crafts · patterns · Sewing

Planning a cold weather pt 2: coats, jackets, and pants

Or: everything else that isn’t dresses.  I love wearing dresses more than anything, but I really want to avoid getting stuck in a rut, so I’ve worked hard to find some other styles that work for me!


My bedroom has 2 closets, the large walking closet I’ve shown before, and a smaller normal closet.  I don’t know why, nor can I explain a walk-in closet in a 110 year old house (it was likely not a closet, but I’m not sure what it was… I only know that it’s original to the house.)  I use the second closet for my coats (my husband uses the guest room closet for his clothes.)  It could be said that I have a coat problem, especially now that I work from home, and don’t even need a coat every day!  I’ve never made a real coat, as I just have so many.  I am, however, giving some consideration to the idea of making my own coat this year.   I even have a pattern!

McCall’s 6442:  I just adore this coat!  I love the wide skirt and fitted waist.  The best part is that it has a hood, making it totally unlike my other coats!  I have started looking for fabric, but thus far I have been stumped.  My issue is that I don’t want to spend as much for fabric as I would for an actual coat, and everything I like seems to be $30 a yard, which is simply not on.  I like the plaid in the photo, so I’m considering either a plaid or a bright solid – there is one made up in red on patternreview which I love.  Very little red riding hood.  If I find the right fabric I plan to snatch it up.  The style reminds me of Colette patterns’ Lady Gray coat, with the addition of a hood and slightly less dramatic lapels.  I love Colette patterns, but they require a lot of fitting for me, particularly around the upper body and shoulders,  so I don’t think I would choose that for my first coat.


I do not wear many jackets.  I have somewhat broad shoulders, which are not getting any smaller with the amount of pushups I’ve been doing lately, so it’s hard to get a good fit.  Most jackets, if they fit in the waist, feel like a straightjacket through the shoulders and back.  I have made a few jackets with success, but I find lining them tedious, so I tend to stick to more casual styles.  One of the trends I’ve noticed recently is the ponte jacket – taking a traditionally tailored jacket and making it in either a ponte or even a sweatshirt knit.  I love the look, which juxtaposes formal and casual (much like my own style!)  I also love that this allows more room for my shoulders to actually move.  I’m planning to take at least one jacket pattern (unlined) and make it from a heavy knit.  Here is my choice:

I bought a pretty rigid gray ponte awhile back.  It won’t work for a dress, but it’s perfect for this jacket!  I’m leaning towards the brown version.  I actually like the ruffle neck on the other, but it doesn’t have the tailored look that I would like.  If this works out, I can think of a few other patterns that could get this treatment.


I have a lot of cardigans, and wear one nearly every day.  In particular, I get a lot of use out of the current long, oversized cardigans I bought and made last year (including the Jalie Pleated Cardigan.)  I wore them so often, in fact, that I’m now down to just one, and it has seen better days!  In addition to my knitting, I plan to make these two cardigans as replacements:

McCall’s 6247 and McCall’s 6408

These patterns are both by Nancy Zieman for McCall’s.  I’ve never seen her show, but these cardigans appeal to me greatly!  Both are long enough to wear with leggings, and have full skirts (I hate a cardigan that doesn’t actually meet in the front!)  I have actually changed my mind a bit, and am using black rayon jersey for 6408, and a charcoal wool jersey for 6247 (which is the replacement for a gray cardigan that took an ill advised trip through the drier this month.)


I have made pants before, but it’s not something I have pursued with any degree of seriousness.  But this year I’m ready to try!

Simplicity 0499 – this is the Joann’s version of Simplicity 2315, which suffers from excessive airbrushing – the pants on the envelope don’t look real!  They do, however, look really cute here.  I like that they have a back zip.  My other black skinny pants have a front zip, and I am not fond of how you can see it through tunics sometimes.

McCall’s 6173 –  I resisted leggings when they came back, but I’ve given up.  They’re comfortable, and pretty warm in the winter.  I can always use more, and this pattern looks decent.

McCall’s 6404 –  This is the most risky pattern for me, but I love the unusual seaming on the legs.  I would certainly not wear them with a shirt tucked into them though – they are only one step removed from leggings, which aren’t really pants to me.  I would make them in black or dark gray.

I’m headed to Joann’s for the sale tonight (there is a 25% off your total order printable coupon this week) and I hope to pick up some ponte for the pants, and possibly something else fun.  I like the April Johnston for Project Runway line of fabrics they have right now – I loved her on the show, and some of the prints are cute.  I’m also needing some steam a seam.  I sewed up one of my knit tunics last night, and while I love it very much I could use some stabilizer for the hemline!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Planning a cold weather wardrobe pt 1: tops

I try to purge my closet twice a year, before the volume of clothing I own gets to a critical point.  I have two main sources of clothing – either it’s handmade or thrifted.  This leads to a bit of closet stuffing sometimes!  I call over a friend, put on some fun music, break out the wine, and try on every single item in my closet.   I find that last part to be essential.  I can lie to myself about a garment when it’s on the hanger, but trying it on makes it obvious what I should do.  If I still can’t decide, it goes to my friend, who knows to be brutally honest.  This year I donated three large garbage bags full of clothing to Goodwill, including most of my older pairs of pants.  I’m planning to do a post every day this week talking about different parts of my wardrobe, giving some insight into how I plan things.

Today’s topic: Tops

Shirts are definitely the most neglected part of my wardrobe right now.  I spent the past year wearing dresses most of the time, but I’m looking to shake things up a bit.  I recently purchased some slim fitting ponte pants (Michael Kors) and skinny jeans that actually fit (from The Limited) and I want tunics and longer blouses that work with that silhouette.

The sad rack above is the extent of my top collection after my clean out.  Half of those shirts I don’t even love – I just kept them so I could have something to wear!  I do have more cardigans and sweaters of course, but I need both.  So for the next few weeks I plan to focus on tops, with the hope of increasing my collection a bit!  Here are my current plans:

Vogue 8634: Cowl necks work really well for my body type, but I’m picky about them.  I love either a separate cowl, or at least a separate piece used as the cowl (I find cowl necks where the cowl is part of the bodice front to be unflattering on me.)  It seems like everyone but me has made this top!  I plan to make the extra long length from gray/black striped jersey, purchased at Fabric Mart in their last big sale.

McCall’s 6203: I initially overlooked this pattern due to a bad envelope photo.  I changed my mind recently when I ran across Lisa’s version!  I totally stole her idea of using gray.  I haven’t seen anyone make this version, with the neck drape.  Round necklines aren’t as good on me, so I will likely make this one.  My fabric is from

Vogue 8731: I love this top – it’s simple, but the pleats are really interesting.  I’m using a crimson tencel jersey, which I have ordered from but not yet received.  When I decided to make some tops I realized I would have to buy fabric (a hardship, I know) because most of my knits are ITY.  I love ITY for dresses, but find it too heavy for most tops.  In this case, I’m pretty sure the weight of the fabric would pull the center pleats out of shape. said this was a lightweight jersey, and in my experience when they say that they mean it!

Vogue 8771: I love dolman sleeves.  I don’t like the other view of this pattern, which has  long tight cuffs below the sleeves (doesn’t work on me) but I like this one!  I have a metallic black jersey (poly/rayon/lurex blend) and plan to use that to make this top.


These tops are all knits, because I wear knit tops more often (ironing is not my friend,) but I did storyboard a few blouse patterns as well.  I have the idea that I could use up some fabrics which I love, but which are a bit much made into a dress.

Simplicity 2307: The fabric is a cotton shirting, purchased from Sawyer Brook, and originally from J. Crew.  I have had this for a year, and have been stumped as to how to use it.  I think an entire dress of this pattern would be too much, but perhaps a shirt?  This pattern has a stand up collar and little pinticks.  I chose it because it does not have princess seams, which would be impossible in this fabric.

McCall 6167: in stretch shirting.  The pattern is a smaller scale buffalo plaid.  I meant to make this last year, but ran out of winter!

Simplicity 2365: Ok, so… I know this print is insane.  I love it though.  The rayon itself is very slightly crinkled, so it doesn’ t need a lot of ironing – bonus!


So that’s it for my shirt sewing plans.  The knit tops are easy – I can easily make one in an evening.  The blouses are a little more complex, as I haven’t made a shirt before (I have made several shirtdresses, which I suppose are the same idea.)  I plan to cut these patterns tonight, and hopefully get one or two of them sewn on the weekend!  I will be back later with more sewing ideas.  My storyboards, as always, are in my flickr album, if you want to see all of them.





crafts · patterns

Vogue patterns, Winter 2011

I was just thinking it was time for some new Vogues – and they went up on the website!  I quite like this batch, and found some patterns that will most definitely be on my list.  I can’t wait to pick these up when they go on sale!  Here are my picks:


1271 and 1270 are both Kay Unger designs.  Both would make great day dresses that would transition well into evening.  I’m imagining navy blue or black for 1271.  I have some wools that would work.  The other dress would also make a great LBD, or perhaps something a little more fun.  The bow detail reminds me of the Michael Kors design I made last year, which looked complicated but really was not bad.  One of these will definitely be made in black – I have a number of knit black dresses, but nothing really structured.



I am intrigued by these two Very Easy, Very Vogue patterns (8763 and 8764.)  I’ve seen a number of these draped dresses recently.  I will have to see it made up, but I think the color blocked version has potential.  The other dress seems rather 1960s inspired – I like it!

8766 is an Easy Options pattern.  I really like most of the versions shown, especially the lace overlay.

I also like some of the separates (shocking!)



8780 is a nice version of a waterfall jacket.  I still love this style, so this is a must for me. 8777 has a selection of vests.  I like the unusual seaming on this one, though I must confess I am unlikely to wear one – vests just aren’t for me!



8769 is a fun tunic – I love those sleeves! 8771 is a knit tunic with dolman sleeves.  I like the brown version – the long cuffs and rounded hem on the other version just seems odd to me, but I love the looks of the other!  I might lengthen it to wear with slim pants, but I would not use the rounded hem.

There are also two new vintage Vogue patterns.  They aren’t for me, but I think they are great!  I have a bunch of vintage patterns to make up already, and these both have details that don’t work for me (the sleeves on that 1950s dress wouldn’t work – they have that sort of faux bolero thing going on, and I really prefer set in sleeves.)

I am off to go through my fabric – I hope I have some that will work for these designs!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Fall sewing 2011

Is it too early?  Probably, but I am over summer!  Here are the patterns I plan to make this fall… the fabrics are mostly tbd, though I will use up at least a few of the knits I got from  I also have a fab damask doubleknit from Joann’s (it was hidden on an endcap) and two (count them!) leopard print doubleknits.  My love for animal prints is still there, so I’d better use them up before they go out of style again!



Top row: Simplicity 2054, Vogue 1258, vogue 1253, simplicity 2219

Middle row: Butterick 5676, Vogue 1159, Vogue 1252, Vogue 1191

Bottom row: Butterick 5674, Vogue 1257, Butterick 5672, Butterick 5675

Yes, these are all knit or doubleknit patterns.  I want to focus on knits this fall, as I probably wear my knit garments 4x as often as the wovens.  They just suit my lifestyle better – I like to be dressy, but I need to be able to breathe freely.  I’ve been keeping track of what I wear, and it’s pretty much all knit dresses all the time (with cardigans – so at least that love is justified!) Luckily the fall offerings from the big 4 pattern companies were really heavy on knits this year.  Of course, I’m sure some woven dresses will sneak in there – I do need formalwear, and knits don’t cut it for that (other than the occasional matte jersey.)  I would also like to make a vintage pattern or two, but I haven’t gone through the pile.  What am I not making?  Jackets.  I just don’t wear them, as I prefer sweaters.  And goodness knows I don’t need any suits!

I’m thinking about going ahead and starting the Vena Cava dress.  My recent success with slim silhouettes has made me less afraid of the proportions of that one!  I pulled out the instructions for the sleeveless Tracy Reese design, and it is way complicated, with stays and a lining.  I am just not up for that right now – the end of summer has me a bit frazzled!  I have an abstract sort of animal print that I’m thinking might be nice for the pattern.



crafts · patterns · Sewing · workouts

Weekend finds, dress opinions needed

I put my Vogue 1250 into timeout for a bit after trying it on.  I knew going in that I might not love it – I like to emphasize my waist, not my hips.  So when I tried it on I wasn’t happy – I don’t think it makes me look large, but it does have a bit of a rectangle effect:

After a little distance I feel a bit better – I think if I take in the sides above the waist by a few inches I will be happy.  The reason it looks off is that it’s simply too big up there!  I also plan to shorten it by an inch and hem (it isn’t hemmed above.)  And then maybe wear it with a belt?  But maybe I’m kidding myself… do you think I should finish it, or accept that it isn’t meant for my body shape?

On a more cheerful note, I had a great weekend of bargain hunting!  On Saturday we went to an estate sale.  It was in sort of a not good neighborhood, and there was no one there, just us and two other people.  The ad had specifically mentioned sewing patterns, so I made sure to go!  Here is what I found:

I love the sundress on the left.  The other pattern?  That’s a housecoat – how fancy!

A lovely dress with gathered cap sleeves, and a skirt with inseam decorative pockets.


Two nice jackets from the 1940s.  The seamstress really loved her patterns – when the envelopes fell apart she carefully made new ones!

Vogue patterns.  All of the patterns I got are roughly my size (34 bust, I can go either way in vintage patterns.)

Carded buttons.  The green buttons have little handpainted tulips on them.

A pattern already cut out in a rayon print.  I may or may not make it up, as right now it smells of mothballs.  I’m airing it out, so we will see.

A complete set of Ladies Home Journal from the 1960s.  I plan to resell these.

I bought all of the above for $20 – a great deal!

Then on Sunday, Marc was browsing random Craigslist ads and found a Fluidity Bar for $25, including the dvds!

It’s basically a portable ballet barre – great for the ballet workouts I’ve been loving!  It’s very sturdy, and much nicer to use than a chair.  I saw the infomercial for this, but it was quite expensive, especially after shipping.  I figured that eventually one would turn up on Craigslist!  I plan to store it against the wall behind the sofa table, which isn’t pretty exactly, but it is easier than trying to lug the entire 55 pound thing from under the bed a few times a week!

So, it was a great shopping weekend, abut a less great sewing one.  I’m looking forward to starting my fall sewing soon, if not necessarily to the cold weather!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Shopping adventures

We have a car again, so I can finally get out to Joann’s again.  While I was there, I saw that they had the new (autumn) Simplicity patterns for $1.99.  They aren’t up on the website yet.  I only got one, the new Cynthia Rowley pattern:

It’s for stretch knits only.  View A (blurry in the upper left corner) has a cowl neck, and I think that’s the version I want to try.  I love Cynthia Rowley’s patterns – the dresses I’ve made  from them are among my favorites!  Speaking of that, I also went to TJ Maxx tonight, following a tip I got on the blog to look for workout clothes there.  I had success – a sports bra and two pair of yoga capris.  But what else did I spy?

This is the original Cynthia Rowley dress that Simplicity 2443 is based on!  I’ve made this dress from doubleknit twice: here and here.  It may be my favorite dress.  So naturally I had to try on the original to see how it stacked up!

The short answer is that I prefer mine.  The dress is made of an odd knit – it’s thick but very rubbery, reminds me of thin scuba fabric.  The exposed zip is cute, but I don’t like zippers in knits because they bubble – as this one does when I’m not contorting for a photo.  It wasn’t very well finished on the inside either – the straps aren’t as nice (and I believe they are a bit thinner than the pattern straps.)  I was so excited to find an inspiration garment at a place I could try it on!  I didn’t buy it, but it was only $30… perhaps  your TJ Maxx has it also?

Finally, I’ve finished a dress!  No full body photos yet (tomorrow!) but here is a preview of McCall’s 6277, made in a silky knit fabric (the actual color is brighter… this photo went through a filter.)

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Fall patterns

Yesterday the heat index in Louisville reached 118 degrees.  Now  look – I love hot weather.  I don’t even mind the southern humidity, which people around here always complain about.  But!  My car died on the highway yesterday afternoon (a failed temperature gauge caused some major engine damage, and I will be carless for several weeks.)  Standing on the side of the road, with the heat from the pavement turning my legs red, I realized that it was about time for me to start looking forward to fall.  Luckily, when I arrived home the new Vogue patterns were up on the website!  Here are my Vogue picks for fall, plus a few new Simplicities.


Clockwise, from top left:

Vogue 1257, DKNY – This dress looks like a wrap, but it’s not – I love mock wrap dresses, as there is no chance of wardrobe malfunction, but you get the flattering style.

1255, Rebecca Taylor – The website claims this is a dress.  I’m pretty sure it’s a tunic, but that may just be my modesty talking again.  It would look great over jeggings!  Takes a ton of fabric though, and I am pretty sure all those ruffles in a light fabric would make me crazy… but I like the looks of it!

1256, Badgley Mischka – Another mock wrap.  I’m unlikely to make this, as I don’t find the open shoulder look to be my thing, but I think it would look fabulous on!

1258, Vena Cava – The ties are cute!  I might make the skirt a bit more full, and I’m not sure about the sleeves.

Tracy Reese – The last two dresses are both by Tracy Reese, and I plan to make them both!  Her designs are full of great details, and these look stylish without being too bare.

Simplicity 2145This is obviously meant to be a copy of the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement dress.  I love it, and I plan to make it from an ity or matte jersey.  The pattern calls for mostly wovens, but knits are way down on the list of fabrics you can use.  I’m pretty sure the original was silk jersey.

Simplicity 2154I love the vintage patterns, and this has great style.  I wouldn’t wear it all at once, but the blouse and cardigan look great!

Mccall 6408A nice variation on the waterfall jackets that have been popular lately.  I love the belt!  I didn’t care for McCall’s early fall pattern, except for this one.  I think they look kind of young, which is fine, as young sewers need patterns, but it’s not my look.

Simplicity 2150 I love jackets, but I find them frustrating –  they never fit, and they pull/tug etc all over the place. This one, without a closure, looks great to throw on over dresses!



crafts · knitting · patterns · Sewing

Upcoming projects, Simplicity Summer 2011

I made a muslin of the Lisette pattern, and I feel like fitting it would be more than I’m up to right now.  I have a rather narrow upper chest (at least compared to my giant singer’s ribcage) and tend to avoid higher necklines.  This one wasn’t super high, but it definitely needed adjusting.  The darts on the pattern are the sort that don’t close on the top, and I have trouble getting those to lie smoothly (in addition, the darts would need to be lowered by an inch on me.)  I don’t want to do anything complicated right now, so I’m putting it away and looking for another pattern for my city fabric.  Later on I think I will try the cute jacket from the pattern.  In the meantime, I’ve cut this project:

Simplicity 2281

It looks straightforward, but I am going to check the bodice length – it looks to have the possibility of being too long.  I’m not doing the waist decoration, but I am considering piping the waist seam – it depends on how it looks when I baste to fit.  This fabric is a rayon challis that I bought off ebay, possibly vintage.  I love the polka dots!

Since I enjoyed knitting the shawl (and my hands didn’t suffer too much, but I know I have to be careful,) I’m planning to make a sweater next.  These are the two patterns I am considering:

First is Anais by Kim Hargreaves.  The second sweater is Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston (from Twist Collective Fall 2009.)  Which one I make rather depends on which one I have yarn for – it’s going to require some digging!  Both look to be good sweaters to wear with dresses, which is my goal.  I have remarkable few cardigans that I feel like work with the dresses I now favor.

Lastly, Simplicity has released their Summer 2011 patterns on their website.  My favorite is 2178, the Cynthia Rowley dress:

The shoulder treatment is fun.  I have a slightly crinkley rayon that might work for this, in a hot pink/black gingham.  I have been at a loss what to make with it, but this might work!

I also like the two new Project Runway patterns:

They aren’t perhaps setting the world on fire with innovation, but both these patterns are very pretty summer dresses.  I don’t own any similar patterns.  The rest of the patterns are a wash for me – I’m not feeling any of the sportswear, and the other dresses aren’t my style.  There is a rather nice steampunk costume pattern, which I would definitely make if I were invited to the sort of costume party where people actually wear elaborate costumes.

Perhaps today I will get in some sewing – I have much to do to prepare for my recital, but I think I have time!

crafts · patterns · Sewing

Vogue patterns, Summer 2011

I was surprised to find an email from Vogue in my inbox this morning.  Summer patterns already?  Yes, please!  Vogue is reliably my favorite pattern company, and I found plenty to like here.

8728 is my pick of the two new vintage Vogues.  It must be from the 1940s.  I love the ruched bodice.   I have a pretty rayon crepe that might work for this dress.  The other new Vintage Vogue is a beautiful ball gown, which I have no use for, but if you do it is beautiful!

1235 and 1236 are both DKNY designs.  They both look easy enough, and are designs that would be flattering on a variety of body types.  I would leave out the pockets in both (pockets bother me unless they are a design element.  I’m forever removing them from RTW clothes because I hate when you can see the pocket bag from the outside.  I think I’m the only one.)  I would make the first design in a jersey print with a solid waistband, and the second in a seersucker (but a more cheerful colored one than the version modeled!)

1249 is by Mark & James (a Badgley Mischka sub line.)  Ok, so I know jumpsuits are controversial, but I really like this one.  The bodice is boned to help it stay up. I think with the right shoes it could be very lengthening.  Plus I like the ruffle, and I’m imagining wearing it under a jacket.  Calls for crepe matte jersey, and I would make it in black or navy.

8723 goes on my list because it uses border prints.  I don’t buy border prints as a rule (because I can never find good patterns for them) but I have one that I really want to use up this summer!

8727 is an easy options pattern that includes this shaped midriff dress.  The pattern also includes a halter option, but I don’t do halter necks (they have never looked right on me for some reason.)

There are some other strong patterns that wouldn’t work on my body type, but I think will look fabulous on others.  Overall a pretty strong collection!  I can’t wait to get started – the 1940s dress is first on my list!


crafts · patterns · Sewing

Me Made March, Simplicity spring/McCall’s early summer

Here we go!

‘I, Jessica, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March ’11. I endeavour to wear
one handmade or refashioned item each day for the duration of March 2011’

I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate this time – I will be traveling for the first two weeks of March, and I was worried about packing.  I’ve since decided that too much choice in packing is a bad thing – limiting myself to my handmade items makes it possible that I may finish packing early!  I’m planning to take several of my knit dresses, and a few cardigans.  I will be planning my outfits (yes, I am that OCD) and I will post about exactly what I’m packing once I get it all decided.  I am making another dress from Simplicity 2443 to take with me (out of cobalt blue ponte) because the first is just so useful!  This is the third piece I’ve made from that pattern – I think I got my 99 cents worth!

Let me outline my personal rules for the challenge.  I will wear one item that I made each day.  That’s enough of a challenge, what with the travel and all!  I’m not interested in going to everything handmade, because there are things I don’t, and probably won’t, sew.  I will try to get photos every day (probably not hard, since I will be vacationing!)  I may get some up during the trip, or they may wait til I get back – it rather depends on internet access and time!   I actually think it will be a good excuse to take photos – I am so bad to take none during trips!

So… moving on, McCall’s and Simplicity released new patterns this week   It’s very much a mixed bag for me, with a few must haves, and also quite a few “what the heck is that” patterns.  Here is what I like, starting with McCall’s.


I think the modeled version is my favorite, at least based on the line drawings.  This dress is pretty similar to the one from the Drape Drape Japanese pattern series (example here.)  I don’t own that book, but I do like the interesting skirt style!  The pattern calls for crepe de chine etc, but I think I might use a rayon matte jersey for a bit more weight behind the drape.


I think this has potential, but I’m not sure.  I’m not sure how I feel about the asymmetry.  I kind of have a thing about that.

I also like the ruffled shorts, 6328.  I am unlikely to make them, but they do have a nice retro vibe.

I am happier with the new Simplicity patterns.  First, my favorite:


I love knit dresses!  I’m imagining the long version in a rayon print that I already own, and the short, flutter sleeved version in a solid.  This will definitely be made!


I like the primness of the dress – it looks like something Michelle Williams might wear (and I love her style!)  I don’t like the frayed trim, but the other version is pretty.  The skirt is also a nice basic.

Lisette is a new line of patterns by the designer of the Oliver S line of children’s patterns.  I will probably get both of these patterns to try.   I have an adorable sateen print to use for the dress – I need something without princess seams, and this looks like a good choice.  The darts in the front are slightly unusual.

Finally, they have released a few patterns from Project Runway designer Suede.  The ruffle dress is pretty, and I don’t have any similar patterns.  It would be a nice showcase for a pretty charmeuse print.  And no, I’m not making a jumpsuit.  But the dress pattern included (the line drawing to the left) looks cute and easy, so I’m picking it up!

That’s it for now!  I am more likely to make the Simplicity patterns, because their draft seems to fit me better, but I am really interested in the skirt on the first McCall’s dress!