Kimono sleeves on McCall’s 6436, times four

I’ve been admiring some of the awesome kimono-sleeved buttoned shirt patterns (like the StyleArc Blair – check out Kelli’s and Meg’s – and Deer & Doe Melilot – check out Katie’s) and became obsessed with Heather Lou’s self-drafted shirt dress, but the idea of fitting a new-to-me shirt pattern was giving me hives. I turned to my my old favorite, McCall’s 6436, and grafted on some kimono sleeves using my Helen Joseph-Armstrong drafting manual.

I made a quick muslin, and I was off to the races, making no less than FOUR variations of this pattern. In all versions, I finished the sleeves with a cuff.

First up was an aloha shirt in palm-print rayon challis. I had recently re-watched Romeo+Juliet and was admiring Leo’s Hawaiian shirt. This fabric was as close as I could
come this time around (as in, not very close at all), but I’ll be on the lookout for that perfect Japanese floral on a blue background from now on.

(I had to attempt the Leo smolder.)

But this shirt makes me really gleeful…

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleevecrabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeve

Next up was white linen, salvaged from an attempt at McCall’s 7325 that persisted in looking like a baptismal gown. The pattern pieces were large and rectangular, so the only adjustment I had to make was putting in a CB seam.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeve

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeve

Bonus project: these are my denim Morgan jeans converted into trousers!

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeves and Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans altered into trousers

I changed the welt pocket placement a bit this time around.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case patterns Morgan jeans altered into trousers

Back to the shirts; after the first two versions, I was ready to lengthen the pattern into a shirt dress sewn in that magical thick silk rayon you saw in my jumper dress post! In order to add more ease to the hips, I added a back yoke and a CB pleat, adding 3″ total to the back width. Uncharacteristically for me, I didn’t end up liking the loose waist, so I added a drawstring.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeve dress

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6436 kimono sleeve dress

I found myself wishing I also had a collared shirt version in the same fabric, and had juuuust enough fabric to make it happen. I finished this one shortly after my sis and I took pictures, but I thought I’d include it for the sake of thoroughness.

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 7.42.50 PM.png

These shirts are simple, but a wardrobe dream come true for me. They’ll be the backbone of my 2017 wardrobe. The sleeves are a little breezy for winter temps, but I’ve still been wearing them – the dress, especially – quite a bit. They also layer nicely under my jumper dresses!

These shirts have also proved to me how much I enjoy sewing iteratively. Once I have success with a pattern, I love to make slight variations in length and design details to max it out. Being immersed in the construction helped me sew these rather quickly (which isn’t always my goal but nice in this case.)

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30 thoughts on “Kimono sleeves on McCall’s 6436, times four

  1. LOVE!!! Been getting your emailed blog posts for a while now and always enjoy them. I think I know what I am going to do with some indigo-shibori dyed rayon I have been saving…would love to make a shirt dress with kimono sleeves, or tunic length button down, depending on how much I can squeak out of the fabric. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Short kimono sleeves are actually pretty nice for saving fabric, as are sleeve bands/cuffs! Indigo shibori rayon sounds utterly dreamy as a shirt of some kind. Happy sewing!

  2. Love love love all of these! You’re so clever and patient to be able to re draft bits of patterns to give them a new life and look. I wish I could do the same. Really love your blog posts popping up in my blog reader 🙂

    1. It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s motivated from laziness! I find the muslin and fitting process to be pretty difficult and time/fabric-consuming, so I like starting from a basic pattern I already know and love. (This has bitten me before, though, when I converted a pleated trouser pattern into jeans! Talk about a ton of work!) You’ve made loads of wonderful patterns fit you perfectly, though, and seem to have a great sense of your flat pattern adjustments. I’d like to get better at that, because ultimately I’m not a designer and there are so many great patterns out there right now!

  3. I love all of these but the Leo Hawaiian is my favourite because come on, Romeo & Juliet. Ha ha! Seriously though, these are all fantastic and I am totally digging the trouser Morgans with the white linen. That is a fantastic outfit!! Kimono sleeve button downs forever!! 😉

    1. It really is one of the most visually spectacular movies I’ve seen. And… Leo’s swoopy hair! I used to have instant crushes on boys who had that swoop. Thanks, Heather!

  4. I especially LOVE your Morgan trousers! That said, I’m dying to know the particulars of “grafted on some kimono sleeves using my Helen Joseph-Armstrong drafting manual.” I’ve been lusting after the ClosetCase Barcelona Shirtdress ever since she posted it!

  5. These all look amazing!! I’ve never made a kimono sleeve top for some reason, but I have Melilot in my queue for some time down the line. Your white linen version and Morgan trousers are the perfect pair!!

    1. I’ve loved pretty much every version I’ve seen of that pattern – I hope you go for it! I put on the white linen shirt and trousers, and just felt very much like myself. Come warmer weather, I’m ready to wear the crap out of that combo!

  6. Oh my 17 year old heart. Romeo and Juliet. Honestly one of my favourites of all time. The fish tank scene. I die. And your smoulder. Perfect! Love all of these. How marvellously satisfying. You know I love a pattern repeat. I’m currently up to version 4 of 5 in what I call My Bento Tee series….

  7. Super shirts, love the style of them and the drawstring dress is fab, I really need some wardrobe staples and must concentrate on making them in 2017, I get easily distracted and make things I don’t end up wearing!

    1. It’s so tough to balance sewing what you’ll wear and what you’ll enjoy sewing! I’ve pretty much decided I don’t want to sew knits anymore after I finish out the fabric I have on hand, but that I love sewing jeans and trousers. Here’s to a good balance of sewing enjoyment and project wearability in 2017!

  8. God I loved that version of Romeo and Juliet – I have it on VHS but sadly no longer have a machine to play it in. Your shirt is a great homage to the lovely Leo though

  9. You have been on FIRE this year! I feel like I’ve bookmarked every one of your posts meaning to come back later to comment (but clearly not 😬) I don’t know how you do it-you really seem to know what works for you and nail every make! Especially love your dress version 😃

    1. What a nice compliment, thank you! I’m starting to feel like I have appropriate clothes for most occasions and even most seasons, which is new to me and a fantastic feeling. (There were some years where I felt like I was sewing all the time but my projects didn’t feel like they formed a wardrobe.) I’m hoping it frees me up later next year to try some more elaborate/fun projects!

  10. Hi Morgan!
    Long time lurker, first time commenter 🙂
    I love your blog, it’s always a pleasure to see an email notification about your posts! What I enjoy most reading is about your processes : you seem to stick to tried and true patterns and iterate around them. I’d love to hear more about that. You have a kind of suppleness around patterns, an ability to exploit them and fit them exactly as you want : that is so inspiring!!
    How did you learn to make patterns alterations? Do you alter on the pattern before any cutting, or on the muslin or both?
    Oh and pardon my English 😉

  11. I would be interested to see your adjusted pattern pieces. You kimono sleeves are sitting better then my deer and doe melilot sleeves. Your Morgan trousers are also very intriguing. How do you do this magic?!

  12. I was obsessed with the print on Romeo’s shirt when the film first came out! Somebody clever needs to re-create it for Spoonflower… What a lot of really good stuff you’ve sewn this year. Wardrobe staples are where it’s at. I’m just working on a white cotton Grainline Archer shirt; made some adjustments but didn’t do a muslin, fit is not brilliant but better than RTW, and it’ll be the only white shirt in my wardrobe so bound to get worn. I’d be really interested to know how much ease you have in these shirts at hips, waist, and bust – it looks like the perfect amount!

  13. Oh wow Morgan these are all so gorgeous! Every time I scrolled down to another I thought ‘no this is my favourite!’. I’d really like to attempt a shirt this year and have the archer pattern taped and ready to go as well as a vintage pattern I’d like to make, just need the courage now!

  14. These pieces are so lovely! I especially love the pants, theyre made so well and fit so perfect. Definitely need to follow you on your sewing journies.

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