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Button-Up Hold-Up

July 27, 2013

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.

The sun came out! It's actually been really nice weather here lately and a light weight long sleeve shirt in the morning isn't as crazy as it sounds in July

The sun came out! It’s actually been really nice weather here lately and a light weight, long sleeve shirt in the morning isn’t as crazy as it sounds in July

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's really weird trying to find new photograph locations, but I'm hoping there aren't a ton of people home in the apartment complex watching me from their windows...

It’s really weird trying to find new photograph locations, but I’m hoping there aren’t a ton of people home in the apartment complex watching me from their windows…

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.

poofy sleeves

Poofy sleeves. The more I look at this print in pictures the more it’s hurting my eyes. It’s really not bad in real life

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.

Is it just me or does it look like she is suffering from allergies?

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


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bia permalink
    July 27, 2013 6:49 am

    The sleeves may have been alot to ease in, but they don’t look puffy at the shoulder now. It looks nice.

  2. July 27, 2013 8:58 am

    Looks great, Molly! I love the idea of shirts, although I only own one. It’s hard to find a good shirt pattern with all the tricks and details you’re looking for – I agree! Maybe frankenpattern your favourite pieces into your favourite custom shirt pattern?

  3. Emily C permalink
    July 27, 2013 3:02 pm

    The W is for woman’s, but the meaning is that it is a bit bigger then say a normal 18. So there are 18P (petite), 18, and 18W. They do that for us bigger ladies.

    • July 27, 2013 5:23 pm

      Yes, I do actually know what the W is for larger sizes, I just think it’s a stupid classification. We’re all women so it’s not very descriptive.

  4. July 29, 2013 7:31 am

    Suffering from allergies.. I thought it was a bad smell she was suffering from. Your hair looks really cool. The shirt makes you look like a 90s sitcom character getting ready to punch a bully in the head. I’m not sure why. It’s more of a ’70s style isn’t it? Ah the nineties *sinks into a haze of rose tinted memories-all two minutes of them*

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