A tale of two shirts

I am finally getting around to sharing my version of New Look 6809, where I wanted to make a shirt that looked like New Look 6892. I think I may have even succeeded.

My intrepid dress form, Trudy, looks lovely modeling this summer top, yes?

The original pattern that I started with, 6809, lacks a true puff sleeve and features a center front tie on the neckline along with a center front seam. In common, they both feature raglan sleeves and the same hemline. The neckline for 6809 is lower than 6892 and the sleeves are subtly different in shape. This is where I would show you the differences via photograph except I have too many pattern envelopes scattered about and my scatter-brained self has no idea where 6809 is hiding right now.

I decided that there was sufficient ease in the pattern to skip the FBA and just veered out to a size 14 under the arms the same adjustment that I used for 6892.  I eliminated the center front seam allowance, cutting the front as one piece. I sewed up the side seams first to get the U-shape for attaching the raglan sleeves, which went together easily. Then came the realization that the sleeve length, straight from view C, was less than the 5/8″ that I needed for a casing of 1/4″ elastic. Oops. I serged the sleeve hem edge, turned under just a smidge more than 1/4″, and used 1/8″ elastic and stitched just past the elastic to get the sleeve hem.

Doing the side seam as a French seam is my favorite part of this entire project.

I estimated the required length of the elastic needed around each arm, so I’m not even certain that they are the same. Yeah, not very precise of me, I know. I was able to make a foldover casing with the neckline edge and used the same elastic cut using the guide piece in the pattern. I honestly have no idea if it was for the drawstring or what, but it was a long rectangular piece that I used the size 10 lines and the neckline came out pretty nicely, so it was a good length to use (better than the elastic guide in 6892, really). All in all, I think I got what I was looking for out of the pattern, considering I didn’t really think through all of the changes needed to duplicate the inspiration pattern.

Side seam sewn last, looks not great from the inside.

This project was sewn up before making 6892, so imagine my surprise when I opened up 6892 to find that it has a totally different sleeve treatment. It was not evident from the tech drawing that the elastic ends at each side seam and the junction of the sleeve and side seam was frankly awkward. The sleeve is hemmed prior to sewing the side seam and then super precise stitching is required to make everything line up. It’s not the cleanest treatment, as I don’t like having seams just end like that, so I tied the thread down and used it to stitch the folded over edge of the side seam allowance to the sleeve seam allowance. So yes, my elastic casing with 6809 was figured out on the fly, but I think it’s better than the inspiration pattern.

In the end, both patterns are worthwhile, though 6809 is out of print, and they are similar enough that either pattern can be made to approximate the other. I am definitely done with the woven summer tops for now, but am glad to have made all of them given the humidity plaguing the area right now.


Happy 5th of July!

At the beginning of the week, casting about for new projects to tackle, I decided to use a small piece of cotton lawn with a white background festooned with red and blue flowers. The colors are very reminiscent of the colors of the flag and with the long weekend before me, what better quick sewing?


New Look 6892 declares itself to be a 2 hour (*sewing time only) pattern. I think from start to finish including cutting, fishing straight pins out of the carpet, and swearing at the prepackaged bias tape, it took me 3.5 to 4, so yeah, I guess we can call it a 2 hour pattern. My fabric turned out to be even smaller than I initially realized so fitting the pattern pieces was an interesting challenge. I had 46 inches of a 41 inch wide fabric, sizes 10-14 call for 1.5 yards of 45″ fabric. The front and back pieces could only fit on the fabric one way and it left just enough excess fabric to squeeze the sleeves on the cross-grain. I didn’t think I would make it fit and was wondering what possessed me to buy such a short cut in the first place. Assuming that I found the correct notation in my old fabric inventory, it was supposed to be a full yard and a half, so either this shrunk in the wash quite a bit or the employee at Jo-Ann was less than diligent with the measuring. Oh well. I made the shirt happen and that’s all I can ask for.

The pattern goes together nicely and while I’m not entirely sold on how the sleeve hem and the side seam come together, it does work. The neckline uses a bias tape finish sewn on a 3/8″ seam allowance, and as I wanted to preserve the height of the neckline for this shirt, I followed the directions and used the white bias tape that’s been hanging around my sewing room for too long now. Ugh, that stuff is gross feeling. It’s a much stiffer polyester compared to the cotton of the top. Next time I need plain white bias tape, I’m going to have to make my own out of cotton because I just didn’t love working with the pre-packaged one. The neckline elastic in the size 10 is a whopping 34″ long, which when inserted gave me two sleeves falling off, or once I got the front and sleeves right, a drooping back neck. I ended up taking six inches out by reopening the casing and taking out excess elastic until I was happy with the fit all the way around the neck. The bottom is hemmed with the 4mm rolled hem foot, and the top was completed in time for a cookout with friends on Saturday. Yeah, totally blew my original plan for Friday, but then again all of the municipal fireworks had been moved to last night anyway, so close enough in my world.


My final takeaway is that fabrics are not all created equal. This is a cotton lawn bought at Jo-Ann circa 2012, which is the same timeframe when I got the Lisette lawn used several weeks ago in that McCall’s top and for about the same price. The Lisette fabric was miles better in feel and drape. About the only thing it has going for it is it wrinkles less readily.  This fabric is okay enough, but rough feeling enough that I would not buy it again if given the opportunity.