McCalls 8775: Chambray Tent Dress

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I’ve been reading Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography for the last few days, and I’ve resolutely decided that the 60s need to come back. I’d settle for the latter half of the 60s, 1967 onward.

I also decided that I’ve missed vintage sewing, but I wanted to sew more things that I’d wear everyday and would fit into my lifestyle. I don’t have the lifestyle (as of yet!) to swan about in 1950s dresses, so I turned to the late 60s.

I don’t usually wear dresses with high necklines, but since it’s short I needed something to balance it out. I lowered the neckline by an inch and a half (more adjustments documented below), and it was still high enough to look like a high neckline (to me) and to still be comfortable.

I’ve already worn this dress to work a few times, and it’s very comfortable. It’s also short (for what I’m used to!), so I I have to be careful when going to the subway, walking about, sitting down. It’s comfortable, practical, can be dressed up or down, and looks different from what’s out there in ready to wear. Many more dresses like this to come, for certain.

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Pattern:

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McCalls 8755, from 1967.

(I originally planned to sew this dress in a green floral but that proved to be disastrous. It was just too much fabric for such a simple dress.)

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Project Details:

Pattern: McCalls 8755.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14.

Description: Sleeveless, front yoked dress has high neckline and center back zipper.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Chambray.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s comfortable, stylish, and looks somewhat unique.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Shortened skirt by eight inches, narrow back adjustment, used seam binding instead of facing, lowered the neckline by 1 1/2 inch, used an invisible zipper.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

By Hand London: Anna

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I finished Anna a few weeks ago and only had time to photograph it now. This is my first time working with sheer chiffon, and it was a pain to cut and to work with. I sandwiched the chiffon with wrapping paper and cut through the layers which made it somewhat bearable, but it was still hard to work with. It also makes the dress look very formal, which means it will probably not get a lot of wear.

I used an invisible zipper in the back, French seams along the side, and serged the hem and folded it over.

This dress was also hard to photograph. Maybe it was the stark white background with the flowers on it, but

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Project Details:

Pattern: Anna, from By Hand London.

Pattern Sizing: Size 2 – 16.

Description: An effortless Summer dress featuring double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves and a paneled a-line skirt. Variations include both slash and v-neck options, plus midi and maxi skirt possibilities and a dramatic thigh high split. Super quick and simple to make, cut it short for the perfect festival dress, or make it worthy of the red carpet with a maxi skirt and thigh high split.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Sheer polyester chiffon, which was such a pain to cut and work with.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, had I chosen to read them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Yes. I really like long dresses.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None. The sides were done with French seams, and I serged the hem and folded it over, then stitched it down.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely.

Scout Woven Tee: Grey Knit Scout, #2

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Two Scouts in a row!

Not much to say about this pattern, other than it looks like a store-bought t-shirt pattern. This one was made from grey ribbed fabric, leftovers from my McCalls 6559 tank dress. This time I paid careful attention when setting in the sleeves.

I’ve already worn Scout #2 to work, to WWDC (the Apple developer conference), to San Francisco, to go out, to run errands — pretty much suitable for every occasion.

Scout Woven Tee: Grey Knit Scout, #1

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The majority of my clothing purchases are t-shirts, in every kind of neutral colour imaginable: grey, light grey, white, black. I finally decided that I should be sewing my own t-shirts, and it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be.

My first mistake was sewing in the shoulder seams incorrectly, so there is an exposed seam by the shoulder, but I decided to match them, providing a design detail. My second mistake was cutting the centre back in two pieces instead of cutting it on the fold. I serged the centre back shut and ironed it down, and it seems fine.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Grainline Scout

Pattern Sizing: 0-18

Description: T-shirt with capped sleeves.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Grey knit jersey.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is my first knit Scout, and it won’t be my last.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made this as a knit Scout.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

Pleated Bodice Dress

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I received some Japanese dress books last year, and only had a chance to try them out now. Most of the dresses in Sweet Dress Book are loose-fitting and basic, and the patterns are simple.

This project was almost a disaster. I cut a size large, according to my measurements, and it was incredibly baggy. I took it in the side seams and somehow managed to make it work.

I really should have ironed this before I started taking pictures. I’ve already worn this once before to work, and it’s very comfortable. I made some adjustments to the fit and inserted an invisible zipper.

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Sweet Dress Book.

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Pleated-bodice dress, the book version.

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Pattern review is below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Pleated Bodice Dress, from Sweet Dress Book

Pattern Sizing: small-large

Description: Pleated bodice dress.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Microfiber, with an an invisible zipper

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the instructions

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern as is has loads of ease. I do like that it has only two basic pieces.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I took it in at the side seams, made the bodice more fitted, and added an invisible zipper. I used seam binding instead of facings.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This dress is very comfortable. I definitely might make another one.

Colette Laurel: Wool Gabardine Version

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Finally, proof of sewing! And it’s not even black.

I finished my wool gabardine Laurel late December last year, and only shamefully had a chance to document it today. I haven’t worn it out yet, but it’s only because it is much too cold to wear dresses right now.

In full disclosure, I made two (!!) muslins of this before I was satisfied with it. I also cut it incorrectly the first time and had to sew it twice. I serged the seams, hand-basted the sleeves in, and hand-sewed the hem. All in all a lot more work than I’m used to and with much struggling, especially since I’ve turned to knits and never look back, but definitely well worth it.

Pattern review below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Laurel.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18.

Description: Jacket with skirt and peplum.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Wool gabardine, with an invisible zipper.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, had I chosen to read them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is the second time I’ve made this pattern. I really like it, simple, yet versatile.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Yes, many. Lowered bust dart by 2 inches, shortened hem by 1 inch, lowered the neckline by 5/8 inch, removed 1 inch from the center back, made a narrow upper back adjustment, adjusted the sleeve cap and removed all the extraneous ease from it, and lengthened the sleeve to try to hide my sleeve (somewhat unsuccessfully.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. I see many more Laurels in the future.