Pattern Reviews

The Brown “Silk” Bowling Shirt – McCall’s 7206

McCall's 7206 in brown silk hero

My third iteration of McCall’s 7206 men’s bowling shirt was once again for my dad. His first one in lavender linen was the nicest thing I’d ever made, but he really wanted a brown one, too. We sourced some “silk” (more on that in a second) at a vendor in the Fashion District, and this one he wanted without the front seams.

All right!

I mentioned when I posted about the linen version of McCall’s 7206 how challenging the search for silk had been. Luckily we found someone who specialized in only silk and linen, at an affordable price, and had claimed to be in business for over 30 years. My dad found the colors he wanted and off we went.

The blue fabric is undoubtedly silk. The brown, on the other hand, left me wondering. It felt very flimsy, when silk is a very strong fiber. It was also pretty sheer and shiny, more like cheap lining. But I ignored my instincts, since my dad was owed a shirt and he had already paid for the fabric.

And I treated it like silk. I even got silk pins to avoid damaging the fabric!

First I soaked both lengths in a gelatin solution and then air dryed them to stiffen the fabric.


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Then I bought brown silk thread, since that’s what I thought you were supposed to use on silk fabric—turns out you’re supposed to use polyester as it is weaker than silk. Oops!

This time he wanted a plain front, so I taped the front pieces together and traced a new one. (However there is still the front facing that needs to be tacked down, so regardless there will be a line of stitching along that seam.)

I ended up not overlapping the front pieces enough. I measured 5/8” on each edge and overlapped to this line. But that’s the seamline, and each seamline needs to lie on top of its neighbor, not next to it. That meant there was an extra 1.25” at the side seam, which looked like I’d try to do a full bust adjustment for my dad!


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Even though I’d cut the fronts like this, it was easy enough to trim them back once I realized my mistake.

The fabric frayed like a crazy devil and I was covered in brown fluff for days. But since this was my third time making it, and I wasn’t sick this time, it came together much quicker. I did try to hand sew the facing down to make it more invisible, but the fabric was so flimsy that it started to run each time I tried a prick stitch. I gave up and simply topstitched it down.

Dad also wanted pockets on the front, but I just didn’t trust the fabric to actually hold. The more holes I put in it, the weaker it became, and they weren’t steaming out either. I did do French seams all over again, so at least it looked nice on the outside.

McCall's 7206 in brown silk interior French seams

The buttons presented another challenge. They have an odd, not flat shape so they didn’t want to fit into my button foot. I ended up hand sewing these instead, which I hate doing. I never think they’re strong enough that way, even though I try to follow the proper “couture” techniques.

McCall's 7206 in brown silk shirt with buttons from Mood

When all was said and done, the shirt unfortunately resembled those shiny 70s style shirts that was NOT what my dad wanted. I felt bad. I also apparently made the first button hole too low so his undershirt (which now he has to wear because of the aforementioned sheerness) showed. That’s an easy fix (adding a snap is no biggie), but overall I was disappointed in the shirt.

McCall's 7206 in brown silk bowling shirt

I’m taking a little break from this pattern for a little while. The next one, which will be made in a true silk (!!!), will be a beautiful cobalt blue that reads almost purple in certain light. I’m excited to work with real silk (finally), but it might be at least another month or two before I revisit it.

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