Thursday, 11 June 2015

More mediocrity (New Look 6407)

This is one of those projects where I have gone back and forth between: this is going well! No, wait, this is going really badly! Argh, this a total wadder! No, maybe I CAN finish it and get something useful out of this! Oh, no, maybe I can't... etc, ad nauseum.

New Look 6407 in navy cotton

In the end, I think this particular garment is mediocre at best. I still like a lot of things about the pattern, but I'm just not sure how to fix the problems I've encountered if I were to make it again.

The pattern is New Look 6407, which is one of those patterns that's (a) been very widely reviewed; (b) been around a long time; and (c) is legitimately a shape and style I have bought and worn a million times in my life. I like the fitted shape, the V shaped neckline and (some of) the sleeve options. What put me off buying it for ages was the way it is fitted (waist and bust darts) since all my previous attempts at this kind of shaping have ended up with weird and profoundly unflattering kangaroo pouches where my bust is supposed to go. This is not due to any particular special snowflake-ness of my body shape, or only like 5% that at the most. It is 95% due my inability to figure out the right length, width and positioning of the vertical darts to work with my figure.

However, despite these qualms eventually I succumbed, bought the pattern in a New Look sale, and, in my current quest to make summer-y woven tops, dug it out to muslin and make up this month. I had a piece of cotton just big enough to make view E, in yellow in the pattern illustration above, with a neckband (no collar) and cap sleeves.

New Look 6407 back view
The fabric in question was actually a freebie. It turned up with some fabric I had ordered, having been included in my package by mistake. The vendor didn't want it back when I asked, so this shirt was mine for the cost of the thread and buttons in the end. This is probably just as well as it would have been a shame to use something nice on mediocrity. Sadly, the fabric did not cope well with the extensive amount of handling it received when I was making this (mainly my own fault -- lots of unpicking) and it creases like you wouldn't believe. I pressed this shirt for AGES before I took the photos and it still looks like a rag.

New Look 6407 on me
Fit-wise the muslin seemed to go quite well. I messed about with the darts endlessly, but I thought I had it all figured out and transferred back to the pattern. However, when I sewed the darts and put the bodice together: kangaroo pouches. Again. Argh. Every time I go through this I think to myself that I should make a fitting shell and get this figured out once and for all, and then I contemplate the actual effort involved in making a fitting shell and get no further with the process.

New Look 6407 rear view on me
At any rate, at the kangaroo pouch discovery point I decided this navy shirt was going to be a wadder, folded it all up and put it away. Last week it occurred to me that it might be worth seeing what would happen if I unpicked and pressed out the problematic vertical darts on the front bodice. This produced something MUCH more wearable, with no kangaroo pouch effect! I was very pleased for about 3 minutes, but then I proceeded to make an absolute pig's ear of the neckband (NOBODY else reports problems putting the neckband on, so I can only assume I am stupid because I could not even remotely understand what the pattern wanted me to do, at all, in any way for what felt like HOURS), and the facings (which I dislike anyway), prompting yet more time frowning at this garment. Eventually, though I pulled myself together enough to get the thing finished, which is much more than I ever though I would achieve.
Even on Flossie the neckline is too wide and splays outward at the top. IDK how to fix that.
There are, however, so many problems with this particular garment:
  • The fit at the neck is WAY off. It's way off on Flossie too, (see above) so I think it's some combination of body shape and maybe also overworking the neckline so significantly when I was trying to put the neckband on.
  • The bust darts did not come out well. I feel like I maybe stretched the fabric weirdly somehow when I was sewing and/or pressing the bust area? Or maybe it's the result of how I pressed the (now removed) vertical darts I sewed in? Whatever I did wrong, there's something weird and unpleasant going on with the darts.
  • There's so much visible bad sewing ugh. I didn't think it was too bad when I was actually making it, but wow, yuck, there's a lot of bad sewing here.
  • The neckband is not set evenly on the neckline. It's out by no more than 3-4mm but it's enough to annoy me. By the time I realized how bad it was I was in danger of shredding the neck/collar altogether due to all the unpicking I'd already done, so I had to live with it.
  • I do not love this sleeve length on me. 
  • I do not love the facings because I never like facings
I don't know if/when I will make this pattern again. On the one hand, I really do like the idea of the neckline very much indeed. On the other hand, there are just so many fitting problems with this version and some of them I just don't know how to fix at the moment.

In conclusion: boo! I wanted so much to like this pattern and this shirt, but I just don't think I can say it was successful at all.

I am going to take a break from shirts for my next few projects. I still want to add a couple more to my summer wardrobe, but I have other fish to fry as well. Next up, some very boring t-shirts, and then maybe a maxi skirt if I can summon up the mental fortitude to cut out the massive amounts of fabric needed!


  1. That neckband is standing further away from your neck than I usually see in RTW versions of this style. Of course, I can't tell you how to fix it, but I'm guessing that might at least partially be why you don't care for this.

    If you do want to attempt this style neckline again, it seems to be a pretty common option in New Look blouses. FWIW, I've currently got NL 6374 ( on my to-sew list, as this is a very popular style in RTW right now, and should be much easier to fit with shoulder gathers vs. all of those darts. (Granted, this top/tunic will have a much less fitted look than the blouse that you've been working on.)

  2. Hi, I just found your blog - can't remember where I found you but I clicked on a link and there you were. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that 6407 is one of my favouritist (!!) blouses but I had to do a lot of work on it to get it to fit me. I took the vertical darts out (front and back) then put them back in again lower down. I moved the "horizontal" darts down a bit too. I made the sleeves wider and longer. You name it, I did it.

    Here are a few things I've learned about making 6407. Don't top stitch the collar by machine. I find it always makes the fabric move - no matter if I pin it to within an inch of its life or tack it - so I now always hand stitch it as I then have more control over that moving fabric. I also only make the blouse using a firm cotton or polycotton - like the weight of quilting cotton. The blouse and collar definitely sit better in that kind of fabric. Also, I don't see anything wrong with the collar where you say it's splaying outwards. Mine does that too and it's fine - it really is. I hope you don't mind me speaking up like this. I just wanted to let you know that you can make this blouse and learn to love it - well, I hope you can! :o)

    1. I agree with Anne in the type of fabric to use and the collar issue. I've made this pattern three times and found that firm cottons without stretch work best. The version I made with a stretch cotton poplin and french seams looked like crap. As for the collar/collar stand, it stands away from my neck as well. If you look at reviews of this pattern, this seems to be a common issue.

      Finally, I did away with the bust and waist darts and converted them to shoulder princess seams. I am *so* much happier with the fit because I can move the bust fullness to where I need it and take out some of the extra fabric above my chest at the princess seam. Please, give it a try! I did a small tutorial on my blog about how to convert from darts to princess seams.

  3. Sorry your experience with the pattern was not a good one. I would never have known you weren't happy with it because it looks good.

  4. Hi,
    Please don't beat yourself up over what you said was free fabric.
    I have made NL 6407 and had to make changes to get it to fit me, so you are not alone.
    What I see is: that the shoulders do not look to be sitting correctly - see how the seams are past where your shoulders naturally end. So if I had to make a guess, it would be that you went up a size or two to accommodate your chest. Did you select the size based on your chest or high bust measurement?
    The two drag lines from your bust seem to show that you need both length and width over the bust (which gives the diagonal). I suspect you may need to carry out a small Full Bust Adjustment on a pattern size selected to fit your shoulders. Perhaps if you pinned a small vertical dart at the front, maybe 4 inches (10 cm) long centred around the waist, this would help. Not the long darts shown on the pattern. Then perhaps increase the uptake in the side bust dart - this will shorten the front length, but you can shorten the back to compensate.
    On the back: do you have a narrow back? I see too much fabric across your shoulders, which cause the drag lines at the top. Release the long vertical darts and repin to your shape not the patterns. It looks as if you need to take in more in the waist area and let out more over the hips, so it does not catch on the clothes underneath.
    You have done 90% of the work, so hang in there and fiddle with the last little bits and you will have a very wearable blouse and more importantly a blouse you can make over and over that fits the unique shape that is you

  5. I agree with FionaW (above). The top is too wide through the shoulders and upper back. I'd try making a smaller size according to your high bust measurement and then doing a FBA to give you the width and length you need for your bust.
    On the back, I hope that making a smaller size will improve the fit across the shoulders. There is a little pooling at the small of your back (this happens to me too!) so I'd suggest doing a swayback adjustment, or taking a fish-eye dart out of the center back piece tapering to nothing at the seam line.
    This is a nice pattern...don't get discouraged!! :)