Monday, August 16, 2010

M5586 Revisited

Yes, yes... I just completed View A of this top last week. But as I mentioned in the previous post, my original attempt at sewing this pattern was View B. Thanks to my handy-dandy new ruffler, I was finally able to finish this thing. Excuse the very poor photo-- I was (once again) too lazy to do it properly. I really do need to work on getting some better pictures, but I am too busy sewing/knitting/stitching/weaving baskets/etc., so this will have to do for now.

This fabric wasn't really suitable for the v-neck version. It just didn't want to gather properly in the front. Using the ruffler fixed that, but if I had done it by basting and gathering, it would never have been finished. I'm amazed that I didn't simply throw it out, but I'm SO glad I let it hang around.

As always, it looks much better on me than on the hanger.

I've also completed S2369... details on that later. Oh, and I started knitting a new pair of socks, just for fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I visited Joann's yesterday. Again. Since getting back into sewing with a vengeance, I seem to be there a lot. Whenever I'm in the neighborhood (not often, since it's 35 miles away), I try to pick up a few patterns from whatever is on sale. This week, it was Butterick, and... well... I was unimpressed. There were a few possibilities, but in almost every case, I could think of another company's version that I liked much better. It was rather disappointing, but good for the pocketbook. I did manage to find one pattern-- 5185. My plan is to do the long-sleeve version, but I'll need to find a printed knit that I like first.

I've done a little bit of stitching lately, but not much. The summer heat seems to chase all of my stitching mojo away. I have a couple of exchanges that I need to work on, but for now, Garden Verses is still getting what little bit of attention I have. Excuse the poor photo... I took it with my new phone, which I have yet to completely figure out. It will never come close to my DSLR, but it's a lot more convenient since I can upload directly to Photobucket from my phone.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Saga of M5586

I don't know what it is about "easy" patterns, but I seem to run into some kind of problem every time I attempt to sew one of them. Give me something with lots of seams & pieces, maybe a nice set-in collar or cuffs, and I'm just fine. But just tell me that it's "easy", then sit back and watch how quickly I can complicate it.

This brings me to McCall's 5586, a very loose-fitting, sleeveless top. It has a simple faced yoke, a front, and a back. That's all. Nothing to it, right? Well, maybe.

I originally attempted this top in the v-neck version (View B) using a Mystery Fabric from my stash. All was going well, until I gathered the front and tried to sew it to the yoke. It was all downhill from there. No matter what I did, I simply couldn't get the thing to hang right. I decided that the fabric was a touch too heavy to gather and drape correctly around the v-neck, and promptly moved on. I wasn’t doing much sewing in the interim.

A year or two later, I decided to attempt this top again, in View A, with a different fabric. The construction was mostly uneventful, until the end when I had to finish the yoke. Something wasn’t quite right, so I took the whole thing apart, cut another one and tried again. The second time must be the charm, because this is what I ended up with...

The thing that really saved the day on this project was a ruffler foot. I hate doing gathers! They’re so simple, and yet I never seem to get them right. I think it’s because I fiddle with them too much, and the more I tinker, the worse they look. I never can seem to get them even, so I ordered a ruffler before completing this top. The gathers are a bit fuller than the pattern is designed for, even on the lowest setting, but it makes the job so much easier that I’m happy to adjust for that.

The ruffler is also going to salvage my original attempt at the v-neck version of this pattern. I gathered it this morning, and it looks great. :) All I need to do now is the hand-finishing (not really leaping forward to do that at the moment), and hem.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Simplicity 2416, continued...

It's finished, but I'm not thrilled with it. I had such high hopes for this fabric & pattern combo. Unfortunately it was better in my head than it was in reality. Sorry for the bad photo-- I don't actually have a top to go with this yet, and I am having a bad hair day. And well, I'm lazy about fiddling with the tripod and remote for my camera. So, Wilma will have to do as a model for now. ;)

The complete review is below. One thing I didn't mention in the review is the way this thing hangs toward the bottom. It hangs much better on me than it does on Wilma, but it does dip inward between my ankles, which really bugs me. The fabric is also just thin enough that I would need a slip, or you'd be able to see straight through it. This sort of defeats the purpose of a lightweight summer skirt in my book.

As you can see, Oliver is trying to play with the skirt. He has been infatuated with this piece of fabric since I first laid it out for cutting.

Pattern Description: Misses' flounced skirt

Pattern Sizing:10-18

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes... mostly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Despite having quite a few pieces for a skirt pattern, the instructions were very easy to follow. It's a straightforward construction with an elastic waist.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Unless you are more than 6 feet tall, this skirt will be way too long. I'm 5' 6" and would have been tripping over this if I had done it to the length as designed. The instructions say to determine finished length before sewing, but never give any direction on how to shorten it.

You can't really shorten this skirt from the bottom, due to the circular "swirling" tiers. Shortening from the top changes the line & fit of the garment. The very best way to get rid of some of the length is to increase the seam allowance of each layer. Not a difficult fix, but it is a modification that may not occur to a beginning sewist.

Fabric Used: crinkle cotton, which didn't really work out very well for View A. In the shorter view, it may have been okay. In the longer version that I made, the semi-circular tiers are cut in such a way that makes the grain not line up from one tier to the next. It works perfectly in the first 3 or 4 sections, but as I got toward the bottom, it got sort of wonky. (You can see this in the photo if you look closely.) This could have been corrected before cutting, but it didn't occur to me until it was too late. >:(

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the length and straightened the hemline. The bottom two tiers of View A go together in a way that makes the skirt somewhat lop-sided. I guess this is supposed to add to the "twirl", but it wasn't a look I liked, so I did mine straight across... or as straight as I could, anyway. *groan*

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably won't sew this again. I like the style, but would rather find another pattern that doesn't have the hemline issues.

I wouldn't recommend sewing View A. The shorter version looks like a nice pattern, though.

I really wanted to love this skirt. The basic design idea is a good one, but the hemline issues really ruined it for me. The finished skirt is certainly wearable, but I think there must be a better version of this same idea out there somewhere.