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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

McCall's 6517 Raincoat!

I have been wanting to make a raincoat for a long time!  How long? Well, I purchased this Amy Butler laminated cotton last summer when it was on sale, purchased the avocado green lining shortly after and promptly forgot about it until my daughter was rummaging through my stash and mentioned how this would make a great raincoat.  How could I have forgotten?  With our nasty spring weather, I thought perfect, get this done, you might need it!

Here is my review of McCall's 6517. 

Description from the back of the envelope: Misses' jackets, belt and boot liners: Loose-fitting, unlined jackets, A. B, C, D have self-lined hood or collar and narrow hem.  B: purchased bias tape finishes garment.  C: flaps.  A, B, C: mock front bands.  D: Wrap, self-belt.  Boot liners E have pleated heel and cuffs. 

Pattern sizing for this pattern is B5 (8 to 16) or F5 (16 to 24).  I made a size 14-ish based on the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern tissue. 

As I stated above, I used a laminated cotton from Amy Butler.  It was half-price, 60" wide and I used about 2.5 yards for the coat.  The lining is from Fabric.com--incidentally, it was the only place I could find this color of lining!  The buttons were from my stash. 

I made view A, without the belt.  I actually made the belt, but decided it looked funny so I won't wear it. 

Instructions are fine, except for step 26.  In this step, you have attached the hood and are supposed to trim the seam allowance and then turn the fabric under covering the seam.  I hope this makes sense!  Did the pattern makers actually try this will three layers of laminated fabric?  I enclosed this seam with some very pink bias tape and a decorative stitch.  It adds another pop of color to the already colorful coat!   
This pattern is listed as easy, but before a beginner jumps on this make sure you have the right tools in order to get a good result.  I read quite a few blogs before I embarked on this coat.  Having said that, it went together really well, was easy--mostly since I had the right tools to make it easy! 

Here is what I did:
1.  I sprayed the tissue paper pieces with 505 adhesive spray.  You do not want to use pins as they will leave permanent holes in the fabric. 
2.  I lined the pockets with my lining fabric to ensure a good (pretty good) smooth edge when you sew them onto the coat front.  Since you can't pin, I used a fabric glue stick to baste to the coat and them sewed around them. 
3.  Use a walking foot.  I can't tell you how much this fabric will stick to your throat plate.  If you don't have one, get one.  A Teflon foot will help, but the fabric will still stick to the metal plate. 
4.  Lining.  This coat didn't call for a lining.  I put one in using the pattern pieces.  I also opted to line the hood with my lining fabric rather than the laminated cotton.  This seemed to be a good solution as the coat fabric got a little thick sewing the hood on. Had I used three layers of the cotton, I wouldn't have gotten as nice of a result. 
5.  Sleeves: I bagged the sleeve lining.  This made it easier to get a nice hem on the sleeve.  I still topstitched the edge so it laid crisper.  There is quite a bit of ease in the sleeve cap.  If you stitch slowly and maneuver your fabric to avoid puckers, you will be okay.  Take it s-l-o-w. 
6.  While you may be tempted to omit the stay stitching at the neckline, don't.  You need the reinforcement there in order to clip the neck-edge and fit the hood to the garment. 
7.  Speaking of the hood, I try to be rather precise, so I did use some pins in order to line up the seams on the cotton and lining fabric so when I topstitched, both pieces lined up nicely.  I ran the pins parallel to the seams, on the seam lines and it worked great.  Again, sew slowly. 
8.  Hemming.  To hem the coat, I knew I couldn't press so I stitched 1" from the bottom, turned 1/2" and stitched 3/8" using a decorative stitch to hold the fabric and lining in place.  Next,  I turned the fabric another 1/2 inch and stitched another 3/8 from the bottom.  No pins were required! 
9.  I used a size 12 Sharp needle from Schmetz.  This worked well.  A larger needle will leave bigger holes in your fabric. 
10. I backed my buttons with small, white buttons to keep them from pulling through the fabric. 

All in all, I love my raincoat!  It is pretty roomy, so keep that in mind if you decide to whip this up!

My usual 1/2" sway back adjustment.  This fabric has no give, so I folded the tissue a the waist and tapered it to nothing at the side seam on both the cotton and lining. 
I lowered the pockets about 1 inch so they fit where my hands naturally would fit into a pocket. 

I do recommend this coat to others.  It has some fun possibilities using various fabrics. 
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vogue 1337

I love the shape of this pattern. 
All 3 images from Vogue Patterns. 

Here's the line drawing. 
You can see all the pleating on the front, back, and front waistline. 

This pattern is EASY!!!  It only took a short time to put together. 

<b>Pattern Description: </b>
Here is the description.  First, I should say this is a designer pattern from Mark & James from Badgley Mischka and yes, you read correctly, it is EASY!!! 
Pullover dress (cut on crosswise grain) has very loose-fitting, slightly blouson bodice, shoulder/front waist and skirt side pleats, elastic seamed waist, stitched hems, thread loops and self-lined belt. 

<b>Pattern Sizing:</b>
Pattern sizing is AX5 (4 to 12) and D5 (12 to 16)
Based on the finished measurements printed on the pattern tissue, I made a 12.  Typically, I sew between a 14 and 16 with Vogue, depending on how it fits.  This is plenty roomy on me.  I wouldn't want it any bigger.  As an extra bonus, for you girls that are full-chested, no FBA is needed!  Yahoo!


<b>Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?</b>
Yes, I believe my version of this dress looks like the envelope.  It is tough to see all the details with the very busy print I used, but they are all there. Of course I made some modifications which I will detail below. 

<b>Were the instructions easy to follow?</b> Instructions were easy-peasy.  No issues whatsoever!  My only gripe, and mind you this is really minor, is that there is an elastic guide for the waistline, but not for the shoulder seams.  Seems a little silly to me, nothing that you can't figure out, but the directions don't specify to make the elastic shorter, longer, only to follow the shoulder seam.  Yep, it is intuitive, but if you are a beginner, you may scratch your head a few times trying to figure out where the piece to measure the elastic is! 

<b>What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?</b> 
I really love the '80's feel of this top.  It is so very comfortable and with today's knits, a breeze to whip up!  There are a lot of pleats (28 in all), so if you really hate making pleats, avoid this pattern!  Having said that, the pleats all lined up really well, and all the notches fit together really well. 
I really don't like putting facings in knits, so read below to see how I handled that. 
<b>Fabric Used:</b>
This is a pretty funky ITY jersey print from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It has so many neutrals in it along with the pop of yellow that I simply love it.  It was a dream to sew with as well! 

<b>Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:</b>
Honestly, I didn't make many.  I hate putting facings in knits, so I cut a 2" bias strip and sewed it to the neckline, so I could eliminate the facing all together.  Next, I turned it and topstitched 1/16" from the edge.  It lays nice and flat, so it was a good choice for me.  The only other review of this dress mentioned the facings rolled to the outside, so now that problem is eliminated as well. 
I didn't lengthen the dress at all, despite it being desperately short, so I will wear it with leggings.  I work as an instructional coach in preschool classrooms, so I am up and down off the floor or very small chairs a good part of my day, so this will eliminate showing off any goods I don't intend to!  :) 
I really didn't like the belt as shown, so here was my solution: I cut one instead of two pieces, folded it in half, and stitched.  The small opening I left for turning I closed with steam-a-seam.  I didn't put the thread loops at the side.  I didn't think I'd need them. 

<b>Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?</b>
You know, this 'dress' is pretty unique, so I am not sure I will so it again, but I do highly recommend it to others.  If you really want a retro-feel, you could add some shoulder pads! 

<b>Conclusion: </b>
I enjoyed making this dress.  It went together well, is very comfortable, is loose fitting enough on top to accommodate the 'girls' and could be dressy or casual depending on your fabric choice. 

Thanks for reading! 
Sue :) 

After looking at these photos, I realized what a frizzy mess my hair is.  Just so you can see what our weather is like, I included a short video of the snow!  For those of you with naturally curly hair, you completely understand!