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McCall's 5859 - Summer Jacket

I thought this would be a quick fun little project. Turns out it neither quick nor fun. I'm still on the fence about the finished product. It might be growing on me.

Based on the measurements on the pattern envelope, I should have cut a size 12. After checking the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern tissue, I cut the muslin in size 10. After trying on the muslin, I cut out the real thing at a size 8. Ah, McCall's...gotta love the sizing issues with the Big 4.

The sizing issues were just the beginning. I planned to make the pattern just as illustrated. I liked the oversized collar and lapel and the wide neck opening. I did have some doubts about the sleeves and pockets, but sometimes I opt to take away too many details and end up with boring clothes. So, not trusting my judgement, I went ahead with the pockets and sleeves.

Bad decision. The high contrast between the white fabric and black piping meant that the pockets were just "too much." They competed with the collar. Off they came - of course after I had made them completely with darts, piping, lining, etc and carefully attached them invisibly.

Check out the sleeves in the pattern line drawing:

They are gathered at the top, have darts coming up from the bottom, piping around the hem and curve up into a V-shape in the middle. And "sleeves" probably isn't the right word for them - they don't go all the way around the arm.

And they look okay on the pattern model:

However, on me they looked like some hideous ruffled wing things. Even with pressing they insisted on staying at an awful up-and-out sort of angle. This, combined with the big collar and pockets, was really hard on the eyes.

Now when you have big things sticking out at your shoulders, it makes your waist look pretty itty-bitty. I could like that. It reminded me of Jane Jetson:

Unfortunately, the "sleeves" had the same effect on my head: it looked pretty itty-bitty too. Not a good look, so the sleeves came out and I looked for another pattern with sleeves that I could substitute. I found Butterick 4188. It has the same very short, half-sleeve, but without the gathers, darts, V-shape, etc that the McCall's one does. I had to do a bit of work changing the sleeve cap to get it to fit, but three different sleeve drafts later, I think it looks much better.

I think I should have made it a little longer. My waist is at the proper spot indicated on the pattern, but it just looks a little too "shrunken" to me. It seems I should have caught that at the muslin stage.
The fabric is from my stash. I bought it at least a couple of years ago. It is a stretch twill so I used a stretch cotton for the lining. I thought the stretch would make the jacket more comfortable, but since there aren't really sleeves, movement is pretty easy with or without stretch.

So, I'm glad this is done and I'll probably wear it, but I don't think it's destined to be a favorite.


  1. Thanks for the information on this pattern. I have it in my stack with fabric but I might start looking for another pattern. It does look really cute on you.

  2. It's sometimes hard to like anything after you've had a struggle with it...but this jacket looks so gorgeous on you, and you look gorgeous in it! It looks very RTW and the proportions are perfect; you look dainty, tiny and delicate in it. Hopefully you'll come to love it!

  3. Your jacket looks so nice! I think it fits very well and the short length is very flattering on you. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to wearing a new look or proportion. Love the piping detail. It really brings attention to the collar.


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