I call this garment “The Revenge of the Body Measurements.” I realize it’s not exactly catchy; I’ll keep working on it. Remember that time I tried to sew a pleated skirt and I was all, “OMG! I need to start paying attention to the provided measurements, because they’re totally accurate”?
This is McCalls 6754. I wanted a fun weekend top in a bright print fabric, and I think I got it.
I found this print at Hart’s Fabrics. I was shopping for a print knit, and this was exactly what I was hoping for. The pattern calls for less than a yard, so I got a full yard at a quite reasonable $10.99. I love browsing the 60″ rolls at Hart’s. I feel like I’m getting my budget doubled, because 60″ fabric just stretches so much farther than 45″, which seems more common elsewhere.
In addition to a fun weekend wearable top, I also wanted a simple, easy make, but I didn’t quite get that…
I diligently cut a Medium (from the XS-S-M sizing), based off the bust and waist measurements. Sounds right. I mean, there’s no way I’m an Extra-Small. Right? Right?!
Yeah, this thing was inches too wide on all sides. I was swimming in it. Hey McCalls: maybe chill out on the ease, especially on knit patterns? So, I pulled out my dressform (finally beginning to get some use of this thing!), and took in 1″-1/2″ on each side and the back seam. I had also “helped myself” by stitching a smaller seam allowance on the shoulder seams to add some length. I had to restitch those as well, taking in about 1/2″ on each. This garment has a low neckline (even for a weekend) so I hauled those puppies back up.
Due to the magic of knit fabrics and my questionable sewing skills, I didn’t have to take nearly that much out of the peplum portion. I don’t know where the fabric went, but whatever. I’m not going to worry about it. I basted the peplum together, pinned it to the top, and figured out how much fabric I needed to remove that way. I took out only 1/2″ on just the back seam of the peplum–way less than I took out of the sides! It’s like I was sewing this thing in the Mystery Spot.
The instructions call for narrow hemming the neckline (and with a deeply scooped front and back, that is a *lot* of neckline) and both armholes. I’ve been hesitant in the past to do narrow hem curves on knits, because of the inevitable stretching, tugging, and general fussiness of it. But I decided to suck it up, since the low neck and back had gaping possibilities where my lazy “pink the edge, fold over once, and stitch” method might be visible.
Dudes, it was a pain in the ass and probably increased my overall project time by 40%. However, I’m happy I did it. The finish looks clean, and it’s good for me to get comfortable with techniques I’m not a fan of.
Plus, the swoopy curves handled the narrow hem well–better than some tighter necklines I’ve tried (and failed) to use this on. Note: I did laze out on the hem and do a fold & stitch, but that was more an issue of wanting to hang on to every millimeter of length possible.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add the elastic casing at the waist–seemed like it might be unnecessary in a fitted top, but trust me, it’s there for a reason. It makes the whole top cinch in nicely instead of just hanging there. So, I picked up a trick there that I can see applying to other projects.
All in all, I got what I wanted. I just feel like I spent a whole day on a project that should have taken just a couple of hours. However, if I sew this again, I’ll veer closer to the Extra-Small cutting line and whip it out much more quickly. (Note to self: chill the eff out, because it’s not a race. Enjoy the process and every bit of learning, even on an “easy” project.)
Update: It’s been a few months, and I haven’t worn this more than a couple of times. It’s mostly due to the generally low neckline. I’m not a happy camper about this top. It feels too youthful and it doesn’t fit well. It’s also really high-waisted, which makes it look weird with jeans–at least on me. I’m just hoping to get 3-4 wears out of this before moving it out–and I’ll probably wear it with a jacket on top, because it’s just too low cut for everyday wear: