Month: August 2015

Vintage McCalls 8826 and McCalls 6844

dress no jacket

*Disclaimer- the color in these pics is nuts. I tried to adjust to make the dress color true, but my skin paid the price.

I’m a bit of a fabric collector. I don’t want to use the word ‘hoarder” because that makes it sound like I don’t want to use them. Quite the contrary- I want to use them all and I want to use them all right now. This Pucci-esque fabric was a remnant I bought from Emma One Sock shortly after I started sewing. I just had to have it. When it arrived, in all it’s liquidy, colorful goodness, I just couldn’t stomach cutting into it. At that point in my sewing, the ratio of wadders to winners was not great. I saved it until my skills improved and until the right moment. You know The Moment, right? The one where you literally get an invitation in the mail that says Please Make a Fancy Dress Out of a Gorgeous Fabric. Ok, most of you call that a wedding invitation, but not me. Oh no, not me.

It didn’t take me long to find the right pattern. I had narrowed it down to a few on Etsy. I knew that I didn’t want the fabric clinging to my body, so I decided to search for a trapeze style dress. I found this vintage McCalls 8826 pattern and it fit the bill nicely.


The dress was a fairly easy sew. The neck was interfaced to keep it upright. I think I used the wrong interfacing though. I used something that I had on hand and it turned out a little too stiff. I finished the hem with an iron-on hem tape. Even though I don’t wear many dresses, I would consider making this one again. It is just so darn comfy!

dress back

top angle

You may recognize this jacket as McCalls 6844. It was one of the top patterns on Pattern Review for 2013. I had a heavy, ribbed fabric (like corduroy, but not) from Mill End in Beaverton, Oregon. I know many of you have heard about Mill End in Portland, but I had limited time and was out in the suburbs so I stopped by the Beaverton location. I can’t say enough good stuff about this store! The staff was incredibly kind. I ended up having to nurse my crying baby to sleep, then I held him while I finished shopping. A sleeping babe in arms will not keep me from fabric shopping! After paying, the cashier offered to help me out to the car since I was still holding my sleeping little guy. Wow! That was so thoughtful and helpful. Not only was the service great, but the selection was outstanding! Yes, I know it is not nearly as big as the Portland store, but it is well curated and chock full of high quality fabrics.

I was pleased with the jacket and it works well for fall/winter professional attire. I feel like no one is really wearing brown right now though. Is that right? It’s a good color for me (unlike the dress) so I am going to wear it despite the trends.

close up top half


Schnittchen Coco and Butterick 5748

This jacket is one of those makes that gets quickly labeled as “my favorite ever.” That description gets thrown around a lot after I finish something. The dress, on the other hand, was never a favorite. I made it in January for an event, but didn’t see myself in photos of it until now. It isn’t a fail by any means, but the fit is lacking. It kind of makes me happy in a way because I know that today, 7 months later, I could make the same thing with a much better fit.


The jacket is made from a Jacquard I found at Joann Fabrics for 60% off. I went in for a couple of notions, then of course, left the store with 4 lengths of fabric. So it goes. This fabric never even made it into the stash. I immediately knew it was time to make the much dreamed about Schnittchen Coco Jacket.


I consulted Instagram about using a lining since the flip side of the fabric is so pretty. The verdict came down- it is ok to skip the lining and use a fancy seam treatment. Exciting, right? I hadn’t tried a Hong Kong finish yet.


Like so many good intentions on my path, that plan was doomed to failure. I ended up gobbling up most of the seam allowance for a good fit. Even so, I tried to do a Hong Kong finish by hand. Several hours later, I called it quits. The fabric was fraying and it was just a mess. I ended up serging the seams, which still makes me sad, but it is all in the name of lessons learned.


I finished the facing with pink bias tape and called the inside good enough. The outside, if I do say so myself, is glorious.


Construction was a breeze besides the seam finishes. This is a pattern I would call straight up easy! Not Vogue Patterns “Easy” but actually easy. I sewed the hem by hand using a ladder stitch. Not because it’s necessarily the best stitch- I just don’t know many hand stitches.

For reference, my measurements:

Bust 39.5”
Waist 33”
Hip 44”
Height 5 ft, 8.5 inches (that half inch matters to me!)

I made a size 44 and added 1.5” in length to each the body and sleeves.


The dress is ­­­­­B5748. I was attracted to this style because I thought it a snug bodice and a circle skirt would be flattering. Some amazing makes come up in a Google search for this pattern. Looking back, I’m not sure that silhouette is for me, but I felt great in it- so no regrets on that front.

PicMonkey Collage

I made it using a poly stretch satin I got from Fabric Mart for $1/yd. I lined the bodice with cotton lawn and the skirt with polyester lining fabric. The invisible zipper was a first for me. It was a little difficult with the lining, but in the end, it was adequate.


Putting this dress together was fairly simple. Making a faux rolled hem on a circle skirt took quite a bit of time, but the result was great. I used my serger to finish the lining with a handkerchief hem. I used pinking shears to finish the dresses seams


The fit. I needed to go significantly tighter on the bodice and adjust the darts. I’ve never adjusted a dart, but this was the place to do it. The bust was big and the dart apex was off (too high, right?). I have some slope to my shoulders and I’m often grabbing for my bra straps to put them back in place so I added a bra strap holder thingy to the shoulder seems. I have had a few ready to wear garments with this feature- I love it!


In this picture I am wearing tall shoes. Those are a joke, a fantasy, a remnant of an old life. I never wear heals anymore. They kill my feet, instantly. I used to put up with it, but I am over it. I wore this dress to a semi-formal event with shiny black flats.

Obligatory circle skirt twirl.