Maternity Sewing:McCall’s 6121 Asymmetric Hemline Knit Top:Pattern Review

McCall's 6121

During April’s big sale events I had a gorgeous time leafing through the pattern catalogs looking for standard patterns that could be easily altered for maternity wear.  Normally I would bypass this pattern as too unstructured but since loose and flowing is now my goal I bought it for dirt cheap and quickly made a practice muslin.  The practice muslin I will not be showing you as it was sewn in that super-gnarly see-through Walmart knit, but I do have a picture of one of the final tee’s, and I have another on the cutting table ready for sewing over the next few days.

Pros:

Super easy to construct.

Standard pregnancy patterns for tee’s are often of the boring, crewneck variety with a boxy matronly cut.  The asymmetric hemline is refreshingly fashionable. 

If in the last trimester you grow past the first hemline, you can add a simple band at the bottom to extend the length. 

McCall's 6121 Pattern Illustration:See the hemline is just a straight line. You can easily add a band for additional length if desired.

It is a basic tee at heart allowing for embellishments of your own at the neckline.

With the right figure and the right fabric it can work as a dress.  Paired with a small heel it would be especially lovely.

McCall's 6121 in stretch lace. The folds show best in natural light so I purposefully did not Photoshop or lighten this image.

Cons:

Option A, the lady in red is wearing a tank underneath the fashion pattern.  That tells you that the neckline falls quite low on the chest.  I raised the neckline to securely cover both boobs and bra straps.

Leggings or skinny jeans may not be your thing, but this style works best with a fitted bottom.  Worn with a standard trouser and it may start to look frumpy.

Even using knits from a wide bolt, the sides of the pattern extended past my fabric edge.  Make sure you tidy up the edges by cutting off the selvedges neatly before sewing so you have equal widths across the back and front.

The armscye is a bit high and narrow for fuller arms.  The knits stretch over my arm the same degree as RTW, so I haven’t bothered to alter this as I would normally.  If you have fuller arms you may want to add a some width and lower the armscye.  Do a practice muslin and see how much this bugs you.

Some Assembly Required:

McCall's 6121 in stretch lace.

Call me lazy, I serged the whole thing.

Shoulders first.

Neckline.

Hems next because I had two different lengths, shorter in back and longer in front to accommodate baby. 

Then side seams and,

finally armscye.

Fabric:

I used a stretch lace acquired from Jo’s bargain table.  I think it will be cute in the summer as an overlay for tighter fitting tanks. 

The problem I encountered was that the Hello Kitty machine can be fussity with such fabrics, waving the hemlines, and when it is feeling especially kittenish, pulling delicate fabrics down into the throat plate.

Knowing that this top is not meant to last the ages I serged the hemline, neckline and armscye and left it at that.  The serging looks nice, somewhat like a ribbon edge from a distance, and most importantly, the edges are clean and undistorted.   Bypassed Hello Kitty entirely on this one.

Finetuning:

When you raise the neckline you will also raise the hemline.  Consider putting those inches back onto the hem. 

When you raise the neckline at the shoulders you will decrease the armscye circumference.  Add those inches back at by lowering the underarm.

Will I Sew it Again:

Yes.  It is very easy and will allow me to generate a lot of tops in a small amount of time.  This is a blessing since pregnancy often means cobbling together an entire new wardrobe.

Advice to Others:

The pattern can only be cut from 60 inch knits.  Nothing else will do to get the swishiness around the legs that you need.

The loose folds will allow for some imprecision, but the neckline is the focal point and you don’t want that to scream homemade with a wonky finish.  Beginning sewers may just serge/zig zag and turn under the neckline and armscye edges, but if possible try to familiarize yourself with applying a knit binding to those edges.  It can even be made of the fashion fabric versus buying a special rib knit for that purpose.  It isn’t in the instructions but it will upgrade the look of the shirt.

Overall Style GradeB.  Credit for the asymmetric hemline, but I don’t know how stylish very oversized tees are right now.  Better than plain tees from the maternity shop, but it doesn’t take one’s breath away either.

Results Grade: A.  Easy to achieve a good result.  The bottom slope of the side seams can even take some imprecision since the seamline is hidden in the folds of fabric formed by the excess. 

Next Post: Thursday, May 5, 2011: Kwik Sew’s maternity pants pattern for wovens – nicer than I imagined!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sister
    May 03, 2011 @ 18:02:25

    The word “diaphanous” comes to mind – it looks beautiful! I’ve never done a neckline binding – need to expand my knowledge base. Thanks for the encouragement to do it!

    Reply

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