McCalls 6359 Pattern Review

I’ve been on a sewing kick this year, but I’ve been bad about posting reviews and pictures of what I’ve made. So, I need to share some of the “back log.” Here is my hippie meets punk inspired tunic made from McCalls 6359…

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McCalls 6359

I’ve had this cream cotton jersey fabric for years. It’s pretty blah and I’ve never known what to do with it. That was until I saw some lovely #omg and #UMMMyes looks on Pinterest that centered around a plain white tunic top. Why not make it myself?

First things first: I made the smallest size on this pattern and I still think it runs kind of big. I’m not afraid to share my dimensions, so here ya go — I’m 5’6″ and 126 pounds. I thought this top was a bit TOO drape-y for my taste.

Something that did not run big: the straps! Go ahead and cut those puppies a bit longer that you think. You can always adjust.

The top was a bit long. Had I know the length, I may have added a couple inches and made a cute dress! In this case, I just trimmed it up to a custom length that I was comfortable with.

At the end, it was still missing something. So, I ironed on a few bronze pyramid studs for a dash of punk rock–hence the hippie (light flowy tunic) meets punk (studs) look.

Teal Polyester Dress Makeover!

I’ve recently become obsessed with this awesome blog called New Dress A Day. If you like sewing and make overs, then this is the place for you. I ran across this blog by accident one day on my lunch break and have been hooked since. Marisa, the blog master extraordinaire, takes some pretty horrible and ridiculous vintage clothing finds and create unique looks that I would love to have in my closet. You have to see it to believe it.

Needless to say, I’ve  been inspired. I love sewing from scratch and adding embellishments here and again to little things. But this blog got me to look through my already existing wardrobe and scout out some of my own pieces that I could breathe life into again.

Thanks to Marisa and New Dress A Day, my tired and tattered teal and black peacock halter dress was not thrown away, but rather, given a new life. See what happened:


This polyester teal and black number has been in my closet since 2008. Wow. I loved the funky fabric and it’s built-in bra. However, the bodice had lost a lot of its umm…support over the years and was fading, so it was time to think about the fate of this get up. I loved the psychedelic peacock pattern along the hem line and I hated to let the fabric go. Turning the dress into a skirt seemed like an obvious choice, but I hadn’t worked up the courage to do so until I came across Marisa’s blog.

It didn’t take long to attack that dress with some scissors and slap on a 3″ wide band of elastic to create a waistband. I did serge the raw edges. The fabric would not have frayed, but I do love playing with my serger. I love the weight and the bouncy flouncy action that this new skirt has.

I’ve received a ton of compliments on this skirt and how great the pattern is. What I love about it–I’m the only one that has it and it’s tailored for me. #nailedit

Hemming a Knit Shirt with a Twin Needle and Walking Foot

I am no longer afraid to hem knits after my positive experience today! I just got done hemming up a shirt that had a serged hem that I didn’t like. I have always hated hemming knits because of the puckering and rolling. But, I found my signature method this morning. Here is what I did.

I started out with a knit shirt that had been finished with a serger along the hem. It is a super cute shirt but it always ends up rolling up along the hem and looks like a tube around my hips (not sexy). I want this St. Louis Cardinals shirt ready for opening day!! What a shame to waste a glittery MLB shirt.

First, I decided how much I wanted to hem up which turned out to be 1/2 inch.





I pinned my fold in place and was sure to press everything is well…don’t skip this step!

I recommend using a walking foot for this because it will feed your fabric through the machine evenly. My machine is a Bernina Magic 910 Electronic. It is the machine I learned a lot and I think it might be older than me!

You can see what needle I used in also take a look at my walking foot…


You must stitch with the right side of your fabric app because the bobbin will create a zig zag pattern with the thread below.


I was very pleased with the results. What do you think?


My tabby, Matilda, was also thrilled with the outcome and gave lots of purrs of approval. She loves spending time in the sewing room.


What tips and secrets do you have for hemming knit fabrics? Do tell!

DIY: Damask Curtains with Grommets

Long time, no blog! I’ve actually been super domestic lately. I’ve been working on a lot of sewing and interior projects. I want to get those out of the way before spring comes (if it ever does). We’ve had a couple of nice “teaser” days in the 60s, but snow and sleet is usually raining down from the sky the next day.

As you probably gathered from my fireplace makeover post, I’m working on redoing my dining room/parlor (yes, I do use the term parlor in casual speak. I like to think I’m an old soul). We’ve repainted three out of four of the walls (fourth wall has some dry wall issues that must be addressed before painting. More on that in a later post). The next step for us was curtains and a rug. I bought a rug on RugsUSA for $132 plus free shipping. The price was nice, but it took forever to get here and took pestering customer service several times for them to even process my order.

As for curtains, I struggled to find something both my husband and I could agree on. I wanted a pattern to complement my new rug. I eased hubby into the idea of multiple patterns, but agreeing on one was hard. We both love toile, but it just wasn’t working with our rug. My husband found some navy and white damask curtains that he liked and said, “Could you make these?” Yes, yes I can. He loved the damask, and I was good with the idea, so we ran with it.

We found material on Fabric.Com for an awesome price, and their return policy is pretty epic for a fabric website (30-day money back guarantee? yes!). I bought 6 yards for $46 with free shipping. This fabric is more of an indoor/outdoor fabric. You see, we have cats that love curtains and practicing their postmodern curtain deconstruction art on them. So this stuff seemed like a solid candidate. Plus, it’s fade resistant! Great for my front window.

I knew that I wanted 1.56″ large grommets along the top edge. So, I allowed for a 4″ header (aka, that fold or pocket along the top edge). I wanted  3″ hem along the bottom. Here’s the process I used for making these:

  • Decide how big you want your completed curtain panel. I wanted mine to be 87″ long, which includes that header with grommets along the top.
  • Add 4″ to your length to accommodate for grommets.
  • Add 3″ (or however much you want) for a hem.
  • 87″ + 4″ + 3″ = 94″ total
  • Cut your panels out. BE MINDFUL OF THE PATTERN OF YOUR FABRIC (if there is one)! I made sure that panels were identical by cutting  the panels so that the pattern repeat started the same on both (ie: top of the damask swirl motif)
  • I serged my edges since my fabric fray easily.
  • Turn the sides under 3/4″, press, and stitch this fold down. I used 5/8″ seam allowance. If you didn’t serge, you could fold the fabric under again to encase your unfinished end (note: your curtain will be ever so slightly narrower).
  • Hem your curtain. Again, I hemmed mine at 3″ and like the look. My seam allowance here was about 2 7/8″ to get it very close to the edge of the fabric. Adjust if your edges are not even (perhaps a 2 3/4″ allowance).
  • Make that top header! Use about 4″ for this to accommodate your grommets. Me mindful that the sides line up nearly  and that there’s no overlap. I used a 3 7/8″ seam allowance. I also stiched the sides of the pockets down so they wouldn’t pucker open. I did this by stitching carefully directly over the side seam. The stitches are camouflaged fairly well this way.
  • Grommet time! I highly recommend Prym Dritz Home Curtain Grommets 1.56″ from Joann Fabric. They are $12.99 for 8, but I always use my 40% off coupons there and snag them for much cheaper (Coupons are always on their smart phone app or in their email blasts!). I used 8 on each curtain, so you’ll need two packages.
  • Spread your curtain out flat so that you can work with the header. Space your grommets out easily. This took a fair amount of time, but be patient! Once you do one, just use it as a template for the other. The directions and pattern that comes with these grommets are easy to follow. You will never be scare of grommets again!
  • Press your curtains, and ta da! Fab new curtains.

I apologize for not taking any pictures of the process. But, I was on a mission last week to get these things done. I hope you like them!

Butterick 6582 – Retro 60s Dress for a Mad Men party!

Betty Draper inspired dress

I haven’t gone MIA. Life has just been so busy. I hate that I haven’t written anything. I have been sewing though! My latest endeavor was Butterick 6582.

I made View C, which is a classic A-line shape that will flatter most figures. I made this dress for a Mad Men party, so it was perfect. I used plain cotton fabric, which was easy to work with.

I thought the sizing ran a little big. I ended up having to take three inches in so it didn’t look like I was swimming in the dress. I think a well fitting bodice is KEY to this dress.

Take your time on the bodice. It’s not hard, but it takes patience. The instructions for the zipper are NOT good in this pattern, so you’ll have to fend for yourself.

I would make it again, but would make it in a smaller size. All the alterations made the fit seem a bit off to me. I’m a perfectionist about fit though.

Simplicity 4055

My 1812 Dress

We had a War of 1812 themed even at work this weekend, and naturally, I had to have a new dress. I don’t like to just grab a pattern and run with it. I love to look at fashion plates and images of the time and seek inspiration from primary resources. My inspiration came from two dresses from Thomas Wilson’s Analysis of Country Dancing” from 1811. I think the end product turned out nicely. I did hook and eye closures rather than buttons for the back. I used cotton for the dress. I wish I could’ve the entire dress out of lawn for a very draped gown, but the JoAnn here in town only had obnoxious tropical themed prints. Maybe next time!


Simplicity 2363

Simplicity 2363

Here is my latest creation: Simplicity 2363. I have had this fabric for many years and wanted to use it. I wanted a casual simple dress and decided on this pattern. The fabric is a poly-rayon blend and super flowy with some nice drape.

FIT: The dress is a pull over dress. I’m not the best at putting zippers in, so this pattern appealed to me. I’m very picky about how my clothes fit though. If the bottom of the dress flows, I like the bodice to fit nicely (as a self-proclaimed pear shape, I think this style fits nicely). I failed to remember that with a pull over top, it will be looser due to lack of zipper). So, to fix that problem, I added a belt to my finished dress to add some shape and funk to a simple dress.

SIZE: This pattern runs VERY large. I should fit into a 10 pattern, and cut the bodice out at a 6 and there was plenty of room to spare. The belt helps hide that it is too big in the skirt. Otherwise, this dress would look like I was trying to conceal a pregnancy or something like that.

TIPS: Take your time on the neck and get the corners on the neck sharp. This will make the finished product look much more stylish and polished.

This dress is going to be great for work and play. Today, I paired it with tights, ankle boots, and a black shrug. I think it will be adorable with my black wedges once it warms up!

1853 Dress – My First Historic Costume!

February 1853 Fashion Plate

I just finished my first historic costume that I completed on my own. I used Laughing Moon Mercantile’s #114 Ladies’ Round Dresses pattern as the base, and then added my own elements to complete the look I wanted. I made this dress for an actress that would be portraying a wealthy 42-year-old woman who has just married for the second time. I wanted something elegant, striking, yet conservative. I began looking at fashion plates of the 1850s and came across this one from University of Washington Digital Collections. It dates from February 1853:

Here is my finished product!

New Look 6774

I’ve recently been having the itch to sew. I’ve really become a domestic goddess between my love of cooking new recipes, finishing cross stitching projects, and a desire to sew.  I suppose I should preface my interest in sewing as something that’s been on my mind since birth. My mother, who passed away in 2003, was a seamstress and loved crafts. She had a very DIY attitude about life, which was passed down to me . I haven’t sewn too much since Mom died, but I’ve done stuff here and there. I want to get back into it. I’m a little rusty so I decided to start with something relatively easy.
My good friend Brandon is getting married next Friday morning in vineyard back home in Illinois. I have a floral dress that would be okay to wear for the occasion, but I wanted something new. I wanted something simple with a touch of vintage home made to it (apparently I’ve been watching too much Mad Men. Are the fashions not AMAZING in that show?). After a trip to JoAnn and seeing all the fun new cotton fabrics, I picked up the pattern:
New Look 6774 – Image from

I liked option “B+J+L.” I’m a sucker for a great halter top. I find them comfortable and the most flattering for my pear shaped self. I picked out a tan, cream, brown, dark red, and blue patterned cotton and grabbed a dark red for the contrasting portion of the waistband. I picked out some coordinating satiny fabric for lining, fusible interfacing, thread, and a zipper, and I was on my way.

Laying out the pattern and cutting it out is very difficult for me being the perfectionist that I am. It’s also difficult since I have no room to work in my one bedroom apartment. Joe has been very accomodating to my thread and fabric scraps everywhere. Working during the daylight is a must for me too since we’re short on outlets.
This pattern moves along quite easily. I will say that it called for a bit too much fabric, so I’ll see if I can’t ebay the remainder (I don’t see making a skirt or something with the pattern I picked, and I have no room right now to store it). I’ve had to rework the back because it runs big to me. Before installing the zipper (which is always a headache for me), I realized I was swimming in it. I’m always trying the garment on as I go along to avoid using my frenemy: the seam ripper.

Floral halter dress with red midriff band

After work tonight, I’m going to be fighting with the zipper and then deciding on an appropriate length for the dress. I love how it looks, but the fabric is a tinge too stiff right now. I think it’ll work though. I’ve already paired it with these amazing chunky gold and wood wedges I got for $10 last week. I decided to make what I want to call a “floral fabric fascinator.” It turned out cute, and I can wear it on the dress (as seen below) or in my hair.

Red fabric flower with pretty button