McCall’s 6706: Loudest Skirt in the Room

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Okay, I admit: I am totally SWFing Margo from Creating in the Gap with this skirt. (Also, is SWF still a valid pop culture reference?)

I’ve had this fabric forever, but what do you actually do with taffeta? When I saw Margo’s gorgeous checked skirt, I knew I had to copy it!

This was a fun make. I used McCall’s 6706, which I made previously in ivory shantung. (I never wear that skirt, BTW. It just doesn’t really work in my wardrobe. I might shorten it and add horsehair braid for a full, flirty hem. Thoughts?)

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This time, I cut the waistband down by half. While I love the look when I see it on Pinterest, in real life, a wide, thick waistband just cuts me in weird ways and makes it harder to find the right top to coordinate with. I’m much happier with the narrower waistband!

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Not many comments on the sewing process: this skirt is pretty easy. It’s tedious, since there are a million pleats to baste (and by a million, I clearly mean 16), but that’s it. I mean, there are only two pattern pieces, and they’re both rectangles!

And, always, I ended up wanting the skirt to be longer than drafted, so I serged the edge to finish it and turned up the tiniest of half inches. I know a bigger hem makes things hang better, but I just can’t bring myself to lose that length.

Practicing my LBJ forward lean...

Practicing my LBJ forward lean…

I’m not sure how often I’ll wear this. The taffeta, while adding amazing volume, is a grade too fancy for work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll wear it to work and swan around like a princess anyway, but it’s not going to be a go-to.

That said, and I know I’ve talked about this already, I have too many clothes already. My current rule for sewing new clothes? Make whatever you want. Make fabulous things. Make ridiculous things. Make things that sound really, really loud every time you get up to go to the water cooler. Just keep making things, and enjoying the process.

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If you make a fabulous skirt that inspires you to curtsy in the process, even better.

M7094: Crap, I Did It Again

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So, that top I said I’d never make again because it was tortuous?

Yeah, I made it again.

Here’s my second iteration of McCall’s 7094, the first being this satanic flamingo version.

Have not yet forgiven the flamingos...

Have not yet forgiven the flamingos…

The thing is, it’s a really cool top, it’s easy to wear, and that’s what I need. I also kind of wanted to use this as a benchmarked test of how much my skills had improved in the last year. My conclusion: my skills are definitely better but I’ve still got lot of room to improve. (Most of my errors were self-inflicted. Like when I followed the instructions for the sleeveless version when I clearly knew I’d be adding sleeves. Doh!)

That, and this pattern really is a bit problematic.

I mean, the step where you attach the sleeves to the bodice is left out entirely. Seriously. And that popover collar is just as fussy as I remembered. Fortunately, I went in ready to do battle, so it went relatively smoothly.

The face you make when your realize the bushes are filled with large spiders...

The face you make when your realize the bushes are filled with large spiders…

I still don’t understand the directions for the placket bottom. Like, at all. So I just did it the messy, get-it-done way, and it’s fine. I do feel infinitely vindicated that it was not lack of skill, but perhaps a construction issue that frustrated me so much the first time.

Also helping me out was fabric that didn’t fray on contact. This is just a random poly woven from Joann’s that I found on sale and took a shine to. I waffled for months on what to create with this. Shirtdress? Pussybow blouse? Popover dress? (Dammit, I *totally* should’ve made a popover dress!)

What does it say about me that I couldn’t resist the siren call of a pattern I knew I hated the first time around? Psychoanalysis aside, I’m a fan of this top. It’s a perfect blend of subtle (oh, just my billowy smock top, nbd) and attention-getting (wowza on the open-back in the breeze!). The super lightweight poly has a rayon-like feel, and isn’t an OMG-I’m-sweating-before-I-leave-the-house type of polyester.

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The only drawback is that it took me about a month to sew this. New hobbies combined with an uptick in social engagements, and my sewing has definitely slowed down. (Other people don’t seem to consider time with my sewing machine as the genuine “social engagement” I personally see it as, and insist on planning alternate gatherings.)

Whatever. As the NY Times article about McCall’s notes, and I slightly paraphrase, sewing as been around a hell of a long time. I’m sure it’ll be around when my calendar frees up.

Slowly backing away from the spider-filled bushes

Slowly backing away from the spider-filled bushes

Vogue 8685: Old Pattern, New Look

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This is what happens when you let your husband pick your fabric.

Actually, I like what he chose. I wouldn’t have put this combo together, but it’s a fun look, and fills a niche in my work wardrobe. I like how the wild, artsy print keeps this somewhat conservative silhouette looking fun and fresh.

The pattern is Vogue 8685, a knit dress with waist panels and yokes, sleeve options, and pencil/full skirt options. I knew I wanted to add a full-skirted dress to my closet. I have, literally, only one full skirt amid an army of pencil skirts. I wore it the other day and loved swishing around in it. I needed more!

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I also knew I wanted a knit dress. On a daily basis, they’re just so much easier to wear. Plus, I wanted an easy, fun project and stretch fabrics simply don’t require the precision and tailoring that quality woven garments do. (My despair comes from a work-in-progress pair of lace trousers. The fit is off, they’ve already taken a lot of time and effort, and I don’t think I can fully redeem them. I weep.)

So, patterns in hand, off to Hart’s I went, husband in tow. (I go antique-hunting with him, he comes to the fabric store with me. Marriage equality ftw.) When fabric indecision overtook me, as per usual, he confidently selected the brightest, wackiest print in the joint. I almost went with this amazing dog print, but the white background would’ve required a lining. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up here as a top or something sooner rather than later.

All that backstory to say: this dress was a breeze to make. It took a long time to cut out, because the fabric was way off-grain, being the last on the roll and having gotten a bit twisted over time. So I cut a lot of pieces in single layers, with a lot of swearing. And with the bodice, waist panels, and yoke panels, plus skirt and sleeves, there are *a lot* of pieces for a dress! After that chore was over, it was smooth sailing.

Can you even *see* the panels and yoke in this print?

Can you even *see* the panels and yoke in this print?

I highly recommend this dress for a quick, easy sew that doesn’t feel boring.

I made the following changes:

*Lengthened the skirt by 2-3 inches
*Shortened the sleeves to elbow length and narrowed them significantly
*Eliminated the back zipper
*Eliminated the topstitching, since it wouldn’t be visible on the dramatic print

Next time, I would plan for ditching the zipper from the start. It might take some creative placement to cut all the back and front pieces on the fold without buying a lot of extra fabric for the full-skirted view. No question on the slim view, though — ditch the zipper and cut the back pieces on a fold if your bust measurement allows.

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One other pattern note: the envelope calls for seam binding as a required notion. I couldn’t figure out how it was going to be used, but I got some anyway. Turns out, I didn’t need it, so feel free to skip that purchase if you try this pattern.

Side note: I finally cut the right size from the get-go, a 10. Hallelujah! (I remembered cursing at myself about this in a previous post, so score one for blogging as an extremely labor-intensive memory aid.)

"No, Honey -- smile like a normal person!"

“No, Honey — smile like a normal person!”

Another size-related side note: Sewing really is the best way to absorb the idea that fit is fact, but size is just a number. I was shopping over the weekend, which I haven’t really done in…. a long, long time. I grabbed all size 6 items, which is what I should reasonably be in RTW, only to find out that vanity sizing makes me closer to a 2. If I’m a 10 in Vogue and a 2 in RTW brands, then I really can’t find a way to interpret size as anything more than a vague guideline, and nothing like a personal judgement. Yay for sewing.

After construction, I was lukewarm on this dress. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of sewing it, but was “meh” on wearing it. After wearing it, I kinda love it. It’s swishy! It’s light! It has full work coverage! Way to rock my weekday world, dress.

Swishy skirt in action as I make friends with random people at the PokeStop!

Swishy skirt in action as I make friends with random people at the PokeStop!

Welcome to the closet, my Spousally Endorsed Swishy Dress!