Thursday, September 15, 2016

McCalls 7357 and Another Vogue 8691

Weather is frequently one of the first things I want to remark upon when I sit down to write a blog post even though I know talking about the weather is just about the most boring topic imaginable.  But weather does affect what we wear and that means it has to do with what I am sewing.  All that said, it is cooler and less humid in the Baltimore area which means I was able to wear this McCalls boho tunic top this week, hooray.  

I brought this project to the Northern Virginia American Sewing Guild chapter's summer "Taste of Retreat" in mid-August.  The summer retreat is slightly smaller, about two dozen participants, but just as much fun.  The conference room we use is light and airy and quite large so we have great table set ups.  After supervising our kitchen renovation (thank you for your kind comments on the results) I enjoyed being with sewing girlfriends and working on projects without deadlines.  I've been embracing the tunic top look in knits and now would like to have two or more tried and true woven versions to play around with.  This pattern fills the bill and I am quite happy with the first result.

The fabric was a border print that I have had for years (I should make a keyboard shortcut for that phrase since I use it so often.)  I think it may have been from Joann's and not from my usual Fabric Mart source.  It's a medium lightweight 100% polyester and I think I originally had in mind a skirt.  I don't overheat easily (menopause just meant that I reached room temperature now and then) but I don't like close fitting poly because of the clammy factor.  This top has side panels, a slight shirttail curve and a side seam dart so even though it is loose fitting there is some shape and I have not been bothered by the poly fabric.  It also has a three piece sleeve that suggests all sorts of techniques for future versions.

Since I had only planned a skirt originally there wasn't a lot of fabric to play with when I was cutting it out.  I didn't want the border circling my hips widest part but I did like the color blending.  I carefully cut out the front and back yoke and the facings to use that blue section in the border area.  I didn't have enough fabric to do the lined yoke as they recommend but it doesn't matter on this blouse.  I could have used an extra two or three inches in length but for my first version it turned out to be acceptable.
I also didn't want to wear a tank top with it so I slipstitched the bottom three inches to keep it shut while I move.  This area will probably get some decorative closure in the future versions.

I'm saying first version because I really like the fit and lines of this pattern.  I will drop the bust dart about 1/2 on the next one and add length but it really is a TNT woven pattern for me know.  I have a decent collection of Susan McCauley's Cambodian ikat fabrics Mekong River Textiles and have never used them successfully.  I thought at the time I purchased them that I would be joining my more art-to-wear sewing friends and make a pieced jacket or two.  Turns out that's not really my look.  I'm an old hippie, yes, but I never feel like myself when I wear something that arty or pieced. But a tunic top in ikat fabrics with jeans or leggings, that's a look I embrace, or maybe lengthened into a summer cotton dress. 
Another relatively easy retreat project was a second version of Vogue 8691, a Katherine Tilton pattern when she was associated with Vogue

 It took me awhile but I like this pattern more and more.  The shoulder princess seams allow for some nice fitting up top, the loose below the bust swing-y part is feminine and comfortable but I don't think I look inappropriately pregnant as I have in some other tops I have made.  This time I did a little contrast with some brown swimsuit lining fabric that I cut 1 inch shorter to a second ruffle and also for the neck binding.  
Vogue 8691 going to the farmers' market

Vogue 8691 and Style Arc Elle pants in a thin knit
I still didn't follow the Vogue instructions for applying the ruffle and next time will do what they say.  Their useful recommendation is to use fusible tape to attach the ruffles before stitching.  The heck with that I said, that fusible stuff is sticky on my hands in the recent heat, I'll just pin and sew.  Yes, I got the layers attached but this particular ITY knit (from Fabric Mart) does that curly thing at the edges so I had to trim that section anyway.  Would have taken just about the same time to use the tape.
Had to trim this area anyway so next time use the tape.
The sewing retreat was productive and relaxing and I still have one more pattern to finish and share with you.  But I also wanted to share what I seem to always bring back when I am in northern Virginia....
No, it's not the Trader Joe's "$2 buck Chuck" although that is a Charles Shaw case.  Maryland doesn't sell wine or beer in grocery stores so I had to re-supply after a summer of fun at home.  This might get us through until I return to VA for the next retreat in January.  Oh yeah, and maybe I won't buy any more fabric this year either.  



  1. Like seeing the finished tunics. They are great. Enjoying meeting you at the retreat.

    1. Wasn't that retreat fun?! Thanks for reading and commenting. It's great to make virtual friends and even more wonderful to meet in person. Hope you were happy with your lovely finished projects.

  2. Love both tunics! Ah, yes, polyester - I've just pulled some out for a possible blouse, and I'm not sure how I'll feel wearing it. It's worth a try. Sometimes I tell myself I'm being a fabric snob, and there's really nothing wrong with poly - it just has to be good quality poly. Right?

    1. Ah, yes, fabric snobbery. Sometimes I hear myself and yikes, stop it. But I'm only trying to help other beginners not make my mistakes. Sewing on cheap fabric almost always (but I admit NOT always) left me with a cheap result. Not so much the price but the quality of the weave and thread count. Your projects always show a great range of fabrics but you know how to use each one to its advantage.

  3. I am very taken with your use of the border print in your pretty tunic, very clever!

    1. Thanks so much. I do love borders but generally dislike how they are used on RTW. I think having a border on fabric should give us some good design alternatives and that was I got from this piece of fabric.


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