Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pattern Review and Project Update

We recently shared our Fabric Haul: September 2016 video, and one of the lovely fabrics we shared was this beautiful cotton floral print from Len's Mills in Barrie, Ontario. I am not quite sure what I was thinking, but I only purchased one metre of the fabric along with a half-metre of a coordinating solid. I did try to get more of the fabric, but it was sold out. There was just enough fabric to make a basic shell top. The sewing pattern I selected is New Look #6483. This is a simple top with side (straight) darts, opens at the back of the neck and has bottom side slits. There is a sleeveless and short sleeve variation. The pattern is available as a printed enveloped pattern or as a downloadable.

Changes I Made
The top required just over a metre of fabric, so I had to adjust the length. I shortened the bottom of the top by three inches, making the adjustment just at the start of the side slit markings. I did not use the facing pattern pieces. I decided to make bias binding from the coordinating sold colour fabric, and used the bias to face the neckline and armholes. I also opted to not include the slits at the side seams, given that the top was shorter than the original pattern. I also used a half-inch seam allowance on the side seams, which has given me a tiny bit more ease across my bustline.

What I Will Change
The darts needed to be adjusted for a better fit on my body. Dart placement may not be an issue for someone else, but I suggest measuring the shoulder to bust and making any changes prior to cutting your fabric.

Overall, I really like this pattern and the fit is very comfortable. This pattern is included in our Garment Construction I pattern list. I look forward to trying the pattern with our students. It is a basic top, but the pattern provides an opportunity to learn about side (straight) dart placement, facing and the option to add sleeves. If you are new to sewing and will like to try making a basic top, this pattern is worth trying. The only down side is that only smaller sizes are available, ranging from bust size 30 1/2 to 38 inches. However, you could find a similar pattern with a broader size range. You can sew as instructed or use as a block and experiment with various modifications to make it your own.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fabric Haul: September 2016

There are many options for purchasing fabric online and at your local shops. However, if you are new to buying fabric the process can be intimidating. If you are purchasing fabric online, I suggest learning about the different types of fabric and to order a fabric swatch when possible.

The sewing pattern you are using will generally provide some fabric recommendations. Using the recommended fabrics will mean that your finished project will potentially fit and drape the way the pattern designer intended. However, I recommend trying other fabric options as a way of learning how different materials work. In some cases you may love the results and in other instances you may simple gain a better understand of why some fabrics work best for a given project.

We hope that our Fabric Haul video is the first of many such videos, where we will share with you the fabrics we are using at the studio. We also hope to provide you with great tips on how to purchase and use different types of fabrics.

Let us know what you think of our Fabric Haul: September 2016 video and perhaps share with us your favourite fabric designers and suppliers.


Simcoe Sew and Quilt - Located in Barrie, Ontario, this quilt shop has a beautiful selection of fabrics, mostly quilting cottons. They also sell sewing machines and other sewing supplies.

Len's Mills Stores - Several locations with a huge selection of fabric; including, home decor, dress making materials, quilting cottons and tons more.

Fabricland - Many locations across Canada. There is a huge selection of fabrics at different price points. Good chance you will find something on sale. They also have sewing patterns and lots of notions.

Jo-Ann Stores - Stores are located in the United States. They also sell online, but at the time of this post, they announced that they would no longer be shipping to Canada as of September 30, 2016.

Affordable Fabrics - Was unable to find a website. They are located in Toronto in the Queen and Spadina area. There is so much to choose from in this tightly packed store, so give yourself some time to visit this shop.

Tonic Living - Located in Toronto and also available online. Beautiful selection of fabrics with a focus on home decor. Great quality fabrics!

Value Village - This thrift store has many locations, and generally has a selection of craft and sewing items. It can be hit or miss given it is a thrift store. I recommend carefully examining the fabric pieces. Can be a great opportunity to find vintage fabrics and patterns.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pattern Haul: September 2016

There are many options for sewing patterns that are available. Most of the patterns we use at our studio are commercial sewing patterns. The reasons for using these patterns in our studio are accessibility and the wide selection of pattern designs; which make them a great choice for our students. These patterns are generally available at local sewing and fabric supply shops. Commercial patterns can also be purchased online direct from the manufacturer's website. Other great options for sewing patterns include, downloadable pdf patterns and printed independent patterns.

If you are new to purchasing sewing patterns, I recommend starting at your local fabric shop where you can review and select your patterns prior to purchasing. There are generally pattern catalogues available for you to select from. If you are not sure what size pattern to purchase, look for the size or body measurement chart in the pattern catalogue. You can also review our posts on "How to Take Body Measurements" and on  "Selecting a Pattern." The catalogues will also indicate the skill or difficulty level for each pattern, which can be very helpful especially if you are new to sewing.

Let us know what you think of our Pattern Haul: September 2016 video and perhaps share with us some of your favourite patterns.

The McCall Pattern Company

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