Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. You know what I’m talking about: the dreaded wadder. That unredeemable project that stole your time and energy and gave you nothing but false promises in return.
I was overdue for a wadder, and I shouldn’t feel too bad about it. But I have wildly unreasonable expectations, so of course I’m going to do a whole post on it.
This is McCall’s 6399. It’s actually for wovens, but the instructions (it’s a Palmer/Pletsch, so there are a lot of instructions) specify that this is also ideal for a knit. I picked this pattern up because I love the neckline; this general style is so flattering, and something I’ve been looking for as a base to make a lot of different types of garments.
There are no darts, but instead pleats at the bust, shoulder, front waist, and back waist. The bust pleats function well for me, but I have an average bust. This could either work really well for a plus size, or be a really bad idea. I’m not sure. With the pleats, it seems like it would be easy to add another pleat to tweak the fit as needed. It was fine for me as-is, but it’s worth thinking about if you typically do an FBA.
Let’s get down to it: This was an easy sew, but a bad make. Everything went together smoothly, and the instructions were solid. (If you’ve read the reviews, you know there’s a point at which the instructions specify to take a break, because shit is about to get weird. Don’t be scared by this. The steps are well-illustrated.)
However, at the end of the day, the fit as designed is just not good.
1. The sleeves are super wide. I took well over an inch from each side. Granted, I was working with a stretch fabric, but still, I don’t think saggy sleeves are the look anyone is going for with this top. If you typically adjust for a large bicep, check the measurements; you might be able to forgo that tweak.
2. The neckline is too wide. I go by the rule of “if you have to wear a strapless bra, you shouldn’t wear it to the office,” and this top is riiiiiiiiight on the borderline. The neckline would be a lot more functional (and still dramatic and lovely) if it were 1/4″ or 1/2″ less wide. While it looks normal from straight on, when you move, it’s very probable that your straps will be on display. I didn’t get that from the photo or technical drawing, so my expectations were a bit off.
3. The back neck band is crazy high. Like, costume high, like, Maleficent high. (Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I really hated the look and feel of it on my neck.) It doesn’t come across clearly from the technical drawings how tall that band is. To make it worse, on me, it stood up off the back of my neck, poking straight out and highlighting the poor fit across my shoulderblades. I ended up disassembling it, whacking the back neck band in half, and then reattaching it. And it still doesn’t sit right. You can see where the neckband is attached to the collar and how it sits above my collarbone. Maybe it’s the fabric; ponte does have a lot of body. Still, it’s the kind of thing that will drive me crazy when I actually wear this. I don’t know if there’s a great fix for this that doesn’t compromise the essential style lines.
4. The back pleats are lame, and the front pleats are questionable. If you love the look of front ruching for a bit of belly camoflage, cool. I’m really on the fence about the front waist pleats. I think I’ll just end up fussing and fidgeting with them. The back pleats are another story: leave them out. They don’t look cool, they look messy. Fabric pooling around the back is not a great look. Tweak the pattern and skip them.
Because I’m super cheap about fabric and don’t like to admit defeat, I’ll probably hang onto this and waste a bunch of time and resources trying to “fix” it. It’s not like I spent any money on this. Thankfully, it was just the leftover yardage from my 6462 off-the-shoulder super-amazing party dress, not something I bought specifically for this pattern. But it’s the principle. I don’t want to be defeated.
And with that, my inaugural Wadder Wednesday gets philosophical. Does wadder purgatory exist? Is wadder redemption possible? Is it better to love and lose than never to love at all? I mean,… uh… sew at all?