DIY Knit Dress Using McCalls 7999

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.……” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Hello Everyone!

It is my sincerest hope that you all have been approaching your new year with great expectation and a zeal to chase after your dreams. I’m super proud of myself as I walked into 2020 with a revived sense of purpose and a desire to approach each day focused and excited for where God is taking me. It hasn’t been easy and I had to make some life changes.

For one. I gave up coffee and sugar again and I feel so much better. I was developing a nasty caffeine addiction. I’ve given it up in the past but end up right back on the sauce. While I love my morning cup of coffee, I was using caffeine to give me energy so that I could get through my busy schedule. The caffeine and sugar highs were making it hard for me to focus, my stomach started to become bloated and I was starting to have mood swings.

So when my church went on our annual fast at the beginning of January and the list called for us to cut caffeine and sugar from our diet; I knew it was a help line from heaven to make the change I needed.

I did it gradually, but after 3 weeks, I knew I was in a good place. My mind is more focused and my body’s nervous system has quieted down. I feel less anxious. I’ve re-worked my schedule so that I’m not constantly running. If i’m feeling overwhelmed by teaching, business, ministry and family responsibilities, I take a small break on my light days. Even if it means taking a short nap. I started walking even in the cold weather. This year the winter has been mild. Our days have consistently been around 30 degrees. I bundle up real good and walk for 45 minutes. The walk gives me the boost I need but it also has done wonders to keep the winter blues away.

I’m super grateful for the shift. I am definitely finding my version of balance.

As for this week’s post. This is a long overdue review of McCalls 7999 view C. I made this dress back in November. I’ve worn it several times already and I even put out a sneak peak pic on my Instagram page last month. I’m just keeping it real with you all. (lol!) I looooooove! this pattern. This was such an easy make. I had the pattern cut, made a short waist adjustment and sewn within 2 hours. I sewed the entire dress with the exception of the collar using the flat construction method on my serger. I love flat construction when it makes sense to use it. Especially when sewing knits on my serger. It speeds things up as you sew and finish your edges at the same time.

The pattern is straight forward and beginner friendly. There are only 4 pattern pieces and I cut it for a size Large. My short waist adjustment and taking out another 1 inch of ease at the waist was the only fit adjustments that I needed to make. I used a medium weight moderate stretch knit. from Joann Fabrics. It was on a 70% off clearance corner. I think I paid a total of $12 for about 3 yards of fabric.

I love it because it’s warm and all I need is to put on some control top black tights for shaping, smoothing and extra warmth underneath. I decided to keep it on a street style vibe and wore my black patent leather platform oxfords and statement earrings. I’ve also worn it with a black leatherette jacket to add a little bit of interest and layering for colder weather.

Well… that’s all for now! Until the next time.


4 Reasons Why Sewing Patterns Are Great Teaching Tools

“So David accepted what she had brought to him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and have granted your request.” 1 Samuel 25:35 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all got the rest that you needed during the holiday break in order to leap in the new year!  I know I did.  I have been slowly sewing behind the seams over the last few weeks and I am happy to say that I have enough looks sewn and photographed and i’m ready to share with you all over the next few weeks.

This week’s post was inspired by some of my students.  One of the things that I love about Mount Mary University is that we don’t require a portfolio or even prior sewing experience for admission.  All you have to do is declare the major and keep a 2.5 GPA in order to graduate.  While sewing experience does make completing the major a bit easier, we teach you everything. Even how to thread a sewing machine! Isn’t that amazing!

As last semester was coming to an end I had a few students ask me what they could do to improve their skill sets for the program. My response was to practice.  We teach the foundation, but to improve you have to practice.  Whether its illustration, creating design concepts, patterning, sewing, or CAD .  You have to practice.

Which led me to today’s post.  Most of my sewing experience is self-taught.  I never had a mentor and I only took 2 sewing classes in my life prior to entering design school.  I thank God for the internet.  As it opened up a window to great sewing communities like, and facebook sewing groups, Pinterest and the hundreds and thousands of sewing blogs and vlogs that are out there.  It was learning how to read sewing patterns though, that really taught me how to harness and improve my skills.  I still use them as a teaching tool in order to improve my patterning and fitting skills.

So I decided this week a discuss about sewing patterns as teaching tools could be beneficial to those new to sewing or maybe someone who has been sewing for a while but has never used a sewing pattern.  So let’s get to it..!

1. Sewing Patterns teach sewers sewing terms. 

From what sewing pattern symbols mean, to what a side seam is, to what top stitching is.  It can be a great learning tool to introduce sewers to the language of sewing.

2. Sewing Patterns teach sewers how to use various sewing techniques and stitches in context. 

You may have learned what an edgestitch or understitch is in a basic sewing class by sewing a sample.  There are alot of great technique based video tutorials out there that use a sample fabric to teach you technique.  These are fantastic ways to introduce the mechanics of a technique.  However, it can limiting in demonstrating to a sewer the appropriate place to use it.

I have found with some of my students, that despite taking notes about a sample that include when and how to use it, they need context. As visual people we need to learn by doing. Which is something that I think patterns do a great job of.  In the very least, it gives you a term that you can look up on google or pinterest and find a tutorial of how to execute the technique.  That then can be applied to the project that you are working on.

3.  Sewing patterns teach sewers order of construction. 

There are so many ways to approach a sewing project.  By sewing with patterns you begin to understand how a blouse is put together, how a dress is put together, How to drop a lining in a jacket, etc.  If you sew with patterns for any length of time you begin to learn the various methods that exist and eventually develop preferences. You can even keep a list of best methods of construction for various types of projects.

4. Sewing with patterns are a great way to learn next level techniques. 

Regardless of sewing level and ability, there are patterns out there that can help you acquire new skills sets.  Whether you want to learn how to sew knits, or learn tailoring techniques, or sew with more challenging fibers such as fur.  Patterns are a great way to get your feet wet into a higher level of sewing.

Now there are a few things that sewing patterns don’t teach.  That enrolling in a sewing class or purchasing sewing books would be beneficial to gaining a greater level of skill and understanding.

1. How to sew.

This is the most obvious, but if you don’t know how to sew you may not know this.  Its a great tool in the learning process.  However, you still have to learn how to thread and use a sewing machine, you still have to learn how to cut fabric,  thread a needle, etc.

2. How to fit your pattern to your body.

Fit is one of the hardest things that I had to learn on my sewing journey.  There are so many details that need to be taken into consideration.   Starting with proper measurements.  Most sewing patterns try to address this in their instruction booklets, by providing a measurment chart.  They often also provide fitting lines for bust, waist and hip measurements on their sewing patterns, along with the finished garment measurements of these areas.  There is still alot of information and fitting techniques that a sewist needs to learn in order to achieve a good fit.  A pattern doesn’t necessarily provide that.

That’s where really great books, blogs/vlogs and sewing groups can be a great resource.  I also find that this is a great place where independent pattern makers can build brand loyalty within the sewing community.   I believe, that there is such an added value that teaching fit can provide to sewers when they purchase a pattern.

Well that’s all for this week.  What about you…?  are you a homesewer that reads sewing patterns to learn or improve your sewing?  I’d love to hear about what sewing patterns have taught you.

Make sure to check out the links below. They are a short list of a few fitting books that i’ve used or other sewers have recommended over the years.  Until next time……

“Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations For Every Figure” by Sandra Betzina

“Nancy Zieman’s Confident Sewing Colletion” by Nancy Zieman

“Sewing For Plus Size” by Barbara Deckert

“Pants for Real People” by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto

Smart Fitting Solutions” by Kenneth D. King

“The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting”by Sarah Veblen

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