I'm not sure what it is with me lately, but I seem really drawn to dahlia fabric. Anyway, I've been wanting to make myself a new summery top (in common with lots of the lovely ladies in the blogosphere), and fell in love (and snapped up) some more dahlia fabric at my sister's big Joann's a month or so ago.
I searched quite a while for a pattern. I wanted something more fitted than a tank top or t-shirt, but not too fitted (so it would be comfortable enough to wear often). I looked at various blouse patterns but the thought of all those buttons and buttonholes was enough to dissuade me. I can do buttons and buttonholes without difficulty, but can never seem to get them lined up properly. Many of the fitted patterns I found were really designed for knit fabrics (which mine wasn't) and lots of the tops I found were sleeveless. I can do sleeveless tops at work but usually have to wear a cardigan over them to avoid freezing.
Anyway, I found this pattern (McCalls M6399) in Hancocks and went back to snag it when they were having an all-patterns-99-cents sale over Memorial weekend. I actually bought a bunch of clothes patterns for Anna in the same sale and then accidentally sent them all home with Becky so had to go back and pick up a second copy of the shirt pattern, but I figured for 99 cents I could handle it.
I liked a bunch of things about the pattern including the pleating detail at the waist and bust which gives a little more interest than darts, the raglan sleeves (easier to sew than set in sleeves), the scoop neck (better for me than a high neck), and the interesting collar line. The main thing I didn't like were the pointy shoulders. The pattern said shoulder pads optional, and as I am definitely not a shoulder pads type of girl, I figured I'd have to re-work the sleeves a bit. In addition to my dahlia fabric (which is more pink and less orange than it reads in the pictures), I picked up a fun white textured cotton to use for the sleeves and collar to give some contrast.
The shirt was really easy to sew and assemble, I followed the instructions pretty exactly until the sleeve part. I initially made the cap sleeves exactly like the pattern said, but as I expected, they were altogether the wrong shape. They poked out terribly (it looked like I had corners instead of shoulders, almost like epaulets) and were all together too big. At first I tried just taking in the shoulder seam, but the poke/puff remained (sorry I have no pictures of this, but you can probably imagine what it would look like). In the end I wound up doing 3 things: 1) sewing the sleeve pleats all the way across the pattern piece (so the pleats didn't puff out in front of my shoulders), 2) taking in the shoulder seam from the front piece only, and 3) re-shaping the back sleeve piece. I'm sure there's a correct way to do this, I know the fabulous LiEr would know how, but I just fiddled with it until I thought it looked tolerable.
I'm excited to wear it soon and am pleased with how it worked out. It fits really well, fitted but not tight. I haven't sewn a lot of clothes in the last few years (aside from skirts) so it felt good to make something that turned out nice enough to wear.
Any of you guys been sewing clothes for yourself lately? Take advantage of any good sales over Memorial day?