Sunday, July 17, 2016

McCalls 7348 - A Couple of T-Shirt Dresses

I grew up in the 70's and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a style icon at the time. To me one of the most fascinating things about her was that she bought multiples of pieces that she liked. Found a t-shirt that worked for her in a French boutique, she bought it in all colors...7 or 8 if that's what they had. Somewhere in my teenage mind, I held onto that.

Years and years later, I always think in multiples. I love a pattern that I can make 4 or 5 garments from...an example of such is the multitude of dresses I made from McCalls 6559 or Vogue 1250. I know this is boring sewing to a lot of sewists but it's a huge wardrobe builder when you're starting from scratch again. Also it really let's me explore a pattern through fabric and changes to the pattern itself.

Here are my versions of McCalls 7348 all made during the mini-sewcation I had the 4th of July weekend. My first post on this pattern was about my wearable muslin where I determined how I wanted to alter the pattern. These next three dresses reflect those pattern changes and design opportunities.


Dress One ~ Blue & White Ltwt. Ponte

  • This is my second wearable muslin because this one has the excess fabric removed from the dress giving it the slimmer yet loose fit that I was looking for. I've also lengthened the cap sleeve and made it a little longer for my bodacious biceps.
  • I've realized that this dress needs a center back seam for future versions.
  • And I will shorten the dress' hem because I serged off 1.5" before turning under 1" for the final hem.



The ponte fabric is a recent purchase from Fabric Mart and besides a little twill tape in the shoulder seams, there are no additional supplies used to complete it. While this is my first version of this dress using the altered pattern, it's not perfect but it's perfectly wearable!

Dress Two ~ Black 'n White Herringbone Ltwt. Ponte



Dress number two went together easily. I had a little practice! For this version I added a white neckband and sleeve bands to make it look more like a t-shirt which these dresses are based upon. However, as I was sewing it I decided I should share a few of the techniques I used. Even though it's a "Learn to Sew" pattern, better techniques will give you a more professional result.

I added a center back seam to the dress to give it a little more definition. Okay this is not a tight fitting or even a close fitting dress. This is a loose fitting dress but adding a back seam means there's not a lot of fabric hanging out in the back. Seam tape was added to the shoulder seams to stabilize them.

Supplies ~
Lightweight herringbone ponte - a recent purchase from Fabric Mart
White ponte from the collection
Twill tape

The Neckband ~
I only used a 1/2" seam on the neckband to stitch it together. I determined the 4 quarters of the neckband and pinned it to the center back, center front and side seams. Then stretched and added alot of pins. When sewing it on, I stretched and sewed like the pattern instruction says. However, I think it's important that you pin it well. My first dress I just pinned it and the application was sloppy. I had to take the band off and put it back on.



Next good pressing with a lot of steam is involved. I even used a clapper to hold the press in. Then I added the stitching the pattern recommends. Even though this is an easy pattern, I took my time.



The Sleeve Band ~
I shortened the sleeve by 1" and serged finished the edge. Then I added a band by using the width of the neckband. It was folded in half and stitched to the sleeve. Serged finished the edge and pressed the seam up towards the sleeve. Next topstitching was added to the seam and it was pressed flat.

A few photos of the finished dress ~




These details make this dress different from my other versions and I love this dress because of them!

Dress Three ~ Black 'n White Floral Print



This version is all about the ponte print fabric. I chose this one from the collection because it had a little weight to it and I liked the print. But I knew the fabric would need something to make it sing so I added some black ponte to the neckline and for the sleeves. Both of these fabrics are from the collection and have been around for a minute waiting to be used.

That is the only thing that is different about this dress. All of the sewing techniques are the same as the first two dresses in this post. I think it has a little closer fit but that's due to the fabric and not to anything that I did differently.

A couple of pics ~



Conclusion ~
I know that these are loose unfitted dresses. It's the look I'm going for because it's become really hot around here. I want some throw on dresses that can be accessorized, dressed up or down for whatever. Mostly though I wanted some casual dresses that will fit into my work atmosphere, yet have the styling details that are me. 

Originally I thought that I would make five of these but after these three and the wearable muslin, I'm done with this pattern for now. That's not to say I might not revisit it later. However, I now have more garments on my to-sew list that I'd like to get off my fabric shelves and into my closet.

I'm still sewing especially since I think I've finally found my groove. There are a couple of skirts and another dress or two coming up!

...as always more later!






43 comments:

  1. I don't often comment on blog posts but I just wanted to say that I love how you make dresses sewn from the same pattern look entirely different and I like them all but I love the patterned one with black sleeves :)

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  2. I really like these, particularly the last two. I think they look great on you and not too loose at all. Just right. The contrast on the them both really does make the hero fabric sing.

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  3. Perfect "grab and go" dresses for warm weather. You certainly got a great fit! Great job as usual!

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  4. I find great inspiration in seeing how you make a pattern your TNT and all of the fitting and design changes you make. I see the wisdom in this since once familiar with the pattern the sewing becomes creative.
    Thank you
    Marie

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  5. Hi Carolyn, I love all your versions of this dress and I have made a couple of the longer ones and love it. But the sweep of the hemline is indeed excessive and I folded out a ton of it from the waist down. I love the fit of the neckline, shoulders and bodice of it and you are right it definitely needs a center back seam for a better fit! Great job on your sewcation- love that term!

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  6. All four of your dresses are my favorites. How about making a few more in a floral print, denim or maybe small polka dots? LOL!

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  7. "...it's become really hot around here." No!!!!!!!! I am sorry to hear that, since I'm a giant wuss when it comes to hot weather! I love a good shift dress and you've reminded me that I need to make a few more! (I have a black one in black wool doubleknit that's I've worn until it's very pilled.) You've achieved a perfect, casual dress!

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  8. I love how all 3 versions of the same pattern can look so different with some minor changes . As always you are so generous with your tips & info. After reading about the first dress I was going to ask why you felt the dress needed a center back seam - then you answered on the second dress. Great job

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  9. I love them all but, the last one especially. Thanks for another inspiring post.

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  10. I love your dresses - they all look great on you :) I bought a similar pattern by Merchant & Mills (the Camber)thinking I would probably get a lot of traction out it too. It's a woven however but that's easily adjusted to be a knit if that's what I want. I am a returned sewer too (after a 40 year hiatus!) and I feel like I'm learning everything from scratch considering all the changes that have taken place to patterns, techniques, fabrics, sewing machines...etc etc :)

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  11. More beautiful dresses! You have such a wonderful talent of combining fabric and patterns and you look wonderful in everything you wear.

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  12. I just love the last one best, but they all look great.

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  13. You say these dresses are loose and unfitted, but I think they skim your curves and have a nice vertical look. Very flattering and perfect for summer. I am always amazed at the variety of ponte knits you find.

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    Replies
    1. Audrey - a lot of searching, buying and stashing gets those pontes in the sewing cave. But honestly I kinda focus on one type of fabric at a time and then collect from there.

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  14. Thank you SO much for the commentary, on what you did difference and how you dressed up & made minute changes to add more 'personality' to the dress. All three are nice, but the 2nd & 3rd (after your adjustments) went into the 'love' category for me. I will have to start sewing for myself again after seeing your post! Thanks again! Deb

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  15. I definitely relate on making several pieces from one pattern. You, however, are so creative at making them look different. I love all your dresses, and they suit you so well.

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  16. I'll be honest, I was very young when Jackie O was around, but like hers, Grace Kelly's, and Audrey Hepburn's I have always admired their style and grace. I have to say, I put yours in the same category. You and your dresses are beautiful! My favorite is the herringbone one.

    Stacey

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  17. These look great! I'm wearing a "throw on and go" dress just now and agree with you that they are perfect for feeling put together in the heat.
    I didn't know that fact about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Makes complete sense though!

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  18. Great looking dresses. I love how you make one pattern work for many looks. I'm not a dress person but love yours!
    Marcia

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  19. I must have soaked up that Jackie note because that's how I buy RTW. I dislike shopping and if I find something that still looks good at home, then I go back (returning all the losers) and buy several different colorways. It works for bras too.
    I thought all four shift dresses looked summery on you. Very nice silhouette.

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  20. I enjoyed reading about your sewing experience. You have given me some inspiration to get busy and sew again - I have lots of fabric waiting. You're very creative. Keep on sharing -

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  21. I love t shirt dresses and I adore all the ones you've made! They look good on you and you've personalized them with your necklaces and shoes. I never realized till now that I can wear t shirt dresses with heels and wedges. Great job!

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  22. It's me again. 😊 How does a center back seam control the fullness at the back? Do you make some adjustments in measurement there? I have the same issue with my t shirt dresses and I thought adding back darts was the solution, although I haven't done that yet. But now that you're saying a back seam is the solution, I'm wondering if it's as simple as adding one, or if it involves adjusting measurements also. I would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Esther - a back seam one gives definition and two you can sew it to fit the back shape of your body that way eliminating a lot of the extra fabric. On my dresses the seams aren't sewn any deeper just having it gives some definition to the back. Hope that helps.

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  23. These all look great! and I agree... when you find a pattern that you love then it makes perfect sense to make it over and over and over again. I tend to make a new thing from my favourite patterns per year. It may sound boring but at least I know the shapes work well for me and the silhouette fits in with all my current pieces :)

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  24. Girl, I just love your styling and profiling! The dresses are fun!

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  25. From Creative Hormone Rush: I'm just gobsmacked at your speed in churning out cute dresses. I love that you stick to simple lines and then customize each version so nicely. And your pics are lovely. It's always so great to see you so happy in your latest beauties.

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  26. I am a huge fan of your "one pattern, many ways" sewing. And blogging, thanks for sharing. I am always so inspired, as I have trouble thinking outside of the box like that. Great dresses!

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  27. I so admire your using one pattern and making multiples from it, yet each one has a different design feature. I like all three versions of this pattern. I have this and have actually made two from it; it keeps popping up every time I go through my pattern stash; perhaps it is time for another one.

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  28. Beautiful dresses Carolyn! My favorite is the last one...there is just somethng about the fabric that screams stunning to me! I never had a problem with multiples of a pattern until while on vacation with my grandkids, LOL! I took 3 tops I had made from one pattern and my granddaughter (then 11) noticed I had been wearing similar tops. She asked, "grandma, you must really like that top"? I said yes why...her response was, "because you have a lot of them". My first thought was what 11 yr old notices what their grandmother is wearing and then it dawned on me that she is into fashion as well! Another little sewing person in the making! (I still make multiples anyway, LOL!!)

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  29. The third one is my favorite. Beautiful use of contrast sleeves. It looks very put together.

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  30. Just saw your blog recently and thought, "She's a delightful writer and personality" so have checked back. Love this entry as I was also a "Jackie" follower as a teenager and also loved how she bought multiples of favorite styles. Good for you in making multiples of a pattern you like. They look great and comfy on top of that. Keep up the good work in all areas. You're appreciated out here!

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  31. These are all successful dresses! It was interesting to see the variations and read your insights. The first dress looked very nice, and the second one even nicer! The white collar and sleeve bands look great on you!

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  32. Perfect! I totally agree, it may seem repetitive but once made, a smiple nice fitting dress come s in so handy(am in the process of doing it now). Besides when made in different fabrics and colors no one notices or thinks twice they just know you look good.

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  33. I subscribed to your blog about a year ago and have really been inspired by your fashion and skill. I learned to sew in junior high (a VERY long time ago) and I sewed some of my clothes through high school. But I never learned pattern modification. You've inspired me to enroll in some Craftsy classes to learn more so that I can make clothes that fit and look nice. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  34. Great dresses! You have inspired me, though I'm a short chunky sort, to try them! Got a pattern on my way also!

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  35. I love all your dresses, but particularly the third one. How clever of you to add the black. It really takes it to the next level.

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  36. I have this pattern and a couple ponte knits (pretty olive green and a sky blue) I had them already to cut out, but then I think I read the same review you did where they had a problem with excess fabric with this pattern.
    As usual your versions look fabulous and have inspired me onwards.
    I think I'm afraid I'll end up with some new nightgowns, or that I look like I'm wearing my nightgown out to dinner, if you know what I mean.
    Thank you for inspiring me to action yet again.

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    1. Amie - to keep mine from looking like nightgowns, I used the contrasting fabrics and I removed as much ease as I could. It's been the perfect dress to wear in the miserable heat that we've been having so much so that I now want to make two more.

      Good luck with your versions. It is worth the time and effort to get the pattern right!

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  37. These dresses look so cute and comfy. I love the idea of having multiples especially when the fit is right. I think you nailed this look! ya got me to thinkin Carolyn... ;-)

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  38. I adore the 1st dress you made in stripes. It's very visually striking and I love the boldness of it. All 3 are incredibly flattering and you've really got the loose yet fitted look nailed.

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  39. I love this dress and depending on the fabric it can be casual or more dressy. I would like to make this myself now that I have seen yours. Cool casual for the summer. Just goes to show it is not the simplicity of the pattern, it is the fabric choice that changes it up so much.

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  40. These really are super Carolyn. Comfortable, very flattering (I love the blue and white one the best, but probably because I would like to wear it), and good fun. Lovely quality work, as ever. Thank you.

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