Bustin’ Out! Fitting Issues with McCall’s 6119 Halter Top

McCall's 6119 halter top

McCall’s 6119 appeared to be a pattern that would allow my belly to increase through the summer and I might even get some wear out of it next summer when I am no longer pregnant.

I pulled the bodice portion for a practice muslin and quickly sewed it up.

A problem arose.  Just a glance and you get the jist. 

All of you ladies out there who know what happens with pregnancy/nursing nips can imagine my horror when I tried this little number on! Clearly not enough coverage.

I’m bustin’ out!

I don’t dare show you a real-life shot as it was obscene.  Use your imagination about where things are placed on the normal female bosom, then look at the dress form and you begin to see how poor the fit is.

How I ended up with this state of things:

I am one of those women department store lingerie clerks despair of  because I wear the wrong size bra.  Though the skies may fall I go up a band size and down a cup size for comfort.  I know, I know – this approach elicits strong words from fashion advisors, but the band size that matches my rib cage is uncomfortable.  What is a little tight in the morning is excruciating by 4:00 p.m. when my body has naturally retained some water from the days food and liquid intake. 

I have quietly rebelled on this fashion issue and been quite comfortably trussed into my allegedly ill-sized lingerie.  However I should have remembered my approach is not the standard one when I cut this pattern.  My absentmindedness led me astray.   I cut my RTW bra size, not my actual measurement.

Just a heads up – if you are pregnant or nursing, skip the A/B option altogether.   A no brainer, all of you will remind me,  but I forgot.

See how the strap on the photo right is falling off the mannequin shoulder. And notice the gaping neckline at the bra cup top seam. Is a bigger cup size, meaning more fabric, going to take care of those fitting issues which may be inherent in the drafting of the pattern?

Now I am looking at the muslin I see other potential fitting problems. 

  1. Look at how wide apart the straps are and I have a narrow chest.  The one strap in the photo appears to be falling off the mannequin shoulder. Given the angle of the strap can one change the starting point and maintain the shape of the neckline?
  2. Even if I go up a cup size, or two, the material may cover my bosom, but will it be loose and drapey along the top like the practice muslin? 
  3. Will a bit of elastic along the neckline take care of that?

Over the last few days I have been reading what fellow sewist and blogger Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic is going through putting so much energy into fitting what might be a poorly drafted pattern.  I understand her determination as she has expensive fabric on the line.  But I have just invested an old sheet up to this point and I am wondering if it will be a waste of time tinkering with this pattern?  Or worse, I make it up in fashion fabric and still feel exposed and end up pulling on the shirt all day as it may slide around on my shoulders.  Should I abandon it now, or perservere?

Has anyone else made this pattern or one like it?  What was your experience?


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tanit-Isis
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 10:08:06

    Thoughts: (admittedly from the perspective of a small-busted, broad-shouldered girl)

    I think any top with a neckline like this has a big risk of the top gaping due to stretching on the bias. Stabilizing can help (elastic would be good, especially if you plan to wear this as a nursing top at any point), as can shortening (curve up the botttom towards the inside end of the bust piece), but it’s fiddly. You could maybe try overlapping the bust pieces more to bring the shoulder in, especially as it looks on the muslin like the bust dart is well to the outside. (Of course, this may throw off your side-seams/back fit, too)

    It does look like it would be a great maternity and post-maternity top, though, and I really like the style overall. I guess it depends on how much you like it. You could always try throwing at least a few more bits of old sheet at it, in the proper bust-size, and see what that does. Again, though, it all depends on how much you like the top and how much time/energy you have available at the moment.

    Good luck! 🙂


    • Sewista Fashionista
      Jun 21, 2011 @ 11:02:46

      I forgot about the bias stretch aspect. You are right. This neckline has so much bias area that there are lots of inches for stretch. I used to bellydance and have made costumes. I remember how much work the bust was and I guess I am wondering if this is going to take that much time. You reminded me in trying to get a tight fit on a dance top that I would sometimes do a concave curve, (“curve up the bottom towards the inside”) that would wear on the body as a convex curve. ( I stopped dancing with a troupe several years ago – how quickly I have forgotten my costume making knowledge!) Thanks for the in-depth advice. You have given me a few ideas to tackle it again. 🙂


  2. Lena
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 17:24:13

    I agree, the bust darts are way too far apart, I’d start with this. Is the back too narrow and pulling them apart?


    • Sewista Fashionista
      Jun 22, 2011 @ 10:31:40

      You are right. The bust darts are too far apart. For once the back wasn’t too narrow. The pattern itself has the darts drafted too far apart for me. Thank you for your comment! 🙂


  3. Sister
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 18:29:24

    It is a super-cute pattern, so I’d give it another go-round with that good advice from Tanit-Isis. Good luck!


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