Pattern Review: Butterick 5610 Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail, Option A

Butterick 5610: Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail

Butterick 5610: Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail

I bought this pattern a year or two ago because I like the yoke that stretches into a cap sleeve on Option A.  Using two remnants I cut a wearable muslin this summer and it has sat in my sewing drawer until now, five days before Christmas.

http://butterick.mccall.com/b5610-products-13751.php?page_id=875&search_control=display&list=search

Pros:

  • Solids, prints and colorblocking are all treatments that this design serves equally well.

Cons:

  • I couldn’t get the overlapping pleat detail right.
  • Other reviewers have commented that the neckline is a boatneck and may not cover your bra strap, but I did not get that far in construction.

Some Assembly Required:

The pattern instructions do not offer the flat assembly method which you can do with this top despite the yoke extending into the sleeve cap.

My Problem with the Pleats

pleats in pastel fabricI sewed the pleats down per the pattern instructions, three on one side and two on the other.  Then when I went to sew the middle pleat I did it as I thought it was marked on the pattern. But the effect didn’t look right when I sewed on the yoke.  There was no overlap.  So I seam ripped and tackled the pleat again.  I looked again at the pattern instructions and the pattern markings and tinkered with pins.  An overlap was finally created but I was disappointed in that it was not the strong detail as drawn on the pattern envelope.  It really was unremarkable. Additionally the bodice was now too small to fit the yoke.

Fabric:

I used two remnants from other sewing projects.

Finetuning:

I felt like this was one time the pattern companies could have broken down a bit and told you what it would be like to sew this top, such as “here the third pleat crosses the …”  Also the markings on the tissue itself weren’t very clear.  All of the pleats had the circles to match up and the arrows showing direction of pleat.  But the crucial center pleat kind of went off into nowhere.  The center front was marked with a four inch line, but was I to sew my pleat to it or was it just there for reference?

Will I Sew it Again:

Not as the pattern instructs.  I nearly had it packed for a trip to the donate box at the thrift store but I looked again at the yoke/sleeve cap which had attracted me to the pattern in the first place.  The yoke creates a strong horizontal line accentuating the shoulders and drawing attention towards the wearer’s face.  I might take the bodice, draw out the pleats and use simple gathers to match it to the yoke.

I am too disgusted right now and have a lot of other sewing projects pending to play around with the above idea.  This summer I might give it another chance.

Advice to Others:

I don’t have any except, if you take a chance on this pattern, make sure you purchased it at a deep discount sale.


Overall Style Grade:  B, the pleat details are interesting but they have been around a few years.  But even so, pleats are still current and the design could be very flattering, especially to pears and apples who need the shoulder detail.

Results Grade: F, for me since I did not complete it. Others who have completed this top successfully can be found on sewing.patternreview.com.

signature in peach cropped

Pattern Review: McCall’s 6960 Loose Fitting Sleeveless Top/Tunic

christmas-crackersAfter acquiring appropriate outfits for the children to wear to Christmas recitals and parties, I turned my attentions to my own closet and was at a loss.  The thing is my holiday party needs fill a special niche.  None of the parties are formal, so party frocks and LBD’s would be overkill.  However, none of the events are super casual either.  I need something that can be worn over dress jeans or soft tailored slacks, and paired with a slightly, but not too, dressy cardigan or jacket.

I thought a glitzy tank would roll with these particular style punches, a little sheen, but not too much dazzle.  And the stores always have tons of them.  Not so this season. The stores were filled with bulky sweaters in earth tones, some of them still sporting sticky brown flecks I presume from the sheep hair.  [Was it dirt or poo?  I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around the poo possibility!] Since nothing festive appeared and the fabric store is right in the same strip mall I decided to check out the patterns. All of the party dress patterns were over the top for my needs, but I did find this simple tank that I thought would work well if done in fancy fabric.

McCall's 6960 Tank with Trapeze Hem; High-Low  or standard hemline options.

McCall’s 6960 Tank with Trapeze Hem; High-Low or standard hemline options.

Link : http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6960-products-48439.php?page_id=483&search_control=display&list=search

Pros:

A trapeze hemlines hide prominent bellies and thick waists, both which I possess.

Three different hemlines to choose from.

The way the front and back facings are applied gives a subtle structure to the upper body of the tank.

The high-low hem is currently very fashionable.

Options A and B both allow you to experiment with lace overlays which are always feminine and currently quite fashionable.

Cons:

Many women past a certain age or weight may find the T-back and front tie options useless.

V-necks are very flattering but if you look closely at the model on the pattern cover you will see that the neckline is quite low.  The model has a slender figure and a modest bust so her undergarments are not showing, but if you are fuller figured in the chest or simply don’t want to show that much decolletage, you will have to adjust the necklines of both the tank and the facing.

The high-low hem may present some challenges in finding a sweater or jacket that compliments.

Some Assembly Required:

A combination facing is sewn to both the necklines and armscye edges allowing the sewer to finish both edges at once.  The pattern offers a decent illustration how the back and front are connected at the shoulder seams and turned.

A combination facing is sewn to both the necklines and armscye edges allowing the sewer to finish both edges at once. The pattern offers a decent illustration how the back and front are connected at the shoulder seams and turned.

The facing: The pattern offers a terrific way to apply a facing though not a beginner technique.  The pattern instructs you to apply a combination facing which is a fuller facing where you stitch the facing to both the neckline and armhole.  The facings are attached to the front and back separately and the two pieces are sewn together at the shoulders through a technique best shown by illustration.  [The patterns instructions are quite good here.]

The good thing about a combination facing is that when the item is custom fit, it holds the tank so nicely.  The down side is whatever you do to custom fit the neckline or armholes must be transferred to these more complicated facings.

The high-low hem is rather like a shirttail hem and those can wrinkle and bunch in sewing.  Because costume/party fabrics are not as forgiving as shirting, I did not hem the top.  I finished with a serged edge and left it.  Better to have a nice serged finish than a wrinkly turned up hem.  Also, if I do a half-tuck in the back to disguise the length, a hem bump is not showing through the back of jeans.

Fabric:

The front fabric is a knit with tiny sequins glued to it.  The back and facings are poly satin.  The top does not look well on the hangar, that might be why you see so few combination facings in RTW.  I also did not tack down the facings at the armpit because I of the delicacy of the knit.  I thought wear might create holes from strain on that area as the knit is a bit fragile. When worn the body holds the facings down and the sag on the front disappears.

The front fabric is a knit with tiny sequins glued to it. The back and facings are poly satin. The top does not look well on the hangar, that might be why you see so few combination facings in RTW. I also did not tack down the facings at the armpit because I of the delicacy of the knit. I thought wear might create holes from strain on that area as the knit is a bit fragile. When worn the body holds the facings down and the sag on the front disappears.

I used a sequined fabric for the front and a poly satin for the back and facings.  I got both from Hancock Fabrics BFF selection I think.  They came from the costume section.

Since poly satin frays easily and does not take well to ironing I used a sew-in interfacing, purloining material from a set of organza curtains I no longer use.

Finetuning:

Raising the neckline:  I want to make several summer tops from this pattern and I do not like my V-necks to run so low.  I raised the neckline but not at the shoulder.  I wasn’t raising the back at all and raising at the shoulder would have meant that the front would have been a different width than intended when it met the back.  [FYI for Beginners: Patterns are designed so that the back and front shoulder seams match in width perfectly Cutting into the shoulders can change this match up.]

In order to keep the shoulders intact, I shortened the neckline by folding midway up the V, like you would if you were going to shorten at the waistline. But by tucking up the V-neck I also raised the armpit.  In pattern alterations one change creates another change.  To put the armpit back where it belongs, I measured the amount of the tuck at the neckline, and then cut that amount out of the pattern at the armpit, truing up into the armscye curve by cutting as little away from the middle of the armscye as possible.  [Cutting more away as the armscye reaches up toward the shoulder would have cut into the portion that covers the bustline creating another potential problem of exposing my brassiere.]

If you change the neckline of this pattern, you must pay attention to the armsyce.  Make your changes to the neckline and armscye and then go in and make those same changes to the facings.  In my case, I had altered the front so much that I had to replace more material into the hemline of the front facing as I had cinched out so much at the neckline and armpit.

A Way Around This:  You can apply a combination facing as if it were a standard facing; sewing at the neckline, and then edging over garment and facing together as one unit, as you do most often in finishing tank tops.  It would not function quite as a combination facing anymore but your edges would still be finished.

Will I Sew it Again:

I like the trapeze hem and V-neck so much that I want to sew several of these as spring/summer tanks.

Advice to Others:

Taken in the evening the photo is a bit shadowy and blurry.  And my son ran into the middle of the frame at the last second.  Though it is frumpy and folded on the hangar,  you can see that when worn the top grazes the waistline and the facings are held down by the body.  You can also see how far I have raised the neckline and it still can be put on over the head without adding in an opening/closure.  Overall it is a very pretty design and a pleasure to wear.

Taken in the evening the photo is a bit shadowy and blurry. And my son ran into the middle of the frame at the last second. Though it is frumpy and folded on the hangar, you can see that when worn the top grazes the waistline and the facings are held down by the body. You can also see how far I have raised the neckline and it still can be put on over the head without adding in an opening/closure. Overall it is a very pretty design and a pleasure to wear.

This pattern sews up quickly and is likely to be a success for beginners stylewise.  However, altering the neckline can get tricky and it helps to have a good handle on the common practices involved in altering patterns.

Also, it is designed for wovens.  It can be sewn in knits but you may want to make a judgment call about how well you think your particular knit is going to handle a combination facing.  You could ditch the facing and use binding but remember that the extra width of the trapeze hem is adding weight to that part of the garment and the  combination facing does hold and counterbalance that weight nicely.

What to Wear With It

This was harder than I thought.  I wore the finished top to the store and tried on nearly every jacket and sweater in a complimentary color and found that it did best with long thin knit sweaters that covered the back hem entirely. Or short structured jackets reaching only a little past the waist revealing the high low hem worked well also.   You can do a half-tuck, only tucking in the long hem at the back into your waistband.  That allows the front to show but doesn’t mess up the line of a lot of jackets.  The pattern illustrates the top as a summer tank and I found that wearing anything over it does reduce the drama of the hemline.  A very cute tank but it may take some tinkering to integrate it into anything but a summer sleeveless option.

Overall Style Grade:  A, I really enjoy the style.

Results Grade: A, for once the pattern instructions really do illustrate the best way to sew and finish the garment and the results are lovely and look RTW.

Dressmaker 123 Sewing Machine Manual

Dressmaker Sewing Machine Model 123

WARNING: This post is photo-heavy with 11 photos shown as large as is manageable

Since picking up an old Dressmaker 123 sewing machine at Goodwill I have had a few requests for a copy of the manual.  Rather than emailing I thought I would post my manual pages.  My manual is worn and the scans are a bit fuzzy.  If you want a sharper image or would simply like your own manual I have sometimes seen them for sale on ebay.

Front Cover

Diagram of machine

Features and How to Wind a Bobbin

 

Using the Bobbin Case, Threading the Bobbin Case and Opening the Shuttle Race

 

Needle Threading, Taking Bobbin Thread through Needle Plate, and Stitch Adjustment Lever

Thread Tension, Adjusting the Pressure Foot and Fabric Selector

 

Built-in Light and Zig-Zag Sewing

 

Buttonholes and Blindstitching

List of Zig-Zag Patterns and Final Page of Manual

Hope this helps those interested in learning more about this model! :)

 

Going to Guhl’s

My family is taking a few day trips in our home state of Ohio over the summer holiday and I am looking forward to traveling through Jackson, Ohio and revisiting Guhl’s Outlet Store.

Guhl’s is a lot like Big Lots except they carry fabric too.  It is mainly polarfleece and quilting cotton.  I enjoy browsing the endless tables and buying a few pieces which are sold off the bolt as separate cuts.  The books are a fun browse too.

The only caveat to Guhl’s is that it is CASH ONLY.  In the age of debit cards I sometimes forget to carry cash and have been caught out.  So if you plan a trip to Guhl’s, stop by the ATM first. :)

Pattern Review: Butterick 6659 Option F Girls Short Pajama Bottoms

Butterick 6659: I am using Option F, the baby doll PJ bottom.

My daughter likes to wear shorts and a t-shirt to bed.  This year we had plenty of tees, but few PJ bottoms.  To keep her from parading around the house in her unders, I decided to sew up some quick pajama shorts.

Previously I had made a nightgown from this pattern and was on the verge of discarding it, when I thought that it could easily be graded up slightly, (the original being so oversized,) and I might be able to make the panties into shorts by omitting the elastic at the legs.  Why buy a fresh gym shorts pattern when I already had essentially the same thing.

I also had a laundry basket of discarded summer tees.  For once, I had the spare fabric to finally perfect fitting the crotch seams for my daughter – something I can transfer to other patterns. 

The pink shorts are the RTW pair that I want to emulate. The first try at the unaltered pattern is the yellow pair and you can see how much larger they are than the RTW. The yellow pair bagged in the front waist when my daughter tried them on.

Pros:

Though this pattern was cut for a size 5, it easily fit my 6X/7 Slim sized daughter.

Very few seams making it a quick sew.  One for which you soon have a finished project and have not expended a lot of mental attention – perfect for mothers of young children.

One pattern piece along with a cut of elastic.

If you only have five or ten minutes to sew, you will be able to cut and sew this pattern in just a few sessions.

Cons:

If your child is a tricky fit there aren’t a lot of seams to work with.

The pattern sizing – sigh!  Has no one in the industry redesigned children’s patterns to match RTW?  The waistline of this pattern is at the natural waistline while my daughter and her little friends barely know where their waists are located.  They all wear their pants at the navel and I consistently have to adjust children’s patterns to follow suit.  This one is no exception. 

The length of the lower hemline option seems much too long to me.  Again little girls wear their gym-style shorts upper mid-thigh rather than towards the knee.

I didn’t dare try a 4-line stitched elastic waistband as the elastic grows and distorts whenever I try this.

Some Assembly Required:

I sewed the crotch seams, then inserted the elastic waistband.  The original RTW shorts I was copying have a 4-line stitching of the elastic.  I find the elastic grows and stiffens if sewn over so many times, so I settled on the simplest elastic application. 

Fabric:  Old T-shirt fabric.

Finetuning:

Sadly my serger appears to be going kapoot, so I did not serge the seams.  Instead I did a double line of zig-zag stitching.  It isn’t the most professional inside finish, however the material is knit so it won’t ravel.  And old t-shirt knit at that allowing me to more easily justify the simpler finish .

The final pair and how they compare to the original pink RTW. Much better.

Will I Sew it Again:

Yes, definitely.  I finally got the pattern adjusted to fit perfectly.  Now I only have to grade up for at least the next two sizes.  

Advice to Others:

I sewed four pairs in all but one has gone missing.

Use an old tee to make the practice muslin if yours are wide enough for the pattern piece.  And if you do use a t-shirt, utilize the RTW hemline for the shorts hemline saving you an extra step and making the garment look more RTW, as I have always found that the standard mechanical machine’s zig-zag stitch does not much resemble a RTW finish.

Overall Style Grade:  Um, A – I guess.  This is such a classic that it hardly seems a style.

Results Grade: A, after you finetune the fit, you will get consistently good results.

My Daughter has Decided that She Isn’t a Ruffly Girl Anymore.

Should she be allowed to do that! 

All on her own. Without any say-so from her mother.  :-0

Here is a pile of patterns ready to donate to the thrift store that are no longer “her”.  “Those aren’t my style, Mommy.  I’m not a ruffly girl anymore.” 

What is wrong with a little ruffle?

And when did she get old enough to have a style?!

 I am not ready to go from this . . .

         to this. . . .

 

 What am I going to sew her now?  The dresses I made her last autumn to fit her this summer – she won’t wear.  Too ruffly, I suppose.

It also means she is growing up.  I love the family years and already feel nostaglic when I see signs she is no longer my itty-bitty girl.

What is a mother to do?

I guess hit a sale at the fabric store and buy more patterns!  Proof that every cloud has a silver lining. :)

Getting the Fabric for Free

The price of knit fabric has gone up in my area and the design of many kid knit patterns leans towards the dorky and ill-fitting. (I love you pattern companies – but sorry, it’s true.)  Additionally, children’s patterns are often so oversized that they are unwearable and the contours are not updated to current fashion.   The end product, though well-sewn, can look a little “off” and the kid just won’t wear the garments.  The “off”-ness also screams home-sewn, but not in a good way.

But having some basic knit patterns for kids can be essential.  Kids sleepwear can be as expensive as daywear and I sometimes want to quickly create an easy top or bottom for playtime or to accessorize a more intricate garment. 

That means I need to spend some time customizing some kid knit patterns.  I have chosen these to work with.

Butterick 5510: I am looking at the knit tee and bottom as a source for summer pj’s.

Kwik-Sew 3043: Kwik-Sew usually has such great standard patterns that I actually traced this one hoping to refine a top pattern that I can easily sew in my daughter’s school uniform colors.

Butterick 6659: I have made this before and it is hugely oversized. My daughter who is a 6X can easily wear the size 5. I am looking at making her a few sleeveless nightgowns and using the pants and panties as PJ bottoms.

And I am getting the fabric for free.

From where? 

From here – the great motherload of free fabric.

Our closet.

Summer is such a short season but my family sure runs through the summer clothes.  Between the summer gardening and the summer sweating we manage to grime up quite a bit of our wardrobe each season.   A recent purge of my husband and my closet resulted in the above basket of cast-offs.

I could have thrown them away or made more cleaning cloths, but this year I decided to consider this a source of free material to create practice muslins and summer jim-jams.  With the new baby getting any sewing time has been so hard, but I am hoping that these small projects can be managed.  And if I ruin it, who cares, it was a cast-off tee.

I am looking forward to getting started! :)

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