After making the McCall M7603 blouse, which took me a month to complete, I decided to make something quick and easy as a pick me up. I’ve been planning to use the McCall M7531 for this very reason since I purchased it months ago. It was a perfect make for my first day of vacation.

This pattern is one among McCall’s “Learn to Sew for Fun” patterns. These patterns are designed to teach you some basic sewing techniques using simple patterns. I’ll be honest, I did the pattern for the ease and not so much the learning. In fact, I never even used the pattern instructions. ? However, if you’re just beginning to sew, I’d recommend reading the instructions and checking out this tutorial by my fellow sew sister, Mrs. Anita of Anita by Design.

Right as I was about to cut out this pattern, I ran into a bit of a problem…
The pattern that I had purchased was too small! Seriously…how did I manage to not realize this? I purchased an XS/S/M, but needed at least a L. See, the way my hips are set up, a medium just won’t cut it. My immediate thought was to grade it up, but to be honest, I had no clue what the right dimensions should have been for the size I needed. My best attempt was to draft lines that were the same distance that the Medium was from the Small, which was about an inch. I wasn’t too confident in this approach, as patterns typically aren’t “linear” in their grading– meaning there isn’t equal distance between each of the sizes, so I would likely be off on the Large. 
My next option was to just buy a new pattern. Hey, why not? McCall patterns were on sale for $1.99 so I wouldn’t feel bad about it. But you guessed it, my local Joann was out of the M7531! I even went back the next day hoping that they restocked, but no luck.
I accepted my fate and realized that this was a divine set up for me to figure this thing out and grow as a sewist. So, not wanting to ruin perfectly good fabric trying to figure it out, I decided to do what I know best…. I found a dress in my closet that fit and I used it to create a new pattern piece. I matched the pattern piece with the dress at the waist and traced the hips to the curvature that I needed. For the bodice, armscye, and sleeves, I did use the “linear” approach and just took my best guess at what a Large would be. Thankfully, I guessed right and the fit was perfect. Ultimately, I created all new pattern pieces that are the perfect size and can be used for future makes. Win!

Not only was this my introduction to grading up, but it was also my introduction to stripes. Brittany J. Jones has a great video with some tips on matching stripes here. I used her approached to lining up my stripes and it worked like a charm. I purchased this stripped 4-way stretch ponte knit from via Amazon. The fabric has a firm stretch that’s perfect for a fitted garment. I did a lot of searching to find the perfect fabric and this was it.

Ok, so far, I’ve drafted all new pattern pieces, matched stripes, what other new things could I throw in the mix? Well, let’s add that it was my first time using a walking foot and a twin needle. When I say that these two items have completely changed my sewing game…listen Linda! These are two items that you NEED to invest in if you plan on sewing quality, ready to wear comparable garments. I was so pleased by the professional finish that the twin needle gave and the ease that the walking foot created for sewing with a stretch fabric. I only wish I had a walking foot when I sewed my DIY Turtleneck Dress. The twin needle was a last minute purchase after watching Mrs. Anita’s video. She recommended it for the hem to allow for stretch instead of using a zig zag stitch.

Of all of the items that I’ve sewn thus far, this one if my favorite. It’s a super easy make that only took a few hours and the quality is amazing. I knew it was a hit when I walked into the room and my husband looked up from his laptop and said, “That is nice!” And not in an obligatory way. LOL. I will definitely be using this drafted pattern again in the future.

Create the Look
Fabric –
Pattern –
*Twin Needle – 
*Walking foot-
*For Brother, please purchase one compatible to your machine

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