A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

McCall's 3341

I bought McCall's 3341 when I first began sewing seven years ago (and lived within walking distance to a Joann Fabrics).  I opened it for the first time this spring, and was dismayed to find that it only goes up to pattern size 18.  I was probably a 16 when I bought the pattern, but now I am a 20.

I almost threw in the towel right there, but I only needed to grade up one size, and the pattern only has four pieces.  So if I was going to learn to grade, I really couldn't find an easier pattern to start with.  It wasn't hard - I just slashed each pattern piece vertically and widened it 1/2" for a total of 2" increased all the way around.

For my first version, I used a "Famous Maker" stretch twill snagged from the remnant bin at Joann's.  It's really nice stuff - substantial, but stretchy, with excellent recovery - and has done well in the washer, too.  I made up the pattern as written, except I did not interface the facing.  I was out of knit interfacing and I wanted to preserve the stretch in the fabric.  This allows me to push the skirt down a little lower to make it fit better, and I don't miss the interfacing at all.

I accidentally cut view B (above the knee) instead of view C (just below the knee).  So, instead of hemming, I finished the hem with some ready-made hem facing, inherited from my grandmother's stash.  I know you're not supposed to use "vintage" thread; hopefully the same prohibition does not apply to Wright's Hem Facing.

Because of the stretch in my fabric, I ended up taking it in almost as much as I had graded out.  After I made it I mentally noted that perhaps I didn't really need to grade up at all.

This skirt involved a lot of blind stitching.  The pattern calls for both the waist facing and the hem to be blind stitched.  I think I spent as much time on the blind stitching as I did on everything else put together - including the pattern grading!  It was worth it, though - I wear this skirt regularly, almost every week.

So last week I made a second skirt.  I used this very stretchy fabric and made a straight size 18.  I skipped interfacing the facing on this skirt, too, because I wanted to preserve the stretch.

It ended up fitting me way up higher on the waist than I thought it should have based on the adjustments I made to the animal print skirt.  I didn't really want to have to ease any width into the facing, so I ripped it out and resewed the facing together with 1/4" seams.  This improved the fit a little, but I would prefer if the skirt sat an inch or so lower.  Also, because of how high it sits, the back darts are about an inch too short.  Finally, I drafted and cut out inseam pockets, but then I totally forgot to put them in, and I wasn't motivated enough to rip out my side seams to do so.  I wore it to church on Sunday and really missed the pockets, though.

On the positive side, I remembered to cut the right view this time.  I ended up hemming it up a total of 2" to get the length I wanted (1/2" fold over and then 1.5" hem).    I had the perfect colored zipper in my stash (thanks, $1.99 bag of 20 zippers from the thrift store!) but not the perfect colored thread - I was too impatient to wait to go buy thread so the zipper was installed using emerald green, the closest match I had in the thread stash.  The insides are all various non-matching shades of gray and blue - I may have used up the last of a couple different bobbins on this project.  I did have a reasonable serger cone match though, so the seam finishes are coordinating

In making this skirt, I have come to the realization that I will have to add a new flat pattern adjustment to my routine - the full tummy adjustment.  I'm pretty sure the fabric straining you see about my hips in the above photo is due to the mommy pooch on the other side of my spine.  I have found a few tutorials explaining the mechanics of the adjustment, however, it seems like there's no way around making a muslin before you can figure out how much adjustment you need.  For FBAs, I find I can make an educated guess just by measuring the pattern, and then am able to adjust the pattern fairly accurately before I even sew a muslin.  But for the full tummy, I've not found anything online that tells me what to measure and how much I need to add for such-and-such a measurement.  (If you know otherwise, I'm all ears!).

This skirt was a bit less successful than the first one, which I have worn probably three times a month since making it.  In taking these photos I also realize that I prefer the length of the first one, so I may go back and hem this one a smidge shorter.  However, I love the color of the fabric (to which these photos do no justice - it is a vibrant turquoise with a great depth of color to it) and will wear it regularly, probably with my shirt untucked.  I won't be making any more of these until I can figure out the full tummy issue, though.

1 comment:

  1. Such a good, classic shape and I love the aqua color. Maybe hemming it is the magic bullet that will make you love it as much as the other one?


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