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Winter is a great time to sew simple tops that can be worn into spring. I got the idea for this one from one Marilyn made in sewing camp last July. She had a fabric that she strategically cut to get the print placement where she wanted on her body. She also shortened the pattern.

workshop student Marilyn in McCall's pattern M7407

I shortened mine even more.

Pati in McCall's pattern M7407 knit top

The knits only dress or top is one of my daughter Melissa Watson’s McCall’s designs.

McCall's pattern M7407 knit dress or top

I cut single layer to get the pattern piece where I wanted it. This jersey was wiggly so using the cardboard cutting board gave me more control. I worked on my desk/cutting table, which I can walk around.

cutting out M7407

cutting out M7407

My goal was to have the angle at my waist to make it look smaller. (Nice try!)

cutting out M7407

I also planned where the print would be best for cutting the neck band.

M7407 neck band

M7407 Pati's neck band


Pati Palmer models McCall's M7904 shirt

This fabric was 60”-wide, making the pricey fabric more reasonable for a shirt. I sewed view D since it required less yardage. Liberty is so beautiful to sew and honestly really doesn’t wrinkle either.

M7904 has hip flare because the horizontal bust dart was transferred to the bottom of the front. I want to make the asymmetric hemline out of a rayon print next.

McCall's pattern M7904 shirt

I fused the collar and band with PerfectFuse Sheer interfacing. I used the wide, non-button cuff and 3/4 -sleeve from view C. I liked the contrast buttons from my stash.


McCall's pattern M6513 knit top

I went back into my favorite patterns stash for this teal jersey sweaterknit. McCall’s M6513 is one of my favorite knit tops and is now discontinued, but you could search online for it or find a similar style.

I will share some really neat details and tips that you could easily apply to other knit tops. I will also share some things I do every time I cut and sew a new garment that ensure success.

Many of the tips are featured in our book Knits for Real People:

We forgot to add an extra alteration line on the pattern front for a bust adjustment. Because the top wraps across the front to the other side, if you need a bust adjustment you need to add the same width gained in the FBA from line 1 to both sides. Simply draw a line the same distance from the center front and cut and spread an equal amount in width to the left side of the body.

I used View C and cut my normal size 12. I often add to the hips, but since this is a wrap and the sweater knit has lots of stretch, I did not add to the side seams. I shortened the top 2”. All of the views are quite long. You can see how I trued the side seam after making the tuck in the tissue below.

I do a lot of snip-marking to save time. Be sure to snip the notches and the fold line for the front facing.

cutting and marking

It is important to mark the circle where the shoulder seam turns into the back neck seam of the collar. You will staystitch around that circle and clip to the staystitching at the circle. If you don’t mark it, you won’t be accurate. Put a pin vertically in the middle of the circle, lift the fabric and mark the circle with a chalk pencil. Then go and staystitch.

snip marking

After removing tissue, I put transparent tape on the ribbed right side of the jersey knit so you’ll be able to tell right from wrong side easily.

use tape to mark

Using a ruler, mark your 5/8” seam lines on the shoulder and back neck seam on both sides of the circle for truly accurate stitching.

use a ruler

(From Knits for Real People, Fitting and Sewing Fashion Knit Fabrics, Chapter 6, page 75.)

I put white thread in the bobbin and machine basted the center back of the collar. Three rows make for more even gathers and the white bobbin thread is easy to see so you can pull it out when finished sewing.

three rows of basting stitches

(All of this is in the guidesheet.)

Pull on all three bobbin threads for even gathering.

Pull on basting threads to gather.

Then place SewKeysE woven stay tape over the stitching line and lightly fuse in place.

Use iron to fuse SewKeysE

Sew the seam through the tape. Now the gathers are stable.

Sew seam through the tape.

After sewing and serging the center back collar, pin the collar to back neck and shoulder seams. Center the SewKeysE stay tape over the seams.

SewKeysE tape over neck and shoulder seam  SewKeysE tape over neck and shoulder seam

Press over the tape to lightly fuse in place before stitching.

Press lightly

Where you snipped to the circle, the opening will widen as you match seams at neck and shoulder area.

Be sure to sew just inside staystitching at circle so you won’t have a hole.

sewing the corner

(Photo is from Knits for Real People, Fitting and Sewing Fashion Knit Fabrics, Chapter 6, page 75.)

The collar and shoulder seams are completed.

Now gather the right front below the facing. The white basting threads as shown at right will make it easier to remove all the basting after the gathers are sewn into the side seam.

white gathering threads


If you think you might need to sew a deeper seam in your midriff area in order to make the wrap snug, sew 5 or 6 rows of basting, so that you can deepen the seam without taking everything out and starting over.

5 or 6 rows of gathering thread

(Photo from Knits for Real People, Fitting and Sewing Fashion Knit Fabrics, Chapter 12, page 135.)

Knits for Real People book

The Knits for Real People book includes endorsements from leading knit experts!

Whether you want basic, functional T-shirts or elegant evening wear, Pati and Sue have made all the techniques understandable and doable, with the huge number of clear photos and diagrams that we have come to expect from Palmer Pletsch.

Celia Banks, UK-based Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and lead tutor, Europe, owner of Sew Fundamental Ltd.


Knits for Real People is the book you’ve been waiting for! Clear instructions with lots of photos and great tips give real-time sewers everything they want to know about working with knits. Everything sewers want to know, plus more that every stitcher will love knowing. Pati and Sue remove the mystery and trepidation that knits have been known to cause with solid knowledge of fabric, fit, technique, and creativity.

Katherine Tilton, freelance designer for Butterick and Vogue Pattern Company, sewist, writer, co-leader of ParisTilton Tours, fabric buyer for, educator and artist.


Knits for Real People is sure to become a classic in every sewist’s library. The sewing community has been waiting for this definitive practical information and will embrace it …for even experienced sewists can be timid about working with knits … I practically devoured the entire book in one sitting …

Marcy Tilton, owner/buyer at online fabric store, Vogue Pattern designer, co-leader ParisTilton tours, educator, writer, passionate sewist.


From an in-depth look at the textile end of knit fabrics, to cutting and sewing, design and finishing, and—MOST important of all—fitting, nothing is left out of this amazing book.

Pamela Leggett, owner of Pamela’s Patterns and coordinator and instructor, Palmer/Pletsch East Workshops


Who doesn’t want to be able to make and wear comfortable, easy-to-sew knit garments that fit? With this book, you will be able to … do just that:
from choosing the right fabric and pattern, to basic sewing techniques and creative touches … Best of all, it includes the rarely discussed topic of fitting knit patterns, using Palmer and Neall’s unique and simple methods of tissue-fitting patterns.

Judy Jackson, instructor in Fashion Design, Cañada College and City College of San Francisco, and at

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Debbi

    What a flattering length! I have the perfect fabric ?

    1. Pati Palmer

      I’ve made all the lengths on the pattern, but this shorter one is just fun. Enjoy your new top when it is finished!

  2. Shirley N.

    Great instructions and clear graphics. Encouraging for anyone who wants to make knit fabric behave. Also liked pictures of Patty’s imaginative layout on what looked like an intriguing but
    “what do I do with it” jersey. Reminds me of what used to make Threads magazine indispensable for sewers–clear instructions and wonderful graphics with blow-ups of the most difficult parts.

    1. Pati Palmer

      Exciting to be compared to Threads! Thanks. We put a lot more effort toward these goals in our books. Hope you have a chance to look at them. They are very labor intensive. Thanks for your very nice words!

  3. Pati Palmer

    I’ve made all the lengths on the pattern, but this shorter one is just fun. Enjoy your new top when it is finished!

  4. Lorraine

    Oh Pati, how I’ve missed you. When the newsletter went away I was so disappointed.
    I didn’t know you were back until today and I am very glad you are!!!

    1. Pati Palmer

      And, amazingly, I was Covided out of my sewing room for nearly 3 months this spring. My beautiful daughter and her husband needed to get out of NYC and we were in Mexico in March, so we said, sure, come to PDX and stay at our condo. Our resort closed so we went to the beach and stayed at Marta Alto’s cabin until June. I’m still trying to catch up and have been working on publishing Helen Bartley’s Jeans book–right in the middle of fitting people in jeans patterns for the book now! So I hope I can get back to blogging in the fall. I have to sew first—and more than masks of which I’ve made quite a few as you can see on the PP Facebook page! Thanks for the nice comments.

  5. Some lovely ideas here, it’s great to see all your steps so clearly. Love that Liberty fabric. And I wish I had your massive cutting board for cutting out!

    1. Paati Palmer

      Actually, that is a Dritz folding cutting board on top of my desk that can be raised for a cutting area. I used to have big tables until I downsized two years ago. Now I just “find” places to work in a small space—like many others. (But a smaller place to clean as well!)

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