31 March 2014

The Green Flowered M6553 that Could

Hello from California! I've just finished up a wonderful week in Los Angeles visiting my brother and to soak up some much needed vitamin D! and of course I brought as many Me-Mades as possible to showcase in the sunny weather!

I planned this trip a few months ago to celebrate my 25th birthday (champagne birthday all!!), but after the unexpected passing of my father at the beginning of the month, this trip became a time to be closer to my brother during a difficult time, to remove me from the emotional stress of home, and to help start the healing process. 

This is the pretty version of M6553 that I made the test garment for in my last post. but this one has much more beautiful fabric. I added some dimension to this version to help break up the print by using a solid charmeuse in the same green colour on the back yoke. The fabrics were the exact same except in a solid. Horray for easy matching! And I used a plain 9mm silver button on the yoke. 

You'd think that this would be an easy make since I finished the test garment only one day before, but alas, life does not continue without encountering a sewing quibble every once in awhile. And a perfect second make would just be too predictable now wouldn't it?

This fabric is the love and Bain of my existence. It is a satin charmeuse. Betcha didn't guess that by the look of it eh? Well, this fabric pattern is my favourite! It is actually a greenish-yellow hue (green=Love) and has the large floral in muted tones (adore)! So it Did seem like the perfect fabric. But it was shiny; bad-middle-school-prom shiny. ew. I don't do shiny. I can't. but the pattern and colours were so perfect. I needed it. I turned the shiny away and immediately realized the back side had the same pattern but with a matte appearance. perrrrrrfect. I like matte. And this also means the slippery side is against my skin. Mmmmm soft!

But like I said, this is satin charmeuse, and as it turns out, my serger has a huge appetite for charmeuse (om Nom Nom Nom says Mr.Serger). And this fabric did not want to do as told (And I spoke real firmly to it), it was slippery and went all nimbly bimbly on me. I had to strong arm it a lot to combat the liquid fabric qualities and my hungry serger. But I made it! Phew!
It is interesting to see the difference that fabric makes to the fit and appearance of a dress. My original is heavier and holds its shape well. This one has a fluid drape and lays flatter. Except for when the wind blows. This baby has some serious flow folks! I'm thankful for the modesty the hi-lo hem provides during the gusty weather a top the mountains in Joshua Tree National Park! I was flashing people left and right! I'm a real class act my friends ;)

The other thing I noticed with this version, as the fabric has no stretch, is that the arm scythe is much tighter and pulled at my armpit. I tried to remedy this by serging 1/2" out at the under arm. It helped alleviate some of the stress, but next time I'll know to deepen them to make room for my chubby armpits (serious issue folks! Haha).

And finally, due to the lightweight fabric, the pockets are rendered somewhat useless as just putting my phone in one pocket pulls the entire dress towards the weight in said pocket. I don't like the look; as if my flowy dress is being restrained. Flow free floral M6553 stallion! Flow free!

But alas, the time has come to say farewell. I've had a wonderful week in California with my brother and I look forward to returning in the future!


Pattern: M6553
Size: 6
Fabric: Green Floral Satin Charmeuse
Cost: $12
  • lowered the arm scythe by 1/2"

All photos were taken in Joshua Tree National Park. Beautiful place! My dress appears camouflaged to the scenery which I kind of love!

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20 March 2014

McCalls M6553

When I saw the technical drawing of this pattern I didn't think much of it. But as soon as I saw it made up I fell in love with it. This is M6553 and it is beautiful.
I wanted an easy flow dress. It had to have some structure to prevent the moo-moo look. This dress style fits the bill exactly. The pattern envelope description is: Very loose-fitting, pullover dress has princess seams, self-lined yoke back, side openings for self belt, back pleats/ neck slit with button/thread loop closing, and shaped hemline. Exactly what I needed; shaped front while having a flowing back. 
Surprisingly, I did no alterations to the length of the pattern. For me it turned out the perfect length; hitting at my preferred height in the front 3" above my knee and the back hem 2" below my knee. I only double turned the hem and sewed so only reducing the original length by 1/2" - a very tiny hem.

This dress is included in my Project Sew LA. But before using my beautiful fabric I wanted to make a test garment to check the sizing. I used a green suiting fabric. As per usual, the sizing of this pattern is ridiculous as it says the finished measurement for size 6 (the smallest size) has a 42" bust. Really McCalls? The smallest size is 42" bust? I decided since I'm a 42" bust I needed to make the size 6. It fits me exactly as I wanted it to fit. Because of this, Making this pattern for anybody with a smaller bust will most likely result in a significantly baggy looking dress. 
Also like every great dress it has pockets! Pockets make every dress THAT much better. They are in-seam and they were drafted at the correct height. The tie is what really makes this dress. It cinches the front of the dress and slips through two side openings and wraps around the back inside the dress, thus allowing the back to flow free. To help the dress slip over my head I attached one sew-on snap at the back neck. It is hidden from view on the back as I only sewed it to back facing.
And after this test garment I know that I absolutely adore this dress. It fits almost perfectly, and I have already started to make it out of my fashion fabric! Project Sew LA I will complete you!


Pattern: M6553
Size: 6
Fabric: Green Polyester Suiting
Cost: $8.50
Alterations: None

This dress has some incredible flow my friends. So much flow that when I went for my favourite jump shot the dress flowed right on up and almost made me indecent. That hem is about 1cm from showing my lady bits off, but because it shows nothing but leg, I wanted to share the photo because it is hilarious. My necklace came upside and the photo snapped at an opportune moment - to make it look like I have a silver mustache! What A Beauty!
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18 March 2014

Drape Drape no.3 Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress

And my love for Drape Drape books continue. This is Dress no.3 out of the first Drape Drape book.
The most amazing part about this pattern is that there is only one pattern piece! ONE! How insane is that? The pattern piece is all sorts of crazy shaped. The shoulders and the waist are gathered. The back has a centre seam from neck to hem. In a stiffer fabric you could insert a zipper but with my choice of a cotton lycra knit it would be superfluous.
This dress was fun to cut out and even more fun to serge together. The book is easy to follow and made construction simple for me. I'm glad because I had difficulty visualizing how the paper pattern resulted in such a lovely dress. But once I gathered the shoulders and attached them to the front, the rest of the dress was simple to visualize.
Once again, the pattern sizing is very tiny with the size large only having finished bust measurement of 90cm (36"). I didn't make any alterations besides adding extra width to the gathered waist pieces, expanding it to the full length of the fabric. I was hoping this would help the gathers cover my rear end without pulling. With the accommodation of the stretch fabric I just hoped it wouldn't be too tiny.
And guess what? It worked out. This dress fits me perfectly. Although it is extremely short, my short legs still make the dress a comfortable length for me. The waist gathers aren't perfectly symmetrical on each side. I guess I didn't cut perfectly straight at the left waist seam angles more down than the right side gather. And although the dress is supposed to be a drop-waist dress, it actually hits me at my natural waist. I have never once had a pattern bodice be on the short side for me but that is fine by me as I love where the dress hits on my waist as I think it is more flatting.

I LOVE this colour. The army green is one of my favourite colours. The photos make the green look browner than it is but I couldn't manage to capture the true colour. It goes well with my skin tone and helps my eyes to pop. Every girl likes a colour that makes their eyes sparkle. And although I don't look exuberant in some of the photos, that would be the fact that the weather is still not agreeing with me. It is also a great fabric. It is 96% cotton and 4% elastane. It has the characteristics of a heavy t-shirt; the perfect material for a casual, everyday dress. Comfortable with extremely unique details.


Pattern: Drape Drape no.3 Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress
Size: Large
Fabric: Cotton Lycra Knit
Cost: $12 for Fabric

  • Removed 1" from the back neck reducing to the regular seam line 5" down
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12 March 2014

Review: Burda Style April 2014

Let me start with saying WOW! The April issue is my FAVOURITE Burda magazine I have ever read! Page after Page, Pattern after Pattern I was blown away at how amazing this months issue was! Just stunning!

So lets start looking at all the photos right?!?!?

This shirt? Incredible. I was JUST looking at this style in the store the other day and contemplating how I could re-create it myself. Well - Burda heard my thoughts and replicated it just in time for me. Also, these capri pants look great. I have a RTW pair currently that I love but that have seen better days - hopefully this pattern will enable me to recreate them? Hopefully without TOO many fit adjustments as I've never tackled pants before?

These style lines! LOVELY! Everything about this dress is beautiful. I love the crisp white, the boatneck, the triangular princess bodice, the double skirt with pockets. Such a classic look. This will be my first make out of this issue for certain.

Now, There is something SO easy about this pattern. I prefer the dress version to the shirt version, but I LOVE the draping involved. I hope that it would sit flat and now simply billow out in front, but on the model it looks so elegant (left). This entire photoshoot is SO well done.

Turtle necks pull at my heart strings. I LOVE this dress. The asymmetrical sleeves are such a nice touch to take a simple shape in to a unique one. Make this out of a nice jersey print and you have a staple every day dress! Atleast for my style! Now lets start on this skirt. RIGHT?!?!? The panels, high waist, and in seam pockets. And it doesn't hurt that the fabric choice (right) is a perfect match for the skirt. 

Immediately upon seeing this pattern I thought of Papercut Patterns Pleated Pant. They are classic but unique. They would help add a special touch to all my turtle necks. Make them out of a black suiting and you have some stylish work pants! Also, Burda is great at jackets and this one is lovely. I love the large front flaps of the coat and the models jacket is very cute with the jeweled clasp. 

I want to be the kind of girl that can wear jumpsuits and look amazing. Look at Sew Dixie Lou's recent post - now SHE can wear a jumpsuit! LOOK at that thing! I wish I could do that. But I will simply have to appreciate them from afar. But regardless - I LOVE this pattern and appreciate it's inclusion even if I never use it personally! Both model versions look spectacular. The White one has creases down the front.

Three little dresses this way come! All three have their own place in my wardrobe. That middle one (#124) in particular. I adore the models polka dot fabric and would love to make it up in a red polka dot. SO cute! #127 als looks like a simple summer every-day dress. Nice shoulder pulls for a little detail. Works great for a busy print. #118 looks like I'd make it in a dark navy and wear it as a staple to work under all my crazy print blazers!

I like the detail of the half faux cross bodice but don't know how flattering this shape would be on me. But I like the way it looks on both the models. But I just ave to point out that they should have lined that green dress and you can see straight through that fabric and the models legs are on full display. Oops.

This pattern comes in the three versions. Shirt with 3/4 sleeves, sleeveless, and halter. They all have the same basic bodice front but the bodice back is fuller and they simply added sleeves. I actually like when they show a patterns variety because it helps me better understand pattern construction and opens my mind to how I can alter other patterns I already own.

As always, Burda included two staple jacket shapes. I wouldn't make either but they could both be useful.

For me, the only pattern worth mentioning from the Plus sizes is this twist front shirt. The wrap front is flatting and the twist will help hide all those stomach bits that tight clothes like to showcase. This is definitely something I could see myself wearing in a lovely wool knit. I can't wait.

Now that you've previewed the majority of the patterns from this issue (I didn't include the kids/mens patterns as I could care less about those) what is your opinion? Don't you agree that Burda did almost everything right in this months issue?!?! So amazing. GREAT job Burda - keep up the amazing work!

I can't wait to get this issue in the mail! I just want to squeal in anticipation!
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05 March 2014

Project Sew L.A.

At the end of March I am flying to Los Angeles to visit my brother and to celebrate my Champagne birthday! I'm turning 25 on the 25th! Big quarter century!

In lieu of this, I decided that I should commence Project Sew L.A. where I sew three garments in the next three weeks for me to sport while I am in The City of Angels. Since Canada is still suffering the frigid cold, and L.A. is shining bright, I needed some summery sewing to get me through the next three weeks until I can be with that sun myself!

So here is what's on the docket for the coming weeks:

A little bit of pink and flowy. For all my casual beach wandering I'll be doing

A touch of green with flowers for some bright fun times. Walking the streets of LA, tied in the front, flowy in the back.

And for my champagne birthday I shall wear this black and silver crop top dress. It is from designers Talbot Runof. Since I don't do floor length gowns, I'll make it short and cupcake like. Yay. I'll just have to make sure the crop top is short enough to showcase the cinched waist so I don't look huge.

These are the plans for Sew LA. I'll let you know how they all go.

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03 March 2014

Drape Drape 3 no.12: Three-Piece Gather Wrap Dress

For Christmas I received two giftcards to Chapters (a Canadian bookstore). I knew I needed to spend them wisely. I always covet giftcards for the perfect splurge. I wait and wait until I am 100% certain of what I want. It makes it that much more rewarding when I receive it in the mail. I purchased two of Hisato Sato's Drape Drape books. And oh are they every satisfying.
Since I had to order Drape Drape in to the store, Drape Drape 3 was available and I immediately started to trace no.12: Three-Piece Gather Wrap Dress. I adored the draping and the hanging material in front. I didn't know about the sizing though. Size XL is drafted for a 90cm (36") bust. My bust is 104cm (42"). I didn't make any alterations to the pattern and decided since I was using a jersey with plenty of stretch, that this would compensate for the smaller drafting. Turns out, I was right. I would even consider the pattern too large for me in such a jersey.

I followed the instructions and found them to be very well illustrated. The only issue I encountered was in regards to the gathering on the left side. I felt it was strange to gather the entire dress and attach it fully to the left bodice side. So I left 4" of gathering hang below the indicated bodice piece for extra modesty. I should not have left so much and followed the instructions as now the dress sits lower on my leg than I would like.
A thoughtless error on my part was using a one-sided patterned fabric. That was silly. I should have paid more attention to the pattern itself. As a solution, I cut an extra piece of material to back my front tail so it wouldn't look sloppy. I did the hems on my machine with a stretch stitch and every other seam with my serger. I felt bad for my serger as the material was extremely thick in certain sections what with the tucks and gathers and layers. Yikes.
There are only three pieces in the pattern: The left-side bodice, the entire dress, and the sleeve pattern. The pattern piece in the entire 60" length of fabric. It covers you front, wraps around your back, and connects back to itself in the front to create the hanging gather. This book has unique patterns and are very easy to follow. They are a great introduction to draping and the different effects of tucks, gathers, and pleats have on draped fabric.

The end result is a fun dress; bright and swishy. Where will I wear it? I really am not sure. It isn't very practical for my Canadian winterland currently, but I'm hoping that a trip to warmer climates is in my future!


Pattern: Drape Drape 3 no.12 - Three-Piece Gather Wrap Dress
Size: Large
Fabric: Jersey
Cost: $6
Alterations: None
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