McCalls 6794 – The Battle For Victory: A Review

Ever have those sewing projects where nothing seems to go right? This pattern was super easy and the problems were not with the pattern but rather the universe (or me).

Mccalls 6794

Looks sweet and innocent.

    • First I cut out the correct view on the front and the wrong view on the back. I fixed it by cutting away at the back view and then piecing together a portion in order to make it all work.
    • Neck opening was too small had to make an adjustment.
see the diffference

Didn’t cut the right view

square up the side

Squaring it all up right

side sewn

Attaching enough to make the correct view

  • I didn’t have enough fabric (since I made the repair) to make the belt. So, I found a contrasting fabric. Perfect.
  • I washed the fabric, no problem. But, when I put it in the dryer and added a dryer sheet to remove static, the dryer sheet transferred an oil in blotches all over the fabric. There was barely 5 inches of clean space.
  • I cut the ties to short and had to add extensions.
  • Due to all the extra repair work I didn’t have enough original fabric to make the bias binding. Back to the gold fabric to see what I could salvage.
  • Ripped out binding three times to get it to work (sort of did in the end)
  • When I tried the blouse on I forgot I had a barrette on and it got caught on the neckline snagging it from shoulder to shoulder seam.
  • Interfacing is a too stiff, should have used a lighter weight one on the belt area.

Despite all that, this blouse represents for me the day I told myself that my sewing skills warrant me buying the good stuff.  My sewing skills are moving above and beyond and I think it’s about time I started using fabric to reflect my move into advance level sewing. Sure, not everything I make is $$$, but allowing myself to buy the good stuff every now and then feels good. Besides,  with all that went wrong with this blouse, the fact that I was able to salvage it and not just toss it aside reinforces my decision as a sound one.

The fabric is a silk charmeuse from Elfriedes of Boulder.


Style 2708: My Moby Dick Of A Dress

The dress represents for me my overall madness for sewing. Madness in a good way and sometimes in a “black heart I stab at thee” madness. That kind of craziness that comes over you and you drive yourself mad trying to figure it out and you’re just stuck in this endless insanity. Usually I have the good sense to bail, but this one, ah, she was different….

2708 Jill caseI bought this pattern back in the 90’s and have always been a big fan of the shirt waist dress. Very popular in the 40’s and 50’s and every other year or so we see it back in various styles. Michael Kors had something along these lines for Spring 2015. All very lady like and really, hands down my favorite look. I think the style of dress is dress at it’s best.

If you like to look through vintage sewing patterns from the 40’s you’ll see this style in many incarnations, some housework casual others lunch with the ladies chic. There are hundreds of patterns new and old that have a similar look. But, for whatever reason I HAD to have this one work. There are a few I have worked on with varying results but always longed for my white whale of a dress: Style 2708. Continue reading

Cultural Approbation vs. Cultural Appreciation & MFA’s Kimono Wednesday

I recently was asked on Instagram about the Kimono Wedensdays that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston was holding earlier this summer. Museum attendees could try on a kimono similar to the one in Claude Monet’s La Japonaise . On the Instagram post there was a question of “is this fun or racist”. I immediately replied sounds like fun! Turns out a lot of people thought the event was “yellow face” and extremely offensive. As I explored the controversy I was kept up late night exploring my feelings about race, cultural appropriation and the Internet as a extremely unfriendly place for race discussions.


Claude Monet’s La Japonaise

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McCalls Sewing Pattern 7131 – Warning: Culottes Ahead!

Ah, culottes. AKA gauchos, knee breeches, skorts or my favorite, bifurcated skirt. Whatever name you call them there are few garments that cause such passionate debate. There are two camps, those that love ’em and those that don’t.

McCalls 7131

McCalls 7131

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Simplicity 1810 Completed

I made this dress over the weekend. It is similar to Vogue 8645 I made last year. This is a very easy pattern to sew.

Simplicity 1810 Jill Case Denver Sews Here are the changes I made to the pattern.

  •  I lengthed it by about four inches. I cut out the size XS.
  • I did not use the facing pieces but instead put in bias binding along the neck line. I made matching bias binding for the arm holes.
  • The arm holes seemed unusually high for me so I dropped them by about 1/2″.
  • I did not sew on the ties, but made one in the chartruse in the photo and then I also made a matching belt too.
  • I like the option of not having the ties attached.
  • I used a silky from JoAnn Fabrics.
  • It has the great fortune to make my bust look bigger. Win all around.

Swing or tent dresses are always popular in summer, it’s like wearing a slip. The next time I make this I most likely will put in pockets.

1810 (1)


Blogging and the Pursuit of Happiness – Or, Why Bother?

 Has anyone noticed the tumble weeds blowing around Denver Sews? 


Well, for those that have been wondering we’ve had a few things come up. For one Kitty, who really was the whip cracker of the group, she kept us all on task and kept us moving forward. Kitty had family and friends to tend to and I think the joy of blogging and sewing kind of ran out for the time being. For Jamie work this time of year amps up for her and Lynn had a daughter going off to Japan and family and work obligations.  But, she’s posted the first post in a long time!

As for myself, my spouse lost his job, my mother-in-law was evicted from her apartment and had to move into what is essentially our porch and, she has Alzheimer’s which makes the whole thing like a crazy real life Beckett play. Plus, I write up to 5 blog posts/newsletters a week on sewing for work. Even if I had the time the desire has just not been there. Continue reading

Zip and Clip Bag – A Perfect Bag for a Night Out


I’ve been looking for a pattern for a small hipster or cross-body bag that could securely hold my phone, a credit card, some cash and maybe something else like a camera or some ladies’ accoutrements, shall we say. Most hipster or cross-body bags I’ve seen have been too big or without many secure pockets, but this Zip & Clip bag I found on Craftsy is just perfect! The pattern is by Lisa Amundsen whose website is Continue reading