Tag Archives: Blythe sewing

Tackling Plaid

Well, I did it. I bit the bullet and made plaid pants.
I must confess, I sewed plaid once before, a nice Burda dress with lots of seams in the bodice. Maybe I am stupid, but I didn’t realise plaid needed to be matched, and I wore that dress with all the seams mismatched. Nice.
A couple of years on, with my new focus on quality sewing, I sat down, read some great posts like Sewaholic’s Matching Plaids: A Step By Step Guide and Amy Alan’s Cutting Out Plaid, and here is the result.

Thurlow Trousers in Plaid

Thurlow Trousers in Plaid

This is Sewaholic’s wonderful Thurlow Trousers pattern again.  Interestingly, they are a bit looser than my first Thurlows, but I don’t mind that.  This is a polyester suiting fabric, and it behaves a bit differently to the gabardine I used for my first pair.

As per Sewaholic’s and Amy’s instructions, I spent a LOT of time matching the lines before cutting the pant pieces.  I cut everything separately- no cutting on folded fabric for this.  Once I had cut out one piece, I reversed it and placed it on the fabric in EXACTLY the spot which matched the plaid lines.  Then I pinned through the top pattern piece and checked that the pins were coming through the same place in the underneath fabric.  This was very time-consuming.  I didn’t mind too much.  Being a first time, it was quite interesting.

PINNING the fabric in preparation for sewing was also much fiddlier than with plain fabric.  I pinned every line, again checking that the pins entered and exited the same place on the top pattern piece and the underneath pattern piece.

pinning pieces before sewing

pinning pieces before sewing

Even with this careful preparation, the lines did not always sew together perfectly, and I was amazed at how many small adjustments I had to make which I would NEVER make for plain fabric. Does this mean that when I sew plain fabric, the grain shifts but I never realise? Hmm…

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the matching.

DSC_5953 DSC_5954
The stripes match over the pockets perfectly despite what the photos show. The plaid matches up the waistband at the front, but because the waistband curves, it stops matching towards the back.  The side seams are pretty good, too. Not perfect, but there was NO WAY I was going to unpick them and re-attempt the seams when they were so close.

side seams

side seams

Some more pics.  I rushed these photos a bit, and I also did not pose in the shoes that I hemmed these pants for (too lazy to go downstairs and get them), so the pants actually hang better than the photos would suggest.

I was really excited that these pants would be able to be dressed up or down…I am wearing an unblogged Jalie Scarf Collar Knit Top which I sewed especially for these pants. The red top is a purchased T-shirt.
I purposely left off the belt loops from these pants so that I could wear tops over the waistband without bulges. I prefer the look of the top pulled down over the top of the pants; for some reason, the waist looks a bit high to me with the tucked-in shirt, and I don’t feel that way with my first Thurlows. Weird. I guess belt loops and a belt breaks it up some.
I also left off the welt pockets. I didn’t think they would show up too well, so I couldn’t be bothered spending the time it would have taken to match them.





I think it works both ways.


All in all, I’m really, really happy with these pants. They are comfortable and I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I think that they fit into my ‘good quality clothes’ wardrobe while also being a bit funky and cool. Love.

Stepping Into Summer with McCalls 6700

September in Tasmania can just as easily be snowing at 400metre altitude as it can be a pleasantly sunny 20degree C day, but I just couldn’t wait any longer.  I wanted a nice summer dress, and I wanted to be sewing something BRIGHT and happy.  I am basically starting my fashion wardrobe from scratch, and what it really needs is STAPLES in neutral colours, but I have decided that my SEWING needs are different to my WARDROBE needs.  I’m going to intersperse the sensible projects with the frivolous projects, little lollies for my sewing soul.  Enter McCalls 6700 maxi dress in a pink printed polyester knit.


I was interested to see if this style would suit me, being of a more athletic build (from this point on, athletic means no boobs).  It definitely looks great on voluptuous women, but I thought the V-neckline could make this pattern unflattering for me.  I’m pretty happy with it, though.

OK, first off, the fabric- this is a polyester knit.  Yuck.  It was horrible to sew, and being the sewing snob that I am becoming, I really don’t like that this is a synthetic fabric.  But I bought it because I really wanted a fabric with a large, irregular print, and this was the best my local fabric shop had to offer.  I would have loved to have made something like this version from Sew Wil.  I love the size of the printed flowers on her fabric.  Or Kim’s from KimSewSilly., with the print running assymetrically on the dress.

This fabric is 2 way stretch (also called 4 way for you northern hemisphere folks), so the most stretch ran with the stripes going vertically, but I decided to cut the skirt with the lines going horizontally because I thought it worked better on my slendericious frame. (I am trying to coin a term for people with slimmer physiques  which has the same positive feel as bootylicious.  Something for people with no junk in their trunks.  Any suggestions? ).

I made an effort to match the stripes at the seams.  Some of the stripes curve, and I didn’t have enough fabric to match the curves, so I just matched as much as I could.

side seams

matching at the side seams

the fabric isn't stable enough for the lines along the neckline to sit properly.

the fabric isn’t stable enough for the lines along the neckline to sit properly.

I cut the bodice with the stripes going vertically; I thought the greater stretch might be wise for the tighter bodice.   I also thought the vertical lines could frame the V neckline.  They do, but the knit kind of rolls so that it isn’t very noticeable.


  1. TIGHT ARMSCYES- No one who reviewed McCalls 6700 mentioned this, but the armscyes (armholes) were AWFULLY HIGH for me.  I am guessing this has to do with how developed my lats are (the muscle along the side of the ribs which gives men their V-shape), and this was a good lesson that I must sew for my shape, not my size.  I like freedom of movement, and I don’t think polyester and armpits makes for a good combo, so I CUT those babies down.  Basically, I unpicked the seamline until the fit was comfortable, then I folded the new seam allowances back to make V shaped armholes.
Check out those armscyes!

Check out those armscyes.  Much more comfortable.

2. ‘Raised waistline’ (as per the pattern description) always gives me cause for concern.  I understand empire lines, and I get dropped waistlines, but a raised waistline is a mystery to me.  Maybe it suits women with long torsos?  To me, raised waistlines always feel like I’m playing dress-ups in something sizes too small.  OR, even worse, it can look like an empire line for someone with very droopy boobs.  Maybe it suits women with HIGHER WAISTS?? Hmm…

Anyway, I went along with the style, and I can safely be telling y’all that I will never be wearing this dress without a belt.   But seeing as the pattern includes directions for a fabric belt, I guess it isn’t meant to be worn without one anyway. And come to think of it, kimonos are worn with the obi quite high, so maybe that is the style inspiration.

I went with  Mimi G‘s styling and skipped the fabric belt for a store-bought belt.   (Mimi G rocks.  Other sewing folk with a similar body type copy her style with great results.  She is one of my sewing inspirations, and If I had a similar body, I’d be copying every outfit she creates.).


  1. The skirt allows for complete ease of movement; no need for geisha steps in this dress (although I suppose the geisha steps could go with the raised waistline…).
  2. The pattern only has 4 pieces if you skip the necktie (which I and many others did.  The dress stays put fine without it).  This is a great quick-fix project.
  3. The fabulous Goodbye Valentino made her McCalls 6700 with a woven fabric.  When I figure out the armscye issue, I will use this pattern for WOVEN fabrics as well as knits, just like Goodbye Valentino.  That makes the pattern twice as valuable, in my opinion.


McCalls 6700 is a great quick-fix, and you get a lot of bang for your buck for the time investment.  I think it works for a range of body types, and it is very comfortable to wear.  I’ve decided that I love maxi dresses and want them to be a summer wardrobe staple.  Hurray!  My ‘lolly’ project has turned into a ‘meat & 3 veg’.

from behind