McCall’s 6164 – a quickie!

I am always in need of more casual knit tops – they wear out so quickly, don’t they? While I usually steer clear of anything that smacks of the 1980s, I was drawn to this pattern (views A and B, in particular) so I picked one up last week. I have been dying for a black/white striped top this summer but I thought that would really take this top all the way to New Wave so I resisted. Instead I used a rayon/lycra jersey that I bought from Textile Studios ages ago. This print is kind of sweet so it’s a nice contrast to the crazy sleeves. The color is more of a blush than the light pink in some of the photos.


This top is really quick and easy to put together. I had to laugh because the pattern piece for the sleeve looks much like a one-seam pant pattern for someone with really short legs. This is sized XS, S, M, L and XL. I used the size S which covers sizes 8 and 10. I made my usual forward shoulder and swayback alterations but skipped the FBA. I shouldn’t have so next time I’ll make a very slight one. I shortened the sleeves by 3/4″, not something I usually do on a short sleeve but it seemed long and I was right to do it. The top itself was really long so I took an extra 2″ off. I thought the shoulder might be too wide since this is an 8/10 but it actually is spot on. Actually, the sizing all around seems to be a solid 8 to me so you might want to check the measurements before you cut.


The neckline is not as wide and scooped as it appears on the model. The depth is fine but I’d like it just a tiny bit wider so I’ll make that adjustment next time. I used a double-fold binding at the neckline instead of the 5/8″ double-fold narrow hem as directed by the pattern. Why, oh why, do they insist on putting that in the instructions? Has that ever, in the history of sewing, worked well? That’s the sort of thing that would reduce someone new to sewing with knits to tears. I just trimmed off the 5/8″ seam allowance and ran it through my new right-angle binder set up (which I LOOOOVE, so look forward to seeing me bind even more than I already do!). This machine will be permanently set up for binding, what a luxury!



I saw a lot of these extended shoulder lines in the runway shows so I guess that’s what drew me to this pattern. I really like these sleeves a lot. It’s always nice to make something out of the ordinary.




Filed under McCall's

48 responses to “McCall’s 6164 – a quickie!

  1. summersetbanks

    LOL – yes I certainly can see that in a stripe you’d be riding that 80’s New Wave! I happen to avoid 80’s stuff at all costs, too. That said, the top is cute in the updated print and certainly looks more modern than the samples on the pattern.

    I’ve got a couple of those binders, too, for my coverstitch machine. While I don’t use them often, I do find they work beautifully when I need them.

  2. Very nice! I love the binded neckline, what a luxury indeed.

  3. Terry

    That blouse will look great on you. I am still sitting here wondering how I missed hearing about your right-angle binder. Is it as easy as you make it seem? Can you get them to fit any machine?

    • I wrote about the right-angle binder about a month ago I think. They are only available for commercial machines – reason enough to buy one in my book because *yes* it really is just as easy as it seems!

      There are plate binders that will fit home machines provided your machine has attachment holes on the bed (mine is a Bernina but I use generic binders). They work very well but the right angle binders make it possible to bind tight curves.

  4. That binding is sweeeeeet! I love the print for that pattern. And having some serious binder envy 😉

  5. The sleeves on this is sooooooo kewl! What a great top!

  6. So pretty. I love those sleeves.

  7. Colleen P.

    That binder makes SUCH a gorgeous finish!

  8. Wonderful! …and yes it is so ’80s. The wonderful thing about sewing is we can take the ’80s touches that we like, and incorporate them in our garments, and ditch the ’80s trash that we don’t like.


  9. I think if I had a binder like that I would actually sew some knit tops! Looks great!

  10. Rosie

    More lemmings. You make everything look so easy. I love fabric.

  11. Very nice top, love the fabric and great looking binding.

  12. Ellen Valentine

    Gigi – Your last post on binders inspired me to get a 1 1/2″ 45 degree binding attachment for my walking foot Juki. Today was my first day to try it out. I was careful to cut the binding a perfect 1.5 inches and get it fed through the binding attachment prior to inserting my work to be bound. Everything looked great, bit it is not catching in the back about half the time. Any suggestions? As always, everything you do is perfection!

  13. It sounds like you need to adjust the binder. On the back or on the top (depending on your binder) there are two screws that allow you to do that. Loosen the one that corresponds to the bottom fold and move it out a bit further. Also, if your fabric is cut on the bias or is lighter weight, you will have to cut it wider than the width of the binder because it will narrow as it goes through (causing the same type of problem).

    • Ellen Valentine

      Thanks Gigi! Unfortunately, I don’t think my Great American Knives binders have any adjustments. I’m in the process of having Atlanta Attachment ( make a folder for me and I think I’m going to have them make a 1 1/2″ binder for me too!

  14. Lindsay T

    I will never return to sewing knits unless I move next door to you and you teach me how to do all these professional touches and then let me borrow your machines. Knits are just really hard for most home sewers to make without Becky HomeEcky results. You and a handful of others are the exceptions.

    • Maybe, just for fun, I’ll make a knit garment using only my Bernina and my overlock. 🙂 I have a friend who thinks wovens are hard and won’t sew on anything but knits!

  15. That top is really cute. I had avoided that pattern for the obvious 80’s influence but now I’ve seen a couple of cute versions and I might have to reconsider.

  16. Susannah

    Great top as usual! Love your idea of making something with your domestic machine and serger. It would be a great experiment if at the same time you made the same knit garment with all your industrial equipment… Do sort of a comparison of the process?

  17. The binding looks good. What a neat contraption you have. Being permanently set up for binding is pretty luxurious!

  18. Auntie Allyn

    That binding attachment thingy give such a gorgeous finished result that it gives me a good reason to think about adding YET ANOTHER MACHINE to my sewing studio!!! Aaaack!!! Your top looks very cute, love the fabric!!

  19. That awesome fabric and the pattern are a perfect marriage. Very nie top.

  20. Meredith P

    Love the top and your right angle binder. I remember the discussion, but of course the reason (tight curves) sailed right over my head at the time. That’s so cool. And I understand now why I don’t have one, since I have a coverstitch machine and Bernina which require a Plate. Thanks for clearing it all up.

  21. Debbie

    Hi Gi Gi!

    This is my first time visiting your blog and I am so thrilled to find you! My first reaction to seeing your binder was, “Oh Wow!”. I’m pretty sure that I have a binder foot for my old Singer 600, but now I’m going to have to go digging. I have looked at a lot of your tutorials and am so inspired. Now I need to go plunder through my “collection” of notions and fabric. Thanks so much for the tutorials. They are very, very much appreciated.


  22. You have another great top with sewing perfection!

  23. The more you show, the closer I inch to getting a industrial almost *just* to bind! The finish is great and the top is very cute.

  24. Laury Shepherd

    Please do…sew a knit with your Bernina and an overlock machine, that is. As I have both of THOSE! I need proof that it can be done with a favorable result. Do it for us…and thanks in advance.

  25. vernonfashionstudio

    Very pretty! I made a dress last year with poofy sleeves similar to yours. My thought was to add a sleevehead so the poof stands out/up a bit.

    Linda T

  26. I like it laying flat. You get an interesting sleeve with out the 80’s poof. Looks like a drapery swag. Sounds like it is cut in the same way as well, accept not on the bias.

  27. That’s it. This week I’m heading to my sewing machine dealer to get a right angle binder!

  28. Gigi beautiful top ,well done as usual. I need a commercial machine , let me see can I move the sofa out or dining room table, LOL.Gigi when you do FBA adjustment on knits where do you move the dart , I have never noted a dart on your knit tops, do you take it off the bottom after moving it there? Sorry for the questions trying to get back into this sewing.

    • Linda, I never actually sew the dart. Instead, I ease it in at the side seam. You may end up with some slight gathers there but that’s okay. I hope you’ll sign up for Open Sewing next month – I haven’t seen you in ages!

      • Oh Gigi , I wish I was there, I hope we are back in town by your Sept. classes We are gone now until Aug 23. I need time with you to get back into this.I send my best to you always whenever I see Sharon.

  29. Oh my goodness, what a cute top! I would love to have a dedicated binding machine. How cool is that?

  30. Sue

    I have to have one of these binders! I have a Juki DLU-450 industrial machine which I have had for at least 25 years. Can you point me in a direction that I might find one of these binders for my machine? I would love you forever! 🙂 I love your blog. You are an amazing seamstress.

  31. That binder does a beautiful job. Or, more likely, YOU do a nice job with the binder!

    Any trick to getting it to work so well with knit?

    • It does take a little bit of practice to figure out how much tension to put on the binding as it goes through. I usually run a couple of samples first.

  32. Susan C

    Hi, Gigi – yep, you inspired me too!! I finally bought the binder attachment for my Babylock Evolve! I wanted to ask you about the length of the binding piece. You know how binding is usually just a little shorter than the neckline in order to have the neckline curve toward the body? Can you tell me how you judge how long to make the binding piece. And then, since it’s binding as it feeds through the machine, how do you make sure it’s on evenly? I’m thinking about how when you have a ribbing it’s shorter than the total length of the neckline and then they have you divide it in four to distribute the ribbing equally. Does that make sense? Thanks for any help. Susan

    • Susan, you don’t cut the binding to length. I just cut a piece across the width and use that. You draw in the neckline by the amount of tension you put on the binding as it goes through the attachment. On thicker knits you don’t have to because you’ll already have more friction as the fabric pulls through the binder so it will automatically stretch a bit. I always cut an extra piece so that I can experiment with my fabric before binding the actual garment.

      • Susan C

        Thanks, Gigi! I’ll practice with my binder before I try to implement. I like both tops from this pattern. They are really cute! Susan

  33. jennifer

    Wow- the top looks great and so un 80’s like! That is really so wonderful that you explained how to use the binding foot. I am going to have to look for one to use with my Bernina.

    I recognize the fabric from Textile Studios- I have some in my stash too.

  34. CGCouture

    Wait! You mean I’m NOT the only one who has trouble with those narrow hems on knits?! I thought it was just because I’m still learning! Thanks for the idea though, I’m off to find a binder foot for Tabby! 🙂 Assuming she’ll work for knits….?

  35. Heather

    Gigi, would you consider ordering some of those binders for resale. I am first on the list please, and I am serious.
    When I saw the binding on the last project, I almost fainted, then I scrolled down and noticed the binder, and I remembered the post you did on binders.

    Is it possible to post the contact for the binder….before I list my Singer 20U on Ebay. Not that I don’t have other industrials to dedicate to a binder…lol….thanks for even considering…now to hunt a binder.

  36. I have binder envy. 🙂

  37. Emmy

    Gigi, go over to Marcy Tilton’s site and look at her t shirt gallery. She’s made a cool shirt with the same fabric. Both of you ladies are inspirational.

  38. Ultra cute top, and I would love to own a right angle binder.