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May 18, 2019

Reverse-print Wearable Muslin REVEAL!


Readers, this week I whipped up a shirt -- a wearable muslin really -- from a vintage McCalls pattern I've had in my stash for years. 


McCall's 5389 dates from around 1960 and, as you can see, it's a "popover-style" pullover shirt.  I sewed a knit shirt like this four years ago but I've never made one with a woven fabric or in a convertible collar style.

The instructions are a little complicated.  The front placket is somewhat similar to a sleeve placket, only since it's a convertible collar shirt, the collar has to be sandwiched between the facings (which are part of the placket) and the two front extensions (which are also formed by the placket pieces).  You have to remember which side goes over which and you can't stitch down the placket till the collar is attached.



Also, since the front is all one piece, you can't attach the back yokes using the burrito method (I don't think) so you have to finish the yoke the old-fashioned way: the outer yoke first, by machine, and then the inside yoke, either by hand or by machine, after the collar is attached.  It's not difficult per se, but it's not the way I'm used to making shirts.  A popover shirt with a collar stand would be easier to make since there are no facings.

I used the reverse side of this lightweight tropical print sent to me by a reader (Michael C?) years ago.  (I'd used it once before in a failed attempt to create a well-fitting bucket hat.)  I reversed it because the "right" side is a little too vibrant and high-contrast for my coloring.  The reverse or "wrong" side is much more subdued.



Since this was a muslin, I simply serged my side and armscye seams and then stitched them down to create faux flat-felled seams -- much faster.  If I make this again in a better fabric (and I think I will) I'll probably make true flat-felled seams.

The only adjustment I made to the original pattern was to shorten the length of the center placket by two inches.  Next time I'll also adjust the sleeve by taking out some of the ease (there's no need for any in a shirt this style) and shortening the length an inch or so.  I don't think think there's anything else I'd change: I like a roomy fit in a vintage-type shirt.

I used ordinary vintage plastic buttons from my stash, nothing fancy.  I really like the way the hem is curved toward the side seams.  It's a nice detail you don't find in contemporary shirt patterns.



Since this was a muslin, I didn't think much about pattern placement (and naturally there's no matching of right and left fronts since it's all one piece) but I like where the motifs ended up--it's actually a very busy design, with hibiscus flowers, palm trees, and even dolphins!



I think reversing the fabric was a good call.  It gives the shirt a weathered, softer look.



And that's it, readers!  Next up I think I'll try this again in a better fabric.

In the meantime, have a great day everybody and happy sewing!

16 comments:

  1. You are an engineer in a funster's body.

    The reversal of fabric was a windfall.

    Now for this top...it would look good whilst traipsing about the bay area, wouldn't ya say???

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  2. You have had pleasing results before from using the "back" side of a print fabric. Have you ever pieced a shirt using both front and back?

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    Replies
    1. No, but you could easily use the contrast in the plackets, collar and sleeve cuffs.

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  3. Beautiful job, as always, and your spring-like shirt looks great on you.

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  4. I love your vintage shirt pattern makes! Why don’t the pattern companies reissue some of these????

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    Replies
    1. Good question. Probably not a big enough market or what market there is is covered by indies.

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  5. I don't know about anyone else but I love that fabric! It reminds me of an aloha shirt I had many years ago in that very color with a tropical bird graphic motif that was softened. I still look for something like it to the day. Inspiring.

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  6. Great job and the shirt looks great on!

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  7. Have you even thought of doing a sew-along? We would learn SO much! I dream of being able to sew as well as you do :D And, I LOVE the shirt - the softness of the colors are wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Check my archives (right-hand side of screen) -- I have a shirt sew-along there from a number of years ago.

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  8. I think you could do the yoke as a “faux burrito”. Sew the back long seam and then sew as much as you can of the front seams going in from the armscye then from the staystitched neckline. That will give you enough attachment to then press the seamline in place. Topstitching or edgestitching keeps everything in place.
    Shari in Oregon

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  9. You can do the burrito method with 1 piece fronts and backs. I do that all the time. Just make sure you pull the front through the neck hole and not the arm holes. First attach both yokes to the back, and do your normal burrito trick. It's a bit finicky with all that fabric in between the two yokes, but if you roll up the back well enough, that should not be an issue. I don't think I've done a yoke any other way for years (until my current project, but that has a single back yoke).

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  10. I have this same pattern and have made a few shirts with it. You are sooo right it is sort of confusing piecing the front and collar!!! I had to take the first shirt I mad a part a few times...urgh! But I do love the vintage style! Yours looks great and love the vintage fade of the wrong side of the fabric! I enjoy your blog so much:)

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  11. Great pattern and good call on reversing the fabric. Looks great on you.

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