Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Meh - McCall's 8042 Top

Let's start by discussing "negative reviews", shall we? On the one hand, people often say that "No one writes negative reviews." Personally, I often figure out a project isn't worth completing before it's done and I just move on without much fuss. Other times, I keep going because I'm unsure, or because I think that mayyyyybe, I can salvage it. But, sometimes, things just don't work out. 

  • The style itself may not quite work 
  • The fabric might be uncomfortable 
  • The color may be "not quite right"
  • The fit may be off. Even if it fits "fine", it may not be the preferred fit

And sometimes, you just aren't feeling it despite everything "appearing" to be good. And a lot of times, there's a lot of good-natured attempts to reassure. By the time I bring a wadder to the blog and label it as such, it's a done deal. I'm not trying to figure it out (though I do ask sometimes and appreciate the recommendations on things to try!). I've tried it with all the things in my closet that it can be tried with. I've tried whatever sewing-related adjustments I can make to make it work. 

In this case, this top is too fussy. In the few minutes that I've had it on to try it out since finishing, I am constantly adjusting the collar or the ties. I do not do fussy clothing. So, it's a wadder.

I took a trip into SR Harris recently to grab some cotton voile for a dress lining and thought this clip dot voile was really pretty. They had it in white too and I got some of that! The white is much more like what you'd expect a cotton voile to feel like. I'm probably not going to sew a dress from it this summer (how is it almost September already!?) but it'll be fun to have in stash for next year (do not get me started on all the summer things I did not sew).

This fabric behaved like cotton in a burn test but it has quite a bit of drape. And while that makes some elements work well (the flutter sleeve and the gathers created by pulling up the drawstring), it makes the most dominant element (the collar) unworkable. 

The color is GORGEOUS!
I didn't realize the vacuum was there til after I put the tripod away! It was the most accurate color representation so... :)

Not enough hip room

I cut a medium with the hips graded to a large. This is still not enough hip room. I'm not sure why they make these tops straight down from the bust but they are long enough to hit the hip. I raised the front slit by an inch and shortened the pattern 2 inches (through the waist).

Still not enough, LOL!

This way may actually be the most wearable 
(with a tank underneath)

First, the front pattern piece is a disaster. There's a muddled mess of lines for the front slit, stitch lines, fold lines, collar lines, hemming lines, blah, blah, blah and for ALL sizes. MESS! The construction on this thing is bananas. And I don't mean that in a good way. It's just some weird stuff happening. The collar is extended from the front, back, and sleeve pieces. Hemmed at 1/4" and two rows of topstitching to create a casing. 

The sleeve ruffle is hemmed with a narrow hem (No thank you! This is the ideal scenario for a rolled-hem), gathered, and sewn to the raglan. 

But theres this area that is left unfinished. I presume it's for range of motion. The cinching of the collar can change the feel through the armhole/sleeve.

So you're supposed to use bias tape on this little area. OY VEY! Just, foolishness! I inserted the ruffle, serged the whole thing, trimmed 1/8" off the section to be finished with bias tape. I used some pretty floral tape from Bessie Pearl Textiles. 

I wanted to love it (that color!) but, it's been hanging there for 2 weeks and I have had no desire to wear it. Blergh.

My current WIP, NL6551, is working out well. I am not FULLY loving it, but I am not unhappy with it! I love the fabric, the color, the style.

I have the collar partially attached. Once that's done, I have the other sleeve to hem, buttonholes, and buttons. Yay! 


  1. It reminds me of those paper frills on a crown roast. It definitely looks better with it untied but stil, it's just off.The second make is lovely, though. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Omg it totally does! Hahaha! The little fancy roast “boots” Ha!!!

      I’m so excited to finish the dress. It will be a nice summer sewing finale!

  2. Honestly, I love wadder reviews! I agree that fabric looks beautiful and the colour is epic but it's good to know why something fails! X

  3. Well I think it looks super nice on you! The color is very complimentary. It may be out of your normal fashion but it looks great.

  4. I love the blue dress in progress---what is the pattern?

  5. I learn lots when someone posts why something didn’t work - thanks for the post!

  6. The dress is cute...I did like the top...maybe loosen the tie some & your right about the bottom by the hips (why do the pattern companies do that, us women have hips HELLO)...what you make always looks great

  7. I tried a similar pattern *many* years ago and IIRC it was a fussy wear when done also. Having learned more about fitting in the subsequent decades, I have to wonder if it's not the raglan sleeves that are the problem?? As in maybe a square shoulder tweak on the sleeves would help so the shirt isn't trying to balance on the points of the shoulders... Or not - I'm no fitting expert! That said, pity that lovely fabric won't see the light of day on you.

    Negative reviews - unless someone is blaming the pattern for what's their own doing, like using a totally unsuitable fabric, I like so-called negative reviews. I learn much more from those than from reviewers that take all blame onto themselves, though reading between the lines can uncover pattern or instruction issues. Pattern companies need to be called out for unclear/incomplete/outdated/down-right wrong instructions, poor drafting, confusing markings, not making key finished measurements and descriptions readily available on the envelope, etc. We'll not discuss how long it took for me to realize my sewing fails were NOT all due to me. Yes, we will - I learned to sew in late 70s-early 80s, mostly on my own. I had very few resources, mainly the patterns themselves. They certainly made no mention of FBA, square or forward shoulder, and certainly never ever suggested playing around with armscye, sleeve heard, or crotch shapes. It wasn't until internet access at work came along and on breaks and lunch, I found sewing people who talked openly of pattern issues and modifications, and that OMG! light bulb moment - you WILL have to modify patterns to get them to fit right unless you are one of the very few that match their fit model. Oops - that came close to a rant - sorry. Anyway I'm trying to encourage sewists to post issues they have with patterns, even if you think it's your errors, they may very well not be. Similar to my encouraging people to post the "before" photos of their sewing rooms - there's so much more to learn than from those taken after the clean up and organizing sessions.

  8. Negative reviews are okay with me. I want to know the good, bad and ugly! I like the look of the top and the fabric color; can see all the things you dislike. Sometimes it is good to move on and I understand the feeling of keeping going because mayyyyybeeee!

  9. More wadder reviews please! I like to see what works and what doesn't. I can conclude for myself whether it's the pattern's fault or "user error".
    I had a straight cut top like that, which was very difficult to wear (also not enough hip room) until I had the idea of ripping back the side seams to add side slits, and finished them with bias tape. Now it's one back out of the doghouse. But of course if other aspects of the top aren't easy to wear, this won't save it. (love the blog, btw, but have not commented before!)

  10. The color, though -- and that ruffled sleeve looks pretty on your arm. I don't see any way to fix it!

  11. Dang, that sucks! It is such a gorgeous color and fabric. The overall look untied is cute but I am with you on wearing fussy clothes. It is juat not worth it!

  12. The fabric is really special! I wish it could have come out as something more to your liking. I am with you--I love sewing garments I will reach for over and over again. I want to wear what I make and love it! Sorry your top didn't work out, but I love your hair!!! It is really looking great!

  13. Thank you for this review - I have that pattern, and now I'm fully warned. It's a pretty top, but I know exactly what you mean, when you put something on and it's just fussy the whole time you're wearing it, it's not a winner.

  14. That second dress is everything right for you and in comparison with the first it really shows. I love the color on you far better than the vivid fuchia and the more tailored construction just looks fabulous. I dis a Sandra Betzina gathered type neckline that looked fabulous on the envelope but the back made a big hump when you wore it. Ugh. I feel your pain. Fabric and Pattern can sometimes be so unpredictable. I am ready for fall sewing now, also despite tons of summer fabrics I purchased for this year. Sigh......

  15. I feel the same way about this top as the look on your face suggests. The sewing is spot on but I'm not feeling this design no way, no how! Move on and make something fabulous.


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