McCall’s 6891 chambray shirtdress

Hello all! I’ve recovered from my extremely busy December and am back with a finished make for myself.

This dress was a rather spontaneous make as I was lucky enough to try on a finished version we had in the office! This meant I quickly worked out the couple of tiny adjustments I’d need to make it fit me. I could then cut out with confidence and whizzed this up in a day. In fact I made the yellow version you’re seeing on the new pattern envelope! We’re now making the designs in UK fabric and reprinting the envelopes. Squeal!!

The pattern is M6891 which is on the front of Love Sewing 63 on sale from tomorrow! It’s double stuffed so you get sizes 8-24 in one envelope and the issue includes tips on collars and cuffs if you haven’t made them before. I love a notched collar and The McCall Pattern Co instructions direct you to make theirs differently to other brands like Simplicity or indie designs.

As normal you position the collar between the facings and shirt neckline, instead of sewing over the seam allowance they ask you to push it out of the way and stop at the seam point marked by a dot, then sew on the other side in the same way. Here’s a diagram to explain a bit more:

This reduces bulk as it means you can grade the seams and trim a bit more freely as the seam allowance isn’t trapped… But this technique seems more beneficial on thicker fabrics like coats really. Unless I’ve missed another reason for this technique.

It’s not a surprise I like this pattern, as retro style shirtdresses are a big proportion of my wardrobe. They’re both smart and casual – perfect! I made view C and love the full skirt. The darts give a nice shape and of course the notched collar has a lovely vintage feel. It needs a reverse button/hole at the waist point for extra security but I can add that any time.

Now of course the Ultimate Shirtdress which is my favourite shirtdress pattern but in truth I’ve never got on with the sleeves. On the McCall’s design the sleeves fit great so maybe I need to try and merge the armscye and sleeve of this pattern with the Sew Over It pattern in the future.

I made the size 10. The bust fits my 36a-cup really nicely so no SBA here. I just adjusted the waist at the side seams to fit my 32″ tummy and the wide flare of the skirt is very roomy on my hips.

You might be wondering about the fabric… well to that I say, “Sewing friends are awesome”. They are especially great at birthday time because they think like a sewist when getting you a present and remember what things you say you like! This gorgeous Robert Kaufman spotty chambray was a gift from the darling Marie! Creative mind behind blog www.astitchingodyssey.com, Marie is such a lovely soul so I highly recommend you follow her inspiring blog/social media accounts and if you run into her at an event you’re guaranteed to leave smiling.

If you clicked into my shirtdress tag you’ll see I now have two spotty Robert Kaufman chambray dresses. Well I actually have a third UFO of Vogue 1102 cut out in the black colourway but I messed up some of the pintucks and have been putting off fixing it for months. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll see that dress appear.

I’m currently trying to plan some sewing for the coming year. There are some lovely fabrics that have been in my stash for way too long. I’d really like to fix that and not be afraid of making the wrong thing anymore. I have my dressmakers ballgown to make too. Will I see you there?

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Plum fun crepe skirt

When it’s feeling especially chilly I like to think of Dubai. This was the last step of our honeymoon as Dubai is a great transfer point for the Seychelles. While we were there it was a staggering 41°. Almost too hot to breathe. We were there for two nights and on the second night went out for an amazing birthday meal in Nobu at the Palm hotel where we were staying.

We literally waited until 6pm for it to cool down (it didn’t) then dashed outside to take a couple of pics in the gorgeous courtyard (aka sweaty photos) then ran back inside. It had to be done because the colours and shapes of the building exterior are stunning. I wore my plum skirt with a black vest and cardigan to keep things modest but whipped the cardi off for my photo so not to pass out!

This is another way I wear the skirt, with a polka dot jersey top I made using M6886. More on that another day. The skirt is made of purple Rio crepe from Sew Over It. Its a really vivid shade that always gets noticed. The weight and handle are perfect for a skirt like this. It does wrinkle a little but steams easily.

The skirt is the Simple Sew Sophia skirt made during my first week at Love Sewing to test the pattern. I’ve made the Sophia top from the pattern previously too here. The skirt comes together really quickly, works well in a lot of fabric and the length is easy to adjust.

Now you might wonder why it’s never made an appearance before now… well I only started wearing it this May as part of my challenge to wear unloved clothes during Me Made May! I never thought I was a midi or maxi skirt person. I’m still not sure but I’m warming up to it.

I think it looks better with the vest personally. Though it may be happy honeymoon memories influencing my perspective. Here we are taking a terrible selfie hahah.

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Endless camisoles

I might as well face it I’m addicted to camisole tops. I use the free pattern download from Love Sewing here with instructions inside issue 43. They’re super quick to sew up and they’re amazing scrap busters. I’ve made four in total so far and have plans for several more. I can squeeze one out of half a metre if I use shop bought bias tape.

I started with a toile made from a Primark bow cotton print sundress I’d long since been able to fit in. Mega cute! I made a straight M but added an inch to the length. I used flat self-fabric straps and used red bias tape inside.

Then I made my silk parrot version and added flat crossing straps at the back. It was a little short in the body as I forgot to add the extra length but looks lovely with a skirt.

This fabric is so precious to me, I got it on a fun shopping trip with Katie I have enough left for another top of some description but I can’t bring myself to make a mistake so haven’t chosen a style yet.

Next up were two viscose versions in quick succession – both with the length added back in! This swallow print version is a lovely viscose I got from Simply Fabrics Brixton at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate. I added rouleaux straps for this version and it’s such a lovely delicate touch. This may be my favourite of the versions.

Last but not least I used a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani that I picked up at Sew Brum. It’s a subtle print and there was just enough for a camisole so I treated myself! Sadly I used vintage bias binding inside and it hasn’t held up to the wash. The bias has ripped in multiple places so I’m going to have to unpick and re-stitch which is disappointing. Unpicking black on black is the worst!!

The pattern comes together pretty easily and you may actually spot this was an old Sew Loft pattern. It’s not as nice as the True Bias Ogden Cami which has a lovely facing but if I thought about it properly I’m sure I could draft a facing and change up the construction to make this my dream button loop front cami top. More sewing plans, not enough time!

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McCall’s 7547 dungarees

Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.

almond rock m7547 dungarees abakhan mccalls

My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!

almond rock dungarees m7547 mccalls abakhan

I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!

almond rock ash jeans megan nielsen

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Think Pink Butterick 5926

Happy weekend! I’m currently in my sewing room whipping up a quick coat. Aka no tailoring, minimal hand stitching, maybe even no buttons… but welt pockets might make an appearance. Let’s wait and see.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

In other news I wanted to push my sewing with a garment that’s pretty different for me. I reviewed the Butterick 5926 jersey blazer pattern that comes free with Love Sewing 49 (out Thurs 25th Jan in the UK). You can also read my thoughts inside the issue but here are the essentials.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

Every time I reach for my jeans I agonise what to pair them with. I feel like I’m constantly chasing the ideal outfit that makes me look effortlessly put together; modest and tasteful but comfortable and easy. Generally I opt for a bright blouse and cardigan but it felt like time for a change.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I don’t think I’ve worn a blazer for at least 10 years as I’m petite with slightly squeaky voice and always live in fear of resembling a schoolgirl. The thought of a casual knit blazer was appealing but I wanted to make sure it felt feminine. This pattern calls for stable knits like Ponte Roma but didn’t mention scuba, which seemed like a great fit in my mind. This gorgeous geometric pink was £4 per metre at The Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate and I used 1.5m to make this jacket.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I chose to make view B, the hip-length version with shorter bracelet length sleeves that I rolled up for a relaxed feel and omitted the button fastenings. The blazer comes together really easily but you’re asked to reinforce a lot of areas of the collar and facings with stay stitching before clipping close to but not through the stitching line (always a tense part of the process for me). Shortening your stitch length can help here and a universal needle helped me avoid any skipped stitches.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

The recommended hem finish, with stitching that finish along the front edges wasn’t to my taste so I decided to top-stitch everywhere, varying the distance from the edge as I worked my way around. With this approach I had to be careful that the collar still rolled neatly to the outside where the front facing turns out and used a few pins to get the turn point just right.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I also used my trusty blind hem machine foot with an adjusted needle position to attach the pockets which were very bulky to sew in place. I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention that foot! It was also the last outing for my singer overlocker before it committed suicide by firing the blade into the moving parts! Not pretty.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

This is a versatile pattern that looks great in a big, bold prints as well as plain colours and feels as comfy as a cardigan. I really think notched collars are very flattering as they frame your face but more importantly they’re pretty fun to sew! Like I say the issue is out Thursday and actually comes with a second pattern, McCall’s 7357 and both are double stuffed with all the sizes inside e.g. 6-22. Winner winner quorn chicken dinner!!

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

For some other gorgeous takes on this pattern see Manju’s bold floral blazer, Allie’s comfortable cool version and cmtsews chartreuse wonder

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