Pattern Review: McCall’s 5052 Basic Shirt

McCall's 5052 Basic Shirt

 The fashion magazines are showing shirts without darts just as I was getting over that look anyway.  Fitted blouses are giving way to looser sportier styles so I went looking for shirt patterns that reflected that trend and found this offering from McCall’s. 


  • Sleeveless, short, three-quarter, and long sleeve options.
  • No darts.
  • No collar stand.
  • It sews quickly.
  • Acceptable in many seasons since it will work with any lightweight woven from cotton to corduroy.
  • If you have a complex print you don’t have to add the pockets, and without darts, the only interruption in the print you would have to contend with is the front placket.
  • It comes out looking like the pattern envelope photo.
  • A good basic attractive in both solids and prints.


  • Notch collars require some familiarity with collar application.  The notches must be even or everyone will notice.
  • If you are large-busted you may need to play with the button placement to eliminate gaps.  The pattern places the buttons three inches apart.  For those who routinely experience gaping,  mark your buttonholes every 2.5 inches and add another button at the bottom.

The shirt waiting for hems and buttons. Plan to finish up this evening. It is a very overcast day here and try as I might I could not get the lighting better and the photographed shirt has a blue tinge.

Some Assembly Required:

I have my own assembly line system that keeps me grounded.

At first the pattern pieces are at my sewing table with the tissue still attached. 

Prep for Assembly

  1. Back bodice-staystitch.  Set aside.
  2. Pockets – sew down top edge and iron down seam edges.   Set aside.
  3. Collar – sew collar to undercollar, grade seams, press, and topstitch.  Set Aside.
  4. Front Bodice – Mark Pocket placement with air or water erase marker.  Notch foldline of front placket. Staystitch neckline.  Serge inside edge of placket. 


  • Attach front and back bodice at shoulder. 
  • Attach collar.
  • Buttonholes.
  • Sleeves at shoulder seam.
  • Sew underarm down side seams.
  • Hem sleeves and bottom edge.
  • Hand sew on buttons.


This is one of my few purchases of designer fabric.  The bolt end said it was Ralph Lauren when I bought it at a sale at Banasch’s, the only independent fashion fabric shop left in Cincinnati.  It is menswear shirting cotton and has that pleasant crispness. 

I choose it because it looked like shirting material I see in RTW.  However, sewing was not as easy as I assumed.  The denier is thicker than I expected and the fabric resisted pinning.  Sewing machine tension had to be just right and as you got more of the shirt assembled the stiff fabric kind of got in the way as you gathered it under the machine.

It is wonderful fabric and I expect it to wear a lot better than material I have bought at mass merchandisers, but don’t expect that better fabric is necessarily without its own idiosyncrasies.


Given the stiffer hand of the fabric I did not interface.  I also like the summery-slightly-wrinkled look.  If you prefer crispness do interface.

Will I Sew it Again:

I have another cut in a royal blue shirtweight gabardine I found at Jo’s for 90% off making it $1.00 per yard.  But even with the one washing to preshrink the fabric length, I can see that the dye and weave are not as good as the white shirt.  Disappointing, but it appears you get what you pay for.

Advice to Others:

I made a practice muslin and the only alteration I did was a forward shoulder adjustment.  Even the collar opening wasn’t too low.  I know how to work a multi-size pattern to suit my figure.  If you too are familiar with changing sizes as you cut to suit your body type, you may be able to skip the practice muslin and work it up in a fabric that could potentially be a wearable muslin.

Overall Style Grade: B for Basic.  The design is not glamorous but it is a great basic to build upon.

Results Grade: A,  collars, pockets and front plackets – if you have a basic understanding of those applications, you should have no problem.

Next Post: Thursday, February 10, 2011: The Forward Shoulder Adjustment


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Toy
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 19:11:58

    Nice blouse


  2. Sister
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 00:51:51

    Looks great, but having a flat chest I need some shaping myself, like darts or nipped in waist or something. I could wear it with a belt!


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