M8248

Another skirt already! I ordered a copy of M8248 during one of the recent McCall’s sales. I know a pleated skirt is so, so basic, but I really liked the envelope photo styling and its specific proportions. I thought it had a winter-wearable, late-nineties Sandy B. homeowner-witch vibe, but in the gap between placing my order and receiving my copy I had a moment of doubt. As in, did I just spend $9.00 on a drawing of a rectangle?

Happily, no. It’s invisible in the line drawing, but in addition to the slight shaping on the skirt front and back (and a curved waistband – heads up, curved waistband fans), this pattern has side panels. Also, the front and back panels are identical for all sizes. All the grading occurs in the width of the waistband and the side panels. I loved this since it meant I could cut the pattern tissue instead of tracing it. I was even able to cut the side panel tissue by making little guide holes along the seam allowance for my size without cutting off the larger sizes, so the only piece I had to trace was the waistband. Huzzah!

For my winter witch vision I knew I wanted to use wool, and I found this springy/spongy wool blend from Sewfisticated (you have to add “blend” after “wool” at Sewfisticated; it’s reflexive). I think it’s riding that bulldoggish line between ugly and cute. I had 22 3/4″ full width leftover from my pattern-suggested purchase of 2 ¼ yards (hold that thought!). Also, I cut the inner waistband from scraps of tightly-woven cotton twill for stability.

I started from a size 16, which is a little up from my measurements. I extended each waistband piece by about 1” on a short side, as well, so it would overlap above the zipper – I prefer not to cross a seam with an invisible zip if I can help it, and I found some suitable buttons on a very deep dive into my button bag, so that plan was a go.

Then I sewed just the waistband first. I concluded I needed to remove 3/8” extra seam allowance per side, for a total reduction of 1 ½”, and planned to just sort of massage that difference into the skirt seams and/or pleats.

After setting the correctly-fitting waistband aside, I quickly matched the front/back and side panels, serged the seam allowances, installed the invisible zip using the Kenneth D. King method, and hand-sewed the hem to give myself a treat later. It’s nice to return to a finished hem, isn’t it?

With only the pleats and the waistband attachment remaining, it seemed like I was going to sail through this project. Then those seeds of confidence bloomed into a beautiful garden of oopsie-daisies.

I’m a relative pleat newbie and I was less than madly enthusiastic about thread-tacking all the pleat markings, so I didn’t. You can use an awl if you’ve got guts and a cutting mat, but I figured I’d just look at the pattern piece for reference when I got there. Because I cut out the paper pattern pieces instead of tracing them, I didn’t transfer or, apparently, read the markings. And since I thought I was hot stuff, I didn’t read the directions either. This is the moment – post serging, zipper, and hemming – when I realized I was supposed to have a total of 4 side panels. I had 2.

It’s clear from the line drawing that the front and back of the skirt are meant to be identical. The side panel has one pleat line marked; it joins its paired leg on the main panel, but I merrily ignored the fact that with only one pleat per side panel, there was no way the front and back could match. Also, the plaid didn’t match across the seams, but I assumed my fabric had grown. Most egregiously, I ignored the notches. When does a low-down double notch match a high-up single notch? Never, is when! And yet!! That is how I sewed it.

This is where my generous leftovers stopped being a surprise or a point of pride. Yes, you too can have leftover fabric if you merely don’t cut 1/3 of all the skirt panels!

If this was a moral test, I failed. My skirt still has only 2 side panels. I was weak!! I couldn’t face unpicking nearly every stitch I had sewed so far. I ended up doing a lot more pleat massaging more or less on the fly to fit the skirt to the waistband, though not without cost. The ultimate price: my back is missing the 2 widest-set pleats, the side hangs a little funny, and I lost the proportions I paid $9.00 for. Oi.

But. But!! It’s still kind of, I don’t know, romantic? Uneven and wooly and kind of ugly but also sort of pretty? I could see making another in black or navy to soup up the witchiness. But I like to think that next time, I’d use all the pieces!

Pattern: M8248

Pattern cost: $8.99

Size: View C, 16, waist reduced 1 ½”, 1 skirt panel missing (siggghhh)

Supplies: 2 1/4 yards wool blend, Sewfisticated, $11.23; thread, zipper, Sewfisticated; buttons, Winmill Fabrics, $4.64

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $24.86

Plaid Granville

I’ve been meaning for a while to add a home-sewn plaid flannel shirt to my closet. This isn’t the shirt of my dreams, but it’s going to get a lot of wear.

This is a Sewaholic Granville with the same fit modifications as my other Sewaholic Granville. It’s a little less successful in this thick fabric, as it’s kind of occupying an awkward middle ground between indoor shirt and overshirt; in retrospect, I’d push it wider. I love the fabric though, a black-and-ivory Kaufman flannel. This may have wet my whistle for sewing an actual overshirt. Kaufman does staggeringly beautiful speckled flannel solids now!! I saw the olive in person and it’s gorgeous, plus this substrate is so satisfying to sew. Even though this Granville isn’t perfect, it’s cozy and I enjoyed the process.

I mostly rolled right along and followed the directions with no wacky diversions. As they were last time, the sleeves are really too long. Excellent for tucking cold fingers inside but not so good for washing dishes. This was a bright-but-cold finger-hiding day. I’m wearing them unrolled as a rule, partly because this is a heavy flannel for chilly weather, but also because I feel I earned it. I put in the time to get those sleeves right!

Slightly embarrassing after my recent tough talk about tower plackets, but I messed these up. Or not these, precisely, but their predecessors. I attempted to pattern match and got it exactly reversed – an ivory stripe on black, and a black stripe on ivory. I finished the shirt and actually wore it a couple times that way. Then because new sewing is on pause (I can’t pre-wash fabric right now) but that sewing mojo has to go SOMEWHERE, I sat down on a quiet Saturday morning and did it all again.

Luckily, because I sewed the cuffs in this way, I could unpick them without removing the button or worrying about the buttonhole. I unpicked and discarded the old placket pieces, and whip-stitched the cut line on the sleeve shut. I also unpicked the sleeve seam to just above the elbow (twice, because it’s French seamed) so I could spread the cuff end flat.

Time to cut a new, hopefully matching placket. Obviously my original system didn’t work, so I did the one thing I skipped amid all my mental contortions of figuring out the plaid the first time: I Googled it. It’s actually pretty simple. This tutorial is even from the Granville sewalong. I probably should have done that earlier! This time it went smoothly, though this fabric is a little too bulky for a pristine finish. The little buttons at the top are just for show.

I also sewed the hem a few times. First I sewed it exactly as written, but that left just an awkward flash of white at the center front, and I’d prefer to end on a dark horizontal stripe. So I unpicked the hem, straightened the front curve so no ivory would show when folded, and sewed it again. Then I realized I had cut one of the fronts slightly askew and the plaid was asymmetric. So I unpicked the longer side, trimmed it, and hemmed it again. Then I decided I didn’t like the look of cream thread topstitched on the black front edge there, so I hand-picked the hem with grey thread and unpicked the machine stitching. And here it remains!

If I get seized by another re-sewing mania, my next target would be the collar. I folded the button bands a little too much, so they’re wider than designed (for some reason my math was off on the day I cut). I should have shortened the collar piece slightly to compensate, but I didn’t think of it, so it ends a little too close to the end of the collar stand. This isn’t a big deal when I wear the shirt open, but if I want to button it all the way up the plaid lines diverge at the neck where it pulls apart to make space for the collar.

I’ve been considering adding flaps to the chest pockets, too. I don’t think it looks right to cut rectangular plaid on the bias, so I cut the pockets on-grain and pattern-matched the fabric underneath as far as I could. It diverges slightly because it covers the dart ends, so the bottom edge of the pocket isn’t quite parallel to the horizontal stripe anymore, but they’re still blending in pretty well. So what I have here is two fairly invisible pockets that I don’t put things in, because who uses chest pockets. Flaps would give them a little more context. On the other hand, do I need to draw focus to my invisible unused chest pockets, or am I just going loopy due to lack of new projects?

You might notice my total sewing time seems a little short for all the monkey business mentioned above. That’s because those changes were made after I wore the shirt in public, which means I mentally filed them under ‘mending’, and I don’t record mending times. If some sort of sewing authority ever audits my process I’m gonna be in trouble!

Are you enjoying our transition to long dark cozy evenings? It’s the stay-homiest time of year! I hope you’re gaining some quality sewing time. And I hope I’m gaining a washing machine soon, so I can sew new stuff too!

Pattern: Sewaholic Granville shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 12, modified fit

Supplies: 3 yards Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in Ivory, Ryco’s, $33.00; thread; Ryco’s, $3.25; buttons from stash

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $36.25

Winter Shirtdress

I’m so close to being done with my quilted jacket, but not quite. In the meantime, I have something a little less exuberant to share – actually this is another farewell tour, so say hello & goodbye to my would-be-could-be-but-isn’t go-to winter shirtdress.

After two consecutive winters of wearing this zero times, it’s time to say goodbye (I’ve yet to successfully integrate a dress into my casual wardrobe). This particular experiment hails from 2017 and is mostly a Deer & Doe Melilot, with guest star, the fabled but rarely seen Grainline Archer bum ruffle. I alternate between thinking that ruffle is pretty unappealing and craaaving a bum ruffle Archer shirt; it’s the honey mustard pretzel bites of shirt views.

The fabric is brushed cotton, 4 yards of Kaufman Grizzly Plaid cotton to be precise. It’s soft but less bulky than their Shetland flannel. 2017 Lia was apparently pretty apprehensive about fabric thickness though, since a lot of my decisions appear to have been made to reduce bulk, unfortunately sometimes at the expense of quality/longevity. I was also living that new-serger life, which contributed.

The inner collar stand has a serged bottom edge, which is surprisingly not too obvious. I pictured this being worn done all the way up the neck, and it is the way it looks best, but I really put baby in a corner, style-wise, there. Cover your collarbones or reveal your lazy serging, hussy! The collar is closed by a silver ring snap, and there’s a second snap about 3 inches below that one. And for the rest of the placket…nothin’. It’s funny for me to revisit old projects; I’ve become a sewing completist since then. I would have placed snaps all along the placket nowadays, whether or not I planned to use them.

This isn’t the first popover placket I’ve bungled, but it’s among the worst! Since the Melilot has a full placket I would have followed an online tutorial; I don’t remember which, but this nice, recent CC one makes it clear that it’s just a sleeve placket writ large. I’m not sure how I made it so complicated, but line up it does not.

My other bulk-reduction moment is in the sleeves – I wanted to wear this with a rolled cuff, and again didn’t leave any other choice, since the sleeves are finished with scrap cotton cuffs. Serged on the outside, no less.

I like the visual balance of the cuff but the placement is just wrong. I thought a full-length sleeve would be overwhelming on a dress, but I judged the shortened sleeve length incorrectly, so it’s not very comfortable; the cuffs sit over my elbows, so I’m always either tugging them down or feeling them ride up.

The interior seams are serged as well, except the hem, which I finished with bias tape. I like the extravagantly swoopy Melilot shirt hem and I transferred it downwards. That does make the sides pretty short!

Plaid matching fell by the wayside as I adjusted this dress. Originally I lengthened the Melilot shirt (size 42) by 11” and added extra space for my hips. I used the shape of the Melilot back, but divided at the height placement and along the curve of the Archer bum ruffle seam. The lower half is also mostly Melilot, with the upper edge shape and width of the bum ruffle. This turned out to be a series of nopes. I had to shorten the top back to raise the ruffle by 1.5” to make it even barely a top-bum rather than a mid-bum ruffle, remove the added volume from the hips (in a word: saddlebags), and shorten the dress overall by 4.5”.

The finished dress isn’t terrible. It’s not the most thoughtfully constructed but it’s warm; the details are sloppy, but the silhouette isn’t bad. But I just don’t wear it! I can blame the usual suspects; the length, the fact that it’s a dress at all, lack of pride in the finishing. I think this candid more or less sums it up.

 And I also think it’s just a bit blah! I could see something like this working in a warm, colorful flannel, but the last thing I reach for in winter is top-to-toe grey.

Okay, now picture this with me instead: a winter shirt, maybe needlecord, deep jade or dark teal, shiny buttons…and a bum ruffle?! Maybe someday!  

Pattern: Deer & Doe Melilot (mostly)

Pattern cost: $10 (my first Melilot, weirdly!)

Size: 42, extended 6.5”

Supplies: 4 yards Kaufman Grizzly Plaid cotton, Mercer’s Fabric, $28.80; snaps, Michael’s, $3.00; thread from stash

Total time: 10.75 hours

Total cost: $41.80

Pete and Repeat

Or, Perkins and Reperkins. I binge sewed the Ensemble Patterns Perkins shirt this past summer and I’m finally catching up here! I sew a lot of pattern repeats, but this shirt showcased one of the wider varieties of fabrics I’ve used to sew one pattern, and I hoped it might be interesting to compare the finished projects. My first post showed the cropped, gathered view in breezy semi-sheer polyester. Here’s that same view in lightweight but opaque 100% cotton.

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Okay, you caught me – this is 10% a thoughtful comparison of one pattern in many fabrics and 90% me saying LOOK AT THAT PRINT!! Like my first Perkins, I sewed this in a fabric I bought from TMOS. I am KICKING myself that I didn’t buy more. I bought 1.5 meters for the princely sum of $5.47 and if I could ever find it again (impossible, at a guess) I would buy 3 or 4 meters more.  

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That’s some aggressive fruit! ❤ Fear meee!

I actually got this Perkins from the leftovers of my 1.5 meters after making a tee, so when using stable fabrics where print direction doesn’t matter, I think you can really cut the pattern pieces any which way and be successful. The only pieces that aren’t backed or lined in some way are the shirt front and back – the plackets, collar and collar stand, yoke, pocket, and sleeves all have added support/structure.

The pocket placement might seem too low on the cropped view. Hold fast. It’s not too low. It’s just right. I doubted and was justly smote (by having to unpick and re-sew the pocket where the markings indicate; I’ve been smote-er).

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I used cotton lawn to line the sleeves of this and the next Perkins, and I used the lawn instead of interfacing as well. I’m of two minds about this. On the ‘pro’ side, I was able to cut the cotton lawn very efficiently with nothing leftover for my scrap box. Also, it’s never going to get that wrinkly surface that interfaced pieces sometimes develop after going through the wash a few times. On the ‘con’ side, unless you baste it to your pattern pieces (I didn’t), it’s a pain in a neck to actually sew. The solution (baste it!! Obviously, baste it!) didn’t occur to me at the time. I also managed to stack my collar pieces wrong, which is how my lawn ‘interfacing’ ended up as my undercollar –

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Who knows what terrifying carnivorous fruits lurk within these collar pieces?

The stiffer cotton adds volume, but because it also weighs a little more, it floats away from my body less. So the silhouette is similar to my polyester Perkins, but the movement is quite different. Sisters-not-twins. So this one is their brother, maybe!

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This is a different view – regular length, no gathers. The sleeves and collar are the same for all views (well, there’s a tied-in-the-back collar option, but it’s very very not for me).

The first time I posted a Perkins shirt review I was so buzzed on my finished shirt that I forgot to talk about the instruction booklet. I puzzled it out and I love my shirts, but the instructions are confusing. The first two pages of sewing instruction show steps 01, 02, 01, 02, 03, 01, 02, 01, 01, in that order. Each sewing stage restarts the numbering and the views are jumbled together. Again, after sewing two views, I’m happy as can be with the drafting and my finished shirts, but the instructions share certain qualities with a funhouse mirror.

That said, this was my third time sewing a Perkins shirt in a span of weeks, so the actual construction held no mysteries for me. But the fabric was another story!

I used cotton twill for the outer pieces and it came out of the washer and dryer so, so off grain. This would be less than ideal even if it wasn’t marked with a grid that would make any error on my part super duper obvious. I cut everything on a single layer, skewing my pattern pieces to match the skewed grid. Then, after cutting, I pulled the cut fabric back on grain. I had to pull hard! This is so counter to the usual way to treat cut fabric! It felt wrong, like throwing away a book or eating a sandwich in a bathroom.

Luckily it worked! I didn’t start with a ton of faith in the process, so I cut the yoke and the pocket on the cross-grain instead of trying to pattern match.

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I also decided this shirt would button left-over-right, instead of the intended right-over-left, because I liked the shirt front better without the off-center vertical red line visible on the placket.

I French-seamed the side seams on both these shirts, by the way. I needed to use cotton lawn to line my fruit shirt because I didn’t have enough main fabric, and I chose to use it for my plaid shirt because it was lighter and cheaper than my main fabric. And it reduces bulk in the underarm seam.

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Once again I’ve taken a winding road to a similar Perkins silhouette – the body of the regular view is a lot less full, but this twill holds much more structure! Well, why fight it, I guess?

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The plaid one is my favorite so far, but that might be because it’s the warmest one. I haven’t tried a fabric that didn’t work as a Perkins shirt – I don’t have plans to add a fourth to my wardrobe right now, but you never know, I might find a fabric I can’t resist and have a totally new favorite come spring!

Pattern: Perkins shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 8

Supplies: leftovers from cotton Hemlock tee, TMOS; 2/3 yard of black cotton lawn, Gather Here, $5.90; 6 buttons, Gather Here, $2.00

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $7.90

Pattern: Perkins shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 8

Supplies: 1.5 yards of Classic Plaid Twill in Hunter and Black with Red by Sevenberry, 2/3 yard of navy cotton lawn, Gather Here, $28.78; 8 buttons, Gather Here, $4.00

Total time: 5.75 hours

Total cost: $32.78

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

I’m keeping it simple this week with a circle skirt, that classic no-pattern-needed darling. I actually learned about circle skirts before I learned about stay-stitching, which is why one of my earliest sewing struggles involved repeatedly trying on a circle skirt with widening seam allowances AND an increasingly loose waist, two things that seemed mutually incompatible and almost sent me around the bend. Heed my warning and stay-stitch the waist curve!

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I don’t generally wear skirts but I like circle skirts. They’re fabric guzzlers, sure, but with a little careful laying-out, you can definitely reduce fabric waste.   

By the way, I know this is practically sewing internet sedition, but I think the BHL circle skirt calculator is lousy. If your waist is over 30” in circumference and you want a skirt longer than a mini the calculator will announce that IT CANNOT BE DONE. HUMANKIND HAS NOT YET WROUGHT A FABRIC WIDE ENOUGH TO CONTAIN YOUR MAJESTY.

But, I mean, it can though. And it’s not hard. Unfortunately I don’t have a better solution available than just doing the math! But dare I whisper: math is fun?!

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Mine is a full circle skirt, and the finished length is 26”. My waist is about 31.5” at the moment; your longest possible skirt length would vary based upon that measurement, your fabric width, and your preference.

No pattern means no helpful pattern envelope, but I like to use Photoshop to figure out my fabric requirements.

Circumference = 2πr, so 31.5 = 2πr, 15.75 = πr, and 5 = r (or definitely close enough for me). First I draw a half-circle with a radius of 5 inches, centered within a half-circle with a radius of 31 inches (my desired skirt length plus my waist radius). I then create a Photoshop document that’s 44 inches tall, to represent the width of my fabric, minus 1” for seam allowances. I duplicate, flip, and arrange my skirt pattern pieces, then add a few extra inches for a waistband. When I check the image size of the Photoshop document I now know I’ll need 112 inches – a.k.a. about 3 yards – of fabric for my circle skirt! Well, almost. I’m 4” over, but I’m definitely willing to make my waistband narrower, or cut it in multiple pieces, or on the cross grain, to avoid ordering an extra yard. When shopping locally, I’d buy the extra 1/8th yard or whatever.

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I still have to add seam allowances, but I’ll do that when cutting. Don’t forget to add SA to the waist curve too, which will actually make the hole smaller. It’ll work out though.

I like to use the selvages as my side seam allowances, because they’re stable and already finished, which skips a step. Plus, I’d rather install a zipper on the selvage instead of the bias any day! Even if I was somehow cutting this in a single piece I’d try to place my zipper on the grain or the cross-grain, to reduce buckling. Brace yourself for my best-ever invisible zipper, by the way. It’s…fine.

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The waistband is slightly longer than the waist opening and closes with a hook and bar. I didn’t worry about pattern-matching, obviously, except across my pocket openings. For some reason when I decided to add slash pockets I used quilting cotton for the pocket bags instead of self-fabric. That reason is lost in the mists of time – I sewed this before 2017, the first year I maintained a sewing spreadsheet! I don’t mind the rabbits peeping out, though!

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 The hem is finished with bias tape, with one edge hand-stitched, BY FAR the easiest way to finish a circular hem in my opinion. I used yet another quilting cotton here! Scissors this time. One presumes pre-2017 Lia was enjoying herself.

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The fabric is Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel. I generally don’t consider myself a fangirl but I looove Kaufman fabrics. The Mammoth flannel becomes less soft and plushy after pre-washing, but it’s still warm and vibrant and easy to sew. It’s cotton, so I dry it on the hottest setting the first time, to get any shrinking out of the way, and warm after that.

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There’s not much to say about the fit – if you can measure your waist, you can fit a circle skirt. I like the proportions of a half-circle skirt, even an elegant quarter-circle, but for wintertime warmth and hip accommodation, you can’t beat the whole pizza.

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This is what happens when you have a drippy nose but need to take blog pictures!

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Oh, and this is what happens when you go for a winter walk and drink a white hot chocolate from Burdick’s and then try to twirl for blog pictures – you get dizzy and your insides say “EXCUSE ME?” and then you don’t want to twirl anymore. So no true twirly pics. But the hot chocolate is worth it!  

Wishing you some time to practice gratitude this week (and of course lots to be grateful for)! If you live in the United States of America, perhaps consider supporting a Native organization on Giving Tuesday. Thanksgiving is weird, but I hope you have a good one!

Pattern: Circle skirt, no pattern

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 31.5” waist

Supplies: 3 yards of Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel in Plaid Scarlet, estimated $30 (pre-2017, so no notes); invisible zipper, hook and bar closure

Total time: Pre-2017, unrecorded

Total cost: $30.00?

Buzzwords

Hi all! What’s the buzz?

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Oh, is it the base of my Halloween costume? It is!

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One of these days I’d like to cut loose and make a COSTUME, we’re talking something that needs super specific underwear and maybe you have to crouch to get through doorways, but in the meantime (as in, as long as I stay in my beloved but closet-less apartment) I pull together costumes from daywear. You could be forgiven for thinking “This? A costume? No, no, sir” which, like, fair enough. Though there are more posterboard components for the night itself.

Anyway, I’m a Spelling Bee! (Professor Boyfriend, not pictured, is a Spelling Beekeeper. His veil is dotted with yellow and black striped capital letter “B”s.). Whereas I’m, basically, a nerdy bee? The sewn elements are a pair of Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts, which I covered thoroughly here, and a Seamwork Natalie blouse.

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Nothing much to say about the shorts except that they’d match the concept better in black, but I found this grey linen locally for $3/yard, so yeah, SOLD.

One of the best parts of working in an elementary school is that you can have serious in-depth conversations about Halloween costumes. During one of these, a six-grade visionary suggested I add suspenders to my outfit, which: yes! They really cinch the Poindexter vibe! It’s just suspender clips and black ribbon, so only aesthetic, no support. I actually already had these – a couple years ago I got smitten with the idea of suspenders just long enough to order the clips, and I wore them maybe twice before the day I paired them with culottes and a leotard and had to reenact The Great Escape when I wanted to pee.

The ‘bee-siest’ piece is this top. I’ve been thinking about the Natalie blouse for a while and I’m glad I finally made one! In recent months I’ve been glibly converting regular collars to camp collars and then moaning that they don’t sit right, but actually following directions to learn a new skill seems to have worked better, TELL EVERYONE. I think the trick is in the width of the facing. The plackets curl open close to, but not over, the edge of the facing. It mildly stresses me out that it’s just tacked down inside and not topstitched, but maybe that’s an important ingredient too?  

I did add three additional buttons between the four recommended ones. More stitching is better stitching.

This top certainly fits, but I should have picked my size more wisely. I sewed an 8 bust graded to a 10 waist. Thanks to the boxy fit it’s not tight anywhere, but the shoulders are too narrow.

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Ideally, the shoulder seam would sit 1/2” – 1” further out. I think I’ll retrace the pattern in a straight size 12. The good news is I know already that I won’t need to grade for my hips!

Oh, a note on plaid-matching – I remembered to match the side seams below the bust dart, but completely forgot about the sleeves. Oh, well. Though, it’s been a while since I’ve set a sleeve in the round, not to mention I French-seamed it, and it is sitting pretty smoothly! So it might be in the wrong place, it might not match the plaid, but I’m calling it good!

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I probably won’t wear these bits as an outfit together after Halloween (contrary to everything about my personality, I’m not actually putting effort into being a nerd), but separately, yes, for sure. Do you dress up for Halloween? And if you do, do you try to keep the pieces wearable in daily life, or do you go wild?

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Either way – Happy Halloween! 😈

Pattern: Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts

Pattern cost: NA

Size: D at waist, E at lower hip + thigh

Supplies: 2 yards of linen blend, Sewfisticated, $5.98; zipper, Sewfisticated, $1.40; thread, rivet from stash

Total time: 4 hours

Total cost: $7.38

Pattern: Seamwork Natalie

Pattern cost: $3

Size: 8 at bust, 10 at waist

Supplies: 2 yards of Kaufman Sevenberry: Classic Plaid Twill Plaid Yellow, fabric.com, $24.24; thread, buttons from stash

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $27.24

M7840 Bigshirt

I made a big shirt.

A biiig shirt.

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Can you sense my wild enthusiasm for it here?

Okay, it doesn’t look totally terrible in photos. But how about…NOW?

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Help, something is following me!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tall. But neither am I short. I’m a happy medium – a standard American female 5’ 5”. Why is my behind shrouded so?!

OKAY, let’s talk about this for real. The pattern is M7840, and it’s a pretty recent release. I spotted it in some “mad for plaid” sort of round up (I am, I am mad for plaid) but it was the Woman’s model sample that really compelled me. She looks so cozy and warm and stylish! Her glasses are cute! I wanted those things, so naturally I messed around and paired the short sleeves of that view with the bananarama high-low hem. NOPE.

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This is not the comforting winter bag of my dreams. Drafts go right up those wide, cropped sleeves and it turns out even a nice squishy flannel like this Mammoth flannel doesn’t feel that warm when it stands away from my body. Plus the collar is BIG. It flops open and if it buttoned (it doesn’t) I could still easily fit a hand down it. I like oversized shirts, but I underestimated the importance of a nicely fitting collar. “Deep and floppy” more or less sums it up.

I should have gone looking for a better partial placket tutorial online, but I tried to brute-force it. Unfortunately my attempt based on the pattern booklet is a bit of a mess. Not so much the slight plaid misalignment (I can actually live with that), but I couldn’t figure out how to finish the bottom; eventually I relied on my experience of sleeve plackets, a snip, and a prayer. No bueno. There’s a teeny little hole there now. I fused a bit of scrap fabric to the wrong side. We’ll see if it holds. I’ve gotten spoiled by extra diagrams for new-to-me sewing processes, something McCalls strangely did not anticipate?!

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So what went well? I like the fabric (Mammoth flannel is so easy to work with), plus I like large scale plaid + large scale shirt, at least in theory. The width is kind of cool too, at least when I have a wingspan! That’s probably why the only photographs of it I quite like are the ones where I’m standing like Jesus. It was also fun planning the plaid placement (asymmetrical on front, balanced on back).

The added benefit of all this fabric is that I can remake it. Yep. I’ve pretty much already determined to shorten the back hem by 3 – 5 inches, and I have just enough leftover fabric to recut longer sleeves. If ‘more fabric’ doesn’t somehow solve my ‘lotsa fabric’ problem, I might just go nuts and recut this into my standard shirt-saver – a Melilot. Say buh-bye to the big shirt, folks. They can’t all be winners!

Pattern: M7840

Pattern cost: $8.00

Size: 10

Supplies: 3 yards Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel in Denim, $21.75, fabric.com; thread from stash

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $29.75