McCall’s 6747 Henley Tee

By | October 27, 2015

For a long time, I swore I would never sew t-shirts. What’s the point when you can buy them for a few bucks, right? Spend your time on the important things in life… like brocade pencil skirts and giraffe dresses.

Huh. My feelings have changed apparently, because here is McCalls 6747.

M6747top

It is what it is, right? It’s cuter than a standard tee, and getting to choose buttons is another way to customize this shirt and make it more special than RTW.

It came together relatively easily. I mean, adding a button placket takes a bit more time, but still isn’t really all that hard. I think I thought I would fly through it more quickly than I did… but I also think it’s not wildly out of character for me to have unrealistic expectations.

I goofed a bit on the neckband, and the ends don’t actually line up in front. Oops. Next time, I guess.

Also, I tried to match stripes on the sides and back, and didn’t quite succeed. Oops.

As Meat Loaf sang, "Two out of 13 ain't bad"... or something like that.

As Meat Loaf sang, “Two out of 13 ain’t bad”… or something like that.

Also, I attached the interfaced portion of the placket to the wrong side, so I wasn’t able to make the actual buttonholes when it came to that step. (Well, not without chewing up the fabric.) Again, oops.

I slipstitched the placket about 3/4 of the way closed and just stitched the buttons right on top. I considered leaving them off entirely, but it looks much better with them. Faux buttons? Eh, why not!

I wanted to do a twin needle stitch for the bottom and sleeve hems, but it’s not to be. My sewing machine does not share my vision. I’ve been wanting to try twin needle stitching on my machine for months. I kind of just assumed it would work. The twin needle stitches specified for my Kenmore are not standard t-shirt hem stitches, but instead are embroidery-style stitches, like scallops and that kind of thing. So I threaded according to the manual and tried it anyway with the dial set to a straight stitch.

Short story: it clogged up my machine and tangled the threads and was all around ugly and terrible. I finally got it to sort of work, but the results were… let’s call it “aesthetically unpleasant.”

So, this may be an issue of playing with tension and pressure and all that, which frankly, I am not up to when a standard hem would work just as well. My basic philosophy of thread tension is: don’t effing touch it or all hell may break loose. Some other time, some other project.

M6747front

For this striped tee, I went with a straight zig-zag stitch. I usually prefer not to have a visible zig-zag because I think it looks homemade in an unnecessary way. However, after seeing a zig-zag on tees at Thread Theory, I thought, well, it’s certainly good enough for my tee then. I’m not in love with it, and would prefer a double row of straight stitches, but I do appreciate that this stitch is nice and stretchy, and less likely to pop in the long run.

The fabric is cheapo knit from WalMart. I haven’t bought fabric (or much of anything) from WalMart in a long time, but I needed some cheap, on-demand fabric a few weeks ago. I’m helping a friend learn to sew and needed some fabric I could pre-wash and have ready to go (and that she wouldn’t get too attached to in case the project didn’t work out). I can’t make it to Hart’s during the week (yay commuting!), so WalMart it was. I have to say, I appreciate having a store with a sewing department, and I ended up snagging this striped knit for myself for $2/yd.

M6747placket

I think I’ll make a couple more of these tops. It’s easy, it’s wearable, and it doesn’t take a lot of fabric. Most of all, I want to practice putting in the button placket. I much preferred the directions on this top to the directions provided with M7094, but I still didn’t nail it. I figure if I sew this up 2 or 3 more times, I should be close to mastering the skill. With different fabric and buttons and sleeve lengths, they’ll all be unique enough to find a home in my wardrobe.

Other notes: I cut a small (XS-S-M), and that was the right choice. I could go smaller for a more bodycon fit, but for an everyday top, the small fit well out of the envelope.

This top has a center back seam, and originally I was thinking I would recommend cutting the back on the foldline instead, for convenience and aesthetics. That said, I did end up shaping the back a bit and taking it in an inch or so from below the shoulder blades to the top of the lower back. It fits and looks better now, so pick your poison.

M6747side

Also, if you’re a bit error-prone like me (in other words, note to self), consider interfacing both placket pieces. Then it won’t matter which one goes on which side and you won’t end up buttonhole-less. You might also add a small piece of interfacing where you’ll sew the top button on the neck band. Mine wants to flip down with the weight of the shell button, and a bit of strength might help.

In terms of wearability, it’s fine. It’s a tee shirt. The length is good out of the envelope, for me at least. The neck band is a little floppy, so that’s another detail I can work on smoothing out in future makes. It’s more of a tissue fabric than a tough spandex-lycra variety, so it may have been better off in a drapier, non-placket style.

Side-note: I can’t tell whether the stripes are navy or black. I bought it thinking they were black, and sewed it thinking they were black, but now that I’m wearing it, I think they might be navy. There’s anarchy in my neutrals!

What do you think? Is t-shirt sewing lame, or is it a nice palate-cleanser? I’m kind of undecided at this point…

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