Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge & Tracy Reese's McCalls

I've been enjoying the Black History Month Pattern Designers challenge on Instagram (#BHMPatternDesigners). Hosts @onesewsweet & @naturaldane have been sharing lots of historical information and inspiration for the challenge, and I really wanted to get something made in February.

I looked through my stash for patterns, I read a few books, and I finally decided on a Tracy Reese "Plenty" blouse pattern, McCalls 7251. I first intended to use a floral rayon that I shared earlier:

but when looking into my stash I found a thrifted piece of rayon that was just big enough for the pattern and which called out to be made into this top. So I changed my plan!

This top is both simple and complex. It's a simple silhouette, but the details of pintucks and placket were a little more time consuming, making this into not-a-quick sew. I was quite busy this last week, so ended up working a hour here and there to finally get it finished. I think the final result is really nice; an elegant, easy top.

It has a delicate detail of pleats on both sides of the front placket, and along the centre back. It's kind of hard to see them in this busier print, but it gives the top a nice fitted shape around the shoulder and bust, and lets it flow outward over the hip/abdomen area -- a magic combination for me :)

The placket was harder for me, and in the close-up you can see that I didn't get it quite even -- one side is nice and smooth, the other has a bit of a dip in it. It's also partly because of my wonky shoulders that it doesn't sit perfectly even, but in wearing it you can't notice, and it is super comfy. I did sew up the placket at least 1.5 or 2 inches higher than the pattern intends -- it is very low otherwise, down to the bra line, at least on this short torsoed person. I was going to put a button there but ended up just sewing it down as I felt the fabric could hold its own here.

But you can also see what a beautiful shape this pattern has. I'm particularly fond of the back, though looking at this I clearly need to give it a good steam press, lol. I love the way it fits, and flows. I love the back being longer than the front, with the split side seam -- usually I'd alter things to make them the same length as I am not generally a fan of a longer back. In this case I had not even an inch of extra fabric to extend the length so left it, and am quite pleased with it. It is a soft, flowy silhouette that feels great to wear -- and I'm also very happy with the fabric/pattern combo.

This challenge got me diving into my stash (fabric AND pattern) and resulted in a really great new top that I can tell I'm going to get lots of wear from. A great result! It also led me to a bunch of new pattern designers and makers that are just going to make my stash grow. Truly inspirational!


  1. A lovely garment! And you are right, very elegant. At first glance I could not make out the details of the placket, because of the busy fabric. So the close up photos were good. The neckline is beautiful, and the different body lengths between front and back is quite subtle, not a big obvious difference. If I were you I would be making a couple more of this pattern. It looks so comfortable and 'feel good'.

    1. It's so comfortable! It doesn't pull across the shoulders or hips, and I think if I made it again I could get the placket a little better from practice :)

  2. I love your top! I need some woven tops to wear that can be business casual. I keep looking at this pattern and after seeing yours I think I might give it a try. I need something to cover my tummy in a flattering way and think this would do that.

    1. Definitely a business casual, comfortable and great camouflaging top! I recommend it.


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