Monday, June 9, 2014

One more time: McCalls 6513 knit top

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was planning to sew a lot of repeat patterns this summer and I am sticking to my word. In fact tonight I even cut out my blazer jacket I also mentioned previously, so expect to see posts on that soon.

Today's repeat is McCalls 6513 knit top, a Palmer and Pletsch pattern (say that 3 times fast:) with 2 different versions. Previously I have only made the sleeveless v-neck version, not the slightly shawl collar version.

I used a yummy rayon knit jersey from Girl Charlee (where else). It is so soft, feels like lingerie. Of course worn with my most favorite skirt, Vogue 1247.

McCalls tshirt

Here is a closer look at the fabric, and the pattern envelope.

Fabric close up   Mc6513 pattern

The first time I made this I was making a sleeveless verision and the armholes were kind of low, so to fix that I just took it up at the shoulders and called it a day. That did serve to move the ruching in the front up a little too high but in the busy print it wasn't really noticeable. When I started on this version I vaguely recalled that issue, but didn't do anything about it. Thus when I gave it a quick baste and try on, same problem, although not as bad since I was going to add the short sleeves. In the end I did a couple of adjustments and made some notes on the pattern. If I make another I will raise the underarm a good one inch for a sleeveless version.

Here is the back pattern piece so you can see the changes. I moved the sleeve cap in about 3/8 inch as the shoulders were too wide. I changed the slope of the shoulder seam so that it took out some at the neckline and raised the v-neck a bit. In the future I will just shorten the front and back bodice about 3 inches below the shoulder seam. Orange pencil, new seam line. Blue pencil, original seam line.

McCalls t-shirt adjustment

My experience with McCalls patterns is that the shoulders and neckline are too wide for me, they always have that gaping neckline. Even more than other pattern companies. So I rarely make McCalls.
As I was putting the pattern pieces away I thought to compare it with another knit wrap top that I really like, which is Simplicity 1916. Similar wrap front but check out the difference in the back pattern piece, both size 12. No wonder the Simplicity fits a little better, or at least closer. The difference in the armhole depth is striking.

comparison of armhole

One other adjustment has to do with the sleeve hem. Take a look at this "in process" photo, sleeves unhemmed. I photoshopped the purple line just to emphasize the difference. I have pinned up the sleeve on the photo right with a 5/8 hem on the outer arm and an almost 1.5" hem at the underarm. See how it makes the proportion better? That is partly due to a too low armhole and partly just to sleeve design. But I think these small proportion changes make such a big difference. Pin - baste - look in the mirror, those steps take a few minutes but you will see small adjustments that will result in more satisfaction in your finished make.

tshirt sleeve hem

Front and back on the dressform.

McCalls tshirt red printT-shirt back

Many more pattern repeats coming along this summer. Speaking of summer, it was over 100 degrees F here the last two days. Eeek!  it is only early June. Oh well, the tomato plants are growing like crazy.

Thanks for all the great comments left on my last post with your thoughs on Fast or Slow sewing. I am suprised to note that Slow Sewing seems to predominate. Very interesting.
Winner of the drawing for the sewing books are:

Florencia for the Party Dress book
Klima for the Serger book.
please email me with your mailing address. (note if you click on my profile in the top right corner there is a link to email)

Thanks for participating and stay cool if summer has arrived in your part of the planet!

Today's SunnyGal garden photo is one of my absolute favorites, a Shooting Star Hydrangea which I put in the ground maybe two years ago. Finally it is putting out a good number of these blooms. Isn't the name perfect?

shooting star hydrangea


  1. Its lovely as always. I think your modifications are right on, I have this pattern and I think I may try and make it this weekend.

  2. Thank for the detailed post. Your top looks lovely!
    I love your beautiful flowers!

  3. Thanks for all the information on our adjustments, I really appreciate it. Great looking top.

  4. I love this top on you Beth! The fabric is really nice too! I've not purchased anything from Girl Charlie and think I may just stop over there to check the out! I also am a HUGE fan of the Simplicity pattern you mentioned and will be adding a couple of those to my summer wardrobe this year too! Great job on your version of the Vogue pattern!

  5. This top looks great on you! Thanks for the hint about hemming the sleeves to make them more level. It looks much better that way. Very helpful post!
    Your hydrangea is gorgeous. I've never seen that variety.

  6. Very pretty top and interesting about the different sizing between the two pattern companies.

  7. Great looking top. Yours is so much prettier than the one on the envelope.

  8. Fabulous! I am currently havering a love affair with rayon, too. :)

  9. Interesting comparison of the sleeve hems -- very helpful. My cherry tomatoes are growing well in this weather -- so fun to see them!

  10. Hey it's Nicole from Girl Charlee Fabrics. This top is so cute! Thanks for the post.

  11. Love the top! You are such an enabler. I just bought a ton of knits from Girl Charlee.