You met Helen Bartley in our previous blog, The Magical Blouse. She is one of our workshop instructors and also teaches sewing at her home studio Seam Divas Sewing Lounge. Now I’ll let her tell us more about what else she’s doing with the pattern M6750—our “Three-hour Perfect Shirt.” ~ Pati
FEATURING GUEST BLOGGER
I choose many of my patterns based on one key design element and their potential for variation. Once I’ve put the time and effort into tissue-fitting and altering a pattern, I want to be able to use it several times, in different incarnations. McCall’s blouse M6750 was created to use in the Palmer/Pletsch 2-day intensive pattern-fitting workshops. It serves as a great fit tool because it has 12 potential darts while still being a simple-to-sew design. The collar is unique and is fun to use in unexpected ways.
Don’t be caged in by the photo on the pattern envelope. Flip that baby over and look at the line drawings to see its design potential. Consider the words of Pati Palmer, designer of this versatile pattern, “The pattern is your manuscript. You are the editor.” My friends, you have permission to hack!
For all alterations, I used the Palmer/Pletsch Tissue Fitting Method, referring to The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting. Perfect Pattern Paper matches the weight of the McCall’s pattern tissue and makes altering easy with its gridded lines. Both are available at palmerpletsch.com.
THE BASIC BLOUSE
Right out of the envelope, this blouse has good shape and design. Here is View B, as it was designed, with all twelve darts and ¾ sleeves, sewn in a soft cotton lawn print. Most Palmer/Pletsch for McCall’s blouse patterns feature a two-piece sleeve to enable sewing the cuff on flat, using the Painless Placket Method. I do it even faster and tidier using a serger. It’s really a 5-minute sleeve! Keep in mind that I’ve done my standard alterations for fit: a full bust adjustment and I lengthened both the bodice and the sleeves.
BLOUSE OR JACKET?
I wear this version of M6750 open as a jacket over a tank or as a long blouse atop leggings. It’s made of a firm stretch cotton. Using view C, I kept the shoulder and bust darts and used only four of the vertical darts, extending the front darts down to the hem for a smoother front.
For this casual look I started with the sleeveless view A. I did a 1” full bust adjustment and rotated the dart to the hem. I then removed 2” from the front side seam starting at the hem to nothing at the underarm. I added to the back side seam 2” at the bottom to nothing at the underarm. I shortened the top by 4”. When sewing, I omitted all vertical darts and finished the armholes with a bias binding. The rayon batik fabric affords this top all the drape and swing it needs. (See Pati’s version of this same blouse in the previous blog post.)
COOL COTTON DRESS
Convert this pattern from blouse to dress by simply adding some length (you choose the amount), flaring the width out 2” at the hemline. I sewed all the darts, as designed, and used Marta Alto’s serger bias binding for the armholes. Easy peasy. Make it a true luxury in Liberty of London cotton lawn.
Sew a pattern designed for a woven from a knit? Yes, please! For this cardigan I used view C and converted the two-piece sleeve to one-piece as I did for the Mod Squad Jacket. I sewed shoulder darts only, rotating out the bust dart to the hem and then straightening out the side seam on the front before sewing it to the back. I used PerfectFuse Light interfacing in the collar and facing. The facing wanted to pull away and “droop” open, so I tacked it to the front with Lite Steam-a Seam 2. A vintage half-sphere button finishes it off. I made a little matching dress, McCall’s 7574, ‘cuz twin sets will be coming back any day now.
MOD SQUAD JACKET
This unlined jacket sewn from a wavy corduroy upholstery fabric is my favorite make of M6750. I omitted the vertical darts, lengthened it and added patch pockets. For this jacket I wanted a one-piece sleeve, so I converted the pattern’s 2-piece sleeve by overlapping the seams and lengthening it to include a hem, losing the cuff. The fabric had enough body to skip interfacing, making this a truly quick and easy project.
This version of M6750 has the most dramatic changes. It was sewn in a poly chiffon border print, cut on the crossgrain to maximize the ombre effect of the print. The sleeves were cut at two different places on the print highlighting dark on one side and light on the other. I did a 1” full bust adjustment and rotated the dart into the hem, narrowed the sides to fit on the fabric and lengthened the front and back to ankle length. I converted the sleeves to bishop sleeves by making several slashes in the sleeve from cap to cuff and spreading the pattern and gathering the bottom edge to the cuff. I used PerfectFuse Sheer interfacing in the cuffs. Instead of interfacing in the front facing I narrowed the width of the facing just below the fold of the collar and used spray starch to add some body to the facing piece. I left two ¾” openings in the side seams at waist level and threaded two long ¼” turned straps for some back interest.