Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: McCall's 9291

It's been over a year since I last made a bag. Procrastination and a lack of interest of sewing anything that wasn't a dress contributed to my lack in bag making. Oh, I purchased bag patterns...more than I care to acknowledge at the moment. When it came time to make one, I lost interest. Also, I could never decide on a fabric.

Sometimes I feel that I'm too practical for sewing. It was hard to decide on a fabric because I didn't want to make a purse that didn't go with a multitude of outfits. Why do I rationalize my sewing this way? I have no idea. But the same applies to shoe purchases. The Mighty Q had to school me on why having a pair of yellow shoes is a good idea. I thought it wasn't practical enough. I still haven't bought the shoes.

As far as sewing goes, this shouldn't be a problem. I possess the ability to make whatever I want, almost whenever I want. So, if I find an outrageous fabric for a bag, in theory I should be able to create an outfit to go along with it. Or, I could just pair the outrageous fabric bag with whatever I want. Honestly, I feel like it's a waste of time and effort to make something that can't be worn often with multiple items in my closet. Even with sewing, I feel that I should get more bang for my buck.

I am, after all, a cheapskate at heart.

But all that pragmatism goes out the door whenever I stumble upon fabric (or shoes) that strike a chord with my personality. Sometimes fabric just speaks to me. And it's always something that under normal circumstances I would not buy.

I purchased this vintage McCall's 9291 handbag pattern a few months ago after searching almost a year for it. I lucked up and got it on etsy for $6.00. Perfect. Then I spent the next few months agonizing over fabric. Then zippers to match the fabric. It was entirely too tedious a process for such a simple bag.

Last Friday, I stumbled upon some cotton duck canvas at Hobby Lobby. It was on clearance for $5 a yard. The bright ikat pattern would be a bit too garish for me under normal circumstances. Something about it just made me smile. I had to make something with it. I lucked up on a matching (!) metal zipper (which I had to shorten...grrr). I already had matching Kona cotton in my stash for the lining. It was perfect.

This marked my first time making a bag with a zipper closure. The pattern instructions were excellent and the illustrations were quite clear.


I made the larger of the two bags---view A, which is 21 inches wide. The size was right on point for me as I always carry large bags. The only change I made was to add a longer strap. Without it, the drop was much too short for me to put on my shoulder comfortably.

The pockets in this bag are huge, almost too huge. My keys got lost in one of them. I've never had that problem with a purse pattern before. Usually it's the other way around.

All in all, it's a great pattern and fairly easy to construct. If you like making bags and this pattern crosses your path, buy it. I plan on making another but with a leather strap. I'm already searching on etsy for one.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Changing things up a bit.

I have at least three new makes (not sure if I like using that word yet) and one handbag to post, but I'm at work (lunch!) at the moment so those posts will have to wait. In the meantime, I'm brainstorming my next dress project (next once I finish my green gingham Butterick 4386/Simplicity 2444 hybrid). I want to try a pattern that I've never used before, in a style that I've never sewn before. This means no variations of the Butterick 4386 bodice (I have made three already) and no shirt dresses (of which I have made many).

Remember the dot chambray I mentioned in this post? That's the fabric I wish to use. I think it would be perfect for any of these patterns, but I can't decide on which one to use. All have similar silhouettes and fall under the category of "style and pattern I've never sewn before".

Simplicity 1666 view A

Vogue 8665 view A

Butterick 5894 view C

Still not sure which one I like the best. I don't really want to make a muslin for each pattern and then decide--that's a lot of work. Butterick 5894 has a full lining, not sure if I want that for a summer dress. Hmmm. Perhaps I just narrowed down my list.

Oh wait, I have sewn this silhouette before. I've made Vogue 8871 (in ponte knit).

Vogue 8871 view A
 I have yet to finish it because the knit clings to a wobbly bit of mine. I think this style in a woven rather than a knit would be a bit more flattering on my body. Just when I think I'm about to try something new...

Friday, May 24, 2013

On the sewing table...

Exciting Friday going on's handbag time!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Time to organize

I was going to put this fabric in a bin, but Colby likes playing in it too much.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

And they were all yellow.

I was in dire need of something yellow. Although yellow is my all-time favorite color, I haven't made a yellow dress since Vogue 8645 (almost two years ago!). I have some butter yellow linen-look fabric slated for a future Cambie but this yellow pin dot lawn called out to me first. 

I wasn't sure what dress pattern to use, but I was sure that I wanted something simple. I would've loved to make the Colette Peony, but the bodice is terrible---there, I said it. I had such fitting woes, that I've contemplated tearing the bodice pattern into shreds. The Darling Ranges dress pattern inspires the same amount of hatred but that's a story for another time.

I knew that I wanted a bodice with a boat/bandeau neckline and cap sleeves, so I sought out a pattern. I bought Butterick 4386 with the hopes of trying out a sheath dress pattern. I made a muslin of the dress and the top fit so well that I decided to make it as a separate bodice.

Next, was the skirt selection. I tried it with the Peony skirt but I used the wrong size and it didn't quite work out. Instead, I used the flared skirt from Butterick/See & Sew 4957, an oop pattern that I stumbled across a few months ago. I'm still not sure how I found out about it, but I'm glad I did. You can still find it on ebay. I made the dress (not blogged) and liked it, but the bodice didn't have waist darts. But it was a perfect match for my Butterick 4386 bodice.

I cut a size 18 for the shoulders, sleeves and bust and graded down to a size 16 for the waist. I used a size 20 for the skirt---the finished waistline measurement was the same as the size 16. I used a hem facing for the dress and a tiny baby hem for the lining.

The yellow pin dot lawn was practically see-thru. I thought about underlining it, but summer will be here and it will be too hot to wear. I decided to fully line the dress but this time I used pongee (also called Posh Lining on the Joann website) instead of my usual cotton/poly batiste. For something that is 100% polyester, it sure does breathe well and was an excellent compliment to the cotton lawn.

Never put a Kate Spade bag on the ground

I love this dress. It was an easy make and perfect for the beautiful weather here in Austin this weekend. I think I may use this bodice again but with a pleated skirt next time. I'm also in dire need of something pleated.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two things I'm in love with right now...

...this dress pattern:

Usually, I don't care too much for her patterns. Although cute, they're always made from quilting cotton which is a turn-off for me. Sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) quilting cotton can make even the greatest dress look homemade.  Then I saw this pattern and all the samples (all made with quilting cotton). They're beautiful to say the least.

You know, sometimes opinions can change. The ombre chevron fabric changed my mind (if only briefly, but still). I have a border print voile fresh from that would be beyond perfect for this dress:

The second thing that I love so very much at the moment, is this lovely polka dot chambray shirt from Ruche:

Cassie Polka Dot Chambray Top

I found the most absolute perfect fabric for it. Robert Kaufman Chambray from Hawthorne Threads:

Dot Chambray in Indigo

I'm thinking of using either McCall's 6436 or Simplicity 2339. At first, I wanted to make it into a dress but I'm seriously in need of more shirts. The ever-popular Archer shirt pattern crossed my mind, but I want to work from stash patterns having already blown my wad on the aforementioned Marilyn dress pattern (and on this fabric as soon as this post is up).

Aside from that, I am finishing up a mash-up of Butterick 4386 (I used it as my bodice) and out-of-print See & Sew 4957. You can find it on ebay for cheap and you should, it is a great pattern. The fabric for this lovely spring dress is a yellow with white pin dot lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club. All is well. Sleeves will be set then it's hem time...just in time for the weekend.
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