McCalls 7542 Top Review

Hi Everyone!

Sorry, I have been so busy lately with work, taking care of little one, appointments, and trying to sew.

I have finished what I believe is going to be my favorite Spring/Summer top of the season.

I have been eyeing this material at JoAnn’s Fabric Store from the Endless Sea Collection for a few months now, but being priced at I believe $16.99 a yard, I just couldn’t do it.  I needed the right sale to get me to buy it. I believe I got it for 40% off plus a 20% off coupon that spirialed me to purchase it.  I am glad I did as it is now gone and I am not sure if they are going to replenish it.

Sorry, I don’t have a picture of it and I can’t find it one their website, but you will see it below.

I had to find the right pattern for it.  I seen on Inside the Hem (YouTube video), she had done a review of how she used the same fabric and I love the top.  Here is the link to the video if you want to see

She used the Seamwork top pattern, I liked it but I wanted something different, plus I wanted to use something from my stash!

On the hunt!!!

I found it, McCalls 7542:


I liked the bottom and thought it would work well with the material.  I also liked the sleeves in View A, I thought they were different from what we have been seeing lately.


Here you can get a better view of A.  I used the E top and added 3 inches to make it longer.  I also used the A sleeves.  I cut a 14 at top and graded out to 18 at hips.  I had to do a couple of tissue fittings to get it to work.  I have making muslims as I don’t have the time, so tissue fitting is the next best thing!


Here it is finished.  Don’t mind the dress form my favorite one was being used for something else.  As you can see, I also lowered the neckline into a soft V, as the one on the top seemed just a bit too high for Spring/Summer.  But I don’t like low cut necklines as with a 3 year old, I am always bending over and I like to have coverage.

I used a facing, but next time I think I am going to try to do a self draft facing and longer like I seen in the Suzy Furrer class on Craftsy called Patternmaking + Design Creative Darts & Seam Lines.



I just love the way the sleeves hang.  This material is a linen material.  It does wrinkle, but it is so flowy and comfortable.  It is also very cooling when it is warm.  Although next time I might underline it with a light cotton, as I have to wear a tank top underneath for coverage and that adds to the heat.


I love the length of it, it is just perfect.  I think I might lower the neckline just a little bit more though.


In all, not bad.  I even have enough material left over for a Ogden Cami by True Bias.

Okay, now I gotta do some sewing for my little one, a batman cape for both him and his cousin.

Until next time!

The Motor City Express Jacket

Hi Everyone!

I have recently taken the “Sew Better, Sew Faster: Smart Construction” class on Craftsy with Janet Pray.


I usually only buy the classes when they were on sale and I think I got this one for $19.99.  However, I just purchased the Craftsy unlimited on sale for $105.00 for year, and I must say I love it so much better than purchasing individual classes.  I think by purchasing for the year, I am definitely getting more value out of it.


I love Janet’s attitude and tips that she gives.  She gives a lot of instutry techniques that makes your sewing faster.

I love her tips and find her techniques very useful.

I really like the design of her Jacket.  The class came with Janet’s pattern called “The Motor City Express Jacket”.  I paid for this class about a year ago, but just got around to making the jacket.


I liked the look and style of it, even though I tend to not wear jackets.

I thought that I would like it in wool felt.  Last summer my family went to the Detroit Zoo in Michigan.  Just a couple miles from the zoo was a fabric store in Royal Oak MI, called Haberman Fabrics.  I had seen their name advertised in a Threads magazine, so my family accompanied me to the fabric store (great support!).

They did have some great fabrics and too many to choose from.  Well I found some wool felt and asked for it to be cut.  The sales lady said that it was $89 a yard!!!  Wow, I don’t think I am ready to cut into $89 a yard fabric just yet!!  For that, I know I would have to make something couture and something I would wear a lot, like a nice winter coat for years.  But truthfully, I don’t have that budget for that either, not with a 2 year old in daycare!

Anyways, I did end up purchasing this purple denim fabric for $11 a yard.  I love purple.  I initially thought jeans, but then I thought how about a jacket!

I did end up making a muslin to determine the fit.




It turned out pretty well, I liked how the seams lined up and the arm fit good.  I did have to do a sway back adjustment and pinch out some excess fabric in the back and a little in the front.  I am glad that I made the muslin.

I believe I cut out a size 12 at neck and shoulders and graded to 14 at hips.  I did shorten it a little as I wanted it to come up and hit my hips at the right spot.

The class guided me through all the construction aspects of making the jacket.


Here you can see my full bust adjustment on the front.



Here I had to put the zipper on the gusset for the sleeve.  The book instructions were great, but I was really glad I had the class to follow.  This is the first jacket I have made like this and with all the zippers.

Here is my finished jacket:



I used black duponi for the contrast to add some style to the jacket.  I also used fashion zippers to add more style to it.

I had purple lining I used for the inside.


Here it is on me:


Pattern used:  Motor City Express Jacket by Islander Sewing Patterns

Size cut:  size 12 at neck graded to size 14

Adjustments:  did full bust adjustment, sway back, make a 1/2″ shorter.  I have a pear shaped so I ten to always have to do the smaller shoulders with larger hips.  My measurements are 40-33-44.

Pros’:  glad I had the class, easy to follow instructions were clear.

Cons’:  not sure I love the fabric.  It does feel too stiff even though I washed it and it feels rough to wear.  I love the purple, but it has not stretch and just doesn’t move well.  Maybe jeans would have been better.

I all, I love the way it looks, turned out great, but I don’t love the way it feels.  I must admit I have only worn it once.

However, I am not really into jackets right now, as with a 2 year old, I mostly do knits and easy to move clothes.  At work it is very casually and I tend throw on leggings, knit dress and sweater, again for ease and comfortable.

But I hope as he gets older I will get back into being into style and can wear this jacket!

Until next time!

Simplicity 8511 Dress

Hi Everyone!

Well I finished my first goal of 2018!  At the top of my list was Simplicity 8511


I had decided to do view A.  To me working in an office, I thought the sleeves would work best for me.  I am sitting most of the day working with numbers, I know fun, right!


The fabric suggestions were:

Cotton Type, Crepe, Back Satin, Dupioni, Jacquards, lightweight Linen, or Taffeta.

I have recently ordered this great color CobaltBlue cotton yarn fabric from Fabric Mart.


I thought this dress would be so cute in the cobolt blue, with the sleeves and neckline being in the lighter turquoise color.  I really don’t know where the turquoise color fabric came from and I only had 1/2 yard of the turquoise.

Off to work!

Pattern Cutting:

I cut out a size 14 for my neck and graded to a 16 for waist and an 18 for hips.  This dress looked like it had more ease than it did: hint to self – next time check the final garment measurements instead of assuming.   So much to check.

I did lengthen the dress by 2″, I am 5’6″ tall and wanted it to come to my knee.  As you can see the darts are different then normal darts, but I really liked how these darts shaped my side bust area.  The back has a fish eye dart.

Surprisingly I did not have to do an FBA (Full Bust Adj), which I am currently running a D size right now.  I did do some flat pattern measurements and all seemed ok.


Fabric Cutting:

Well cutting out the fabric after washing, drying and ironing, I noticed that the fabric tended to wrinkle a lot.  So instead of lining the dress, I decided to take the lining and actually underling the dress.  I cut the same pieces out of the lining and sewed them to my fashion fabric at 3/8″ (simplicity uses 5/8″ seam allowances).  This made the lining and the fashion fabric act as one piece of fabric.

By doing that, it drastically cut out a lot of the wrinkling.

While cutting, I realized that I did not have enough fabric for the sleeve in either color.  So time to create my own sleeve band.

I drafted just a basic band for the sleeve instead of using the pattern sleeve (truthfully, I like mine better!, just saying).

I then pinned the dress together on my sized to me mannequin to make sure it would fit and look right with the new sleeve.

I like it, time to sew.


This was really simple to sew and came together fairly quickly.  The instructions were clear, except for the skirt vent.  I had to watch the wonderful Colleen G. Lea with FSBTV You Tube video on Sewing a Vent that she published in 2012.

It worked like a charm, thank you Colleen!!!!

The dress called for an invisible zipper and thanks to the Craftsy class “Mastering Construction: Zippers & Waistbands” with Sara Alm, I have finally found the best way to put zippers in.  I love putting in zippers.  She finally made video’s that explained everything.  She had you work with small samples and let me tell you, I find them so easy to put in now.  Thanks Sara!

Just a note, this is my own personal opinion, I did pay for the class.  I have about 65 classes, not watched them all.  I do have ones I don’t like, but this one was worth the money I paid in my opinion for me.  Her teaching on this best suited my style.

I did not line the dress since I underlined the dress.  To tight on the mannequin, I should have known then that there was an issue.  I did use my Serger for all the seam finishing.

I also stitched in the ditch for the collar and neckline.  I did not like the facing flapping all over and securing it at the shoulder seams did not help keep it down.  You can’t even tell with the stitch in the ditch method.


I love this dress and it is so my style, simple and easy.  But it is too tight in the hips.  Darn you Ben & Jerry Ice Cream!!!!!

But with my weight fluctuations, I know that will eventually get in this dress and when I do — watch out!!

I do like the front darts and I think they help shape the body nicely.

Don’t mind the little head at the bottom of some pictures, No that is not your imagination, that is my little one trying to see himself on the tablet too!!!!

In all, this dress will definitely be worn a lot when I am in that size range.  Good fit on shoulders, chest and neckline.  Since I did serge I cut off excess fabric so I can’t add more room in hips.

I hate making muslins and with my weight fluctuating so much, I really don’t feel the need to most of the time.

Well, until next time!