As fall rolls around and the weather gets colder, I usually start to get my sewjo back. I started this McCalls M7387 shirt back in December, and planned to draft a collar stand and collar using David Page Coffin’s shirt making book… which was the main reason I was procrastinating. When I got around to starting it again, I realised I didn’t have enough light coloured interfacing, so again I got temporarily derailed. (Maybe it’s a good idea to build up a stash of often used materials!) But still no collar drafting…
So while browsing Instagram last week, the Viki Sews Cynthia dress shirt pattern caught my eye, and I jumped at the chance to buy the pattern while telling myself I could use the collar to finish the shirt. Sometimes you have to bribe yourself.
The pants are Ralph Pink Coco Trouser (which I thought I had blogged about previously but apparently not). I tapered the trousers considerably – twice actually. When I learned about grain line on pants, I realised I had tapered them incorrectly the first time (which was why they were twisting around my legs while walking). For awhile I was avoiding fixing them, but I actually find it surprisingly quick and satisfying doing fixes, considering how much effort the whole garment making process makes.
Design and construction notes
I didn’t make the front fly, but a hidden button placket, turning over the fabric to reduce bulk. Closet Core Patterns tutorial for the Kalle shirt was helpful (though I think I also referred to one more tutorial online). The thing which puzzles me is the amount of interfacing everyone seems to use. I used knit interfacing which is super light weight, but I feel like with the hidden placket and all those layers, the front band is still a tiny bit on the stiff side. Still, it’s completely wearable.
As a side note, my boyfriend had a worn out dress shirt he was about to throw out, but I salvaged it for the buttons. I was curious about the interfacing situation, so I took it apart. And what do you know! Front placket: total of 1 layer of interfacing (none on the button side!). Collar stand: only 1 layer of interfacing. Collar: only 1 layer of (a very sturdy) interfacing.
So next time, I’m going to try reducing the amount of interfacing on the front placket. And I definitely need to find some old, worn out but nicely constructed garments at the thrift store to take apart.
I used the burrito method for the yoke. And then I accidentally sewed the wrong fronts (i.e. “inside out”) and so I decided to live with the back being a box pleat instead of an inverted pleat. I was a bit undecided whether it looks a bit too huge
I installed a proper collar and stand. I used Viki Sews Cynthia pattern for the collar and stand, which thankfully fit. I really love the collar shape – normally I hate buttoning up collars all the way, but this one is WOW! So excited to start on the Cynthia shirt next!
What I would differently next time
I might size up next time if sewing this in cotton? I don’t know why people complain about excess ease in the Big 4 patterns – I definitely don’t feel like this is the case. It actually feels like it’s kind of tight around the back and hips and riding up. Maybe it’s just more noticeable in cotton than my previous version in viscose.
The other thing I would do is to not be so hard on myself, and to really slow down. Even with this shirt I slowed down and tried to do it as well as I could, yet still ended up with a ghastly amount of mistakes and sloppy work. But now that the shirt is done, I realise how much I learned on the way, and really, no one else will notice the mistakes except me. Looking at it from another perspective, there are lot of really beautifully done details on the shirt – and I can totally see myself wearing it lots! And the next shirt(s) will be even better!
One thing I realise is that the quality (or lack thereof) of the construction really shows up on plain cotton. There’s nowhere to hide the mistakes compared to flowy viscose, or a loud print. Conversely, it is pretty satisfying to see nicely done details in a plain fabric.
More sewing pattern review details
Top, tunic and dresses (semi-fitted through bust) with one-piece collar. Large back pleated into self-lined yoke with forward shoulder seams, and front-fly button closing.
I made view A, the top view.
Pattern Size Selection:
I made a size S, and was glad I didn’t size down, as the pattern doesn’t have excessive ease.
Did a 1″ swayback adjustment.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
This is my second time making this pattern and previously I said their fly front instructions were confusing. I only followed the instructions loosely.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The amount of design ease. The kimono sleeve.
All the slip stitching!
Instructions aren’t great. Following their method for the fly would end up being quite bulky – there are better ways to construct parts of the garment.
At first, I wasn’t sure if the huge box pleat looked strange in cotton, but overall I’m quite pleased with the shirt.
Buttons are from Minerva Impex G070118 0.5” diameter clear button.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I were only interested in the top, I would probably have bought Closet Core Patterns Kalle shirt instead, since I struggled so much with the instructions. But I feel like I got my money’s worth by making 2 quite different garments from the same pattern! I may even make this pattern again.
It will depend on how much I like the results from sewing the Viki Sews Cynthia shirt.