Thanksgiving Outfit - Butterick 6285


This year the sewing fairy must have had a slow night, because she paid me a little visit to specifically dictate a Thanksgiving outfit. Usually my dressing concerns for America's favorite eating holiday are, A. Does it have an expandable waist and B. Will the sleeves accidentally fall into the gravy boat? Bonus points if fabric that doesn't readily show grease stains. Using these rules I usually put together an outfit without much fuss or pre-planning. The sewing fairy was having none of that and whispered in my ear that I "needed" to have a leaf print skirt for Thanksgiving.  It's Fall and leaves are festive....or something like that.  She probably knew I'd outright laugh at her if she suggested festooning myself with turkeys.
I did laugh at the thought of Thanksgiving specfic sewing anyway.  My desk already has a Christmas sewing list a mile long, like hell another item is going on there. The sewing fairy just looked at me and smiled slyly. "Of course my dear, do whatever you want.  You should probably stay away from that Etsy website after all. You know how you like to spend money on there." Say what now?! Wild horses could not keep me away from the Etsy site now.  I'll show you sewing fairy!!! And that's how I ended up purchasing 4 yards of vintage cotton with red/black leaves.
Once that yardage entered my house I felt contractually obligated to sew it up. Man that sewing fairy is a wily one! It's like she knows all my sewing weakness....or paid someone for information.  I'm looking at you froggie!  Well at least I could put that impulse buy of Butterick 6285 to good use.
Having been burnt by Big 4 ease in circle skirts before, I measured the waist area before tracing. Hooray for sometimes learning lessons from past projects. My ruler told me that Butterick had drafted this pattern with more ease than I'd like.  Two inches of ease has been added to the waist measurement for each size, so the size 16 with a 30" waist will have a 32" finished waistband.  My waist is exactly 30" so I dropped down to the size 14 and muslined up the skirt as is. That muslin did "zip up," but felt like it might grow uncomfortable as the day wore on.  Figuring it was a smart thing to do, I added 1" of ease around the side seam area......which made my final garment about 1" too big in the waist.  HAA HAAA HAAA, sob.   The waistband was left that way for Thanksgiving for obvious reasons.....specifically pie.  However I will HAVE to go back and take in the waistband because the skirt kept falling forward off my waist all day. It drove me crazy having to constantly adjust it.

One other thing to note about this pattern is that the CB seam and side seams are drafted with a 1" seam allowance and I'm not sure why. The directions do show you how to recess the pocket bags, sewing them at a 3/4" seam allowance so they disappear into the seam a bit better.  I do think this is a nice feature, but you don't need a whole 1" of seam allowance to do so. Dare I say that a standard home sewing 5/8" seam allowance is more than enough to accomplish the same thing. OK, my college prejudices of 5/8" SA being way too big might be showing. Let's just say that if you need to save some fabric you can always cut those areas down. Forewarned is forearmed or something like that.

Butterick 6285 - Skirt portion only.

Fabrics used
Vintage cotton, closer to dress weight than quilting weight.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. I went down one size and added an 1" of ease to the waistband.

2. Added 3" of length for a finished length of 27".

- You will want to stay stitch the skirt waist on this pattern immediately. I found it grew with even the lightest amount of handling.

- I'd meant to give you some photos of the skirt with a petticoat underneath and forgot to pack it for our trip to the in-laws. Anyway it's a nice look for the design if you want more fullness.

- The top in these pictures is a Nettie hack that is in no way ready for prime time. There's not enough ease for a faux wrap style and it's trying to gape open at every opportunity. In fact I'm going to rip it apart and turn it into a regular V-neck.

Husband Comment
"Oh did you make that too?  What's happening here with the extra fabric? Oh pleats? That's cool."

My Final Thoughts
I bought Butterick 6285 more for the kimono top than for the skirt, but really enjoyed sewing up the bottom portion.  I like the double pleats and the fact that the pattern comes with pockets.  Since only the waist area needs to be fitted, it's a quick pattern to bang out.  It took merely a week to sew both the muslin and the real garment. Guess the fabric fairy was right about me needing a new skirt after all. So if you'd like to add another cute circle skirt/kimono top to your pattern collection, then pick this one up during the next Butterick sale.

Pattern Hacks are Back


Those of you who have enjoyed my various pattern hacking posts in the past will be pleased to learn that I'm back to my old Frankenstein tricks.  As of today I'll be writing a monthly pattern hacking column for Pattern Review. Eep.

To start things out I decided to go super simple and modify the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio. The neckline was changed to a be much higher with a folder over facing.  The hem is also modified to have a facing with side seam split. You can get all the details here over on the PR blog.  And if you want to see this same shirt in a solid just take a gander at my previous post.
Going forward I'm hoping to write more complicated pattern hacks and to use various pattern companies, both independent and the Big 4. Just as long as inspiration cooperates with my plans. :)
If there's any sort of pattern hack you're dying to see in the future just let me know here or over on the PR blog.  Happy hacking my friends. :)

A FESA Non Complete


My freak out about Christmas sewing post probably clued you into the fact that the FESA list was not going to be finished before the deadline.  I couldn't in good faith sew more items for myself after being shocked at the number of gift crafting days left.  Maybe I am slowly making progress on my sewing procrastination problem.

So let's take a quick look at my planned FESA list and how much was completed. It's actually not that bad considering I'm a "Oh squirrel" sort of sewist.

1. Wearing History Smooth Sailing Trousers
The originally planned navy pair was completed in September.  I also decided to make a second pair in some stretch wool tweed without the cuffs.  (Confession, there wasn't enough fabric for cuffs)
The too big waistband was fixed on the second pair.  First I removed the extra ease added added to the CF. Then the pants were sewed at a 5/8" seam allowance instead of at 1/2" like suggested.  The wider seam allowances compensated for the lycra in the wool fabric.  I also did a last minute fit check by basting on the waistband and trying on the pants. All those changes yield a perfectly fitting waistband, huzzah!  

2. Betsy pencil skirt out of black pleather
After thinking about this for awhile I wasn't sure that a pleather skirt would actually get worn.  Instead I sewed a new Betsy out of some leopard denim in the stash.

3. Sew Over it Anderson Blouse
Completed in September and the blouse happens to go pretty well with the smooth sailing pants. Not that I have any decent pictures of it.

4. The Wiggle dress from Gertie's first book
Oh yeah, like you could forget that dress being finished. 

5. Vintage McCall's slip
Nope, didn't happen.  The pattern did get as far as being muslined/fitted so maybe I'll pick it up after the holidays are over. Maybe.

6. Leapfrog socks
Yes I did finish that pair of socks quietly in the background.  My cold toes are very happy about it.

8. Knit a beret.
Nope, still no new berets for me. I must don the ribbons of shame.....or take a beret pattern with me during our Thanksgiving visit to the in-laws.  Yes, YES! Beret redemption is within my grasp. Unless I eat so much that my free time is spent dozing on a couch.

I also sewed a couple of these tops where are a hack of the Grainline Studio Lark Tee.  More info on that later this week.

Can't blog, Christmas sewing


Well that's not entirely true since I'm typing sentences as we speak. It's just that I might have looked at a calendar recently, did the math and then had a small anxiety attack. Where did October go? How is it that I got all of TWO things sewn and both of them were for me? Didn't I say last year that December is too late to sew plaid dresses and all things holiday themed? Oh god, I'm going to blink and it's going to be December. Who Is Speeding Up Time and knock that nonsense off right this minute!!! *Proceeds to rip hair out while staring immobile at the list of projects to get done before the end of the year. *
Ok, it's not that bad really.  This year I was somewhat smart and got all my holiday sock knitting done over the summer.  No last minute mad knitting jags that leave my wrists battered this year. I've also got the Christmas PJ sewing half done.  The only reason it's not 100% done is that the stash didn't have the right colored ribbing and I had to order some. That package should be here before the end of the month and then all the PJ stuff will be done in a day or two.  So no worries on that particular front as long as a certain child stops increasing his knit sock order.  Des -"I want 5 pairs of socks Mommy, Five.  One pair red, one pair green, one pair orange, one pair brown, one pair blue." Me - "You're getting one pair." *Cue melodramatic groan of disgust from the 5 year old*
I might have promised my sister a blazer last year and never come through....or maybe that's just the amount of time it takes me to process her "orders". (See winter coat that took me 2 years.) Good news is that I traced, muslin and fit the Bellatrix blazer last year.  One could consider the project half done already.  All I really need is for Froggie to beat me with the efficiency stick until it's sewn. "Get off the internet and cut some fabric Heather!" That "seems" doable if I don't spend my free time searching Etsy for novelty Christmas print fabric. *Guilty looks at open Etsy tab in browser*
About that novelty Christmas fabric, I kind of want some sort of kitschy skirt or dress to wear during the Christmas season.  Of course it's all gotten a bit late considering I have no fabric or pattern ideas at this minute. As much as I'd like to indulge my "theme dressing" whims it seems silly to completely stress myself out doing so. Oh why didn't past Heather sew something Christmas themed in July? It was too hot to think about that? Excuses, excuses.
So on the one hand Christmas sewing looks doable, but on the other I see my next month and a half scheduled and it makes me real twitchy. What plans? No wiggle room for crazy sewing flights of fancy? But what if I spent half the night looking at vintage Christmas cards and now I "need" a faux fur muff? Froggie says that ridiculous, you need your hands out to keep you from falling over since you won't wear flats anywhere.  Shhh Froggie, don't rain on my mental fashion parade, the sewing list is already doing that.
So how are you guys doing?  Do you love to Christmas sew and happily take requests from your family? Do you hate it and tell everyone "politely" that it's your hobby and you'll get them a nice box of candy instead? Do you do give in and sew for others this one time of the year because fabric is literally coming out of your ears and maybe you should see a doctor about that. No one wants ear waxy gifts.

Well I see that Froggie's gotten the efficiency stick out of storage, so I'd better chain myself to the sewing machine and get cracking.  If you don't hear from me in a month or so then send a fruitcake so I can use it to break a window and escape. Merry Pre-Christmas my dears!

P.S. I have a sudden craving for a black dog. Isn't that strange?  Tell my husband to make it a black Scotch Terrier with a plaid coat and an allergy to chewing shoes. Bonus points if the dog will wear mini berets and I get a matching one.
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