Level up

I’m a teacher, and spend much of my day encouraging my kids. Sometimes they make huge improvements, the lightbulb comes on, and they’re off and away. More often than not, the gains are much, much smaller, and keeping motivated and resilient takes a lot of effort and persistence. After nearly 15 years of teaching though, I can find the slimmest of silver linings.

So how the hell does this navel gazing relate to sewing? Not entirely sure it does.

I’ve been sewing on my mum’s back up machine – an Elna Stella she brought back from Singapore in 1982. It’s a little workhorse, and punches well above its weight. It didn’t have a button hole foot though, and that started to limit me.

Cruising Gumtree one day, I spotted an Elna TX in immaculate condition, and within 30 minutes she was in my hot little hands. Best part? Buttonhole foot.

All of a sudden, the door to opportunity opened, and button down shirts and shirt dresses were in my future! Except I still can’t get the bastard to work. Moving on. Serendipitously, Megan Nielsen wrote a brilliant post on buttonholing like a boss, and nothing could stop me!

This is McCall’s 7351, view A without the pockets (sacrilege, but I hate patch pockets). Fabric is a cotton poplin from East Coast Fabrics, and it has 12 (!!!) buttons, all of them legit (no faking here!). I used the D cup pattern piece, which fits, but the darts are a bit fierce at the tips. Next time I’ll curve them and lengthen slightly for a better fit. I also shortened the bodice 3cm, which was *just* enough.

I’m not 100% happy with the fit in the back, instead of gathers at the yoke I think I’d prefer waist darts, but it’s not a deal breaker. Honestly though, for a wearable muslin with minimal adjustments, it’s a pretty impressive fit. High 5, McCall’s!

Overall, 8/10, will make again. Because persistence is important, and sometimes you just need a wise voice to show you the way forward.


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