A McCall's Birdie Top

Hooray for being able to get out in the garden to take some snaps of my latest project!

This gorgeous royal blue swallow print cotton poplin went into the May Animal Magic boxes and I had a length chopped off the roll and into the wash as soon as it arrived at SHJ HQ.

I absolutely love both the colour and the print, and being a cotton fabric meant it was going to be lovely to wear, especially as we start moving into warmer weather.

The pattern I chose to use with this fabric was McCall's 7094 which came free in last months issue of Love Sewing magazine. Really this pattern is better suited to fabrics that are much more light weight and floaty such as a viscose or georgette, but I wanted more of a shirt style and I really liked some of the details on the top so I went for it and I'm pleased I did.

Having done a bit of research online and read a few reviews I knew that the pattern came with a lot of ease so instead of going by my body measurements I used the finished garment measurements, taking into account that it is a loose fitting top I cut a large at the bust and graded out to an XL, rather than the XXL, at the hips.

If I were to make it again however I would probably go for a medium at the top and then grade to a large at the hips as I ended up taking quite a bit in at the side seams as well as shaping it slightly to flatter my figure better.

Whilst it's amazing that these patterns come in such a huge range of sizes now, the L-XXL sizes are on separate paper to the smaller sizes, meaning if I wanted to grade between a medium and large I'd have to do some tracing, chopping and sticking. No biggie really, just an irritating extra step.

As I said, I really love some of the details on this top. The pleats at the shoulder and the notches at the neckline. Whilst those notches definitely need practice I'm still pretty happy with them.

Instead of attaching the yoke and the yoke lining the way the instructions say, which involves too much hand sewing for my liking, I attached them by machine so that all the seams are enclosed. I am planning to do a video tutorial on this as I think it's a lot nicer and once you've had a few practices it's really easy.

One detail that I definitely do not love is the centre front, where the plackets meet in the middle. I had read during my research that most people found this bit tricky and with good reason. The instructions make no sense whatsoever! It took me two hours of fiddling, stitching, unpicking before having to step away and make a cup of tea.

In the end I gave up on trying to follow the instructions and just kind of botched it together with a bit of hand sewing to try and keep it all in place and then very carefully overlocking the raw edges on the inside.

I'm sorry I can't give you more instructions on how to tackle this if you ever decide to give it a go, but take my advice and tackle it with a clear head and a cup of tea.

Luckily it doesn't bother me enough to stop me wearing it as the rest of the top more than makes up for it.

I filmed the sewing process whilst making this top, so if you'd like to see more do check it out. I hadn't taken in the side seams yet so it is a lot "blousier" in the video than it is now.


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