Pink and Pineapple M6359 Dress

m6359 dressWell, since I already had the perfect bra for this strap configuration, I just had to use this pattern McCall’s 6359, again to make a dress! A pineapple dress made from the same kind of rayon as my previous top, since that worked so well. Of course I complicated matters by adding ruffles to make it a dress and adding a lining.

m6359 bodice pineapple tank dress diyI feel compelled to line all my dresses now. This dress I just added nude rayon lining to the self fabric facings to make it just long enough to cover my bum. It was all the coverage I needed or wanted. Has anyone else noticed how heavy rayon can get? The weight of the longer length adds up quickly, and I didn’t want to much lining pulling it down.

mccalls 6359 pineapple tank dress backBecause that weight really ended up being a problem with this dress. So sad! I thought I could really just whip this out since I had already made the previous top, but the added weight pulled the armpits down and it was a mess. I had to go in twice to alter it, carefully taking in the dress and facing so it still laid smoothly. Ugh. What I will do next time is cut up the armholes and move the back curve over towards the shoulder to cover more. Rayon isn’t the most stable fabric, so this was a totally predictable problem, I just did not forsee it.

McCalls 6359 pineapple tank dressLet’s move on to my fun trim addition, shall we? I almost didn’t add it after my frustration over the armhole alteration (twice!) but now I can see how important the trim is to keep it fun and interesting, right? I love florescent pink, but can’t wear a ton of it, so I’m so happy with this premade roleau strap I found that matched the little triangles in the fabric.

pineapple tank dress frontOne of my greatest joys in sewing is adding a little detail to help my handmade garments to stand out. I know it is satisfying to make basics, but that is just not why I sew. I love to make things unique, and this added trim was just the ticket in this case. What do you guys think? Too silly to add fluorescent pink trim to a dress that already features pineapples?

pineapple tank dress

The ultimate pattern for the classic t-shirt dress – M6886

McCall's 6886 T-shirt dressI concur that McCall’s 6886 is a perennial favorite for a very good reason. Boy, it does fit nicely! I’m glad I finally gave it a try.

McCall's 6886 dress This amazing medium weight knit is from Mood Fabrics LA. That was a fun shopping trip, let me tell you! And the people there were so helpful and totally nice when I asked them about Project Runway, even though I’m sure they get asked about it all the time. They told me the Real Housewives of Orange County apparently shoot there, too. And lots of famous designers and people come in all the time. I didn’t see any, but I did get to meet their resident dog, Oscar.

M6886 dress fitFor some reason I only got a yard, so the finished length of this dress was dictated by fabric shortage, but I’m pleased I got a whole dress out of it. I didn’t plan on making a dress when I bought only one yard of fabric. The print is so interesting, isn’t it? And the quality feels amazing. I wanted the fabric up against my skin since it feels so nice, but in the end, I just had to line it. With such a snug shape I felt like I needed another layer to help smooth things. I’ve felt compelled to line all my dresses lately, but this pattern is so simple that it is no big deal to add a lining really quickly.

M6886 pattern dressThere are no construction notes to share – this pattern is easy! I attached my lining to the neckline to finish that edge, but other than that, there is nothing to say. I made no adjustments and I love the fit! What a great pattern, especially for showing off this special fabric, but I can think of a hundred variations and modifications and it has really sparked my creativity to have such a well fitting, basic pattern to play with. Very nice job, McCall’s! I included this in my list of 10 patterns I’m going to sew this year, too. I’ll be posting more versions soon!

These photos were taken hastily in front of one of our favorite restaurants, but I just wanted to get this blogged. We were in a hurry to see this view at dinner!

IMG_6108 (2)

A great way to join our sewing podcast! Just record your answers.

cropped-ClothesMakingMavens_Logo_SquareLori and I have been working hard to bring you more Clothes Making Mavens podcast content for you to listen to while you sew! Our newest idea hopes to bring more diverse voices to the podcast by allowing you to record your own answers and send them along to us to share with the sewing world. We have asked some of our favorite bloggers to answer these questions, but we know there are other stories our there that we would love to hear, too!

We thought an easy and low pressure way for you to do this is to record your answers to the following questions using a free recording app on your phone such as Voice Recorder, and then send the audio file to us. My blog email is GrayDayPatterns (at) gmail (dot) com or the podcast email is ClothesMakingMavens (at) gmail (dot) com.

We always have our message system set up for you to call and record us a message at 401-64MAVEN, and we adore those. But you might be anxious at the thought of getting one shot at recording your message and leaving it there. I know I get nervous recording the podcast still!

Rest assured that you can send us a recording and Lori and I will edit it —  if you make any mistakes, we will make sure you sound terrific! And if you prefer, we can set up a time for me to ask you these questions over Skype if that would make it easier for you to answer the questions in a conversational way. We love meeting new people and we’d love to talk to you.

Here are the questions we are looking for answers for. You can answer any or all of them, but be sure and answer number 1 with at least your name so that we know who you are! I’d especially love to know why you sew and what are your future sewing plans? I love planning almost as much as I love sewing. What about you?

1. What is your name and where can people find you online (name of your blog and/or company and/or instagram account, etc.)
2. What are you doing when you’re not sewing?
3. Why do you sew?
4. What’s on your sewing table right now?
5. What are you planning to sew in future that you’re excited about?

We hope to hear from you and do comment below if anything is unclear.

And have you listened to our latest episode with Sharadha from Lori got to go to her house in person and dig through her beautiful handmades to get all the details about her inspiration.  She does such an amazing job of styling and wearing the clothes, it is very fun to see, so I recommend pulling up Sharadha’s Instagram feed while you are listening so it can feel like you are in her closet, too!

Top 10 Patterns I’m building my wardrobe with this year

I’m sure we all keep a running list of patterns to sew, at least in our head. I feel like I’m constantly adding to the list if I take a look at Instagram for only a second! Such beautiful things! But I am taking control of my list right now in an effort to tame my stash and give direction to my wardrobe. Most precious stash fabrics will work for one of these patterns, depending on weight, stretch and print. I’m planning a big sewing studio reorganization with the goal of painting my ugly beige walls and mounting my large TV, and stash categorization will also be part of that process.

In January I laid out plans for this year in this post Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing in 2016. Alas, much of this year I’ve been in a sewing rut. The only 2 I completed were the Inari T dress, twice, and a bralette that I have not blogged. The year before I enumerated the patterns I was excited about in my post Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing this year, and of those 10 I completed 1, jeans, which I am very proud of.

I am a fickle beast. But I am writing this list with a very different goal in mind than just listing interesting patterns. I think all of these can become TNTs, true favorites to make and wear lots of times. They fit into my style and are comfortable to wear. They will fill holes that I’ve been hesitating about. Most importantly, I resolve to make each of them at least twice. I don’t usually repeat patterns, but when I don’t, I feel like I don’t realize the full potential of the fit and construction. Basically, the second one is always better. And lately I am all about making my sewing better, not just getting it done.

Berlin skirt sewing pattern

  1. Berlin skirt by Oraguese patterns. I am wild about this skirt. I want every version I’ve seen and those pockets give it such a great shape. Stylish and comfy (which is the theme of this list!)
  2. Kielo wrap dress and McCall’s 6886. They go together in one fabric category – heavier knits. I suspect I’ll be comfortable in the Kielo because of the wrap, and the 6886 will be for wearing with a long cardigan or kimono.
  3. Cocoon cardigan or Carrie cardigan. Speaking of cardigans, I like how this one is shaped a little differently. Looks cozy!
  4. Bias tanks from Simplicity 1366. I have made this before in a floral challis and I love it. The bias cut makes the fit great, though it does limit some of the prints you can use, like no stripes. I need every color, obviously. I also like the Tessuti Kate tank for less cleavage, too. I have been neglecting this pattern, despite the fact that my love for my muslin has not faded. I just wore it last week, in fact.
  5. Full skirt Simplicity 1369. My sister made this skirt and I loved how it came together. For some reason, full skirts appeal to me right now. Honestly, I think I don’t want tight fabric pulling across my bum in the heat and with my lifestyle. I’ve been wearing a silver lame skirt I purchased from a rare trip to H&M so much. I also like Simplicity 1166 for the buttons.
  6. Mimi G Simplicity 8084 dress. Another dress I’m wild about. I love the fit, I love the neckline. I love all of Manju’s versons. I want some short ones and I want some maxi length. All my lightweight wovens will be made up into the dress!
  7. Grainline Hemlock, maybe with added ruffles or sleeve variations? A couple years ago I bought some XL T-shirts from the Loft, with the intention of cutting them down to fit me. But I never cut them down because it turns out I love them as is! I also wear my pink Hemlock a lot. I need more and want to play around with the pattern a bit. I know I will wear them.
  8. Casual not tight pants – Chi town chinos or Morgan boyfriend jeans are both good contenders for this category of pants that I am now craving. But I might even want pleats and tapered legs? Comment below with suggestions. I know Burdastyle always has great pants patterns so I should comb the magazine collection. Good excuse to spend an hour flipping through my favorite magazine!
  9. Hvar jacket by Itch to Stitch – This pattern came out after I made this list, so I had to bump out the ever-present french jacket that I keep resolving to make and then never do. Look at it! It is so cute, fun and practical! And it is on sale right now.
  10. Sew House Seven Toaster or Seamwork Astoria. Will it ever get cold enough to wear these snuggly tops? I have to assume it will, despite the 100 degree temperatures we’ve been “enjoying” this past week. I also am interested in finding some tops that have a tighter fit on top to balance my new interest in full skirts and relaxed pants. This is a big departure for me, but I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be mixing these patterns into some wardrobe plans I’ve been kicking around in my head for months. This seems especially important as I introduce new shapes into my wardrobe. For example, the silver skirt I picked up at H and M to try a new style has been so fun to wear, but very difficult to style! I don’t have tops to go with it, not to mention silver lame is a little loud and I feel obligated to tone it way down with all the other elements of my outfit. All those elements, in addition to a close and careful inventory of my stash, will be part of my wardrobe planning with the above 10 (really 16) patterns. I will post about that process, too. Creating a blog post usually forces me to clarify things and I will especially welcome feedback.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on any and all of these patterns. Are any of these your favorites already, or are there any that I have missed and you know I would love? And what should I wear with a full skirt to keep it looking modern and feel like me?

Sleeves are the star of this M7564 blouse

M7564 top modified

The 2nd round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee called for fabulous sleeves, so I had to answer! It was a great challenge that saw me starting 3 different projects, but I’m glad I finished this one and entered it and I will get back to the other projects once I’ve rested a bit.

I used this beautiful silk-cotton I have been saving for years! I have loved it and vacillated about which project to use it for it seems like dozens of times. I purchased it my first trip to the LA fashion district, and it now occurs to me that I can go get more if I feel I need to.  If not this exact print, this same texture is available at my favorite store up there. But I think it all turned out beautifully and I really will be wearing this top a lot and enjoying this fabric on my actual self! BTW, it is the same type of fabric as my Kanerva blouse of a previous .. Sewing Bee.

Silk cotton blouse with leather

I wrote a very detailed review for the contest, so I’ll copy and paste it here if you didn’t see it over there:

Pattern Description: McCall’s 7564 Very loose fitting, pullover dresses have sleeve, length and hem variations.

Pattern Sizing: XS – XL. I made a medium.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made many changes, including chopping it off to a top and adding quite a bit of pizzazz to the sleeves. It is a basic raglan sleeve peasant dress pattern with a neckband.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  This was definitely my own creation, and I did not use the instructions.

M7564 blouse sleeve modifiedWhat did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It has a very small neck opening. I had to discard the neckband piece.

Fabric Used: Light but crisp cotton silk. I love this kind of fabric! And I added just a bit of leather!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I first added pintucks to the front and sleeves. As I cut I had to be sure and add width to account for the fabric taken up by the pintucks, but the pattern fit is forgiving, so I did not have to be too exact.

The flouncy sleeve was easily embroidered and pintucked. It moves the eye down to the leather detail and the huge ruffle. I used the leather as a bit of a fluffing tool. The top of the leather strip is attached to the sleeve then topstiched down, but when I attached the doubled over ruffle, I loved how the leather seam allowance assisted the ruffle to keep from collapsing, I wanted more body in the ruffle, so the two layers were the first step, but then the method of attaching to the leather was even more helpful in that regard. It feels so dramatic and full now! Yay!

I planned on a front placket as the pattern shows for the front piece, but my diagonal tucks made that impossible, I needed to keep the front open to show off the tucks, but ended up with a front center seam to straighten things out. Design feature opportunity! I added embroidery to the front to keep my seam allowance down. I ended up loving it so much and was glad to have a tie in with the sleeve detail. I also added a button because I didn’t like it open after all that. But I’m glad I got my pintucks in at least.

M6475 silk cotton topI used almost all french seams, since the fabric is so light and transparent. I did have to serge the ruffle attached to the sleeve, but it does not show through since it joins to the leather there. I used a facing to make my casing for the neckline elastic because I think that lays much nicer and and it gained some stability.

My wash off stabilizer used for the embroidery gave the fabric a rumpled appearance that emphasized the embroidery and pintucks and I’m pleased. Let’s be honest, this blouse is not going to stay wrinkle free, and it shouldn’t have to! I wanted an easy-to-wear blouse that stood out as unique! I think I achieved that and the drama of the sleeves is showstopping!

Conclusion: I feel like I can take flight in my sleeves, and yet this top can go with jeans, shorts, or a dressed up skirt and is not actually fussy. I slipped my signature leather detail in there, but I think it maintains the boho vibe of the top.

McCall's 7564 outfit

Fooling the eye with my Simplicity 1283 skirt

IMG_4531 (2)It is Pattern Review Sewing Bee time once again and I love how this sewing contest always pushes me! This project particularly turned out just as I imagined and I couldn’t be happier. And it was made with a care and level of craftsmanship I don’t always take with a sewing project.

Simplicity 1283 backThe Round 1 challenge was a pencil skirt and immediately I was thrilled. I love pencil skirts and especially with the looser tops I’ve been amassing for my sunny and casual lifestyle, the slim skirt is a perfect pairing. I wore this simple button up blouse to keep the emphasis on the skirt for these pictures, but the subtle pattern and denim back mean this skirt can easily go with a colorful top, too. I can’t wait to try it!

The pattern is Mimi G for Simplicity 1283 and so it features the adorable and curvy Mimi on the cover. I am built nothing like her, so I tried to fool the eye into imagining more curves with my added style line at the high hip. I think it worked pretty well. My waist looks pretty small and there is some definition to my hips that I don’t usually have. It turned out so flattering!

Here are my construction notes from my PR review :

Simplicity 1283 detailThe main alteration for this pattern is I added an angled piece of the stretch denim to the front. It almost looks as though the back is wrapping around the front. This visually brought my waist in to look slimmer and the longer length should make me look taller. That’s the theory anyway!

But the fun comes from the play of stripes on the front and side panels. I emphasized the change in stripe direction with navy blue trim. I was sad to cover my perfect stripe sewing on the seams, but the trim really added to the style!

Simplicity 1283 innardsI used a couple tips from Sandra Betzina’s (old) book More Power Sewing. It warned me to ensure that the garment waist be 1 – 2 inches larger than the cut waistband and to ease that extra fabric in as you sew to create a smooth transition from snug waistband to high hip. I think this worked great and avoided the folding and bunching that can sometimes happen right under the waistband when actually moving around.

The lining is handstitched to the invisible zipper and the tweed hem is also hand stitched with no thread visible. The denim portion of the hem is a nice deep 1 inch machine sewn hem to secure the kick pleat.

Simplicity 1283 sideA very fun project for a very fun contest! I just completed my Round 2 entry, but the blog lags behind when I am sewing this much, so I’ll share that one a little later.

Soft and swingy summer tank M6359

IMG_4408 (2)Hi all! I’ve been neglecting the blog quite a bit. I just don’t know what to talk about here. I feel like I can just say – “here, I made this, look at it” for every post. What is it you readers want to hear? How can I shake this blog up and make it fun again?

McCalls 6359 frontThis time I have a cute tank top (McCall’s 6359) that made out of very soft rayon. Rayon wrinkles like a bitch, as these pictures show, but it is so lovely to wear against the skin during summer. I will usually line a garment made from rayon to keep the wrinkling down a bit, but this soft easy tank wouldn’t have been as fun to wear. I did extend the facing so it covers my bust for a little modesty, quite an easy modification.

mcCalls 6359 bodiceWhat I especially like about the shape of it is the high point where the bodice meets the straps. The top still dips very low in front, but I love the angle that takes it up before it becomes a strap, all the way to my collarbone.

M6359 tankAnd of course I love the cut of the back. I even have a bra that is cut with nearly the same lines! The racer back is gathered and connected to the facing inside, then the straps are slipped in between. It is a clean finish. I am horrible at making strap attachments look tidy.

McCalls 6359 hemI did a tiny baby hem to finish it off. It looks sharp in this photo, but I have since washed this top and the thing raveled out and now looks a mess. Not a durable finish. I’ll go back and serge the edge, then hem it tightly so that the serging stitch doesn’t show. That will be more durable. Add it to the mending pile!

M6359 tunic


Named Lourdes Jacket for the Hack It! Challenge

Named Lourdes jacket hackHere is a fun little (by little, I mean very involved) project I put together for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern month. I just have to participate every year, it is so fun! I especially appreciated how they moved it to July this time around. June is packed, but in July we have the lazy days of summer upon us and I had time to sew this fun and versatile jacket for the Hack It! contest.

Named Lourdes Jacket with ruffleI love love love Named Patterns. They fit so well, they have wonderful instructions, and the styles are amazing. I actually won the Named Lourdes Jacket from a previous Monthly Stitch IPM contest, so this is such a perfect use! But just because I hacked this pattern does not mean that I do not adore the original design, oh no! I’ll be making a straight version of this jacket, I’m sure.

navy nordstrom jacketBut for this fun version, I was inspired by the Nordstrom sale…I know you all see those posts and flit over to their website, click around and think “Hey, I could make that!” I saw this cute jacket, but if there is one thing I know, it is that I DO NOT NEED another navy jacket. But white would be terrific. I happen to have some beautiful white tweed with silver threads through it waiting for me.

What I did was utilized the cut made for front darts to insert my ruffle just on the side and back. Then I simply chopped off the sleeves to add a matching ruffle there. The modification became tricky when it got to the lining. I ended up leaving the lining free at the bottom and hemming my tweed normally. It would have been so cool to bag my lining, but I couldn’t do it this time. I also left off the buttons, as my inspiration jacket didn’t have any.

This pattern is beautiful and goes together very well. It does have a ton of steps and it took quite a while to even get to the sewing! There is a lot of interfacing (especially important with my ravelly tweed!) and they want you to finish many of your seams before you start. It is like they knew I was making it out of this difficult fabric, because those important steps were so necessary for my project and turned it into a really nicely finished product.

IMG_4467 (2)Some notes about the pattern – it is short! Very cropped. I even added length and you can see how cropped it still is with me wearing high waist jeans. The shoulders are also a little narrow. There is a very cool sleeve detail I had to leave off because of my ruffle but can’t wait to try on my next version. I do highly recommend this pattern and I love the finished product. It will be so handy to have a stylish white jacket, as soon as the temperature drops just a little!