I know, I know. It’s “enemy of the good” but if it had been more than okay to start with, I wouldn’t have been trying to make it better. So there.
This is McCall’s 6839 made in something or other that I got from fabric.com. Ah, just checked. Telio bamboo rayon with 5% lycra. It’s quite thick and reacted well when I washed and dried it. It has good stretch and recovery. Lovely fabric, actually.
And the pattern is pretty good too! I love the boatneck and the back options. The pattern includes 3/4 and long sleeves. And those long sleeves are really really long. In fact, judging by their length, I suspect the 3/4 sleeves end up being bracelet length ones.
So. Sizing. I have the envelope with sizes 8 to 16 (bust measurements from 31.5″ to 38″; I have something like a 39″ bust). There is an envelope with sizes 18W to 24W (bust measurements from 40″ to 46″). Knowing these companies usually add a bit more ease than necessary, I went with the smaller size. Interestingly though, the 8-16 has 1″ of ease through the bust whereas the 18W-24W has 2″ of negative ease. So size 16 has a 39″ bust circumference but 18W has a 38″ bust circumference! Weird. I’d be curious to compare both pattern sheets. I suspect maybe some of the ease for the W sizes comes from a longer front. There were these pairs of dots on both sides of the front, right above and below the bust. You’re instructed to gather the front to fit the back but it wasn’t necessary for the size 16. If my hypothesis is right, that would make this pattern ideal for people needing a full bust adjustment.
On to my top. I sewed up the whole thing without issue. Well, almost. As ever, the instructions for sewing knits are really odd in the big 4 patterns so I just went with what I knew. I was too lazy to add clear elastic to the neckline when I hemmed it and it ended up stretched out a bit. Also, the top of that back drape has three layers of fabric in it, 4 in one spot. I graded the seam allowances but it still feels bulky. That part was also kind of bulging away from my body. And here’s where the enemy of the good comes in. I tried to add a bit of clear elastic to that back seam to get it to hug my body better but I seem to have stretched it too much and I have gathers there sometimes.
I snipped the elastic in the spots where it was stretched a lot and it seems to have helped.
At the front, I tried adding clear elastic but somehow, the neckline was even more gathered! (No I don’t get how that happened either). I removed it and tried to just crowd the stitches by keeping my finger on the fabric behind the presser foot. I had tried it on a scrap and it seemed to work… Nope. So back to the elastic. It’s less floppy than my first attempt with the elastic but still not as good as my first lazy try. It looks okay in the pictures, just a bit of droop, but you can really see it here with the play of light and shadow.
Oh well. I’ll still wear it. I’m not giving up on that pattern either. I might switch from hemming the neckline to binding it and I would use a thinner knit next time, at least for the back drape. And I may buy more of this fabric. We’ll see what happens as I wash it but it seems like quite good quality.