March 9, 2015

Trigger warning: Summer Clothes Ahead

Are you currently digging your way out of your home every morning? Have your feet become curiously soft inside their snow boots? Have you forgotten what it’s like to not wear 6 inches of padding at all times?
Then you may want to shut your browser now, because this may trigger an episode, and I wouldn’t want to be held responsible.
Alright everyone else, IT’S SUMMER TIME!!!!!!!!!! WAYHEY!
OK, it’s not summer time in the frozen tundra, but just jump on a plane and a mere 9 hour trip (!) will get you to a place where it’s summer all year. My god, have I needed this.
When I got word a few months ago that my parents were going to be going to Barbados in March and I was going to be able to tag along, I did what any snowbound seamstress would do: start sewing summer clothes. What succour. And here, my dears, is the first summer outfit (oh yes, there are more): another McCall’s M6436 shirt.
For my sleeveless beauty (the first sleeveless button-down shirt I’ve ever owned, I think) I dove into my stash and came up for air clutching a gorgeous Robert Kaufmann chambray I bought ages ago at Grey’s Fabrics. Why have I not used this before?! It sews like an absolute dream. The seams totally disappear. If you’re a beginner and want to feel like you’re a master sewer, give this chambray a go.

After my first attempt at this shirt, I played around to try to get rid of the big honking dart… with limited success. Splitting it into two darts looked ridiculous. My attempt to radically shorten the dart didn’t make much difference, nor did curving the dart legs. To be honest, the dart still doesn’t look great (it’s deceptively OK in these photos), so I still have a way to go before I find the perfect shirt pattern for me.

McCall’s suggests just leaving the sleeves off to make it sleeveless, but that didn’t look great at all – I have broad shoulders and it exacerbated the linebacker look. So I ended up opening up the armscyes by making the shoulders about 1 inch narrower, and then taking a bit off all the way round, tapering to the side seam. I finished off the shirt with another stash item, Liberty bias binding, so it’s pretty inside and out.
My favourite bit, fit-wise, is the back: check that out!

Weirdo darts aside, it’s soft and breezy and perfect for Caribbean climes. Also, when summer finally comes in Boston (I’ve heard July 2016) it’ll get some action, but in the meantime I’m sure I’ll sling a cardi on top of it.

What thinks you on the sleeveless button-down shirt readers, yay or nay? I have to say I may be a convert, and I’m contemplating a slightly longer one in something floaty for all those summer days sipping drinks on the roof deck. A girl’s gotta dream.

48 thoughts on “Trigger warning: Summer Clothes Ahead

  1. Yay! What a great classic look. I can’t see that dart at all, but maybe it’s the chambray. I actually like the 2 dart look. I find it gives better shape, especially good on button downs that can sometimes look bulky/boxy. That plaid one I just made had 2 darts (I think it’s a common thing in vintage shirt patterns).

    I can’t wait to see more of your projects photographed in this amazing setting!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! I feel very chic in it. I think my error with the double dart was keeping them at the bust – next time I’m going to rotate one down to a waist dart and see if that helps

  2. Jo says:

    It’s lovely: and what a super fit.

    You’ve just inspired me – still a newbie sewer – to make my own blouse from this pattern. Version 1 finished – it took me 5 weeks as it is by far the most challenging project I’ve done yet. Thrilled with the result, I’m now halfway through a second one. I found your comments useful, from finishing the huge dart to inserting the sleeves (I added a pleat; couldn’t think what else to do). So, thanks for the blog!

    Rather envious of your holiday plans. Enjoy sunning yourself and wearing fab made-to-measure clothes while you do so!

    1. Jenny says:

      That’s fantastic! It took me a few years of sewing before I was brave enough to make a shirt but as long as you take it slow its very do-able. On the sleeves – I’m tempted to alter the sleeve cap to reduce the ease but we will see if I find the energy for that 🙂

  3. Jane says:

    Beautiful blouse, beautiful fabric! Love that look on you Jenny, it’s so classy and stylish. I’m a big fan of the sleeveless blouse and have made four from my favourite vintage Simplicity pattern. I really should wean myself off it and try another pattern but it’s difficult! Having said that, I may have a go at a sleeveless Granville shirt this summer. x

    1. Jenny says:

      It’s very hard to branch out when you have a TNT! I was totally inspired by all your lovely blouses for this make, and now I’m wondering whether to make another with a “hand painted” seersucker gingham I just got from Japan…

  4. Geni M says:

    Overall very nice look on you Jenny. For the dart and its size (I can’t see it) being large… Try moving it by lowering only the legs but keep the tip wher it belongs. The other method I like is to convert it to a French dart. Make a slash to but not thru the bust point, then slash somewhere in the lower third of the side seam up to but not thru the bust point. Close up the original dart, add seam allowance to the new dart legs. Then sew the new dart as high as you like, usually ending about 1 1/2″ from the bust point.

    1. Jenny says:

      Aha, I’ve never made a French dart before but I’ll have to give it a go!

      1. Nancy K says:

        Also you’ll want to curve out the center of the French dart by about 1/4″ blending into dart before you get to the tip and the end of dart. This takes care of the bias stretch. I love French darts and it’s easier to sew them well because they are longer and for a large dart that makes it easier to sew into the tip more gradually. There is no way to get around the one large dart when you have a large bust except by splitting it or converting your dart into a princess seam, which is easy to do btw. The French dart is a combination of the side dart and the front vertical dart giving more shaping to the front but not as close as the vertical dart gives. It’s a good look for the large busted, I’m a DD so I’ve been working on this a long time!

  5. Mrs. Smith says:

    I, for one, really love sleeveless shirts!!! I have decided, as a frozen tundra resident, that I am o.v.e.r. it and am moving on to spring sewing 🙂

    I *LOVE* this on you! And with the white jeans just perfection.

    1. Jenny says:

      I reckon spring sewing is totally going to bring spring on early! A girl can hope

  6. Ginger says:

    I think your shirt looks nice. I like the back too. I don’t notice the dart. I think sleeveless button downs are like sleeved button downs, a classic style. Have a great trip!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Ginger!

  7. Ah, Kaufman chambray…such a great fabric! This sorry looks great on you.

    1. Jenny says:

      Isn’t it just? That Kaufmann knows his fabrics

  8. emadethis says:

    Gorgeous back fit, and I’m glad to see an actual garment made up in this chambray–I’ve been spying it for a while and wondering how it performs. You’ll be so chic and comfortable in your tropical surroundings. I’m anti-sleeveless shirt…love the style and the ease in the summer, but the mosquitoes make mincemeat of me without a sleeve.

    1. Jenny says:

      Chambray is totally delicious to sew and to wear – you should give it a try!

  9. Yes to all of the questions at the beginning of your post, and yes, the snow’s still here. But I think it is time for summer sewing to give us hope! Your outfit looks great.

    1. Jenny says:

      Sew it and the summer will come: that’s my new motto

  10. Crab and Bee says:

    What a great, classic piece! I actually sewed this pattern sleeveless recently and made exactly the same change to the upper arm!

    1. Jenny says:

      Ha, glad to know my adjustments made some sense!

  11. I have similar large dart issues, and I have had a lot of success rotating darts upwards into the armhole. When I try a horozontal bust dart I get excess fabric just above the bust and it feels slightly tight across the bust – when I rotate the dart to the armhole all these issues go away, and as the dart is shorter it is smaller. I have tried splitting bust darts into two darts, but it didn’t solve any issues.

    That being said, it looks great in these photos.

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh I’ve never tried that – I will have to give it a go!

  12. I’m a fan of the sleeveless button down shirt. I think they’re great! I won’t have a reason to sew any for a while yet, but I’m sure I’ll add a couple to my closet when the weather improves. I’m still solidly in winter sewing mode for another month or so. It’s going to be cold here until June, easily. 😀

    1. Jenny says:

      I’m going straight back to duffel coat sewing in Boston so I’ll be right there with you!

  13. That outfit looks amazing on you! Great job!

  14. I could have sworn this was a sleeveless shirt dress from the horse race photos. Well done, you! Honking dart is unnoticeable, back is flawless, shirt goes from tundra to enviable beach in a snap.

    I own and have cut out M6436, but am doing a weird experiment where I only keep 10 patterns at a time in my apartment and the rest “at home.” You’ve given me regrets, Rushmore.

    1. Jenny says:

      Ah, not only is not a dress, but that wasn’t even the outfit I was wearing at the races! *the plot thickens*. Watch this space….

      That’s a curious lifestyle choice, Witherspoon. You might want to… reconsider it?

  15. Pam S says:

    I am so unbelievably envious of you, I’m longing for a beach holiday. I love your top, it really suits you and any top that is comfortable in warm weather is a big win.
    Enjoy your holiday and hopefully Boston will melt sometime before next winter.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! It was much needed though I feel a little bit guilty for putting my pics on Instagram when everyone’s in snow boots!

  16. Sophie-Lee says:

    I made a sleeveless Granville blouse on Saturday and loved it SO MUCH I made another one on Sunday. I think I’m going to test the limits of how many sleeveless shirts one can own

    1. Jenny says:

      Ooooh I’ll look forward to seeing it/them!

  17. Rainpatter says:

    Love the shirt. I’m not seeing your dart issues, it looks beautiful. But I do love myself a french dart, they are on a lot of Silhouette Patterns, and I’m a huge fan.

    1. Jenny says:

      Yeah they’re definitely there, these photos just don’t show them! But there you go. I may try the French dart now though

  18. Heather says:

    I think this looks fantastic on you especially with the white jeans- very tropical chic. I personally love sleeveless button ups, but I’m bit of a button up junkie!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! If only I had the weather to be tropical chic all the time 🙂

  19. It’s super – gorgeous fabric. Do you like the look of having shoulder gathers? You could transfer some of the dart into shoulder gathers similar to what Sunni recently did with a shirt she made – I am rather partial to that look!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! On shoulder gathers – to be honest I’ve never found them that appealing because it seems to create a lot of bunching over the chest, but maybe I should transfer just a bit into them…

  20. Silkeline says:

    Hei! I am soooo enjoying your Blog!! It is an inspiration to see the nice pictures and the perfekt fit of your work:-) Greetings from Norway.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks for coming by and saying hi!

  21. Bunny says:

    What a great classic shirt! You really worked out the shoulder armhole thing beautifully. I can’t wait for my own Southern Escape next month. I have a linen project going as we speak. Have a wonderful time.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thank you, Bunny! I’ll look forward to seeing your Southern wardrobe.

  22. Robyn says:

    It’s a great looking top, I really like the fabric. Enjoy your trip 🙂

  23. Summer F-T says:

    Think princess seams! No darts to deal with.

  24. L says:

    Definitely yay. I agree with Summer F-T: darts are for throwing, change those things to shoulder princess seams! I am no longer afraid of sewing darted shirts because I’ve become comfortable with changing them to shoulder princess seams. I can give more info if you’re interested.

  25. Sara A. says:

    The fit is lovely on this! When I have a large dart uptake, I sometimes cut it open leaving a seam allowance and finish it. Then things don’t get all thick and uncomfortable.

  26. What a killer top. Awesome job and great fabric choice. Thanks for sharing.

Let me know what you think!