Vintage McCalls 7939

I haven’t sewn a single thing since the end of September, right before we went to Portugal. The holidays were a lot more hectic and exhausting than I though they would be, so I’m very relieved to have made it past everything and to be starting the new year. I was feeling so anxious about sewing again, so I just kept cutting things out (even though I hate that step), because I was procrastinating actually having to sit down and sew something.

This is one of the five things I cut out in my anxious state. It was the thing I was most nervous about because I hadn’t really thought through the construction of the split front with the lining. I was just going to keep agonizing over it, so I finally just sat down and dove into it without thinking too much. I made this vintage McCall’s 7939 once before in 2021 in the version with shorter sleeves. It was really cute, but the fabric just made it feel a little too “prairie” for me.

I was feeling a lot better about this fabric, and I hoped it would feel a little more bohemian, especially with the longer sleeves. Thankfully I was right, and I really like how it turned out!

My original inspiration for this was a Madewell blouse that I saw Natalie Borton wearing and pinned a while back. The Madewell blouse came up higher in the front and had a mandarin collar, plus it had four ties to make two bows. I originally had four ties, but it was just looking really weird to me since my ties were thicker (borrowed from the Roscoe Blouse pattern). I shared about it in my Instagram stories and got lots of great suggestions from people. One was to just have two ties instead of four, so I tried that and really liked it! I definitely could have made skinnier ties and it would have worked, but I was still on the anxious sewing train, and I just needed some forward progress.

The split front and ties were the only thing that I hacked for this, and I didn’t do it particularly well. I made two separate pieces for the front and then just basted them together before sewing them to the gathers. Doing that messed up the lining, so I just sewed them together normally with right sides together and had to serge to finish the seam. Not my best construction, but next time, I’ll let the lining do its job.

This pattern might be difficult to find online, but there are a couple of other patterns that are similar. The Sienne Blouse by Treize Coquelicot is the closest in design and you could easily add cuffs from another pattern if you like that detail. The Made by Rae Ruby is also a good dupe, and Rae has a blog post on how to draft the sleeves. Let me know in the comments if you can think of any others.

This very cool, shimmery fabric is a mercerized ikat cotton that I bought from Fabriclore on Etsy during the summer, but it looks like they’re only selling on their website now. I bought a couple of other ikats from them that I’m really excited to sew up soon too. I did notice a bit of a flaw on the front fabric of my blouse when I was finishing it, but luckily the fabric is busy enough that you can’t see it very well. Ikat fabric is hand woven, so you really have to check for little slubs that can look like flaws in the fabric before you cut.

I’m so relieved to have this blouse finished and that my next project isn’t a vintage pattern and requires no hacking! I hope you are having a great start to your 2023 year. If you have any questions, I am always happy to answer them. Happy sewing! xoxo

4 thoughts on “Vintage McCalls 7939”

  1. This is super cute and the commentary very helpful. Interesting to read that other people get nervous about diving back into garment construction after a hiatus. I have several projects lined up and admit Iā€™m a bit nervous to start. Thanks for the encouragement. Your blouse looks great, love your fabric choice.

    1. Thank you, Cate! The holidays and traveling really throw off my groove, so it makes it a lot harder for me to jump right back into sewing. But I’m slowly getting there. You’re definitely not alone though and I hope you are able to take some small steps back towards sewing soon! šŸ’•

  2. Love the blouse, fabric and color. It looks great on you – I would call it your first sewing win of the New Year!
    The fabrics at Fabriclore are lovely. How did you find shipping from India (time and cost-wise)?

    1. Thank you, Lodi! I think it’s a win too! šŸ˜Š All of the times I’ve purchased from shops in India it’s been through Etsy and it’s never very expensive. It can take up to a month to get it (to the US), but I’m usually never in a hurry to sew it, so that doesn’t bother me. Some shops will offer expedited shipping if you spend over a certain amount, and that’s how I was able to get this fabric within about a week.

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