Wednesday, 14 January 2015

McCall's 6325 - Space Harrier Bustier


My Space Harrier Inspired Cropped Bustier

I've sewn something! What a great way to kick off the new year. :) As unconventional as this may sound, I'm going to break up this review into two posts. Why? Because I'm actually sewing the same bustier in a different material right now, and since they'll be made of different fabrics I'd like to compare and contrast my results. I'm going to complete this review in my standard format, discussing the pattern, my problems sewing it and the conclusion. In the second installation of this review I'll go over the previous complaints to see if there have been any improvements and if there are any new observations worth noting.




McCall's 6325 Misses'  Lined Top

I bought this pattern with the intention of using the bodice for other projects. I never really gave the actual garment much thought but it's confusing. Is it a tank top? A blouse? Or a bustier? I guess it's all of the above. If you create looks A and B it will act more like a bustier because it requires boning to shape and support. Looks C and D are more like blouse/tank tops. I find it rather deceptive that this pattern is marketed as giving bra like support, it has multiple cup sizes which are indicated by the little pink and white bra symbol on the envelope. I suppose to cover their asses they don't directly state that the pattern will give you support, but why picture a bra and show a woman on the cover *not wearing a bra*, what impression is that supposed to give us? You might make the obvious assumption that this lined top requires cup inserts, but it doesn't. Apparently the construction of the cup combined with straps or boning is supposed to be adequate enough to hold your boobs in place. I really don't buy that for a number of reasons which I'll get into later.

The suggested fabrics for this piece are lightweight denim, lightweight broadcloth, voile, stretch wovens and linen. I think some of these materials could be successful but broadcloth? I've heard of it being used that way before but I honestly think broadcloth as a bustier sucks. That material is so freaking horrendous, it slips and wrinkles and pulls in awkward manners and looks cheap, cheap, cheap!! I would not use broadcloth for this project. I understand it's lightweight and good for summer, but broadcloth should speak for itself, and by that I mean that it should be used in projects with minimal construction details. Just imagine trying to iron the wrinkles out of a self lined broadcloth bustier... talk about a nightmare.



How did I do it?

I made my bustier using a weird, synthetic mixed fibre material that's coated in some kind of fabric paint. I chose Look A, which is the strapless bustier without the peplum. I self lined the bustier with the same fabric because I liked the mixed fibre backing (it felt nice and looked sharp). The material was very fragile, it could easily crack and peel - you can see some cracks in the photo above. I had to pin carefully inside the seam allowance, ensuring not to puncture any showing fabric. I made small adjustments to the pattern, taking the waist up one inch and taking in about an inch at the back seams. I did this because the pattern fit was way off. It doesn't curve inward with the rib cage, instead it fits more like a box, causing a massive gap at the waistline. I did my best to fit the bustier close to my body, just as the pattern recommends, but even after the muslin I still had fit issues. The bra cups and placket require interfacing which I didn't much care for because it created a bulky appearance (I had to use sew-in interfacing). I finished my front placket with these swanky, holographic sparkle buttons! Although the pattern calls for only four 1/2" buttons I used five because I didn't feel four would be sufficient enough. I've called it the Space Harrier Bustier named after one of my favorite childhood video games.


What did I like about this pattern?

Not much, lol. It has a lot of problems, primarily with fit. I guess I like that there's potential. It could be made in different styles. I have yet to try it as a "blouse", which may make a difference in fit and feel, but I doubt it. I like that this design attempts to do something more modern and abandons that prudish, matronly look we've seen for so long in McCall's patterns. It's young and flirty, I just think they did a poor job of marketing that.


What did I dislike about this pattern?

Where do I begin. Fit is way off. My number one complaint here is that the pattern is intended for multiple bust sizes but it fits the chest terribly. I recall reading another review of this pattern where the girl blamed her body for the improper fit. It's not fucking true. The cups are too damn small. I'm a mere B cup, nothing special, and I'm given one cup size for my size range which is the A-B cup. I feel sorry for a woman with an A cup because she'd be swimming in this thing! I barely fit in it. On the flip side of this, a larger chested woman would not get enough coverage. I'll break this complaint down...
  1. The cup is not large enough to hold boobs of any size. It's far too small, the top of the cup ends just above the nipples. Some women may try to compensate for this lack of coverage by shortening their straps but this only pulls the cup upwards and makes it more obvious that the cups are too small for the bust. You want the bottom of the cups to sit underneath your bust, just like a regular bra. I recommend adding almost an inch to the top of the cups to have greater coverage (adding length may vary depending on your bust size).
  2. Cup hangs off of the bust. This is a complaint I've seen numerous times, the cup gapes and hangs downward causing the boobs to fall out. A cup should, well, cup your boob! It should cover it entirely otherwise you'll end up looking trashy. To eliminate the gap, I recommend taking in the cup centers seams and tapering toward the nipple area (apex). This sort of closes the gap without taking away too much material from the middle of the cup.
  3. It just uses interfacing. I get that it uses interfacing for support but when I used it for my bustier it created a gross bulky appearance. I'd rather a built in bra with real padding so I'm going to use cup inserts in the future!
While we're on the topic of boobs, it really grinds me that they used a small chested girl to advertise a garment that's intended to give you support. No offense to small chested girls, but they hardly need as much support as a C or D cup. Wouldn't you rather see a model with large breasts sporting this garment so you could know for sure whether or not the damn thing will actually fit?! That's no accident, they hired a small chested girl for a reason... which brings me to my next point.

Look at my photo of the pattern envelope near the top of this post. Now look at this product photo from their website (right). See a difference? In the original photo from their website, the top puckers in beneath the bust on the pink bustier. They altered it to appear smooth in the final envelope photograph. THEY CHANGED THE PHOTO TO LOOK BETTER. How does it feel to be lied to? Because that's exactly where this freaking garment puckers and looks awkward. Instead of fixing a design error, they covered it up in photoshop and pushed it into production. That really pisses me off. It just has me questioning all the McCall's patterns I buy. If you haven't been critical of pattern photos before, you will now.


What did I learn?

Don't trust pattern photos! I also learned that patterns are really absolute shit for fit and you definitely should make a test run first. In fact, do it twice because the first time you'll likely miss something like I did. I learned that paint coated fabric really blows and I'd rather go for something more durable in the future. It's also a really big pain to cut and sew with that kind of material. I learned that the number of recommended buttons isn't always accurate or what's best and that boning doesn't always enhance the garment.


What would I change if I were to sew it again?

This is interesting because I'm already sewing it again. I would like to make sure that my seams line up perfectly next time. I had a hard time getting the front bust and bodice seams to line up on this bustier, and due to my choice in fabric there was no room for error (once you stitch it the holes are permanent! very stressful). I plan on using the straps in the next project. I couldn't make the straps with the material for this project because it was near to impossible, so I resorted to the look without straps, although it certainly could have used them. I do not want to use boning again. Even with the boning I still feel better wearing my strapless bra underneath this bustier, I just feel like I'm going to pop out otherwise. I might use snaps instead of buttons for my next project because there's little room to sew buttonholes on the placket (vertically or horizontally).


Conclusion

Overall it's a passable garment, I just wish it fit better and felt better. To be fair, the kind of material I used certainly works against it, it's billowy and sticky and sounds like a plastic bag. It's very 1980's. Because this pattern deals with close fit it's very important to get it right and practice before doing your final garment. I've found many people recommend this bustier without problem, and we have to take their words for it, but I often wonder if it's actually fitting them properly or if they just have low standards. You can be thankful that I'm nit picky as hell because I would not recommend a pattern to you unless I've perfected it. At this stage I feel I could recommend this pattern but only with significant modifications. It should have been much easier to adjust this to fit properly. I feel that due to their poor design choices it resulted in a garment that almost takes more work than it's worth, but maybe I'll feel differently in the follow up review.

Kind regards,

8 comments:

  1. I hate strapless anything--no support ever. Sucks it was such a hassle for you...it does look great on the mannequin though. Maybe it would work in a brocade or upholstery fabric?

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    1. It was definitely not my preference to have this as strapless bustier. I'm okay with strapless dresses, provided the garment has smocking in the back because it helps hold the bodice in place. Without straps or smocking, bodices just fall down or hang forward! >.< I've been thinking of stitching some old bra straps onto the liner for more support. It's too cute to just throw this in a drawer and forget about it.

      I have a gorgeous black damask brocade but I've been saving it for a waist cincher. I'm currently making the second bustier out of a stretch woven fabric and it seems to be working a hell of a lot better, I think it's probably the proper fabric for this garment.

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  2. Starting off the year sewing really is a great way to start the year-- it's just a shame this seemed to cause you much anger. I think we're on the same sewing wave length... I just posted my own recently finished garment sewing endeavor, too. Kinda cool, heh.

    Anyway, if I didn't know what you said about it, the bustier looks quite nice-- I love those buttons!

    I've used invisible straps and grip elastic on "strapless" bodices before-- they help incredibly. Though grip elastic tends to be common in a fairly large thickness'... but there the smaller kind is out there.
    I know what a pain in the butt that material is... yuck.. microtex needles and fabric clips instead of pins make the work on this material a lot less of a pain.

    Can't wait to see the new and improved one!

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    1. I just checked out your post!! So cool we're sewing in the new year. :)

      I actually really like my bustier, it's just the fit being off and the struggle to sew it sort of brought me down. I guess I've always had high standards of sewing patterns because I didn't expect to be overhauling the entire garment just to make it fit, I generally expect a tuck here and there but nothing to this extent. It was a huge disappointment.

      Good suggestions! I used a microtex needle on this fabric, and it worked really well. It's funny that you mentioned fabric clips, I actually was using paperclips for part of it lol, after a while I got lazy and started using pins in the seams instead. It was really successful, the only cracks and peels occurred on the plackets when I was sewing the buttonholes, it had something to do with the foot pressing down on the material too hard, it ended up lifting the paint.

      I'm really excited to complete this new bustier, especially because it will have cups and straps. I'm hoping that will help it look better.

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  3. A very thorough and pro review! I also really like the top you made, the feeling of 80's space fashion. :)

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    1. Thank you! I love anything that looks intergalactic. I used to watch this show on our music station when I was a preteen, it was called Electric Circus. In the late 90's everyone was wearing spacey looking club wear to EC. It totally rocked.

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  4. It looks lovely! It's too bad the fit is not wonderful too. I know NOTHING about sewing but I can see fitting my lumps and humps (boobs haha) into handmade items would be a challenge for me. Why do patterns not compensate for boobies?!

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    1. Thank you! : ) It can be difficult to fit patterns whether you've got lumps and bumps or a complete lack thereof! I usually have success with adjusting commercial patterns to fit me, but this was my first pattern to feature a fitted cup. Boobs are all different shapes and sizes, having only three cups to choose from seems terribly insufficient to me, but I suppose designers (be they pattern makers or ready to wear designers) are always going to leave somebody out. At least I know better now lol.

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