A big fat fail. M7350

So, basically every one of my husband’s family is getting married this year. OK, not really, but there are four weddings for his family in 2017, and two of them were a week apart. 3 for cousins, but this one is his sister’s wedding. Which since we’ve been married since she was about 10(?), she’s basically a sister to me too, and I wanted something special.

Except I procrastinated. I waited until the week before the wedding to decide on a dress pattern, and then picked out my fabric. All was going well, I had made some notes about the pattern and my changes which I’ve detailed below in case I ever want to try again…

McCall’s 7350

  • There is 4.5″ of positive ease in the waistline of this dress. This was good for me (although I still needed more room, so I added it in), but it could be bad for you. Pay attention to the finished measurements which are printed helpfully on the pattern–thanks McCall’s!!
  • I added to the waistline by shifting the pattern piece away from the fold 1/4 of the total amount I needed after taking account of the 5/8″ seam allowances. For me, this meant about 1″. This will mean that my bodice/skirt gathering won’t be as dramatic, but I’m OK with that.
  • I usually trace, but since McCall’s must have been listening to my internal (and possibly on social media) rants and nested the pieces inside each other, I didn’t lose any of the sizes when I cut the size 14. Thank goodness for that!
  • I cut the size 12 around the shoulders/neckline, it didn’t take much off, but hopefully it will be enough based on previous McCall’s experience.
  • I did the lazy knit FBA of going back out to the 14 on the side seams. Since I’m petite, I don’t usually need to add extra length, and should probably start taking it out of the back, but I didn’t do that.
  • The length of this dress is probably perfect for someone who is about 5’7″, but I’m 5’2″ or 5’3″, depending on who does the measuring, so I folded out 4″ at the lengthen/shorten line.

But then, disaster struck. You have to cut the maxi skirt pieces on a single layer because they are so wide. I cut two right fronts. I even swore I checked it because I was nervous about doing that very thing, but it still happened. At first I was devastated. I had gotten the end of the bolt and couldn’t find any more, I was two days until it had be worn, and out of ideas. So I slept on it. I went back to the fabric store to see if just maybe they had some. Nope. Then I decided to just use a shorter skirt view and recut the skirt pieces. Worked like a charm, and I thought I was home free.

Except.

As I started sewing up the bodice, I began to have doubts. Something about it just didn’t look quite right, so I pinned it together and had my husband look at it. His mouth said “Well….”, but his face said “NOPE”. So I scrapped it. Well, ok, I didn’t scrap it, I’m hoping to recreate the skirt pieces into something else (maybe a skirt, heh?) And that is how I ended up wearing the exact same dress to two weddings in the same family 2 weeks in a row. After I washed it, of course. πŸ˜‰

Last Minute Wedding Dress M7121

And when I say last minute, I mean it. I think it was hemmed an hour before we left for cousin B’s wedding. You might not know this, but it’s wedding mania around here for my husband’s family. OK, so there’s only 4 this year, but that still feels like a lot. Probably because the one last weekend was for my SIL, which was a very big deal for obvious reasons. πŸ™‚

The pattern was a repeat of McCall’s 7121, which I made way back when in a much fancier fabric. Since I had worn that dress to my brother in law’s wedding, I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it to yet another wedding from that side of the family. It just would have been weird, you know? <–[Ed. Note: HA!]

So I hemmed and hawed until the day before the wedding. As you do. I ran to the fabric store, bought the last of a really quite gorgeous ITY (side note: I usually hate 100% poly fabrics with the fire of a thousand suns, but this one was actually quite nice.) and hoped that my children would behave long enough for me to sew it. It turns out, my children weren’t going to be the problem–*I* was.

You see, I made that dress in 2015, but stupidly failed to note the pattern size/changes I made anywhere and also in a fit of complete idiocy managed to throw away the pieces I had traced off with the size/changes I needed on them. So, I did my best to recreate them in my limited time and thankfully, it worked out.

So for future me, here’s my changes, feel free to skip them if you aren’t into that sort of thing.

  • I used the shoulders and neckline from the size 12, going to the size 14 at the side seam (lazy knit FBA).
  • I took about 4″ off the hem (which I need to do on the pattern pieces, because I took that off the dress after it was sewn).
  • I left the center back seam to minimize the yardage used (I got this out of the last 2.5 yards on the bolt with very little waste–I also managed to eek out a pair of undies, and am hoping to make a matching bra from the rest of the scraps.) This will not work for a directional print, obviously.
  • I cut the front on the fold by increasing the indentation on the side seam to account for the addition to the center front. If you want to do the same, you need to adjust the pieces as you trace them off and true your grainline.
  • I joined the bodice and skirt pieces of both front and back. This dress has a lot of seaming so that you can make the cool chevron effect with stripes, but I haven’t managed to try that yet. If you do that, remember to take out the seam allowances at the waistline.

The finished dress is gorgeous, and got lots of compliments–probably because no one could see the dog’s breakfast I made of the hem. Pro Tip: Don’t use your serger to trim off excess hem, it will end badly if you goof even the slightest bit. And I did goof, but thankfully it’s impossible to tell when the dress is in motion and/or everyone around you is focusing on the dance/their booze/the newlyweds. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’m sure that’s enough ramblings, you’re really only here to see the dress, right? (Hover over the images for captions.)

So these were unintentionally lightened. IRL the color is a dark royal blue, almost a royal navy. And I have to say that my dressform doesn’t quite do it the justice that my body does–which is quite a detour from normal!

Anyway, I loved it so much that I actually wore it to both B’s wedding and my SIL’s wedding because: [spoiler] I had a wadder (more on that later). I did actually buy a backup dress for the other wedding, but I just couldn’t make myself wear it when I’d already wasted so much $$ on the wadder. 😦 And to think I’m the one who harps about ‘sunk costs’ all the time…!

New wedding outfit…or not…

I’m terrible. I was so excited about that jumpsuit. But, life (and a bit of bad luck) seems to have gotten in the way.

Last week, I started to feel like crap, and since we had a big event coming up, I went to the doctor. I got a flu test and had my chest x-rayed, and…I have pneumonia*. I took the antibiotics, frantically lysol-ed everything I ever touched for a week, and sent my children and husband away with stockpiles of vitamin C. I didn’t want anyone to get sick–especially not with the wedding coming up this weekend.

* I feel a bit silly saying I have this. Aside from a cough that hits at random (unless it’s bedtime, then it’s fairly constant–grrrr) and some exhaustion mid day, I feel pretty normal. I did feel crappy the first couple of days, but after that, it’s mostly just the cough.

The other thing that held me back was that I bought an exceptionally beautiful dip dyed rayon (double-crepe? is that a thing?) that they didn’t happen to have quite enough of. The pattern called for 3 yards, but I’m a pattern tetris whiz, so I felt fairly confident that I could fit it on my 2-3/4 yards without too much issue. Turns out I was wrong. If I hadn’t chosen that type of “print”, I’d have had fabric to make a whole nother project, but because of it I needed at least another yard. Which was sold out everywhere, even though the website said that they had a one yard remnant that I tried to order twice over a two week period and which was canceled both times…grr! And by then, I was stuck on this kind of fabric because it seemed perfect–thick enough to not be see-through, lovely drape, that tiny amount of mechanical stretch that rayon is known for and I just couldn’t find anything else that seemed right. And in true Joann style, they only buy a limited quantity of anything that a person might want and oodles of rubbish that hangs out on the shelves forever. Which is the opposite of what I’d do if it were my store, but then, what do I know?

So anyway, all of that to say that I’m giving up. I’m just going to wear my fancy maxi dress instead. I did make all the adjustments to that jumpsuit pattern though, so I’m still planning to make it. One does not simply tape together a PDF pattern, make all the adjustments for it, and then just walk away…though finding an occasion to wear it might be tricky. πŸ˜‰

My first maxi

I’m not sure what is wrong with me lately, since I’ve suddenly increased my skirt/dress wardrobe by 3 pieces. This is kind of crazy, since I’m very much a jeans kind of girl–not only because I find them practical, but also because I have negative thigh gap. Seriously, they rub together so bad that it literally is painful to wear a skirt or dress for a full day. I wear jeans out quickly too, but at least with the jeans it’s not my skin!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Aaaaaanyway, back to the maxi. Technically, my first ever maxi was the inspiration for the one in this post. I bought it from Walmart a month or so ago, and decided that I should make my own, but it wasn’t a priority. Until I saw a fabric that I knew I had to make the maxi dress of awesomeness out of. I first saw it during my fabric binge, but I left it there, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But it just wouldn’t get out of my head, I kept thinking about it and how it would make a beautiful elegant maxi dress for nights out with my husband… Now I have the perfect dress, I just need to convince my husband to take me out!

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Pattern Review: McCall’s 7121

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Welllllllll, for my particular purpose, I hated all the seaming, but I think I’d like to go back and do the chevron stripes someday, so I’ll probably love them then, HA! I loved how easy it was, and the V-necklines.

Fabric Used: For the muslin, I used a cotton jersey and for the real deal I used some sort of polyester knit with silver threads woven into it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On the final version, I eliminated the waist seams and the center front seam. To eliminate the waist seam I used the highly unscientific method of joining the bodice and skirt together overlapping the seam allowances. To remove the center front seam I curved the side seam in the same amount that would be added when I cut the center front on the fold to help maintain some shaping. I also had to shorten the shoulders by 2″ on each side to keep it from being indecent. This length wasn’t an issue on the muslin, and I didn’t realize it was a problem with the final version until I had it completely stitched, so you can imagine I was a bit annoyed when picking a triple zig zag out of the fabric and doing my absolute best not to snag any of those silver threads.

Goofs: When I cut the back pieces, I ended up with some twinning. It was either deal with it and be happy or buy another 2 yards of this fabric (which is rather distinctive and unsuited for scrappy projects.) I also seem to need some more room across the back for my big ‘ol butt, because it rides up a bit. Again, not a deal breaker, it is just really obvious from the Oona-esque angle I had my husband try out here.

This is the second time that exactly what I envisioned in my head came to reality, but my current project (StyleArc Barb, if you’re curious) isn’t working out nearly so smoothly. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll blog about it in great detail later on, regardless of the outcome. πŸ˜‰

Fail parade

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed a couple of projects that hadn’t previously made it on here. They were wadders that I just decided to let go and not try to remake. I don’t have endless amounts of time to dedicate to making things work, so sometimes I just admit defeat, and move on. Especially if I don’t really know what needs to be done to fix it anyway.

Case in point? McCall’s 6163. I have no idea what happened. I don’t know if my stay tape wasn’t up to the challenge (doubtful) or if it was a matter of the thick knit getting that pulled out of whack from my inability to change the presser foot pressure, or if I just flat cut the wrong size (though based on my measurements it should have been right…??) Either way, this was unacceptable.

Good grief, it just gets worse every time I look at it!

I’m slightly fuller busted than the dressform, but it still looked indecent. I didn’t even finish it before throwing it away. It’s a bummer too, because the ladies that reviewed it on PR looked fab in their versions, so it’s definitely something I did–I’m just not sure what.

My other fail was this:

So much promise. *Sigh*

I knew going in that there were a couple of bad spots in the fabric, spots where blue dye had somehow ended up in the white portions, but they seemed like NBD to cut around, and it wasn’t. What I didn’t notice was all the little holes that showed up (or at least became more visible) after washing. I really think it was just a very delicate fabric and should have been handwash only. Of course, I only noticed it after I started sewing, and even then I started to ignore it, but I just couldn’t get the fabric into the point in the CF the first try and…..well, let’s just say that no matter how careful you are, the seam ripper just doesn’t like this fabric. So between the holes from washing and the snags from seam ripping I decided to just let it go.

Anyone else been riding the fail train lately? I’m hoping to end my streak soon, because I’ve still got a need for some cute blouses and t-shirts…

It’s so hard…

To make yourself sew when the weather is absolutely gorgeous!! We’ve been having beautiful days–sunny, 70-75*F, minimal wind, perfect. It’s so nice to leave the windows open and get fresh air in, play t-ball/frisbee/catch/etc. with my son, and go for nice walks around the neighborhood. So I’ve been doing that. And, I must confess, sitting a fair amount of time in my chair (next to the open window) following Twitter/Pinterest. I honestly don’t know how some people are so prolific on there every single day, do they ever get to go outside? Are they eating? I guess, to each their own, but as for me, I’m going to do better about spending less time on there. I always feel a bit down on myself afterwards like “you wasted 2 hours looking at pictures and pithy comments instead of playing with your rapidly-outgrowing-the-playing-stage son?! What kind of crap SAHM are you, anyway?!”

I do have a quick sewing update. I have finished the bodice for McCall’ 6503, though I think when they said it was “easy” it was a terrible lie*. I think I made it 4 times in my attempt to make it once! And then, when I started to make the skirt, I happily chopped into my fabric before realizing that I cut the wrong size, so now I have to find a different fabric to make the skirt part with. *Note:* This may have actually been a blessing in disguise, because I’m not sure that this would have been a good pairing of fabric to pattern to other fabric(s). I think it might have been too heavy for the delicate fabrics on the top (which are basically some cotton lawn and an interlining of batiste or lawn.)

*Or I just always make things harder than theyΒ  need to be. You pick. πŸ˜‰

So anyway, I think that today I’m going to head off to the lumber yard to buy a couple of boards to make up some nightstands. I found some from Ana’s website that I think will be perfect for our bedroom. πŸ™‚ I might grab a couple of the supplies needed for the closet reorganizer that she has too. πŸ˜‰

To my fellow Americans, enjoy your holiday weekend, but don’t forget *why* we’re celebrating, and to non-Americans, have a fantastic weekend!! πŸ™‚

Little Red Riding (no) Hood

I finally got my photo shoot done for my coat. Trying to get this photo shoot set up was like herding cats! The things I do for you guys, LOL!Β  Anyway, we’ve pretty much covered everything elsewhere, so I’ll keep it pretty brief.

I think the coat turns out cute, the instructions are hit and miss, and I don’t plan to make it again. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you are in need of an adorable, yet impractical lightweight coat. (Seriously, I have actual flannel, wool, and lining and it’s not the warmest coat, but would work good above freezing temps.) If you wear this in less than freezing temps, you are going to be cold, no doubt about it, but you are going to be cold and sexy. Which is what is really important here, right? πŸ˜‰

IMG_0204 Edited-001IMG_0199 IMG_0206

P.S. I kind of wish I’d have blurred out my ugly tennis shoes, but there’s no way I was going to climb around in the creek bed wearing heels!

Can you tell what it is yet?

Here’s a little somethin’ I’ve been working on, can you tell what it’s supposed to be yet?

Almost Front Almost Back

 

 

 

 

 

Yes! My coat is starting to finally look like a coat! *Squee!!* It desperately needs a pressing, I think I’m going to rip out and resew the hem so that the lining fabric doesn’t peek out the bottom, there’s a couple of seams that I think could use some grading, and I need to do the sleeve hems, but I’m getting pretty close I think! Also, I’ve opted to do some sew in snaps with buttons over the top (or maybe not if I can put in the snaps invisibly enough and not have weird pulling.)

Technically, I’m not supposed to have flipped it right side out like this yet, but I couldn’t resist seeing how it was coming along (and also, I wanted to make sure I had sewn the middle seam correctly–there was some misinterpretation of the instructions or just poor instructions or something with the skirt facings–either way there was much swearing) and while it was flipped, I thought this would be the perfect time to take a couple of pictures of my progress. πŸ™‚

Anyway, hopefully ya’ll aren’t getting bored with the progress updates on this thing, but I’ve been so excited about doing something that was so far out of my comfort zone/skill set! It’s definitely been a learning experience so far!

Coat-in-progress shot

Just to prove that I really am sewing this coat instead of saying screw it I’m going to BCF and buying one that looks similar–because believe me, that option has been tempting–I’ve got an in progress shot for you. I have the upper shell finished (sans sleeves) and the corresponding lining (also sans sleeves) stitched together. My collar even went in perfectly the first time, which is a first–my collars never go in perfectly the first time, there’s always futzing to be done.

Partial Shell

I’m going to have to pick out part of the front facing and undo the pleats on the lining pieces, because my order of construction was apparently a bit sketchy, but it’s not too much, so it won’t be a huge deal if I take care of it now. I’m getting closer!

 

 

 

The honeymoon is definitely over…

And shit just got real. I feel like I’ve been working on this coat my entire life at this point. Whenever I go down to the sewing room we glare at each other in mutual hatred. Whenever I’m not downstairs working on it I feel guilty that I’m still not finished. I’m trying really hard not to just half-ass it like I want to, but I’m not going to be able to hold off on that urge much longer. Let’s recap my issues so far, shall we?

  • Short on fabric for the original coat pattern idea, so opted for a different (but still cute) pattern.
  • Barely enough fabric to squeeze this coat pattern out with my minor screw-up.
  • Searched high and low to find Ambience lining at a store I could visit IRL.
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ lining fabric so had to buy more (OK OK, so I conned my MIL into picking it up and bringing it to me).
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ flannel interlining fabric (to be fair, I bought this a year ago when I bought the wool, so it wasn’t like I just didn’t learn my lesson with the lining.) So guess what I’ll be doing very soon so that I can cut out the last 2 pieces of my coat?
  • Forgot to add length to the front facing piece after doing the FBA on the bodice. I’m afraid since I didn’t quite get them lined up that I’m going to have to take teeny-tiny seam allowances on one of the front facing pieces (or bigger ones on all of them), but I’ll make it work. I’m short enough that I think I can get away with that pretty easily.

I’ve also learned a couple of things while doing this process:

  1. I really hate Ambience lining. I’ll take a slippery charmeuse over this stuff any day, at least the charmeuse doesn’t slip right off my flannel-covered ironing board and try to slide off the table every time you look away. I don’t like the way it feels either, so I’m definitely going to skip it in favor of pretty silk for future lining projects once I use up whatever I have left of this stuff.
  2. That quilt spray adhesive that I purchased for my son’s quilt has actually come in handy–I sprayed it on the flannel, stuck the pieces of lining to it, cut around them, and then serged them together. Don’t wait around though, this stuff evaporates (and thus loses its adhesion) fast! I’d cut out a piece and then serge it immediately, don’t cut out several pieces and then try it.
  3. Quilt spray adhesive gets everywhere and it’s hard to get off your fingers.
  4. Quilt spray adhesive also stinks to high heaven, and may or may not give you a major headache. Or maybe that was just the sinus infection that I may or may not be trying to get.
  5. Starching heavily doesn’t seem to work on Ambience. I starched the hell out of it and it’s still hard to work with. Also, it creases easily, but doesn’t iron flat very well (probably because it doesn’t want to stay on the ironing board!)

Anyway, I’m almost done cutting pieces out. I’ve only got a couple more pieces of interlining to cut out before I’m ready to assemble. I think the assembly should go pretty fast, since not only have I sewn up like 3 muslins, but also there just isn’t much too this coat. Everything that is cut out is serged, interfaced, etc., so it’s pretty straightforward after I get those last couple of pieces cut. The one thing that I’m really not sure about is fastenings. My inspiration coat (which I only saw once on a gal in church) had metal clasps like these:

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

I also kind of like these, but only if I can find them in a silvery finish (I’m a hater of all things gold-ish toned, especially brass/bronze).

https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec2.pinterest.com/upload/99360735500343472_CMCGhjyO_c.jpg

But I’ve also thought that maybe making some loops in the front and putting in buttons like the Vogue coat that I had as an option in the beginning would be nice too. Not to mention it’s probably the easiest option. But then, what color of buttons? Black? Shell? Wood? Fabric covered?

https://i1.wp.com/voguepatterns.mccall.com/filebin/images/product_images/Add_1_Full/V8465.jpg

Given my particular figure, I don’t think a belt is the best option for me, and I can’t figure out a way to add a zipper without making it look sloppy.

So there you have it. All the excuses reasons I still don’t have this coat done. Tomorrow, I shop for more fabric and finish cutting out. This thing WILL be done before this weekend, (except for permanent fasteners, possibly) because I hope to sew up a quick cardigan before Saturday. Unless I get hit with a sinus infection. But I’m trying to be positive. Mind overΒ  matter and all that.