Terminology question: Even though this top has all the characteristics of what I would call a “blouse,” (i.e. woven fabric, collar of some sort, closure mechanism…) I would actually call it a “button-up.” It could also just be a shirt, but shirt is so general. What do you guys call these things? Not that it really matters, it’s just interesting to know.
I love button-up shirts, I was probably one of the very few students in my classes that wore them on a regular basis. Not casual enough I guess. So of course I would like to sew my own, but I’m picky about the pattern details that I need: collar and collar stand, button placket (preferably a separate piece, not just folded under and top stitched. but those aren’t horrible), cuffs, and a minimum of bust and back darts to be somewhat shaped but not overly fitted and definitely not “boyfriend-y.” (Sometimes boyfriend cut shirts look nice, but it really depends on body types and fabric choices, I’d rather have some darts. They look like work shirts to get dirty in. Not really what I want to spend my time sewing)
It took me a while to finally decide to buy this pattern (M6436), I was skeptical. Got to be with the size of my pattern library (I can’t even call it a stash anymore because it’s so organized and cataloged). But I saw a couple really cute versions out in the blogosphere (no idea where anymore) and only heard that the sleeve head was a little ridiculous. For $0.99 I think I can give it a try.
Anyways, I started sewing this before the Great Move but didn’t get very far because the first thing you always sew on a woven top is the darts. Being very smart and efficient, the first sewing thing I packed was my iron, thinking I wouldn’t need it… so I improvised by flattening the darts out with my fingers as much as possible and stacking heavy books on top of them, leaving them to “iron” out slowly over night. It actually works! It’s just really really inefficient and I got tired of such slow progress really quick and just packed the rest of the sewing stuff away.
So how did it turn out. The sleeve heads are way too big, I had to do a ton of easing to get them in smooth enough. The pattern is also super long. I know I’m shorter than average, but I’m not that short. I cut 4 inches off the bottom and next time I’ll be taking 2 inches out of the sleeve length and another 1 inch out of the sleeve width. I love the button placket and collar, and on a more “formal” shirt I should probably use interfacing (too lazy today). Pretty sure the darts are just right though. Enough to look good but not be tight or uncomfortable. It’s still very loose.
Review time, I’ll probably be repeating a lot from above:
Pattern: McCalls 6436
Pattern Description: Loose fitting, front and back darts and front band. A: Epaulets, loops, pockets with stitched pleat and flaps. B: Pockets and flaps. C: Pockets with inverted pleat and flaps. B, C, D: Collar, collar band and pleated two piece sleeve. Misses – A/B, C, D and Women’s – C/D, DD, DDD Cup Sizes.
Pattern Sizing: 8-16 and 18W-24W (does W stand for Women? If so, what are the other size for? I thought I was classified as woman too…), with different pattern pieces for cup sizes. I cut a size 10 with A/B cups.
Fabric Used: Cheap, light weight, printed cotton
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except the model is apparently much taller than me.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, there’s nothing too tricky here except maybe the collar for beginners but even the sleeve cuffs were simple in my mind.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the extra little shirt details that the pattern includes like the collar stand and button placket. The two piece sleeves are interesting but I’m not sure they do much to the fit (two piece jacket sleeves make a difference but these are so loose they are pretty much useless). The pattern as a whole seemed really really long (body and sleeves) and I don’t like how wide the sleeves are. The bodice fits really nicely though.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The only chance I made was to cut off 4 inches from the bottom hem, but next time I’ll be taking length and width out of the sleeve as well as reducing the sleeve head which was unnecessarily tall.
Would you sew it again? Yes I plan on it