Jessica Sews | McCall's M7359 Review

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Although I’m not posting new outfits daily for the Me Made May challenge, I have been keeping busy at my sewing machine and have a couple of new pieces I’ve sewn this week. One of them is this top! I used McCall’s 7359, and made it from a linen cotton blend from JoAnn’s. It was a super simple project and I finished it in less than a day! Let me tell you a little more about it!

I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth saying again just in case anyone is finding this post via Google and is new to my page - I’m in the process of swapping out all of my store bought new clothing for an entirely self made wardrobe. I’m not intentionally throwing things out, but for the most part I’m not buying retail anymore. (I’m giving myself just a smidgeon of space for stuff like concert tees or vacation souvenirs because I love those kinds of pieces too!) As a stay at home mom, I tend to gravitate to leggings and tee shirts and I want to put more effort into getting dressed… which means making simple tops has become one of my sewing priorities.

This particular top fits the bill perfectly. It’s comfortable. It was quick to sew. It pops on over the head and has no closures. And it’s a perfect option instead of a tee shirt to wear with jeans.

I got this pattern during a $2 sale (I always try to pick out a couple new patterns when those come along!) and saw this fabric in the quilting section at JoAnn’s. I can’t find online but in my store it was in the “vintage” section… and was one of MANY awesome cotton linens that would be perfect for apparel. Its a really cool weave - it’s a linen cotton blend and there are slubs to create more texture. It was great to sew too! I stitched up view B in a medium with no pattern piece alterations. Construction wise, I omitted the gathered detail on the shoulders and instead did my own pieating action once the whole top was complete. I really love this detail!!

I also want to say: patterns are here to SERVE YOU. Don’t be afraid to sew something a different way to make it more couture (and by that I mean by using fine finishing techniques like French seams, special hems, etc) or to make it quick and easy (hello zigzags!). Or to completely change things like I did with the shoulders. I often combine views/sleeves/hems/whatever to make the garment that I want. Which is the point! Plus it makes me feel a little more creative/designery which I suppose is the point of the sewing blitz I’ve been on this year.

Anyway.

I think this is a great pattern for someone who is newer to sewing and wants to make something fashion forward. It has a Madewell sort of vibe to me and also looks really cute tucked in (see my Highlighted stories for that). Out of cotton it’s nice and casual but could be sewn with a crepe or something more silky to be a really beautiful work blouse. I would definitely sew this one again.

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Also Wearing: Dawn Jeans and DIY Espadrilles

Jessica Sews | Peplum Eyelet Refashion + Wide Leg Dawn Jeans

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There are a couple fabrics that instantly draw me in when I’m shopping for fabric at the thrift store - eyelet and chambray. You saw my chambray refashion earlier this week, so here’s one example of how I’ve harvested eyelet fabric and remade it into a different silhouette.

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I was instantly drawn to this navy eyelet dress, but it was a couple sizes too big for me. Sure, I could have tried to alter it down to fit, but I’ve been in more of a chop chop mood lately plus I had a pattern (Simplicity 1425) that I wanted to try out. After a wash, I went to town cutting along the seam lines to see what kind of yardage I would be left with. I’ve had some questions about how I disassemble garments and it varies from piece to piece. Something like eyelet can be a beast with all of the thread used to create the actual eyelet, so in this case I just cut along the seam edges.

From there I laid out my pattern and realized I’d need to make some changes to have enough fabric. I omitted the pleats in the peplum by folding them up on the paper pattern and cutting that smaller shape out. I also decided not to do a collar stand and have a flat Peter Pan style collar instead.

I lined both the lower portion of the bodice front and the whole back so I could wear a bra underneath. The fabric I used was left over from Bea’s 18th century dress.

On bottom I’m wearing my wide leg Dawn jeans again. I’ve only worn them a couple of times (I usually save true white for later spring and summer or vacation) and I absolutely love this style. I’m even thinking I need to go check my stash to see what fabrics I have to make a second pair! If you want to see the first way I wore them, check out this post.

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Jessica Sews | Bishop Sleeve Bodysuit and Dawn Jean Flare Hack

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Next up in newly stitched goodies - a bishop sleeve body suit paired with my sixth version of Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jean pattern (altered into flares with seventies style patch pockets). Both of these were fun experiments, so let me tell you more about them!

The blouse is made from a large scarf I found at my local Goodwill. I loved the pattern (it’s woven, not printed) and I thought I might have enough yardage for the wide bishop sleeves from Simplicity 8789. I used the sleeves from view C paired with the bodice from view A and just barely eeked out my pattern pieces. The bodice itself was super straight forward, but once complete it’s attached to knit undies to form a body suit. For that fabric I cut up one of Adam’s old tee shirts. I really haven’t jumped into the world of knits, but I have to admit - these came out really great. I bought a double ball point needle to attach the elastic and it was so straight forward and simple. So I’m asking myself - have I been majorly missing out by not sewing knits? Maybe! Next time I will add just a little more length to the woven portion of the garment because even though I am shorter waisted, it could use a little more vertical space. I have an instagram story of this entire process (or at least some of it!) here if you’d like to take a look!

The jeans were made on a whim because…. well, just because I wanted some flare jeans I guess? I used the tapered leg as a base and drew straight onto my denim in tailor’s chalk. I measured 14” up from the hem to start my flare and drew down to a 21” leg opening. Instead of a traditional scoop pocket shape I did a shortened version of the patch pockets I drafted for my overalls. Again, if you’d like to see some action shots, check out my instagram story on making this pair of jeans.

After wearing the jeans a few times I felt they’d have a better fit by taking in some additional space at my hips. The end result is great! I would like to do these again in a nicer quality denim but I have a lot of projects on my list before that.

Listen - if you’ve been on the fence about making a pair of jeans I cannot recommend this pattern enough. I’ve made it seven times now (after these jeans I made a second pair of shorts that I LOVE). It really is that amazing of a pattern.

And something else I’ve mentioned on social media but not on here… those silver strands you see? Expect more of them as time goes on! I’ve decided to let my natural greying color come through and while it’s taking a little time to adjust to editing photos with all that white hair, IRL, I love it. Maybe because I rarely look at mysefl in a mirror and only in good lighting with a filter via my phone? If you’re also considering it, take a look at the #grombre movement on Instagram. It really helped confirm for me that this is a beautiful look and women with grey hair have this air of badassery about them. Now I just wish MORE white would come in and it would grow out faster!

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Jessica Sews | Overalls Hack with Dawn Jeans

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On to the next piece of my capsule wardrobe - my high waisted overalls! I had originally wanted to make the bib overall version of this pattern, but… I lost it! In a fervor to make something, I ordered the Megan Nielsen Dawn Jean as a pdf I could print at home. In the course of a couple days I stitched up my first pair and damn, they’re amazing. So amazing I’ve made the original pair in dark indigo, a wide leg pair in white, a sample/mockup of overalls and finally, this pair! The fit is incredible and they sew up really quickly. There’s also an amazing series of blog posts that take you step by step through the process, and I used those instead of the printed pattern instructions.

So overalls! Let’s walk through how I made ‘em!

Construction wise, the main change from standard five pocket jeans to overalls are the side closures. Your basic jeans will zip or button at center front, but the bib of the overall prohibits that. I opted to do two exposed button fly closures at each side seam to get in and out of my overalls. Luckily, the first pair of Dawn jeans I made were an exposed button fly, so the principals of the construction are exactly the same! Your button holes go onto your front leg piece (which is cut all the way to the side seam, ie - no pocket scoop) and the fly extension is sewn to the back leg and yolk. On my sample version I used the same fly/fly extensions as a front closure, but on my second pair, I made them a little shorter (-1”) and wider (+1/2”)

Also different - the waistband. Instead of opening at center front and cut in one long curved piece, it’s done in two separate pieces for front and back (four total pieces for inside/outside). I folded my waistband and brought in the edges to create this pattern piece, added a little extra seam allowance and stitched it up to match the front and back portions respectively.

Next the business of a new front pocket design. I looked around online (and made this board on Pinterest) and decided a long patch pocket with a slash opening fit my vision of perfect overalls, so I got to drafting it out. It ended up being around 9” long (I wanted it to extend below the crotch) and 6 1/2” wide (to give me enough room to keep a top stitched fly. I did a little corner edge and applied it with a double needle top stitch.

With the pockets done and the pant portion of the overalls all done, I drafted my bib. On my initial sample, I think it was a little short (you can see this if you watch my instagram highlights) so I made the second version much longer. Too long in fact! I kind of jumped the gun on that and ended up taking a tuck at the waistband to drop it down by 1 1/2”. But all is well that ends well and it was a simple enough solution. I’ll mark this on my paper pattern for the next time I make these in a different fabric. I sewed it up the center front using two pieces and finished it with a double top stitch. The sides of the bib are turned in twice at 3/8”, again with a double top stitch. The top was turned under 3/8” and again at around 1” with a single top stitch. The front pocket was cut asymmetrically like the versions I saw and loved online and finished with a double topstitch all around.

Lastly was the simple business of the straps, which are 1 1/2” wide to fit the buckles. There’s made to one length to fit my height.

The finishing touches on these overalls are the 10 metal shanks and buckles. I EFFING HATE SHANKS. I wasted so many by hammering them on at an angle (vs down straight) and had to wire cut them off and try again. I initially used Dritz brand and they suck. The ones that did best are the Hobby Lobby store brand because the back tack is a little longer and easier to hammer. I’d still like to source a different option, because I only shop there as a last resort (but in all honesty, its about 20 minutes closer to my house than JoAnns, right next to my grocery and they have some really cute fabric right now, so sue me, I’ll sacrifice my principals occasionally).

After I had all of my shanks attached, it’s back to the wash to pull out a little color and start the process of aging the denim. I used a 220 grit sandpaper gently over the surface of the pockets and other edges and it did a lovely job of lightening in those areas. I love the way denim fades, but it really just takes time!

A final note - these are out of stretch denim, which is just what I had in my stash. The Dawn jeans were designed to be made out of rigid fabric, so to compensate, I cut 3/8” off from my side seams, but made no other adjustments for fit. The end result is probably the best fitting pair of paints I’ve ever owned, and I just might make more this way. My rigid pair is TIGHT (which I love) but they need to be broken in more before they get to this level of comfort. That’s just stretch jeans for ya. The rigid fabric will last longer and the garments I’m making now are the kind of pieces I hope Bea wants to wear some day. I mean, how rad would it be to inherit a perfectly faded pair of your mom’s jeans? I would just flip if my mom had saved her jeans from the 70s.

So that’s my Dawn Jeans overall hack! I want to give Megan 50 rounds of applause for her amazing pattern that I used as a starting point. She and I are old friends and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get my hands on her patterns. Then again, I have taken a bit of a break with sewing while having such small kiddos in the house! If you’ve contemplated sewing your own jeans, I HIGHLY recommend this pattern!

Finally - outfit notes! I design and made my own hat using old school millinery techniques. The band is made from a vintage tie I had in my stash (a great and cheap way to get very small amounts of silk - I love using them for hand bands!). My tank is from Target. Someday I’d like to advance to sewing knits, but I’m ok buying them for now. I can also talk more about fast fashion and why Target is probably one of the better options (I used to work in the industry and have visited factories overseas) but I’m gonna save that for another day. On my feet - some self made espadrilles. Here’s my DIY post from when I originally made them!

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Jessica Sews | Beach Comber Blouse + Dawn Jeans

What I Wore - Beach Comber McCalls’s 7387
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What I Wore - Beach Comber McCalls’s 7387

Greetings friends! I wish I could say we’re still in sunny Florida, but we’ve traded sand castles for snowmen back in Indiana. It’s coming down right now as I write this, so I’ll just transport myself back to ocean breezes and beach combing with my kids.

For this trip, I made all my clothes. Ha! It feels so awesome to say that. I made all of my clothes! Minus a few knits and a swim top (I need more practice with stretch fabrics!) what you see over the next five posts are all things I’ve stitched up myself.

So without further ado, here are the details of my outfit from top to bottom!

The hat I’m wearing is an older style I made myself. I blocked the straw onto a custom brim and crown and finished it off with a vintage tie that I doctored up into a hat band. Fun fact: Stars + Field and all of it’s social media handles were originally for a hat company I started by the same name. This all happened at the time I had Felix and maybe I should have known having a newborn and trying to make handmade hats wasn’t going to occur simultaneously. Motherhood won out, but when I quit What I Wore I started using the Stars + Field name for my new blog. Viola! Here we are!

The shirt I’m wearing was by far my favorite of the trip! It’s a slight modification from McCalls’s 7387, view A. I cut the back using the pattern piece given, but did an inverted box pleat instead. I love the way the stripes form weird patterns because of it! On the front, I skipped the hidden button placket so I could do some fun covered buttons that match up perfectly. Speaking of! I worked really hard to make those stripes match up in every place I could and the end result was so worth it. This is an awesome pattern and I plan to make it up in white eyelet next!

I don’t have good close ups on the jeans (Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans), but I ended up using the same pattern to make three more pieces, which you’ll see in more detail in the next posts. I also have some video on my Instagram highlights if you want to see them in motion. I LOVE THIS PATTERN so much! And I love sewing jeans SO MUCH. Part of that comes from a great cut and secondly, the amazing instructions. Megan has a Design Diary Sew Along and I used while putting these together. It’s so handy for visual learning and I had my laptop out right next to my sewing machine. In some of my later versions I used a zipper fly - I really don’t like putting in zippers - but the sew along simplified it beyond belief (many portions are written by another sewer I follow - Holly - she’s great!) These jeans made of some really heavy Cone Mills denim I had in my stash and done with matching thread. I cut the tapered leg in my regular size and did an exposed button fly. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

This vacation capsule came together in three weeks of sewing whenever I possibly could. In contrast to my historical sewing, this stuff goes so much faster! I can make a pair of jeans in a day and ditto with these simple tops. I am so hooked on making my own wardrobe - I don’t know if I can go back to buying my clothes from the store. Knits are tricky and will take me some practice but I have some ideas I want to play around with there. Now it’s just a matter of finding the time. Spring and summer are really busy for us outside, but longer daylight hopefully means later nights… of sewing!

Please let me know what questions you might have in the comments or on instagram!

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What I Wore - Beach Comber McCalls’s M 7387