Joining In With The Cocktail Hour Sew-Along

A lot of you know that McCalls Patterns is supporting the Eve Appeal with every pattern purchased from a selection of Vogue Patterns through out the year.

For more information, I have put a link to the blog post by The Fold Line about The Cocktail Hour. Please feel free to click through and read more about this if you are not already familiar and see how you could also join in.Cocktial-hour-sewing-McCalls-The-Eve-Appeal-.jpgI knew I wanted to join in, but I could not decide on one pattern, so I picked up two: Tom and Linda Platt V1536 and Kay Unger V1537.

I started with Tom and Linda Platt’s pattern. My body measurements put me in size 14 for Vogue Patterns, but I knew from experience that this would be too big.As a result, I chose my size by the finished garment measurements. I sized down to 12. And I cut shortened the pattern pieces along the petite lines. The sleeve got shortened by 9 cm in total.

For this one, I decided to experiment and use animal print fabric I got from, the now famous local store, Abakhan. It has a bit of stretch, but nothing that would interfere with the fit of the dress.

For some reason, I had it in my head that Designer Vogue patterns must be complicated to construct. The jacket was pretty straight forward to construct.They are quite good at taking you through the construction. I was particularly impressed with the flat fell seam.
seam detailfinished fell seamAnd as I sewing away happily, I realised that the instructions do not tell you to use fabric that both the right and the wrong side look the same! Bummer! What to do?

adding the collarOnce I got over the initial shock, I thought that I could just draft myself some facings, how hard that could be. Read somewhere, or maybe some one told me that it needs to be about 5 to 10 cm wide and to follow the pattern around the neckline. Gosh, I do surprise myself at times, especially when I come up with a solution to my sewing problems! So, I just drafted myself some facings and, thank goodness, I had plenty of fabric left to cut it from.facing pattern pieceTo make it easier for myself, I used a washable fabric pen to draw my stitching lines. I decided to use the same seam allowance that was to be hemmed. After sewing it up, I trimmed it down to be able to turn the corner on the collar.adding facing to the jacketIMG_0022finished facing.flat fell seam on the sleevewrong side - flat fell seamI must say I am very pleased with the result. I actually prefer the jacket with the facing. When I am making this again, other than making the bodice a little longer I will also stick with adding facing and cutting the collar twice, to give it more body. I top-stitched the flat fell seam into the sleeve in stages as I was quite difficult to get all the way in one go. Glad I had my walking foot in as it made the process much easier. I am sure it is no news to you, that I prefer sleeve insertion using a lot of pins rather than two rows of gathering stitches. As a result, I spent a lot of time getting all those pins in to ease the sleeve cap into the armhole seam. I quite like the look of that. I always remember May Martin showing us how to do it at The Big Simplicity Blog Meet in Manchester last year.

For the dress I decided to add some pipping into the princess seams, just the break the pattern on the fabric and because I fancied doing just that.  img-alternative-textimg-alternative-textI am quite pleased with myself as my zipper insertion are getting spot on. My invisible zip is actually invisible! LOLimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textGiven that the dress is lined, I did not bother finishing the seams as they are hidden. It was a bit of a pain working with the lining fabric, but I was prepared this time as I used it before in another dress. I was prepared mentally for it.img-alternative-textI inserted the lining my machine leaving a bit of a gap in the area of the back slit to do by hand. I felt I had more control this way. I did thread trace the seam lines on the lining to make it easier to turn in and stitch in place. img-alternative-textimg-alternative-textAs most of the dress had to be made up, I did not try it on, until it was actually finished. And guess what! Although I sized down to size 12 (body measurements say size 14, but I know better), the flaming dress was still too big! How, on earth?! Darn. I was totally disappointed. Not only that but the jacket is also too short because I followed the instructions and logically cut the pieces along the petite lines as I am only 5ft 2″. But it is a bit short too. Argh….img-alternative-textI ended up taking a total of 6 cm in all the way around (1.5 cm on each side seam).img-alternative-textI have no idea why I thought, just because it is Vogue pattern it has to be difficult. Even the instructions are pretty straightforward.img-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textimg-alternative-textThis is a pattern I will definitely make again. But I will lengthen the jacket by about 5cm to get a better look. I think I will use suede like fabric that I already have in my stash.