Tag Archives: mccall’s


This was supposed to be a half day sew prepped and finished Friday night in time for July 4. Instead, it took me 3 days and I managed to make every mistake possible.


It started with my new machine. I recently purchased a long coveted 401A. I’m still learning the tension, but also it may need to be serviced because the bobbin seems to jump around quite a bit in the machine. Of course that is a terror on any fabric. I basically sewed the whole dress three times before giving up on the machine. Ugh.

Finally, after I had the dress mostly assembled, I realized the fabric was misaligned on the sides. I wasn’t trying to perfectly match the leaf pattern, but the bottom stripe definitely needed to be continuous. It turns out the fabric piece mislead me because the printed pattern was slightly slanted from the finished edge of the fabric. Anyway, I took the (serged) dress apart, aligned and re-sewed. Right after attaching the top band, I was cutting threads and snip! I cut a hole in the fabric on the side under the armpit. Luckily I cut the dress longer than that pattern. So, I moved the whole dress up a couple inches to cut away the fabric with the hole. When I finally got the sides seams sewn, the upper band attached and the elastic inserted, I gave up for the day.

Sunday I attacked the straps and hem with calm reserve bringing to an end the agony of what should have been a simple sew. I’m happy with the results, but I’m fully expecting to find issues with this dress as I wear it. I pulled it apart so many times that I must have missed some step…


The fabric is an African Wax print I bought in the airport at Dar Es Salaam. It was from my first trip to Africa, so it’s a bit sentimental to me. As you can imagine, that made the stakes even higher when I snagged on a few obstacles.

Sleeve Placket


It took me months to face the sleeve plackets on my western shirt and I’m still not happy with how they turned out.  The pattern called for a more simple version than the traditional plackets you see on collared shirts. Even so, I found the plackets incredibly difficult and tedious in the same way I loathe applying bias binding. The front stitching looks ok but like bias binding, I can never catch the back evenly. Also, because of the tight curve at the top of the slit it looks like I created a wrinkle shooting from the apex. I’m not certain of the wrinkle because the slit closed gives another shape. I’ll have to wait until the cuff it on to really be sure.

Because I HAD to take a break from the wrist area, I managed to make progress with a sleeve, easing it in without any tucks. Woohoo! I think I may have cheated by shrinking the armpit/ shoulder hole of the sleeve and enlarging the armpit hole of the bodice. Hopefully that doesn’t have a negative impact on the fit. When I tried it on, it seemed to fit, though.


Shirt, Shirt, Apron

I didn’t get as much sewing done as I would have liked this long Thanksgiving weekend. I did manage to start two projects and make a small amount of headway on the western shirt.

IMG_20141130_215034IMG_20141130_215606~2IMG_20141130_215054To right is one of the new projects I started. Actually, I had been working on tracing the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper for a couple of weeks now.

I really love this tracing paper because it’s easy to trace and it’s durable – I can pin it without concern it will rip. I am slowly trying to trace all my vintage patterns, so I don’t have to worry about damaging them when I trace and cut.

When I finished copying the pattern, I decided to cut out the shirt on a remnant gifted to me. It’s such a small remnant, I ran out of fabric for the collar, so I’m going to have some extra seams lines in the back. Oh well. I usually consider my first of any pattern a muslin anyway.

I’m completing the yellow version above. I’m really excited to see what the finished shirt looks like. I tried it on already and I really like the silhouette. I think the boatneck collar will be really pretty.

IMG_20141130_215725~2 IMG_20141130_215244~2 IMG_20141130_215223~2 IMG_20141130_215234~2Then there’s this apron pattern. I enlarged the a-line version on the left. If you look closely you can see this is a girl’s size 6-8, so it needed to be much bigger.

It was my first time slicing a pattern and I think it looks pretty good. It’s a bit loose, but I think it should be loose if you plan to wear it over your clothes. I need to shorten it and add pockets. I may add some other design elements like embroidery, but I haven’t decided yet.

And finally, the western shirt is coming along, although slowly. I find I need to work on short projects when I’m completing something more challenging. I like to be able to take breaks from the more difficult project.

You can see the fabric is the same for both of these projects. I don’t particularly like the color and the quality of the fabric is awful. It’s just some $2 stuff I picked up for muslins, so I guess it fulfills its purpose.