Denim Shirtdress | New Look 6487

I don’t browse the New Look selection very often, partially because I don’t like the website (though it is improved from the original re-design) and partially because they never go on sale like the Simplicity/McCalls $1-ish sales at JoAnn’s. In all fairness, the standard $5 price tag is super reasonable, so I should really peruse their selection more frequently. As a bonus—I never need to wait for a sale.

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The “tween” pattern New Look 6487 stopped me dead in my tracks, so I made sure to pick it up. It’s so cute! I love all the style options included. I’m sure it’ll be on repeat all year round—currently all three of my girls are asking for one version or another. Being the youngest girl, Isabella always gets the ratty hand-me-downs (poor thing!) so I try to make her something special every now and again. She happened to be with me when I bought the pattern and she loved this lightweight denim at JoAnn’s—perfect match. And seriously, this fabric is so nice and soft! I’m sure I’ll be going back for more.

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The smallest size is an 8, and she is very tiny as is (just shy of 9 yrs old), so I knew it would be big on her. I did not make any size alterations to the pattern because I figured it would be fine to be oversized now, and hopefully fit her better next year. I did eliminate the back pleat because I felt it was odd to have the pleat combined with the gathered skirt. Idk, maybe I’m just being weird, but I didn’t like it. Since there is plenty of volume as is, I simply shifted the back piece off the edge of the fabric, and did the same with the back skirt piece.

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The only other change I made was to cut different chest pockets. The pattern has a funky pocket shape and I wasn’t digging it. I keep pocket templates sitting around in my sewing room, so I just grabbed a kid sized pocket and used that.

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I just want to note how pleased I was with this pattern! The yoke, collar, and collar stand all have full size pieces, with the grain line correctly indicated. Frequently these pieces are cut on the fold and laid perpendicular to the grain, where they should be turned and cut with the grain. At least this is how it’s done in RTW, and also how David Coffin illustrates it to be done in his Shirtmaking book. Additionally, the neckline and collar pieces have 3/8″ SA’s, making it infinitely easier to assemble. I always cut down the SA’s if they are any wider than this, so it was nice that I didn’t have to fuss with changing it myself.

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Oversized or not, she is completely in love with this dress and has snuck in several wears before throwing it in the wash. It’s denim, so who am I to judge. She plans to layer it with leggings or tights and a long sleeve tee underneath so she can continue to wear it through the winter since you can’t easily stuff the sleeves into a sweater. All in all I am super pleased with how this dress came out, as is Isabella. I’ll definitely be sewing this one again, and *ahem* maybe making a knockoff for myself…

—lisa g.


TL;DR

PATTERN: New Look 6487
FABRIC: lightweight denim | JoAnn’s
SIZE: 8 (measurements for reference: 4’2″/22.5″/21.5″/24″)
MODS: eliminated back pleat, used different chest pocket
ALTERATIONS: none
NEXT TIME: no changes planned

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pencil me in | NL 6107

Hey guys! I thought spring would never make it to my neck of the woods. After the epic and record-breaking winter of snow and cold, it looks like we’re finally thawed and back in business! How better to celebrate than by wearing a loud floral print?

So, I really thought pencil skirts were just never going to work for me, and for the longest time, I didn’t care all that much. Even though I love the look of a pencil skirt, it’s just not something I have all that much use for. However, I’ve had pencil skirts and sheath dresses on my mind lately, and I had this fantastic floral cotton sateen so… I decided to give it a shot.

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my photos are all a bit squinty-eyed… not gonna complain about the sunshine though!

I went through my patterns and found New Look 6107. I slapped together a muslin and while it wasn’t awful, I knew there was something wrong—I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was, or how to go about fixing it. I was going to scrap the idea, but I threw “pencil skirt fitting” into google and out spat a pencil skirt fitting post from the ever-lovely Gail, of Today’s Agenda. How could I have forgotten that amazing post?!

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Reading that was a huge “ah-ha!” moment, so I went back to my pattern and made a few adjustments. For the longest time, I thought that it was my backside giving me fit issues. Turns out that was only a tiny part of the equation. What was really throwing off the fit was my tummy and prominent thigh, leading me to the Full Tummy Adjustment, and the Prominent Thigh Adjustment. Gail describes these perfectly, so if you’re interested in the nitty gritty, just check out her post.

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I adjusted my pattern and went ahead and cut my fabric. I basted everything together first to check the fit. Initially I overdid the prominent thigh adjustment, so I took everything apart and backed down on how much I added. While the fit isn’t yet perfect, I at least know what to do about it now!

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This sateen is a cotton/lycra blend, so it has a decent amount of stretch. Unfortunately, it bags out fairly quickly, so if I do any amount of sitting it gets saggy looking. Also, the waistband came out a bit too big, so I really should go back in and adjust that. During construction, I sewed each waistband piece to the corresponding skirt piece and sewed the side seams all in one (skirt, waistband, facing) so altering it won’t be difficult.

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FYI, there was nothing special about this particular pattern; darted pencil skirt patterns are a dime a dozen. Aside from the aforementioned alterations, I added 1/4″ of width into the back dart, lengthened the skirt by 1″, and pegged it about 3/4″ at each side seam. I did choose my size based on finished measurements, because the pattern stated that there was 3 1/2″ of ease at the hip—hilarious! This thing would have been falling off me, had I gone by the size chart. In the future, I think I would add a little more to the back dart, possibly splitting it into two darts, and lengthen the skirt even further. There were two lengths offered in the pattern, and I went with the shorter. Adding an inch in length is pretty standard for me. I think perhaps another two inches in length would be nice.

So that’s about all I have on that. I’m super happy that I don’t have to avoid slim skirted patterns any more, now that I’ve got a handle on the necessary adjustments. Yay sewing!

lisa g.

Easter dress no. 2 | New Look 6118

Even though I had bought a couple potential Easter dress fabrics, none of them were really inspiring me for kid dresses. In desperation, I hit up Joanns and remembered their (surprisingly good) linen selection. Isabella is a tiny 7-yr old, and she wanted fabric that “wasn’t too pink.” She prefers yellow and blue, and she’s loudly intolerant of anything that doesn’t meet her expectations. Fortunately, she approved of my fabric choice!

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I choose New Look 6118 because I like the high neckline of the front paired with the dramatic scoop of the back. Also, this bodice had no darts or shaping, which is perfect for my very straight-torso’d daughter. I had wanted to do a gathered skirt, but she insisted on twirly, like her sister’s dress. Can’t blame her for that!

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This girl is absolutely tiny. She’s always under the 10th percentile for weight, and 20th for height. This makes both buying and sewing clothes for her a real challenge. I only recently pulled the last of the 4T sizes from her closet, mostly on principal and the fact that her closet is stuffed with hand-me-downs, not because they no longer fit. On the NL size chart, she measured about a 4 in width, but a 6 in height. To make it work, I cut out a 4 and then lengthened the bodice pieces. Even at that, the dress is plenty roomy, but it should fit through the whole spring and summer.

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I ditched the back buttons and inserted an invisible zip instead. The fabric print is busy enough, I didn’t need buttons for any special effect. For the 3/4 circle skirt I was able to use the same draft from her sister’s dress, just slightly adjusted to fit this bodice.

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The hem is finished with bias tape. It both gives the hemline structure, and makes it super easy to hem. Plus, it was a way to sneak in the yellow she wanted.

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This dress is getting high marks from the girl, and I’m super happy with it as well! As tempting as it was to skip the pattern alterations, it just wouldn’t have fit otherwise. I mean, yeah, that’s a pretty obvious statement, but I guess I’m lazy when it comes to sewing for the kids!

—lisa g.