The Carol Dress

I haven’t had a shirtdress in recent memory, and definitely not one in a slinky knit. Since this is my year for trying new things, Fresh Make #3 is a knit shirtdress.DSC_0030 I used McCalls 6520. I purchased it at JoAnn’s Fabrics as part of my recent bunch of 5 McCalls patterns for $7. I have named this pattern The Carol Dress in honor of TV’s favorite 70’s mom, Carol Brady. I know her collars were more exaggerated and her hems were shorter, but this shirtdress style definitely hints back to that era.DSC_0050 I bought the fabric at Michael Levine’s in downtown L.A. on the same trip that I bought fabric for The Tina Jacket. The total cost for this project is truly something to brag about. I bought two yards of 60″ fabric for $5.00 per yard for this project. $10 for fabric + $1.40 for the pattern + $1.60 for buttons + $4.00 for interfacing + $1.95 for thread < $20! I don’t focus too much on cost for my projects because I sew for many other reasons, but the low cost for this project was worth mentioning.
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DSC_0028I can’t remember the last time I did a collar with a band. But it’s like riding a bike, you never forget how.
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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. This McCalls pattern is rated EASY. While this may be a simple version of a shirtdress, NO shirtdress pattern is recommended for beginners, especially one that is designed for knits only. Features such as collars, plackets and buttonholes are best practiced on woven fabrics first.

2. A word about working with this knit fabric. This synthetic knit is very stretchy and requires some slow and patient sewing. I found that I needed to hand-base about 3/8″ from the edge first before I topstitched around the collar to prevent the fabric from stretching on the top layer.

3. Numbers rear their ugly head again! Like with The Jean Skirt, the size that matched my measurements sounded way too large for me. I cut a size 14 on top and at the waist transitioned to a size 16! Wow! Just numbers, right? Last week I bought a pair of size 8 jeans at Ann Taylor. Oh pattern companys, why can’t you flatter us like Ann?

4. I’m not always the expert I think I am. I pride myself in taking the time adjust the pattern pieces to my measurements before I cut the fabric and also fit as I sew. I took 3/4″ off the length of the sleeve pattern and thought that would be fine. Well maybe the fabric stretched with the weight of the cuff, or I have really short arms – but the sleeves came out about 2″ too long. They bunched at the wrist and I knew I would not wear the dress like that. So I decided the best solution was say good-bye to an hour or so of hard work and simply cut them off!
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5. Shh! Big secret. I’m wearing a slip and shape wear in these photos. You got to hide the bumps and bulges when wearing a slinky knit!

Overall, I am very happy with my Carol Dress, and I am pleasantly surprised at it’s flattering fit.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I welcome your comments and questions.

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The Tina Jacket

I was tired of putting on the same fleece jacket I wore to high school track meets to go out for a casual dinner or an evening movie, so I decided Fresh Make #2 would be a jacket.

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For the pattern I used McCall’s 6657 which I purchased at JoAnn’s for $1.40 as part of the 5 patterns for $7 sale. I have named this pattern The Tina Jacket because my dear friend Tina had been wearing a cute, short wool jacket the last few times I have seen her on a casual, winter’s evening. I thought to myself, “I want a jacket like Tina’s.”

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I made view C.

I bought the fabric at one of my all time favorite fabric stores, Michael Levine in downtown L. A.. The fabric is a thick brown and gold, heather flannel. Perfect for So Cal! It cost $9.00 per yard. I bought 4, but really needed only 3 1/2. (The pattern only gave yardage amounts for 60″ wide fabric, and this was 45″, so I generously guessed on how much I needed.)

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DSC_0006I had a ton of fun making this jacket. I had not done a collar with a lapel in years.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. This McCall’s pattern is rated “EASY.” In the world of jacket and coat making it is easy, but it is not a beginner sewing project by any means. This is an unstructured, unlined jacket and does not require any advanced tailoring techniques, but successful execution the collar, set-in sleeves, top-stitching, etc…does require some intermediate sewing skills.

2. YAY! In this pattern, I’m a “S(8 -10)” If you have read my Jean Skirt post, you will know that my bottom half measurements literally translate to a size 16/18!  I’m a bit pear shaped, but if you see me walking around town, I don’t look THAT out of portion. So again, they are only numbers!

3. I made a few adjustments to the pattern. First, I discovered when I began working on the collar that one side was about one inch longer than the other! I thought this was the oddest thing ever. I then studied the illustration on the pattern envelope, and it does show one side longer! I am not opposed to asymmetry, but in this case, the difference was too slight as to look like it might be a mistake. Besides an asymmetrical collar was not what I had in mind, so I trimmed the longer side and made them even. Second, I shorten the sleeve on the pattern piece about 3/4″ before I cut it out with the fabric. Third, I put buttons on instead of toggles. Last, I made a 2″ hem instead of the 1 1/4″ width indicated on the pattern.

Overall, I am super happy with my Tina Jacket. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I welcome your feedback!