Hi there! Long time, huh? I always seem to start blogging with the best of intentions and then fall off the band wagon! But I’ve been a making machine this year and I wanted to share some of the stuff I’ve made!
I purchased this McCall’s 6436 blouse pattern a few years ago and figured it was a good starting point to chase down my dream of the perfect basic blouse– this is one of those patterns that comes in different cup sizes, so I had high hopes. Having a fairly narrow rib cage and a comparatively large bust, I have always had a really hard time with blouses and button-downs. I always embraced the oversized look because my only other option was a horrible gaping-buttons situation. Not cute.
I got the Misses’ pattern, which comes with pieces for an A/B, C, and D cups. I wear a 30DDDD in my favorite RTW bra, but I followed the pattern directions and cut out a size 12, view D, with D cup pattern pieces accordingly. Based on my measurements, I should have cut a size 14, but I factored on a little extra ease so I cut a size 12. Usually I calculate off the actual finished pattern measurements, but seeing as I have so much trouble with blouses I didn’t have a RTW piece I liked in my closet to use as a guide, which is my usual method, so I took my chances.
I sewed up a muslin of the bodice (no sleeves) in a cheapie cotton plaid I had laying around. I’m kicking myself for not taking photos! I didn’t bother sewing on a button band or sleeves, which would come back to bite me later (stay tuned!). I thought the fit through the bodice was pretty good, if a little roomy, but way too long. Like bordering on dress, long, and I already have a favorite shirt dress pattern, thanks. I decided to shorten the pattern pieces by a whopping 2.5″. For reference, I stand at 5’5.5″, which to my knowledge is a fairly average height for the American woman. How tall are the people at McCall’s drafting for?!
I figured if the body was this long, the sleeves would probably be too long, too. The problem was that I hadn’t bothered to cut out sleeves, didn’t have enough muslin fabric to do so, and was rapidly losing patience with muslin-ing (I find it unbearably boring and always take a million short cuts). To solve this problem, I literally held the paper pattern piece up to my shoulder and kind of mashed it against my arm. I estimated that 1.5″ would probably be fine to slice off, counting the length of the cuffs. I would rather have sleeves too long than too short, so I erred on he conservative side.
I used a realllllllly slubby Steven Alan silk-linen blend from Mood, and buttons my mom sent me when she was doing a stash clean out. I got the silk-linen from Mood two summers ago and sewed it up just in time for winter in Chicago. I am a genius, I know. #seasonalcapsulewardrobe I never order swatches because I am impatient (are you noticing a trend?) so when this showed up it was way slubbier and thicker than it had seemed on the website. After I’d washed and dried it and was cutting out, it really nagged at me that I couldn’t figure out what the texture reminded me of. Finally, I figured it out. My parents have a really threadbare towel at their house, that I think they have had since the got married 30 years ago. They keep it for things like giving the dog a bath. This fabric has literally the EXACT same texture as that towel, which I am weirdly really into because who else has a shirt made out of 30-year-old-towel-lookalike fabric? #vintage #soblessed
I really took my time sewing this but I’m glad I did. The inside is all French seams, with zero raw edges, a sewing first for me (something always gets away from me and I don’t realize until it’s too late so I just zig-zag over it in frustration). The collar stand and collar construction were the same as on a Burda shirtdress I made over the summer, so I fairly familiar with the process, which made it easier. Same with the button band. I didn’t interface any of these pieces, btw. Partially because I was out of interfacing, and partially because I think the nature of the fabric lends itself to an extremely casual shirt, and I think interfacing would make it look too structured. I’d never done cuffs before, so those were new but easy. The one thing I’m not super jazzed about is the button holes. I have an attachment for my machine that makes the construction of buttonholes a breeze, but the stitching is a little too thick and they didn’t cut out cleanly, so working the buttons in and out is sort of a pain.
Final verdict? I love it. I like that it’s relaxed but still nice enough to wear to work, plus I like the artsy-cool natural fabric and I’m proud of the clean insides. You can see especially in the back-view photo above that it’s more too-big than oversized, but I think the look goes with the naturally rumpled fabric. In future versions I would size down, use the D-cup pattern pieces, and do an FBA.
The fitting isn’t perfect, though. If you really look at the front, there is a TINY pull at these buttons, which I would have caught if I’d muslined the front with the bands attached. Sizing down and doing an FBA should fix this in future iterations:
I think this is a great pattern and I’m sure I’ll use it many times in the future. The instructions were better than average (or maybe I just am more practiced at interpreting Big 4 directions now?), I like that the design is fairly minimal without being stark (there are some variations with epaulets and funky pockets but I probably won’t use those) but mostly I’m very impressed that the sizing was far better out of the package than anything I’ve ever sewn from the Big 4 before. Workhorse shirt for sure!