I made another M6886 as a reader review article for Love Sewing magazine (Issue 44). They invited me to their studio for a proper photoshoot with a make up artist and everything! Even got my nails done :-). It was quite an experience – one that I will cherish. Here is the review……
McCall’s M6886 Pattern Review for Love Sewing Magazine
You can never go wrong with a classic silhouette like McCall’s M6886. Designed to be a close fitting pullover dress, it has three neckline variations and four sleeve lengths. I love the scoop neckline on View D. The simplicity of sewing this dress is at odds with how well presented and chic I feel in it – surely something so quick to sew shouldn’t be so elegant? Yet it is and that is the beauty of this pattern – I can see why it’s incredibly popular in the sewing community with over 160 reviews on PatternReview.
Well written instructions mean that even a new beginner can tackle this. The instructions are also written for sewing machines so even if you don’t have an overlocker you are covered. I cut a size 8 which fits me well – I took in a half inch at my narrowest waist point as I wanted a snugger fit there.
Let’s talk fabric – this lush wool ponte from Minerva Crafts is the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow as it were. I was torn between the brown and pink colourway but settled on the popping pink of course! Unusually, this beautiful ponte roma stripe is made from 100 percent wool fibres. It has a luxurious feel and was an absolute dream to sew. The stripes measure approx 7mm wide so I easily got away with minimal stripe matching (I can honestly say that stripe matching is not my forteJ.). It also helps that it’s reversible which means cutting out can be economical. The fabric is comfortable to wear, isn’t scratchy and the wool makes for a cosy warm dress – perfect for fall/winter. Love!
This dress has got so much layering potential for winter too – I plan on keeping it cosy by layering it over a black turtleneck with tights and knee length boots! Sweet!!!
If you are looking for a practical, easy to sew and figure flattering pattern then look no further than McCall’s M6886. I have more plans to add to the three that are already taking pride of place in my closet!
I don’t think I did too bad in a studio 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time, Happy Sewing!
This is the project that made me realise a skill deficit; I had real problems lining this dress which made me set a 2017 new year resolution: to sew more lined garments.
I was attracted to this dress after seeing this picture.
Sewing it was very easy. I cut a size 38 which is my Burda size. It is supposed to have front pockets by the princess seams but I couldn’t imagine using them – the dress is elegant and ruining the princess line with a bulky pocket? No, I wasn’t having it. I could have also added in-seam pockets at the side seam but I completely forgot. You know when you are sewing and everything is going swimmingly and the fabric is a pleasure to deal with – its easy to miss something.
The fabric was bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market. Unfortunately when I saw it they only had about 1.5 m (£3.80/meter) left which is a shame because I think I would have liked to make long coat out of this. The fabric is viscose wool mix which has a lovely textured hounds tooth pattern.
The shift dress is fitted at the bodice using dior darts (which are my new favourite darts now). It just skims the rest of my body being neither boxy nor tight. I like the boat neckline as well, it lends a Jackie O feel to the dress. I have styled it with a brooch as seen here on IG.
I initially thought that maybe that might make me look too air hostess’y but they do always look stylish so no problem there.
The lining is a bemberg in magenta which just feels luxurious against my skin and so worth the trouble I went to sew it. I ended up hand sewing the lining on to the armholes and neckline ( on the dress form) after several fails at ‘bagging the lining’. Determination and discipline got me through this because I knew if I moved on to the next project I wasn’t going to return to this for a really long time. So I doggedly finished it and its far from perfect. But I will learn to line it properly next time and will report back in autumn when I make another one in a glorious tartan :-).
Verdict – I will definitely be making another one. I like Burda patterns for their cheaper price point and how well they fit me as I had to make no adjustments at all to this. Still lining it was worth it as it fits like a dream and the luxurious feel of a dress gliding past your arms to settle on your shoulders is wonderful.
I’d love to make a colour block version like this MaxMara one here (RRP $650 btw):
Don’t you just love sewing for the options it gives to recreate very expensive looks?
As always, thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy sewing all!
I made this after buying the pattern during the 12 days of Christmas sale. It was a bargain at £5. Here is the line drawing.
My thoughts are that it is very quick to sew up and took one sitting to finish. The sleeves are very straight forward and there is no easing involved. The most challenging part for the beginner might be the mitred corners. The sizing was spot on and I didn’t make any alterations at all.
Personally I feel like the side vent is too high for a winter garment given that its supposed to keep me warm and cosy. With my poor circulation I would feel this gap acutely. In winter I wore it layered over thermal sweater underneath. The fabric is a wool jersey that I bought form Fabworks. It washes in the machine and I tumble dry it on low – that seems just fine. I have since washed this about 5 times now with no problems.
This past winter I caught a bit of the Coco bug. It’s an easy super quick make – I totally blame SewChet for her beautiful stag print Coco <link here> which reminded me of the versatility of this pattern :-).
I have had this quilted ponte for a long while now (bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market) and its one I had set aside on the “sew or donate within 1 month” pile. Luckily it got sewn. The thing with this fabric is that it’s a workhorse – I have made my girls sweater dresses <link here> and they got washed loads over the 15 months my girls wore them. Despite all the laundering the fabric didn’t bobble or pil horribly so I knew that this will be a good workhorse dress.
To add to the sixties vibe I was getting off the fabric I interfaced the collar band so it would stand tall and proud in a contrasting black ponte.
I have much love for this dress and its been worn loads this past winter.
I am so behind with my blogging – though its February I still am blogging things from last year – still better late than never.
I purchased this pattern during a half price sale around September last year and got around to sewing this dress up in December.
Pattern Description: Misses’ Knit Side-Panel Dresses with Yokes
McCalls M7430 is a fitted pullover knit dress with side panels (no side seams). It has a front and back yoke with neckline variations.The neck variation is a bound, round neckline or a turtleneck. The hem variation is a shaped hem or a straight hem. The dress may be made sleeveless, three-quarter sleeve or long sleeve.
Pattern sizing combinations are A5(6-14) and E5(14-22). I cut out a size 10 based on finished garment measurements and I thought it was not too far off the mark ease-wise.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made view D, using a black contrast stretch pleather with a pink and black cloque fabric. And it looked like what I was expecting based on the pattern cover.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I read through the instructions before embarking on this project and they were huge easy to follow diagrams accompanying the written instructions making this beginner friendly. This is a relatively simple dress to make anyway. It scores more points on the beginner friendly scale as there is a YouTUbe sew along by Anita Design . You can’t do much better that! If you don’t like reading instructions it’s worth checking that out.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like patterns with interesting seam lines. This has princess seams at the front combined with a front yoke as well which gives plenty of colour blocking options. There are endless possibilities.
I bought the main fabric during SewUpNorth in November last year. It is a bold black & cerise jacquard blister ponte (cloque). I have since found out that composition is viscose, polyester & spandex (which explains why it’s so comfortable). It has a beautifully-soft handle and a firm stretch with good recovery across the width and length of the fabric. This is the same fabric I used for my Lady Skater Dress <link here>.
What really drew me to the fabric was the easy flamboyance of the vibrant rococo-style pattern. In terms of fabric care: I machine washed at 30°C and tumble dried as normal.
For the contrast, I teamed it with fabric I already had in my stash from Leeds Market. The stretch pleather was bought to make leggings but I am glad I didn’t make leggings with it. I didn’t want stretch pleather on my neck so I used what little black ponte I had for the upper body. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of the black ponte for the side panels.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I took in the princess seams at the waist line to reduce a swayback issue. Swayback is a standard alteration for me but I skipped it on this because I had princess seams down my back to work with. Though for future makes I will do the adjustment on my paper pattern.
There is a little more ease across the upper back than there should be for a fitted dress- it was also slightly roomy for me around the bust area where I took in about 1” in total.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I am making this again for sure. Its easy to both make and wear. Comfortable and practical. I would definitely reccommend it.
Here’s a tip. The back of the dress is almost identical to the front so much so that when sewing it up its easy to mix up the pattern pieces unless if you make sure to mark them – I didnt and honestly will never not mark them again!
And another thing; my biggest issue was trying to get the sleeve head lines to line up with the yoke. My initial preference would have been to make this in a stripey main fabric. However, I realised that I had a bit of trouble with a solid colour – imagine trying to line up stripes! It is possible but its something to bear in mind when cutting out especially if one is fussy about perfect pattern matching.
It’s a good basic wardrobe staple. I may make a more summery one at some point with a shorter length, normal collar and no sleeves . this dress was on the shorter side – its fine for me but if you like more covereage there, pay attention to the finished garment length measurements before cutting so you can add length. I recommend McCalls M7430 if you are looking for a dress that is well-fitting and easy-to-make. Alternatively, shorten it to make turtleneck top.
Final point about the dress: if made in one solid color, the detail of the princess seam and yoke seam is lost which would be a shame. So if you make this I highly recommend using contrasting fabrics. I also I love the slimming effect of the contrasting side panels (especially when black is used like I did for mine) – but any dark colour will have a similar effect.
Many thanks for stopping by my little corners of the interwebs. Until next time, happy sewing!
I hope you are all enjoying December and all the festivities that come with this time of the year. Today I decided to start this post with a throwback to my second Coco top blogged in August 2014.
For some reason I didnt get round to making another Coco because I went off it. Basically this top above is one of the garments that got given away when I cleared out my wardrobe sometime ago. It just didn’t fit me well and felt baggy.
Retrospectively I now understand that there were 2 things at play here:
Poor bra selection. I was still breastfeeding in 2014 and wearing bras that I had bought when my oldest was breastfeeding. They were eight years old, quite saggy with poor support (at the time I didnt think so though). My bust measurement was off because of this.
Once I stopped breastfeeding my extra bust inches were all lost and I was back to my modest B cup. This meant that the top looked and felt even baggier.
Cut to more than 2 years later and I now wear better fitting bras (thanks to M&S free bra fitting service) – I tried out the Coco again. At SewUpNorth I met Pam who was wearing her striped Coco top with a funnel neck. I was quite taken by her top and the seed was planted.
Sewing it up was so incredibly quick and everything went together well. I had to cut it 2 sizes down from the 2014 version. The blister ponte is a lovely silvery grey with black embossed leaves. It has a nice texture and is very comfortable.
I was pleased to find that I loved the fit of the dress when I tried it on. Perfect winter wear with tights and boots. I will be joining Tialys and making loads more Cocos!
I think if I ever had to recommend an easy beginner friendly pattern this would be it. I even did a Youtube vlog on it just after I finished it (at bottom).
I made a Marfy pattern! Its a big deal for me because I have idolised Marfy patterns and Vogue Paris Original vintage patterns for a long time. I am yet to find a VPO pattern I can afford so I bought a Marfy pattern in lieu. Marfy are a small Italian pattern making company that releases a whole year’s collection of patterns around January. They have very unique and interesting designs but they come with no instructions or line drawings. After buying 3879 earlier this year I procrastinated as I honestly didn’t think I had the skill set to make it. I sat on it but I got tired of my pity party so I reminded myself it wasnt heart surgery and got on with it!
Some background…..I ordered the pattern via email but it can be done over the phone as well. At the time that I ordered this particular pattern wasnt yet on the website. The website has a small selection of patterns to buy online but the catalog has over 200 designs in it. If the pattern you want is not on the site, it can be ordered via telephone or email. My orders from Marfy have both times arrived within 1 week of placing the order.
I made 2 for the Pattern Review One Pattern Many Looks competition. My review is below after the pictures.
Trendy dress with curved-seam bodice emphasized by animal print on plain fabric.
Marfy size 42, 44, 46. I used size 42.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
This was my first time using a Marfy pattern. I ordered the paper pattern which is made out of a durable type of paper (onionskin I think).
Marfy patterns do not come with instructions. They hand clip each piece, in a single size. They don’t include seam and hem allowances. They do come with all the notches and letters to put the pieces together. You find the picture of patterns on the website or in the catalogue to use as reference for how it is supposed to look.
This is why I rate this for advanced. They are designed for the experienced person in mind. This was relatively simple to put together – the front has 3 pieces and I sewed up the semi-circle first then the longer curved seam with the corner. The corner was a bit tricky but taking my time really helped.
I had to watch out for how I cut out the pattern pieces because all the 3 front pieces had to be cut single layer. It was important to make sure that I was cutting with the pattern piece on the right side of the fabric – I messed up once and that was enough to make me more careful after that.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the curved seams – they look so elegant and fluid giving the dress a lot of interest. I knew that colour blocking would look great with this design.
For both dresses I used ponte knit fabric. The ponte was thick enough to handle the curved seams without a lot of puckering.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The grey/snakeskin dress has no pattern alterations done to it. I had to take in at the waist for better shaping. The pattern comes with facing pieces for the neck and armhole. I didn’t like how they made the armhole chunkier after sewing one side so I left them off and finished with a twin needle instead.
The navy/pink was the second make and it has a couple of alterations to it :
I added sleeves to it. Marfy 3879 is a sleeveless pattern and as such I had to use my sleeve sloper which fit without fuss.
I lowered the neckline by 1/2″ and widened by 3/8″.
I also took it in slightly at the waist for better shaping.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I would sew it again. It’s such a well drafted pattern that I am convinced Marfy patterns are worth it. The only caveat is that they are meant for advanced sewers hence the no instructions or line drawings.
I see more versions of this dress(tops and tunics too) in my future – I didn’t have time to make third in different tones of the same colour with some gold piping on the curved seams. It’s quite a versatile pattern that actually sewed up quickly.
I really quite love how these 2 dresses turned out. I am pleased with the fit and the look. Taking my time to sew the curved seam really paid off and I find myself staring down my dress mesmerized by the seams. Plus being ponte, they are very comfortable to wear. I also like the detail I put into the navy/pink one with the hem and neckline by using navy thread on the navy bits and pink thread on the pink bits. Makes me feel like a grown up seamstress
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful.
The fit was spot on for me and I know I will be buying more patterns now that I have tried them out. These here are some patterns from the current catalog that I am drawn to – the darts are eyecatching dont you think? Have you tried out Marfy patterns?
I can’t believe I only made my first Renfrew top early this year around February time. Now I have 6 versions – with still more to make.
Renfrew Pt 4
Made in polka dot poly jersey that’s been a stasher for yonks (since stash began actually) and it makes for a drapey lightweight top. I made this for the SewDots challenge, but I didn’t submit it because I decided I wasn’t particularly keen on the prizes.
Renfrew Pt 6.
Made from some John Kaldor fabric left over from another project. I just manged to squeeze in the scoop neck version with three-quarter length sleeves. Not bad for about 3/4meters of fabric. I am happy with this. I really quite love the dramatic floral print.
Renfrew Pt 5
Made in a ponte weight fabric bought in early days. I only had one meter but I was determined to make this a cowl neck version. After much messing about – I got it to fit but had to sacrifice the cuffs and have a narrower hem band. In lieu of same colour cuffs I colour blocked with a lovely contrasting grey. I wear this a lot as layer under stuff. Rarely on its own though.
That will do as far as Renfrews go for this year. Will I make more Renfrews in 2017? We will have to see………Have you made 6 of one pattern this year too?
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Happy Sewing!
I made this Lydia T-shirt – it was one of the first downloadable products I ever bought. Its only 79p so it’s a good deal. I cut the size 38 which is my Burda size.
It’s a basic, long-sleeve t-shirt. The main difference with most other t-shirts I am familiar with is the neckline construction. This one has facings – though this picture above doesn’t show the facing version – the instructions are just like for a facing you would find on a woven top. The sleeve is supposed to be set in but I prefer flat construction with jersey fabrics.
I made this out of pure curiosity to see how the neck would turn out. I used knit fusible interfacing for the facing pieces. After sewing them to the neckline I understitched. I gotta say I am quite impressed so far. The neck line is very neat and I love that it looks good enough to wear with a smart skirt and pass for smart workwear. I will have to see how it performs after a few washes before trying out this technique again though. Have you tried finishing the neckline on a knit top with a facing?
Fabric wise- I used a John Kaldor cotton jersey that I bought from Fletcher’s Fabrics in Leeds Market. Its left over from a Moneta dress I made around the same time. It was an utter delight to work with this fabric; as is wearing it. The comfort level on this top is very high. All the hems were done with a twin needle. Shoulders were stabilised with fusible bias tape which I also used around the neckline so it wouldn’t stretch out.
Verdict: A solid t-shirt pattern that gains extra points for having a great price point.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time happy sewing !
Here is my final KNITWEEK2016 post. I wanted to wrap up by reflecting a little and sharing my thoughts. Its incredible to think that I finished all 5 projects in October this year. The question that keeps floating in my head is why did I not manage to finish a single project until I set myself an action plan?
The answer of course was a simple lack of conditioning on my part. What does that mean exactly – let me try to explain using sewing as an example. With sewing I used to be quite bad at finishing projects because I would get excited about a new project. But I had to change my way of thinking about what constitutes a completed project. I used to think it was okay to move on to the next project when all that was left were the buttonholes and buttons for example. But it isn’t actually done is it? I set out a new criteria for finished which at first was as follows: a project is finished when it has been photographed for the blog. What this did for me was to simply remove any shades of grey – I couldn’t photograph a garment without a zip or without the hem done. So in time it became an easy metric in my head to use before starting a new project. After a while the conditioning set in and now I am very good at finishing before starting another project (I can’t imagine doing it any other way now).
Now for some reason I had not applied this to knitting. Perhaps its because I don’t take knitting as seriously as sewing. In any case something has shifted in the last few months and I am keen to do more knitting. So from hence forth this shall be my metric applied to knitting as well (from 2017 onwards of course ).
Miette Cardigan – I like the eyelets
Antler Cardigan -I love the yoke.
In the meantime I have learnt a lot in completing and writing up these posts:
Swatch the cable pattern.That way I can see if the yarn works well with cables.
Read other people’s reviews before embarking on a project to get an idea of any issues (common sense really but I wasnt doing this).
There are aspects of knitting I need to gain a better understanding of:
Fit and how to adjust for a great fit
The different cast on and bind off methods available.
For now I am doing a little bit of stash busting by knitting some accessories. I finished the Craftsy Knitalong cowl and have started on the hat.
I bought the Andrea Wong Craftsy Class on Portuguese knitting about 3 weeks ago. I started Portuguese knitting 2 days ago and already I can see that it’s how I will be knitting – it’s so much faster and the purl stitch is so easy. I am still learning how to control the tension but I will do a separate post on this.
2017 Knitting plans
I have a tentative queue of knits I definitely want to make :
This is an epic post for me because I actually started this project in October 2014! It took me 2 years to finish it!
Some background: Owls is an insanely popular pattern on Ravelry by Kate Davies. It’s actually one of the first Ravelry downloads I bought because it uses a chunky yarn. I thought that it would be a quick knit <oh the irony>.
I wanted it in red, Hayfield Bonus Chunky shade 977 Signal Red to be exact. Since I was just beginning I bought a cheap acrylic yarn. To be honest at that time wool scared me.
I knit my arms too long and I had to unravel a half done yoke when a friend mentioned the irony of completing a make you know you are not going to wear because of a known error that can be easily fixed by ‘tinking‘ – I hate it when pals are right! After sulking for a few days, I came round and set my timer. Surprisingly it only took 30 mins to get back to error point. I used a Russian bind off on the neckline. The cable pattern was very easy to read.
The yarn is acrylic so its machine washable. I enjoyed knitting with it actually. The colour is a an amazing fire engine red that if I got lost, a rescue helicopter could easily see me. I love it! I messed up my underarm grafting again despite my best efforts. Its perfect on the 4 grafted stitches but the holes were much bigger than that – there are gaping holes that I tried to ‘sew up’ but to no avail. In the end my ‘Done is better than perfect‘ mantra kicked in.
I just washed and dried it instead of blocking since its acrylic. I learnt from my Antler experience that I dont need to fuss with acrylic yarns when it comes to blocking. Its warm and lovely to wear.
Looking at fit – It has a good fit overall but I may have messed the back shaping as that’s ended up lower than my waist. I think I just knit to my prefered length with little regard to what was going on in the back. When I make this again (and I will) I need to change where those darts go or possibly move them to the sides – I am not 100% behind them. Oh and there was no way I had the patience to find and sew approx 32 buttons.
Best feature of this for me – the owls yoke. I love how they wrap around my shoulders. I can see why this is a popular pattern. No if only it hadn’t taken me 2 years to finish it!
Its been a marathon week for me catching up with my knitting blogging but I have enjoyed it and thank you all so much for reading, liking and commenting. I will be back with one last post tomorrow but until then, Happy Knitting.
Welcome back to my KnitWeek2016 series of posts. Part 5 is my Marion cardigan in mustard. First I want to say thank you so much for all the helpful comments on my previous post where I mentioned knitted garment fit issues. At least I know where to start now with all the resources mentioned.
Marion is a seamless and cropped cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves. The body is knit in one piece, starting with the upper back. The fronts are picked up from the back cast on edge, and everything gets connected when the underarms are cast on. Sleeve stitches are picked up from the armholes, and short row shaping is used to create set-in sleeves.
So, I have made this cardigan before <link here>. It will always have a special spot in my heart as the first knitted garment I made for myself plus I learnt so much when I knit that first Marion. I still wear it – though mostly on weekends now due to the pilling. When I finished the first Marion I was determined to do it all again but perfectly right the second time.
Somehow other projects got in the way but around June 2015, I decided that I wanted a yellow cheerful cardigan to go with the many navy blue items I was sewing up. This yarn also happened to be on sale at Loveknitting.com. Its called Drops Paris: a soft but sturdy 100% cotton yarn. I was sold on this line “Spun from multiple thin strands, it creates a fabric which is breathable and cool to wear on those warmer days“. So I bought 6 balls in mustard. Its out of stock at loveknitting.com now but I did a quick google and found it at woolwarehouse.com.
Here is a copy of my Ravelry Project notes:
20 June. Cast on the small size. Last time made Medium and felt a bit loose. My gauge was off by half a stitch but I wont let that bother me. Hopefully it turns out ok. So far so good.
5 Aug 2015
Halfway through the decrease set. Going slowly due to lack of time.
20 Aug 2015
Argh! The armhole too big. have to unravel so I can repick at armhole using the smallest size. The yarn seems to grow with weight.
22 Aug 2015
Ok so I calculated I need to pick 46 stitches at armhole.
It used up 6 balls of yarn exactly. I was very excited when I started this project and it knit up relatively fast but I had issues with the yarn. I seem to recall that its quite a heavy yarn – I mean as the fabric grew – it sort of dropped a lot from the weight of the yarn. And it looked droopy. I really worried that the rope cable would not be distinct – it wasn’t a fun yarn to do cables with (I guess that why I should swatch the cable pattern as well – I made a swatch but just in stockinette). Initially the armhole came out far too big so I had to unravel and recast using the size for the smallest armhole. The instructions are very well written and easy to follow. There is a cable chart and written cable instructions – I cant read cable charts so I really like that about Andi’s patterns.
Again I lost steam around the time I bound off and it stayed in its carrier bag until October. Once I picked it up again it took me 30 mins to weave in all ends and set up for blocking. I wet blocked it and that transformed it. The yarn looked completely different once blocked. A note on this yarn – it had a lot of colour run and I had to drain out the water about 4 times before it ran clear.
I love it but I wont be knitting with this yarn again. It wasn’t as joyful an experience as I have had with other yarns. I checked out what other people use this yarn for and it looks like its mostly great for home interior projects, like tea towels, blankets and toys. Its a case of using the wrong yarn for this project. It doesn’t feel nearly as nice to wear as my brown Miette either – again because the yarn is not as soft.
The fit isn’t too bad but there is still that swayback issue. It looks like I will be getting a book …or 2 and throwing myself into fitting knitted garments. Someone mentioned Amy Herzog and I have looked that up in the library and unfortunately they have none. Looks like it will have to be either Amazon or Craftsy. And in future I think I will sew buttons on the dress form for more accuracy.
I still really like this pattern and will be casting another one next year but I want to get the fit spot on next time. I like that the first one has so many errors in it but this one is a huge improvement. I am excited to knit the 3rd one – surely it will uber…..?