look of boucle shirtwaist dresses with big shawl collars. The suits and dresses with matching boots had mostly straight skirts, mostly above the knee (or deeply slit at the sides). The shirtwaist dresses with shawl collars had below the knee, fuller skirts, and were layered over raglan sleeve pullovers and pussy bow blouses.

I decided to combine the matching boots with a boucle shirt waist dress, with a shawl collar. I went back and forth between single and double breasted, finally choosing double breasted. The dress would be above the knee to show the matching boots, and I’d layer it with a black, silk pussy bow blouse.

The Fabric and Pattern

I chose a gorgeous evergreen/black polyester boucle, accented with touches of gold, purple, and black and silver eyelash. I chose black polyester charmeuse from fabricwholesaledirect.com for lining. It’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and comes in a rainbow of colors.

Pattern and new shawl collar

Pattern and new shawl collar

McCalls 7087 is a retro inspired double breasted shirt waist dress with two skirt options. It’s a nice, basic style, and one view included a large, shaped collar that I could use as a jumping off point to create my own collar shape. The only thing I needed to add was sleeves. Lekala 4225 was a close second choice. I went with the McCalls pattern, because I didn’t want to take the time to print and tape a pdf pattern, and the McCalls option included a second view with a beautiful full skirt that I might use in the future.

The Matching Boots

The matching boots were a little trickier than making the dress. Obviously, I’d need to find boots that could be covered. Then I had to consider cost. How much did I want to spend on a pair of boots that could potentially be worn with only one dress? Not that much!

My solution was to purchase enough extra boucle to make a jacket, so I can wear the boots with either the dress or the jacket. The jacket is still in the planning stage.

I have wide feet. There, I said it! I can squeeze into some styles of medium width shoes, but wide width footwear is always more comfortable. I started searching at my favorite footwear store, Zappos.com. I looked for a riding boot with a fabric shart and ideally, a fairly short heel or none at all.

But it was at DSW where I found the right boots. Wide width, my size, fabric shaft with a strap at the top. Low heel, kinda chunky soles. I wasn’t wild about the chunky soles, but the rest of the boot was perfect for covering. Plus, they were on sale for $60.

Collecting the Supplies

My search for fabric began. I have a white-red-black boucle, that sort of resembles some of the Chanel outfits. But that color combination screams “Wintertime” to me, I wanted something less seasonal.

I found the ideal boucle on Ebay. The description matched my vision exactly, Sunlight in a Forrest Glen! I didn’t have a pattern yet, so I guesstimated yardage for the dress and to cover the boots and for a jacket. I decided to save a little bit by color blocking the jacket with black denim (or maybe black corduroy).

I made a mock up of the dress out of the black lining fabric, that became the lining for the final dress. I made my usual size adjustments, full bust, thick waist, and it fit nicely with very little tweaking.

Making the Dress

laying out the patternBoucles can be soft, wobbly fabrics. They shift and bag and sag making it hard to cut more than one layer. So I used a single layer layout to make sure each piece was cut  straight on the grain. For pieces cut on a fold, I used the tissue pattern to cut a full size pattern piece. I also cut the pattern on the cross grain because I wanted the black stripes to go up and down my body. I laid all the pattern pieces out on the boucle, experimenting with layouts, trying to conserve as much fabric as possible.

Now, if I had thought this through ALL THE WAY I could have saved a little bit of fabric by cutting the sleeve facing off the neck facing. The sleeve and neck facing from the pattern were all one piece, which is great for a sleeveless bodice. But, I was adding sleeves, and ended up cutting the sleeve facings off the neck facings anyway. Oh well, lesson learned for next time. I think I have plenty of fabric left for my jacket plans.

I borrowed the sleeve pattern from a different pattern. Unfortunately, I goofed and cut the sleeve too small! I salvaged the sleeves by inserting a wide strip in the underarm seam.

I knew I needed to minimize bulk at the neckline, so the underside of the collar is lining. I used fringed strips of fabric, cut on the lengthwise grain, like piping, along the edge of the collar.

I cut the pieces only when I was ready to use them. I immediately finished all the raw edges on the serger. It was a time consuming step, but it prevented raveling and, as a bonus, the seams were all neatly finished as they were sewn.

I assembled the bodice first, then the skirt. I attached the skirt to the bodice, and slipped the lining into it. At that point, I assembled and applied the collar, then the facings. As I predicted, the seam holding the dress, lining, collar and facing was thick and bulky. I graded the seam allowances a bit, using the serger to prevent fraying. I flipped the facing to the inside, then sewed through the facing and all the seam allowances just below the seam.

The pattern makes a skirt that ends well below the knee. I wanted something above the knee to show off the matching boots, but I cut the full length of the pattern anyway. I think I might let the skirt down in the future for a different look. For now, it’s got a very deep hem.

Stitching, including topstitching, tends to disappear into boucle. The front facings wanted to sag away from the dress, the buttons and buttonholes weren’t enough to keep the facings neatly in place. So, about 3″ in from the edge, I sewed the facing to the dress from collar to hem. I used black thread and sewed along a black stripe, the stitching is almost completely invisible.

Choosing the buttons was difficult. I tried several styles and thought I knew which ones I wanted. But, when the dress was completed, I switched to plain black plastic buttons instead. If I make the dress longer, I might switch out these buttons, too.

Covering the Boots

Covering the boots

Covering the boots

The boots were a surprisingly easy project. I choose riding boots with a fabric shaft, so I could hot glue the boucle fabric to the boot. The shafts are not straight columns, they’re cones, narrower at the ankle and wider at the top. Luckily, my boots have a vertical strap from ankle to top on the outside of the leg, opposite the zipper opening on the inside of the leg. The vertical strap let me line up the fabric on a nice, straight vertical edge on the outside of the shaft. As the fabric wraps around to the inside, the pattern begins to skew because the bottom of the cone shaped shaft is smaller than the top. The pattern is quite off kilter where it meets the zipper edge.

I used a piece of interfacing to cut a pattern piece for the boot cover. Then I cut four of the pieces out of fusible interfacing. I applied the interfacing to the boucle before cutting the pieces out. so the edges didn’t ravel.  The boot had two small leather tabs that stretched up onto the fabric shaft, one at the top and one at the bottom. Instead of struggling to fit the fabric around the tabs, I simply covered them up.

Starting at the outside vertical strap, I hot glued the fabric to the boot shaft at the edges, slowly working my way around to the inside zipper edge The only boucle edge that didn’t turn out neat and precise was the edge that met the zipper. I found a short piece of narrow, black velvet ribbon in my ribbon scraps. It was just long enough to cover all four edges at the zipper. I applied the ribbon over the not so neat fabric edges with hot glue.

The End Result

I’m happy with my dress and boots! I wore them once already.  I’ll probably wear the boots a lot more when I make a matching jacket It was chilly the day I wore this outfit, so I added a black  long sleeved silk bow blouse to keep me warm

 

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