Stepping out of my comfort zone

For warm weather, I have two modes of outfits, dresses or t-shirts with skirts or shorts. I prefer wearing dresses because I find them cooler. T-shirts have been driving me crazy for a year since I realized that I seem to sweat more when wearing them and half of them are too clingy and the other half too long for my torso making me look a bit dumpy. So the quest to find a lighter weight breezy top suitable for hot summer days began.


I found McCall’s 6604 in my pattern stash and couldn’t remember why I bought it. However, the recommended fabrics are madras, interlock, georgette and cotton lawn and it’s a pullover top that’s like a t-shirt. Well, I guess if you make in interlock, it would be; but for this I pulled out a piece of cotton lawn that I’ve been struggling to find a use for. So score one for using a fabric that’s been aging in stash since Thanksgiving 2011, and I had enough of it that if this were a total bust, I could try something different with the same fabric.

First, I had to fix the fit. The size 14 measurements were going to be fine for the waist and hips, but the bust was not quite right. Besides, I really need a 10 in the shoulders to have this not fall off my shoulders. For the back I cut a 10 and did a pivot and slide with an extra inch on the side seams. Feeling good so far, I noticed that the sleeve piece had a bicep measurement. I have never bothered adjusting a sleeve for width before, but this sleeve had less than an inch of ease and I was worried about it being too uncomfortable. So I used pivot and slide for another half-inch. Can you tell I’m having fun with my latest and greatest pattern adjusting method? However, the front, that’s where I got tripped up. With no dart, there was no easy way to adjust for the inch FBA I needed, and so I traced off the pattern piece and started hacking it apart. One thing I wanted to do was preserve the lack of darts in the front, so I rotated them into the neck pleats.

Look at how hacked up this piece ended up. Did it work out? You be the judge.

I’ve tried doing this same process before and not had it work so I felt like I was going out on a limb despite Fit for Real People assuring me otherwise. Laying out material, I was unhappy to realize that the print was off-grain. Ugh, I hate when that happens. There is a pretty obvious horizontal pattern and it was drifting lower to the right. I cut the back piece before seeing just how much so, but oh well. I cut the front and sleeves to the fabric pattern and not the grainline. I hope I don’t regret that after washing it.

Construction was easy, though I’m not 100% satisfied with the bias neck finish. First, the piece is totally missing the notches to align it with the front piece. The sleeve piece had all of the size 10 lines mislabeled as “11” so finding missing notches on the neckpiece upset me as if this pattern wasn’t edited at all. I’m not one to rag on the pattern companies as I think they generally do a good job given the number of patterns they generate each year, but this one not so much. And really, can a pattern fit the same for both a woven and a knit? This pattern has four inches of ease through the bust, which in a knit would not give a fitted top. Anyways, enough about that, I was also unhappy with the neckline because it seemed too long and I didn’t do as much stretching to fit it to the body of the top as I thought I should. It steamed into place well enough and I went with a stitch in the ditch for sewing it down as opposed to slipstitching on the interior. Well, it would be in the ditch except my needle is a bit left of the rudder in the foot, so I’m going to have to figure out how to fix that. I don’t do a great job on my own with a zigzag foot, and I love using machine feet to get a better finish and right now, this particular foot is working against my goals. What did go well was the rolled hems for the top. I started with the 6mm foot, but the fabric didn’t have enough heft and was stretching out into a thinner hem, so I tried the 4mm foot instead and got perfect hems.


A couple of concluding thoughts, this fabric wrinkles just looking at it; I took this photo within ten minutes of pressing it. I wanted casual, but the look is more rumpled than I would have liked. I didn’t petite it above the bust like I normally would and I think the fit suffers a bit. There’s no binding with those horizontal wrinkles, and the neckline wants to stand away from my body, so I’m reading it as there is too much fabric below the shoulder.  I wore it out for dinner on a humid evening and it was very comfortable, so I think I achieved my aim for a woven pullover top, but I won’t be revisiting this particular pattern.

6604 outtake
Good heavens, the envelope poses are goofy and impossible to copy. I almost fell over and still got the pose wrong.


2 thoughts on “Stepping out of my comfort zone

  1. I love it! It’s perfect in that fabric, I love a pleated neckline. Your adjustments are spot on. The poses on the McCall’s website are TOO weird for this top – what on earth were they thinking?

    • It’s reassuring hearing that I got my adjustments right as I’ve messed it up before. I do wonder if I would have liked a dart instead of the bigger pleats, but too late to worry about that now. I love how ridiculous the poses are, but at the same time, it clearly worked in that I bought the pattern 🙂

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