Pattern Review: Butterick 5610 Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail, Option A

Butterick 5610: Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail

Butterick 5610: Yoked Tee with Pleat Detail

I bought this pattern a year or two ago because I like the yoke that stretches into a cap sleeve on Option A.  Using two remnants I cut a wearable muslin this summer and it has sat in my sewing drawer until now, five days before Christmas.


  • Solids, prints and colorblocking are all treatments that this design serves equally well.


  • I couldn’t get the overlapping pleat detail right.
  • Other reviewers have commented that the neckline is a boatneck and may not cover your bra strap, but I did not get that far in construction.

Some Assembly Required:

The pattern instructions do not offer the flat assembly method which you can do with this top despite the yoke extending into the sleeve cap.

My Problem with the Pleats

pleats in pastel fabricI sewed the pleats down per the pattern instructions, three on one side and two on the other.  Then when I went to sew the middle pleat I did it as I thought it was marked on the pattern. But the effect didn’t look right when I sewed on the yoke.  There was no overlap.  So I seam ripped and tackled the pleat again.  I looked again at the pattern instructions and the pattern markings and tinkered with pins.  An overlap was finally created but I was disappointed in that it was not the strong detail as drawn on the pattern envelope.  It really was unremarkable. Additionally the bodice was now too small to fit the yoke.


I used two remnants from other sewing projects.


I felt like this was one time the pattern companies could have broken down a bit and told you what it would be like to sew this top, such as “here the third pleat crosses the …”  Also the markings on the tissue itself weren’t very clear.  All of the pleats had the circles to match up and the arrows showing direction of pleat.  But the crucial center pleat kind of went off into nowhere.  The center front was marked with a four inch line, but was I to sew my pleat to it or was it just there for reference?

Will I Sew it Again:

Not as the pattern instructs.  I nearly had it packed for a trip to the donate box at the thrift store but I looked again at the yoke/sleeve cap which had attracted me to the pattern in the first place.  The yoke creates a strong horizontal line accentuating the shoulders and drawing attention towards the wearer’s face.  I might take the bodice, draw out the pleats and use simple gathers to match it to the yoke.

I am too disgusted right now and have a lot of other sewing projects pending to play around with the above idea.  This summer I might give it another chance.

Advice to Others:

I don’t have any except, if you take a chance on this pattern, make sure you purchased it at a deep discount sale.

Overall Style Grade:  B, the pleat details are interesting but they have been around a few years.  But even so, pleats are still current and the design could be very flattering, especially to pears and apples who need the shoulder detail.

Results Grade: F, for me since I did not complete it. Others who have completed this top successfully can be found on

signature in peach cropped


Top Knit Picks for Spring/Summer 2012

Taking it easy on sewing lately due to baby care.  Though I am sorely tempted to try out those pattern sales, I do feel that I have enough patterns at home and that I should withstand the temptation to purchase some patterns that I might not have time to make.

So here are the picks from the pattern stash. 

Simplicity 3790

I have made both the surplice and the yoked top before.  Here is the review of the surplice which I have decided looks deplorable on me no matter how well fitted.  But the little swingy top flatters me and I still have my wearable muslin which I have worn to bits.

Simplicity 2283

And I have made the vest of this pattern but not the tops.  Definitely sewing the vest again.  I looked for my previous review but could not find it.  The top looks cute but I wonder how much time it will take.

There they are.  Unusual for me to only have two patterns in the offing but it is kind of refreshing to have just a few designs to focus on.  As Sister from Dr. Fun Living la vida loca commented on my last post, the anticipation is half the fun. 

Now I can enjoy rooting through the fabric stash and see what can be found there. 🙂

Pattern Review: McCall’s 6164 Eighties Tees

Much of the 70’s revival left me blah.  I was a young child in the original flower child era.  Probably a result of my personal history but I don’t remember folks being as light-hearted as the fashions seemed to suggest.  Somehow my young mind saw the lack of congruence and was displeased.  (Also, ginormous orange and green flower prints made me shudder! Still do. )

Then came the 80’s.  Still not the easiest decade of my life, but I was a teenager, possessed of a more mature understanding, and of course, got to experience all the highs and lows of high school and adolescent friendships.   Yes, fashion flaunted a certain cheesiness, but then cheesiness was something I could understand.  (And the prints – thankfully so much more restrained.  Better to have ginormous hair, anyway. ; )  )

And who doesn’t have a secret fondness for a bit of cheesiness?  

Your first impression of this pattern might be, OH NO.  No. No.

McCall’s 6164

Look again.  These tops are cute!  Be done with the seventies revival. 

Embrace the eighties!


  • The designs are cute and different.  If you are bored with making plain t-shirts these are a refreshing change.
  • They can be zig-zagged or overcast by serger making them approachable for beginners and intermediates.
  • It fit my size 20 midsection comfortably without being oversized.  The seams are nicely contoured to provide some structure.
  • The hemline fell in a flattering part of the hip unlike some tee patterns which are often tunic-length.
  • If you are narrow-shouldered here is a design for you.  These designs emphasize the shoulders, collarbone, and  face.  For those who look for top-interest to balance their bottom half, these are  terrific styles.


  • The neckline was much too large.  I bought a large/x-large.  I took about 4 inches off of the front neckline and 2 off of the back.  My shoulders are narrow but I thought that the deep scoop of the neckline would show the bra on most figures.
  • Fabric choice is key.  This pattern is not suitable for thicker knits
  • Option D made in a thick rib knit made me look like a linebacker.
  • Option E made in turquoise gives me a self-conscious feeling that I only need the Starfleet brass chest button and with just a touch, Scotty might beam me up to boldly go where no other home-sewer has gone before.
  • McCall's 6164 Option E: It is very comfortable and easy to sew but I feel a bit self-conscious as it bears a passing resemblance to fashions on futuristic sci-fi shows.

  • You must used medium to thin knits.  The practice muslins I made in thin sheeting looked much better than my tees done in thicker rib tee knit.
  • Other big con: These styles are in the fashion magazines but may not be worn in your area yet.  Every locale has a certain speed in which they accept new fashions.  I have not seen anyone in my area wearing this kind of shirt.  If you are self-conscious, beware, you may generate a few polite stares.  You need to time this design to when in the fashion cycle you will be comfortable adopting this mode.

McCall's 6164 Option D

McCall's 6164 Leg o'Mutton Sleeve side view: You can see that the thicker knit caused the sleeve to stand full away from the arm. It overwhelmed my figure.

Some Assembly Required:

I didn’t even fold open the instructions.  It is basically a knit tee with fancy sleeves.  If you are familiar with gathers and sleeve insertion you will be fine. 


Per my comments in the Cons section: Use thin knit fabric as long as it is not see-through.  I used winter t-shirt material in a narrow rib knit.  I am going to take the sleeves off of my two tees and make them into tanks for summer.


Look at the pattern photo at the lady in pink with the deep scoop, Option A.  She does not appear to be wearing a brassiere.  I thought that was kind of sneaky of the patternmaker.  This neckline will show your underwear, a key fitting detail for most women.  The scoop needs to be raised. The maker did not have to leave that alteration to the home-sewer, but they have.  A small disappointment but one I wanted to mention.

McCall's 6164 Practice Muslin:The practice muslin is in a much thinner knit and you can see that the sleeves are much softer.

Will I Sew it Again:

Yes!  In lighter-weight fabric. 

Advice to Others:

This is how much I took out of Option D’s neckline. I did nearly the same to the back. The scoop neck requires raising.
Make your first tee in cheap knit to get that scoop neckline corrected.  Even for those larger-breasted than myself, I imagine that for everyday wear, they are not wanting that much boobery exposed for all to see. 
Overall Style Grade:  A, fashion-forward but not extreme.  A little bit of fun.
Results Grade: A, no reason you can’t get a good result.  Beginners may be intimidated by the sleeves at first, but that is really the only part that has any detail to fuss over. 
Next Post: Thursday, February 3, 2011:A Dog Bed Made Out of a Pair of Leggings and an Old Pillowcase.

P.S. WordPress is losing it’s mind again and has re-fonted the entire bottom portion of this post.  It would not change back, no matter what I did. Sorry!!!


Refashioning: A Man’s Polo into a Woman’s Polo

You know what gets me through winter? 


I can’t wait to sew spring clothes.  Initially my plan was to wait for the New Year before pulling out the spring fabric, but my winter doldrums have gotten so bad that I decided to start on a small spring project to lift my spirits.

The tee-shirt pattern and original polo.

Here is the first of my spring sew-ups; a refashioned men’s polo.  Taking an XL men’s polo bought at a thrift store, my first thought was that I could get a regular t-shirt out of it.   But when I pulled it out I thought it would be a shame to waste that finished neckline. I don’t make polo shirts for myself, and I have such a hard time getting ones to fit well in plus-sizes.  On a whim I decided to cut it down into a women’s polo.

I cut up the side seams and along the armscye. 

Cut right beside the seams.

Laying the sleeves aside, I fold the polo in half matching the shoulder seams.

Matching shoulder seams fold the shirt exactly in half.

Next I took a TNT t-shirt pattern that I have already successfully fit and laid it over the polo.

Lay the pattern on top of the shirt use it as a rough guide to cut in an armscye curve. I did not cut down the sleeves for this shirt as I often find sleeves binding, I thought the extra material in men's shirtsleeves would be a plus.

This gave me a guideline for grading down the shoulder seam.  I didn’t cut exact to my pattern though.  Allowing some extra room in the shoulder I winged it. 

Then I reattached the arms flat.  Tidied up the side seams and sewed them. 

After a try-on I marked and sewed the hem.

The finished polo.

Overall, I am very pleased.  As a plus-size woman sometimes I am advised to buy men’s tee’s and polo’s, but frankly the fit is so unfeminine.  The shoulders hang off of me and the effect is dumpy and depressing.  Cutting down the shoulder was all it took to feminize the shirt.

As the original polo was meant to hang from a man's body, the white fabric is a wee bit see-through when the shirt is more fitted. Will need a tee-shirt bra or weight loss.

However, it did hoochie-mamma on me

Advice to others: If you want to retain the neckline, you will perforce cut down the shoulder.  When you cut the shoulder back, the sleeve moves inward no longer meeting at the old armpit point.  Your armpit point moves towards the center of the shirt thereby decreasing the circumference. 

Two options at that point:

1) Accept the more fitted version.

2) Buy a shirt so large that you will still have ease even after moving the armpit point inwards.


  • If you have a tried and true pattern to use as a guide the whole project could take less than one hour.  As I did not have to construct a neckline, collar or sleeve cuff for this shirt, that cut my time down significantly.
  • Thrift store shirts are cheap.
  • If you make a mistake you haven’t lost much in the way of money.
  • Men’s knit shirts are often of high quality material often unavailable in fabric stores.
  • It’s just fun!



  • It may take more than one attempt to get a successful refashioning.
  • If you are in the upper plus-sizes it may be hard to find sufficiently large men’s shirts.
  • The shirt you refashion will always be smaller than the original.  Buy two or more sizes up.  (This one came out so fitted that it requires a tee-shirt bra!  Didn’t see that coming.)
  • The refashioned garment may bear some of the same fitting issues, such as folds, as the original RTW garment.  That is because you probably won’t have enough material to cut your way out of it. 

Will I Sew it Again?

All that was left at the end. I took the cut off original hem and made two headbands to hold back my bangs when washing my face. It was throw-away material anyway and at least it will get more use before its certain demise.

Yeah, I think so.  I have several more men’s knit shirts and I am trying various patterns with them.  The process is fun and I hope to reach the point where I have a method that is TNT, thereby incrementally increasing my choice in garments if I can reliably alter RTW bought at bottom-dollar from the thrift store.

Next Post: Tuesday, December 21, 2010: Finishing some things from the sewing basket.  Hope to be ready to show them.