Hey Sewists! I volunteered for double duty for the Sew Long Summer tour, so I am back with another new garment. Today, I am sharing my pattern hack version of Simplicity 1062. This is my second version of this pattern hacked top I have made this year. I posted about my previous version and the non-hacked version here. I never did write my how to hack post though. Maybe next month.
Back to this version now! I made a few pattern tweaks from the last version and it made all the difference. I love love love this top! The inspiration came from a top I purchased at Torrid a while back. I has a woven front panel with a knit back panel and neckline/armhole trim. Not a typical combination, but it works for this top. The front used .75 yards of Grayscale Tree Silhouettes Peach Skin Fabric from Girl Charlee purchased back in 2014 for $2.73. The black is 1 yard of Ponte De Roma from Jo-Ann’s purchased in 2015 for $7.79 a yard. Total fabric cost: $10.52, which is less than half of what I paid for the inspiration piece.
This is a great quick and easy make. My typical fall wardrobe consists of skinny jeans, boots, and a cute top. This top will fit into that wardrobe perfectly! It was also a great way to use up some smaller pieces from my stash! I am going to have to make more versions of this top. I want to make one with a bright colored Ponte De Roma instead of the black. I promise I will write a how to hack post at some point while making other versions.
Hey Sewists! Sorry I have been gone so long. I did not intend to take a nearly two month hiatus from blogging. But, boy oh boy, have I been busy. I have been enjoying my summer and am a little sad to see it leave. I have so many projects to share with you though. Right now I am in the midst of costume sewing for our annual trek to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Until then, I am excited to be a stop in the Sew Long Summer tour the Melissa is hosting. Today I am excited to share my new shirt-dress obsession with you! I fully intended to blog about these dresses way back in July, but summer happened. Even still, I think shirt-dresses are the perfect seasonal transition garment for me. This is my side by side comparison of two similar patterns, McCall’s 6891 view B and Simplicity 8014 view B. Each finished garment was compared in four different categories: fabric used and pattern description, construction, alterations and fit, and wearability.
Fabrics and Pattern:
First up, Simplicity 8014! This pattern comes with several different collar, sleeve, length and skirt variations. I chose to make view B with the flared skirt with mandarin collar. For this version I used 2.5 yards of dark indigo chambray from my stash. This fabric was purchased from Jo-Ann’s last year during their Black Friday sale for $11.25. I also used 13 – 5/8″ copper shank buttons, also purchased from Jo-Ann’s this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of how much I paid for the buttons. I bought them when one of the local stores was closing, so I know I got them for at least 50% off. I really liked the idea of a mandarin collar and thought it would be a great way to give this dress a different look than it’s competitor (M6891). This pattern features pleats at the waist of the front and back, with bust darts and a back yoke. I absolutely love the back yoke! That makes it feel more shirt like for me.
Now the challenger, McCall’s 6891 view B. This pattern features a notched collar with various skirt lengths and sleeve types. The bodice features darts for at both the front and back waist as well as the bust. For this version I used 3.25 yards of navy cotton eyelet and 4 yards of white Kona cotton solid, both purchased from Jo-Ann’s this year. Total cost for both fabrics was $37.71. I also used 12 – 7/8″ navy buttons.
For my McCall’s version I underlined every piece, except the sleeves, since I chose an eyelet. That doubled the fabric needed and time spent sewing. Underlining was well worth the extra effort. I love the effect of the contrasting white underlining peaking through the navy eyelet. Once underlined, the pattern went together pretty quickly. I finished this dress in a weekend. I used 1/2″ horsehair braid in the hem to give it more volume and structure in its drape. The double thickness of the fabric and the horsehair make the skirt look great!
For the Simplicity chambray version it also went together very quickly. I finished this one within a couple of days as well. I used the 1/2″ horsehair braid in the hem for the same reasons as the other version. While you cannot tell from the pictures, it did not sew as easily as it did in the eyelet. With the chambray it has some roping in a few spots because of the curve. Interesting fact, the button holes on the Simplicity version are meant to be sewn vertically, while the McCall’s version are horizontal.
Alterations and Fit:
For the Simplicity version, the most significant alteration I made was to the sleeve length. This pattern only came with a long sleeve that rolls up to 3/4 length. I knew if I was putting in the sleeve tabs I would never wear this with the sleeves unrolled, so I chose to make a shorter length more similar to the McCall’s version. I love what the back yoke does to draw visual interest to the back of the dress, creating a more tailored fit. I do not think the waist pleats add anything to fit though. From the back I think the pleats are the cause of the bagginess. I think that if they were darts it would look much better.
For the McCall’s version the only alteration I made was to the size and quantity of buttons. This was because I could not find any 5/8″ buttons, which is what the pattern calls for, that I thought looked good with this fabric. So, the 7/8″ buttons won out. I added 2 extra buttons, changing the spacing between each one from what the pattern guide is. The fit of this one is spot on though! I love the shaping the darts give. I do not like where the button placement stops in the front for this version. I think another two buttons could be added to make me feel more secure that it won’t fly open. I also do not like the length of this skirt. It is about 2″ shorter than the Simplicity version, making it just above my comfort zone.
I really enjoyed wearing the McCall’s dress. The double layers of cotton do make it heavier and warmer to wear. It will be great for fall for that reason, but right now it is still a bit to warm here for me to want to wear it all summer. I am definitely going to have to add two more buttons to the skirt. I was a bit nervous while wearing this all day of it flying open below that last button.
The Simplicity was much more comfortable to wear all day since the buttons and hem length were just right. I can say that I am not as big of fan of this mandarin collar as I had hoped to be. The pattern calls for button all the way up with one finishing on the collar. It was a bit too uncomfortable for me to wear all the way closed. I wasn’t a big fan of leaving it unbuttoned though because I think that the neckline naturally drapes a little weird when unbuttoned. Other than that I loved wearing the chambray all day. It is the perfect lightweight fabric to wear on warmer summer days that will pair well with sweaters or tights for cooler fall days.
When it comes down to the pattern itself, it was an easy choice to pick a winner. The initial fit of this version is so much better than the Simplicity version. There would be no alterations need for the fit of the bodice. The only alterations I would have to make are to the length of the skirt and amount of buttons in front. Those things are minor in comparison to changing the pleats of the Simplicity version. Then there is the collar! That mandarin collar on the Simplicity dress is just not as flattering as the notched collar of the McCall’s dress.
Have you stitched up your own version of either of these patterns? What did you think of it?
Check out some of the other stops today on the Sew Long Summer tour and sew along with us.
I know I am a day late in posting this for the Summer Crush theme last week, but I had some family things to take care of yesterday that prevented me from finishing everything up. Not to worry, everyone is doing good now. Eric and I just had to attend to several different family members yesterday all for different issues. It was a busy weekend for us, which culminated with me having jury duty today. Luckily, I didn’t get picked, because I don’t think I could handle the case that was being presented.
I still want to share the garment I made for Summer Crush though. Here it is, better late than never.
On Saturday, I mentioned my summer crush this year is the maxi dress. Here is the newest one I have made. Another version of McCall’s 6073! Big surprise, right?!
This is my third version of this pattern this year and I am not even close to sick of it. The pattern is so flattering to my body type that most of my dresses are this type of style. The belt does a great job of accentuating my midsection, while the crossover shows off my curves well. The overall length of the bodice hits me in a great spot so the skirt makes me look taller. The gathers of the skirt help to hide my tummy too.
This version is a whole lot of floral! I love the print of this ITY Knit and I also have it in a purple colorway. Both of these were purchased from my job way back in June at $1.12 a yard. I also added an underlining to the bodice of white swimwear lining for to help support the weight of the skirt. I used 3.25 yards of the ITY and .75 yards of the swimwear lining for a total cost of $8.24. Not too bad! Not bad at all!
I did make a couple of minor alterations to this version. First, I took the crossover at the belt down by about 1″ to eliminate some of the gaping open at the chest. This didn’t quite do the trick so I took the shoulders up in the front only by 1.5″ and now it is perfect. There is no gaping open and it fits nicely around my curves.
This weeks theme is Never Ending Summer, where we are sewing garments that keep us in a summer state of mind all year round. I have one garment ready but am not contemplating making a second. Head on over to Melissa’s blog to read more about this week’s theme and join the linky party!
How is your summer sewing going? Sew Long Summer is off and running, and it is not too late to join in on the fun! This weeks theme is Summer Crush and it is all about trying those patterns you have been crushing on but not sewing up for one reason or another. My personal summer crush is maxi dresses. I have made 5 this summer. I will be sharing my newest one tomorrow, after I have a much needed photo shoot.
This weeks theme runs until tomorrow night, so you still have plenty of time to get something sewn up for it. I have a few tips to help you save some time too! Working in the garment industry has given me some great insight on how to speed up my personal sewing. I want to share a few things I have learned and adapted for home sewing. Maybe you can try them throughout this sew along and beyond.
Pre-cutting projects – I tried this out this past spring with great success! Take a few hours and cut out several different projects. Cutting is my least favorite part of sewing and as a result I can some how magically make it last way too long before I get to the actual sewing. I found that if I set up my cutting table in front of the tv and put on Netflix, I can watch several episodes of a series or a couple of movies and end up with 3 or 4 projects cut and marked. Then I can take a day over the weekend and sew up all those projects. Depending on how busy work is, sometimes I just get a project cut out, after diner, each weeknight and then sew them up on the weekend. As a bonus, it is super gratifying to end up with multiple finished projects in one day.
Sew the same color garments – Sewing garments that are similar in color will allow you to change your thread less. Less time changing thread, searching for coordinating thread, or going out to purchase thread means more time sewing. If I have black thread on my machine and serger I might as well sew up the black dress, skirt and anything else that I have been wanting to get too.
Sew similar styles of garments – This same philosophy from the last tip goes for this one too. If I have cut multiple projects out I try to make them similar styles. It is easier to sew this way because the basic order of construction stays the same between styles. Small details and techniques may vary but if you are sewing a top you are going to stitch the shoulder seams, insert sleeves, close up side seam and sleeve, then hem. Why not make it an assembly line process? Have 4 tops cut that could all use the same thread, then complete the same steps for each garment instead of sewing one garment at a time, start to finish. You will be surprised at how much time you save by when you do this.
Sew without pins – This is huge and it took some practice. Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you spend pinning garments as you sew? Try timing yourself when you pin each seam, dart or hem. I can sew princess seams better and faster without pinning them and all it takes is a little practice. Start by pinning your seam like you normally would. Remove every other pin. Now sew that seam. Continue this until you are comfortable sewing with half the amount of pins. Then do it again. Keep going until you are down to no pins. You will learn to have better control of the fabric and the final outcome. When I sew without pins I start by making a few stitches, line up my ends and never let go of it in my left hand, find a mid point with my right hand and stitch away. Keep practicing this, you will amaze yourself with how quickly you can pick it up.
Plan your sewing – All of these tips lead up to one big one. Plan what you sew! If you are anything like me you may have a large fabric stash, with a lot if pieces having been acquired with the thought of “Oh, this would make a great (dress, top, etc)”. I know that is generally my fabric purchasing mentality. As a result, I have a lot of garment ideas just begging to be in my closet. With this, I can pull a few pieces from the stash and match them with the desired pattern easily. About once a season I go through the stash and pull fabrics and patterns I am inspired to sew up and put them on my shelf in full view. Then all I have to do is pull the similar styles and colors to cut and sew when I am ready too. It makes it easier to build a solid wardrobe as well when you have a plan of what to make. I know that if I am making a top I also have something I can make to wear with it. There have been several times, in the past, where I have made something awesome like a top, but cannot wear it because I didn’t have a coordinating color, fabric or style to go with it.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and can use them in your own sewing. Let me know how they work out for you.
Next weeks Sew Long Summer theme is Never-ending Summer, where we will be sewing garments to keep us in a summer state of mind all year long.
The sew along will last four weeks starting on August 24th and ending on September 22nd, the last day of summer. We will be celebrating the end of summer and welcoming fall. Each week will have a different theme to help you stay motiated
Summer Crush is Monday August 24th – Sunday August 30th.
This theme will be all about trying those summer patterns that you have been putting off for one reason or another. It is also a time for finishing some of the UFO’s that have built up over the last couple of months. Now is the time to do it.
Never Ending Summer is Monday August 31st – Sunday September 6th.
We will be sewing garments that keep us thinking summer all year round. What do you want to wear when there are 6′ of snow outside in the middle of January? Is it bright sunshiny colors and prints? Or lightweight fabrics that can be worn now and layered in the colder months ahead?
Holi-Daze is Monday September 7th – Sunday September 13th
Labor day falls within this week, and we want to see what special things you are wearing. This is also a time to start planning and prepping your holiday wardrobe for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Fabulous Fall is Monday September 14th – Tuesday September 22
Since this is the last week of summer, we will be looking ahead to fall sewing. What is on your list of must make fall garments? Let’s get a jump start on sewing those fall items now.
Start thinking about what you will be making now. If you would like to share your creation simply use the hashtag #sewlongsummer15 on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, view/request to add photos in the Flickr album, or Pinterest Board. You can also share your creations through link up parties that will go live for each week’s theme.
Now, on to the giveaway. To kick things off right we have a fabulous prize package for you to win. It includes a Friskers Scissors Sharperner , MyPad Needle Keeper, and a $20 Joann’s Giftcard. I hope you are excited about these great prizes. Enter now via the Rafflecopter below.