Tuesday, June 18, 2019

McCalls 7542 Tulip Sleeves Top

I first sewed this pattern in 2017 as my entry to the Pattern Review Sewing Bee review of which can be found here. That time, I used a scuba knit and applied lapped seam construction to assemble the top. While I was auditioning patterns that would go well with this lovely textured brocade, I thought a second iteration of this easy to sew pattern was in order.

This textured brocade is a lovely shade of blush pink accented with black dots. It is woven with some body and airy drape which I thought were perfect for the tulip sleeves style. 

I wrote a complete review of this latest version at Pattern Review.

For this post, I am just sharing additional photos of the design details and construction process. 


The original instructions called for a 5/8" folded hem. I cut off the seam allowance and applied 1-1/2" bias binding cut from solid black crepe fabric instead. 

To finish the sleeves seam, I turned the allowance in and used zigzag stitches. I did this after I have already assembled the whole thing as I did not realize the wrong side tended to show. If I had the forethought, I would have chosen Hong Kong finish to bind the visible seams.

Notice that I also used the bias binding on the neckline.


Originally the top closes with a slit opening. I decided to do a fully exposed zippered closure using separating zipper. 

I like the rose gold accent provided by the zipper teeth. 

Instead of a hook and eye, I used snaps applied to the neck binding. I extended the left side of the bias binding so it would overlap the right. 

Finished Top

View of the inside.

I am planning to wear this top with slacks. I just used the leggings here to put the focus on the top. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Wedding Project: Mother of the Bride Dress (Butterick 5450)

I can now breathe a sigh of relief! For the past nine months, my sewing life revolved around my daughter's wedding. In spite of the best laid plans, I ended up cramming to finish my own dress. I had some free time in between long distance fittings for her gown but I could not bring myself to start on mine until I was sure I completed hers. So with just two weeks left before the big day, I was muslin fitting some new to me dress patterns.


The wedding's theme color was purple and blue. I have read that the MOB (Mother of the Bride) dress does not necessarily have to match the theme color but care should be taken not to clash with it either. My daughter didn't care what color I chose so I went with my favorite shade of blush pink. It is easier to sew something when one is inspired by the fabric. 

 I bought this gorgeous embroidered mesh lace fabric from Etsy. My plan was to use it as an overlay on silk satin fabric. 

Here is a view of the silk satin fabric to the left and the silk charmeuse lining to the right. Both were purchased from Emma One Sock. 

To give an idea of the timeline, I bought the lace fabric in April and the rest in May.


I went through several muslin fittings of the following patterns. Unfortunately, none of the styles worked for my shape or with my fabrics. 

When I only had two weeks left into the wedding, I was beginning to sense a bit of panic so I thought why reinvent the wheel and not just go for one of my TNT (tried and tested) patterns? So I pulled out my favorite Butterick 5450. 

I have sewn this pattern countless times since I bought it. Thankfully I have preserved the original because through the years, my measurements have changed and it seems like I go up a size every time I make a new version! 


My plan was to sew the entire dress in silk satin and cut out the lace overlay and hand sew them as appliques. I had to interface my entire silk fabric with a medium weight fusible interfacing as the fabric needed more body. Sewing the underlying dress was the easiest part. The hand sewing process was labor intensive and took me maybe four to five days. 

Here is a view of the interfaced fabric. I used ProSheer Elegance Medium Fusible interfacing purchased from Fashion Sewing Supply. The interfacing not only added more body to the fabric but it also helped minimize the wrinkling tendency of the delicate silk satin. 

These are the bodice pieces cut out and ready to assemble. 

Here is the skirt part. 

Here is a view of the lining already stitched to the outer fabric. The pattern only provided lining for the bodice but I fully lined mine. 

Here is the fun part! Playing around with applique layout. 

It is often preached that one should be careful when using pins of silk as they will leave marks. So I made sure to pin where the embroidery will cover any leftover markings. I used those thin sharp Japanese glass head pins for this project. 

Hand applique sewing in action! I used T.E.C. brand Japanese needles size 9 for hand sewing. Found them at Etsy.

Some more photos of the applique sewing in progress:

After all the appliques were sewn, I hemmed the dress. 

I sewed a lace hem tape to the silk fabric hem and used handsewn catch-stitches being careful not to let the thread show up on the outer side. 

To sew the lining hem, I serged the raw edges first then pinned them to the edge of the finished dress hem. 

Then I hand sewed it catching only the inner fabric. 

 When it was all sewn, the lining hem was then folded down, similar to what is usually done in jacket hems. That way, the entire bottom edge of the dress was effectively sealed. 

I wasn't really planning to sew applique all around the bottom edge but it was a good way to camouflage the hemline marks that were inevitable even with the most careful blindstitching. 

The Finished Dress

So here are pictures of the finished dress including some taken during the wedding itself. 

View of the lining. Pardon the wrinkles. I took these pictures after the event was over and before I dropped it off to the dry cleaners. 

If you are wondering why the difference in lining color, I used up silk charmeuse from stash for the skirt part. 

I just want to show these tiny prick stitches I used to tack down the bodice lining along the neckline. 

Here are photos of the dress in action!
Almost forgot to mention that I made a small clutch from leftover fabrics to hold my cell phone and and other essentials like tissue, lipstick and eyeglass cleaner during the wedding.

Photos below are all courtesy of my best friend May who documented the entire wedding!
With my hubby in the hotel as we prepared to go the wedding venue.

Another photo taken at the hotel.

The obligatory fashion shoot!

Oops, showing off the wrinkly back!

Finally at the entryway of the house while we awaited wedding guests.

Coming soon, "The Wedding Project: Bridal Gown"!