M4993 vs my Left Brain.

mccalls 4993


Left Brain: I told you so. You listened to me when you got halfway through that last vintage dress pattern muslin disaster that dastardly Right Brain conned us into sewing up. You should KNOW by now that vintage just isn’t our thing.

Melanie: But it had so much potential… all that beauty and glamour of the 1950s, just trying to shine through…

Right Brain: And it still does!! Look at that gorgeous fabric. All that floral eyelet, silk and fabulous topstitching just waiting for its moment to shine. Leftie over there is just being a Qi vampire again.

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LB: Glamour? Beauty? Are you out of your mind? What about the oppression, the sexism, the rigid social class structure, the LIMITATIONS??? A determined, independent thing like yourself should know better. The only time it would ever be appropriate to wear this… collared dress thing… would be to a scout and girl guide ball. And you damn well know no such occasion exists.

RB: Sewing is like a box of chocolates, you know. You never quite know what you’re going to get.

LB: Yes. You do. It’s called sewing a muslin. 


RB: Whatever. Look, so maybe our concept didn’t quite work out this time. You’ve still got your Anniversaire Amour dress to wear to SewcieTea, and you certainly can’t claim I led you astray there. And if it’s chilly, you can pull on our GGQB blazer… remember that fabulous rush we felt when we first laid eyes on that gorgeous periwinkle woven silk? This failed creation can totally be salvaged into something else, those colours are wonderful on you and there’s still plenty of time.


LB: Actually, no, there isn’t. Remember that Assignment you have due next week? And the fact that you’ve been leaving home at 6:45 in the morning and only getting home at 9pm at night? You barely have enough energy to scroll through your Pinterest feed at the end of the day, not to mention trying to sew something new. Shall I throw in there just how far behind blog reading you are?

RB: Sorry, what were you saying? I tuned out. I was admiring that eyelet that Kat from All the Whimsical Things gave you. And speaking of Kat, how fabulous did that nautical themed quilt that you, Sarah, Rachel and Belle made for her baby-to-be turn out? That just goes to show that sometimes trying something out of your usual comfort zone can be a wonderful thing.

Melanie: Yeah, we totally rocked that quilt. And I do love that eyelet. It’s just devastating that all the time I spent carefully basting, underlining, pressing and sewing have resulted in something I just really don’t like. I think I secretly knew… but thought that if I got all the little details spot on, the dress would somehow work out.

RB: And it still can. Look at that AMAZING fabric covered belt. As if you aren’t going to turn this into someting that makes you feel good. More ‘modern’ and totally every-day wearable. 


Melanie: *Sigh*. Yeah, but not now. Time just ain’t on my side.

LB: I told you so.

The Stats:

00:30  Pattern Preparation (tracing)
03:10  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
04:20  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing etc)
11:00  Sewing
19:00  hours

Fabric Utilisation = 3.4m + 3.0m + 0.8m
Stash total now = 87.8m (Goal = 50m)


M6130: Crewel Drop Vintage Top


I’ve been really hooked on the idea of embroidery as embellishment lately, and the swirling drops in graduated colours shown above (from a DIY kit) were the perfect match for me. I practised the crewel embroidery technique with the kit first as the lovely thick wooly threads included weren’t colour-fast, so they were hardly appropos for something to wear’n’wash! 

I came across the vintage McCall’s pattern 6130 on Etsy a while back (it even comes with pattern pieces for the cute little bow and belt!) and I’m yet to come across a woven princess seamed blouse pattern I like the idea of more. After rather a LOT of fitting adjustments (I’m still in amazement at how tiny the waist was in ratio to the bust and hips, and how those side darts pointed up towards my chin initially instead of the bust point – fallout from the bullet-bra’s of yesteryear, no doubt) and making the bateau neckline slightly wider – I’m happy with the end result. 

M6125 3

M6125 7

For the embroidery, I simply transferred a slightly curvier translation of the drops outline onto my fabric, embroidered then cut it out (After a lousy first attempt I realised you need the tension that comes from having your fabric secure all around the embroidery ring, rather than having an already cut piece in there, which yielded a pretty messy result).

I really love the the textural aspect of linen (making it perfect for embroidering) – but its proclivity for wrinkling and creasing has always kept me at bay. After reading about Marina’s gorgeous linen panel dress and how she underlined it to minimise this, I pulled out the silk organza and got busy. I chose the linen to match the ‘neutrals’ on my colour wheel – very cool because I’d never normally choose a fabric in this shade (although I can always be found swooning over earthy toned textural linens in fabric stores) and it makes a perfect backdrop for the red and pink droplets. 

I even catch-stitched the seams down with silk thread, couture style, because I liked the inside pictures of Marina’s dress so much. I was more than a bit worried about fraying from normal wear so I also used some fray-check too. Mostly I was just too lazy to use the standard rayon seam binding treatment.  The linen also had a really pretty striped selvedge which I kept for around the sleeves.

I really loved being able to veg on the couch with my beau at the end of a long work day (unfortunately for me all my work days are long at the moment), switch off mentally and slowly work through embroidering this. Especially as the weather has been SO dreary of late. It was definitely sewing for the soul.