Amy is the editor of Love Sewing Magazine, and also authors the sewing blog, Almond Rock. We have met each other before a couple(?) of years ago at the Minerva bloggers meet up (how time flies!) and follow each others blogs etc.
Anyway, Amy reached out to ask if I would be interested in sewing up a version of McCalls 7094 to be featured in the magazine. (She also invited me to the Love Sewing photographic studio to get these photographs taken – more on that at the end of this post!) Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of the McCalls pattern company anyway, and the style of this particular blouse is right up my street. Abhakhan fabrics were kind enough to supply me with the fabric I used to make my blouse, a 100% rayon javanaise viscose fabric in a biscuit base colour with ditsy bow print. It’s the perfect fabric for this blouse, with beautiful drape and movement.
This is the first time I have worked with a McCalls pattern where in all sizes (XS – XXL/ size 4 – size 26) were included in the same envelope. I found that all the pieces were logically set out on the pattern sheets, and it was easy enough to find the relevant pieces for my size.
I cut a size L (16 – 18) through the shoulders, arms and bust, and graded out to a size XL at the hips. I actually selected the bust size based on my high bust, rather than my full bust. This pattern has more than 10 inches of ease, so I decided to go with my high bust measurement and I think the fit is pretty good. I found I did not need to do a full bust adjustment, which is normally a standard pattern adjustment for me.
Pattern alterations I made were to remove 3 inches from the length of the sleeves, lengthen the top by 1 inch, do a 1 inch sway back adjustment (adding the removed length back to the hems) and I also raised the height of the front placket by 2 inches. These are all standard adjustments for me.
In terms of construction, I used the burrito method to enclose the shoulder/ yoke seams by machine, and omitted all the hand slip stitching that’s instructed, choosing instead to use my machine to sew the plackets and collar closed. I used my overlocker to finish the side, sleeve and armhole seams.
The hardest part of sewing this blouse was definitely the collar! This is the first time I have sewn a collar like this, and it was hard to get a clean, neat and even finish. However, it is a nice feature and really frames and elongates the neck. Another attempt may see me finding this a lot easier.
I love wearing loose fitting blouses like this with skinny jeans or slim cut pants. I love the open back detail – something I don’t have in my wardrobe, and, worn over a matching nude camisole, this will be perfect summer wear.
All About the Photo Shoot
Erm, so, I have never taken part in a professional photo shoot like this before. It was a lot harder than those models make it look! Amy had arranged for a professional makeup artist to be there to do my hair and makeup, and there was also a professional photographer and another of the Love Sewing magazine staff members there at the shoot, which meant that, together with Philip who drove me to the shoot, there were 5 people in the room, watching me getting photographed!
Gosh, trying to make your body behave and showcase the clothes in the best possible way was not easy. BTW, the magazine had got some clothes for me to wear with the top I had sewn. The pants I am wearing in these photos were from Boden I believe, and the shoes were from George at Asda.
Anyway, I am not saying I would never do it again. It was a good experience, and, I do think having these photos taken has made me feel more relaxed and wanting to introduce a little more movement into my own blog photographs that we take at home. It’s all about angles guys! 🙂
In conclusion, having all the sizes in the single pattern enevelope is a great idea (why should plus size sewists be excluded?), and well worth the price of the magazine for everything else which you get.
Have a great weekend everyone!