I want to make a simple black t-shirt with a slightly interesting front neckline detail to wear under cardigans and jackets. Searching through my pattern catalogue, I found McCalls 6604 which (my pattern notes tell me) I made in May 2015 with a “brown wild pattern knit”. I have no recollection of this garment so I’m going to assume it didn’t make the grade to get worn. Red flag #1.
My notes also tell me that I made size 16 and it was a “quite generous fit in slinky knit”. I had to insert a “modesty panel” in the front, which tells me why I never wore it. Looking at the pattern reviews, I see the finished garment has a LOT of design ease, and that really isn’t what I want for this.
It’s Sunday morning and I’m in my pyjamas. I really don’t feel like going to the fabric store to search out another pattern while Halloween madness is going on there. So I’m going to retrace the pattern and remove a bunch of the design ease from the size 14 lines, and raise the neckline as well.
I’ve already done a full-bust adjustment on the original pattern piece, which I probably didn’t need. I had also lengthened the whole thing by about 1.5” which I probably did need. The finished garment measurements on the pattern say 40” bust for the size 14, which is about right if I’m making this in a stretch knit and want something form-fitting. The waistline finished measurement is 41” on the size 14 which is definitely the problem. I’ve taken the pattern down by 3/4” on the sides at the waist which will give me 1.5” off across the front
, and I’ll remove a bit more from the back bodice.
After pinning the new front bodice to my dress form, I am actually pretty satisfied with the way I think it’ll drape. I don’t want to remove more from the back bodice. This looks good.
It doesn’t look like I’ve ever used the sleeve for this pattern (it isn’t cut out, though maybe I traced it off). The trick here will be that I’ve reduced the size of the armscye on the bodice but I need to keep the finished measurement of the sleeve opening because the size 16 is 14 1/4” and my bicep measures about 13 3/4” (exactly the finished size of the size 14). I’m going to trace and cut out the size 16 sleeve and hope that I can ease it into the armscye with patience. This pattern calls for a set-in sleeve but as I’m making it with a 4-way stretch knit, I think I will opt instead to sew the shoulder seam first and then do the sleeve and side seam in one piece. I haven’t tried this kind of technique change before and the sleeve cap is pretty shaped, so it’ll probably require careful basting before I sew it.
The pattern calls for a bias self-binding at the neckline. I have enough fabric to do this, buuuut… if I cut a bias strip out of my remaining fabric, I won’t have a decent-size remnant to put back into my stash. I’ll have awkwardly-shaped scraps. I could make knickers out of them, but I’d rather leave my options open for something else. (Yes I still have to cut out the sleeve but that doesn’t cut right across a big block of fabric!)
As an alternative, I have some black 5/8” fold-over elastic in my stash. This should work but the front neckline where the pleats fold under will make extra bulk to tuck into the fold-over elastic, which is pretty skinny.
Here’s what it looks like in a sample:
So, I think I am going to go with the fold-over elastic and just work really carefully.
Not great, but not bad either.
The elastic gathers the neckline ever so slightly, but I’m not completely disappointed with it. It’s a little more casual than a bias neckline binding but it’s just a base layer for an outfit.
Time for the sleeves…
Doing the side seams all in one was a good plan. I probably saved myself an hour or more by not doing set-in shoulders.
I used my favourite notion, KNit-N-Stable Tape (not seams-soft as previously reported on this blog; I got the name wrong but just checked it) to stabilize the arm and bottom hems. Then I pressed the hem up, pinned it, and sewed them on my coverstitch machine. I have almost mastered this machine now after what seems like a lot of cursing.
I’m glad I gave this pattern another try. With the redrafting of the front bodice, this works really well for a stretch knit. As I finished it, I got a horrid feeling that I hadn’t preshrunk this fabric so I might be making another one of these sooner than I’d like to. *headdesk* BUT at least I know it doesn’t take long to construct… just ALL THREE of my machines of course.