After what feels like an eternity I'm happy to share some of my latest dressmaking projects with you this week. During lockdown I chose simple, easy to sew projects that would give me some instant gratification without requiring too much brain power for a much needed morale boost. I'll share the patterns and fabrics with you plus my thoughts on sizing, adjustments and construction techniques.
When the new season, new look McCalls pattern range arrived I got that kid in a sweet shop feeling. So many great designs I didn't know where to start. I decided to plump for McCalls 8040 - a simple blouse with princess seams, puff sleeves gathered into a narrow cuff and a button down front and I'm so glad I did.
Sewing Pattern and Fabric
The sewing pattern has two hem length options and three sleeve options to choose from. I opted for view B - forearm length sleeves and a longer hem length since I knew I would want to tuck it into high waisted jeans.
I chose a lovely soft brushed cotton, which sadly sold out. There are plenty of other options though, this blouse would work well in a number of different fabric types - cotton lawns, shirtings, crepes, viscose.
Sizing and Adjustments
I cut a 12 at the bust and graded to a 14 at the waist and hips.
I made my usual high round back and forward shoulder adjustments and then also took a little bit out at the princess seams for a better fit round my small bust.
Overall I'm very pleased with the fit, although after recording the video it appears one of the shoulders seemed to be dropping off my shoulder and causing the top button to pull.
It's really odd because I've worn the blouse a lot since making it and have never noticed this issue when wearing it so I'm not sure if it was a one off and I hadn't put it on properly or whether I would need to bring the neckline in a little if I made it again. The jury is out as they say.
The construction was very simple, although I made a ridiculous error, which meant I spent a lot of time making dramatic adjustments that were completely unnecessary!
Happily sewing away without reading the instructions I got it into my head the neckband was a visible one rather than acting as a facing, which would sit neatly inside the garment and finish the raw edges.
This made the blouse several inches too big and I spent ages faffing around trying to get it to fit before the penny finally dropped.
Once I made it the way it was intended it fitted brilliantly - doh!
The sleeves were a lot of fun to sew with gathers at the shoulder and hem.
I chose self cover buttons and used these Prym ones, which were very easy to use. They have a serrated edge, which I found kept the fabric neatly in place making it easy to capture it all when applying the back of the button.
The method for sewing the hem seemed a little odd to me so I just overlocked the raw edge then folded the neckline facing over and top stitched it down for a neat finish.
I absolutely love wearing this blouse. The close fit of the bodice thanks to the princess seams balances out the voluminous sleeves beautifully.
It is comfortable and casual enough for every day, but has some interesting design details that make it a bit more fun than your average blouse.
I'm disappointed I didn't have the shoulder sitting correctly when I filmed the vlog because I don't think I've shown it off at its best, but I really do love this make and will get a lot of wear out of it.
If I made it again I would probably lengthen it. I prefer wearing it tucked into high waisted jeans and it is just a little short sometimes popping out of the jeans at the back.
New Look 6217
I have been looking for the holy grail of the perfect knit Tshirt pattern for some time.
For a very fitted look I love the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top or the Megan Nielsen Rowan T, but was struggling to find the right pattern for a less fitted look.
Then I stumbled across New Look 6217, a woven Tshirt pattern. It appeared to be one of those overlooked, hidden gems of the pattern world. I found lots of the makers I follow on Instagram who had made their own versions and were raving about it in all its beautiful simplicity.
I decided to give it a go in jersey and I'm so glad I did.
Sewing Pattern and Fabric
The pattern is super, super simple - just two pattern pieces, a front and a back bodice piece.
The sleeves are grown on so great for people like me who have fitting issues around the shoulders and armholes.
I chose out gorgeous striped cotton jersey Tshirt fabric, which I am happy to report washes and wears beautifully. It is also available in a blue and grey colourway too.
Sizing and Adjustments
I sized down from a 12 to a 10 due to the fact I was making a woven pattern in a jersey fabric. I tried the pattern pieces against a favourite ready to wear Tshirt of mine and could see there was plenty of ease.
I made a high round back and forward shoulder adjustment, which is standard for me on any bodice.
I made the entire Tshirt on my Babylock Desire 3 coverlock machine - overlocking the seams together then hemming with a coverstich.
I used seam tape on the neckline and hems to prevent them from stretching out.
A great pattern, super quick and easy make, which I will wear all the time. In fact I am actually wearing it as I type this!
You could always play around with the neckline shape and finish it with a neckband for a different look and perhaps add little turn ups on the sleeves too for a bit of variety on this classic wardrobe staple.
Have fun sewing!
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