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Week 2: One Pattern, Many Looks: What They Made

Week two has come to a close! I am really excited to show you all the transitional pieces these ladies made with McCall's 6886 Pattern. I think they all did a really fantastic job and the judges are going to have a hard time picking a winner this week!

If you need a reminder of what this weeks challenge was, see the original post HERE.

Now let's see what they made!

Danesha from Classyfied Life

When I received the challenge for this week I immediately oh man Fall is nowhere near Florida right now and even worse when it arrives the leaves barely change colors and there's a slight breeze here and there. The funniest part is Fall is my FAVORITE season and I thought hmm what better way to transition into my favorite season than to use my FAVORITE color....BLACK! Black is a color I wear year round and let's face it the ruffle/layered bell sleeves has been a trend all year!  I wanted to add a dress to my wardrobe that could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I would definitely wear a pair of sandals, knee high boots or even nice flats with this dress! You could even add a chunky necklace or go without! 

This fabric was a Ponte knit that I received two years ago in a swag bag at Mimi G's conference. I'm so glad that I saved this fabric for so long because it was perfect for this dress! So I bet you're wondering, "how in the world did she get that triple bell sleeve/ ruffles!?" Well, I'm going to explain it all to you! 

For the bodice I used M6886 which we had to use for this particular challenge. However, once I found my size on the pattern I decided to cut a size down because I like my dresses to be more fitted and this particular fabric has a lot of give/stretch. Well once sewn up I still wasn't pleased with the fit so I put it on inside out and marked out how much more I wanted to take in on each side (I'm no expert at this but it worked for me!) and then I sewed my side seams again following these markings and voila! 

Now for these HEAVENLY sleeves! I used the circle skirt app to calculate the radius for my sleeves. Select inches, quarter circle and mini. First I determined where I wanted the initial sleeve to end and the bell sleeve to begin and where I wanted the largest one to hit (which was at my wrist). When I cut the sleeve down to the length I wanted it to hit (at my elbow) I then measured the bottom to get the inches to put into the circle skirt calculator. Then I determined how long I wanted my shorter two ruffles to be. I used the same radius for all three pieces and then adjust the length of each. Once I had all six pieces cut I used 5/8" seam allowance and stitched the seams using a narrow zig zag stitch. I trimmed the top of the seam allowance where I would be connected the layers to reduce bulk. Then I slid the shortest one (wrong side out) into the second longest one (also wrong side out) and then I did a basting stitch to join the two. I then slid them into the longest one (also wrong side out) and baste stitched them all together. Then I sewed the side seam of the sleeve and attached all four layers together with a narrow zig zag stitch and then I stitched 1/4" away in the seam allowance to add more security (this is called a double-stitch on the pattern). I finished off my seam allowance and then pressed it towards the top portion of the sleeve. See photos below for some visuals.

For a finishing touch, I wanted to use a twin needle but the one I had was not cooperating and due to Hurricane Irma everything was closed and I was stuck in my apartment. I decided to hem and then create a second row of stitching to create the look I wanted! I also baste stitched all of my seams in place that I am matching up in order to ensure they are perfectly aligned before sewing! I also really like the unfinished hem on the sleeves so I just made sure I went back with the rotary cutter and perfected each piece before sewing them all together. 


If you have any questions head over to my blog and leave it in the comments and I will get back to you asap! Thank you and enjoy the rest of these amazing photos by my friend Pascale! 

Standing Tall through Irma the Storm - Rocking my Classic Fall Brunch dress
I was so excited to create the pattern as I had made something similar before and it was a HIT.  I contemplated modifying the sleeves and hacking other patterns, adding a unique trim, using a solid color and adding a pieces of my favorite ankara cotton (African Print) fabric until the storm decided to visit my city, Miami, Florida.  Nonetheless, I would NOT allow  mother nature and Hurricane Irma to defeat me and NOT submit a beautiful dress for Challenge 2.  I planned on standing tall through Irma the storm and would make something classic that depicts my sense of style and submitted it days before the storm hit. I wasn’t quite sure if I had to evacuate and did NOT want to wait until last minute just in case I had to leave home on Thursday or Friday. I had less than a day to make it and knew that I  had NO time to run to my local store to get all the bells and whistles needed to make the dress that I had originally planned in my head.

Fall knit prints are non existent in my stash and I had to settle for this beautiful Scuba Knit that I had purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.  I love cutting into floral prints as I love perfect alignment of colors or pattern details  and felt this was  perfect for fall based on the color palette.   I am definitely planning on wearing this to a rescheduled BRUNCH in early October that I had planned on attending this past Sunday. I wanted to make sure that my layout was absolutely perfect and that the center would depict the flow of fall flowers from the center neckline to the bottom of the front. Moreover, being  an island girl and a Floridian, fall here is like summer as we wear sandals most time of the year and boots are NOT a big trend unless the temperature drops to the 60s.  

I chose to do view A as it was, classic with a perfect length for transitioning to fall here in South Florida. To top it off, the fit  would show off  just enough of my curves.  I opted to grade the size to accommodate my hips and adjusted it to fit my sense of style.  Modifications were a must to have a clean smooth fitted silhouette. I decided to preserve the beauty of this classic pattern focusing more on the fit and made slight modifications to the sleeves as most of my local family owned fabric stores were closed where I would purchase trimmings.
Pattern Modifications
Graded the size 8 and 10 based on the finished measurement on the pattern (Decided to cut a size smaller as I wanted a more fitted look)
Added 4 inches to the length of VIEW A based on my height to fall right at the knee
Added a BELL sleeve to draw less attention to the hips and to elongate my physique
Bell sleeves (Doubled the width, gathered it adding more gathers to the center and attached it to the sleeves)

I am happy with the fit, the print and the simplicity of the dress with the modifications of the sleeves.  The dress fits amazing and I loved the  way it turned out even with the challenges that I had to face.  Having been through a few hurricanes (Andrew and Gilbert)  and other life challenges, I have  learned that life still goes on no matter your circumstances may be.  Irma may  have caused the stores to close and may have put a damper in my spirit  but I refused to allow it to get the better of me.  There are so many challenges and setbacks in this world, but I wanted to create my favourite fall dress style using this classic fall print for my upcoming brunch.

In Pearland, Texas, Fall arrives around Thanksgiving and is pretty much indistinguishable from Winter. The weather requires long sleeves, light jackets and coverings for arms and legs. With the high summer temperatures, buildings are cooled to shivers requiring transitional dress on a daily basis to account for the shift. I usually have a hoodie, or kimono in my car to throw on for a trip to a store or movie. 

I made a maxi length duster to serve as a topper to jazz up everyday jeans and a t-shirt. To add to the transitional element, it is fully reversible with one side featuring a large scale wax print and the other a luscious linen.

The wax side has side seam pockets and the other has crescent-shaped pockets positioned on the outside.

This pattern has very little ease. To modify the pattern for the duster, I looked at the finished garment measurements that coordinated with the amount of ease I wanted. Typically, I would have chosen the size 12 if I were making the dress. For this conversion from dress to duster, I went with the size 20 and graded out the hips and increase the length to a maxi length. I did the same for the sleeves and graded them down to get to my appropriate size. I omitted the front fold and cut it open. I used a retro pattern that had a similar width and length as my guide for increasing this pattern. I lowered the neckline and added four hook and eyes to serve as closures to the front.  
To make this duster reversible, I constructed both sides individually. On the wax side, I left an opening in the sleeve for turning to the right side. With right sides together, I stitched completely around the edges joining the linen fabric to the wax print fabric before turning it right side out. To finish the edges of the sleeves, I pulled them out as high as the armpit keeping them free of twists. I stitched the sleeve ends together then turned it right side out through the opening I left. After turning the sleeves in and hand-stitched the opening closed. (These photos can be seen in my blog post.)

Lindsay from Lindsay Baker Co. 

Hi friends! It’s Lindsay again. For this weeks challenge, I took a little more liberty and changed it up. I have never really pattern hacked anything like this before (I am a total newb). It turned out to be the perfect comfy dress for fall!

When we received the pattern, I already knew that style wouldn’t look good on me.  A pencil dress doesn’t really flatter my body type. So I stuck with the sleeves and bodice portions and turned the rest into a fit and flare style.

You can see I cut off the main bodice pieces about an inch and half under the waistline. Then just used a giant square for the new skirt. For the sleeves, I cut the length in between the short and long sleeve length, and then saved a rectangle of fabric to make the ruffles. I like a midi length dress and I had just enough fabric to make that work. 

Not only was this the first time I pattern hacked it was one of the first times I sewed with knit (and was successful). I tried out a double needle and it was surprisingly easy to do. I like how clean it made the hems look on the sleeves, neckline and bottom. It would have been easier and cleaner to use my serger for the inside seams but I am out of town and had to leave it behind.

Overall, the fabric and style are perfectly comfortable for me. This floral fabric is just the cutest and I have been wearing purple a lot this year. I love comfy dresses and will be wearing this one all fall!

Carmen from See Carmen Sew 

Congratulations to everyone for their hard work last week. I was so impressed by everybody's artistic creations. This week's challenge is a treat for me because like so many other sewers, McCalls 6886 is a favorite pattern of mine and I've sewn it up twice before. Third time's the charm, though, because this is my best version yet. It's a perfect transition piece for fall, and with the detachable cowl neck that I've created, this dress will transition perfectly for winter weather, too. I kid you not, I have been wearing this dress all weekend long. I dressed it up with a pair of stilettos for a birthday party last night, and I made it more casual with flats for Sunday brunch. You can sew this pattern super tight for a sexy body con look, or you can leave a little room like I've done here so that it's still demure enough for the office. I also love the look of a long dress with three quarter sleeves. I have a soft spot for vintage fashion and this dress has that classic silhouette that I absolutely love.  

Knits used to really intimidate me. I think a lot of new sewers are disappointed to learn that knits and jersey can be very challenging fabrics to sew. I've been less intimidated by knits ever since I bought a serger. Even so, there's still the pesky task of finishing your neckline and hems! In the past, I sewed a narrow rolled hem on all of my knits using a serger. That's a fine way to do it, but I was never totally satisfied. I craved the professional finish of a double row of stitching along the neckline like you see in ready to wear garments. Every time I tried to do it before, though, I always stretched out my necklines and they looked like hell. I knew for this challenge that I wanted to push myself to get it right. I did my homework and learned that the key to a beautiful neckline on a knit is to correctly prep your fabric. I bought knit stabalizer and used my iron to attach an inch width all around my neckline and hems. Then I used a temporary fusible tape to press everything in place. Once my fabric was prepped, I inserted my twin needle in my machine and held my breath as I slowly and carefully sewed into my fabric. And lo and behold! This is really the nicest neckline I've ever sewn and I've been sewing for 6 years. It just goes to show that sometimes you need to put in a little extra time and effort to achieve a beautiful finish. 

The real challenge was modifying the pattern in some way to make it unique. That's a challenge in and of itself because it's hard to mess with a good thing. I finished the dress perfectly and I really didn't want to cut into it or try to change the shape of a perfect silhouette. That's why I created a piece that is detachable. It's an easy modification that adds a lot of drama to a simple dress. Now I have a reason to look forward to winter, too. 

Vote for who you think made the best garment! Voting ends Friday, Sept 15 at 7:30am. Winner will be announced shortly afterward. 


Don't forget to get your Reader Participation entries in! They are due Friday, Sept 15 by 7:30am ET. Click HERE for details. 


  1. I love all the fabrics everyone choose! they turned out so amazing.

  2. I have looked at the entries multiple times and finally voted for Carmen this time. Her entry is the most neutral and shows what you can do with a few simple pieces. What a great garment for travel and to span the seasons.

  3. I love all of the creations which makes it difficult for me to choose just one entry. From reading the entrants profile the dress styles seems to fit each model's personality, life style, and the various Fall climates of which they live. The fabric choices, and colors are beautiful. Way to go ladies!

  4. This is a great post showing how easy and beautiful this pattern can be. Good job and good luck to everyone!

  5. Wow, amazingly talented ladies! They're all beautiful.


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