Wadder Wednesday: McCall’s 6399

By | November 5, 2015

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.

If I just stand like this all day, it looks great! I mean, I don't really use my arms anyway.

If I just stand like this all day, it looks great! I mean, I don’t really use my arms anyway.

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.

I pinned out so much on each side!

I pinned out so much on each side!

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.

Strap alert! We have a strap alert, people!

Strap alert! We have a strap alert, people!

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.

I mean, what even *is* that happening on my right side?

I mean, what even *is* that happening on my right side?

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.

Yep. Back pleats are totally flattering. I also clearly didn't fit the back neck. Like, at all.

Yep. Back pleats are totally flattering. I also clearly didn’t fit the back neck. Like, at all.

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?

6 thoughts on “Wadder Wednesday: McCall’s 6399

  1. Akane Scott

    You are by far my favorite blogger ever. Thanks for sharing your adventures, and especially the humor!

    Reply
    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Well, thank you! It’s nice to know I’m not talking to myself over here…

      Reply
  2. Jenni

    Wadder purgatory exists! Your wadders are there with my craptastic stories that seemed like they’d turn out but didn’t. Same basic idea – I’m driven to try and fix them because I don’t like to be defeated, but on the other hand, it’s probably a waste of time. Make something else to learn a new skill instead of fussing over something you still probably won’t love.

    Also, the sleeve line on the back is kinda weird! It looks like a fancy baseball shirt. I don’t think that’s what they were going for. I’ve made one Palmer/Pletsch and had really good luck with it, but I’d freak the you-know-what out if the instructions told me to take a break. That’s intense. I would just go have a drink and watch Gossip Girl and then forget to come back.

    Reply
    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Love you, Sis! The good news is that I really haven’t been tempted to fuss with the top anymore. I wore it with a scarf and a jacket to get some compulsory satisfaction out of it, and then promptly forgot about it, which is totally for the best.

      Reply
  3. Carol

    Hi Sara, I am have cut the tissue for this pattern and getting ready to adjust the pattern to fit. I have already realized that tissue fitting this pattern that has pleats and ragland sleeves is a pathway of pin sticking frustration. So my option is to cut a test from some interface fabric I bought for a $1.oo a yard. Thanks for your review.

    Reply
    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Glad to hear you are making a test version. I think that’s a great idea! Good luck to you — I hope you come out with a winner instead of a wadder!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *