Summery white shirt (but no summer yet): McCalls 6512

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last screed on blogging and narcissicm, all the comments were so interesting and insightful.

I started this site because I wanted somewhere to rant on in tedious detail about all my obsessions, which I keep from my friends to avoid boring them into a coma. I really enjoy getting feedback and comments, which were mentioned as reasons for blogging, and I do find this site keeps me more motivated and creative.

The bleeding edge of online fashion has long ago left the bog-standard world of blogs to jump to specialist Tumblr sites, Pinterest, and other innovations, which means that the really interesting and specialist stuff can begin to explode (witness the huge number of sewing blogs that have sprung up in the last couple of years). When blogging becomes just another normal method of communication, the novelty of it doesn’t matter so the content becomes more important. More types of people get involved, so there’s so much more variety. Which is great if you are both incredibly nosy and love reading, like me.

Anyway, enough waffling. here’s my latest creation, McCalls 6512. I can’t rave enough about what an awesome pattern this is. Here’s a line-drawing of the magnificence:

Check out that sexy saddle sleeve! It’s like a superhero hybrid of a raglan and kimono, I think it may have magical powers. The styling on the envelope is rather terrible as usual with McCalls, you can see it here.

Here it is in REAL LIFE.

I sewed version A almost straight out of the envelope, but I lengthened the sleeves a couple of inches, the body 1.5 inches, and then had to bring in the underarm/sleeve seams by about 1cm. I did french seams throughout, except for the pesky sleeve/body join.

The fabric is a lovely embroidered cotton voile, from my favourite Edinburgh fabric shop.

The awesome pockets and sleeve tabs make it look super professional. I’ve had absolutely no unsolicited compliments on it, and I suspect that’s because it looks like I bought it in Next. Which gives me mixed feelings. Would it make more sense to sew items that are less generic? In other news, I’m not happy unless I have something to worry about.

The hem line is nicely curved, and the shape is loose-fitting but not baggy.

‘Try and look natural Kathryn. Oh never mind.’
Bun enhance
Extreme elbow close-up

Because it’s a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, it comes with lines on the pattern telling you where to do a FBA, a swayback adjustment, and a few other fitting things. The instructions are also really good. The sleeve parts do look a bit like a strange jigsaw puzzle when you first try and put it together, but it all makes sense eventually.

I’ve already relied heavily on this top for Me-Made-May. I know that having a basic white shirt is one of those boring women’s magazines recommendations, but it does actually turn out to be very useful! Who knew?

McCalls 6512 shirt
This is my ‘looking into the distance pose’. It’s not very good.

Apologies for my posing ‘skills’ and general air of blotchiness in these pics. Obviously I’m not as narcissistic as I thought or I would try a bit harder with the old photos, but there you go.

I am definitely going to make the version with the long sleeves and bow next. YOU MUST BUY THIS PATTERN. If not you’ll be filled with regret when it inevitably goes out of print, and you have to buy my copy on ebay for a vastly inflated sum. Do it now!

27 thoughts on “Summery white shirt (but no summer yet): McCalls 6512

  1. thesecretlifeofseams June 1, 2012 / 10:26 PM

    this is gorgeous, meant to comment when I first saw it! I think more in-your-face styles like a loud print or a fancy dress usually garner spontaneous compliments whereas something like this which is elegant and understated doesn’t normally shout out to people. Plus I totally get the ‘why don’t they love it, it’s my best work to date!’. I just start going up to people and saying, ‘I made this, tell me you love it.’

    • yesilikethat June 9, 2012 / 8:12 PM

      I’ve started doing that too! Shameless compliment fishing. x

  2. Rehanon May 30, 2012 / 11:28 AM

    Honey that looks so smashing on you. It’s giving you a cool, calm grace that says is it hot I hadn’t even noticed 🙂 I love the red shoesies too.


  3. Susanne May 28, 2012 / 12:34 PM

    There’s definitely a bit of a public-service element to craft blogging – some adventurous soul needs to see past the ugly pattern photos so we can all see how awesome a garment it actually is!

  4. Sally May 24, 2012 / 1:04 PM

    I am in the midst of making this shirt, and am having a fit. The back neck collar band is at least 4 inches too short. It can’t possibly fit onto the back yoke, and I have no idea what I did wrong. If you line up the pattern pieces, you can see that it CAN’T POSSIBLY WORK. Did you come across this problem, and how did you overcome it? If you didn’t have this problem, I wonder what I did wrong.
    When I try it on for size, the back yoke neck is way too big, so it appears that this is the problem, not the neck collar band. Aside from remaking the collar band, I have no other ideas, but still… it bugs me that patterns don’t fit together, unlike the old days.

    • yesilikethat May 24, 2012 / 9:12 PM

      Hi Sally! Now I’m trying to remember, and I do think it was quite tricky making the collar band match the shirt, and it required a lot of wiggling about around at the machine, but it wasn’t as bad as your experience. Are you making the version with the neck tie? That’s a different pattern piece I think. One thing I did do was stay-stitch the neck but I’m sure it wouldn’t make up for 4 inches difference, that sounds drastic! Will have another look at the pattern.

    • Sally June 4, 2012 / 12:55 PM

      Mystery solved. I found out, when I actually put all the cloth pieces together, that lining up the pattern pieces doesn’t work in the case of this pattern, at least regarding the collar band, because the collar band seam and the seam on the shoulder are not meant to line up. I finally got the collar band to fit, even though it was slightly tight.

    • yesilikethat June 9, 2012 / 8:12 PM

      Hooray, glad you got it sorted! I’m thinking about making the long-sleeved version now.

  5. theperfectnose May 19, 2012 / 12:37 AM

    Right, quick question, did you cut out the size marked on the pattern envelope (for your measurements) or did you have to cut a size smaller?

    • yesilikethat May 19, 2012 / 8:23 AM

      Hey! The sizing on McCalls is extremely bizarre, I had to go online to check out the measurements as they aren’t on the envelope. I usually cut my high bust measurement, which is a 34, and I did that for this pattern, which I think corresponded to a 12? For tight things I would do a FBA but it wasn’t needed on this. The picture on the envelope is super-hideous I agree!

  6. theperfectnose May 19, 2012 / 12:30 AM

    Ye gads that’s an ugly pattern envelope-you obviously have an eye for diamonds in the rough (your make looks awesome) so into the RSS feed you go… (sounds like a bad special episode of Futurama..)..

  7. Madelaine Lyons Cooper May 16, 2012 / 8:45 PM

    Thanks for sharing! I bought the pattern because of the line drawings, but put it on the back burner because I had no idea how to do an FBA on it. Knowing it has the directions on the pattern makes me much more confidant to give it a go. And yours turned out lovely, which also helps 😉

    • yesilikethat May 16, 2012 / 8:51 PM

      Glad it helped! It is very forgiving, so if you normally do a small FBA you might get away without doing one.

  8. gingermakes May 14, 2012 / 1:31 PM

    Gorgeous! It’s so light and summery! And the neckline is so flattering on you! I love it! I have never the advice to have a basic white shirt as I’m a huge slob and tend to spill things on myself, but I love your look so much that I might have to try something in white!

  9. sharron59 May 14, 2012 / 12:26 PM

    Nice work, looking forward to seeing the other version with tie

  10. Donna May 14, 2012 / 8:41 AM

    That does look like a magical pattern! Those line drawings are pretty persuasive, esp. combined with your beautiful version!

  11. Helen's Sewing Adventures May 14, 2012 / 7:27 AM

    I agree with oobop, the envelope pattern really doesn’t do that shirt justice. Your top looks great and I agree that a white shirt is just so useful however clichéd it may be.

  12. prttynpnk May 13, 2012 / 9:50 PM

    Ok that’s another thing I like about the bloggin’ I get so much more inspired by a real sewists ideas than the meh envelopes cover. I love this and it sure hadn’t stood out before!

  13. beebeesvintagedress May 13, 2012 / 9:30 PM

    That looks great hun! I need to get on it and get a white top in my wardrobe I only have those crappy basic jersey ones and they are all too big. You’ve inspired me to have a go! x

  14. ooobop! May 13, 2012 / 9:04 PM

    I would never have been drawn to the pattern from the envelope! You have styled it far far better. Gorgeous work… how could you ever compare this to a shirt from Next? The fabric you have chosen and the quality of your work is far more superior. When was the last time you saw a French seam in an off the peg garment?!

    • yesilikethat May 13, 2012 / 9:25 PM

      Hey thanks! It is a bit of a hidden gem I think, McCalls always manage to make their patterns looks so hideous from the envelope… I am v proud of this, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve sewn so far, was just a bit miffed I didn’t get more ‘wow I love your shirt’ type compliments! Ha ha.

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