Tuesday, July 07, 2020

A Pink Cape Back Top - McCall's 7541 Pattern Review

Over the past few years I've sewn - and purchased - a few tops with an attached back cape design feature. Such as the blue Butterick 6490 top  and the black Vogue 8907 top, that were both sewn and blogged in 2017.  My latest cape back top is this one sewn from a pink knit.
McCall's 7541 in Pink Knit worn by Sharon Sews
This is McCall's 7541, released in 2017 and now out of print (OOP).
McCall's 7541 Pattern Cover
It's a loose-fitting, pullover top with an attached overlay aka the cape. 
McCall's 7541 in Pink Knit worn by Sharon Sews
The fabric suggestions are challis, crepe de chine, crepe, and stable knits.  I choose to sew this in a light weight stable knit I purchased two years ago from SR Harris in Minnesota.  Because SR is a fabric warehouse, fabrics typically do not have the fiber content listed. I purchased the end of the bolt of this pink gingham knit and tucked inside was this fabric tag.
There are four views to choose from and as you can see they are pretty similar.
McCall's 7541 Line Drawings show four views
I sewed View B, the one with the shorter, curved "sleeves" and the longer back overlay with no darts or pleat.
Back View of McCall's 7541 Cape Top Sharon Sews

The front of the top is also an overlay. Meaning there are two layers in the front. The front and back cape are attached to the bottom layer (top) at the neck seam and side seams. The bottom layer is basically a sleeveless top.
Front View with arms extended showing overlay of McCall's 7541 Sharon Sews
Because the front and back overlays are separate pattern pieces you could sew them in a sheer fabric for a different look. Also keep in mind that the wrong side of the fabric will show.

I have to admit that I messed up where the "sleeve" portion of the overlay is attached to the front of the top. I didn't mark it clearly and ended up being off when I stay stitched and clipped. I tried to fix it a couple of times and finally gave up telling myself it was good enough. And it is. Honestly, unless someone sews the chances of them noticing this slight pucker is pretty minimal.
I choose to not do a full bust adjustment based on the description of "loose-fitting" and the flat pattern measurement at the bust line. I will do a small FBA next time as this top pulls up slightly when I wear it. I think I'd be more comfortable with a little extra room.
McCall's 7541 in Pink Knit worn by Sharon Sews
Although the top is really fun to wear (as in I want to spin around and around and around) I should have realized that a 100 percent polyester knit top would be incredibly uncomfortable to wear in 90 (and above) degree temps plus high humidity.  Even indoors, unless the a/c is set really low. Which ours is not because then I have to pay a high electric bill and there is less money for fun stuff, like fabric :-)
McCall's 7541 in Pink Knit worn by Sharon Sews
Since this pink one is a bit too warm to wear right now, I guess that means I will just have to sew myself another one!

Check out the twirl factor of this top - along with the other tops I sewed in June - on my YouTube channel Sharon Sews.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Sewing Workshop Urban T-Shirt

At the end of May, as the temperatures were rapidly rising, I realized I had very few casual tops suitable for warm weather.  So the majority of my June sewing focused on making tops.
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt on Sharon Sews using Fabric Mart Fabric Knit
This is the Urban T-shirt from The Sewing Workshop.
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt Pattern cover
The fabric is a striped knit that I received in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart Fabrics. Am I the only one that loves ordering and receiving those mystery bundles?  I'm not positive of the fiber content but am guessing it is a cotton blend. Not too heavy and with excellent recovery. 

The striped pattern in the knit made this a great choice for the Urban T-shirt!
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt on Sharon Sews
I had sewn this tee only once before. In November 2010 to be exact. I know the date because I tucked a note inside the pattern with changes to make next time. Mostly to sew it smaller.  I'm a larger size than I was ten years ago, so I ignored the note and started fresh.

I used a small at the neckline/shoulder tapering to a medium at the bust, waist and hips. I do think it is is generous with the ease as I took the hip in a little bit and found I did not need to do my typical full bust adjustment. I updated my notes with the changes I made when sewing this tee as I plan to sew this again fairly soon. Of course I'll need to keep in mind that the knit chosen can change the fit.

The pattern describes the round neck tee as semi-fitted with a stand-up band, diagonal front seam with cascading drape, and an angled pocket extending into the hem.

Next time I'll increase the depth of the pocket so it can accommodate my cell phone.  I don't recall being attached to my phone in 2010 as much as I am today :-)  That means I like having a pocket so my phone stays with me.
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt lower pocket closeup
The front of the tee is two separate pieces and the cascading front drape is my favorite detail on the top.  Even if my husband does call this my "winged tee". 

The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt cascading drape at neck
The neckband is fairly narrow and extends along the top of the front drape.
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt neckband
I'm pleased with my new tee. I like the fabric, the fit, and the design.  Reason enough to not wait another ten years to sew another.
The Sewing Workshop Urban T-shirt on Sharon Sews
I sewed three other tops in June and will blog about them soon!

By the way, I filmed my latest Fabric Mart mystery bundle if you're curious what I received.
Mystery Fabric Mart Fabrics Bundle YouTube thumbnail Sharon Sews

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Vintage 1980 McCall's 7127 Ruffle Maxi Dress

Back in March (was it really only three months ago?!?) I participated in a sewing challenge with two fellow sewing YouTubers.  We purchased identical fabric from Hawaii Fabric Mart and each of us sewed a  maxi dress using a vintage sewing pattern. For "vintage" we agreed that anything before the year 2000 would work, so we were pretty lax on that requirement.  We also agreed we would not share our pattern or final dress with one another until March 31. On that day we each revealed our pattern choice and maxi on our YouTube channels.

Here's the maxi I sewed.
I picked McCall's 7127, from 1980, for my maxi dress pattern. I sewed the short dress from this pattern when it was a fairly new release.  Hmmm, does that make me vintage too? :-) 

I repurchased the pattern a few years ago in a larger size. At the time the size 14 was too large, but lucky for me it's the size I now start with when sewing tops or dresses.
As the saying goes, everything old is new again. This design lines of this 1980 pattern are quite current for the spring and summer of 2020.

As you can see, I did make a few minor changes to the orginal pattern. I made the bodice ruffle deeper so it almost hits my waist, and I added two ruffles to the bottom of the dress.  I LOVE the fullness those ruffles created!

The fabric is a rayon challis and it is fabulous! I had never ordered from Hawaii Fabric Mart before and I will certainly do so again.
The vintage pattern has elastic inserted into a casing at the waistline. I eliminated that. For me it's easier to just add the self-fabric tie belt or my favorite leopard print belt.
The back is almost identical to the front. And no, my hair isn't quite that long.  The other night, while I was sleeping, a hungry mosquito bit me on my upper back in about eight different places. The bites are red and swollen so I'm looking up slightly so my hair will cover the bites :-)
Because it's difficult to tell the front from the back I stitched a "Handmade with Love" tag to the  inside of the back.

The dress can be worn with the ruffle on the shoulder also, although I prefer it off the shoulder.

When I choose this pattern for the maxi dress challenge, I had planned to wear it when we vacationed in Florida. Those plans were put on hold as we were to be there right as news of COVID-19 was becoming widespread. Oh well, perhaps next year.

The two sewing enthusisats - and now sewing friends - that also made maxis from this fabric are Jen, from Today in Jen's Sewing Room, and Carmen, from Carmen Salome.  

Click here to check out my YouTube video where I revealed the maxi dress.


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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Easy to Sew Knit Skirt ~ Itch to Stitch Balboa Skirt

I didn't know I needed a wardrobe full of summer knit skirts until I sewed the new Itch to Stitch Balboa skirt!  I've sewn three so far and love them all.
The Balboa Skirt, which was released June 1, is designed for medium weight knits.
There are 13 skirt variations included in the pattern! I do like a pattern that provides me with a lot of options.  It is only available as a PDF pattern so you do need to print it out and tape/glue it together.
My tie dye skirt is the a-line version.  I don't usually like a-line skirts on me, but I do like this one.  I used a double brushed knit.  The fabric was gifted to me from Fabrics by the Yard. - www.fabricsyard.com - I also sewed a dress out of the fabric which I'll review soon.  The fabric is TDP1177, and I plan on purchasing more in another colorway.
I sewed another a-line version in a floral knit. It is also a double brushed knit that I had sewn into a dress previously. I never wore the dress as I hated the way it looked so I was happy that I was able to repurpose it into a cute skirt that will see lots of wear. Whew...take a breath Sharon, you don't have to say everything in one sentence :-)
The third one is a multi-colored floral single brushed poly knit. This time I sewed the double flounce version and I have to tell ya, it's got a bit of sass!
I made no alterations at all, including the length of the skirt. For reference, I'm 5' 5" with short legs.

If you sew the skirt just trust the measurements provided to choose your size. I've not been disappointed with the fit of any Itch to Stitch pattern I've sewn to date.

Disclosure - I was a pattern tester for this Balboa skirt and received a free copy of the PDF digital pattern. I was under no obligation to provide a video or blog post, but I like it enough that I want to share with y'all!

Here is the link to my video review of the Balboa Skirt on my YouTube channel .


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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The #SimoneMcCalls Ruffle Pants ~ McCall's 8098 Pattern Review

Nope this is not a tiered maxi skirt - it's a fabulous pair of pants with a boho vibe. 
The pattern is the #SimoneMcCalls - better known as McCall's 8098.  It was a spring 2020 release, and a pattern I purchased online, on sale for $3.99, right before the warehouse shut down.

That sale may have been the last of the $3.99 pattern sales from the McCall's website, as the "sale" they had over the Memorial weekend was buy two get one free. I love these pants, but if I had taken advantage of that last "sale", this pattern would have cost me about $9.  No thanks.  I think after years of offering $3.99 ($6.99 for Vogue) pattern sales it will take a long time to retrain people (in the U.S. anyway) to think that buy two get one is a good deal.

Fortunately I have a lot of patterns, after all I've been sewing for many, many years. And yes, I could have figured out how to make these pants from an elastic waist pants pattern. Which is something I may need to do in the future when I see a new pattern release I like.

Here's the pattern cover.
I really like the colors and the boho vibe of these pants.
And oh my! Are they fun to wear! We ventured out to At Home over the holiday weekend (arriving at the store early before there were many shoppers) and I wore the pants, paired with a RTW Gap tee.
The pants have an elastic waist, and are definitely easier to wear than a maxi dress or skirt. That's saying a lot as I do love my maxis!

I purchased the fabric from SuperTextiles.  It is a fabric store located in Dallas, but it was one of the stores damaged by the tornado that touched down in fall 2019.  I had not yet had a chance to visit the fabric district in Dallas (before the tornado hit) and it sounds as if most of those fabric stores will not reopen again. That's why I was happy to find them now selling on Etsy!

The pattern suggests crepes, gauze, challis and stable knits.  The pants do need lightweight fabric due to the gathers and the elastic waist. My fabric was described as stretch crepe.  It's fairly light weight but I didn't notice a stretch. The "gingham" checks are not exactly lined up and the three colors are printed in a wide stripe pattern. 
When I first started sewing the pants my machine would NOT cooperate!  I tried different needles. I tried re-threading multiple times. I tried adjusting the tension.  Nope, nothing worked. I was perplexed as I didn't think this fabric was that unusual. It finally dawned on me that it needed to go in for a tune-up as it had been more than a year since it had been serviced. Well, that and the fact that I had just completed sewing about 150 face masks. Yep, the tune up did the trick!
I did a pretty good job matching the checks at the center front seams, but spaced out when it came to the back.  Oh well, I'll just pretend the pants were RTW, hahahaha!
The ruffles are created by sewing tiers along the sides of the pants and attaching them to the front and back of the pants. The bottom tier is fuller and longer than the middle tier.
I knew there was no way I could match the color "stripes" so I only tried to keep the color the same at the center front and back.
I like these so much that I plan to sew another to wear during the summer season. They do take almost 3 yards of 60" wide fabric so I'll look through my fabric stash to see if I have anything that will work before purchasing more fabric.
I tried taking pics in the grass in our backyard - wearing sandals - but something started biting me!  It wasn't red ants, and I couldn't see what it was, so I think my blog posts will have me standing on the concrete in front of the garage for now! 

And this pic is me looking to see what is biting my ankles. I'm posting it because it'll remind me what my hair looked like after no color or cut for six months.

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