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Category: pattern reviews

a trio: vogue 8825

I had other plans for the blog today, and they had nothing to do with this dress. I had no idea I would love the two new ones enough to dedicate a post to them, but here we are. I should have known better! You may remember the first one I made a few weeks ago. It was a project I’d put aside for over a year and also my first dive into making knit garments since my college days. I knew when I made it that I wanted to do it again, and I had this gorgeous creamy rayon knit with delicate gold sequins that I knew would be perfect. It had been in my fabric stash for about three years, just waiting for the right project to come along. I found it at JoAnn back in 2013 on the sale rack, which is usually packed with cheap, icky fabrics. Every once in a while you can find something special there though, hiding behind the nasty polyester, and that’s what this is. I love the fact that the gold sequins are subtle enough to make this dress appropriate for more than just holiday parties too.

Many of you know that navy blue is my favorite color. It’s hard for me not to make just about everything in navy, and this dress is no exception. It’s so flattering and comfortable, and I feel like a million bucks in it. I actually made this dress in navy on a whim once I discovered this ponte knit, which is also from JoAnn. I noticed this fabric a few weeks ago when I was there for supplies, and apparently it’s a new and improved ponte knit that won’t pill. I usually steer clear of knits with polyester in them for that very reason–they tend to pill and look inexpensive and gross after just a couple rounds in the washing machine. This particular ponte is a blend of rayon, nylon, and spandex, and it feels absolutely incredible. Nice stretch and recovery, and it’s smooth and soft. I used a coupon on it, but the $17 price tag is probably worth it. I’m not sure if it comes in any other colors but if you see it in burgundy, let me know!

I can add a few notes about this pattern now that I’ve sewn it in three different types of knits. The first is obvious: the more lightweight the knit (as is the case with the cream sequin fabric), the closer it will fit to your body. It may mean you can size down, which I could have done, but it doesn’t look terribly big so I’m not too worried about it. The more stable and substantial the knit, like the grey and navy, the easier it will be to sew and work with. The part of this dress that requires the most patience is attaching the cuffs, which I inadvertently stretched a bit on the cream dress. Also, the pattern instructs you to double stitch the cuff/sleeve seam, trim, and press the seam allowance up into the sleeve, but I wanted that hidden so I pressed it down into the cuff and stitched it closed. Nice and neat.

the shirtdress: mccall’s 6696

And just like that, we’re almost a week out from Thanksgiving. I can’t believe how quickly the last week flew by! We had a wonderful holiday weekend at home, cooking and eating and relaxing with the puppies. I got a little Christmas shopping done and started decorating the house, which is one of my favorite things to do. Trees and garland and lights and sparkle . . . pretty much my love language. Come Saturday, however, I was itching to get back in the studio. I went three full days without so much as turning on my computer or firing up my sewing machine because I was so busy. When I finally got back, the first thing I tackled was the dress in this post.

This is the second dress I’ve made using this pattern, McCall’s 6696, and I am definitely late to this party. If you search the pattern number it’s all over the place, and for good reason. It’s fantastic. I made it in white last spring and, naturally, completely forgot to pull it out of the closet to photograph along with this version. After I made it the first time and saw the finished product I knew I wanted another one. The first time I made it I drafted a skirt with bigger pleats and a hem facing, but this time I went with the original design. I wanted the full skirt in view A and the sleeves from view D. My fabric is a lightweight cotton poplin print that I ordered over a year ago. I was waiting for the right project to come along to use it.

McCall's 6696 via Emily Hallman Designs

McCall's 6696 via Emily Hallman Designs

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern (which is unusual for me) except to make sure it was the right length, 26″ from the waist. I could have sized down for a closer fit in the waist, but then the sleeves would have been a bit snug. Considering I went with this pattern right out of the envelope without making any changes, I’m very pleased with the fit.

The details of this design are what sold me on it: the cuff on the sleeve, the midriff, the bust and waist darts, the gathers on the back bodice. The midriff and front bodice darts are especially flattering, and the gathers in the back keep things comfy. And, of course, I love the pockets.

fall wardrobe: vogue 8882

A cold front has made its way down to us here in Texas, and I must say that it’s pretty fantastic. Finally, it’s boot-wearin’ weather! I’m more of a summer girl myself, but I can certainly appreciate a few months of chilly weather. It’s worth noting that it makes my 12-mile daily bike rides that much more enjoyable!

In August, I posted my list of skirt sewing projects for the season. I have four finished, and I’m quite pleased with how well they’ve turned out. First up is Vogue 8882 in khaki and olive.


I chose this pattern because I loved the design (hello, big skirt!) and because I knew I would get a lot of use out of it. I had to start with some basic colors because I was filling a need in my closet, but this skirt is begging to be made in bright colors and prints. It’s gorgeous. I have a lovely Christmas-y floral twill that I think I will make next.