One of my favorite things about sewing is that I can make garments to the proportions I want. As sewists, we have the power to chop off length, take in side seams, and lower necklines at will. We can make what we want EXACTLY the way we want it. It can be a power trip!
Sewing McCalls 7094, I felt every bit the master of my sewing universe. I disobeyed the pattern envelope sizing, lopped inches off the bottom, and redrafted the hem (see specifics in the review below). The result is a top that fits and appears just the way I intended.
I am wearing my new top below with a white camisole underneath because the fabric I selected for this make is pretty sheer. Made in a different fabric, a camisole would not be necessary with this top. The top is paired with RTW wide-legged pants. Together, it’s a very relaxed summer look. It’s perfect for real life summer excitement- mornings at the farmer’s market, afternoon cookouts, and (in my case the much more frequent) trips to the grocery store and Target.
Below is a full review including details on how I modified the pattern to get the fit I wanted. This review is also available on Pattern Review.
Pattern Description: The pattern envelope describes this pattern as “very loose-fitting” and the picture indicates a loose fitting top that can be made with or without sleeves and with three hem options. The many options mean this top could be appropriate for any season depending on the fabric used and sleeve options chosen.
Pattern Sizing: Misses
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? My version is a little bit shorter than the version on the envelope, and I redrafted the bottom hem. Otherwise, it looks pretty much the same.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes with the exception of finishing the bottom of the placket. I’m still not sure what they wanted me to do… I sewed all the fabric together and topstitched it down. It worked fine.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the pleated detailing at the shoulders. I decided to top stitch my pleats down to keep them symmetrical and flat. I think it worked out well.
I also like the gathering at the center back.
Finishing the notch collar took two tries. I misaligned the collars the first time and had to rip out stitches to make a second attempt. See the red arrow below to view my misaligned collar notch. Luckily, it was an easy fix. I ripped out a few stitches and was able to realign the seam.
The pattern directions have you slip stitch all the facings which took forever. It did result in a neat finish on the inside of the shirt. Nearly all the seams are encased in facings. The only visible seams are the side seams. I serged them together. I like the result, but didn’t enjoy all the handwork at the time.
My only other complaint about this top isn’t the fault of the pattern. It’s a problem with my fabric choice. Because the challis I used is pretty sheer, you can see through the fabric on the collar to the underlying seam allowances (you can see this in the photos above)- not cute, but not the pattern’s fault. In hindsight, I should have sewn the interfaced pieces on the outside of the top. The reverse side of the collar looks better than the correct side because the interfacing prevents you from seeing through the fabric to the graded seam allowances under the fabric. Oh well… live and learn, right?
Fabric Used: This yellow rayon challis was the last of my latest purchase from Vogue Fabrics‘ summer catalogue. I love the sunny color, but it’s sheerness is a drawback. I have to wear a camisole under the top. This is fine in air conditioning, but will be hot walking around the city this summer.
On a related note, Vogue Fabrics has redone their website and it’s much more user friendly. If you were put off previously by its clunkiness, you’ll like the new format. It still isn’t the prettiest site out there, but this is certainly an improvement.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made a few modifications on this top.
First, I ignored the pattern sizing suggestions. According to the size chart on the back of the envelope, I should have sewn a medium. Before I cut the pattern, I checked the size of the main pattern pieces against a loose fitting top currently in my closet. Even with the addition of seam allowances, the extra small was a smidge larger than my existing shirt. The medium would have been HUGE. I cut and sewed the extra small.
Second, I shortened the top one inch at the lengthen shorten line when cutting out my fabric. At the time, I thought that would shorten it enough.
Once the top was done except for the bottom hem, I decided it was still too long. I also thought the shirt tail was much too dramatic a curve. There was a seven inch difference from the side of the shirt to the front/back center hem. The effect was weird on me. It looked like the top wasn’t sure if it wanted to be a shirt or a tunic. I lopped off about two inches at the side seams and drafted a gentler curve at the front and back hem.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. I may make another with sleeves for cooler weather. I do recommend checking the size with a shirt you already own and be mindful of the dramatic hem!
Conclusion: This top is a sunny addition to my summer wardrobe!