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!


  1. Cute print!

    I always think that I should be better at sewing shirts than I am. I must be lacking in the precision required, especially around the collar.

    Good luck on the shirt making are off to a great start!

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful shirt. I love shirts too, so versatile and yet so difficult to buy a RTW one that fits. This is a good pattern too, I like the grown on sleeves and the collar stand really suits you.

  3. Very cute shirt! I've made a few now and I find the Craftsy Class the Classic Tailored Shirt by Pam Howard to be invaluable. She does show the burrito method, calls it the yoke trick. The shirt making book by David Page Coffin is also extremely useful. I don't make the separate front band any more, the wrap around is not only easier but I think looks better. Great tip for that back yoke! I'll have to keep that in mind. Good luck on your future shirts!

  4. Cute top! I love the horse print. I also highly recommend David Coffin's Shirtmaking book. Completely changed the way that I do collars, collar bands, cuffs and plackets. It's easier and results in a clean RTW finish. (I think the cuff method may have been in a Threads issue several years ago). I now skip pattern instructions on all of those details. I have to wonder why the pattern company's don't update their methods--they are mostly the same as they were 30 years ago, while (I think) sewers expect more professional results now.

  5. I just bought this pattern, so thanks for the tips and hints. I always do shirt yokes burrito style, but don't think I've ever sewn a hidden button placket before. At least I don't remember, so appreciate the link. Your shirt is really cute. It looks fine without the sleeve cuffs(?). I love the horse print.

  6. I think it looks great! It's hard to find nice shirting cottons that aren't stripes! Do you mind sharing your source if it was online?


  7. Great print, and it's turned into a very cute shirt. I agree about collars without stands - yuck!

  8. Thank you for this honest post abt the struggles of sewing. So many bloggers are these experts that create perfect clothes and few people write about the struggle. I'm desperate to make a shirt but completely intimidated by the process. Love yours though and love it with the stand collar. #inspired to face my fears

  9. Great looking shirt, and I love the horse print! I have this pattern as well and would like to make the dress version. Thanks for all the heads-up and challenges you faced sewing this pattern. Nice work!

  10. Love your shirt and the horse print! Even with the reviews this one is still on my list as I love the look and lines!

  11. I've yet to successfully sew a woven shirt. Something about all the fit and details... It never works out for me, so I'm always impressed when other people sew one. I totally understand your desire to take a break before making another, though hopefully it'll go better the second time through. And I love your horse fabric - it's so cute!

  12. Hello i love those horses galloping around your collar ! Yes I always find that I need to be very precise with shirts and even then I feel very pernikity about them although going and looking in the stores helps a bit . We sewists do get a bit OCD about collars .

  13. I laughed out loud when you said "the horses were taunting me"! Well it is a great looking shirt regardless the hiccups 😃

  14. Ha! You put your shirt in time out! My dress is currently in time out.. hahaha! I really want to finish it, but after reading a ton of blogs and reviews of this pattern, I'm still no closer to believing that I can make it work so that I'll actually wear it. It's really a shame to work so hard on something and the dream of a well executed garment is hopeless. =(

  15. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Atlantic City - Dr.MCD
    Borgata Hotel 제주도 출장안마 Casino & Spa is Atlantic City's premier integrated 포항 출장샵 resort boasting more than 2,300 김해 출장안마 hotel rooms and suites, 골인 벳 먹튀 2,100 원주 출장안마 redesigned guest rooms and a