25 January, 2011

Three button-down shirts

What I really love about my current wardrobe project is the opportunity to repeat a pattern until it's perfect.
Over the past week I applied myself to the McCall's 6035 shirt.  This is an armhole princess pattern with different pieces for A-B, C, and D bust sizes, and I was really looking forward to trying this canned approach to an FBA.

From the finished garment measurements, it was a toss up of either a 10D or a 12C.  They have almost identical bust measurements and only a little difference at the hip. Based on some of the previous comments I recalled from those of you that have already tackled this pattern and the climate I'm sewing for, I decided on the 12C.  Even if not sewing for an overheated environment,  and in this case overheated in so many different ways, I will always, always go for the looser fit - nothing says "trying too hard" than clothing that shows every lump and bump and undergarment line (yuck). I did stick to a 10 shoulder line and lowered the neckline to the 8.

You know what, I love it! Those deep princess lines I recall reading a few complaints about fit me to a T: they slide right over my BP.  It's a no-brainer that a lady with a smaller bust needs a shallow princess panel, and one with some frontal depth needs a deeper one.  Thank you, McCalls!

My first shirt, a wearable muslin made from a fairly coarse but wonderfully breathable navy-white-grey patterned cotton from the Fabric Flea Market, would've been perfect but for operator error.  The collar is not centred on the collar stand, and it's just obvious enough that I should (and will)  rip it out and re-insert (but not this month).  I also widened the back princess and side seams at the hem by 1/4", adding 2" to the overall hem.

As I was getting ready to cut my second iteration I remembered that patterns fit me much better when I shorten the back 1/2" between arm and waist. And what does that little adjustment do to the lower portion?  It flares the hem just so, which means I could've saved myself the trouble of widening the hem in the first iteration, because in the second shirt, it was not merely roomy enough, but plenty roomy.  But I don't mind. I plan on wearing them open over a tank top nine times out of ten, and I know they'll flap around me like the wings of an albatross regardless. 

In all three cases I made version C, the one with sporty rolled up sleeve and tabs to hold it up, but I lengthened the sleeve to full length (in case of being faced with a culturally-appropriate, overly modest setting) and also lengthened the tab to shoulder length, something I saw in a recent fashion show, and thought, cool -  a tab that's just a tad different! Each tab has two buttonholes and two buttons, one at the shoulder and the other at the bicep. The side benefit of this is I can lower the sleeve to not-quite-full-length, and button it into place with the upper buttonhole in the lower button.

They're not white.  They're very appropriate for the blue and olive and tan trousers I do have, however.

I have a little length of beautiful white linen, and another of a beautiful pale ice mint green linen that I'm just dying to transform into a couple of easy long sleeved tops, but I'm starting to suffer what I call "sewing brain freeze":  what to do, what to do, oh, which pattern?


  1. I'm so happy for you that this one turned out so well for you. I'm tempted to run out and buy this pattern, even though I swore I wouldn't buy another "shirt" pattern for a while. Perhaps this one would fit me too without much fussing, though my "fit problem" is quite the opposite of yours. Hmm!

  2. Great shirts and good description. I agree the pre-set bust changes are fantastic, and I suspect more accurate than my awkward FBA. Now I feel I should go back and make this view of this pattern, I have only made the big sleeve version.

  3. What fun fabric! I like the idea of the long tabs for more flexibility.

  4. How wonderful to have a TNT shirt pattern. I'm sure you'll make some terrific versions.

  5. Oh, I've got this pattern - so nice to read your experiences with it! Looks great!