Announcing the 2017 Spring Sew-Along

McCall Pattern Company Spring 2017 Sew-Along

It’s sew-along time! Each spring for our sew-alongs we choose a pattern or style that’s a little more beginner-friendly, preferring to tackle the harder stuff in the fall. The past two springs we’ve done dresses—a wrap dress and a shirtdress. It’s about time we thought about sewing pants, right?! Joining us on this sew-along as co-host is the fabulous Amanda of Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing.

M7547_aThe main pattern we chose for this sew-along is McCall’s M7547. We like that it has four view options: overalls, short overalls, flare pants, and slim pants. You can choose to sew any of these. The pants:

  • have a side zipper (the “fly” you see in the illustrations is just decorative stitching)
  • are fitted through the hips and upper thigh
  • have a slim leg in View B
  • have a flare leg in View A
  • are high-waisted with the waistband sitting at the true waist

This is a really great pattern for those of you who are new to sewing, or who want to try pants for the first time or again. High-waisted pants are really on trend right now, and next week we’ll be sharing lots of style inspiration and fabric ideas. Plus, making a side-zip pant is an easy gateway to sewing zip-front pants, and you can apply this same knowledge to future side-zip skirts you might make.

Sew-Along schedule for blog posts:

Week of 3/3:  Announce sew-along

Week of 3/10:  Style inspiration; suitable fabrics

Week of 3/17: Making a muslin to assess fit

Week of 3/24: Pockets (steps 1-13)

Week of 3/31: Seams and zipper (steps 14-24)

Week of 4/7: Waistband and overalls bib (steps 29-61)

Week of 4/14:  Finishing (steps 62-66)

Week of 4/21: Big reveal

Our sew-alongs are always go-at-your-own pace. Some of you will finish way ahead of this schedule, and some of won’t finish for months. No worries! Whatever works for your schedule. We will leave the sew-along blog posts up indefinitely. We’ll also create a sew-along Facebook group where we can share our progress with each other (coming soon).

Personally, I’m really excited about this sew-along. I’m desperate for new pants that aren’t black trousers. Amanda is going to make View D, the overalls, and I’m going to make View A, but more of a cropped flare, kind of like these pants:

Giambattista Valli pants, available at Net-a-Porter
Giambattista Valli pants, available at Net-a-Porter

We really hope you’ll be joining us for this sew-along! You don’t need to sign up anywhere or make any kind of public pledge: just sew along at home and join the Facebook group, if you’d like. It’s a very chill kind of thing!

 

Finished: Butterick B6421 Brocade Jacket

Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company
Etro coats. Coats 1,3 and 5 are from NeimanMarcus.com; coats 2 and 4 are from Etro.

One of my favorite designers is the Italian brand Etro, which is known for its coats and jackets in beautiful brocade and jacquard prints. There are some consignment shops on the Upper East Side that I haunt regularly looking for an Etro score. In the meantime, I made an Etro tribute coat!

My sewing journey started with two brocades in my stash that I didn’t realize worked well together until Carlos, Vogue Patterns designer, pointed out the obvious to me. One was a black brocade with gold metallic polka dots; the other was a black mini-floral brocade. They are so perfect together: Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

Then Carlos came to the rescue again, suggesting Butterick B6421 for this Etro-like coat I had in mind. I had completely overlooked this pattern, but once you look at the line drawing you can see it’s the way to go if you want to combine two different fabrics:
Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

This jacket went together quickly. The only alterations I made were to narrow the A-line shape a bit at the lower side seams, and to lengthen the bottom panel so I could wear this more as a coat. (I’m also 5’8″ so I tend to have to lengthen patterns.)

Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

For an Etro-like touch, I stitched some grosgrain ribbon atop the horizontal seams.
Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

The inside is lined with China silk. I edged the facing with black satin piping I made.
Butterick B6421 brocade jacket as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

I’m really pleased with my Etro/Carlos coat. I like the fact that I can wear it fall through spring, and that you can dress it up or down. This is a great pattern for using up small pieces of fabric in your stash. You could even try mixing up to four different fabrics—just make sure they’re all of similar weight.

Next up: Honestly, I don’t know what I want to make next. January and February are months where I’m never sure if I want to stick with sewing for winter, or just give up and move on to spring sewing. What are you working on?

Velvet: Types of Patterns to Sew for Success

Sewing velvet: patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blogLast week we talked about how to sew velvet without collapsing into a puddle of sewing misery. This week we’ve got suggestions regarding which patterns are best for velvet first-time sewers. Keeping it simple is key.

But first, let’s take a look at a velvet wrap top I just made. I used an out-of-print Kwik Sew pattern from my stash, but you could get a similar look with Butterick B6176 or McCall’s M7200. As I hadn’t sewn velvet in years, my plan was to choose a pattern on the really simple side. I wanted to concentrate on mastering velvet, and not get hung up on pattern details like fit, collars, darts, extra seams, etc. This Kwik Sew pattern had only shoulder and side seams, and a front/neck facing:

velvet wrap top sewn by Meg Carter. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Tip: Before you hem sleeves or other parts, let your velvet garment hang for 24 hours or more. The front lower corners of my wrap top would not drape properly, so I tucked little weights inside the facing and just let the top hang for about 48 hours. This did the trick. For more tips on working with velvet, watch this video we made.

VELVET TOPS

Inspiration:

Sewing inspiration: velvet pants
Hale Bob Amabel top, Lafayette 148 Amara top

Suggested patterns:

Suggested sewing patterns that would work well with velvet. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
V9204, B6378, K3870

Any of these patterns would work in velvet for first-timers because they have few details. For the Butterick pattern (center) I’d eliminate the elastic casings at the sleeve and bodice hem. I’m personally thinking of making the Vogue pattern (left) in black velvet.

VELVET PANTS

Inspiration:

Sewing inspiration: velvet pants
Vince wide-leg pants, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Bow pants

Suggested patterns:

Suggested sewing patterns that would work well with velvet. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
M7164, V9228

You can’t walk into a store these days without seeing pair after pair of velvet pants. The look is either wide leg or track pants, and these two patterns are well suited. Make things easy on yourself and go for an elastic waist.

VELVET DRESSES

Inspiration:

Sewing inspiration: velvet dresses
Just Female Ware dress, Emerson Fry velvet shirtdress

Suggested patterns:

Suggested sewing patterns that would work well with velvet. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
B5948, M6885

First-time sewers of velvet should definitely opt for something more like the inspiration dress on the left—just a little shift dress. I’d use B5948 and extend it to make it dress-length. If you want more details and have previously sewn a shirtdress, try M6885, but make the collar and placket out of satin rather than velvet. Satin here will be much easier to work with than velvet.

VELVET JACKETS

Inspiration:

Sewing inspiration: velvet jackets
T by Alexander Wang bomber jacket, velvet Jardin kimono

Suggested patterns:

Suggested sewing patterns that would work well with velvet. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
M7100, B6176

A velvet kimono is a great layering piece and you can dress it up or down. Plus, it’s easy to sew! Feel free to tackle a velvet bomber jacket if you’ve sewn a bomber jacket before and are up for a little more of a challenge. You may want to size up on the McCall’s pattern as it has a slim fit.

So, have we given you enough ammunition to sew velvet this season? I don’t know about you but I’m hooked on this fabric! What’s next on your must-make list?

 

Velvet: sewing patterns that are perfect for first-time sewers of that tricky fabric, velvet.