Maternity Sewing:McCall’s 6074 One Hour Knit Dress:Pattern Review

McCall's 6074 One Hour Knit Dress

Prior to my pregnancy I had seen this pattern and skipped it because I thought it would enhance my prominent belly.  It may, but now there is no way to keep attention off of my belly, so I gave this pattern a second look and thought it would be quick and easy. 

Pros:

It is quick and easy.

It can be shortened into a top, or worn long for a dress. 

I did not measure the time involved.  It may not be as short as an hour, but it certainly does not take long to construct.

The design is basic and lends itself well to trendy fabric, fancy embellishments or cute little summer jackets.

Though the design may not hide your belly, it does enhance the waist quite nicely, especially if you are short-waisted.

Cons:

The neckline can be too low for some.  You may want to raise it if you do not plan to wear a cami underneath.

There is a great deal of hemline.  The knit you choose must be stable enough not to become wavy as you sew.

Some Assembly Required:

I added quite a bit at center and to the bottom front hemline.

The wearable muslin I cut per the pattern tissue, but for the turquoise knit I added quite a bit to the front.  I also dipped the front hemline so that it was asymmetrical allowing the hem to straighten as my belly increases.   I am seeing front dropped hems in fashion mags so per current trends it looks deliberate.

Fabric:

The wearable muslin was made in a tropical poly knit found at the thrift store.  I use the completed dress as a coverup for the pool.   The turquoise dress is of cotton knit bought at Banasch’s during one of their sales.  The knit is opaque with a nice weight that drapes and swings well.

Finetuning:

McCalls 6074 Wearable Muslin

When I added the extra material in front to accommodate my belly, I added weight to the front of the dress.  That pulls down the neckline farther than I would like.  On future dresses I am going to raise the neckline.

Will I Sew it Again:

Probably.  I am on to other projects right now, but I do like this design enough to consider it a summer classic.  I will most likely put the pattern aside and then pull it out next spring for some easy summer dresses.

Advice to Others:

The ladies in pattern envelope drawings always seem to have very long collarbone to neckline heights.  If you have a short to average upper rib cage length, or are just modest, raise the neckline.

Choose a stable enough knit for the hemline to look nice and straight.  Some of the trendy knits tend to wave and curl as you sew them.  Find a way to deal with this if your heart is set on an unstable knit.

Overall Style GradeA, for being an easy summer classic that will allow the home sewer

McCall's 6074 in the final fashion fabric.

to adapt the look with trendy fabric or embellishments.

Results Grade: A,  when you want to churn out something quick and easy this satisfies the bill.  The only thing a new sewer may encounter to trouble her is the elastic, but that is easily marked with chalk.

Attaching a Skirt to a Divided Yoke:Sewing Tutorial

Wherein I Sew Construction Paper

A lot of nightgowns and little girl’s dresses utilize the divided front yoke.  It is a yoke that overlaps and separates allowing the wearer to pull the garment over her head.  Most are closed with buttons.  Here is an example from a recently sewn granny gown.

This is from Kerstin Martensson's book "Beautiful Lingerie". You can see where the yoke is divided.

Warning Let me warn all of you experienced seamstresses right now, for the remainder of this post you are going to think, as my daughter says, “I already knnneeww that!”

But when I was a newbie making what appears to be a simple dress front would have presented some problems for me.  I have never seen an instruction sheet that clearly illustrates what you need to do here.  I would have taken it to heart that I didn’t know what to do and felt very discouraged. 

The remainder of this post is a short tutorial for very new sewers.  If you are stymied by attaching a skirt to a divided yoke I will show you in photos what I do.   I have used construction paper to simulate fabric and I will go step by step.  Though there are quite a few photos, when you are sewing it is a quick process.

Let’s get started.

Attaching a Skirt to A Divided Yoke

1. Sew facings to yoke fronts, turn seam and press.

 

Sew your facing to the yoke front. Most instructions will include the back yoke in this process but I have left it out for clarity's sake.

2. Overlap yokes at front.  Use a long basting stitch.  Start a half-inch or so before your overlap and end a half-inch or so beyond the overlap.

Yoke fronts are turned, pressed and overlapped.

3. Now the skirt must be attached to your yoke bodice.

 

Your skirt will have to be attached to the yoke.

4. But you have a problem.  There are these folds in the way. 

Your yoke seams have created folds in the fabric.

5. No matter how you flip your yoke you can’t get a full seam.

 

You push your material one way and another but you can't get a continuous seam edge.

Start snipping

 

6. Snip the inside portion at the fold.  Normally I cut up to my basting stitch as it usually has the seam depth I desire.  Snip the outer yoke at the fold, again up to the overlap basting stitch.

 

Snip the inside yoke fold up to the basting stitches.

Snip the outer yoke fold to the basting stitches.

Now you did all this.  And you still can’t get a full seam.   You are still annoyed!  What is going on?

You have snipped your folds but still you are unable to get a continuous seam edge. You can barely see it, but where I have drawn the black line, snip that. Again cut to the basting stitch.

7. Look at the black line I have marked on the yoke front.  On the yoke front only, not the facing, cut along that line up to the basting stitch.

 

Now you can fold the fabric back and see that there are two continuous edges for a seamline 🙂

 What a relief!

In three simple snips you have a seam edge!

Now You are Ready to Sew Skirt to Yoke

8. Fold back your facing so it isn’t caught when you stitch the skirt to the front yoke. 

 

Fold back your facing so it doesn't get caught in your stitching. Then lay the skirt and front yoke wrong sides together and sew.

9. Wrong sides together sew your skirt to the yoke front.  And voila!  You have attached your skirt to the that bedeviled divided yoke.

 

Skirt attached to Divided Yoke.

All That is Left to Do 

 Finish the Inside Facing

10. Now finish your facing.  Flip to the inside.  You may have serged your facing edge, or you might want to turn the raw edge under. 

 

Flip garment. Press seam edge up into the enclosed yoke. Then lay facing flat covering seam edge. Facing may have its own edges serged or folded.

11. Then a typical finish is to stitch in the ditch from the front to secure the facing on the inside.

 

Stitching into the seamline from the top, called stitching in the ditch to secure inside facing.

 12. Here you see it.  Facing secure.  And you can remove the basting stitches if they still show.

 

Normally the edge would be serged on my garments. Here the facing is secure and the basting stitches are ready to go.

Three little snips. 

Problem solved. 

A long read for a quick solution but I hope it helps any newbies who have gotten waylaid at this step in their sewing.

Next Post: Tuesday, September 21, 2010;Slips and Camis from the Martensson Book

The Second Rendition of Simplicity 2929: What to do with a Wadder?

I started out with Simplicity 2929 sewing it in a lightweight denim. 

 

During my fitting my husband said I looked like Moses coming down from the mountain. 

Though he was deserving of every ounce of the withering glare he received,  he was right.  This pattern in this fabric overwhelmed me.  The neckline interfacing was irritating as I mentioned in an earlier post, and I had to concede that this design is not for me.

What was I to do with the thing?

 

I hung it on the dress form a few days.   

The skirt was a simple A-line.  I decided to cut a yoke from the remmants and used  Butterick 5041.   The top I cannibalized for children’s clothes which I will review later. 

It would have killed me to through away the entire dress.  Now I have a passable lightweight denim skirt for summer. It pays to wait a few days before you wad.  

Next Post: Saturday, June 26, 2010; Butterick 5219 Scoop Yoked Tunic: Pattern Review

Vogue 1120 DKNY Dress:Pattern Review

Vogue 1120 DKNY Dress

I bought this pattern last winter and though it is presented in the photo as a New Year’s Party type dress I thought it would make a nice spring dress if a lighter, less glitzy fabric was used.  I also hoped the belt would provide some shaping and the full pleats at the top balance out my full stomach.

   

Pros:

  • The design is simple and the construction process easy to understand.
  • The style is similar to others you see out and about but has its own unique twist.
  • The sewn piece is pretty much spot on the photo.  No surprised.
  • Beginner friendly and easy seaming makes it easy to get a well-finished look.

Cons:

  • The pleating at the top took an hour and that was on the practice muslin where I am a bit less fussy.  I found the pleating repetitive. 
  • Depending on your hips the back may gather fetchingly under the belt as your hips sway back and forth – or it may just bunch up. 

Some Assembly Required:

I do as much flat as I can.  Here is my process for this practice muslin. 

  1. I sewed the back pieces together.
  2. Then I put  putting pleats into everything, back, front and sleeves. 
  3. Next I attached sleeves to front and completed that pleat at the seamline that couldn’t be completed earlier. 
  4. Finally I attached the back to the sleeve and finished that little pleat. 
  5.  After that I sewed up the sides and considered it ready for try on. 

Fabric:

I used on old knit sheet for a practice muslin.  The sheet actually mimicked some knit dresses I has seen in stores so I had high hopes and even made sure I used thread that matched the fabric, something I don’t usually bother with in a practice muslin.

Finetuning:

The waist must fit!  The waist front you can tinker with, but the back has no mercy.    Though it looks as if the belt provides shaping in reality it doesn’t do what a normal waistband would.  Fitting the waist circumference should be no problem.  It is the length you must be careful of. 

If you are shortwaisted, do raise the waist in the spot where you are directed on the pattern.  If you don’t correct that waist you are going to get wrinkles across the back when you cinch the belt.  Raising the waistline will raise the belt up just a bit which is what you need.

If you are longwaisted again, lower the waistline at the place the pattern directs.  If the belt cinches up too high on you, then you will have the opposite problem of your shortwaisted sister (sounds like a band doesn’t it?). There will be bunchy stuff under the belt.

Will I Sew it Again:

I showed it to my husband and after reassuring him that it was practice fabric he commented dubiously that “It looks very Roman.”   Then he brightened up and said, “Maybe you can wear it for a nightgown!”

Vogue 1120 practice muslin

Sooo, I’m not sewing this again and I am moving the pattern on to the thrift store.

Advice to Others:

If you typically do not wear unstructured garments this one might not work for you.  Buy the pattern on sale and make a practice muslin of dirt cheap fabric.  If your figure is more of an hourglass and your waistline has little variation from the norm then you should look well in this design.

Overall Style Grade: A, Awesome, Cute as a Button and Easy to Sew!

Results Grade: C- on my figure type which used to be a pear, but which is now an apple. 

(You never know tomorrow morning I might wake up a peach: )

Next Post: Saturday, April 24, 2010; Tip on Pattern Storage

Simplicity 2929 Basic Shirtwaist Dress:Pattern Review

Simplicity 2929

Simplicity 2929 Basic Shirtwaist Dress

I remember shirtdresses from the early 80’s, not altogether fondly, but I am willing to give them another go. I wanted a very simple pattern so I had no distractions as I tried to assess if this design was suitable for my figure.  Normally an unstructured waist is not flattering to my figure but I thought my full waist would be balanced by the extended cap sleeve and the facing flipping back as a collar on Option B.

Pros:

  • Construction is simple and expeditious.
  • You can choose the sleeveless option if the cap sleeve is too 1983 for your tastes.
  • It can be worn as a summer dress or sewn as a winter jumper meant to have a knit underlayer.
  • As there is no collar or button placket this is a good design for the beginning sewer. 

Cons:

  • The sleeve cap extends so far that it becomes an unbecoming short kimono sleeve.  See my post Frump Factor: When a Cap Sleeve Extends Too Far.
  • I am 5’5” and I had to shorten the skirt by 6 inches because it hit my ankles. That seemed like too much for a pattern directed at average women.  For the original skirt pattern to hit my midcalf I would have to be over six feet tall.
  • Fabric choice is key or you are going to look like have time-warped from 1983.  In the 80’s this style was often made of a thin knit with large border design on skirt bottom.  The knit would cling to the hips and accentuate their sway.  This could be a good thing, or not.  It’s up to you.  I am not seeing the 80’s color-blocked/border printed thin knits in the stores so you may be limited by how retro you can go. (Actually I did want to use a print for this dress but all of the prints were HUGE, and unsuitable for any dress design I would want to put on my body.)

Simplicity 2929 Practice Muslin: A little blurry. I didn't touch up the photos because frankly I don't know how to correct for blur in Photoshop. I took in the dress at the sides and cut down the neckline and shoulder.

Some Assembly Required:

  • I sewed the two front skirt pieces together at the center seam, put aside and then did the same for the back skirt pieces.
  • Most pattern instructions direct you to the facings at the shoulder making a circle and then attach to the front and back blouse which has been sewn at the shoulder.  Against the usual method  I sewed the back facing to the back blouse and then the front facing to the front blouse.  Be careful to the points at the top of the opening in the neckline are perfectly aligned.
  • I cut the slit into the facing, turned, understitched, and secured by stitching in the ditch at shoulder seam.
  • I sewed the front skirt to the front blouse at the waist, and then did the same for the back.
  • Finally, I finished the dress by sewing up the side seams beginning under the arms going down to the hem.
  • Hem sleeves and skirt.

Fabric:

On the practice muslin I used a blue percale sheet.  The fall dress is of eggplant something or other I found in the sale bin at the now defunct Baer fabrics in Louisville.  I bought material for a second dress of a very lightweight dark denim.  That one is not begun at the time of this post.

Finetuning:

Simplicity 2929 Shirtwaist Dress Alterations before Hemming: I Photoshopped this one so you could see the amount of pinning I had to do in order to raise the hemline and decrease the cap sleeve extension. The little yellow dots you see (barely) are my pins.

I used elastic as directed on the practice muslin but found I preferred to leave it out of the fashion garment and just use a belt to gather the waist.

The extended sleeve cap goes too far down the arm.  You might think the extra material would conceal a heavy arm but I thought it bunched unattractively right at my bustline making me look like I was trying to hide my excess weight by wearing oversized dumpy clothes.  I cut the sleeve cap back deeply.

If you want the skirt to be narrower cut the pattern at the shorter option.  Check it in the mirror of course but it will probably hit you where you want.  If you want the fuller skirt take up at the fold lines given.

Will I Sew it Again:

Probably.  Originally when I tried on my practice muslin I thought I could not wear this style, but after being careful to decrease fullness at the waist and pare down the shoulder area I found I liked it.

Advice to Others:

Feel free to cut back the sleeve cap.  When you try on your practice muslin tuck in the sleeve hem until you find the most attractive length for your figure.

Do a fitting before you apply the elastic.  The elastic will add extra bulk at the waist.  You may prefer to use a belt to cinch the waist.  If so you might want to apply belt holders.

Make sure your neckline is even at the opening.  Here is a rough sketch of what I am talking about.  

Overall Style Grade:  B, this is such a basic that you add accessories to it, unless you have cannily used a border print or trim. 

Results Grade: A, it is easy to get a good result from a construction standpoint.

Next Post: Thursday, April 22, 2010: Vogue 1120 DKNY Dress:Pattern Review