McCalls 7597 V-Neck complete!

Wow – you’d think I’d hem those jeans! But I have an excuse (of course). I’m not wearing shoes!

Best news – my laptop power cord arrived, and it works! Ahhh.

While waiting, I spent hours and hours working on my v-neck version of the M7597 caftan. The pattern has a high neckline, something I seldom wear. But I love everything else about it – the bib, gathers, back, silhouette, sleeves…


s2My first v-neck muslin was OK, but the I was not happy with the fit of the neckline. It was a little low (an easy fix), and it wanted to gap on the sides (not so easy). I’m really careful with bias-cut edges – staystitching, direction of stitching, and so on. So I knew I needed to do a little work and research.

I remembered that Jen/Grainline Studio had shared a v-neck variation for her Alder shirtdress, so I took a look. Bingo! I needed to add a bit of concave curve to the v-neck. From her tutorial (here):

alder vneck tute

Such a difference:

new neckline
Fabric: white-on-white cotton print, JoAnns



This tunic style is one of my favorites for jeans, especially in a crisp white fabric. So ’70s! but feels like home to me…




Now that I’ve conquered the neckline, redrafted the facings, and updated my pattern tissue, I’m looking forward to a maxi dress. I purchased this gorgeous challis from Cali Fabrics several weeks ago – the colors are so rich and exuberant. And it’s definitely destined to be a caftan, it’s just a matter of deciding which pattern to use, this one or the Closet Case Charlie.


Parting shot: this little Southern Chorus frog (Pseudacris nigrita) has been keeping me company on the porch for weeks. He has a sweet little trilling call and spends his time in my plants. For perspective, he is sitting in a 4″ pot and is less than 1″ long. Cute thing…

Pseudacris nigrita Southern Chorus Frog

Ciao! Coco

McCalls 7597 Kaftan – a journey


There is so much to love about this kaftan pattern. So – my story of working with it to make it my own.

Background: this pattern has loads of details that I really appreciate. The front bib, the sleeves, the gathered back, the gentle curve at the waistline. A look at the line art:


I did a muslin a few weeks ago, with no changes to the pattern, and it turned out to be a really pretty tunic with my African wax print pants.


However…there’s always a catch, right? I don’t like things to grab me around the neck. hmm. But it’s because my skin is so sensitive, scleroderma and allodynia and so on, that I really cannot wear things that have such a high neckline. But I wanted to make this pattern work for me!

I’m not afraid to redraft a pattern. Here’s a quick view of my changes. I changed the neckline completely, to have a V-neck:

It did mean drafting new facings, but they’re pretty straight forward.  And, as seen in the next pic, well, another unexpected challenge – my dress (View B) was too short, even with my addition of a couple inches! so I added a longish flounce to the bottom. The inside view:


My goodness. But another look at the finished dress. I really like it!

Fabric: Stylized Diamond Aztec Print Poplin Shirting, Fabric Mart

As before, I sewed a straight size 12. One other change, I thought the 3/4 sleeve was a bit stuffy, so I shortened it. And I’m really glad I did. The sleeve is not ‘generous’ in width, so making it shorter made it more comfortable. I wore this to the market this morning – I felt pretty – a good test…

f4It’s only Monday! this was a fun weekend project. And I think I rescued my pattern for future makes. It has so many design details that I really like – it’s not going away.


Ciao! coco


McCalls 6966 Maxi Skirt – easy dressing…




Oh, it was so nice to sew this skirt! I love maxi’s, so this project felt like coming home.

I bought this pattern ages ago, and I’ve never sewn it. Mostly because I was simply drafting my knit maxi skirts as an A-line with a yoga waistband. Like this one from a couple years ago (worn with Kathryn Brenne’s beautiful jacket, V9135):

Vogue 9135 - Kathryn Brenne jacket

But my earlier skirts were showing wear and are now gone. M6966 has lots of options, including the hi-lo look that’s so trendy this summer.

Time to give it a try. It’s pretty cute!


Sewing notes – this is very easy to sew:

  • I used size Medium, without a single change.
  • My fabric is a very loosely woven cotton French terry from Girl Charlee.
  • The length was perfect for me at 5’7″. In fact, I took off 1″ before taking up a 1″ hem.
  • This skirt is very similar, in shape and sizing, to the the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt, which is for woven fabrics and has a zipper.

I love the waistband construction. It stays up a bit better than a yoga band, and it’s very nicely finished.

(1) The outside waistband and facing are joined at the top edge, right sides together. A line of stitching about an inch below forms a casing for elastic.

(2) The elastic is inserted, and the band is turned with right sides out – the elastic is hidden!

(3) And the band is attached to the top of the skirt. I sewed it on with an elastic stitch and serged the seam allowance together to give a nice finish.


I took my pics in the dining room this morning, so I could go back and forth to my closet for options to style the skirt. I tried a cropped shirt, a belted tunic, and a jeans jacket (which is why I was wearing the white bra that’s peeking out on my shoulder). Of course, I ended up liking a simple knit tee the best.



Parting shot – since the mosquitoes rule the yard for the moment, I’m doing a little gardening on the porch. These skinny dudes are papaya sprouts, grown from seeds I harvested from a fresh papaya way back in January. If I can get them up to about 20″, they’ll go in the back garden.


I’ve had papaya trees before, and the wasps really enjoyed the fruit – they’re fast.

Bye for now – Coco

McCalls 7597 Kaftan – a complete muslin


Complete because I did it with and without sleeves.

Fran, this is for you 🙂

I’ve been wanting to be in love with this pattern, so I ditched my knit fabric muslin and sewed it in a woven – in fact, in muslin.


As a lover of tunics, and an admirer of really well-done kaftans, I snapped up this pattern just after its release. I looked all over the web, and I’ve found no reviews or pics. So – here we go!

My first focus was on the front bib insert, on both my knit attempt and on this one – on how it’s constructed and finished (because I’m picky). The pattern does not disappoint.

Inside and outside views – very nice. My muslin is a very high-thread count muslin from JoAnns.  It’s actually more like poplin, very stiff, so I didn’t use any interfacing. But I think the high neckline slit calls for interfacing in most fabrics to support the neckline.


The pattern instructions would have one (1) sew the sides of the bib into the bodice, (2) clip the corner turn, and (3) sew across the gathered bodice and bib edge. But I am not a fan. I sewed the sides of the bib into the bodice, and simply folded the bottom edge of the bib over the the gathered bodice. And topstitched. Much much easier.

Stay sane, peeps!


Having conquered the front, I also had concerns that the gathers in the back, under the yoke, might be too much. But the back is pretty! And the sides have just enough curve in them to give a nice silhouette.


Aaargh…I just had to stop typing and go to my laptop settings. I got the Microsoft 10 Creator update this morning, which took 3.5 hours and changed a bunch of settings, including my touchpad. I don’t use the touchpad, but I kept touching it with my palm as I typed. This post got a little wonky for a while…

But I’m back.

Here’s another view of the back, moving my arm a bit. It’s very comfortable and fits well.

back 2

Sewing notes:

  • To start, I’m 5’7″, and have a 34″ bust. I sewed size 12.
  • With no changes!
  • Other than my usual adjustment for a sloping shoulder on my right side. Without the latter, necklines and jacket hems do not match up. It worked fine on this pattern – whew. You never know until you do it…
  • I used the cutting line from View C, which has an added contrast band that I didn’t use. I just wanted the extra length. It’s easier to cut off than to add on!
  • My finished back length on this version is 32 1/2″, which is super nice with leggings.
  • The sleeves are cut at the longest length ( which is not full length – if you want a full-length sleeve, be sure to measure and add to the sleeve).
  • I used a 1 3/4″ hem allowance on the sleeve, finishing with a 9.5″ underarm seam.
  • A note – I have an 11″ bicep, and the sleeve is comfortable on me, but you can see that they are not generously wide.
  • I sewed the sleeve in flat, because I never sew a set-in sleeve unless I have to do it!
  • For this muslin, I trimmed the seam allowance off the sleeveless side to get a true view of a sleeveless version. The pattern uses the same armscye for sleeveless and sleeves makes, so it’s good to see how both work. I think the sleeveless armscye falls just where I’d want it.

Last view with my sewing buddy…


Parting thoughts – this is a great little pattern. The drafting is well-balanced, the pattern pieces fit together perfectly, and it was fun to sew. I even like the high neckline! and I usually go for v-neck and scoop-neck designs. The pattern might not be for beginning sewists, given the insert and sleeves. It’s such a new pattern, I’m happy to help out with any questions and so on if you’re thinking of sewing it.

Last week, before I sewed this muslin, and with crossed fingers, I purchased fabric for a maxi length version, including 3/8″ wide trim for the front insert. Five 1/2 yards – that’s a lot of fabric, but I think it will be really pretty.

fabric and trim

It’s Friday – I hope everyone enjoys a very nice weekend. Ciao! Coco

McCalls 7597 – Thwarted mid-muslin


Well, I’m sitting here laughing at myself as I write. Because I usually cause my own problems! In this case, I decided to muslin a pattern with a very lightweight knit with 60% stretch. Ignoring the fabric suggestions for cotton blends, stable knits, crepes, gauze.

The pattern – McCalls 7597 – really has me intrigued:


I ‘m pretty sure that sewing it in a woven fabric will be easy. But I love wearing knits. So a knit muslin was in order, using a cotton modal rayon that I picked up from Girl Charlee at only $2.50/yard over Mothers Day.

The exorbitant stretch factor was not really a problem. The problem was the HOLE I managed to put at the turn of the bib insert.


I’m so stubborn, I really like it when I sew well – not when I put holes in my garments!

I’ll probably use Fray Check on it and keep going. When the fabric is relaxed, the hole really isn’t noticeable.

I’m in love with the length of the front bib. It gives the illusion of a dropped waist. Very pretty.


A note on sewing this type of knit fabric – very light (almost sheer), stretchy, and curly.  I use my patchwork presser foot, a 70/10 universal needle, and a small straight stitch. This little foot really keeps the fabric in place on each side of the needle, and the needle doesn’t carry fabric into the feed dogs. A 1/4″ presser foot would work as well, but doesn’t afford the view of the stitching area that the patchwork foot provides. I also play with the pressure on the presser foot until the fabrics moves just right across the throat plate. Worth trying if you get frustrated at the machine 🙂

patchwork presser foot-horz

Speaking of throat plates, I managed to bend one of the looper needles on the throat plate of my Juki serger. I’ve had a couple weird weeks in the loft. A replacement plate is expensive, so I’ve set it aside for now, and I’m using my Janome 8002D serger. It’s a nice machine as well. I always kept it threaded with white thread and used my Juki for color changes. What luxury…I’m just glad I had two sergers!

I’m still shopping fabrics for a ‘real’ version of this pattern, so I plan to mosey on over to JoAnns once I have enough coffee in me…

Bye for now! Coco