Sunday, 17 January 2021

McCalls M7575 Shirt

Okay so this was an obvious choice of pattern, but I wanted to chose something simple and wearbale to really showcase this beautiful fabric gifted to me from Minerva in exchange for a blog post. Easy work!

The fabric is a lightweight viscose, in my monochrome colour palette! The fabric feels quite drapey and delicate against the skin but doesn't turn into a frayed mess the moment you cut into it! I would advise using SHARP needles to avoid any snags or laddering while sewing the seams (particularly when handstitching).

The fabric is quite easy to manipulate without stretching it out of shape - so I ended up with a curved hem I was super proud of.

The randomness of the print meant that I could cut all my pieces out on the fold (yay!) without having to worry about pattern matching. This made for speedy cutting out. 
I would advise DEFINITELY pre-washing the fabric (I know there are a few inpatient stitchers out there!) as I could tell this fabric was eager to shrink when I was applying heat to fuse my interfacing to the collar and cuffs. I made a shirt in similar fabric once and that definitely shrank in the wash so I have learnt my lesson!
To jazz the shirt up a bit and add a bit of variation to such a tried and tested pattern I decided to add these cute heart-shaped buttons 😍 I thought the splash of red would look good teamed with a red skirt and accessories. I found it quite tricky stitching these button holes to fit the buttons though. Buttonholes are probably my least favourite part of making anything, especially with the added fear of the fabric laddering straight down the centre front!! My machine is pretty basic and I'm considering upgrading to something that can be more precise with buttonholes- any ideas? I think aything would be an improvement!
My fabric laddering nightmare became a reality and those annoying white lines of pulled thread appeared between my buttonholes!! SO, here is my sneaky tip...... Sharpie Marker! simply colour over the threads that have pulled. It's naughty and I recommend ALWAYS doing a tester on scrap fabric as the ink tends to have a blue-y tinge to it. Obviously this only works on black fabric and might need topping up after a few washes. Just don't tell a soul and we'll keep this one between you and me.

The shirt is cute and totally wearable for work. I maybe struggled again matcing the right weight of interfacing to the fabric for the button band. Too heavy and the band sticks up and feels a bit cardboardy, too light and the band can distort and go wobbly! I cut out the interfacing without the seam allowances to try and avoid unnecessary bulk, with the intenetion of this also making sewing the button holes a little easier too. 

Big thanks to Minerva for the fabric! It's very "Me" and I can't wait to wear this shirt to work!
Check out my Minerva profile on their sassy new interactive website:


Location: Livesey Street, Hillsborough/Luke's Place, Infirmary Road
Currently listening to: Bug A Boo, Destiny's Child

Sunday, 10 January 2021

New Look 6107 Blouse

Whilst uploading past posts onto my Minerva account I was reminded about the New Look 6107 blouse pattern that I made before but never quite felt like I'd hit the nail on the head with it. I wasn't a very experienced sewer when I first tried this blouse, and although my attempt wasn't bad and the result was certainly wearable, I think I tried to cut a few corners and as a result I am always aware of the weak spots whenever I pull this from the back of the wardrobe.

This luscious crepe de chine from Minerva was the perfect weight for my second shot at this pattern, it's SO light and airy! The fabric doesn't crease easily but it actually presses really well, meaning that the gathers on the chest and sleeves sit so nicely with a bit of a bounce to them. The gathers hardly create any bulk in the seam allowance though as the fabric is so light!
I really love the unusual geometric design of the print. I was a little bit intimidated at the idea of pattern matching this! But with a bit of careful cutting out it was possible to create symmetrical pieces which really helps keep your sewing accurate when putting it together. I cut the back yoke 'upsidedown' if you like so that I could create a cool mirror-imagey seam across the shoulders. 

I used a sharp needle for sewing all my seams with this fabric as it was so light I didn't want the machine to eat it.
For this version of the blouse I decided to to the cap sleeves.... the long sleeves are just tooo poofy for me! I was worried I wouldn't like the sleeve gathers as I'm not usually a fan, but I think they look quite cute! 
My favourite part assembling the top is probably the button placket. The button holes are loops not holes (yay!), so you just have to be super accutare matching all the raw edges of the hoops and the placket up when sewing- a few millometers out and you might not be able to push your button through! Shhh I fixed it though okay!! 
Marking the pattern dots and clips on this one is really important, particularly at the neck opening. You want to be able to tuck all your raw edges into the inside of the neck tie without anything peeking out. If you abide by the dots you should be okay! I chose to handstitch the inside of the neck band to the neck seam as it just felt like it would be more accuarate than stitching in the ditch the whole way around.
My second shot at this pattern is a definite improvememnt on my first! I love how the creaseless-ness of the fabric helps with it's tuck-in-ablity, so absolutely perfect for work.

You can buy yourself some of this fabric HERE, why not try a different colour way?
Follow my Minerva page HERE.

Happy sewing for 2021!


Location: Livesy Street, Sheffield
Currently listening to: English Summer Rain, Placebo

Monday, 28 December 2020

McCalls M7726, Paperbag Trousers II

I'd booked sometime off and didnt want to spend it faffing with patterns I would need to alter. McCalls M7726 was recently tried and tested by me and I knew that although the make required attention to detail structurally, I'd already got the fit right, meaning I could relax and get on with the fun part.

I bought this fabric at the same time as the blue fabric with these trousers in mind. I think both together cost me less than £15 from the fabric shop in Hillsborough. The only other thing I needed was a 9" zipper and a hook and eye bar closure for the top of the fly. These hooks and eyes come in twos at my local market!

The grey fabric actually yeilded better results as it is much less prone to creasing, making for a much smoother look after Ive been sitting at my desk all day.

This time I overlocked my leg seams all in one and pressed to the back instead of doing them separately prior to assembling and pressing them open. I feel like this resulted in better accuracy as none of the fabric had been shaven off by the overlocker before stitching the seams together.

I am particularly pleased with my blind hem on these trousers. The fabric pressed really well and it was perfect for secretly hand sewing the invisible seam. I gained the same level of satrifaction topstitching my pleats this time round as I did on my blue pair. There is just something so lovely about knowing those pleats are FIXED. Beltloops also so so pleasing, there's something about weaving a shop bought belt through them that feels almost tricksy haha!

Due to the drape of the fabric this time I didn't think it was neccessary to take any of the fabric out of the side seams. They could get away with being slightly more tapered, but I think they currently look quite balanced. I didn't want to risk over-fitting the legs and then finding the pleated area looked a bit poofy.

I would however like to get some more experience in making fitted trousers so I'm now on the hunt for a simple (- but not boring!) trouser pattern that relies less on pleating, gathering , elastic or drawstrings and more on just getting that perfect fit. Any ideas?


Location: BUNK, Carver Street
Currently listening to: Laughing Willy, Jeremy Ivey

Friday, 25 December 2020

Simple Sew, Lena Wrap Dress

The Lena Wrap dress is a circle skirt dress featuring a faux crossover top and a coice of three sleeve variations. There is a contrast band at the bottom of the skirt, but I decided to trace this onto the bottom of my pattern as I didn't have any contrast fabric but didn't want the dress to be too short.

I knew I would have to make some alterations to the pattern, as ever crossover top I have ever attempted has always been too roomy in the bust leading to gaping at the neckline. I took a wedge out of the front of the pattern, altering the angle of the shoulders and overall meaning there was less fabric between the neck and the point where the crossover meets.

After this I had to alter the ansle of the bust dart a little. To do this I unpicked the dart on my toile and then pinched the fabric from the side seam towards the bust point anf pinned. I could then transfer this new dart position onto my paper pattern, ensuring the lines met at the new bust point.

For me the process of getting the fit right was very trail and error, even after making a couple of toiles I was getting frustrated with my lak of clear direction in my ad-hoc alterations. I had an enlightening moment though, when I remembered the playfulness of the Sewing Bee contestants when completeing the Transformation Challenge. I altered by approch and took pleasure in manupulating the shape- taking bits out here and there until the dress started to resemble my body shape!

There were a few niggles with the pattern - I accept it's my small bust that lead to the gaping neckline, but there are no notches on the armholes for setting the sleeves in and there are notches marked on the foldline of the waistband!! Thankfully I was paying attention when cutting out my fabric and I didn't snip these in or I'd have had notches on the centre front and centreback of my waistband.

I made the bodice a little shorter- In hindsight I should probably have added a little extra length to the bottom of the waistband to accomodate for this. Like many of the bloggers who have tried this pattern, I also decided to stitch up the centre front of the wrap dress to er, keep everything in place.

Confession time! I didn't line the bodice! If I'd have had a perfect fit, lining the bodice would have given a beautiful finish and would have helped to support the weight of the circle skirt. Once I'd finished hacking bits off of the side seams and armholes, the last thing I wanted to do was replicate this on a lining piece! Instead I folded under the neck opening by 1.5cm and stitched around the neckline.  

Despite the rather haphazzard nature I put the dress together I do quite like the silhouette of the finished thing. I tried really hard to keep all the chaos on the inside! To finish I took about 1.5 inches off of the length and did a tiny narrow hem. Next time I will do a bit more research on how to do a small bust alteration on a wrap dress so that I feel more confident in my alterations, but I am more than happy with this as a starting place.


Location: Endcliffe Park/Ecclesall Road, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Moi Je Joue, Brigitte Bardot

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

McCalls M7726, Paperbag Trousers

The Pattern
Full length or shorts variation, wide ot narrow leg. The main feature of these trousers is the pleated waistbandwith 8 pleats in total to create a paperbag-style top. There are three belt loops (though I guess you could add more), allowing for the opportunity to accessorise with any belt, and lovely deep pockets so you can carry all your essesntials.

The Process
The pleats are the most iportant area to get right, as they will determin where abouts on your hips the trousers wil sit. My first toile turned out to be massive! So I scaled down to a size 10. The only changes I needed from there were to narrow the lefs a little, though I think you don't want them to be too narrow, as the pleats create a lot of butt/though room where they are released and you don't really want to create a narrow/wide/narrow silhouette that could end up looking a bit... farmer!?!

The pleats being the main visual feature also means You should pay close attention to getting them perfect! I would recommend not skipping any of the tacking steps as they really add to the accuracy of the pleats. The top stitching is also essential to get that professional finsih as well as adding an extra level of reinforcement.

To add to the structure of the trousers I added a light interfacing to the fold-over area of the waistband. It doesn't need much, but I found it really helped to define the pleats.

This pattern was my first go at making a fly zip. I waqs a bit intiidated to start with but if you follow the instructions and your fabric is as well behaved as mine it's simple enough. I used carbon baber and tracing wheel to transfer all the pattern markings to the fabric so there was as little toom for error as possible. There are a lot of fold lines and stitching lines to follow so it's important to get everything lined up correctly. 

The Fabric
I chose a plain fabric with it in mind that the trousers would look really classy with a simple belt to help accentuate the waistine created by the pleats. I do think if you can be bothered with pattern matching, plaid or checks would look really awesome too- though they would definitey highlight a dodgy pleat!
My fabric was less than £5 a meter, I bought 2 meters but could have got away with less. 

The Finished Product
Wearable trousers that fit, suitable for dressing up or dressing down! The legs are still a bit wide so instead of just increasing the seam allowance I will look at taking some more out of the pattern before I cut my next pair. The shape is great and I love the paperbag-style top. Fit-wise they don't feel too tight around the the bum or crotch and the pockets are so practical too. 

I assume taking a little less in at the pleats would allow the trousers to sit a little lower on the waist if you were less of a fan of the high-waisted look.. but I dig it!


Location: o2 Academy, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Love and Pride, King