Sunday 17 September 2017

McCall's 7387 Shirt

I have always found shirts quite tricky to make to a standard that I am happy with.  However they are something that is hard for me to get to fit right in RTW and I do like wearing them.  I also think that with practice I will definitely get better - they are not technically that difficult to sew, they just require precision and some internet research on better techniques than is usually found in pattern instructions.

Anyway, I think this is a great looking pattern from McCall's, I like all the variations so I'm thinking that if I work through all of them, making changes and improvements along the way I will learn something....

McCall's 7387 Shirts / Shirtdresses

I decided to start with view A and was determined to make it in a lovely soft horse print cotton.  I underestimated quite how much of a fabric hog that back piece is with the large pleat so I had to leave off the sleeve bands, but I think the print would have looked strange there as the scale of it isn't really suited to narrow bands.

I had quite a few problems along the way and this  is definitely a project I needed to step back from when I had finished so that I could stop focusing on the things I didn't like about it and look at it as a whole.  That said, of course I'm going to dredge up all the problems I had with it here since this is a learning process, but I will not be pointing out any of this stuff when I wear it!

The fabric itself, well the print anyway,  gave me a few problems;
  • Should I try and match it?  I decided not to, I don't think I'd have had enough fabric and just considering how to match the separate front band gave me a headache.  I would have preferred not to have horses bottoms down my front band so that could definitely have been planned better!
  • The blue horses show through to the wrong side of the fabric so I really should have used a plain white fabric for the yoke facing.  I learnt this by the time I got to the collar.
Ghost horses on my back yoke
  • When I put my collar on I realised that I hadn't cut it symmetrically and those horses were taunting me so off it came.  I didn't have enough fabric to redo the collar the way I wanted so I changed to to a collar stand, with a seam in the centre back.
Really annoying collar pattern placement

Then there is the pattern which has some good and bad points;
  • I made a size Medium, it fits perfectly, no adjustments whatsoever.  I would have to add some width to the longer versions, but that is easy.
  • As I mentioned above, I really like all the variations shown in this pattern.
  • I think the instructions should show the burrito method for the back yoke.  I'm annoyed that I thought about this afterwards!  There are lots of tutorials for this on the internet (one example from ClosetCasePatterns) and as long as you cut and sew accurately it is a much cleaner and quicker finish.
  • The hidden placket seems unnecessarily complicated.  I read a few reviews where the reviewer had changed the front bands to a regular shirt front with visible buttons because they couldn't follow the instructions and I thought "I've made closures like this before, how hard can it be?".  Well quite hard it turns out!  I am certain that in the past I have used a much simpler method with extended fronts that you fold to create the band (like this from Threads).  Here the bands are constructed with lots of separate pieces and then sewn on.  There is nothing wrong with the instructions, although the diagrams are quite small, you just need to be very clear which pieces are front band, facing band and fly.  Of course this is a perfectly valid, and probably the traditional, method, but then they go and have you just stick a collar on with no collar stand.  I don't know, I sound really grumpy writing this out, but I just think make your mind up, is this a formal shirt or isn't it?!
After all that moaning and putting the shirt into time out for a bit I have come to appreciate it though I'm going to give myself a bit of breathing space before tackling another version!