McCall’s M7434 peasant top muslin


Sometimes you try something different and the result is… questionable.  With a little time off from work this week, I sewed up a muslin of McCall’s 7434, a peasant top that is much more flowy and billowy than anything I would usually wear.  The result?  It’s a head scratcher.  I also chopped off all my hair this past weekend using (gasp!) my fabric shears.  Still questioning the result of that one too.  🙂  But, let’s focus on the shirt, shall we?

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Sewcation Days 5-6: Updated muslin and thank you!

Sewcation Days 5-6 - pattern alteration zone

Wow, thank you all so much for your thoughtful fitting suggestions!!  This is where being part of the online sewing community is unbelievably helpful and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  🙂  Your comments were very thought-provoking, and they helped me to zone in on what issues were bothering me the most, and what (perhaps) I could live with.

First, I decided to stick with the Robson pattern, for now at least.  I haven’t cut into my real fabric yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind!  I suspect most of this has to do with the fact that I’m very stubborn and have sunk so much time and effort into this thing.  It would be satisfying to tame this pattern once and for all.

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Sewcation Day 4: Forge ahead or abandon ship?

Sewing friends, I am at a crossroads with this pattern.  While running errands and cooking for most of the day, I was pondering my fitting issues in the back of my mind.  Can I save this Robson, or should I move on?  I decided to try to fix one more issue and then re-asses.

I was experiencing some tightness across the front upper chest and bust, especially when I moved my arm back.  I’m pointing to the issue below:

Sewcation Day 4 - fitting upper chest 1

So I opened up the princess seams and tried to maneuver the fabric until things felt a bit more comfortable.  I was feeling pretty smug for “discovering” this awesome technique until I realized that everyone does this, LOL.  It definitely helped to fix the tightness across the chest, but it was by no means a miracle cure.

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Sewcation Day 3: Muslin mania

Sewcation Day 3 - sewing machine in twilight

Today was all muslin, all the time.  I cut out and assembled my Robson in plain cotton muslin (and thankfully, I had just enough left over from previous projects).  I tried it on.  I stared at my shoulders.  I pinned, I sewed, I seam ripped, and I pinned and sewed some more.  Then I stared at my shoulders again.  I raised my arms.  I lowered them.  I tugged and pulled and poked and prodded.  Then I took off the coat and declared defeat.  Temporary defeat.

I WILL figure this out.  Just not today.

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Video sewing update: Carolyn Pajamas pants muslin

What’s a girl to do with a newly-issued PhD, a few weeks off from work, and 8 yards of glorious flannel?  Get sewing, of course!!  I started working on the Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas a few weeks ago (before the infamous #diapershorts Version 2.0 incident), and now I’m back to working on them with renewed excitement.  Since I don’t have finished pajamas to show you just yet, I put together a video sewing update as a fun way to share my work-in-progress.

The 5-minute video features a completed muslin of the pajama pants, including – gasp – me modeling the pants in the video!  The video quality is not the greatest since my recording and editing skills leave a lot to be desired, but hopefully it’s a fun and informative way of checking out the fit of the pattern “in person.”  Plus, you can once again enjoy my nasal voice and American accent.  🙂

I sewed a straight size 10 of the pajama pants, which corresponds well to my current measurements.  The fabric is a mystery cotton blend from JoAnn’s that I picked up over 10 years ago, long forgotten until my recent apartment move.  Hooray for muslin fabric that I never knew I had!  You’ll see in the video that the pants fit well with NO alterations, which is extremely rare for me.  How delightful!

You can view the video directly on YouTube here.  Oh, and I when I say that the pants weren’t too long for me, I meant that they weren’t too short (as patterns usually are for me) – oops!

To get a better look at the Shetland flannel, you can check out the navy herringbone here and the maroon here.  I wonder if I’ll actually use all 8 yards of fabric.  If I have some left over after making pajamas for John and me, maybe I can make a matching garment for my cat.  🙂  The trick would be getting her to actually wear it, LOL!  I think there’s a better chance of me getting another PhD!!

To check out my previous video sewing updates, visit their original blog posts (Vlog 1 | Vlog 2) or simply visit my YouTube channel.  (I can’t believe I simultaneously own a flip phone and a YouTube channel.  Something is wrong here!)

I hope you’re all having a great week.  What’s on your sewing table these days?

Carolyn sews the Carolyn Pajamas: shirt muslin

Carolyn Pajamas shirt muslin - with pillow

This post could alternatively be titled: “Thou shalt not question the great Heather Lou.”

I know I’m late to the party with this pattern, but that’s nothing new for me!  Although I suspect most of you have already sewn up the Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas and/or have seen a bunch of gorgeous versions online, I hope you’ll indulge me as I work my way through this pattern, one muslin at a time.  Now, I know this pattern is named after the one and only Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn – a ridiculously talented sewist by all definitions – but ever since it came out, I couldn’t help but think that it would be cool to sew up a pattern with my name on it.  If I tell myself that it was actually named after me, well, that’ll just be my own little delusion.  🙂

(By the way, thank you for the comments on my last post about my blog photos.  I think I actually managed to relax in the photo above!)

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Sarrouel Trousers muslin from “She Wears the Pants”

Sarrouel Trousers muslin - finished

I picked up She Wears the Pants, a Japanese sewing book by Yuko Takada, on an impulse while running to catch a train last week.  Previous Japanese sewing books that I’ve seen have turned me off with super boxy styles and titles like Sweet Dress Book.  When was the last time I wore a sweet dress?  This one, however, really caught my eye.  The original title translates to “She Has a Mannish Style,” which I think suits me perfectly.  The designs are androgynous but not tent-like (for the most part), with some really interesting details and challenging techniques.  I was intrigued!

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Self-drafted maxi dress muslin

Self-drafted maxi dress - compilation image

It seems like I’ve been sewing nothing but muslin around here lately!  After my failed attempt at getting the Simone dress to fit properly, I decided to put my newly-drafted sloper into action and draft the dress of my dreams from scratch.  Well, since it’s my very first self-drafted garment, I think “dress of my dreams” might be pushing it.  But you get the idea.  : )  I’m excited!

Self-drafted maxi dress - sketches

I even made sketches and everything.  You know, like a real designer.  Ha!  I wanted a simple summer maxi dress with a fitted bodice and a hi-lo hem, similar to the design of the Simone dress that I liked so much (in theory).  I envisioned using a contrast fabric panel in the center front and center back to add a bit of interest.  I even thought about doing the panel in a solid color with some hand embroidery.  So many possibilities!

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Victory Patterns’ Simone dress: not worth it!

Victory Patterns Simone muslin - front

Last week I mentioned that I was playing around with Victory PatternsSimone dress and trying to overcome some challenges in the pattern.  Well folks, I have officially given up… for now at least.  Maybe I’ll come back to this one day when I can muster up the patience for some serious pattern alterations, but for now I’ve had enough frustration.

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Initial impressions of Victory Patterns’ Simone dress

Victory Simone pattern and muslin - close up

It’s been a busy weekend!  I had hoped to get enough sewing done to share a meatier blog post with you today, but alas, I didn’t quite get there.  Oh well!  For now, I’ll give you a quick update with the promise of more to come in the next few days.  : )

Yesterday I went on a little sewing outing and picked up the Simone dress by Victory Patterns at Gather Here.  It was totally an impulse buy, but since I had been eyeing this pattern since last summer, I figured a spontaneous purchase was justified.  I spent most of my sewing time this weekend making a muslin, and although there are a handful of minor adjustments to make, I think a real Simone is indeed in my future.

Victory Simone pattern and muslinI also picked up a huge roll of tracing paper at Artist & Craftsman Supply, which felt like hitting the jackpot.  I’ve been buying my tracing paper there forever and never noticed the big rolls all the way in the back corner of the store.  Who knew??  Now I do, apparently.  : )  Thankfully, I found it just in time to trace the huge Simone skirt pieces.

Now, about this pattern.  I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about it as I work my way through the dress, but I do have a few initial comments.  This is my first time using Victory Patterns, and so far I’m really not impressed.  The instructions are shockingly bad.  Like, embarrassingly bad.  A large part of my job for the past 10 years has been publishing written documents, and this kind of work would easily get me fired.  It seems like the instructions were (a) poorly translated from another language and (b) not proofread at all.  Considering the steep price of this pattern ($20 US), I’m really disappointed in the quality.

I’m also not impressed with the pattern drafting.  I’ll have more to say about this later, but again, for the price of the pattern, I expect a well-drafted dress.  It doesn’t even seem to fit right on the model!

With that said, I do really like the design of the dress, which is why I bought it in the first place.  I think the cut will be flattering on me, and I think I have enough sewing experience at this point to get past the poor instructions and not-so-great drafting.

I’ve got a first draft of a muslin already, which you can see above, and I’ll plan to take some photos of me wearing it in the next few days, once I finish tweaking it.

Have you ever tried Victory Patterns?  What did you think of them?