Wednesday, September 15, 2021

McCalls 7831, Pinafores x 3

This make is a "pinafore" using McCalls 7831 and a cotton twill from Hobby Lobby. Although this fabric was intended for a skirt to wear with my teal/beige knit top, I found a nicer, darker teal linen blend at JoAnn and made a skirt with it. This fabric, which is quite heavy, will be a muslin for the overalls pattern.  There are 1 1/2 yards of 58" wide cotton twill.  The pattern only calls for 1 3/8 yards, but the skirt is quite short.  This pattern is not lined, it has facing.  This was cut to a size 14 at the top, graded to a size 16 at the armholes.

Although the instructions called for a turned seam with one line of topstitching, I changed that to a full centered (nearly) flat felled seam in the front and back and used the turned seam for the side seams to make it more true to overalls.  Here is how to do the flat felled seam when there is a 5/8" seam allowance:

1. Lay fabric right sides together, raw edges to the seamed to the right.

2. Trim 1/4" - 3/8" from the raw edge of the top piece. (See more on the amount to trim below in the discussion of my second make of this pattern.)

3. Lay this piece on the bottom piece again, but leave 3/8" of the raw edge of the bottom piece exposed.

4. Fold this 3/8" over the top piece and pin.

5. Sew 1/4" from the folded edge.

6. Turn the stranding seam to the left to cover the raw edge.

7. Top stitch on the right side close to the seam edge.

8. Top stitch on the wrong side along the folded edge, try to keep it 1/4" from the last top stitching.

In most cases, it will not matter that much whether the seam is perfectly centered. It does matter in this pattern because the back is quite narrow at the top and needs to fit the 1 1/4" straps exactly.  As it is, the center is actually the top stitching on the left side, meaning that the seam is definitely off 1/8".  The straps are actually 1 1/8" wide, making it possible to fit them into the limited space at the back.  They are off position at the top edge but in position at the seam line. Overall, it came out looking centered.  Punning is not deliberate here!

The pockets are only top stitched once.  An option is two rows of top stitching, something to think about for another version where it needs a little more of a traditional look, especially if there is contrasting top stitching.  The bibs are not top stitched at the edge but the sides are.  The instructions say top stitch 1/4" from the edge of the sides, but I made it 1/8" to match the straps.  It is tempting to put two rows of top stitching, but that would be more appropriate for a denim version.

Fits.  Cute. 


I so wanted to use some mystery linen stuff from JoAnn for another version of this pattern, but that fabric is a little too sheer. Sheer does not work for overalls. Instead, this second version is pieced together from remnant quilting cotton. The main fabric is a hunter green remnant from JoAnn (177846539) that is probably quilting cotton and was $1.75. There was not quite enough fabric, so the facings and straps are cut from a navy print remnant from Taos Adobe Quilting that I purchased last year for $4. This second remnant has tiny green flowers that coordinate with the main fabric. The central pocket on the bib is not very useful but is a nice design element. Incorporating a simple weaving from my little tapestry loom into it boosted the impact. The fit of the first version is good; this one is cut the same. However, in this lighter fabric it is a bit large in the hips.

The flat felled seams here are centered. However, they do not take up the full 1 1/4" seam allowance (2 x 5/8"). It was simple enough to compensate for that by adjusting the facing seams at the top of the bibs and just leaving the excess in below. This may be why the fit over the hips is larger.

This one has button loops sewn into the bib and buttons on the straps instead of the traditional metal overall buckle. It is much quieter that the metal fastener and easier to wash, but it is not adjustable. Since this one was shorter, only an inch longer than the pattern, the buttons are sewn so that the bib sits lower, making up for the shorter skirt. This is more flattering than the first one because the bib looks narrower when it sits lower on my chest and the sides scoop in over my waist. Probably the buckles on the first one should be adjusted to be a little lower--not this low, which was done to compensate for the shorter length.

For reference, here are my notes on the flat felled seam: 

1. Proceed as above, but trim 1/8" off seam edge of top piece, move top piece over 3/8". 

2. Follow above procedure but top stitch on RS, first by seam line and second 1/4" over. 

3. This method makes both sides the same size, but each is between 1/8" and 3/16" larger than they would be with a standard 5/8" seam, adding about 1/2" to the total width. Obviously, it is difficult to get exact sizing when dealing with to 1/16" to 1/8" differences. I tried trimming a little more off both sides but it resulted in the bib being too small. It is simpler to have it be too large and adjust the side seam.

A third one of these follows the first version of View D using a pinwale corduroy, 3 1/3 yards, 44" wide from Hobby Lobby. The fabric is very lightweight for corduroy. It was $4 per yard, about $14 total. This was the first fabric I selected on a shopping trip last spring. It was on the sale table and was reduced as it was the end of the season. It might be cotton, but is more likely a blend since it has a lot of drape. The front and back seams of the bib and the skirt were sewn as an easy flat felled seam, just turned under and top stitched on the wrong side. Maybe this will reduce puckering and will certainly reduce fraying and improve the look of the seams on the outside. If a seam is pressed open on this fabric, it leaves an impression of the seam allowance on the right side. The side seams of the bib and the skirt are just zig zag stitched together and trimmed. One is pressed to the front, one to the back to reduce bulk at the seam between the bib and skirt. However, in actual wearing they will just hang free of the fabric, avoiding those impressions they would make if pressed flat. Even though the bib is lengthened by 1" and the skirt by 2", the overall length could be a couple of inches longer. Another version might have the cut line for the bib lower by several inches, enough to make it possible to place the pockets at their appropriate spots. The pockets on this first version sit just above the seam between the bib and skirt, meaning they sit just below the waist. That is too high, but the pocket at the top of the bib, the only pocket allowed for in View D, is non-functional for most items. It is too high and too wide. There's not a bib pocket in this version--the two smaller pockets were substituted. If the bib is cut longer, these smaller pockets would look fine. They are still quite cute, even though the print doesn't match exactly. The rest of the construction was the same as earlier versions, except for straps in the front that will tie on the shoulders with the straps in the back. There was a pinafore in velvet I saw somewhere on line that had a similar strap treatment that gave me the idea. This pinwale is quite velvety and soft enough to tie easily. The big difference was in the skirt hem. Like any circle skirt, it is difficult to hem because the skirt gets wider. The instructions call for a narrow hem that is gathered to ease in the fullness. That worked well enough.

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