I purchased this pattern (McCall's 6519, it's now out-of-print) a couple years ago. I think I thought it was such a great deal because it looked like a great wardrobe builder. I mean, you get a top, jacket, pants, skirt, and a dress for the price of one pattern. However, upon closer inspection I realized the every piece is pretty shapeless, with the exception of the wrap on the dress and skirt. What's the point in sewing your own clothes if they don't fit well? I'm sure these would be a great starting out patterns for someone who is good at altering and fitting their patterns, but not for the beginner.
I decided to give this pattern a go though for the top (View B). Loose fitting tops are popular right now and can still be flattering in a fabric that drapes well. I also like the gently curved hem on it. I used a fabric I snagged from my sister's stash, who had taken it from our mom's stash (don't you love a fabric with history?). It's a rayon challis, which was one of the recommended fabrics for this top.
The pattern itself is super simple (just two pieces). I am pretty small on top and short (5'2"), so I made some modifications right off the bat. Following some reviews online, I raised the armhole about 1.5". I also shortened the top by 3". I cut a straight 10 instead of grading it out to a 12 like I'd normally do, since it was already pretty loose fitting. I lowered the neckline a touch as well and omitted the pocket.
I'm very proud of how cleanly I finished the seams. I tucked the seam allowances under and topstitched it down (I don't know if this has a special name or not?). I like the detail it adds to the otherwise plain top.
The part that made this top not so easy for me was the neckline and armhole finishing. I couldn't get the recommended bias tape finishing to work. I read so many blog posts about how to do it, and gave it two attempts on the neckline and one on the armhole, but all I ended up with was puckering and ugliness. I am wondering if the store bought bias tape was just too stiff for the fabric I was using. After that I gave up and cut bias tape from the fabric to use as a binding instead. That worked so much better. I just wish this part didn't add a few hours and lot of unpicking to the project. It turned what was suppose to be an easy and quick project into an afternoon of headache. If anyone has any bias tape finishing tricks, I'd love to hear them!
I'm still not sure how I feel about the top though. It's a bit shapeless, and I don't exactly have very much of a shape to make it look good. Sure, it looks fine in the pictures because I can pose and get it to look just right. However, I have a feeling when I walk around with it it looks pretty drab and unflattering. I really should know better that being pear shaped means I shouldn't wear anything loose and shapeless on top. Oh well...I can chalk this project up to a learning experience (if you disregard the failed attempt at bias tape finishing). I will probably still wear the top, just not as much as if it had a more flattering shape.
As is, I wouldn't use this pattern again. The shape (or lack of) just doesn't suit me. I have some ideas about altering it for future use though. Adding bust darts it would help give it some shape. Lengthening it and adding an elasticized or belted waist would make an easy and cute dress. Or if were sized down, I think this would be great for knits. The ideas are pouring in now! What do you think could be done to the pattern to make it better? Leave me a comment and let me know below.