Sunday, February 24, 2013

Animal Prints can be Classics Too

Thank you to those who have been following my Classic garments collection and who have left such nice comments.

 Today, I'm going to show you two pieces. The first one is a cardigan which is a modified version of  Silhouette Patterns Nina's Top.


    The fabric is a poly/rayon knit, is very soft and looks and feels like cashmere.


I made a muslin for Nina's top in a black rayon knit from my stash and although I liked it, for this one I decided to take away some of the fullness at center front by doing this.I cut at the red line (in the photo) and added the front band at this new cutting line.

 I made the size 3 (Silhouette Patterns have a different sizing method and have front pieces for B,C, and D cups .)

I used Steam-a-Seam Lite for all hems. I wish I had applied light fusible interfacing  to the front band.  It could have used it.

I also made  a 3/4 sleeved pullover with  my own version of    a draped neck out of the same material. I've since lowered the neckline as it was a bit too high.  I love this top.

I used  the pullover and sleeves from Silhouette Patterns the Sweater Set for this one.

I already had the ivory double knit skirt (M5590) and sleeveless top (S3634 )in my wardrobe and I think they go perfectly with my new animal print basic pieces. More pics here and here.


This week, I completed the muslin and worked out the fitting issues for V1264. I'm hoping to finish it this week so I can wear it at least a couple of times while it's still winter.

I do hope you found time to sew this week! More later from


Sunday, February 17, 2013

McCalls 6355, the Final Version

Well, here it is, my I-worked-really-hard-to -get-there dress! What do you think?
Again the pattern is M6355

As I hinted before,the sweater knit fabric is almost like colour blocking which is why I was attracted to it in the first place.It's a poly/acrylic combination which I hope won't pill too much. I got it at Fabricville. At $27.00 a meter (but you know I didn't pay that much) so  it should be of fairly good quality.It's a medium weight so just right for a dress.

As I stated in my last post, I discarded the idea of using a French dart . I did my usual FBA.( I cut through the front,spread the tissue 3/4" and enlarged the existing bust dart.) This method works well for me. I did not sew the front waist dart but I curved the side seam at the waist a bit  more than it was on the pattern.

I added a large cowl collar to the pattern by using the method I showed here on my other blog. I had a hard time to decide between the light coloured collar and one that would match the stripe at the neckline.

 I tried them both and they both looked so nice but my husband helped me to choose this one. I think it was the right choice after all.

I'm happy with the way the stripes of the sleeves match up really well with the body of the dress.

                                                                     I  sewed the back darts.

I am very satisfied with the fit of my dress. It is slimming, much more so than my photos show as they make me look  bigger than I really am. It's very comfortable ans cozy too.

                                 My photo is too bright although I tried my best to fix it. 
                          I consider my dress to be one of the classics I set out to sew this year.
   I can belt it, wear various long necklaces,wear it with tights,boots, heels or flats. It's very versatile.
   See more pics here.

        Next week, I'll show you a little bit of animal and I'm just starting to work on this little gem (the        jacket).

 Hope you found time to sew today! More later from

Saturday, February 9, 2013

McCalls 6355

I would like a slimming dress that wouldn't make me look bigger than I am. The problem is proportion .

I'm short waisted and somewhat chesty. In order to have a fitted waist, my chest sticks out more than I'm comfortable with. But still, I should be able to arrive at a reasonable compromise, wouldn;t you think?

I bought this Palmer and Pletch pattern, McCall's 6355, knowing there would be lots of opportunities to fit the pattern to my shape.

First I made an FBA using the slash and spread method as shown on the pattern. That never works for me . It always ends up being too much and I"M NEVER USING THAT METHOD AGAIN.

The dress I want to make is a sweater knit and I want to add a cowl collar.

I had pieces of a  knit very similar in weight to it and made my first muslin into a pullover. I liked it so much that I didn't want to sew in the front and back waist darts thinking they would show when I undid them. This did show me though that the neckline is too wide and the upper back is as well.  Also the size 12 would be adequate at the side seams which is not always the case for me.


On to Muslin #2. Because my "good" fabric has wide stripes like colour blocking almost ,  I had the bright idea of changing the bust dart and waist dart into a French dart!!! You know.A la Peggy Sagers Webcast. I thought this would just look better, for some reason.

Well, I've got to say. This was quite a process! If you watch the video, Peggy tells you to open the French dart 2/3 of the way down the bodice side. You cut a slanted line from the side to somewhere within the bust circle. You then close the bust dart and the waist dart and this opens up the new dart. I'm simplifying here. You can watch the webcast for more details.

    For my muslin this time I used a dark brown ponte knit that I've found to be very pilly. (Is that a word??)                              so I didn't  care  if it didn't work out. I had to make curved French darts because I had vertical drag
   lines just below the bust area. I forgot to measure the length of the dress and it is a little short. I'll add             three inches to my "good" version.

 I also lowered the neckline to a depth I know to be flattering.
     I realized early on that this would be a wearable muslin so  I made the sleeves extra long and tight and  I
      ruched the bottom  as a style element.


I ended up with a really good fit and will use this altered pattern for many other things ,I think.

After all this work, I've decided to use the original pattern with  back darts and more defined curved seam at waist level for my striped wool dress. I could have tried that in the first place but this pattern alteration was very interesting to do. I'm finding I really enjoy this kind of exercise!

I'll show you the end product next week so please drop by again to see my sweater dress
Happy Sewing from

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vogue 8817 and Another Classic Piece

I know I said I wanted to stick to classic pieces for a while and I do have another one to show you. First though, I couldn't resist making my own version of V 8817 View C. It was just plain fun and I don't think it's too strange or anything.


I bought three pieces of a rather pricey ottoman knit at Fabricville.  The red and black used here with the plain black as an accent as well as a royal blue and black version which might become a dress version of this pattern but not sure yet.

I love this top and the fit is pretty good too. BUT!  NOTE TO SELF!  FIX THE TOO WIDE UPPER BACK PROBLEM !
I made this one pretty much like the pattern cover except for a couple of things . Before I started , I printed the line drawing and coloured in my plan of how I wanted to place the stripes. I find this really helps to make the construction of a garment go smoothly.In this case, I could see I needed something to separate the various parts of the bodice front and back.
I decided to cut strips of the black ottoman , fold them and use them as piping. That worked beautifully.

The only thing I changed was the sleeves. I made them full length and added a narrow black band at the sleeve hem because they weren't quite long enough. Oh, and I raised the front neckline one inch.

    And here is the back.


Now for the classic piece I managed to make last week as well. For this cream cable stitch cardigan , I used M6208 except I didn't use the collar and facings. Instead I used the band from Nina's Top from Silhouette Patterns. It is plain, simple and comfortable. I see having this in my wardrobe for years to come.

Seen here with cowl ,sleevelees pullover blogged here.
The back curves to a longer length.


And that's all I have to say about that.  I have lots to show you next week so please come back to see me.

Happy Sewing from