Tag Archives: McCall’s 7123


A Dread Pirate Shirt

He said: why do you need to take photos?

I said: for the blog, of course.

He said: why do you need to blog this stuff?

I said: because I like to and it keeps me inspired.

He said: I don’t think you understand how much I hate having my picture taken.

I said: No photo, no more Tanit-made items.

He said: okay. I’d rather buy them than have to pose for photographs.

I said: you can’t buy this kind of stuff. That’s why I make it.

He said: I don’t care—I’ll order it off the internet, I’ll pay whatever it takes, if it means you don’t take photographs.

I took photographs. Possibly at gunpoint.

The glare I was receiving has been cropped for the protection of readers.

If I were sane, this would, of course, be the last things I ever make him. But it’s as much about scratching that itch to make him happy (and see him in some hawt clothes), so I will probably keep making him stuff.

At least he’s wearing this one. About the only time it wasn’t in use this weekend was when he was fishing, so if it looks a little rumpled, that’s why.

Why yes, we were out at the creek again.



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You know you have a winner when…

Mr. Isis's Shirt. Photographing black sucks.

… he’s wearing it before you even have a chance to put buttons on.

I finished Mr. Isis’s shirt, and realized I have no matched black shirt-type buttons. So it is still lacking in buttons and buttonholes. Although Sewing World, on my way home, has a fabulous selection of thread and zippers (and every gizmo known to seamstress), they have zilch for buttons. Well, there might be a few novelty ones. Nothing shirt-worthy, anyway. But the plan is to trek out to Fabricland for kids’ Hallowe’en costume fabric this weekend, so I should be able to remedy that.

None of which stopped Mr. Isis from throwing it on, tucking it in, and rolling up the sleeves, and wearing it around the house the last several evenings.  And he does indeed look a little “Dread Pirate Roberts,” if I do say so myself. >:D

So yeah, I think this one, at least, is a winner…

You may now begin to place bets on how long it takes me to corral him into letting me photograph him in it.


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Shirt Progress and mana (I mean fabric) from heaven

Shirt collar

There has been sewing happening, albeit of the “one seam a day” variety. The shirt is taking form. I considered and tested doing flat-felled seams, but have abandoned the idea for this project, anyway. Maybe the next one…

Shirt back

Last week I got an unexpected call from an Aunt—she and my uncle were on their way into town and wanted to take us for dinner. Mr. Isis feeling a bit sickly, the girls and I trotted off to the far side of town (in rush hour traffic) and had a lovely dinner with them, over the course of which my aunt mentioned that she had three boxes of fabric in the car for me.

Free Fabric

Now, as has been mentioned before, I am not one to look gift fabric in the fibre content (or whatever), but I also knew that my aunt probably did most of her stitching fifteen to thirty years ago.

Yes, ladies and gents, the 80s called, it wants its fabric back.

"Heirloom" fabric

I am pretty sure I recall my cousins wearing sweaters of this gorgeous period fabric in, oh, 1988. Tyo figures it would make a good nightie. Or boxers. Or housecoat. I was thinking interlining inside a jacket where it will never irradiate another eyeball again. We’ll see.


On a more promising note, there were some nice cottons. I quite like the paisley print, and the colour of the pink broadcloth. And see the red polkadot on the bottom left? Look familiar?

Yes, I now have two metres MORE of the exact same fabric I used for my niece’s and Syo’s polkadot dresses.


I think my personal favourite of the whole lot is these two, though. The tan colour is a a fleece/fun-fur thing, the black print is a weird, faintly stretchy woven that for some reason I really like. I’m picturing the two together in a fur-lined hoodie of some kind… maybe similar to this one. Although my fabrics are not quite so lush.

There’s also a strange snowman quilt-kit-thingy half-completed. It scares me.

Anyway, thank you Auntie for the hand-me-downs. I shall do my best to make sure they get the usage they deserve. 😉


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DETOUR! (Or, way too much sewing for my man)

White version from Summer 2010

While I wait for Mr. Isis to deign to try on the muslin for his coat again, I’m stalled on that front. Yes, again.

So, what should I do? Start Hallowe’en costumes? Well, yes, except that I haven’t got the fabric for them yet, and there’s nothing in stash suitable.

I know, I’ll start a shirt for him!

All y’all recall how well the last one went.

Why yes, I am off my rocker, why do you ask? Obviously Her Selfishness needs to start posting more, because I’m clearly suffering badly from unselfish-sewing-itis.

The shirt he actually wears...

In my defense, this is a different shirt pattern than the one I made for the Men’s Shirt Sewalong last winter, which is the one that has never been worn. In fact, it’s the poet-shirt pattern that I made Mr. Isis twice last summer. Those shirts, he wears to death (just don’t let him see the pattern envelope or he’ll never wear any of those shirts again). The knit one is a strictly bumming-around-the-house shirt (and I wince a little every time I see it…), but the crinkle-voile version gets called on frequently for looking spiffy while out (and he does look spiffy in it, I will admit). And probably not long after I finished those two, he may have dropped the hint that he would love a black version.

And sometime last spring, I may even have gotten around to picking up a couple of metres of black cotton voile (which cost quite a lot. Plain black or white cotton voile is one of those fabrics that somehow just doesn’t quite make it to the discount racks I usually haunt…)

And for some reason, today I was itching to get it out of the stash.*

Tracing pattern

Anyway, I pulled it out, spent way too much time ironing (I even ironed my pattern!) and started cutting. Er, I also tried something new. I used my (kinda) new tailor’s chalk thingy to trace the patterns with weights, rather than pin them down. It works fairly well with this pattern, which I traced onto heavy paper last summer, but I think would be more annoying with tissue. The trick, I gather, is to cut to the inside of the chalk lines once you are cutting out. I’m not sure if it’s a lot faster than pinning, but, well, it was fun at least for a change. I think I will definitely consider giving it a try next time I make a pair of jeans, too, although I think it might be a bad idea with a more shifty, less cooperative fabric.

Jeans, incidentally, are another thing I want to make for my husband. It’s been itching at me for a long time (buying him RTW jeans is kind of like banging your head into the wall repeatedly), but when ElleC sent me this cool men’s jeans pattern back earlier in the summer the itch became almost unbearable. The only reason I haven’t tried to scratch it before now is he kept saying he wanted the coat more. Silly man. And I have plenty of denim in stash.

Stitched-on placket

Anyhoo, there’s not much progress to report yet—everything’s cut out and I did stitch on the front plackets and apply the continuous-lap placket (bias-strip placket), which I now realize is the cheesy, chintzy way of doing a shirt placket, in keeping with the “Learn to Sew” designation of this pattern. Ah, well. I think it works with this style, which has that kind of archaic/romantic/poet/cowboy sort of look.

Incidentally, I *think* I may prefer a cut-on button placket. The main reason this shirt doesn’t have one is that the original pattern isn’t actually buttoned all the way down. Which you can’t tell by looking at the pattern envelope—but that’s a whole ‘nother beef.

Continuous-lap plackets (rather fuzzy pic)

I’ll leave you with that. We just had the most fabulous Last-Day-of-September weather I think I’ve ever experienced in my life (daytime high of 26C) and tomorrow it’s not supposed to make it into double digits! Yay, spastic weather! So maybe there’ll be more stitching tomorrow…

*It has occurred to me that if we’re going to be moving next summer, it would behoove me to do some serious stash-whittling over the winter. This is rather saddening because I’ve really enjoyed building my stash, and it’s just now reaching a “mature” level where I can often have a loose concept in mind and shop the stash rather than having to run out to the fabric store. I really like this, honestly. It may be indulgent, but I like that freedom. As ElleC says, stash fabric, like excess patterns, is an important part of our fantasy lives.

In any case, it’s going to be very un-fantastic to box up.


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The Evil Shirt of Doom

Don't be fooled by its innocent appearance... this is truly the Evil Shirt of Doom

Is finished, and actually doesn’t look as terrible as I had thought it might. The construction is still pretty bad—the worst since the sheer JJ blouse—but it’s basically impossible to take stitches out of this fabric, so it’s just going to have to stay that way. It is very drapey, and hangs quite close to the body compared to the other shirt from this pattern, probably in part due to the narrower yoke, but partly just the different fabric. I do like the wider cuffs. I was worried about the lengthwise stretch, especially beside the button placket, but at least so far it isn’t noticeable. I did a crapload of reinforcing on the shoulder and armscye seams, hence the double rows of double-stitching on the yoke.

Anyway, it’s done. Warts, wrinkles,  wavy seams and all. And, once again, he won’t let me take a picture, so

Doom Shirt---back view. Note the highly uneven hem. Actually, don't.

here it is on a hanger. When worn, it has a much more casual look than the other shirt, which is a tad dressy; I’m not really sure the distinction shows as well on the hanger, though. I don’t think any of us were sure how the gathers would work in a knit, but they are actually not bad (though they were a pain to sew). I guess it helps that my expectations for this shirt were so low, low, low.

I think I need to add a small component to my documenting of my sewing, and that is the Laundering Factor. Sorry to talk about my laundry, folks, but this is an issue: I can make the nicest clothes in the world, but if they don’t survive the laundry, it’s just a big waste. I don’t mind hand-washing some stuff (the sheer JJ has had this treatment several times now, and while its seams continue to pull, they’ve been doing that since five minutes after I first put it on), but the real, heavy-duty, day-to-day stuff has to survive the machine. I’ll do it on delicate in cold water, throw it in a lingerie bag, hang it to dry after—but it has to get through the machine.

So far the other JJ blouses have survived the machine quite nicely, though they could use a bit of pressing, and I hate ironing (other than when I’m sewing). My first cowl top has popped in and out of the wash a couple of times now and aside from a bit of pilling (it’s the same Evil Fabric as the Shirt of Doom, by the way) it’s fine. But the Manequim cowl top came out (of the lingerie bag!!!) with a big hole in the back drape. Seriously? In the bag? I don’t know what happened except maybe it got caught in the bag’s zipper? Anyway, I’m a bit choked over that. It was its first trip through the laundry! But, in the end, the shirt was basically a muslin, and I have no qualms with re-making it in a better fabric at some point. No, what I’m really choked about is the Black Jalie Jeans. These things fit like a dream. I fought with the waistband, had to pulll the twill tape out because it was too tight, tweaked and tugged… and then I washed them.

Now, I never put my stretch jeans in the dryer. This is one of those things that Is Not Done. But I did (in the interests of shrinking things up) put the fabric in the dryer when I pre-washed it. Also I have nowhere to hang 4m of denim to dry. And I made them, and got them fitting wonderfully, and then I washed them again. Hanging to dry.

After hang-drying, they were a good 1/4″ too big on each leg, and the whole waistband was loose and gaping. Seriously, folks, I could’ve screamed.

So this last time when I washed them, I (cringed and) threw them in the dryer. And, of course, they come out fitting beautifully. The waistband is still a little soft—I think a problem with my interfacing, more than anything, and I”ve bought some different stuff to try next time—but the fit is snug where it should be, and the waistband is no longer actively gaping, even if it is a little stretchier than I’d like.

So, here’s my problem. Should I give up pre-washing the stretch denim, on the grounds that the dryer causes more stretching (later) than it prevents shrinking? Should I add a wash to the construction phase, before I put on the waistband (which won’t help with the waistband stretching out part, alas)? Or just continue to (sob) throw them in the dryer, accepting that they’ll die much sooner than they would otherwise (Which, I guess, is a lot easier to do for jeans that cost me $20 of fabric instead of $80 and up). Don’t ask me to give up wearing jeans that look like they’ve been spray-painted on, I’ve been doing that since I was twenty and the hunt for that elusive fit is the main reason I spend so much on RTW jeans. Even then the ratio of jeans I still like after a full day’s wear is not much more than 50/50. I guess we’ll have to see. Play it by ear. Experiment. The biggest problem with sewing with stretch fabrics, I’m concluding, is that they are unpredictable. There’s too many variables—shrinkage, stretch, recovery—that are really hard to fully comprehend before you’re wearing the finished garment. At which point, it’s too late.

Anyway, that’s my whining for the day. Time to get to work.


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At long last

McCall's 7123 front view

The Boy’s first shirt (made by me, anyway). Not the evil knit one, the lovely crinkle cotton voile.  It’s been finished a week, easy, but this was the first time I could tempt (read: coerce) him into letting me take a proper photo. You may recall my previous attempt. Anyway, I love this shirt, and he seems to as well, judging by the number of times he’s worn it already. It is distinctly sheer, so it’s probably at its best with an undershirt, but ah well. It was like pulling teeth just to get these pictures, I wasn’t going to make him go change too…

When/if I make this shirt again (the knit version doesn’t count), I’ll change the cuffs so they are wider, as the narrower width gives it a costumey, home-made look. I’m considering trying to move the neck further back in the yoke, since as is the “front yoke” seam, which is supposed to be a bit in front of the shoulder line, is pretty much right at the top of his shoulder. Alternatively, I suppose I could lengthen the front of the yoke and just shorten the shirt front by a corresponding amount, and leave the back alone. Probably simpler that way…

I think he was wearing a shirt very much like this the first time I spotted him at the goth bar,

McCall's 7123, rear view

more than eleven years ago, now… 😉

Mine is nicer.

Also,  I still can’t post projects on Burdastyle. I can finally see my profile and activity again (after three days without! C’mon, people! The torture!), but no project love. /whine.


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So… you remember the One-Day Shirt Challenge?

Well, the shirt is done. Actually, it’s a smashing success. He’s worn it almost every day since I finished it (as he wears a uniform at work his day-clothes don’t get a lot of wear). It looks especially dashing with his tight black jeans.


“I need a shower today,” he says.

“Not now, I’m tired,” he says.

“I feel fat today,” he says (yes, my beloved boy has body-image issues.)

Seriously, I am just about ready to strangle him—or at least vow to never make him anything ever again. What’s the point of sewing him stuff if he won’t let me take pictures of it to put up here?

… okay, perhaps my priorities are a little skewed… but still. One picture? Pretty please?

So, so far, the pic on the floor is the best I can do. Just believe me that it looks really good on?


Hmm, not really an improvement...

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The One-Day Shirt Challenge

Men's shirt in (not quite) a day

Was flunked. Maybe if I’d started first thing in the morning… maybe if I hadn’t had to go with The Boy to the doctor’s in the afternoon, or “make” (aka heat up) supper. Maybe if I hadn’t had to go out to the store for a new iron (yes, my venerable Value Village iron went to that great laundry room in the sky yesterday… it shall never spot rusty water onto a crisp white fabric again). But as it was, at bedtime I was sewing the first sleeve in, and there was no way it was going to get done without staying up ridiculously late (never good for sewing).

Back gathering

I’m glad I didn’t try to rough it out—tonight I can face the challenge of altering it, since it is still *huge*

mandarin collar

I may or may not have mentioned that the pattern, which I picked up at Value Village for a buck and had never been cut, contained only two sizes: XL and XXL. My sweetie is many things, but an XXL he is not. However, his chest measurement (40″) indicated that he should be a L—so I figured I would try my hand at grading down the pattern, since I was tracing it anyway. Yes, this was all yesterday morning.

I used my vague recollection of the Selfish Seamstress’s tutorial on resizing a pattern to shrink it down. Despite my misgivings this worked remarkably well—aside from a couple of length issues (how did I grade half the sleeve differently from the other half?) which I mostly caught at the pattern stage, everything fit together about as well as patterns usually do, given my limited cutting skills (read: patience). Better than some of the Burda 9610 pieces, actually.

So he tried it on before bed last night (one sleeve only) and… it’s huge. Sleeves too long, shoulders too wide. Actually, one or the other… the sleeve length would be fine if the shoulders weren’t so wide, and vice versa. The yoke is designed to droop over the shoulder… but not, I think, that much. None of this, of course, was obvious until I had finished all the interior seams and attached the sleeve. Grr. So I’m thinking of hacking off about an inch on each side of the body (have to check how this would affect the gathers). This should make the shirt itself less ridiculously bag-like, and shorten the sleeve up a bit, too.  If I’m particularly clever, I’ll even remember to do a french seam on the sideseams this time around, too… On the other hand, the neck is perfect.

Cuff & sleeve placket; a little Becky Home-Ecky.

I didn’t really pay much attention to the instructions, but they seem to be very thorough and aimed at beginning sewists. This may explain the ridiculous amount of ease in the shirt (aren’t “beginner” patterns usually humongous?). The gathers are actually quite soft and subtle—not nearly as ridiculously pouffy as I thought they might be.  The cotton voile is a brat to iron but a dream to sew with—I was event able to  edgestitch the cuffs and front placket down without it looking totally ridiculous on the other side (Fortunately there’s lots left over. The pattern called for up to 4 m of fabric, but I don’t think I used more than 2). The cuff and sleeve placket are fairly “home-sewn-ish”; the cuff’s a bit too narrow and the continuous-lap placket is not quite right for a men’s dress shirt. I will maybe try to change that next time. Yes, there will be a next time. He still wants the shirt out of knit. (shudders)

On the up side, he says he’ll never complain about paying $50 for a shirt again after seeing how much work goes in to one…


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McCall's 7123

The Boy (aka Hubby, aka Sweetums, aka Pookie, aka Pain In My Butt) wants his shirt by the end of the day. This after barely mentioning the idea of me making him a shirt at all.

So far the fabric is washed and partly ironed and the pattern is traced and hopefully re-sized properly.

Making the blue and/or white version (gathery with a round collar and no doofy panel in the front) in a white crinkle cotton voile. Though, I didn’t realize from the illustrations, the shirt is not a full button-up. I will be making it into one, however. Wish me luck!

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