I’ve been sewing more years than I can count so I figure I’ve got it all figured out. I’m terrible at reading the instructions. I just merrily go on my way. So far, all the garments I have sewn have worked out in regards to construction. Granted some of the outfits were not my size or not suitable for my body type, but the garment construction was successful.
Well, it seemed McCall 7714 was my Waterloo. It’s a simple pattern – princess seamed bodice, small attached waistband, pleated skirt and invisible zipper in the back. What’s complicated about that? I should have been able to put that together with my eyes closed (well, not literally!) HA!
The reason why I latched onto this pattern is that the shop had received some border printed fabric but many customers are puzzled on how to use them.
First of all, you have to break high school sewing rule number 101 and use the crossgrain (fabric’s weft). That means that instead of laying the grainline of your pattern pieces parallel to the selvage, you are actually rotating them 90* so your grainline goes across the fabric. (Think of the neckline of your garment positioned along one fabric selvage and your skirt or pant hemline positioned at the opposite selvage.)
Another thing to think about is given the selvage is a straight line, your garment design has to take this into consideration. No circle skirts here folks! Fuller skirted garments are possible but you need different planning. It doesn’t pose an issue if the sample garment shows the use of a border printed fabric. (For some reason, Butterick currently has a lot of border printed sample garments.)
But how do you know if other sewing patterns can be used? You just have to do a little investigative work first. You have to look into the guts of the pattern for designs that have a straight edged hem line. This applies to dresses, skirts, jackets and pants. Note the skirt pattern pieces #9 and #10 of McCall’s 7714, have a straight hemline.
In McCalls’s pant pattern M7415, you can see the pant hems are straight.
So how was M7714 my Waterloo? For some reason, my waistband pieces were too short. I was missing a side seam allowance on all the pieces. I checked the pattern pieces thinking the pattern company had made an error. But no. Everything matched. Of course, I didn’t have enough fabric to recut those pieces since I had lengthened the skirt. So I added little rectangular blocks. Thankfully, with this print, you can’t really tell. Then my waistband pieces don’t match across the zipper. Agh!
Don’t look too closely but my pleats didn’t match my notches so the skirt pleats don’t match the seams in the bodice. And then to add insult to everything, the pleats were actually supposed to be sewn down. I had just basted which of course I removed upon completion. Thankfully, the dress still looks ok.
Lesson learned. Don’t get too cocky no matter how long you have been doing this!