The ‘Why did I do that?’ Shirtdress, McCalls 6696

Ever make something, finish and think… now why did I do that???

This is one of those makes… alas…

McCalls 6696 - no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me.

McCalls 6696 – no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me.

This is the infamous McCalls 6696 shirtdress.

McCalls 6696 - the pattern

McCalls 6696 – the pattern

I finished this early September. Life has been overwhelming and I’m struggling to keep up with the laundry – not to mention blog posts. I’ve got another two things to blog… actually three…

I absolutely loved making this. Loved it. Yes, being a shirtdress it’s quite a detailed make. Yoke, collar, button band, waist band, belt keepers, pockets and more. The cutting seemed to take forever. I imagine trying to sew it up in a few sessions would be exhausting.

I sewed this in a gorgeous fabric – a Lisette lawn, silky soft and such a pretty print. Not too colourful and flowery for me.

I sewed it up over a week or so. Cutting, pinning, basting, sewing, overlocking, ironing, hand stitching when I had an opportunity. I purchased this pattern as soon as it was released, and traced it. Then put it on the back burner and watched everyone else sew it up. I just had not felt I had enough time to make it up.

McCalls 6696 - the only side shot we took!

McCalls 6696 – the only side shot we took, I was rather distracted that day as it was the puppy’s first day at the beach.

I made most of this while my husband was away for a few weeks and I was doing the typical ‘working mother’ juggle of work-school-meals-activities-appointments etc. When the girls were in bed, I would do the quiet tasks… cutting, pinning and hand sewing. I would sew some seams when I woke up and so on. It always surprises me how much I enjoy making garments in this manner. I find I make less mistakes, my sewing is more considered.

THE YOKE

I attached the yoke using the burrito method ala Grainline Archer shirt. It’s genius.

THE COLLAR

After my silk Grainline Archer collar battle, I decided to try Four Square Walls method of attaching the collar. I personally found this SO much easier.

CONTRASTS

This was my massive blooper of the make. It’s not that I hate contrasts and quirkiness. I just hate it on me. I think if I had sewn it up plain with no contrast, I would be much happier. Oh well, you live and learn!

McCalls 6696 - inside front view

McCalls 6696 – inside front view

McCalls 6696 - inside back view

McCalls 6696 – inside back view. I am not a huge fan of the gathers in the back. They felt puffy so I ironed them flat before I wore the dress.

McCalls 6696 - close up of the contrast horror on me...

McCalls 6696 – close up of the contrast horror on me…

I cut the inner waistband, inner collar stand and inner button plackets a from small pink gingham. I made bias strips of the blue fabric to finish the armholes. I know! Attention to detail plus!

BUTTON BANDS

I’m not sure if it is of any interest to anyone whatsoever and it’s certainly not ‘new’, however I used some of the quick-piecing techniques I used when I used to make quilts, it’s not rock science but it does speed up your sewing – quilting or dressmaking. I’ve found that being skilled in a wide variety of crafts has been enormously helpful with my dressmaking. I won’t bore you with all the details here as it’s not relevant but I did use one of those techniques to quickly create my contrast buttonbands – if it is of no interest or you have seen this before, skip over the next section.

I don’t blog every detail of my makes, there is a lot of knowledge out there, I’m including this as it’s a variation on the pattern and thought it might be useful to someone.

You could easily add seam allowances, cut four bands and sew them together. Or you could do this…

I added seam allowance to the button band and cut one button band from the blue fabric and one from the pink. I interfaced the pink strip. I then placed the two button bands right sides together (pink and blue) and sewed down the outer two lines.

You will need add seam allowances to the pattern buttonbands. The centre line is what you will cut down to create two bands. The outer lines are your stitching lines.

You will need add seam allowances to the pattern buttonbands. The centre line is what you will cut down to create two bands. The outer lines are your stitching lines.

McCalls 6696 - Once you have sewn along the two outer lines, cut down the centre line - or use your rotary cutter to create two buttonbands.

McCalls 6696 – Once you have sewn along the two outer lines, cut down the centre line – or use your rotary cutter to create two button bands.

McCalls 6696 - ta da. We now have two buttonbands

McCalls 6696 – ta da. We now have two button bands

Then iron the seam allowances (trim if required) towards the pink contrast side.

McCalls 6696 - understitching the buttonband

McCalls 6696 – understitching the button band

Iron the bands wrong sides together and…

McCalls 6696 - the finished buttonband

McCalls 6696 – the finished button band

I’m not one of those super-organised bloggers with a fancy camera on a tripod. I make no apology for that – I use the family point-and-shoot camera. I often think half way through a make “oh that might be interesting to someone” and absent-mindedly use my iPhone to document my work.

I did contact Heather of Handmade By Heather B via twitter before I attached the button bands as the instructions said to turn the unnotched band edge over 3/8in and then sew the band to the dress (this will make sense if you make the dress). It just struck me as odd when the band is folded in half and then the band is sewn to the dress with a 5/8in seam allowance it didn’t feel logical that the 3/8in turned under edge out meet/cover the stitching line. Heather confirmed that she probably hadn’t even read the instructions as she constructed her shirtdress. I often don’t but shirts with collars make me nervous. Heather said she had probably sewn her bands on with a 5/8in seam allowance and turned the raw edge under 5/8in as well. So I did too.

FINISHING

I hand sewed the inner waistband, collar stand and hem. I overlocked the raw edges.

I’m not pleased with the top stitching around the collar & buttonbands, I should unpick this stitching and re-do it closer to the edge. It looks heavy-handed to me as it is.

I took a lot of care with this make… and I love every minute of it. It just goes to prove, there can be as much joy in the making as the wearing. I sew because I love the process. That’s here I find my magic.

McCalls 6696 - note to self - standing wonky never does wonders for the butt view.

McCalls 6696 – note to self – standing wonky never does wonders for the butt view.

VERDICT

I might not like my interpretation on me, however I loved making it and think it is a great pattern. A real classic.

NEXT TIME?

I’d definitely have no contrast fabrics. I’d add some length to the bodice and taper out the skirt more over my hips. Or maybe I’m just not a shirtdress kinda gal.

PATTERN: McCalls 6696, view C.
FABRIC: Lisette lawn from Spotlight.

ALSO SEE: Handmade by Heather B | Idle Fancy | Sewmanju | Sew Dixie Lou | Sew Amy Sew

McCalls 6696 - view C.

McCalls 6696 – view C. It is pretty, I don’t know why I can’t make myself fall in love… alas.

Saved by accessories… McCalls 6844

I said that I was going to make another pair of jeans. And I haven’t. I will, just not within a fortnight. I’ve decided to be kind to myself. I didn’t want to rush and stress myself out any more than I have been lately. Sorry about that. I will blog at the end of July and see who else managed to battle through the Jeans Challenge!

I made some knit cardigan/jackets to wear with my jeans – compromise?

Today I’ll share with you the one I thought I would really, really like… and just don’t. Boo. Not the win I was hoping for – or needed.

Ever since McCalls 6844 came out I’d been dying to make it. I used a precious piece of divine blue NZ merino jersey from my stash (from The Fabric Store, Sydney). Perhaps if I’d made this in a heavier fabric I might feel differently, however I’m just not feeling the love for this pattern which has received such rave reviews on Sewing Pattern Review… I don’t think it’s a bad pattern, in fact it’s easy to make… it’s just not for me – or more likely I’ve made it in the wrong fabric. My bad.

Perhaps if I stumble across some heavier knit fabric I might give it another go…

McCalls 6844 - just not feeling the love.

McCalls 6844 – just not feeling the love. I was so disappointed as I adore this fabric. It’s lovely!

I wish I had not interfaced the collar piece as instructed. I think it would work much better without interfacing in this lighter fabric – making it more of a drape cardigan and much softer looking.

I found the collar once interfaced didn’t really line up with the hem of the jacket. Rather than hacking a ton off the hem (I didn’t want it any shorter). I simply left the collar slightly shorter than the jacket hem – I’m always going to wear this with a scarf which does help hide that small sewing sin… and really unless you have seen the pattern you wouldn’t know.

I do like the swingy peplum back, it’s super cute.

I made the smallest size – it’s not super small – I think the sizing runs large… or I run small… or the truth is somewhere in the middle…

McCalls 6844 - back view

McCalls 6844 – back view. My favourite feature, I love how the back hangs.

These light jackets and cardigans are a great wardrobe addition. I often have one in my handbag – they are not heavy enough to ward off a cold winter’s day but they are perfect to pop on to keep the chill off inside, under a heavier jacket or throw on during a spring or autumn morning/afternoon.

I used a light hem fusing tape to turn up the hem and sleeves. Then I finished them with a twin needle on my Bernina. This gave a great result – no tunnelling at all!

I’m rather OCD about some of my finishes and since I could not get a matching overlocker thread, I made this entire piece on my Bernina sewing machine, using lightening bolt & overlocking stitches, my walking & overlocking feet. You don’t have to have an overlocker to sew knits. It just makes it faster and easier – that is all.

DRESS THOUGHTFULLY

I collect accessories like some people collect stamps or coins. You can never have too many scarves, necklaces, earrings, bangles, stockings in your arsenal – simple little touches which can transform an outfit. While I don’t love this jacket/cardigan I do like it with a scarf.

I think it’s great to sew yourself sensational clothes. I think it’s even better to learn to wear them well. I rarely sew or purchase anything without thinking about the complete overall look. I see a fabric or a garment & picture the shoes, the belt, the bag and so on. It’s not just a piece of clothing, it’s a package deal.

I know plenty of people who have amazing clothes. Expensive, well cut, designer clothes. That doesn’t always make them stylish or interesting. Individuality and ‘wearing the clothes’ rather than letting them wear you is the key I think.

I get stopped frequently and complimented or questioned on the clothes I’m wearing – often by strangers. I’ve got a very diverse mix of designer, homemade, vintage and charity shop pieces – I tend to wear them mashed up. To be honest, those compliments always surprise me. I’ve never seen myself as particularly interesting – especially to random strangers. I don’t think I’m any better dressed than anyone else, in fact I’ve never ever perceived myself as glamorous, stylish or beautiful. I find it weird & unsettling some days – and sometimes highly amusing.

I love to select one statement item and then build the rest of the outfit around it. You can get ‘too busy’ in a visual sense. It’s important to figure out what the key element is and make sure it sings, rather than competes with everything else you are wearing. Any opera singer will tell you – there can be only one diva!

I’ve got lots of thoughts on style and clothes. I never really blog about them but I’ve been reading some different blogs that really interest me and I think it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot more about. Maybe it’s something I will write more about, not because I’m a guru but the concept of personal style interests me greatly… maybe…

Accessories are important

Accessories are important! And never underestimate how much warmer your legs are in winter in high boots LOL!

I’m a bit of a scarf and necklace obsessive – do you have an accessories weakness?

I’ve also made Vogue 8780 - which is a complete ugly duckling on the envelope and I love to pieces. It’s coming up next! I’ve posted a sneak peek on my instagram feed (yes I know you can’t see much of it – that’s why it’s called a sneak peek.)

Pattern: McCalls 6844
Fabric: NZ Merino from The Fabric Store, Sydney
Also see: Girls in the Garden | Suzy Bee Sews | Mimi G | Beebee’s Vintage Dress

Finally…
A huge thank you to all the people who have sent me messages, emails, comments and more. Your kindness and courage to say something when it’s often difficult to know what to say is much appreciated. Like so many people, I need more people in my life that value me enough to put me back together rather than pull me apart.
The people that weather the storm and wait on the other side.

BOWL

 

MOMENTARY LOSS OF MOJO

Thank goodness I am on holidays for a month at the end of this week, I am dead on my feet from exhaustion!

I have been super busy making/knitting things but need to take some pictures and finish some projects off in the next couple of days. I’m working on two skirts – one of which is my next Abakahan Fabrics 15 Pound Aussie project. The other I’m hoping to wear to the meet-up. How fabulous does this day out in London sound?? Thank you Rachel of House of Pinheiro who has done all the organising – can’t wait to meet you!

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro (IRL I probably only come up to her kneecap)

CONFESSIONS OF SEWBUSYLIZZY

Like all truly hopeless marathon runners, I hit the wall of exhaustion hard after the Tessuti competition.

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK - final

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – sleeves rolled back.

I thought it was a pretty neat entry. Thought out, well executed, highly wearable and stood out from the crowd, an imaginative use of the fabric. The photos were well styled and the backdrop was awesome! Unfortunately Tessuti did not agree – or at least not in a winning or honorable mention kinda way. The winner was an outstanding creation and they also decided to award five runners-ups with $100 Tessuti vouchers. And no, I didn’t make that short list either. They are all great projects, there were some in particular I really liked right from when they were posted.

I never ‘expect’ to win these comps. I’m fairly uncompromising person at times, I make something I will wear and suits the fabric – that’s not going to win me accolades – but I’d rather be ‘me’ and someone else’s version of ‘me’. At some point in our lives we all get caught up in being the someone other people want us to be or think that we are, I’m past being that person. I simply am who I am. Take me or leave me. I’ve never been a fan of reptiles of any shape or size – so my chameleon qualities are non-existent. My conclusion was that either:-

  1. my stitching is not up to scratch; or/and
  2. my fitting is not top-notch; or/and
  3. my style is not ‘Tessuti Style'; or…
  4. it actually doesnt mean much at all…

I admit, I felt quite despondent about entire process. It was one of those ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ moments. The feeling you get when you know it doesn’t matter what the dumper says to the dumpee, it’s simply a sugar-coated version of the truth.

Then I came back and read all the comments on this post, read the comments on the Tessuti post, the Twitter feedback and realised that to humble old me it’s your opinion that counts more. I might not be a stitcher to attract Tessuti applause but you gave me a standing ovation.

Thank you.

I’m annoyed with myself for being distracted by the Tessuti project and thinking about the outcomes and what that meant about me, my style, my ability. It took me a few days to realise it meant precisely nothing. I’m just me and I’m happy with that. $1K would have been nice or just a pat on the back – but you gave me truckloads of encouragement and admiration. That’s more than enough for me. I sew & blog because it makes me happy. That’s all.

My disappointment is no criticism of the Tessuti winners, the judges or anything else. It’s simply an interesting reflection about me & the process. And I’m tired, very very tired and that never helps.

It even manged to stop me stitching (it can and does happen LOL) while I gazed at my bellybutton in long sorrowful moments of self reflection & doubt. So much so that I lost faith that I could make my pink jacket. Stupid I know.

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

I have these wonderfully perfect buttons from Buttonmania in Melbourne - thanks to the ever-wonderful Rachel of My Messings. I could finish the jacket before I leave but I would botch the finish. And that’s not worth it. So it shall now wait for my return. I feel really bad about as Rachel made a huge effort to get them to me on time. Thank you Rachel you are fabulous.

I had a go at making my own buttons, they were horrendous. The fabric was thick and frayed awfully. I wish I’d taken a picture of my efforts but I tossed them aside in disgust and outrage! This buttons are perfection. You need buttons? Check out Buttonmania in Melbourne, Australia. Go on spoil yourself. I know you want to.

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Me? I’ve gotta go. Sew & pack for London, Paris & Madrid. Yes, sucks to be me.

Thanks for hanging around with me and putting up with my random rumblings and sewing creations.

Love Lizzy. :-)

 

Footnote: You know this post always bothered me a bit and I’ve frequently thought about taking it down. I think people misread it. I genuinely like Tessuti, I’m a customer and I actually didn’t mind not winning. At all. I know the winning entry would have been impeccable. I know people who know and highly respect the sewist (sorry just can’t type sewer when I talk about someone) and her & her skills are held in very high regard.
I guess the point I was making was simply I didn’t understand the criteria and I had no idea how to improve if I was to sew in a competitive sense. The more I sew and blog the more I’m not bothered by these things. I think Tessuti have more than a right to run their competitions however they like. I work in a highly regulated environment and initially struggled with anything that wasn’t strictly governed, had guidelines and so on. These days I kinda like that. I don’t mind how designers or fabric shops run their business – it’s none of my business. I’m happy to support them. In fact I love Tessuti and frequently buy fabric there.

Tessuti Gridlock Pop – mission complete

This project has been an endurance sport. I feel like that little athlete from an unknown country who staggers into the Olympic stadium about 3 hours after the winner of the marathon has crossed the line. A little nobody with no energy but simply determined to finish.

GRIDLOCK POP

The original post from Tessuti was to “design an outfit incorporating this fabric. Make it up however you like but make it just for you! Our brief is simply to create something stylish and appropriate as day wear.” That later seemed to morph into ‘garment’ but I had this ‘outfit’ concept stuck in my head.

I spent ages looking at this fabric. It sat next to me on the lounge some nights and I draped it over myself quite a bit. I learnt about the fabric, how it draped and felt against my skin. This fabric is hot to wear – it’s 21% cotton, 77% poly and 2% polyurethane – there is no way I would make this to wear as a ‘daywear’ dress in my climate. I would ‘glisten’ terribly at any time of the year (that’s sweat in ladylike terms). It’s ‘breathing’ properties are limited. It’s a great jacket fabric though.

I chose my trusty Fashion Star jacket in the end. Like everyone I loved the Burda Crossover Blazer and Burda 7491 came in a close second (I even traced Burda 7491 and purchased the Crossover Blazer pattern). Those jackets are lovely but I don’t think Gridlock would have done them justice. Thank you Trish & Felicity for their advice.

The fabric had arrived wrapped in an old McCalls pattern – it seemed like fate.

The colour, while being a very beautiful blue, looked dead against the cream background. It needed a ‘pick-me-up’ so I decided a burst of colour was required.

My first choice was dusty pink but when I visited the fabric store this cerise cotton linen leapt from the pile of bolts, saying ‘Whattaboutme?’. It made the Gridlock POP so I found some matching lining and away I went.

Tessuti Gridlock - POP

Tessuti Gridlock – POP

I think the temptation with this competition is to clad yourself from head to toe in Gridlock. I decided to create a statement piece (the jacket) and a dress is to complement the statement piece. They complement each other without being ‘matchy-matchy’. The items can be worn by themselves or together as an ‘outfit’. I wore the jacket today with my jeans for a TV interview!

That was the EASY PART.

THE JACKET – MCCALLS 6611

The optional extras that I inflicted on myself:-

  • Continuous bias binding
  • Made-by-me piping
  • Topstitching. Not just the jacket shell but also the lining – in contrasting thread (pink on blue and blue on pink)
  • Covered buttons

THE DRESS – MCCALLS 6699

As I prefer to make my life as difficult as possible, I made up Fashion Star pattern (6699) to pair with the jacket. It’s got cute contrast pockets, skirt vent and waistband. The Gridlock fabric is quite bulky so I chose to add strips of it to the pocket lining.

To the dress I added:-

  • Topstitching to the neckline and armhole.
  • Piping to the waistband (self made as for the jacket). I’ve really proud of the zipper as the piping is pretty close to perfect.
  • Underlined the skirt, I was concerned the pockets would show through the skirt.

I will write up a post later in the week about how I did a few things with this project – right now I’m too tired and over it to say much more (except I want to make a t-shirt for therapy).

There are some seriously awesome entrants now for this competition – which you would expect with $1000 on the line.

SHUT UP LIZZY & SHOW US THE PICTURES.

OK. Let the pictures speak for themselves. A little creased due to car travel – no ironing facilities at the lighthouse!

I can’t help but point out – how perfect are these shoes for this outfit!!?? The right colour and even a bit ‘Gridlocky’, it was pure luck, I’ve had these for years!

Even the ominous clouds seem to be the right colour. I have not colour altered these pictures at all.

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK - alternate view

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – alternate view

Tessuti Gridlock. The dress - Cerise with contrasting Gridlock elements

Tessuti Gridlock. The dress – Cerise with contrasting Gridlock elements

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK - final

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – sleeves rolled back.

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK - back view

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – back view

Tessuti Gridlock - back view

Tessuti Gridlock – back view. Alas cotton linen is very ‘crushable’.

Some detail pictures…

Tessuti Gridlock: lapel, button, piping, topstitching

Tessuti Gridlock: lapel, button, piping, topstitching

Tessuti Gridlock - pocket

Tessuti Gridlock – pocket

Tessuti Gridlock - zipper

Tessuti Gridlock – zipper

Tessuti Gridlock. Shell - construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Shell – construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Lining - construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Lining – construction. Please note I’ve top stitched the lining with contrasting thread!

THANK YOU!
Thank you in particular to Trish, she endured regular random emails from me – which I am sure made little or no sense some days – I even inflicted progress shots on her. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This stopped what was a hard project from also being a long & lonely project.

Thank you also to the Tweeples who checked on my progress and cheered me on, especially Bimble&Pimble with her derby cheers and pom poms.

Good Luck Tessuti Gridlock contestants…

The Little Red Dress (McCalls 6433) & the Pick My Pattern idea…

I enjoyed this project so much I’m feeling inspired to run a little sewalong/blog swopfest called “Pick My Pattern.”

What you talkin’ about Lizzy?

Well, here’s the story, Anne from Pretty Grievances sent me this pattern a little while ago. She thought it would look nice on me (clearly getting me into animal print wasn’t enough to satisfy her!). Apart from being the sweetest thing to do, it was lovely to have someone throw a dress into the virtual sewing change room to try!

from my personal stylist

from my personal stylist – the woman who got me into animal print!

Funnily enough I had looked at this pattern many times and not teetered over the brink with my online cart to purchase it. I suspect slightly more frivolous choices might have won the day… what me buy pretty dress patterns? NeverOK, only every other month…

This whole experience reminds me of going shopping with my friends, or rather when I used to go shopping with my friends! We would all troop into a shop, try on clothes – often trying on clothes that others suggested for us. And sometimes that’s when you find the best clothes of all – the things that you don’t think are you… but your friends know they are…

PICK MY PATTERN CONCEPT

I think maybe a bit later in the year (there are soooo many sewalongs on at present my head is spinning!) and after my trip to London  (did I mention I’m going to London soon LOL), it might be a fun activity. People nominate, I conduct a random draw aka Kris Kringle style and people pick a pattern for another person. One pattern is relatively cheap to mail internationally… compared to fabric anyway!

MY DRESS

I have not got around to hemming this Pick my Pattern creation yet but here are some pictures to share.

My Little Red Dress: front view

My Little Red Dress: front view

Next time around I think I will lift the neckline a little, as when I put this on I keep doing this…

My Little Red Dress - gape!

My Little Red Dress – gape!

I think I need a cut the back a size smaller. It feels a little roomy across my back but fits reasonably well across the bust, waist and hips. I made this in a crepe-type fabric, it’s fairly bulky and I think this has caused issues under the arms, the seam is quite thick and heavy. The sleeves are double thickness – and this fabric is reasonably heavy – making for three fabric thicknesses in the armhole seam. That’s a whole lotta fabric to contend with.

My Little Red Dress back view

My Little Red Dress: back view

I love love love the skirt pleats – how cute are they! I think next time I might make the sleeveless version in black. I think this is the most work-friendly pattern I’ve made up and I think black would be very practical. I made the very stupid mistake of inserting a slightly smaller zip than suggested (hey it was in the stash – I can hear you tsk tsking Winnie). It’s a bit of a wiggle to get off. Worse I made the mistake of trying it on one morning just after I got after the shower and it was VERY humid. The lining stuck to my skin (I had not catchstitched it down at the waistline, I know I know, more gross stupidity) and the lining tore along the zip as I pulled it off. Stupid weather!

Despite the fititng mishaps (hey not everything is going to be a winner first time! Plus the fabric was on sale so no tears there) I think this pattern is a great shape. I love the shape and the style. I have this tiny sneaking suspicion that the swayback poses of the model have something to do with the neckline of the dress being so low and how the shoulder pleats cause the sides of the neckline to gape a little. It could just be a SewBusyLizzy body flaw… I think having the back slightly more narrow and the neckline a tiny bit higher would alleviate this gaping problem. Then again I checked out the McCalls website and the models have similar fitting issues. I think the depth of the neckline needs to be raised. I don’t think this is a modesty thing. I honestly think the depth & shoulder pleats create an issue together.

I did really like the instructions with this pattern. They are very clear and better still they have quite a good outline of how to tissue fit the pattern.

So thanks Anne for picking my pattern. I think I will be making this one again – always a good sign that it’s a winner!

SEWBUSYLIZZY NEWS UPDATE

I feel like I haven’t had any time to myself lately – which is kinda true. I’ve managed to squeeze in the odd 15 minutes here and there (when you are fitting it in around dinner, bathtime, dressing for work and more it is very frustrating and exhausting) and made a muslin of a vintage dress pattern… out of a doona/duvet cover… and it’s actually not that bad! More on that soon…

Oh and I also made a gorgeous shirtdress… well I like it!

WHATCHA THINK?

And what to you think of the Pick My Pattern concept? Hot or Not? Would you be interested in participating?

Fashion Star Winner… London calling… vintage patterns…

Quadruple whammy post of extreme excitment!

The Fashion Star Draw

Yes I finally got around to drawing the McCalls 6611 Fashion Star jacket pattern. I admit some of the delay may be due to my sewing room transforming into a complete war zone (me vs the stash – we are currently negiotating a truce).

Shut up Lizzy we don’t care about your messy sewing room just tell us who the winner is… *sniff* OK I get the hint…

The winner is… (courtesy of good old random.org)

BLOGLESS ANNA

Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

just goes to show that karma is real! Blogless Anna sent me the most amazing length of silk DKNY last month (that’s it in the background) what goes around comes around!

And in more exciting blogging news (well exciting for me)…

I’M COMING TO LONDON IN APRIL

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro is organising a bloggers’ meet-up on 20 April at the V&A. We can pretend to be genteel while drinking tea (with some hugging, giggling and squee-ing thrown in). Then onto Goldhawk Road where I shall be happily led astray (really ELH they made me buy it).

Anyway, hop over to House of Pinheiro as Rachel is the fabulous organiser and needs numbers etc. So if you are in London or nearby (which is pretty much anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, after all I’m flying for 24 hours straight just to get to London, thank goodness they allow knitting needles these days) please come along, I’d love to meet you!

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro (IRL I probably only come up to her kneecap)

So I must race off and start sewing a squillion things (I never exagerate) as I’m sure this will lead to a wardrobe crisis like no other!!

VINTAGE GOODNESS X 2

A delightful work collegue gave me the most beautiful vintage patterns this week. It was such a surprise – they were her grandmother’s. Her generosity is overwhelming. How precious are these??

Grandma's patterns - too precious!

Grandma’s patterns – too precious. She must have been a snappy dresser!

Grandma's patterns - I've just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma’s patterns – I’ve just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma's patterns - this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert!

Grandma’s patterns – this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert, who would have thought a rollette rolled on??

I’m so grateful to have them and can’t wait to try some of these vintage numbers out. I hope I do grandma proud.

And just before I left for Tasmania I receive the most awesome package from the Trouser Making Champion herself – Suzy Bee Sews! After my vintage Jiffy post, Suzy contacted me and asked if I would like her collection of vintage patterns that were not her size. I’m still in shock, awe and amazed. However I did pass on one of the patterns Suzy sent me to Pretty Grivenances… it was not my size and she was tweeting about making a jacket and it was just so it just seemed right to pop it into the koala canoe and send it over to her.

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews_web 2

Now I just adore that envelope that reads “the envelope contains ANOTHER RELIABLE DRESS PATTERN.

And what did I send to Anne?

A Coat for Anne

A Coat for Anne

Can’t you just see her now, swanning about, gesturing grandly with the adorable German hounds?

As much as I loved and adored this coat… it was destined for another :-)

And that’s what makes our sewing blogsphere so cool…

Not a Fashion Star… just me in a cute jacket… & McCalls 6611 giveaway

So begins The Year of the Jacket…

McCalls 6611 - Fashion Star

McCalls 6611 – Fashion Star

Nothing like starting 2013 with a little bit of reality TV – hello McCalls Fashion Star, 6611.

McCalls 6611 - side view

McCalls 6611 – side view

I’m still on holidays but I was missing the blog so decided to write up this post, while sitting in the holiday house in the central Tasmanian highlands (well when you live at the beach where do you go for holidays!?!).

This jacket started when Suzy Bee Sews blogged her version of this jacket. Her’s was not a happy story – so much so that she gave away the pattern. And I won it. After sewing so many indie patterns, it didn’t occur to me that the pattern would not be in my size. Doh! I must be really perverse, as despite Suzy’s tales of woe and not having the pattern in my size, I immediately became obsessed with making this jacket.

Next time a BMV sale came around I took the opportunity to get the pattern (and maybe a few more…) and when walking through Spotlight one day this gorgeous cotton sateen literally threw itself off the rack and into my arms, pleading to find its moment in the sun as McCalls 6611, who was I to say no?

McCalls 6611 - back view

McCalls 6611 – back view

So the outside of this jacket is a floral cotton sateen. I used a contrast cotton sateen for the drape lapels and peplum lining, the body is lined with cotton batiste and I used bemsilk for the upper sleeves (to make it easier to slip on) and the contrast sateen for the lower sleeve lining (more on that in a minute). Yes it’s a bit of a hodge-podge on the inside, partially to do with the fabric stash offerings and my alterations.

This is a simple jacket to construct. I only made a few changes to the pattern.

I cut the back as one piece. It’s supposed to have a seam down the centre of my back, however I didn’t want to cut up the pattern more than necessary.

McCalls 6611: inside jacket back

6611 inside jacket back

I serged the front lining seams and then decided to top stitch these seams… just because I felt like it :-) I also serged the jacket front shell seams as I didn’t want them shifting about. I simply neatened the back seams, clipped and ironed them open as directed by the pattern.

I cut the lining slightly wider around the armholes as I thought it would allow for more movement up and around the seamlines. A while ago I saw a blog tutorial on Sewaholic, A Fashionable Stitch or perhaps Grainline’s blog on how to alter pattern pieces for a jacket lining. I wasn’t quite so exacting, i just recalled the post as I was cutting and I just did it by eye! When I get home I’ll look up the tutorial and amend this post with a link.

I also set the sleeves in flat… this is the easiest (and happiest) way to put in sleeves. I learnt this from A Fashionable Stitch during the 1880 sewalong. Great technique – try it!!

6611 inside jacket lining

McCalls 6611: inside jacket front

McCalls 6611: inside jacket shell front

While this was an easy jacket to construct, I spent quite a bit of time pondering the sleeves. They felt overwhelming in the floral print. I almost chopped them off to 3/4 length. However I’m a girl who likes to keep her options open, so I decided to leave the length but use the contrast cotton sateen for the lower sleeve lining. This way when I roll the sleeves back, the sleeves match the lapels which I think looks nicer than seeing common-as-muck bemsilk. I think I’ll always wear this with the sleeves rolled back – I love the informal look – but the option is there for full length if I like or an evening turns chilly (I am now too old and sensible to shiver in the name of fashion).

To my eye the cropped jacket length is better balanced with cropped or slightly shorter sleeves, particularly in this busy print. I considered cuffing the ends but I love jackets with the sleeves shoved or rolled up the forearms. It appeals to my casual sense of style (…that’s if I have something you can call style).

While this pattern does not call for lining fabric, it appears you use sateen or something similar throughout, I think it would be very stiff hence the use of bemsilk and cotton batiste instead (which came from the stash).

I love the peplum as it gives me some shape. I do think the jacket would be great with a button closure, maybe a button and loop, as the lapels don’t really ‘drape’ and I like the look of it closed with the contrast lapels, they don’t look so great flopping around as they are rather pointy than soft and floppy.

Do I feel like a Fashion Star. Nah, not so much – I’m only 5 foot 4!

McCalls 6611 - lapels

It will pain you to know that we took these pictures in my lunch break. This location is our Town Green (riverside) and is all of 90 seconds walk from my desk.

…and one bad hair day shot for laughs… I’m waiting for that sponsorship call from a shampoo company…

McCalls 6611 - bad hair day

McCalls 6611 – back hair day

OK finally what you have been waiting for sooooo patiently, reading my rambling and skimming over my pictures….

Want to be a Fashion Star too? As you know the start of my journey to make this jacket began with the wrong size. I’ve been emailing Suzy and she is cool bananas with the giveaway (thanks Suzy!). So if you would like to join the McCalls 6611 congo line please let me know in the comments below. The giveaway is for size range 14-22

Suzy also sent me a sensational little package of vintage patterns – I’ll blog them when I’m home again – thank you Suzy I love them!! I’ll be home again soon enough.