Tag Archives: Amy Butler

Another Pair of Shorts! McCall’s 6848

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Thanks to my attempt at batch sewing, I have a nice little backlog of projects to share with you.  Of course everything took a backseat to the Refashioners contest and some fun pattern testing I did for Megan Nielsen, but now I’m back to my regularly scheduled projects and I want to share these summer makes with you before summer is too far gone from the northern hemisphere and we all start to wonder if it really happened at all.

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

I’ve made the shorts from McCall’s 6848 before and it’s fast becoming my most used pattern (knit versions of the tanks here: #1 and #2; woven shirt here).  One of the next frontiers in sewing for me is fitting.  It’s something I don’t really know how to do.  Some of the “how” is starting to trickle into my brain, but it’s the doing that needs to be done before I can really understand it.

Here’s what my pattern looks like:

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

What I’ve found with the few patterns I’ve tried for bottoms is that the front half often has too much fabric for me and the back half not enough.  These shorts, with all their ease and comfort, seemed like a safe pattern to try out some fitting ideas on.  If my attempts aren’t spot on, the relaxed nature of the pattern should be forgiving so that I can wear them anyway.

My Mom is so awesome in feeding my sewing habit (Thanks, Mom!) and donated all of her apparel-related volumes of the Singer Sewing Reference Library to me.  I cannot recommend these books enough.  I looked through them and got some ideas about what to try to remedy my fitting problem.  Here’s what I came up with:

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

I measured the extra fabric on my first pair of shorts and used that number to get an idea of how much fabric I wanted to take out of the front.  As you can see above, I took out a wedge, and then redrew my grain line.  This makes it sound like I know what I am doing–I don’t.  I’m trying out some ideas I found and hoping for the best.

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

On the back pattern piece, I tried to figure out how much I needed to add, then slashed to the edge and opened up a wedge, taping extra paper behind the wedge.  Then I redrew the grainline and hoped I did it right.  I’m really not sure how to tell if I’m doing that step correctly, so I just try to keep it similar to how it was in the beginning.

After doing this, I cut out my pieces* and made the shorts like I normally would.  Then I tried them on, and I have to say that they were much better!

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

They still felt great after a full day of wear.  The only thing I noticed that might be improved upon is that they may need a small amount of fabric added to the back crotch point.  They felt very slightly off in the front when I first put them on, so this is what I hope to try when I make these next.  I wrote myself a note to try that next time, and put the pattern away.  I think summer sewing is winding up for this year.

I had to add some little bar tacks to the side seams because the shorts from this pattern and the handles on my kitchen drawers seem to have an unhealthy attraction to one another that always results in rips.  Even this pair hasn’t escaped it’s fate, but you can try…

Shorts by Pattern and Branch

Looks like I left a few marker dots on there, too!  Oops!

What I will say about this pattern is that these are the shorts I reach for time and time again.  If I’d had more summer sewing time, I probably would have made a few pairs in more neutral fabrics because they are just so comfortable.  I suppose that might have something to do with this actually being a pajama pattern…but you know I love secret pajamas as much as the next person.

*In case you are wondering, the fabric is an Amy Butler quilting cotton from her Soul Blossoms line called Passion Lily.  Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for the gift of this fabric which I have been hoarding holding onto for a long time! 

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Cross-back Shirt (McCall’s M6751)

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If you read the last post, you may remember that I mentioned sometimes sort of running over sewing projects with my sewing machine…  Well, today’s project is proof of that.  It’s nice on blogs that you get to edit yourself or clean up your sewing table before shooting pictures, but we need the whole story sometimes, too, and the real truth is that often it’s more important to me to finish a project than to get it perfect.  I’m happy with how this project turned out, but I did have to fudge it a bit.

I made this shirt with McCall’s pattern M6751, view A.

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

Fabric: Daisy Chain by Amy Butler for Rowan

Here’s a back view:

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

I’m happy with how this turned out.  That’s not to say it turned out the way I expected, but while making it, I discovered a treasure I didn’t know I possessed, and it changed the direction I took with the pattern.  I think I mentioned once that my parents gave me a Singer Featherweight for Christmas one year.  They found it at a barn sale and had it serviced, and then gave it to me.  I was kind of scared of it at first, but as I read about it and started using it, I began to realize that it wasn’t scary–it was a workhorse, and it could probably survive any mistakes I might make on it.  It came with a box of various feet that, to my eye, look like miniature farming implements.  Check out the one that I discovered to help me with this project:

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

It’s a binding foot.  I had never heard of this before.  Luckily, I have the manual for the machine, so it told me how to use the foot.  It can attach binding (and more!) to the edge of fabric in one fell swoop.  I looked up a tutorial on YouTube to make sure I had the right idea, and gave it a try.  My first try came out a little…rough.  I decided not to aim for perfection, but to try to get the hang of it.  I ripped out my first attempt, and the second went much better.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was usable.  I marked the points where the binding hadn’t really attached, and hand-sewed it on.

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

 

So, it was finished, and I took the pictures you saw up top.  It lays a little funky, but that may be because I trimmed the seam allowance off since I wasn’t folding it under with the binding like the instructions tell you to.  Then I discovered more places where the binding didn’t attach, so it was time to just zigzag the heck out of the thing.

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

After a good ironing, it was fine.  Not perfect, but a good finished project and new knowledge gained.  The bound edge brings to mind vintage aprons I’ve seen at antique markets.  Now I know how they did it.  🙂

For those with sharp eyes and a good memory, you may recognize the fabric from the sleeves of my dress in the last post.

I’ve submitted this as my first review at Pattern Review.  You can find it here.