McCalls 7597 Kaftan – a complete muslin

front.JPG

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.

M7597

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!

bib

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.

back

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…

side

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

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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:

M7597

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.

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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.

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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

A copycat blouse…

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Miss Impatient here. I’ve managed to sew my stash down to only 4 fabrics, all of which are most suited to winter – not to our very warm and humid Florida summer. The good part, I do have some fabric on order. I just have to maintain… If anyone wondered, the hard part of retirement is paying attention to a budget – being on a pay-as-you-go plan. Two crowns, a new hot water heater, yard cleanup, and sidewalk repairs have left me wistfully window-shopping fabric 🙂

Not to be deterred – I still had a couple yards of Michael Miller Cotton Couture, the last remnant from the 10 yards I ordered in 2014, to muslin my DD’s bridal gown (in the end, and really to my relief, she got a beautiful tea dress from David’s Bridal). So I decided to take a stab at a top that I really like, from Vivid Linen:

vividlinen

How perfect for hot weather!

I started with the Grainline Scout Tee, a great pattern that I’ve altered quite a bit over time, to fit my wide shoulders and narrow chest, and to add bust darts. On this version, I modified it a lot more!

f9e55-1-grainline3002scoutwoventee

But first, another pic of my top…

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The big changes are to mimic the hi-low hems and slit sides of the inspiration blouse. First, I decided how long to make the front. Then I modified the back to be longer than the front. And, last, I drafted the side seams to support a slit. I already had a ‘cropped’ cutting line on my pattern, from past versions, so the changes were fairly easy. Here’s how I managed the side slits and hems. Finished, the back is a bit over 2″ longer than the front:

Side seams

Inside view:

inside

And outside:

s1

That was pretty easy. I also had to think about the ‘balance’ of the top – finishing the hems, sleeves, neck facing (my add-on, instead of a neckband), and so on. I decided to use the same width for all of them, which I think looks really nice:

outside

To complete my copycat look, I needed to add pockets (in the end, I only added one). So a tip – cut, measure, trim, and mark pockets. I use Frixion pens, and I stay-stitch all my fold lines to ensure an even turn and application.

pockets

How does the back look? It’s just where I wanted it 🙂

b1

Of course I’ve styled this top with a very fun pair of True Bias Hudson Pants, sewn in funky ITY knit, from way back in 2014, and still a favorite pattern (blogged here).

So – I’m really pleased with this muslin. What next? Well, I prefer to wear knit tops. They don’t wrinkle, they’re light, and they work well in south Florida – so I’ll be adjusting my pattern draft for knits. Among the fabrics I ordered from Girl Charlee are 8 yards of lightweight modal/cotton/rayon jersey. Should keep me out of trouble for a while.

Ciao! Coco

B6296 – Summer (campin’) shirt

front 1

Sometimes I think I’m like a puppy – I just keep shaking that new toy. I mentioned in an earlier post that the top from the Butterick 6296 pajama pattern would make a great camp shirt. I had a large remnant of Michael Miller cotton couture in the stash, so I decided to give it a go.  Bingo! It’s really cute.

B6296_a-horz

A couple pics with the shirt worn outside – I had to take these first since I knew it would get all wrinkly once I tucked it in my britches.

out 1

I used the cutting line from View A, which is shorter, and then shortened it another 2″, using the scientific eyeballing method and the back length of my TSW Trio Shirt.

out 2

I did want to ditch the PJ look as much as possible, so I didn’t use edging detail on the sleeve band. Instead, I added a curved corner to each end of the band, and then attached it ‘upside down’.

sleeve

I really like this small, easy change. It also occurred to me that it also would be simple to widen the band and create a cuff.

side 1

No changes to the collar – it’s so pretty, and I like it much more than a pointed collar. It’s a generous width and really behaves. No fear of flying with this convertible collar style – without a collar band, collars are very easy to sew.

collar

A couple more pics. It’s way too hot now for jeans, but these are my favorites. I made them several years ago in mid-weight denim,  using the McCalls 6291 cargo pants pattern (great for shorts as well).

back 2

front 2

Well, I think I’m done with this pattern for a while – but it was fun trying various looks with it. And I love my PJ sets.  I’m giving it 5 stars!

Parting shots – it’s Mother’s Day! From my dear not-so-little ones…from david

David sent these incredible flowers from my favorite florist, ‘Art of Flowers’. For years he sent me orchids, which kept expiring under my care. A hit to my gardener ego, but in reality, orchids from florists are tender. They’ve been handled way too much, chilled, warmed, and mushed. I love getting flowers – my living room smells heavenly.

From my creative Ashley, a precious memory of dancing together in the kitchen…

mom abug

Hope this special day brings nice memories to all – Bye for now, Coco

 

Sewing the birds…

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And I mean lots of birds! This is such a cute print, but I know the pics don’t really showcase it well. The birds are little!

The fabric is a rayon/lycra from Fabric Mart , and it was a bit of a surprise when it arrived. It’s heavy and very stretchy in both directions. Hmm. I went looking and found it on Craftsy, which does a nice job of giving the fabric particulars. So – this fabric is 8% lycra, and it’s hefty at 8.8 oz. I knew finding a good application, other than leggings, would be dicey.

So I started with a Bantam Vest from the Merchant & Mills Workbook. It’s one of my very favorite patterns for sleep tops and layers under cardigans, and I make it in both knits and wovens.

Bantam

bantam 2

Working with the vest gave me lots of opportunity to find the right tension, pressure, and stitch length for this spongy fabric, on both my sewing machine and my serger. The ripper got a bit of a workout…

bantam 1

Next up, I cut out ‘my’ sharkbite tunic, the one that started as a Tessuti Frankie dress and got completely redrafted. I never did make a Frankie dress – that pattern just didn’t work for me (small armscye, narrow sleeves – those critical bits).

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A couple more pics – this is fun to wear! A little sassy…

b2

b1

On other fronts, I’ve been freaking out because my fabric stash is pitiful. And I only have one fabric that’s suitable for spring and summer. What to do…

Solution – I ordered 3 woven cottons from Hancocks of Paducah, all on sale for 5.99/yard. BTW, the best places to lurk sales for premium quality quilting cottons, IMHO, are Hancocks of Paducah and Hawthorne Threads.

new fabric

Feeling calmer with fabric on the way, a parting shot, retro to the max – Easter 1959:

easter 1959

Ciao! Coco