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!

My Wardrobe Sudoku is Complete!

And I love it! In true last-minute-lady style, I completed the last item yesterday evening, knowing full well that the entry was due today! Well, I got it done so I guess that’s all that matters.

This process has really helped me focus on making things that I will actually use. I do enjoy making difficult or “amazing” things but then I don’t end up wearing them, so what’s the point? Every item is this wardrobe is super coordinated with not only the rest of this wardrobe, but many other items already in my closet. Win!

I also had a deadline so I couldn’t put things aside in favor of shiny new projects or toss them aside in “time out” of I encountered a problem. I had to power through and get it done which really isn’t hard to do but isn’t my typical modus operandi.

The Best Laid Plans

It all started with a plan. I decided to use the same color scheme as my cruise wardrobe from last year since I had lots of stashed fabric from items I didn’t complete in time. Plus, I already knew I loved all the colors.

What I Made

I ended up making 12 of the 16 items on the grid. Below is a list of all items on the chart, in order left to right by row, and linked to the review on Pattern Review and to my blog post.

Row 1:

  1. Parrot Button Down Shirt   |   McCall’s 7472   |   blogged
  2. Indigo Blue Skinny Jeans   |   Simplicity 8222   |   blogged
  3. Ballet Flats in Tan
  4. White Basic Tank Top   |   Simplicity 1167   |   blogged

Row 2:

  1. Cream Basic Tank Top   |   Ottobre 02-2010 #18   |   blogged
  2. Gray Wedge Heals
  3. White Ankle-length Skinny Jeans   |   Simplicity 8222   |   blogged
  4. Navy & Cream Chevron Henley   |   McCall’s 7360   |   blogged

Row 3:

  1. Gray Bermuda Shorts   |   Simplicity 1167   |   blogged
  2. Coral Eyelet Cap-sleeved Top   |   Simplicity 2455   |   blogged
  3. Navy Short-sleeved Jacket   |   McCall’s 5327   |   blogged
  4. Brown Strappy Sandals

Row 4:

  1. Navy Denim Espadrilles   |   allNaturalHandKnits   |   blogged
  2. Up-cycled Infinity Scarf   |   DIY pattern   |   blogged
  3. Coral Jersey Bodysuit   |   Nettie Bodysuit   |   blogged
  4. Casual Cream Twill Skirt

Mixin’ & Matchin’

The best of part of completing this wardrobe, is all the outfits I can make using these pieces. Since this is a Sudoku board outfits are matched using rows, columns, and diagonals. I also found that the quarters and center created nice outfits, for a total of 15 outfits!

My favorite outfits are Row 1/Quadrant 1, Row 2/Quadrant 2. I’m really happy with how cohesive everything is and that I’ll be able to use these clothes quite often.

This process also helped me get on board the TNT (tried-and-true) pattern train. I understand now why people would want to make the same pattern over an over. Now that I have a skinny jean pattern that fits, I want to make it in all the colors and lengths!

What About Next Time?

For me the planning process went really fast but it took me the full 2 months to complete the pieces. Having a very specific vision of what I wanted made it easy to select patterns and fabrics.

I think this is a great way to plan my sewing to ensure that I end up with pieces that match so I have ready made outfits. With all that said, I might need to take a break from structured plans and work on some random stuff for a while as a palette cleanser. But, I will keep the Sudoku in mind when I start thinking about fall sewing!