Tag Archives: McCall’s 3415

Sometimes you just have to walk away.

Hmm

McCall's 3415

I have a feeling this dress is going to spend a little while in the Magic Closet.* You know when you reach that point when you’ve unpicked a seam so many times the whole thing just starts to look mashed and no matter how well you re-stitch it it’s still going to be a bit wonky? Yeah. I’m there.

That being said, I think once I’ve had a little bit of space I’ll quite like this dress. We just need a bit of time.

Front view

So, after all y’all’s** sage advice last week, I put on my big girl panties and unpicked the skirt (yes, removing zipper in the process), and made Alterations.

Specifically, I lopped 15 cm (about 6″) off the top, re-cutting using the top of the pattern but blending out to a wider width quite quickly (maybe a little too quickly…). In my paranoia over having enough ease I actually made the skirt a bit wider even at the top, electing to ease that in.

Side view

This fabric doesn’t ease so well, did I mention? Well, I mean, it does—there’s no pleats in the seam—but it sure shows the puckers. Not even going to go into how many times it took me to get the zipper straight and smooth and matching up, either. On the up side, I did get it smooth and relatively straight (and relatively invisible!) eventually, so I shan’t whine too much. And I did a slightly better job stitching on the bodice lining on the inside this time, although with all the grading and clipping and fraying from being unpicked so many times it still doesn’t look peachy. But I think I have the theory down, anyway.

Back view

There are still some issues with how the back hangs—I think somewhere in my alterations the grain got a bit skewed—but at least it’s not straining over my hips and making my belly look like a stuffed sausage anymore. (It actually looks way better in this pic than when I’m just standing straight.  I miss the pockets, though. I wonder how much more work it would be to put them back in, now there’s enough ease for them… (walk away, Tanit, walk away…)

Hem facing

Having removed six inches in length, I didn’t really want to lose much more in the hem, so I put back the hem lace I’d been planning to use and dug out a package of teal hem-tape from one of my thrift-store scores that’s probably been in its package since about the time this pattern was new. I actually really like using a bias facing in curved hems like this. It works a bit better if you “circle” it first—iron it while stretching it into a curve.

Hem facing

Plus after thirty-odd years in the package it really needed to be ironed. Fortunately the skirt is quite narrow, as it was only a 1.85m package, and I had to discard about eight inches at one end where the tape that held the end in place all those years had turned yellow and marked up the fabric. I had just enough. The hem facing is a fair bit darker than the rest of the dress, but I think it’s a fun flash of colour. And it gives me the feel of a full, yummy 2.5″ hem without losing more than about 2 cm in length.

Having said all that, I have to admit something.

Halter styles are something I have a problem with. Meaning, I like them. I love the exposed back, I love how they look on other people and on pattern illustrations. But somehow when I see them on myself, I always feel line-backer-ish. Like they just emphasize the breadth of my shoulders. I keep making them because I really like the idea. And I keep thinking that next time, it’ll look “right.” There probably should be a name for this kind of stylistic insanity. On the other hand, I am actually liking the photos a lot better than I like the reflection in the mirror, so perhaps its one of those things where my brain exaggerates what I’m seeing beyond all reason.

Anyway, I’m hoping that some time in the Magic Closet will help me forget about most of my issues with the dress. Although the halter one’s probably there to stay. Next up: jackets in summertime. Unless the Lonsdale pattern arrives, anyway ;).

*You know. Where self-made pieces go to wait out the period while you forget all the stupid mistakes and messes you made.

**I don’t actually talk like this, but it sure is fun to write sometimes. Also my town is infected with cowboys at the moment, so it would be surprising if I didn’t have at least a few symptoms.

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McCall’s 3415: Pride, fall, yadda, yadda

McCall's 3415

I am feeling summery-dressy.  What better way to move on to my next sundress triumph than to finally get around to the lovely McCall’s 3415? I love this pattern so much—the sleek line, empire waist, CF seam. The high, round-neck version is my favourite. And I just happened to have this fabric perfectly matching view C on the pattern envelope. I pulled out the pieces, did some quick tracing, pin-fitting, and even made up the bodice-lining as a kind of muslin to check the fit. Everything looked good.

What could go wrong?

Those of you with keen eyes may have noticed that this pattern is Misses’ size 10. Most of the 70s patterns I’ve made up to now have been a size 12.

Now technically both my bust and hip measurements are in between these two sizes, and I’ve read advice that when choosing a size from the big 4, if you’re between sizes, go with the smaller one. And with the few modern Big 4 patterns I’ve made for myself (hmm, that might actually only be one) I’ve ended up with the 10. But 12 seems to be a more common size in the single-size vintage patterns that have thrown themselves in my way, so I’ve often gone with that, and, at least for Simplicity, have my alterations pretty much worked out. The addition of a padded bra to bring my bust up to the official size-12 range, and I’m good to go.

I’m not nearly so clear for McCall’s patterns, having only made up one for myself, and that one being basically unfitted. And a size 12.

Pockets

Still, when you’re using $2/metre thrift store fabric, you can’t really justify much in the way of muslining. So off I went. I liked where the under-bust seam was falling, so I didn’t petite the bodice. I did do a small swayback alteration in the back, but that was all. I blithely added side-seam pockets, even remembering to interface the front side seam allowance (a tip from the Marcy Tilton book) so they don’t bag out. The bodice is intended to lined, with lining and shell cut from the same pattern piece. This is of course just asking for the lining edges to roll out, especially as it would be pretty near impossible to understitch those narrow parts around the neck, and I wasn’t feeling up to painstakingly making a lining piece taking into account turn of cloth, so I went with my old standby: piping. Yay! Is it possible for a wardrobe to have too much piping? We shall see…

Piping and button-loops

The pattern instructs you to use hooks and eyes for the non-overlapping closure at the back of the neck. I’m not a fan of hooks and eyes generally, and this definitely seemed a little flimsy (not to mention Becky Home-Ecky), so I made little tiny spaghettie strap button loops. I cut them on the bias, used the bobby-pin method to turn them, steamed and stretched and ironed the crap out of them until they were as skinny as I could get them, and I think I’m in love. I’m also a little astonished I was able to find a bobby-pin in my house, but anyway. The cute little buttons are from the stash, and probably are of a similar vintage to the pattern, if not older.

Zip

And then I got it all stitched up, minorly flubbing the invisible zip because I was too lazy in the zone to re-read Sherry’s tutorial. It’s okay, not great, and I did have to rip to re-position the waist seams so they matched.

And then I made my worst mistake yet. I tried it on.

hmm

Oops. Ok, so it’s not totally, totally awful. The bodice is pretty much perfect, barring a small amount of gaping at the sides that probably has more to do with my poor fabric-handling technique than anything else. But that is, ah, a wee bit MAJORLY tight through the hips. And there’s the wrinkling in the back. And a bit of gaping over the pockets, probably to do with the tightness in the hips (the Marcy Tilton book also discusses the amount of ease you need to have side-seam pockets in a skirt, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have it here. Also the side-seam swings back, suggesting I need a bit more booty room. This is, shall we say, a bit unusual for me.Hmm.So, depending on how you squint your eyes, I did one of two (possibly three things wrong. Arguably I should have shortened the upper part of the skirt to accommodate my short waist, which would basically bring up the wider part lower down to where the width is needed. Alternatively, slashing and spreading to widen the skirt from waist down would’ve done much the same thing. For fun, I took a tuck with a bunch of pins.

Pin-tucked

I didn’t do as good a job pinning up the back (it’s tricky with the zipper) but I think that’s a definitely improvement in the front. The side-seams are still pulling back a bit, though, which I think means that more booty-ease is still needed in the back.

All of which is fascinating, but doesn’t help me save the dress’s current incarnation. At this point I’m considering removing the pockets and just making the side-seam as small as I can, but since I already serged the seam this won’t increase it by much. Maybe enough to at least lose the worst of that stuffed-sausage look, though… Alternatively I could try an add a godet at each side-seam, but that seems risky, too…

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The Queue

Cushion cover. Sewing at its least glamorous.

I never know how much to write about planned projects. While it’s hard to resist showing off a new pattern or fabric and expounding on the fabulous garment it will become (or, y’know not), my “queue” is, ah, a bit fluid. A lot of ideas change, or get pushed off as new projects pop to the fore, and stuff can go on the back burner pretty much indefinitely. On the other hand, my theory is to write about whatever I happen to be sewing—and if the only sewing to write about is planning, well, there you go.

That being said, I’m at a transition point. The “let down” of finishing the Spring Coat was rather softened by having the plaid dress already underway, but now that’s done, too, I’m feeling a little floaty. There are several projects I SHOULD tackle, but of course they’re all non-selfish, and therefore not nearly as much fun:

I have to finish my friend’s cushion cover (now that I have the right zipper foot!). I actually made some good progress on this on Sunday, until I realized that somehow, despite loads of careful measuring, my cushion-wall-piece-band (whatever) is a good 7″ too short. So I need to unpick, insert a piece, and re-do the piping. Argh. I put it down. Hopefully I’ll tackle it on the weekend.

My friend Serena's costume coat

And then there’s Serena’s tailcoat. I’ve done most of the initial pattern alterations and really need to whip up a muslin.

I should also whip up the fleece-lined coat for Niece #2, just to get the fabrics out of stash (Now that the fabric has resurfaced). She won’t get to wear it until the fall, but that’s fine as I’m a little afraid she’d drown in it. She will be three in June, which is the size I’m making, but she’s still not 30 lbs (which I’m pretty sure Tyo was by 18 months). A little more time to grow won’t hurt. It needs to get done before the end of June, though, to make sure it gets there this summer.

And of course, there’s Peter’s Jeans Sewalong, which is already underway. I don’t NEED a sewalong to make jeans (although I’m sure I’ll learn plenty, even just reading along), but I certainly could. Tyo’s due for another pair, even if I don’t need any myself. I had thought about making some for the hubby, as finding him jeans is a nightmare, but since he’s picky about their fit and, as you all know, skittish about photography, I figure I’ll leave that headache for some time in the future.

Of course the main problem with all of these projects is that they’re not for me. I really am a selfish seamstress at heart, I guess…

On the practical side, I need to make myself a sweater (or three). I have plenty of fabric, I just need to decide on a style and make them. Partly because I left my lone, hard-working, long-cherished RTW hoodie behind when we went home for Easter, and partly because I will need them come June.

Speaking of which:

I, Tanit-Isis, of Tanit-Isis Sews, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June ’11. I endeavour to wear entirely handmade clothing, including outerwear (but excluding underwear and socks), each day for the duration of June 2011, and to document this to the best of my abilities.

This is upping my game, if only slightly, as the last couple of times I have still incorporated RTW jackets (SSS) and sweaters (MMM, but just the one hoodie mentioned above). I will also try to avoid repeat outfits (although not repeat items), but I can’t promise these won’t creep in by accident.

A dress I don't need.

On the less practical side, there are at least two dresses in queue—McCall’s 315, and a real, dress-version of the Ceylon out of some grey-blue crepe. I must admit the Ceylon seems much less daunting now that I have my buttonholer!

Crepe Ceylon

And the 70s suit, Simplicity 6602, which could also fulfill Joy’s Bellbottom Challenge

70s Suit in narrow-wale corduroy

Despite the photography, the Ceylon crepe fabric and the corduroy are the exact same shade of dusty blue.

Another 70s jacket

Incidentally, the fabric for this jacket is still preying on my mind. And do you notice, the skirt and waistband detail are basically identical to one view of Colette’s new skirt?

Of course, if you recall, that waistband piece is one of several that are missing from this pattern. But it wouldn’t be hard to replicate.

Hmm. Never mind the Bellbottom Challenge. I’m looking at a whole frickin’ 70s wardrobe!

But first thing’s first. Cushion cover.

Blergh.

UPDATE: Oh yeah! And voting is now open in the Pattern Review Lined Jacket contest, for those of you who are PR members and interested. As Steph points out, these things work better the more people who vote, so go take a look! There are some awesome entries (and no, I’m not just talking about mine.)

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