McCalls 6659 Review: Pyjama Shirt
"Multiple variation pattern for pyjamas and robes. A nicely drafted pattern, but lots of finishing required to make a nice garment. Probably not great for beginners but good for those with finishing experience."Buy it for £8.15
My review of McCalls 6659 Variation C; When I first started sewing, I received a lovely book full of pyajama patterns. I loved the look of the traditional button-up PJs complete with piping and embroidered monograms, but never thought to actually make one!
Collars have always been my big hurdle. The idea of a collar terrifies me. Especially when you see those notched ones. How do they do that?! It must be so complicated! It wasn’t until I realised that a “notched” collar folded up and buttoned right at the top is just a normal high neck with a small collar attached… really nothing to be scared of.
I decided, before moving into proper shirtmaking, to give a pyjama shirt a go. My feeling is that it’ll be more of a loose fit, less finishing required and generally just a bit easier.
I wish it had been. Unfortunately, this pattern was quite full of drama for me. But we got there in the end…
McCalls 6659 Review: Shirts, robes and trousers
McCalls 6659 is a multi-variant pattern featuring many different views, though some are just lengthenings and shortenings of others. Two robe lengths, two trouser styles (one is slim and the other much baggier) and two shirt variations. I chose Variation C, which is the short sleeved option with the curved hem split. I really only chose this variation because I had purchased some remnant cotton lawn and wanted to get both a shirt and bottoms out of it. Normally, I’d go for a longer sleeved top.
McCalls 6659 Review: Sizing and adjustments
I went into this with no adjustments and no toile. I really was considering this a practice-piece, with intentions to make this (plus matching robe) out of some Japanese-style printed silk. I did, however want to fully finish the garment so I could get to grips with 100% of it’s construction. I’m glad I did because it ended up being the finishing that truly stumped me!
The only really “adjustment” I made was that I sewed both the side seams and shoulder seams with a french seam to finish them. I have seen this detail a lot on shirts and it really is a nice finishing technique and very easy. But my issues arose due to the french-seamed side seams. When it came to doing the double-folded hem on the curved sections of the shirt, I was stumped. With the side seam joined together, there was no way to double-fold the hem up and still retain the shape. I tried all-sorts. In the end, I had to opt to cut away the slits completely and return to a more traditional shirttail hem. Albeit a very undulating one, which caused problems when it came to hemming. I ended up doing a bias-faced hem. Well, I guess I learnt another shirtmaking technique!
McCalls 6659 Review: Finishings
This is my second McCalls pattern that has delivered disappointing results due to lack of finishing in the instructions. If you are following to the letter, you will find raw edges inside your garment. I wish I had overlocked all the edges before sewing. I had to do some unpicking in order to finish the facing with a nice hong-kong finish. But the top of the facing and the collar portion where unsalvageable, so raw edges remain.
Next time I make this I will overlock everything first, and bias-tape the facing and collar pieces so I get a really nice inside finish. I’d also maybe consider drafting the facing pieces much longer so they meet at the centre-back.
McCalls 6659 Review: Fitting
I actually discovered that this garment is just a little too tight for me. On my next iteration, I will do an FBA and extend the extra down into the hip line. I will also cut myself a large seam allowance from bust dart downwards so I can fit perfectly to my hips. I’ll do the straight hem option too, and go for 3/4 length sleeves (long enough to keep your arms warm, but not so long you dip them in your breakfast)
I’d also consider binning the back darts. They do make quite a nice shape, but these are pyjamas and I’d prefer them looser.
On Pattern Review someone pointed out you may have to iron the collar to get it to lie nicely. I do agree with this but at the same time I can’t see myself bothering.
I don’t want my review to put anyone off making this, but just to consider there is more work to do than presented in the instructions. It’s definitely worth a toile.<