I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working really hard on a new pattern, two muslins, lots of fitting adjustments, beautiful Liberty tana lawn and the final garment is meh. Although it is perfectly wearable I’m just not happy with the finished result and it has really knocked my sewing mojo. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels disappointed when something that you’ve poured my heart and soul into just doesn’t turn out as well as you expected. I am struggling to get the confidence back to try another new pattern as it takes so much work to get a good fit and yes, I have a number of T&T patterns now in my array but there is something about wanting to keep learning, improving my skills and of course playing with new shinies (patterns). Can I ask how you deal with the disappointment when a garment you have worked so hard on doesn’t turn out how you envisaged?
The pattern is McCalls M7248
It is a loose fitting, pullover top which has a front and back pleat and self-lined yoke. I chose to make view B with the long sleeves and cuffs and front curved hem.
The fabric I used was a Liberty tana lawn which I picked up from ebay in the Black Friday sale at the incredible bargain price of just £10.00 for 2 meters!
The pattern is designed for light to medium weight woven fabric and does suggest Crepes, Challis and Charmeuse – I do wonder whether using the tana lawn was one of the mistakes I made. I would class it as a medium weight woven and definitely at the lighter end of the cotton spectrum so I figured it would be ok.
The pattern offers sizes 6 through to 22. However, I find it a bit disconcerting that it only provides you with finished measurements. I really wish that it also provided the measurements associated with their sizing so that I can judge how much ease is designed into the pattern. Looking at the measurements on the packet envelope I decided to go for a straight size 20 and make a test muslin to check the fit before making any major adjustments.
The fit straight from the packet wasn’t that bad so I figured if I did my standard adjustments I would have a decent fitting garment and certainly a good starting point for any final tweaks.
Here is the first muslin that I made.
After trying on the muslin these are the adjustments I decided to do:
Forward shoulder adjustment of ¾”
This is the front bodice. I measured down 3/4″ on the armsyce and then graded back to the point by the neck. I cut out the shaded area.
This is the back yoke. To make the seam sit forward of its original point line I added on an identical section of the one I had removed from the front bodice.
Narrow shoulder adjustment of ¾”
I measured 3/4″from the edge of the shoulder seam and then graded the armsyce using a French curve. There are better ways of doing a narrow shoulder adjustment but this one generally works fine for me.
FBA of 1.5”
After marking my apex on the pattern I drew on the lines necessary to to a FBA (the main horizontal line is the lengthen/ shorten line for the bodice and is not part of the FBA).
The lines I drew in previously have been slashed and pivoted to make a FBA of 1.5″.
Shorten the arms by 2.5” which I did using the lengthen / shorten line and then trued up the side seams
After drawing in the adjustments I made a second muslin (how good am I?) I wanted to check if they had improved the fit. Here is the second version:
Hopefully you can see from the photo that the fit around the shoulders is much improved but it still needs further tweaking, I must have very narrow shoulders!
Despite marking my apex on the first muslin and doing the FBA correctly the dart was a good couple of inches too low. I did think of just cutting the dart out with a rectangle margin around it and move it up but I figured that all of the extra ease was now build into the bodice in relation to the original dart placement. So I redrew the bodice, moved the apex up accordingly and redrew the FBA. I’m much happier with this new dart placement, it now points to the correct place.
If I had taken these photos at the time of making the two muslins, rather than after completing the proper top, I would have had warning bells ringing in my head. I find it so much easier to assess the fit by looking at a photograph rather than in the mirrow. Whilst the fit around The Ladies is better and I have plenty of movement room, by taking the FBA straight down to the hem rather than angling it in to a point, I ended up adding a further 3 inches ease into the main body of the top. Although I like loose fitting clothes I feel that this now drowns me. The first muslin definitely had a better fit around the waist and hip area.
The sleeve length was much better on me but it was still longer than I liked so I removed a further inch – which meant I took off 3.5” in total
Before going onto my proper version I decided that I didn’t like the front side edge being curved while the back remained straight so I copied the hem curve from the front bodice onto the back bodice.
The finished top
I’m somewhat disappointed with the outcome. Why?
There is far too much room around the tummy and hip area. Yes, it is meant to be loose fitting to a certain extent but I feel like I’m drowning in this top. I don’t think the photos really show how loose it is as I must have pulled it back a little whilst taking the photo. In reality it is much larger than it should be and it makes me look much larger than I actually am on top. I really should have taken the FBA down to a point at the hemline so that I didn’t add the extra 3 inches all around. Lesson learned!
The neckband doesn’t sit right. The two front side bands are interfaced and sit crisply and cleanly in the correct position. However the neckband has no interfacing and it has ended up looking really wavy. I am such a rule follower and when the pattern doesn’t tell me to add interfacing, even though my intuition says ‘yes’, I do what I’m told. Maybe interfacing would have made it too stiff but anything would be better than all of the curves. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what has gone wrong with the neckband?
The gathering where the bodice meets the neckline doesn’t sit neatly. I used two rows of basting stitches, I gathered it up so that it looked fine before sewing it, lots of small gathers rather than a few large ones but somehow it has ended up looking puffy and ‘blousy’ in that area rather than gently gathered. This might have something to do with me using the tana lawn rather than a lightweight woven though, what do you think?
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. I’ve got the shoulders fitting well, the sleeves are comfortable (always a worry when you mess about with the shape of the armsyce) and the sleeves are the correct length for my ultra short arms. I’m also pleased with the front bands – they were a fiddle to get right.
I will wear this top but I know in my heart of hearts that it is never going to be one of my staple ‘go to items’.
Cost to make
2 m of fabric at £5 a meter – £10.00
1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70
Lightweight fusible interfacing – £2.00
Total cost to make: £13.70