Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sewing bee round 2 - Sleeves - McCall's 7542 & Lekala 4177

Sewing bee round 2 journey: This round was really hard on me because of its timing. I knew before starting this would be the hardest part - make time for a project during a big even in our life : Me and my husband were godparents at a wedding over the weekend ( I think in the west a godmother/godfather is only present at a child's baptism but over here a husband and wife stand next to the bride and groom and act as witnesses and sponsors. It is a huge honor and quite a few responsibilities).
My Schedule: 
DAY 1: Checking the site at each at every break I can get from work. In eastern Europe it is late in the afternoon when the challenge is announced and spend the evening happy such a fun challenge was chosen and in full confidence I can make it.
DAY 2:  I had to finish the preparations of the wedding trip and by that I mean I had to finish the kids matching outfits  for the wedding. It was really hard to do that and not start working on something for the contest but having the kids dressed in elegant outfits featuring the same fabrics as mine was a really nice feeling.
DAY 3,4,5,6:  We have been out of town for this time for the wedding, long drive there and back, meetings after meetings with the family and dancing till dawn.
DAY 7: - the actual sewing  Finally time to cut some fabric. I would have really loved to make something new and experimental but this was my only day to work for the contest so I had to be realistic and try to just reinvent what i already knew. I picked my favorite pieces from this year and tried to put them together : McCall's 7542 for sleeves, Lekala 4177 bodice, Claire dress extra long tie with piping and pants from vogue 9238 to make a jumpsuit. I often find inspiration in my daughter outfits and her best looks this summer were her jumpsuits... I started the morning high and exited but as pieces come together I realized it is not the look I was going for... Disappointment and panic washing over me and the clock ticking so it was time to literally cut my loses and go for a top and pants. I think both pieces look a lot better as separates and in different combinations.
<u>DAY 8: </u>Time for work, kids, photos, review and mopping over the great gallery that was filling slowly. I finished day 7 with a peaceful mind since all my fabric was used there was not much I could change. But a new idea to cut the pants and use that fabric to add more interest to my top till late in the night started creep inside. It was really had to let it go and accept my entry.

About the sleeves:
I have 2 other tops with similar sleeves. One of them is done as the pattern suggests. The other one is with the sleeve flounce doubled. I liked my first one but I loved the second. It is a bit hard to reach over the table while eating with this sleeve but I feel like a total diva in it. It was one of my favorite tops over the summer. One of those few who make you feel pretty and joyful just by itself. So it had to be that sleeve. And it had to be doubled as I like clean finishings just as much as design lines. I also like the feel of the heavier fabric I used this time. It feels right in tune with the weather change. And with my leather pants ready for fall. One of my favorite things on this sleeve is the ever changing folds. They are so pretty. And I wanted to highlight that and the whole shape I was going for this time. I usually use piping to show the seam lines but I felt this time can serve me a different purpose and decided to put that accent on the edges and highlight them this time.

I have used McCall's 7542 semi-fitted tops have 5 sleeve variations: 2 circle ones - one smaller and symmetrical and a high low bigger one - , a tulip sleeve, a pleated sleeve and a bubble one.  Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.  - I have only used used the view B sleeve flounce for this entry.
I have also used Lekala 4177 - can be viewed and downloaded here - High low peplum top with cap sleeves, princess seams and zipper in back seam for woven fabrics.  - I used the upper bodice from this pattern.
This is where it all started:
I made my own process. I first did the princess seams of both front and back. the back seam.
I prepared the neckline facings and finished the neckline next .
I attached the lower top and did the side seams. I prepared the sleeve flounces and attached them to the sleeve cap. Set the sleeves in. Made the die and I am done. Not that hard just slow with all those long lines for piping. I was tempted to add lining to it to make it more professional but i really like the feel of this fabric on the skin and didn't want to lose that.
  Fabric: I was tempted to go with a jersey or stretch velvet to get an easier time fitting it all but this year I took fitting more serious and made a real progress working with woven fabrics and now it was not a time to take the easy road. We love to torture ourselves during the bee. Is part of the fun.
   It is a cotton fabric with 5% spandex and a very discreet polish. Is really great to work with and wear. The give is under 10% but it helps with the comfort.
   I like the feel of the sleeve in this fabric. Not as flowing as the summery ones but it feels so right with the fall at our door and the weather change.
  Piping :- what I love about the piping I used is that the fabric is cotton not the usual satin I find localy. I got a few rolls on AliExpress and I really think I should order more.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had to draft a new sleeve cap as the McCall one was fitting award in the Lekala armhole. It took 2 tries playing with the slopes but I think now it looks good.
   I made a V in the back and made the neckline a bit larger in the front. I used piping for the neckline and designed facings to finish it.
   I replaced the peplum with a straight line piece. I thought peplum and big sleeves can't work together but there are at least to fabulous tops here to prove me wrong. Now I wish I would have had fabric left to try those many folded flounces and use piping on all of them. The fabric is a relatively new purchase so chances are I can find more and I can try make that as a belt and see how it looks at least and then have the option to wear it either way.
   I doubled the sleeve flounces and used piping to define them. I think the light pink highlights their shape in a nice way.
   I made a extra long tie for the top. It can be left out but I think it improves the look. I felt inspired here by my Claire dress ( before it I really thought a belt will emphases my belly )and McCall's 7627.
   Conclusion: I normally would have been over the moon with the top. But as there are so many wonderful garments in the gallery I feel small and insignificant. I would really love a shoot at the next challenge. There is so much to be learned doing it. I love the rush. And I am ready to go all in if given the chance.
My favorite look is with black leather pants and long necklace:
 I think it looks decent with white pants or a skirt as well:
And this is the jumpsuit look that didn't go my way:
The pants are from Vogue 9238 pattern:
 And this is how they look with the top from the same pattern:


  1. Diva indeed! Casta Diva--the Maria Callas version! These sleeves are just spectacular and the piping highlights them so beautifully. I am glad I am not a judge for this round because you're right; there are some really extraordinary sleeves in the gallery.

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! I am a bit down I had no time to try do something more but I am happy I managed to finish something worth wearing with pride!

  2. Wow! Love your top! ♥ The sleeves looks fabulous! With the pants it looks like a jumpsuit! Love the fabric too!

  3. What a fantastic top! It's so beautiful. Love the pink piping.