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McCalls M7969

I feel like McCalls M7969 needs no introduction. Every now and again a pattern comes along that the whole sewing community goes crazy for, and this dress is one of them. It’s that dress with those sleeves. Keep on reading for an explanation on why I made it without those sleeves! Sacre Bleu!

You know me – I love a good pattern bandwagon to jump onto, but last year with the pandemic and all, I didn’t have as much money to spend on patterns and fabric. Also the pattern was out of stock in my size everywhere ( and I think it is still hard to get hold of), so even if I had the money I probably wouldn’t have been able to find it!

The time came around this year when I couldn’t wait any longer, FOMO had got the better of me and one of my kind followers let me know that the pattern was in stock at Ahakhan. I didn’t even know that Abakhan sold patterns! Of course I charged over to their website, and it was indeed available at that time. Before I knew it, it was in my basket and on it’s way to me. Phew.

So many beautiful variations with this pattern.

The style of the dress is supposed to be ‘very loose fitting’ according to the pattern envelope description, but I didn’t want it to feel too relaxed as this look can sometimes overwhelm me as I’m only 5’2″. My size put me in the ‘Medium’ size range for this pattern, but I wondered if the ‘Small’ might give me the fit that I was going for. My measurements are 34-29-38. The dress comes with sleeve, ruffle and length variations so it has something for everyone. Unfortunately this pattern doesn’t cover all sizes in a single pattern. You choose either the size XS – MED or the L – XXL. This is frustrating if you find yourself in the MED -L size range as you have to make a decision on which size pattern to go for.

To check the fit before cutting into my ‘good’ fabric I made a toile in the small size out of an old sheet. This was important not only to check the fit, but also to see how the fabulous massive sleeve would look on my frame. I cut one of the large puffy sleeves (view A sleeve) and one of the narrower sleeves (view B and C), to see which I liked better.

The big sleeve just felt too big for my frame, also it made me look very wide across the shoulders from the back. When I attached the slimmer, shorter sleeve to the other arm it felt much more comfortable and I liked how it looked when I roughly gathered it up with a gathering thread. Rather than gathering it into a cuff as I normally would I added some clear elastic to the inside which creates a nice little ruffle edge. Also TBH if I had made the big sleeves I would be forever catching them in door handles. You know what I mean all you statement sleeve lovers out there ūüėČ

Take a shot each time I say sleeve! ūüėČ

The sleeve is a raglan style and gathers really beautifully at the shoulder so that it fits into the bias tape neckline edge. It really is a beautiful feature of the dress.

After machine stitching the bias neckband tape in place around the neck edge, I hand stitched it on the inside, as recommended in the instructions. You could use the ‘stitch in the ditch’ method with your machine if you’re not a fan of hand sewing. After making my toile I decided NOT to interface the bias neckline tape again. Maybe my medium weight interfacing was just too heavy, but I was certainly glad I left it out for my second version as it was much easier to fold and my neckband edge has still held it’s shape beautifully. I added a couple of stitches on the wrong side of the dress where the crossover meets just to make sure it stays in place where I want it to.

Have you even been to a National Trust property if you haven’t had your pic taken in one of their wonderful doorways?

The dress length on my toile was just a smidge too short for me, so before cutting out this dress again I added 1.5″ to the skirt length. Not much but it makes all the difference to me and my wrinkly old knees.

Sadly pockets aren’t included in this pattern so I simply added my own using a pocket pattern piece from another pattern.

My fawn gingham fabric is also from Abakhan. I wrongly assumed that this was a cotton gingham when I bought it, but it has some polyester content in it. Silly me for not checking carefully enough. Never mind, not quite exactly what I had in mind, but not the end of the world.

I am blown away by just how much I love how this dress turned out. Sometimes those raised waist dresses can be a little unflattering for those of us with a bit of a bigger bust, but I really like where the waist seam sits on me – especially at the back for some reason. I also adore the subtle shape of the neckline at the back – that beautiful curved dip is adorable

The fawn/cream gingham print looks wonderful with gold coloured jewellery, so I accessorised this dress with the gold button necklace from my shop.

Thanks to my husband Mick for patiently taking these pictures on our 24th wedding anniversary trip to Coughton Court this week.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy @sew_dainty x

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A Fabulous Floral Bomber Jacket – McCall’s M7100

How is it October already?  The first Monday of the month means that it is my turn to post a review on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and this month I am happy to share with you a make that is a little different for me.

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It’s the¬†McCall’s M7100 bomber jacket (I might mention here that Minerva have 40% off McCall’s patterns at the time of writing this), and I made it up in this incredible red floral¬†Ponte Roma fabric¬†which is also currently on sale at ¬£5.99 per metre at the moment.

I won’t say too much over on my blog here, as you can read all about it over on the¬†Blogger Network¬†¬†but I really enjoyed making this one and it is an incredibly quick and fun pattern to make – perfect for this time of the year!

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you over at Minerva Crafts.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My McCalls M7406 Wrap Dress – my latest #MCBN make and my #sewtogetherforsummer entry

The beginning of the month means that it is time to share with you the link to my latest Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make. This month it is this McCalls M7406 wrap dress.

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This is the first time that I have made a wrap dress, what took me so long? Its pretty, feminine and flattering, and I love the long belt and flutter sleeves on this dress.

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The pretty¬†floral crepe is set against a black background and this fabric is currently on sale at ¬£6.99 per metre. Also, again at the time of writing this, the¬†McCalls pattern is half price too – at ¬£4.62! I’m not sure how long either of these items will stay at that price!

I’ll let you head on over to the¬†Minerva Crafts Blogger Network¬†to read the full review, if you would like more details.

I am also going to offer this as my #sewtogetherforsummer entry, which is a friendly sewing challenge to make a wrap dress,  hosted by Sarah, Monika and Suzy. So do visit these lovely ladies over on Instagram for all the details!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Special McCalls M6706 Pleated Skirt

The beginning of the month means that I get to share with you my latest make for Minerva Crafts.

For those unfamiliar, Minerva Crafts is a large online fabric and haberdashery retailer in the U.K and every month I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to sew up something using their lovely fabric, and write about it over on their Blogger Network.

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This month I chose to make this fab pleated skirt using a really great stretch cotton twill. Unfortunately, the navy colour way has now sold out (at the time of writing), but I had a look today and it is still available in a black which I will link to here.

My full review is over on the Blogger Network now, where I share my thoughts along with more pics.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Another McCalls M7313 Jersey Dress

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This blog post may be a little shorter than the usual, as I have already written a full review on this pretty dress pattern back in June, which you can take a look at here.

However I thought you may like to see another version of the dress that I made in a pink jersey.  It happens to be another tropical print РI am all about the tropical print this Summer.

I made this wearable toile as a ‘test run’ before I cut into the beautiful black jersey that I used in my June blog post. As it happens, this version turned out to be very wearable and I have worn it several times (as I have the black jersey version), it’s great!

I learned when I made this that I needed to size down next time (which I did). This version was made in a size 14, and my black dress is a size 12 which is a much better fit. Worn with a belt, though, I feel it is still a dress that I reach for often, and receive lovely comments when I wear it – actually this applies to the black dress too – maybe this is the style for me!

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As I have said before, it is such a simple quick make. I love that you can throw it over your head and you’re good to go! No darts or zips, just a yard of elastic at the waist. Nice and simple. I have made a great deal of gathered and pleated dresses lately and this ‘fit and flare’ skater style is something that I have really fallen in love with.

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The skirt has just the right amount of ‘swishyness’ don’t you think?

The fabric I used was a market stall bargain (£1 a metre from Leicester market)! and I bought so much that I have also made a jersey kimono from it which I blogged about here.

Have you made the M7313 at all? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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McCalls M7313 Sewing Pattern Review

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I am so happy to share with you my latest make, McCalls M7313, which is a great little skater dress for knit fabrics.

Writing this blog has opened up some wonderful opportunities for me, and I am lucky enough to have been given this stunning fabric and sewing pattern by Lucy and the team at Sewessential.

Lucy, her husband and her Mother in Law, all work together to run this successful online sewing superstore, which started about 13 years ago. Over the years it has grown and not only does it offer you the most beautiful range of fabrics, it stocks the most enormous selection of sewing patterns. Furthermore, I was surprised to see a vast range of haberdashery and sewing gadgets and I was blown away by the choice of sewing machines and overlockers. For those interested I use a Janome sewing machine and overlocker.

Clearly it was going to take some time to choose a pattern and fabric that I wanted to work with, and it did! I knew that I wanted to make a jersey dress. I have loved making several versions of the Colette Patterns ‘Moneta’ Dress, and I adore a dress with a gathered waist, but I have wanted to make a slightly different type of jersey knit dress for a while now, just haven’t found the right pattern.

As soon as I noticed the McCalls M7313 I knew that this was the one! This skater style dress was exactly what I needed, I have never made this fit and flare style before and it looked like it could be ‘right up my street’. I was also very drawn towards this wonderful¬†tropical jersey knit fabric, and thought they would be a perfect pairing. The fabric is lovely and wide which is always a bonus, you can purchase in 0.5 metre increments which is helpful, ¬†and it is super soft, with a lovely drape.

The pattern is very versatile. It has different sleeve, neck and length variations, so there is something for everyone! I chose a scoop neck,  short sleeved version in the shorter length, but this dress would work very nicely in the Winter months with long sleeves and the high neck. Perfect!

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Throughout the make I used ball point pins, and a ball point needle and twin needle on my machine. It is important to use needles and pins with rounded tips to ensure they pierce through the fabric without damaging the individual fibres. I also used my sewing machine entirely for this project, proving that you don’t have to have an overlocker to work with knit fabrics!

The dress came together really quickly, and I love how it has turned out. I finished the neckline and sleeves using a twin needle as I think this gives you a really professional look with very little effort!

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The pattern instructions are clear and easy to follow as you would expect from a McCalls pattern, and it is suitable for beginners, so is lovely and straightforward. A small amount of 1/4″ elastic is needed to give the waistline a tiny bit of shape, but no zips, darts etc make this a pleasure to make. Aren’t dresses that you can just throw over your head the best!

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Such vibrant colours!

I can imagine this dress on a sunny day out worn with wedges and sunglasses, but would totally wear it on a cooler day with a denim jacket and ankle boots. That’s the British Summer weather covered!

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Pop on a belt to dress it up a little!

I have really enjoyed making this dress, and would like to thank all at Sewessential for the supplies. It will certainly be a dress I will wear all Summer and I already have plans for another one as I want it in all the colours!

Thank you for reading, have you made this dress? I would love to hear from you.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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McCall M7530 Sewing Pattern Review

McCalls M75303

If you’re after a really quick and easy ‘throw over the head’ Summer dress project then read on…

I was very lucky to be given the choice of a couple of McCall sewing patterns recently as a prize from the lovely Kate and Rachel at¬†The Fold Line. Thank you so much guys! If you haven’t already I would definitely take a look at their website. It’s a great place where all aspects of the sewing community are covered. New pattern releases, sewing news, meet-ups and pattern reviews and photos are available to browse through, and I would recommend signing up to their newsletters, they will certainly keep you on top of what’s happening in the sewing world!

One of my pattern choices was this very simple dress which has an elasticated waist. Probably not the most exciting design but my reasons for choosing it is that it is a style that I reach for on sunny days when I want to wear a dress but don’t want to look too formal. As you might expect there are several variations – sleeveless, short sleeved, long sleeved and maxi length.

I chose to use a fabric which I bought from Adam Ross Fabrics on a recent fabric meet-up with lots of sewing friends in Birmingham (#FMBHAM).  I think it is a polyester, and I love the colour, maybe not one that I would usually choose for a Summer dress, but I have so many florals in my wardrobe at the moment, it was good to have a change.

Cutting out and the dress construction was easy peasy, you could almost do it with your eyes closed! There are no darts, zips or buttons so this would be a perfect dress for an absolute beginner. Setting in the sleeves and the elasticated waist are the only challenges and these are very well explained by McCall’s with excellent written instructions and illustrations.

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The fit was good for me. Maybe the bodice of the dress was a little roomy, but I quite like this and it suits the design of the dress. Overall I feel it came up pretty true to size, often I end up taking more off the hem due to my height (or lack of it)! but this shows the true length of this skirt on a 5’2″ height. I did feel that it looked a little too plain on it’s own so added a belt and feel that this just gives it that little extra that I was looking for.

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I used one of these ‘elastic glides’ to help me thread my elastic at the waistband. So much quicker and easier than my previous method of using a safety pin attached to the end of the elastic!

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Obviously, I would have preferred the dress to have had pockets, you know me, so next time I will pop some in to the side seams of the skirt pieces, easy enough to do – I don’t know why I didn’t do it this time!

So overall, a very quick satisfying dress make, and I am pleased with the outcome. I will make more of these for the Summer as I know it is a style that I enjoy for everyday wear. I rather like the idea of the sleeveless maxi dress option … how cute would that be with flat sandals on a sunny day!

I do like using McCall patterns, I am always pleased with how they turn out. ¬†I really enjoyed sewing this up, and I have other McCall’s that I am planning to make soon, so will tell you all about them when they are done!

If you enjoyed this, you may be interested in my thoughts on another McCall dress pattern, the M7381, and you can read about that here.

Hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on this pattern.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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McCalls M7381 Dress Pattern Review

 

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I was delighted to see that in the latest edition of Love Sewing magazine, issue 37, the free pattern was this McCalls M7381. I love floaty dresses and this looked like it was right up my street.

The size range in this single pattern is quite impressive too. It covers sizes XS through to XXL. Pretty good (until you get to the part when you want to fold the pattern pieces back up and try to get them back in the envelope! Ha! Several versions of the dress are available to choose from. Long sleeves, short sleeves, sleeveless and maxi length. I chose view C.

My fabric choice was from Minerva crafts found here. Its a beautiful viscose challis and the print is adorable. I must admit that I love the Minerva web site, most often as well as a good description of the fabric there is a video which shows you how the fabric drapes, creases, stretches and how sheer it is. Super helpful.

The most difficult part of making up any pattern is deciding what size to cut. I must admit that very often now I will cut a toile, not great when you want to quickly get on with a new pattern but quite often necessary. I should have done so in this case and I didn’t. Off I jolly well went and after pre-washing the fabric (now this really is essential and I never skip doing this)! I chose to cut the pattern in a size large which is what my body measurements showed as on size chart on the envelope. I was nervous as this would normally by accompanied by a ‘finished measurement’ size chart which I would refer to but couldn’t see this.

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The dress is fairly straightforward to make up. The bodice was the most complicated part because it is lined, so requires several pattern pieces.  This was a nice challenge for me as I  have made several very easy patterns of late and it was good to sew up something a little more challenging (but still not too difficult). After the bodice is made up the rest of the pattern comes together quickly.

Some pretty features of this pattern are the pleat details at the shoulders and skirt front. I also like the faux tie belt feature at the front waist.

It is comfortable to put on and wear, and has an elasticated waist at the back of the skirt. Snap studs or poppers are hand sewn in on the bodice front, although I moved the placement of mine to show less cleavage!

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As you can probably see from the photos the dress has come up much too large. I could have easily have gone down at least one size band. The bodice has far too much room in it and the elasticated gathers at the back just seem to accentuate this unfortunately. Boo.

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If i had not been in so much of a rush to cut it out and make it I probably would have read a couple of really good reviews by¬†Amy¬†and¬†Rachel¬†where both mention the size aspect of this pattern. Do head over to these lovely ladies blog posts if you are considering making this dress, I’m sure that you will find it useful.

I really enjoyed making the bodice lining for this dress. I feel it gives the dress much more of a finished look and looks so much better than seeing the seams on the inside. I also remembered to pop in one of my name labels – I often forget to do this when I get engrossed in my sewing!

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Don’t let my sizing problem put you off making this lovely pattern. At the time of releasing this post I believe that issue 37 of Love Sewing may still be current- just. (next issue out March 23rd) so if you’re interested in a free copy of this pattern you may still be able to track down an issue before issue 38 comes out later in the week!

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I think this dress can be rescued with some little adjustments here and there from me. It would be a shame not to enjoy it this Summer as I do love so love the fabric.

Have you made this dress, what did you think?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy