Button Down Shirt Version 1.0 and Other Things

Even though I am working on skating costumes, and I expect I will keep working on skating costumes for the next few weeks, I can’t help but think about all the other projects I am wanting to sew when I am done, and what I want to do next for my year-long sewing challenge.  Mostly, I am contemplating the McCall’s 6035 shirt which I have “muslined” but haven’t actually done any work to correct the pattern as of yet.

Here are some pictures on me, with a few of the problems highlighted:

Many fit problems on the front
You can see how the fit is not right around the sleeves and bust
The back is actually pretty good, mild swayback issues and more sleeve problems
I think one big problem is that the bust is too low
This fit looks much better when I pinch some out of the top
I do like the collar quite a bit though!

So I am a bit conflicted, because I do like the style, and there are some fit problems which I can identify and easily correct (the too-low bust being a big one), but I think the main fit problem is the shape of the sleeve.  For those of you who haven’t yet read this article about sleeve-cap-ease, you totally should.  When I look at the sleeve drawings in that post, I can totally see a Big4 sleeve on the left (this is the incorrect sleeve) and a Burda sleeve on the right.  Which is why I ponder if it is worth my time to try and re-draft the armscye and sleeve patterns, or if I should just use a BWOF pattern instead:


Or maybe I should just Frankenpattern the two?  I still want to use the sleeve style from McCall’s (I like 3/4 sleeves), but it shouldn’t be hard to change the Burda pattern to get the sleeves I want.  Bah.  Haven’t really decided which way I want to go yet, and I am feeling a bit unmotivated to actually work on this project despite spending time pondering pattern alterations.  Instead I have been obsessing over these pants from Patrones:


In my head I know these pants won’t look good on me – pale colors and pleated fronts just make my hips look larger than they actually are.  And yet, I want these pants!  And I want them exactly like they are in the magazine.  It is a bit illogical, I admit, yet I think these will be my next project, once I finish with skating costumes and work through my button down shirt funk.  I have to admit to pulling out this magazine at least 3 times a week just so I can gaze at this photo.  It is becoming an obsession, despite my apprehension over the possible issues with the style.  And, well, if these don’t work out in the muslin stage, I have a Burda pattern as a back up plan:

I think I just really want wide-legged trousers.

Also, I was going to quickly make up some linen pants from my recent fabric purchase:

Linen/rayon from Fabric.com

With my previously tested BS-06-2011-114 pattern:

But after pre-washing my fabric it is now way too small!  So I am thinking I will be using this linen for a skirt instead.  Which still leaves me looking for fabric to make a non-pj version of these pants for summer as part of my sewing challenge.  And also a bit frustrated because it sort of killed some of my sewing plans for this week.  But, well, I really should be focusing on skating stuff right now anyway, so I suppose it is just as well?  Maybe the real problem is that I just have too much sewing I want to do and not enough time to get it all done.  Either way, I am thinking about getting sewing done for my challenge, but I am just busy sewing other things at the moment.

Also, if you have any advice about fitting and adjusting the shirt, or input on the wisdom of attempting Patrones pants which logically I should avoid for stylistic reasons, please feel free to comment!

8 thoughts on “Button Down Shirt Version 1.0 and Other Things

  1. I think you're right that the bust fullness in the original top is too low for you. I'd fit the bodice and get all the seams right before I added back the sleeves, because I think the sleeves are pulling just because the bodice doesn't fit – the actual fit on the arms looks OK. But if you don't like the style switching it out could work too.

    Swayback on a princess-seam shirt is pretty straightforward – just take out the excess length just above the waist, and add it back in below the waist if you need to for overall length purposes. I get that same 'the upper back looks too wide between the shoulder and the armpit' thing as well – it's almost like you need to tilt the back part of the armscye in in order to take up some of the extra fabric. I've done that a little bit in the past and it works, but if you do it too much you a) don't leave enough ease to move your arms forward and let your shoulder blades do their thing and b) it looks really weird because it's very non-RTW proportion-wise. I haven't totally resolved that issue with myself, yet.


  2. Good advice – I think I will try to make version #2 with bodice adjustments, and then maybe make sleeve adjustments from there if I still have problems. I do like this style/pattern. I think part of the problem was I read all the glowing reviews on Pattern Review, and expected great results out of the bag. Then, when I didn't get it I was really annoyed and didn't want to think about fixing the problems. I was also a bit tired and in something of a mood (due to extraneous non-sewing things) when I took the pictures and wrote this post, and giving up seemed easier than fixing the problems. But, well, this is for my Tim Gunn sewing challenge, so in the spirit of things I will “make it work.” I might toy with pattern corrections in the next few days, if I get enough done on my skating projects because I think this does have the potential to be a TNT shirt pattern.

    Thanks for your reply/help/advice/encouragement!


  3. I agree with Laura – I'd definitely want to close out the bodice fitting issues before worrying about the sleeve. These things have ripple-effects, and I also agree that from your pictures, the sleeve fit looks rather good.
    I have the same frustration cycle with initial fittings – sewing it together the first time is exciting because you're hoping for a good outcome, so when it doesn't come and you know you have to do more work to get it right – the enthusiasm flags! I think once you've got the fit right, this will be a good looking shirt 🙂


  4. Good call on the fit fix! I love those burda pants with the pleat front, I actually have a similar pair, I find a good chunky heel helps to even things out when wearing something like that!


  5. I spent ALL weekend fitting sleeves. I second (or third) those who said to work out the bodice fit first. What I am seeing in the sleeve from the second picture is too high a sleeve cap (see how there is extra fabric bunching at the very top of the sleeve above that arrow line?). This goes along with K Fasanella's thinking. You may have a forward rolling shoulder (many people do), so that is another avenue of alteration for you to explore.

    Oh I love that Burda pull on pant (06-2011-114). I was just thinking today that I need to make a few more this summer. But I do like your pleated pants too. Possibly the very wide hem will help balance out the hips?


  6. Thanks for the sleeve advice – I will have to consider which alterations will be needed after I get the bodice down right. And I am hoping the wide hem will balance out the pleats – they look small and flat in the picture, so I am hoping that will still give “the look” with minimal volume added to my legs. I will be doing a broadcloth muslin version before I cut into my good sateen for those, especially since they will be my first Patrones pattern.

    Although I must admit I am not getting as much sewing work finished this week as I would like (stupid book FINALLY got good and I spent all night reading instead of pattern adjusting), and I actually have to do some judging at a skating event this coming weekend, so not so much sewing will get done this weekend either. If I am lucky I can get the last few skating muslins finished and make one last practice dress so I can start making the real things next week. And then finally get back to my shirt and these pants in April. But I thought I would post and ask for fit advice before I got too discouraged and distracted and lost interest in this shirt pattern altogether.


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