Monday, April 6, 2015

McCall's 6844: Fifth Time's A Charm

I'm feeling pretty good about the fit on this, but I know it's one of those pieces that owes everything to the fabric:


This ponte's got good drape but it has too much synthetic in it for my liking.


This overexposed shot is very similar to the one of Version 1, see photo below, which is why I've included it...
If you compare it with the original version below (which was already somewhat pattern-altered), you can see how much fit refinement has actually occurred over the course of this process:

See that fluttery fabric at the hem-line. That's because there's way too much of it. Even though this isn't the peplum version of the pattern, you can see how it's been drafted with the peplum in mind.
Version 5 (the blue one) still closes over the bust area, and then some. But at least now, there aren't 4 inches of excess fabric on either side of the placket at the waist. BTW, you can read about muslin 2 and muslin 3 here. Muslin 2 shows the ridiculous amount of fabric at the waist, in some ways better than version 1 (grey photo above).

What's Different Between Muslin 1 (slightly pattern-altered) and Muslin 5 (very altered, almost there):
  • The shoulders are 2 inches narrower on each side of version 5, as compared with version 1. Yes, you read that right. What you can't see in version 1 (the grey one, above) is that the shoulder seams were hanging off of my dress form - and its shoulders are considerably wider than mine.
  • The shape and size of the sleeve head and sleeve have been changed substantively (to be made smaller in some ways and larger in others). The shoulder is rotated forward to accommodate my imperfect posture.
  • Version 5 is 2 inches longer below the waist and the up-down hem is now straight.
  • Version 5 is narrower at the side seams than version 1.
  • Version 5 is shaped over the bust (the underbust to hem has been narrowed at the side front where it meets the front band). I also did an upper bust "small bust adjustment" which, it became apparent after version 4 (unphotographed), would be necessary. This is effectively a hollow chest alteration. I don't have a hollow upper chest but that's how my proportions read when you compare the projection of my full bust with my upper chest measurement. There was some puffing above the full bust till I narrowed the side front where it meets the front band. In case I ever want to feel like a buxom cartoon, here's my chance.
  • Version 5 has a 1 inch swayback adjustment, so the piece now has a back seam. Note: I don't have a swayback any more than I have a hollow upper chest, but if the alteration works... It's my way of removing excess length to suit my short waist, while maintaining length required to fall properly over the full bust at the front.
Specifically, in the last alteration session (changes to Version 4, see bottom of post, which produced version 5):
  • I cut another 1/2 inch of width from each shoulder seam.
  • I resized the armscye and sleeve head. The underarms were given a bit of extra fabric with horizontal stretch. But I also made the armhole shorter. The sleeve was narrowed.
  • I did the hollow chest / small upper bust adjustment by cheating: I created a version of the side front piece altered by a 1 inch wide / 4 inches long fish-eye dart from the shoulder seam to just above the nipple. I closed the dart on paper and put it atop the muslin 4 version of the piece. I then adjusted the shoulder and upper chest to account for the narrowed dimensions produced by the dart.
  • I straightened the hem.
What is the final, necessary alteration (as far as I can tell at this time)?
  • I need to take another 0.5 inches from the back length at the waist because there's still a bit of pooling.
IMO, mine is a chic-er and more elegant version of the original design, which is no doubt why I worked through 5 muslins to get here.

What's wrong with McCall's 6844, as originally drafted?
  • It's vanity sized into stupidity. And to confuse matters still further, version 5 is a modified XS but the pattern, according to dimensions, suggests that I should have cut a Large.  (I started with a medium.)
  • It's drafted for a voluptuous apple-shape - but it doesn't refer to the pattern as plus sized. The result is that many people make it way too big.
  • The shoulders would only work on a very wide frame.
Anyway, that's what I got. I'm happy with the fit, less happy with the fabric, but next I'm going to refine the pattern for stretch wovens and make a version that looks like a casual, but tailored jacket to go with a matching skirt or pants. I've also half considered buying this to make a matching, ponte skirt.

Today's questions: I'd love to know if you can see the difference in versions the way that I can. Maybe it's one of those things that's much more notable in real life than in pics? Do you like the latest (almost final and totally wearable) version? If you've made this, did you make a lot of alterations to improve the fit? Let's talk!

18 comments:

  1. I've been reading your fitting posts with so much interest, I've made mccalls 6408 and 6844 with a fair bit of success but still had to make 2 sizes smaller than the size chart and also added a centre back seam and a fba. I've made a version of 6844 with the same changes but it still looked like a sack on me tbh. I really should find it and make some more fitting changes though because yours really does look awesome now. I do love mccalls knit cardigans/jackets but they all seem to be massively oversized (Im in a xl on their size charts too so it's not just the smaller sizes that turn out huge).

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    1. Hey Suzy - I really do think the key to getting rid of the sack look is a) making the alteration to contour at the side front where it meets the front band and b) darting the side front in two places, below the bust (then smushing out the darts). Maybe try it again with those adjustments? Let me know how it goes...

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  2. It looks good. I can tell you narrowed the shoulders (is the dummy is wider shouldered than you? The seam is still a bit off the shoulder in the pic), and that you removed fabric from the waist. Also that the fronts are narrowed, by quite a bit. I can't see the rest, sorry!

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    1. Thanks Laura. The shoulders on my dress form are much wider than mine (though less wide than the original pattern width). That's why they look weird in the photo...

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  3. It's looking great! I've been kinda fascinated by your proces on this, as you take it from a slouchy draped jacket to something as you say, almost tailored.

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    1. Thanks! It's been more of a production than I would have imagined...

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  4. Always interesting to read about your fit process. I've made the same view, but was going in a totally different direction (loose, flowy) so only made adjustment for narrow shoulders, then made a style choice for 3/4 length sleeves. I think the extra body fullness works in my lighter, drapy linen knit, but I can certainly see how a ponte would require streamlining in this style -- your perseverance is admirable!

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    1. Thanks Karen! I definitely think that linen and fluttery drape is a winning combo. And the 3/4 sleeves would also give the finished look some structure visually at the waist. For ponte, though, the sack look was crazy :-)

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  5. The Brume skirt is cute, but V8750 has very similar design lines and doesn't cost about $18.00 plus shipping. :)
    I never tuck my tops in, so the hip level detail is kid iof wasted on me. I just end up making the good old Magic Pencil Skirt. I know, I'm a wild woman...

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    1. Excellent point - not to mention I have never made a knit skirt (weirdly). Why spend a fortune on a pattern I could basically draft for myself. I've got to get with the magic pencil skirt. I know you love that thing.

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  6. This version is great! It's tailored yet somehow also retains the drapey look which is in fashion now. The best of both, so to speak.

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    1. Thanks so much! What a compliment :-)

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  7. Oh my gosh, this looks beautiful! I love the style and the color!

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  8. What determination! :) It sounds like you took a major chunk off the shoulders -- how does the final shoulder width compare to that on the smaller sizes in the pattern envelope? Though, fabric choice is HUGE in pattern fitting...change the fabric type and suddenly you're almost making a completely different garment inspired by the original pattern.

    As a very new reader of your blog, it's harder to see the changes in fit on a mannequin than it would be on a body, just based on seeing other people share their multiple-fit takes on a single pattern. But over time I'm sure I'll be able to see a little better. :)

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    1. Tenacity is my middle name :-) It's hard to say about overall shoulder width removal because I messed with the original pattern and I don't have another one to compare it to. I would say that I estimate I removed 2 inches of width from each shoulder, at a minimum.

      I wish I could bring myself to model things right now - I know it's the way to reveal the real fit and issues - but I don't have it in me. I'm just in a photograph slump. Hopefully I'll come out of it soon.

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