If you’ve been following me on Instagram both in my stories and my feed you’ll know I’ve been working on this shirt for a while now… maybe two weeks. I’m slow, what can I say? Also when I really want to get something right it takes longer…. Think seam ripper. Plus it’s a collared shirt and by nature they aren’t quick. This top is part of my effort to   build my wardrobe from the ground up. (2nd from the left bottom row)
I used McCalls 7351 as the base pattern. I’ve had it for a while and have read many good things about it. It was actually my first time making a Big 4 pattern, can you believe it? I was very happy with it. It has patterns for different cup sizes and overall gave a really good fitted fit. I lengthened it to a top using my Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June. I just laid the bodices on top of each other and then drew in a side-seam from the waist down, going slimmer than the Cheyenne because the M7351 bodice is more fitted. After I muslined I ended up redrawing the side seams using the same outline as the Cheyenne (just narrower) instead of free handing it, so that the shape of the back and front would match up better. I also did a broad back adjustment, added length for my 6′ frame and raised the armhole by 5/8″. The armhole was my favorite adjustment to this shirt. For the first time ever I can wear a sleeveless shirt without any straps showing anywhere. I have complete coverage without trapping in heat.
My intention with this top was to get a look similar to my JCrew Always Chambray top.  I used a lightweight denim from Joanns with the intention of bleaching it. I decided to bleach after sewing it together because I thought the bleach hopefully wouldn’t take as well in the seams to give me a little more of a worn look. I was also thinking that the topstitching thread was polyester and wouldn’t take the bleach either,so I would get darker stitching just like my JCrew top. Neither of those panned out. The shirt bleached evenly and turns out my topstitching thread must have been cotton so it bleached white.  I still got close to the ultimate color I was going for since I used test strips to determine bleaching time, but I wanted to actually go a little darker so I could lightly sand it for the worn look. Since it’s already the color I want I was afraid to sand it too much. I still took a 400 grit to it but was way to conservative so it isn’t really noticeable.
Here is the before and after bleaching, both next to my always chambray top for comparison.
Before After M7351 JCrewRegardless of not getting the exact bleaching effect I was going for, I was happy that for one I didn’t ruin it, and overall I’m very happy with how it looks. Here’s another before and after with it on.Before After M7351_edited-2I did have a near tragic incident with it. I had it in my hand while I was outside talking to my husband who was mowing. My neighbor came over with her dog who had boundless energy from being cooped up all day. He snatched it with his teeth and yanked it out of my hand. Fortunately I didn’t tug back but let go of the shirt and let his master pry his mouth off. There were teeth marks but no punctures… Needless to say my heart was racing just a little.
I’m starting to feel like I finally have a few pieces in my wardrobe that are functional and put together, and best of all custom fit. I can wear this shirt any given day while chasing the kids around the yard as well as going out. It’s cool, light, comfortable, casual, chic and versatile. I love it with my Chi-Town Chinos that I made with my my Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs canvas. Which by the way go with pretty much everything I have made this summer. And it is perfect with my pink JCrew Chinos that I got in three different colors and wear pretty much every day!
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