Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Pattern Notebook: McCall 6613 Men's Shirt

I have a mounting pile of stuff to write about, not least of which is that I had a lovely evening in Fabric Planet last week with in the wonderful company of Aleah of No Time To Sew, Cindy of Cation Designs, and Nhi who is shockingly blogless (haha).  It's pretty amazing to meet up with an almost stranger and chat like you're old friends for hours on end, but such are the wonders of the internet age.

Based on a tip-off from Aleah, I made sure to go to the FIDM Scolarship Store when I was downtown this weekend, and I scored some of the same turquoise fabric she found there, and also some fabric that is absolutely PERFECT for making yoga pants.  That's what I'm working on right now.

But before I get to that, I want to clear away some of the backlog, so here's the first up; the shirt for Mr. McCall:

After watching me take boring photo's for my pattern reviews, Mr. McCall decided to show me how I should have been posing all this time.  I've blurred his face to protect the guilty:

This shirt sat around totally finished except for buttons and buttonholes for ages.  I'm not sure what exactly I had against buttonholes, but I just couldn't seem to make myself do them.  In the end, I used a singer buttonholer on the featherweight, and it was really not too much trouble at all (after I remembered to screw on the plate that covers the feed dogs). I always seem to put off the last few steps of a garment, I'm particularly allergic to hems, not sure what that says about me, but lets not look in to it too deeply, huh?.  Here's the write-up:

Pattern Notebook

McCall's 6613 Unisex Button-Up Shirt

View / Size used: View C, Size XXL

Fabric Used: Shirt weight cotton with a little stretch from Michael Levine's Loft.  It's really perfect shirt fabric except that it does wrinkle pretty easily.  I would love to know how to make it less wrinkly, perhaps I can starch it or something?

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
I made a narrow shoulder adjustment of about 1"

Were the instructions easy to follow?
This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, so there was lots of info both in the instructions and on the tissue relating to fitting the pattern.  In their wrap-top pattern (M6513) I found this info really cumbersome and made the whole thing unnecessarily complicated.  In this pattern I found the fitting info pretty well laid out, and kept separate from the construction instructions, so it was much more helpful.  It's nice that the lines for an FBA are already on the pattern. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it's a pretty classic shirt, with a proper yoke, stand collar and pockets.  I didn't like that there was no cuff placket, and I would have preferred a simpler fold-over front band rather than the extra pattern piece. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
I like that it's finished, hahaha!  I like the colour and pattern on the fabric.  I chose not to do the front band on the bias, because I didn't think I'd like that look with the stripe, but I kinda wish I had, because I didn't get the stripes matched up properly.

Mr. McCall almost always has his shirt sleeves rolled up, so he really likes the tab that holds the rolled up sleeve in place.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Half the point of sewing a classic shirt like this is to turn it in to a TNT pattern, so yes and yes.  When I do sew it again, I would make some more adjustments, which I'll elaborate on below.

Prep Notes: 

I had already made up M6044 for Mr. McCall, and the shoulders were far too big, so I knew in advance I'd probably have to adjust here.  I tried to compare the M6044 shoulder to this one, to see how much to adjust.  I ended up taking an inch off the shoulder in the front piece and yoke pattern.  I probably could have taken another inch.

I had to refer to one of my sewing books to remind myself how to do the adjustment.  I got this book 'Practical Sewing' in a thrift store long before I knew how to read a pattern let alone adjust one, but it has turned out to be surprisingly helpful. 

To make the actual adjustment, I measured the shoulder seam, cut the pattern, and then moved the wedge around so that the shoulder seam measured 1" less

I didn't consider that moving up the shoulder would cause the sleeve to start higher up, and so was ever so slightly shorter than I'd like.  If I made a further shoulder adjustment in the next version I would add a little length to the sleeve.

Cutting Notes:
There are so many damn pattern pieces in a shirt! This isn't the fault of the pattern, it's just how it goes, but it makes the cutting out take FOREVER, and it made me a little sloppy, which of course makes me annoyed with myself when I'm actually sewing it up. 

Because there are so many pieces, I totally forgot to cut 4 cuffs rather than 2, ugh!  

I intend to buy some of the nice interfacing when I run out of what I have, but in the mean time, I gotta use up that Pellon, so I used the Pellon Sheer Knit interfacing on one side of the cuffs and collar pieces.

I had a look at the RTW shirts in the closet and only one or two seemed to be interfaced at the front band (and most of them were fold over front bands) so I left off the interfacing there.

Construction Notes: 
I was using a cotton that had a little stretch in it, so didn't wait till step number 54(!!) in the instructions to stay-stitch the.  Instead I stay-stitched the neck on the front pieces and yoke as soon as I removed the pattern paper from the fabric.  Then I added the pockets, and attached the yokes to the back using the burrito method (described in detail in this post).

I also switched around the order of construction a little; after attaching the front to the back, I sewed the two sleeve pieces together, added the tab, and then sewed the sleeve in flat.  Then I sewed the inner arm seam and side seams all in one.  

I didn't flat fell anything, I was just serging to finish seams. Perhaps if I was flat felling I would have sewn the sleeves in as the instructions describe, but I didn't bother this time.

After that I assembled the cuff, and the collar.  I posted about turning those corners here.  I attached the cuff to the sleeve, but didn't do any of the buttonholes because  I decided to do all of the buttonholes at once.

After that, I had very little choice in the order of construction, because you have to do the hem before the front band, and have to do the front band before attaching the collar. I got a little stuck on the hem (as I mentioned here) - my rolled hem foot works great on a super stable fabric, but this cotton has stretch, and was getting all wavy.  After experimenting with scraps, I decided to just serge the raw edge and turn it under.  It still stretched out a little, but not nearly as bad as the rolled hem foot. 

I took a whole bunch of photos of sewing on the front band, but I think I've blathered on plenty long enough.  If anyone wants to see them, I'll be happy to post them another time.

Final thoughts:
I'm pretty happy with the final result but if/when I make it again, I have a laundry list of stuff I would adjust:

Make the cuffs wider- they seem pretty narrow to me

I would add 1/2 - 1" around the neck.

I would make the seam allowances on the collars and cuffs 3/8" from the start - why bother trimming later?

If the fabric was stable, I would make the seam allowance on the hem 3/8" so I don't have to trim before doing a rolled hem.

I would take a further 1" off the shoulder and add 1" to the sleeve length.

I think there's some more adjustment that could be done in the back, but I really don't know what it is.

Machines / settings used: 

Featherweight for construction and topstitching, 8ish stitches per inch.

Brother 1034D serger to finish seams.  I seem to have forgotten to record my settings.

Review on Pattern Review Here

Related Posts:

In Progress: Men's shirt M6613
Shirt still in Progress: Cuff Corner and rolled hem


The Slapdash Sewist said...

Nice job on this! It looks very professional and non-homemade (which is my fear in trying to make a men's shirt). I am very amused by your husband's modeling.

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks so much! You'll notice there aren't any super close photos - it's a little sloppier looking close up, but hopefully no one will be examining it that closely!

Nhi said...

Mr. McCall's shirt turned out great. Looks like it came off the racks of Nordstrom. Funny enough I'm tackling M6513 now. You're right all the extra marking are so confusing and completely useless in my case.

velosewer said...

I like this. And Mr M looks happy with the result too. Bonus points there.

Judith said...

I am just about to tackle this shirt - thanks for the detailed review. Just love the photos...

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks so much - I'm very lucky that he's easy to please!

Ms. McCall said...

Very glad if the review helped Judith. If you get stuck on anything, let me know, I'd be happy to help if I can :)