McCalls 6991 + Vogue 8936: DIY Silk Crossover Blouse and Leopard Print Pencil Skirt
Let’s get straight down to the business. McCalls 6991. I bought this pattern as soon as it was released. I have a RTW blouse similar to view B already in my closet (seen here), and I wanted to be able to tweak the pattern to make it easier to wear (i.e. less chance of exposing myself!) Plus I wanted sleeves.
For this particular version I made view C. I had some beautiful sandwashed silk in my stash and I thought it would be a good first project to cut my teeth on in terms of sewing with silk. The silk itself sewed like a dream. I used a microtex needle, glass headed silk pins and the finest “between” (quilting) needle I could find for the hand sewing. Yes, there is some hand sewing in this project.
Anyway, I would sadly consider this particular project a partial fail. It may even turn out to be a complete fail if it doesn’t make it out of my wardrobe. That remains to be seen. What is the problem? Let me stress that it is not to do with the pattern. I think the pattern (at least view C) is essentially sound. No, the problem is that for some reason I imagined this silk to be much wider than it actually was. I laid the pattern pieces out prior to cutting. All seemed well. I proceeded to cut out all the pieces with the exception of the front pieces. They were going to be cut last. Then I noticed the front pieces were cut on the bias. Oh yes. Much swearing ensued. My husband was enlisted to try and figure out the best way to cut the pieces from the remaining fabric. I consulted with Meg from The McCalls Pattern Company. In the end, I decided the fronts had to be cut on the bias, but the best way to do it with the meagre amount of fabric I had left was to piece the left front piece (as this would be hidden under the right cross over). Here’s the offending piece, with french seamed pieced patches (also cut on the bias). I think there were a total of 4 separate joins….
But that piecing…it just hasn’t really worked. I think the left side has come up a tiny bit small and so that side is just not sitting right against my body. You can perhaps see it better in the next couple of pictures:
Can you see the left side is pulling? And here with my hands at my side:
I would even guess that if I had cut that left side as I should have done, I might have got away with not having to (purchase) wear a camisole – and I dislike having to wear camisoles under anything!
Here’s an inside shot – sorry still no dress form. Everything was french seamed and the hem handstitched.
Oh yes, I even made self covered buttons. I think they really elevate the project to another level.
Ah me, a lovely blouse and maybe in time I will feel differently about it. But just not right. What would you have done Readers, if you wanted to save that silk? Hmmm?
The skirt is made using Vogue 8936. I believe leopard print is going to be big this season and I loves me some leopard print. It was made in a couple of hours using some mystery double-scuba-knit fabric. I took a wedge out measuring a total of 5 inches from either side to get the shape I wanted. The only reason I used this particular pattern is that I already had it in my stash and I have made a top from it (here). I love the skirt but I have already given the top away to charity. So what I am saying is don’t rush out and buy this pattern just for the skirt. I see it is already OOP. But I really like the skirt. A lot.
Bias tops. A and B: very loose-fitting, pullover, mock wrap, self-lined yoke back, left front gathered to right side forming drape, narrow hem and conceal button closing. B: pocket, shaped hemline, wrong side shows on back hemline. C: button tab on rolled sleeves. D: collar. C and D: wrap, semi-fitted, front gathered into yoke, button/loop closing. B, C and D: long sleeves. Note: no provisions provided for above and below waist adjustments.
I made view C.
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Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I want to be very clear, the reason this pattern didn’t work out for me is because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the front pieces out (which are supposed to be cut on the bias). In the end, I decided I would cut them on the bias, but I only had enough to piece the left front piece. I figured it would be covered up by the right cross-over, so I pieced the left front together using 4 pieces (all cut on the basis). In the end it hasn’t quite worked out. The left side is pulling and the neck won’t sit flat against my body. It’s a shame but I thought I would still share the finished blouse with you.
The pattern doesn’t mention stay stitching the neck line or understitching the facing (both of which I did). I do wish I had perhaps eliminated the facings altogether and just done a narrow hem as you can see the facings through the silk.
A sandwashed silk. The McCalls blog gives some great tips on the kinds of fabrics to choose for this blouse.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I shortened the sleeves by 2.5 inches and did an approx. 1 inch sway back adjustment.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I am not entirely happy with this outcome, but I feel like I don’t want to be beaten by this pattern. So I might revisit it. It’s all about choosing the right fabric for this pattern. Yes. I would recommend. I think the right side is fine. It’s the left side which is causing me the pain….
Love it or hate it I have a feeling you will be sick of seeing tops like this in the shops. Get on the bandwagon and have a go at making one.
Well, that’s it for now. Hope your sewing is going well for you. Sometimes we have projects that don’t turn out as we imagined or hoped, but in the words of Bram Stoker, “We learn from failure, not from success!”