Monday, August 01, 2016

Pattern Review: McCalls 7150 - Girls Shorts Set

First, a shameless plug for 4-H
For the past few years, I have the pleasure of serving as a project leader for our local 4-H club.  I volunteer to lead two projects:  computers and sewing for the more advanced members.  I am always impressed by the dedication and hard work our members put into their projects.  I volunteered  in the exhibit hall during the fair this year, so I got to view the projects of members across the county.  There were some amazing projects from all the members in a wide variety of topics:  foods, gardening, computers, geocaching, scrap booking. photography, shooting sports, woodworking, electricity and many many others.  4-H is a wonderful organization and if you have a child looking to do something different, definitely check it out:   National 4-H website

And now for the real post:

Despite volunteering with 4-H, I had never actually entered anything into a fair myself.  I was involved with 4-H only briefly as a child and as an adult, never had time to come up with anything that I thought was good enough to enter.  I looked at the open class entries last year for garment sewing and thought "I can do this".  However, as we got closer and closer to the opening of this year's fair, once again I thought, "Maybe next year."  Sprite, however, had other ideas and picked out the fabric and pattern for her First Day of School outfit.  She begged me to try to finish it in time for the fair.  She also informed me that I needed to enter my bread into the Foods class.  It was a push (I finished at 7 am on the day the entries need to be dropped off) but I made it.

PatternMcCalls 7150 - Children's/Girls' Top, Tunic, Dress, Shorts, Leggings and Headband

From the McCalls website:

Pullover top, tunic and dress are sleeveless and have yoke back and purchased bias tape for neckline and armholes. A: Yoke front, overlapped tulip-hem back. B: Hemline ruffle, wrong side shows. C: Applied ruffles, raw edge finish on heading. B, C: Bias bow, knot. Lined shorts, and leggings: Elastic waist. D: Thread carriers and purchased ribbon. E: No side seams. A, B, C, E: Narrow hem. Headband: Elastic, bow, knot.
Credit:  McCall's Patterns

I made View A, the pullover top and View D, the lined shorts.  I skipped the bow on the shorts which doesn't show in the line drawing, but does show in the pattern picture. 

McCalls offers this pattern in two envelopes:  Sizes 3-4-5-6 comes in one and sizes 7-8-9-10-12-14 comes in the second.  I made a size 14 in both top and shorts with modifications.  I measured the flat pattern pieces and they seemed accurate for the measurements given plus ease.

I used a aquamarine challis for the fabric fabric and a lime green lace fabric for the contrast.    The lace came from JoAnns Fabrics and the challis came from the clearance table of a local fabric store (one of the few left in my city.)

Cutting Error?
The top pattern has you cut two pieces for the back yoke, one from the fashion fabric and one from the contract. The pattern has you cut only 2 pieces of contrast fabric for the front yokes.  However, in the sewing instructions, you sew two fronts to a back for the fashion fabric, then repeat for the contrast.  I think that the pattern piece is missing the instruction to cut two front yokes from fashion fabric.

Sprite was just barely within the measurements for a size 14 for the top and the shorts were going to be too small at the hip.  The pattern provides finished measurements for length, but not waist and hip measurements, so it is a very good thing that I measured the flat patterns before starting.  I lengthened the top at the shorten/lengthen line by 1.5 inches and added 2 inches to the shorts by splitting the pattern pieces at the grain line marking and widening by 1/2".  That gave me enough room at both hip and waist for her.

Instructions - Top
I read and mostly followed the instructions and it is important to follow the sewing order listed to get the tulip back to work out correctly.  You sew the side seams first, then hem the front and back pieces before you attach the yokes.  This way, the ends of the hems of the two back pieces are neatly sewn into the yoke.

I didn't follow their method of hemming, preferring to use hem tape left from my mother's stash instead.  I used my serger to lightly gather the curves of the hem first, then sewed on the tape to cover the serging.  Then I topstitched the tape.  It looked fine, though I wish I had read Gorgeous Things tutorial on how to sew a shirt tail hem without rippling before I did this.

My other deviation from the instructions was to use the burrito method of sewing the yokes instead of simply sewing the seams right sides together.  It made for a much nicer looking inside.

Armholes and neckline were both finished with self fabric bias tape.  I bought some bias tape makers earlier this year from Amazon and this was my first time using one.  It worked beautifully and easily and I will use these again whenever I have a pattern calling for a bias tape finish.  They look much nicer than ready made bias tape.

Instructions:  Shorts

Shorts are some of the easiest things to sew and I can whip through them very quickly.  Good thing in this case as I was getting down to the wire by the time I got to the shorts.  The pattern has you interline the contrast lace with the fashion fabric by basting the lace to the fabric within the seam allowance.  Then you sew both pieces as one.  I deviated from the instructions by not sewing the casing for the elastic but sewed the elastic directly to the fabric with the serger, then flipping the elastic to the back and top-stitching it down.  This is my preferred method of sewing elastic waistbands.

This made for a very quick sewing of the shorts, but I think that bagging the lining would have looked nicer for the fair by hiding all the seaming. 

Fit Impression

Despite being super cute and an easy item to make, the fit was slightly off and Sprite doesn't like it.  The shorts have a rather high waist and Sprite, while having a long torso, has a relatively short rise.  The crotch droops and bubbles as she wears it and it is not comfortable.  I needed to drop the front waist a bit to make it work correctly.

The top just doesn't fit right either.  It is slightly too wide and gapes at the neck.  The armholes are a bit too high and rub.  She has her mama's rounded shoulders and the top comes too far forward and despite the length I added, it is still too short.  There are several fitting adjustments I should have made before I cut the fabric, but being pressed for time, I didn't.

(She didn't want pictures taken, so you are stuck with dress form pics still rumpled from being displayed at the fair for a week.  Sorry.)

Cute outfit, but definitely designed for and smaller, less developed girls than my near teenager.  I personally won't sew this pattern again but can recommend it if you check the fit first. We are looking for a new outfit for the first day of school.  Again, will be sewing down to the wire as school starts in just a week.

And, as you have probably already noticed, I did get my first blue ribbons from the fair for both this outfit and my bread.  I am already planning next year's entries -- hopefully I will leave myself more time to plan and not be sewing an hour before we have to leave for the fairgrounds.  It's a lot of fun to compete in open classes, especially with items you plan to make anyway. 

As always, thanks for reading!

I didn't realize that it has been almost a year since my last post.  A lot of life has happened in the meantime, some wonderful and some devastating.  Without going into detail, I'll just say that blogging moved not just to the back burner, but off the stove entirely until now.  I still want to use this space to document my sewing projects so I will continue to post even if it is sporadic.  If you are reading this, thanks for hanging out with me. 

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