Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044 for my brother….but modelled by OH…

Hello everyone,

Here is a shirt I actually sewed in January 2016 for my little brother who lives in Switzerland. He spent Christmas with us and I offered to make him a shirt using McCalls M6044.

I took him fabric shopping – on a tangent -I honestly do not understand why he didn’t LOVE fabric shopping – we walked into B&M Fabrics and literally 2 seconds later he just pointed at a fabric and he was like “that one” (literally 2 seconds in the shop!!!!). “Have a look around and see what else is there – there are loads of lovely fabrics.” I said with a big enthusiastic smile across my face. Continue reading


McCalls M7430 Pattern Review

Hello everyone,

I am so behind with my blogging – though its February I still am blogging things from last year – still better late than never.m7430_a

I purchased this pattern during a half price sale around September last year and got around to sewing this dress up in December.


McCalls M7430



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

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.

Fabric Used

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!

Peace and love,





John Kaldor M6696 Uber Shirt Dress

Hello everyone,

I made another shirt dress using the very awesome McCalls M6696 shirt dress pattern. I made my first one here in a gingham cotton lawn . Though my pattern matching was dubious – Its a solid addition to my wardrobe that I love.

mccall's m6696 1

The story of this dress starts with the fabric. I first laid eyes upon this luscious John Kaldor on Ali’s IG feed. I saw. I wanted. I bought. All within the space of about an hour. I initially wanted to make some cigarette pants out of it but when it arrived, the fabric had other ideas.

It Screamed SHIRTDRESS!!!

I heeded the call. and voila! I present to you my UBER dress!

McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696
McCalls M6696

I feel uberfeminine, uberlovely and ubersplendid.

Construction deets : Since I had perfected the fit already there were no alterations with this. I made self covered buttons using the thingy majicky – it takes me less than a couple of hours to do. I did a lot of hand basting with this to make sure the pleats were hanging just right. All the work was worth it though. The pocket lining is in a pink cotton. The armhole I finished with green satin bias binding.

I love this. Its a most uber dress yes?

Thanks ever so much for stopping my little corner of the intewebs.

Peace and love,



Summer McCalls M6044 3.0

Hello chums,

I cant believe that this is the 3rd shirt I have made for Mr SNS. The first was in Alexander Henry cotton <link here> and the second was in Cotton & Steel Octopus fabric <link here>. This one is a lightweight, but crisp, 100% cotton that he bought himself during a lunch break. Well he actually had to go to the shop to pick up some fabric for the kids shirts when he spotted this.It has a tile medallion effect in aqua blue tones. I was quite impressed that he managed to estimate the right amount o fabric  (just barely).

I do love shirtmaking – there is something about it that gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. I flat felled (love  this technique) all the seams so its looks very neat on the inside too. Pictures…

Holly burns Annas Blog pics 568
McCalls M6044
Holly burns Annas Blog pics 572
I didnt quite nail the button placement here.
Holly burns Annas Blog pics 573
The yoke is hard to see but its there
Holly burns Annas Blog pics 576
Contrast inner cuffs
m6044 1
Contrast button band and undercollar
McCalls M6044
Flat felled armhole sean
Holly burns Annas Blog pics 562
McCalls M6044

This pattern has now earned its place in my TNT Hall of Fame.

Mr SNS as usual loves it – only 2 more shirts to go and he will be able to wear me made shirts Mon – Fri…can I achieve that goal before 2017? Only time will tell.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a great weekend 🙂

Peace & love



McCalls M7093 Chambray

Hello chums,

Its summer holidays and I have not a care in the world right now. Trying my best to plan for a fantastic holiday. In September my oldest starts high school while my 3rd starts reception! Oh my I am getting old!

Anyhow, here is a cute top I made in the most delicious lightweight chambray fabric. I have used this chambray before to make a sleeveless Granville shirt here  (I believe I messed up the sleeves while attempting a placket so  it had to be sleeveless). This fabric is such a pleasure to hold and work with. Its sews beautifully and takes the iron well.

When I picked up M7093  during a McCalls sale I knew it was going to be made in the chambray . 7093

Construction wise its super quick make. I went for the version with the pockets. I cut size 12 and made no alterations.

The armholes and neckline are finished using bias binding. I made the bias binding from the chambray.

Seams were finished with the overlocker but this top would look great (on inside~) with a french seam finish but alas patience is a virtue I am yet to learn.

I was really excited about this make until I tried it on for the first time and thought I looked a bit like I am wearing hospital scrubs?…..Pictures….

M7093 1
Pockets are deep enough for my smartphone

Continue reading

Octopus McCalls M6044 retake

Hello everyone,

After the success of the first M6044 shirt I made for Mr SNS I decided to make another one. Mr SNS chose this fabric after he saw me browsing online some months ago. Needless to say I dithered and by the time I was ready to commit to buying this Cotton & Steel fabric it was sold out in the UK. In the end I bought it on Etsy from the US for considerably more money. Lesson learnt. When you see a fabric you definitely like , get it!

Anyhow with this one Mr SNS said he wanted the back yoke and some contrasting cuffs. Like before I finished all seams with french seams. Pictures…

may20bank20holiday20weekend20194 Continue reading

McCalls M7242

Hello chums,

Sunny May greeting from the North of England! Its lovely and  sunny after some truly horrid weather that included hailstorm which battered my lovely flowers and snow which killed of some of my tender shoots :-(. Still no hard feelings as long as the sun continues to shine. Ok Rant over…lets talk McCalls M7242.

McCalls M7242

I first saw this pattern with the new release on the US website and immediately fell for it – I loved the description too:  Loose-fitting dresses have mandarin collar (I do love these), blouson bodice, back pleated into self-lined yoke, elastic waist, side pockets, and narrow hem.

I patiently waited the 4-5 weeks it takes for UK to get the latest releases but alas it turns out its a Laura Ashley pattern and only sold in the US and Canada (teeeny tiny print on the website that I missed).

Despite loving it and being obsessed I still could not bring myself to pay the $15  P&P charge for ordering from the US site. So what are you going to do when you just cant get it out of your head? Well for the sake of my sanity I decided to appeal to my IG buddies and wow! I love being a part of the sewing community – so many nice and lovely people willing to help the cause of a fellow sewist. Continue reading

McCalls M6973

Hello everyone.

Is there such a thing as selfless sewing? I have come to doubt it because after making these shorts (that I am super excited to blog about) for my husband I realised that I really love seeing him wear things I’ve made :-). I wish I could say that this epiphany arrived while I was happily toiling away at the sewing machine (I wasn’t – I was just dying to start on other projects) – it was only at the end with the finished garment that I felt a sense of being a good person).

What kept me going during the sewing of said garment was the awareness that Mr SNS is extremely supportive and tolerant of my sewing (and messes) therefore it would be good for him to benefit. He also patiently takes pictures for the blog.  Selfless acts are supposed to mean that the giver gains nothing from it – so if I am gaining a feeling of satisfaction at making things for him then it cant be selfless surely….

Anyhow I digress, moving on to the important bits…. Continue reading

McCalls M7244

Hello everyone!

A bit late with this post but here is my main make using the fabulous black and white textured scuba from Fabworks. It took some time for this fabric to be paired with this pattern. I was planning on making a Coco dress version a la Love, Lucie (which is where I first saw this fabric) but it just didn’t happen. Somehow I landed on this Plenty by Trace Reese McCalls M7244 – a semi-fitted, partially lined dress (close-fitting through bust) has flounce and invisible back zipper. The fabric’s fate was sealed.

McCalls M7244

The dress is designed for medium-weight moderate stretch knits so this fabric fit the bill. Plus the rich texture of this fabric brings up the dress a notch IMHO.I cut out the size small but as soon as I compared the pattern to my knit bodice sloper I knew a swayback adjustment would be needed. I did a tricky  1.75″ swayback and that did the trick. That CB seam follows the curves of my back perfectly now. Skims rather than tight IYSWIM.

McCalls M7244 Side view

After cutting out the fabric I basted the bodice together to try it on and unfortunately it was way too big. In 1/2″ increments I got the right size for me when I had taken in the side 1.5″. I also remembered to take that off the sleeve head as well. This distorted the bust dart and I think next time I make it I will have to redraft the dart by grading the pattern down.

2.5mm Twin Needle hem
Isn’t that a lovely neckline?

I didn’t bother with the zip. It easily goes on and off. There are a few things I did that were not in the instructions:

  •  stabilising the shoulder seam. The instructions do say to double stitch but I find its more effective to use clear elastic.
  • stabilised the dropped waist seam. The dropped waist falls where there will be movement so I think it could do with reinforcement to stop it from stretching out. Plus the fabric has a bit of weight to it and the flounce does pull on the upper bodice so the extra support helps.
  • stabilised the hem for top stitching by using double sided tape and my clapper (while the material is wrinkle free it resists pressing!). It did the trick and I have minimal tunneling here.
  • that lovely neckline needs to stabilised before sewing up, otherwise it will stretch out. Staystitching is not enough. Either use clear elastic or twill tape or stay tape or fusible stay tape. I am not too happy with the bulk at the neckline and I could have topsticthed it down but that would stretched it out. Next time I will use a thinner jersey fabric for the facings to reduce bulk. I will also make the facing about 10% smaller to reduce the slight gaping at the neckline.
The rich texture really makes this dress pop.

The faced finish on the neckline is nice and clean. I was tempted to skip it (in my impatience) but I am glad I followed through. I do like that neck line – its wide and deep without being too….expansive :-).

McCalls M7244
McCalls M7244

One new thing I absolutely loved about making this is that I learnt a new skill – working with power mesh! Its fantastic stuff and in future I will use it on knit projects. I feel like it just makes the dress hang better and feels nice against my skin. It cost me £6/meter for the mesh and this used less than one meter. The instructions on how to attach the lining are frankly speaking ….. terrible. Its easy enough to see that you are supposed to sew up the lining mesh. Attach it to the neckline facing then sew the outer bit to the inner bit at the neckline. That’s what I did.2016-03-07 12.37.00 2016-03-07 12.37.09

The sleeves are set in.I am not sure if thats just me but I felt that the sleeve cap was just too high. For my next iteration I am reducing this a little bit and see how it goes.

Despite the changes I made I feel I managed to maintain the original proportions intended by the designer. This dress turned out so much better than how I pictured it my head and I love it! SO much so I have already cut another one. Its also quick to make up. I think it might also look nice sleeveless for a summer make  although this would require a bit of redrafting on the armhole.

It swishes when I stride.
…and it twirls well too!
Loving my new M7244

I like this dress. Its not often I show off my little cleavage 🙂

Thanks for stopping by until then…..

Happy Sewing!



McCalls M6886: A study in pink

Hello everyone!

After a resounding success with my last M6886 made for Christmas 2016 (link here), I immediately set to work on the next one. You see, its so easy and quick to make.

I had some pink ponte bought for £2/m at Leeds outdoor market. I am not normally a pink person but I wanted to experiment and see if I could make something in pink that I would like.

Before cutting the fabric I did a swayback adjustment of 1.5″ to reduce the puddling on the small of my back. I used Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting book for instructions. Once cut out and sewn up I decided to break the colour a bit by giving it some borders. Enter the neck band and sleeve ends in black jersey. For sewing the neck band I used the technique I learnt while making my Lady Skater dress.

I really quite like the effect of the contrast bands. Took the dress from something I might wear occasionally to something I will definitely wear – it makes me feel like I have got moxie :-).

I finished the hems with a 2.5mm twin needle. While we are on the subject of twin needles: I have conquered that beast and can whip up a hem in no time at all. Boom! Just leveled up !

McCalls M6886
Pink M6886 worn with my black M6844 cardigan
McCalls M6886
McCalls M6886

I love the contrast sleeve bands. Can you tell why I need a walking foot?

I am not sure the swayback adjustment worked all that well but I am not bothered. I am happy with it.

Twin needled….like BOSS!!!

I have many more plans for this pattern – My next one will be  a v neck in the longer style. Am thinking in grey..maybe sleeveless…

I do believe this pattern has solidly made it into my TNT hall of fame 🙂 Welcome M6886!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs! I will be back very soon with another completed project.

Happy sewing until then.





Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044

Hello everyone,

I am so excited about sharing this shirt made for my hubs a couple of months back. I was nervous about making him a shirt but his hints were getting harder to ignore. Given how much he helps me with fitting and taking pictures I felt I must try.

The first issue was fabric. I didn’t see the point in working on a shirt before he had chosen a fabric. When he saw my Butterick B5984 birdy top fabric he loved it so that was that. He used to be a drummer in a rock band so its no surprise that he chose such fabulous fabric for his first me made shirt.

Next I made a muslin of the  McCalls M6044 – a versatile mens shirt pattern. I had to reduce arm length by 1.5″ and took in the side seams about an inch.
I managed to squeeze this shirt out of 1.5m of fabric hence the dodgey upside down birds on the button band.
Though I like the 2 piece sleeve it does not have a tower placket ~(will make one next time). The sleeves are flat constructed so this is a quick make plus its very easy to flat fell the armhole. I used flat felled seams thought out even on the sleeves😃😁. I cant say again how much I love flat felled seams on shirts now.

McCalls M6044
Such a goofball…..
McCalls M6044
Shake that booty….
McCalls M6044
It really is eye catching…
Collar and button band detail
Flat felled armhole
Cuff detail…
Back view
Turns out he too has always wanted a jump shot! Without the jumpsuit of course!
Interior armhole and shoulder
Inside side and sleeve seam flat felled
The placket is a simple one
Xmas 2015 322
Carving the turkey is hard work!
Xmas 2015 141
Fierce!…Rrrrrrr!….On Christmas day 2015 kitted out in mostly me mades

Pictures…not as good as usual fare since I was behind the camera. Still……

He loves it and couldn’t wait to wear it to work. They have dress down Fridays and he won The Most Awesome Shirt award for this shirt!

From my perspective he wore it and and uncovered another undisputed fact: “You look damn good, lover.

It also happens to be extremely comfortable.” came the reply.

So yes I will be making him more. Its a great shirt pattern that is easy to make.

I am happy with my selfless sewing. Have you done any selfless sewing recently?



A Christmas 2015 outfit featuring McCalls M6844 and M6886

Hello everyone!

I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas and happy holidays. In the post Christmas slump  I have infused enough energy to post about my Christmas outfit – all made by moi 😉

I had been wanting to try out  Mccalls M6886 for some time. As a long term resident of my pattern stash – I was glad to finally get it on with this pattern. Its a good’un people. Simple but chic. I cut a straight size 8 and for a first go I am very happy. The embossed red scuba fabric has also been in my stash for a long time – I gave myself double points for double stash busting :-). I also made a M6844 cardigan in black to go with the dress. Having made one before here in red, there’s not much to say about except that it took me less than 2 hours to make from cutting to snipping last thread.

Construction wise I used my overlocker throughout except for the hems – for which a 2.5mm twin needle worked a charm.
One thing I would advice on the M6844 cardigan is to not interface the collar unless if you are going for quite a stiff look. I did not interface the collar band as it is double faced. For reference I used ponte fabric (again from stash :-).IMGP3463 IMGP3439 IMGP3432 IMGP3426 IMGP3411 IMGP3385 IMGP3379

The outfit came together so nicely. I felt very chic and elegant on Christmas day, which helped given how much chaos entails hosting Christmas for 13 people (one of them a vegan with a few food allergies).

As always thank you for stopping by this little bit of my interwebs! Did you make a Christmas outfit as well?

Happy sewing !


Oh and I have made a few loose goals for the year as follows:

  1. For every 4 of stash items used I can buy 1 new stash (patterns or fabric).
  2. Wear at least one accessory. (I am trying to be more stylish you see)
  3. Go to one sewing community meet up.
  4. Have more fun sewing and blogging.

*Any I should add?