I am embracing #YearoftheSleeve, at long last! As you might remember, I am still on a retail fast (only one emergency pair of trousers bought since 1st Jan 2015), so the only way to access trends and fashion is through sewing my own. Flutter sleeves are everywhere this year, both in shops and in our very own sewosphere. And McCalls made it all easier with this pattern, M7542, a simple top with a lot of sleeve variations, that can be a great starting point for all sort of yummy designs. And so I jumped on the bandwagon and bought the pattern to have a play myself. I was really gutted I didn’t get around to actually entering the competition, but there were some great winners that provided loads of inspiration.
This what my contribution would have been, had I finished it on time…
I know you guys love a bit of backstory, so allow me to tell you about how this blouse ended up happening…
So, two weekends ago, my best friend was visiting from Romania, so I took the excuse to make her something quick and also do a test of the pattern. You might have seen this pic on Instagram.
Overall, a success and absolutely perfect fit for my friend’s tastes, it was the right use for this piece of floral fabric that I randomly picked up at a pattern and fabric exchange last year. You might know by now that I am absolutely not a floral kind of girl at all (not sure what I was thinking really when I picked it up) at it was so great to turn it into a gift that will make someone really happy. Having finished it, I also realised that I need to increase the hip width to fit me, as well as shorten it a bit (my friend is a bit narrower in the hips than me), so a win win situation after all. I also tested a modification of the back, with a deep v-neck instead of the more demure crew neck version.
I also really liked the idea of some ties combined with the flutter sleeves, as inspired by this M&S blouse:
So, taking all this into account, here is what resulted:
And here are the details:
Pattern: McCalls M7542, view D. I cut a size 10 and graded to 12 at the hips, with the length of view E (shorter).
Fabric: Stripped viscose, that I picked up at last April’s London Pattern Swap as well. It was about 1m and I had to do some creative cutting to get it all to work. I also use a bit of poly-cotton bias binding for the neckline finishing.
Alterations: You might have already gathered that I changed the neckline at the back into a deep V and also tweaked the front neckline to a more boat-like shape than the base of the neck original one. Because of these changes, and also because I hate the darn things, I replaced the facings with shop-bought bias binding (didn’t have enough fabric to make self-made bias). I added side ties, out of the little fabric I had left. I would have liked them to be chunkier, but there just wasn’t enough fabric left. I also reduced the length by about 5 cm.
Construction: This is a really straightforward project, there really is nothing complicated with regards to the construction. I overlocked all edges for a neat finishing and use bias binding for the neckline as I already mentioned. The one thing I did differently from version one is sewing the ‘trumpet’ to the sleeve flat, rather than in the round. Also, use two rows of gathering instead of one, it will allow for better control and distribution of the volume. I finished the hem and sleeve edges with a very narrow overlock stitch, then turned it over and sewed down very close to the edge. I just could not get my narrow hem foot to work for love nor money (any tips on using a Pfaff narrow hem foot are very welcome).
The only thing I’m unhappy with are the shoulder seams, where the lines do not match because the dart distorted the alignment. On the other hand, I have seen so many RTW garments with poor pattern matching, and people don’t even realise it, so I’ll try to live with it.
If you are wondering about the different alignment on the sleeves vs flounce, it was because of how little fabric I had to work with, but I actually quite like how that works out (and I don’t have to worry about the stripes matching).
Verdict: Love it! I feel so fashionable wearing it, it’s very light and breezy for the summer, can be dressed up or down or go day to night. I wore it to work with a jacket and the ties wore in front, but then went out for drinks without a jacket, showing off the racier back version and the ties wore in the back.
I would definitely like to make up another version, the one with the massive sleeves, but I need to find the right fabric. I also want to put in the thicker ties to get the same effect as the M&S blouse!
Right everyone, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine now! Have a great week, guys!
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