McCall’s 7094: bird on a whim tunic

So, I guess it’s May. (How did that happen?) I know because people are excited about Me-Made-May – which, don’t get me wrong, is totally awesome. I love the idea, I loved participating in it, and I want people to be excited by it and learn from the experience for years to come, like I did. I will say though, that because mine has become basically a me-made-lifestyle, that the only thing a MMM commitment would add to my month is pressure to take photos (which I hate) or to finally upgrade my phone so I can join instagram (which I would love to do, but I can’t bear to lose my beloved original iOS design – I will cling desperately to my yellow notepad notes and 3D text bubbles and original google maps for as long as my iPhone 4 is functional). So let me just say that I will be participating in Me-Made-May like I do basically every month (after its last purge, my closet has only a handful of RTW items left in it anyway), but what I will try to do this month is MAKE. For ME.

Andrea got to it before me, but I was thinking about making a similar pledge before I read her post. I used to be inspired by contests and occasions and other “required” sewing, but now I just really want to make whatever I want, whenever I want. Which is why I made this top. (Okay, I made it back in March, but it represents the spirit of what I want to do more of in the future.) Totally inexplicably I have wanted to get back to working with wovens lately (I know, who are you and what have you done with me?), so I grabbed this lovely Joel Dewberry rayon that I ordered on a whim a few months ago and made a top.

M7094The pattern is McCall’s 7094, which I bought for 99 cents or whatever a while ago, when the first tiny voices whispering “you might want to sew something other than jersey sometime” started to appear in my head. I’ve become quite bored with the knit pattern catalogues of the Big 5, but their woven patterns are basically novel to me, probably because I’ve totally ignored them for years. I realized that this was potentially one of their giant tent shirt patterns, but flowy tunics are everywhere right now, and I reasoned that the rayon had the right drape and weight to tame the tent tendencies. I did make a straight size small, when I would more usually make a small on top grading to a medium in the waist/hip, because obviously this would be more than big enough. And I think tent was avoided, for the most part.

I will admit this was fiddly to construct in the collar area, but that’s probably because after so long making easy stretchy things I have NO patience for the slightest challenging construction detail. I did not slipstitch most of the collar down on the inside – for the most part I secured it with stitching in the ditch, with a little hand stitching at the corners to catch what I missed.

M7094 frontI was able to figure out a way to totally clean line the yokes with no hand stitching whatsoever, though! I will go through that now for those that have this pattern and want to try it (I think the technique would apply to the sleeveless version only), but it probably won’t make sense to anyone else, sorry. So I started by sewing the side seams of the body pieces and finishing their half armscyes with bias strips. Then for the yoke, I stitched the armholes of the yoke first, wrong sides together, then trimmed, turned, and understitched. Then I turned the yoke inside out again and placed the gathered back piece inside the yoke, lining up the top edge of the back with the bottom edges of the yoke, adjusted the gathers to fit exactly, and stitched. Trimmed corners and turned right side out again, voila, enclosed back yoke seam merged with finished armscye seam. For the front seams, I made the pleats in the front pieces, then wrapped the yoke around the front piece with the stitched armhole seam butted up to the finished bottom armhole and lining up the top/bottom edges again. Stitched that and turned and hooray, totally enclosed yoke with no hand stitching! Mind you, this only works because you add the collar later, so the collar is still open for you to turn the yokes out through. I borrowed this technique from a couple Burda patterns I’d seen, and it was also inspired by the way you sew the shoulder seams of any cut-on cowl top ever (and I’ve made a lot of those). The instructions of course would have you fold under the SA and hand stitch all the yoke linings – no thank you. I’ve heard the instructions in this pattern are actually rife with real errors, not just dumb techniques like usual, but the sleeveless version’s steps were mistake-free (if not dumb technique free).

I did find that the armholes were a smidge too high, which is an issue I often have. I should always preemptively make a Low Armpit Adjustment (I wish that was a real thing), but instead, when I tried it on after sewing the yoke but before adding the collar, I went back in and re-sewed the back yoke seam with a smaller seam allowance to give me a little more room.

The only other odd thing about the pattern is the pleats under the placket – it’s not a true box pleat but rather two little pleats that try as I might I cannot get to lay right. That whole area at the bottom of the collar is kind of a mess, because I’m really bad with clipping corners and getting right angles to actually be right angles, but what’r’ya gonna do? I can’t decide if the placket would be easier/look better without the pleats under it or not…

M7094 sideI am also a little undecided if I like the mullet back of this pattern. I like the idea, but I think I generally go for a more subtle hi-lo hem. This thing is like a butt cape. I’m tempted to cut off most of it and re-hem it to a mere inch or three curve, but I do feel like I’m seeing this long butt tunic thing everywhere, and also I’m lazy. Thoughts? Butt capes good or bad?

M7094 backAll in all I’m pretty pleased with this top, though. I’ve avoided rayon for a long time because I hate rayon knits so much (pilling!), but rayon challis is really nice. I washed and dried it in the machine as usual (though now that it’s sewn I will try to pull it out of the dryer early so it doesn’t shrink any more, just in case). It’s soft and pretty and nice to wear, and now I’ll be looking for it when I’m fabric shopping… great, a new fabric to buy. But hey, whatever gets the mojo going, right? Happy May!

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15 comments
  1. Judi said:

    Please don’t stop taking pictures, even if you don’t like to. I love the clothes you make and your comments about the patterns you make are extremely helpful. And yes I think the mullet top is cute…I’d leave it.

  2. Love it! Rayon challis is one of my favorites. So soft and wonderfully cool to wear. I say keep the mullet hem (superhero butt flap?) – gives you the option to wear leggings if you want!

    I totally don’t think of you as the jersey one trick pony, but maybe that’s because I love knits so much, too? 😉 Sew what you love!

    I have been doing some “required” sewing at the moment, but have gotten to the point where I’m really not inspired (because I’ve sewn all of the pieces that really interest me already). I will finish, but I will not be too excited about it, and am reminded of why I don’t typically participate in contests.

  3. Megan said:

    YES to the fabulous butt cape! It makes the shirt and is definitely all the rage. Love you

  4. Another YES for the butt cape! The curve of the back hem s GORGEOUS, and I think really makes the shirt! I’d be tempted to add that same curve to the front hem for a really pretty tunic!

  5. Masha said:

    It’s so pretty and looks so comfortable for summer! I love how it looks from the back.

  6. misscrayolacreepy said:

    When you get on Instagram let me know, I want to be friends!!!! And I also hear the voices that say, “maybe you need to chill on the knits and sew a woven,” but I don’t know… I shouldn’t feel guilty about what type of fabric I’m using, I should be happy that I am making something that I know will be worn 🙂 Your shirt turned out great and I am a fan on the mullet hem!

  7. lisa g said:

    This is pretty! I do love the “butt cape” but I kinda wish the front had a rounded hem instead of just straight across. I’d probably be inclined to shorten the back a little, but then again the dramatic back is kinda fun… Clearly I’m no help!

  8. Stacy said:

    I had the same problem getting the pleats to lay right also. Other than that, it’s a cute, casual top with nice design elements!

  9. Heather said:

    This is gorgeous! I love that colour on you especially paired with your yellow shoes. I really like the hi-low (butt cape) for something different. It looks really nice in the flowy fabric.

  10. I’m kind of loving the butt cape look, so I’m probably not helping. 😉 This turned out really cute! And I’ve recently started back into the wovens too–knits are quick and easy, but when it’s hot, I find myself wishing I had more woven shirts because they are cooler to wear. So I’m doing the same as you–more wovens, and also more time during May to sew for me! Keep it up!

  11. erniek3 said:

    I get the fiddly bits issues, but it is pretty cute. Better to have to lower the armsceye than need to bring it up (hm, how do I fill that/patch that….uh, nope).

  12. I do not get your attachment to the old iOS, but I hope you believe me when I tell you that you would LOVE instagram. I love this top – it’s a fantastic marriage of fabric and pattern, and very current too. I have to say, in the pictures I’m not the worlds biggest fan of the butt cape, but in person I didn’t even see it. There seems to be a lot of love for the butt cape, so maybe you should call it done!

  13. Caro said:

    Um, I have an iphone4, and have had Instagram for long time…
    Love the top – the fabric is amazing!

  14. Katherine said:

    I am PRO butt-cape! It makes it a little sassier and dressier. But I always like weird garments.
    This top is FAB with those yellow Toms.
    Also here to say YAY RAYON. I do almost exclusively rayon/viscose woven stuff because – well, I don’t know why, just all my favorite garments are non-stretchy and say “rayon” so there ya go.
    xox!

  15. Oh my god, I love this top. I love the print you chose for it, too. It’s perfect for summer. I need this. I am daunted by the front pleats… I don’t need any help looking wider in that area. Do you think it would be easy to omit? And I guess I’m a rare bird because I don’t like the butt cape. The transition from the front hem to the back scoop is way too abrupt to me. Maybe if the front were more curved? Honestly, I’d do both: curve the front slightly and shorten the back by 3 inches or so, otherwise I think it’d look mismatched.

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