A Summer Muu Muu – V8959 (oop)

Well it’s now HOT so all I want is to sit under the swamp cooler. But, if I have to go out, I want to be comfy and cool. What better than a Muu Muu dressed up with a waist tie? I’ve had this pattern in my queue for a while and was just waiting for the right fabric for it. When I found this slightly stretchy crepe at JoAnn’s I knew it would be perfect!

V8959 – out of print.

Ready for a Hawaiian Luau!

I had a bit of drama with this dress, but it was of my own making. I thought I was being so smart when I cut out the waist tie…not! I folded it over twice (4 layers) and used my quilting ruler to cut the pieces, and then cut down the length, but cut off at the fold so I ended up with 4 small pieces instead of 2 long pieces. Argh. I had resigned myself to having extra seam-lines on the tie when I found the fabric again at JoAnn…yay! I ended up buying another 1/2 yard and this time correctly cut it out.

It can’t really be a sewing project if I don’t mess up somehow, right?

Pattern Review – V8959 (oop)

Pattern Description: From the envelope – Loose-fitting, mid-knee length, A-line dress, gathered into front and back yoke, has jewel neckline, front slit with button and thread loop closing, center front one-way pleat, and short sleeves or full length sleeves gathered into buttoned cuffs. Self tie belt holds in fullness at waistline.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. I chose not to add the button and loop closure at the neck since I figured I’d never want it buttoned anyway and I made my tie belt a bit longer and tapered the ends. But, other than that…yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! I especially liked the design of the front yokes. They are each one symmetrical piece that are then folded over to complete the facing.

Front yoke & slit finishing…so neat!

I didn’t follow the instructions for finishing the yoke and instead burrito-ed the back yoke and then folded the front yokes RST and stitched on the machine (the instructions call for hand stitching all of that down…not gonna happen!).

Back yoke burrito! The whole dress is rolled up as the “filling”

Also, instead of cutting the front as two pieces I placed the seam-line of the pleat on the fold. Otherwise, I followed the pattern exactly and didn’t make any fitting changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The fit was perfect! Based on body measurements I should be sewing a size 16 for my bust but figured since it was loose fitting (and after comparing to my sloper) realized there was plenty of ease. I like how easy it is to throw on and even though it’s loose-fitting, the self tie belt really makes it look good.

Fabric Used: “Asian Floral Navy Stretch Crepe” from JoAnn’s. This is 93% poly / 7% spandex and is just stretchy enough to add a bit of comfort to the fit. It was pretty easy to work with although it was a bit more slippery than I am used to.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I realized after the dress was complete that the stitch line that holds the pleat down was just a bit higher than my actual waist and would show above the tie belt. So I unpicked that row of stitching and cut the pleat so it sat about 1″ lower. That solved the problem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? It’s a bit of a distinctive dress so I’m not sure I’d sew it again. I did like the front yoke technique, though, so may consider that for other projects. If you can find the pattern, I recommend it. I found mine for $1 at the local thrift store…score!

Conclusion: Perfect summery dress that is really comfy but still looks put together. Its a win!

It took a year to add buttons!

I’m finally getting around to finishing sewing projects that have been lingering for a while. This works out well for #MeMadeMay2017 since I planned to complete 4 projects in May. This is only the 2nd completed project, but it was about time!

Here’s my first finish – McCall’s 7351 Shirt-dress

According to my project log I started this on April 24, 2016! Way back when. All it needed were the buttons. Seriously.

And then, in January I added buttons. However, ARGH! When I used my automatic buttonhole foot it created buttonholes that were too small for the buttons. Best I could figure, the bit of foam that sits on the back of the foot to cushion the button had been crushed too often so it didn’t add the right amount of ease for the button to fit through the hole. So I hid the dress in the back of the closet until I could work up the nerve to redo the buttonholes.

Wasn’t that a silly decision?!?

So, it took me until last week when I finally pulled the dress back out to realize I didn’t have to redo the buttonholes, just get smaller buttons. Wow, can’t believe it took me that long to realize it. I guess I was just blinded by my failure and wanted to ignore the problem. Well, now I had an easy solution…off to Joann’s for smaller buttons.

The original buttons were 1/2″ so I got 7/16″ shirt buttons. It was a matter of about 10 minutes to repeal remove and replace the buttons. And then …  dun, dun, dun … it was still really difficult to get them to fit through the buttonholes. What?!? Turns out, these “shirt buttons” are quite thick. 🙁

I wore the dress anyway but will probably go buy yet some more buttons and replace them. What drama!

Love the side seam pockets!

Pattern Review – M7351

Pattern Description: Dresses have pointed collar, collar and front bands, fitted bodice, back pleat, self lined yoke, forward shoulder seams, French darts and narrow hem. I made view D which also has a flared skirt cut on crosswise grain, short sleeves and side seam pockets.


Pattern Sizing: My envelope is 14-22. I made size 14 with the D bust.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, as far as I remember. It’s been a while. I also remember using the burrito method on the yoke for a nice clean finish.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like all of it. I think I’ll need to make a few fitting tweaks if I make this again the future but it turned out great for my first shirt-dress.

Fabric Used: Light denim/cotton chambray. I also used some quilter’s cotton as the contrast under collar, inner collar band and inner yoke.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made the dress exactly as called for (except for using a bit of contrast fabric). I also added belt loops at the side seams. Looking the photos, I didn’t realize the belt sat higher than the back waistline so I’ll probably end up adding another loop in the back.

I would make a few changes in the future:

  • I would use much lighter interfacing on the button band, as what I used turned out a bit stiff. Maybe it’ll soften up after a wash?
  • I will also need to add about 1″ length to the bodice between the armhole and bust dart. I need to lower that dart (and waistband) a bit for my personal fit preference.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I’d like to make this again. I’m thinking in addition the above mentioned changes I might like the longer sleeve (rolled sleeve) version. I also think this would look great in a light weight rayon or some such fabric…maybe with some patterning? Oooh, or maybe in a plaid flannel as a fall dress with a chunky belt and boots? So many options!

Conclusion: I like the options for bust sizes as that makes my fitting job much easier. The skirt shape also makes fitting below the waist irrelevant which is nice. This is a versatile pattern that would work for just about everyone!

Me Made May 2017

The Me Made May Challenge has been happening for 8 years and I have yet to participate. Basically this challenge encourages people who sew/knit/etc. clothing to wear them more often. In the past, I just haven’t had enough me-made items to make this a feasible challenge, but this year I am ready!

All my me-made garments ready for Spring!

Since I recently completed the Sudoku Wardrobe challenge, I have lots of new me-made items available to me. Also, I have plans to finish up some UFO’s (un-finished objects) that will add to my me-made collection. So, here is the goal I have chosen for myself:

During the month of May, 2017, I will:
  • Wear at least one me-made garment at least 3 times per week.
  • Complete 1 new garment each week (4 total).
  • Ruthlessly organize my closet to remove any items I don’t really wear or love.


Yellow “Field-Trip” Pants

Ben is so demanding that poor James rarely gets mom-made stuff. So when I asked if he wanted me to make him something he said, and I quote, “Field-trip pants.” When asked for clarification he explained that they are yellow, tight, and have pockets.

I ended up going with Ottobre Magazine 01-2011-29 because of the unique seaming on the back and all the pockets. Since the pants are really just one solid color (albeit a neon yellow) I felt that the extra seams and top stitching would add even more interest to them.

His serious smile.

I’m so glad he’s happy!

These pants were a bit of a challenge mostly because of all the top stitching and many steps. I had all three machines set up (one for yellow thread, one with brown top stitching, and the serger) and still ended up having to re-thread to the aqua thread for the bar tacks. I think it was worth it though to get such a nice finished garment.

Pattern Review – Ottobre 01-2011-29

Pattern Description: From the magazine: Pockets, top stitching and practical details! These are essential elements to include when making outerwear pants for boys. In addition to front and back pockets, our pants have leg pockets with flaps.

Pattern Sizing: 92-128 cm (heights) I made size 116 and it was sized exactly right for James.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! Although, unintentionally without the knee patches. The instructions for #29 refer you to follow the instructions for #13 but skip the ties (and use snaps on the cargo pockets). So, I was happily sewing along and didn’t realize I forgot the patches (which are only on #29) until after the cargo pockets were already on…and I wasn’t ripping those out, so, no knee patches. Whoops!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, except for the minor hiccup forgetting the knee patches. I used my go-to fly method from Angela Wolf. I also tried out Janet Pray’s burrito method for the waistband and it worked really well to get the clean finish along the front edges of the waistband.

My top stitching tension on the bobbin thread was not great on along the the bottom of the elastic waistband. Whoops!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love all the details! There are lots of unique angles and opportunities for top stitching.

Fabric Used: Bottomweight Cotton Twill with a bit of stretch from JoAnn. I also used some leftover robot fabric I had lying around for the pocket lining. James loves the secret robots!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: In addition to forgetting the knee patches I also chose not to add the exposed zippers on the outer seams at the bottom of each leg. I used 2 snap closures on each pocket flap instead of the 1 called for…I hate when flaps flap. 🙂

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Its a very distinctive pattern but I think it is quite versatile. If I didn’t add the cargo pockets it would be a much quicker make.


Conclusion: I’m happy with the pants but more importantly, James is happy with it!