This version of McCalls 2797 is now Out of Print but I managed to find a replacement to my very well-worn and tatty original pattern on etsy.com. I wanted to revisit this style but could not find any of my original adaptations and fitting adjustments. I would need to start again from the beginning.
First, measure myself and compare with the pattern’s stated measurements. That done, I chose to make this ‘wearable muslin’ from a length of Bright Blue background dog print cotton fabric purchased at New Threads Quilt shop, Weyhill Fairground, sometime last year, or it may even have been 2015! So this project is definitely part of my stash-busting resolution. The fabric had been laundered and pressed ready to get making a new shirt.
I would be making View A and cut an 18 at the shoulders before grading out for bust, waist and hips. I made no changes to the length of the bodice or the sleeves.
The construction of the shirt was very straightforward. Panel and shoulder seams were stitched and overlocked. The neckline was stay-stitched and a label inset placed at the back neck.
back neckline showing the top-stitched label insert
I wanted to add some definition to the collar and for this I used a strip of striped bias fabric made into narrow piping. The fabric for the piping came from an old pyjama jacket of my husband’s – definitely re-cycling! In order to make piping the outer edge of the collar easier, I rounded the sharp point using the base of my pencil sharpener as a guide for the curve. The collar was completed and attached to the neckline. Next I attached the facings. The pattern calls for the facing to be cut from the same pattern piece as the central panel of the shirt but I thought this would be too substantial for a Summer garment and therefore drafted my own facing piece. I drew a line from 3” along the shoulder seam curving gently over the bust area and then 3” wide down the front edge. Both the collar and the facing were interfaced with medium weight fusible interfacing.
For the side seams I took the standard 5/8th inch seam allowance but when I tried on the shirt found that it was too tight around the waist and hips. I unpicked the stitching and re-sewed taking a bare ¼ inch seam allowance thus providing an additional 1 inch of ease. The sleeves were prepared with a 1 inch machine sewn hem prior to insertion. Insertion of the sleeves was straightforward and I finished off the construction by overlocking and machine stitching a narrow hem for the bodice of the shirt. As a new feature for me, instead of traditional buttons and buttonholes, I used 5 White plastic poppers to fasten the shirt.
Now for the finale – oh dear – I should have had a fitting with the sleeves tacked in place. They were much too tight and it was like wearing a straight jacket! The shirt rode up at the back neck and the whole thing was uncomfortable to wear. Also, I noticed that my bust was pulling the front hemline up but fortunately as it is shaped this problem is not so obvious as the sleeves issue.
The finished shirt
I am pondering what to do to resolve the issue. Probably the best thing is to remove the sleeves, make some self-fabric binding (or some more of the contrast stripe?) to convert the shirt to a sleeveless over-blouse. Watch this space…… in the meantime, I have re-drafted the sleeve and the front centre and side panel patterns to account for the raised hemline. Before I use one of my ‘special favourite’ fabrics to make this style again, I think it will be best to try another ‘wearable’ muslin.