That Swoon-Worthy McCall’s Gown, New Video, Another Discussion Topic, and More

McCall's Archive Collection 1930s'era gown. M7154

Here’s a Friday roundup of things to know and me asking you a bunch of questions:

1) We released the McCall’s summer collection this week, and not surprisingly, M7154 was the crowd favorite. Isn’t it stunning? It really captures the essence of late 1920s to early 1930s glamour. I’m doing the same thing many of you said you were going to do: Add this to my pattern collection, just to have.

If you are going to sew this pattern, you’ll want to head over to Pinterest where I just added this photo here and a few more detail photos of this gown:

McCall's Archive Collection M7154 vintage gown pattern reissue,

2) Have you seen our new video series? It’s called Fashion Sewing & You, and we partnered with Jennifer Wiese of Workroom Social in Brooklyn to make these videos. In each, Jen takes a McCall’s pattern and shows you how to make stylish, fashion-designer hacks to it. Here’s the latest video in the series, “Sewing With Bias Tape to Create Design Interest”:

3) Do you want a McCall’s coloring book? So you clearly welcomed the “coloring book” we just did for the latest Vogue Patterns collection. Should we do a similar-type PDF for the new McCall’s summer collection? Tell us in the comments if you’d download a McCall’s PDF coloring book too.

4) Do you quilt too? If you follow us on Instagram (and you should if you don’t!) you might know that I’ve recently gotten into quilting. I started taking quilting classes about six months ago when I was in a bad karma rut with all the clothes (i.e., wadders) I was sewing for myself. Having always believed quilting was something I’d take up when I was much older, I was happily surprised to find that I really like it. Designing my own quilt patterns and thinking about color interplay forces the gray matter to think in new ways. Plus, to be a beginner in something is a little bit…exhilarating! (And this all has me considering what it’s like to be a beginner sewer, which explains the recent beginner-oriented posts here.)

Quilt made by Meg Carter of the McCall Pattern Company
My first quilt EVER! Made it about six months ago.

But here’s what I want to know: Can you be a quilter AND a fashion sewer? Or do most people end up taking sides. Do quilters ever dabble in fashion sewing, I wonder, or is the thought of fitting a garment as overwhelming for them as designing a quilt is for me? Leave me a comment here and let me know if you quilt and sew garments, or know any quilters who also make clothes.

I'm so inspired by Jessica's Alabama Chanin version of V9022. Love it!
I’m so inspired by Jessica’s Alabama Chanin version of V9022. Love it!

5) One last thing: Alabama Chanin. I’ve long been an admirer of Natalie Chanin, and she’s a big fan of our patterns. After seeing some really cool Alabama Chanin-style makes in the blogosphere, like Jessica’s dress (right) and Laura Mae’s retro suit, I am itching to make my own AC piece. Maybe something along the lines of this coat, but less labor-intensive. I smell a summer project!

Have a great weekend!

Editor’s Picks: Kwik Sew Patterns

Kwik Sew Fall/Winter 2014 catalogThe Kwik Sew Fall/Winter 2014 collection debuted recently and I cozied up with this pattern catalog for a little look-through. Kwik Sew has been my go-to for basic patterns for years, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many stylish options this brand offers. Here are my top five picks for sewing right now:

Kwik Sew K4087 jacket

1) K4087 jacket: The moment I saw this new jacket pattern I thought of the Becky jacket by Rebecca Minkoff. I know you’re saying c’mon, Meg, you usually do a better job of matching your patterns to RTW, but to me it has a very similar feel to the designer jacket. Ignore the prints we made it up in and make your version out of solid 4-ply silk (if it’s available in a color you like and not too pricey, or a comparable poly fabric) or wool crepe. Lovely.

Kwik Sew K4068 dress

2) K4068 dress: This dress is for everyone who loves a feminine dress with a softly gathered waist. If you like our McCall’s shirtdress M6696, then you’ll love this pattern. Sew it out of soft cottons or silks in solids or mini prints. And look super-cute when you wear it.

Kwik Sew K4083 peplum top

3) K4083 top: We’re going nuts here over this flirty peplum top. I mean, cute peplum and color-blocked sides? Count us in! We recommend using lightweight fabrics for this Kwik Sew pattern, like silks or polyesters, for the best results. Maybe try color-blocking solids instead of mixing a print with a solid. Your call.

Kwik Sew K4031 cape

4) K4031 cape: Yes, I am going to keep forcing cape patterns on you this season until you break down and make one. This Kwik Sew pattern looks very similar to the Chloé capes that sell for close to $5,000. Make your much more reasonably priced version out of the softest wool or wool blend you can find, the thicker the better.

Kwik Sew K3764 biker jacket

5) K3764 moto/biker jacket: This pattern is an oldie but really, really goodie. You need to rock a motorcycle jacket this season and this is the pattern to get you on the road. Make it out of leather or faux leather, or explore some unexpected fabric choices, like the silver jacquard of the designer biker jacket in the photo above. Yes, you will look smoking-hot in this jacket.

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V1419 Sewalong update: How is everybody doing with this? Are you checking out our Flickr group and contributing comments (if you want)? I am up to step #8. Where are you in the process?

Editor’s Picks: Butterick Fall Collection

Have you seen the new Butterick Fall collection yet? There’s something for everyone, especially if you’re looking for wear-to-work options. Here are my five top picks from this collection:

Butterick B6090 dress
1) B6090 dress

Here’s a great case for paying attention to the line drawings. B6090 has great bones, people. Look at the shirring at the bodice and the little buttons all down the front—love it! This dress says vintage-y but in a way that feels fresh—like a starlet walking down the street on a sunny day or a cool girl at Coachella. For fabrics, choose lightweight georgettes in retro prints, or a sheer organza or lace and layer it. Make it more youthful by shortening the sleeves, or turn it into a tunic.

Inspiration for Butterick B6090
Inspiration for Butterick B6090
Butterick silhouette dress B6088
2) Butterick silhouette dress B6088

What I like about B6088 is how it creates this enhanced, genetically-blessed silhouette for you. Its lines help narrow your torso and slim your hips, and seriously, what’s not to like about that. I’d sew it out of black and ivory wool crepe or a decent ponte knit. Or maybe give it extra pow by making the middle part in a bold print or contrasting texture. You can also amp it up a bit by sewing the sleeves in a different color.

Colorblock inspiration for Butterick B6088
Colorblock inspiration for Butterick B6088.
Butterick B6103 riding jacket
4) Butterick B6103 riding jacket

This jacket is perfect for when you need a little rock-star glam in your life. I like all of this pattern’s versions, especially View C with its shaped hemline in the back. (I might make it a little shorter in the back and less skirt-like, but that’s just me.) That gray brocade we show on the model works well, I think, so I’d look for a similar brocade or jacquard fabric, preferably with a little Lycra for stretch. This jacket would also look killer in velvet, right?!

Jacket inspiration for Butterick B6103
Jacket inspiration for B6103
Butterick B6106 jacket by Katherine Tilton.
4) Butterick B6106 jacket by Katherine Tilton

I almost dismissed this jacket as too art-teacher-style for my tastes. I can see this made up in a gabardine, denim or wool crepe. Or try mixing different textures and colors for more of a statement piece. As I’m a symmetrical kind of gal, I might use the right front of the jacket and swap it out for the left front, so the two front pieces mirror each other.

Jacket inspiration for Butterick B6106
Jacket inspiration for B6106
Butterick midi skirt B6102
5) Butterick midi skirt B6102

All hail the return of the midi skirt! I mostly wear pants to work but I will be sewing and wearing a midi skirt or two this season. I love that the pleats in B6102 start below the yoked waistline, so you’ve got a less poufy and more flattering waist area. As far as fabrics go, I’d make this in a firm fabric, like a classy silk-wool or textured cotton, or go soft and drapey with a lightweight wool or challis.

Midi skirt inspiration for Butterick B6102
Midi skirt inspiration for B6102

Ok, I shared my faves of the Butterick Fall collection with you. What are your top picks? Follow this blog with Bloglovin