A walk on the modern side

I know, I know…ANOTHER shirtwaist. This is the last one for a little while. I promise. This one uses the same pattern as last weeks ( McCall 7351) but a different view. I was supposed to look like this.


The finished dress doesn’t exactly look like the drawing. In reality the waist isn’t as defined, the skirt is much straighter and shorter, and the arms aren’t anywhere near as long. I know that the drawings on the reproduction patterns are pure fantasy but I expected  this to be a little more representive of the actual dress. Despite the false advertising the dress turned out pretty well, even though it isn’t what I expected.

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The denim was easily the thickest think I have sewn with so far. To reduce some of the bulk I decided to use some cotton scraps for the under-collar and inside yolk and stand. Unfortunately my serger chewed up some of it so I hand stitched a patch on. If it was the outside I probably would have torn it apart and replaced it.

I had started doing my top stiching iwth gold thread to match the insides buti wasnt too happy with how it looked against the dark denim. It looked cheap to me. So I tore it all out and re-did it with a copper thread instead.



The arms deviated the most from the drawing. In the drawing you can see that the button is about level with the waist which would make them longer then elbow length.  On the pattern the button placement is just barely below the arm pit which means it ends up having to be rolled above the elbow in order for the tab to fasten.  Only problem is that with the taper in the sleeve when you roll it up the wrist circumference is now around your bicep which I don’t know about you but my upper arms are  much bigger then my wrist. It make the sleeve way to narrow to get your arm into. I ended up chopped off about 4 inches from the sleeves so that your only had to roll it twice to fasten. If I had to guess, I think they lengthened the sleeves after the fact but forgot to adjust the tab and button position when drafting the pattern. Despite all the issues the sleeves turned out really well. Its my favorite part of the dress.


Fit wise this isn’t my greatest triumph. There is still some excess fabric in the lower back. The waist could stand to be taken in and the hips are too tight lending to that boxy effect. Finally I would like it to be just a tad longer.  Don’t get me wrong, its not going in the wadder pile these are just the things that I would fix if I were to do it again.




A slightly different shirtwaist

I love a shirtwaist dress. It looks slightly retro but still very relevant for today. Having already done 3 versions of McCall 6696 herehear, and here I decided to give that pattern a rest and try a different shirtwaist offering.


I mean this one combines both of my loves: shirtwaist with a circle skirt.  What could be better!

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I was feeling a bit lazy so instead of lengthening the bodice I just inserted a 1.5″ waistband. Even with that additional length the skirt kits me a good 5 inches above the knee. If I were to make this again I would want some more length.

I didn’t have enough fabric for the skirt so I ended up having to piece it together. The front skirt is actually made up of 6 pieces not including the button plackets.  I was able to pattern match most the seams accept the 2 closest to the placket. Once the skirt is on you can’t see them at all so I am glad of that.


The insides are finished as much as I could and it has two side seam pockets in the skirt.



Even with its short skirt I still love the dress. I wore it a few weeks ago to the art museum. We were waiting in line to get into an exhibit on female expressionist and the attended could not stop gushing over it because a) she thought it was too cool that I had dressed up to go to the museum and b) she thought I matched the artwork. Then Tony told her I had made it myself and her mind exploded.

With Tony’s majestic beard people hardly ever notice me.  Ever since I started wearing my me-made clothing I get so many complements. Im still too shy to tell them I made it but it still makes me feel good.

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Shirt Waist strikes again.

I couldn’t help it, I just had to make another McCalls 6696.

It went together in record time…I think 4 hours. I kept the gathers in the back but just took out an inch or so to diminish the fullness. I used a gold thread trying to get the look of jeans but it doesn’t show up as much as I thought it would.



The insides of this pattern are always so nice.

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I didn’t sew down the pleats in the skirt this time. I thought this way looked more casual.

McCall’s 6696 take 2

I couldn’t wait to make another shirt dress. This time I selected a geometric print. I decided that this fabric didn’t want all the gathers in the back so I drafted a pattern piece that would fit straight across instead.

I think I made the back piece a little small since you can see some pulling around the lower back but a valiant effort none the less.

One thing I really love about this pattern is how clean the insides are. Everything is enclosed accept the side seams which are easy enough to overlock. Also since it buttons all the way down its super easy to put on without messing up hair or makeup!

I didn’t make any other changes from the last version. I still had some issues with the skirt being too big but I was smart this time and took the pleats in  on the front so that the pocket position would still line up. I also moved the buttons so that one would hit right at the waistline.



There will certainly be more of these in the future, but for now I have some other patterns that want to be worked on first.

McCall’s 6696

McCall’s 6696 has made its rounds on the blog circuit. Just looking at the envelope it never caught my eye but I have seen enough reviews of the pattern to know it was worth a shot.


I of course selected the full skirt version and a  cotton print.  This pattern had a lot of things that I had never done. A yolk , standup collar, and button plackets. It’s like a ligitiamate mans shirt made for a womens body.  I didn’t do so well on the sleeves. It has some tucks and gathers. I looks fine on this dress (very girly) but I want to figure this out before I try and make a shirt for Tony.



The  back has gathers that give it the impression of a tucked in blouse.


I am particularly proud of the collar. Though its a little off center next time around (and there will be a next time) i’ll make sure to mark the center to fix that.


Since Tony got me a serger I decided to try a blind hem.


I lengthened the bodice my  now standard 1.5″ which moved the waistband so that buttons didn’t line up. My fix was to add a little snap to help keep the waist from pulling.DSC_0078

When I was buying the fabric I saw these buttons but they didn’t have enough so I ended up getting white buttons instead. The more I though about it I wanted the orange so I went to a different store and they had just enough. I’m glad I stuck with the orange buttons I think they work really well with the fabric.

The pattern had you slip stitch the button plackets, collar, yolk and waistband by hand….no thank you. I used top stitching instead on the waist, collar, and plackets and this method for the yolk (http://grainlinestudio.com/2013/04/08/archer-yoke_method2/)  The only hand sewing I ended up doing was the little snap and the insides look great.



I did have some trouble attaching the skirt, It was way too big, I don’t know if I transferred the pleats wrong or what. I made the pleats in the back a little bigger to try and get things to sure up, as a result the side seam with the pocket sits further back and now its hard to get into the pocket 😦

Dispite the issues I adore the finished product. I really feel like im learning and growing.