New Look 6517 : Sewing a Capsule Summer Wardrobe

I’d eagerly snatched up NL6517 eons ago as I wanted to replicate my favourite, now sadly departed, pair of RTW linen trousers. The pattern features these wide leg pants but also has options for a tunic top (in two lengths) and a simple maxi dress with a side split – all very wearable. As the heatwave hit, I finally dug it out hoping to make a quick summer capsule wardrobe!

With that theme firmly in mind, I decided to sew a mix’n’match set, so as to maximise the wear options…

I got my hands on two colourways of some gorgeously soft and drapey Viscose Linen ‘Liege’ fabric (from Patterns & Plains); first in the Blue Mint* colourway and, quickly realising how gorgeous it was, purchasing the Harbour Blue! This stuff sews and presses beautifully and doesn’t overly crease in the wearing!

Blue Mint, Harbour Blue Spice, Thunder Grey, Black – there’s a Damson colourway too!

The trousers have deep front patch pockets and a part-elasticated waist, with a flat front panel. I sewed the pants first as I figured they’d require only minor adjustment. I sized based on my hip measurement and removed 2.75″ from the leg length (I’m 5.3″). I also decided that I wanted to deepen the waistband to allow for wider elastic, which I personally find more comfortable in my waistline expanding perimenopausal years! Having added that length to the waistband, I removed the same directly from the top of the trouser (i.e. not from the curve of the rise) to maintain the overall height.

I really like the fit of these, even though the waist is elasticated, there isn’t excessive gathering over the backside. I added some sweet ‘Maker’ labels bought from This Is For Makers to both pairs of trousers. They make me very happy!

The tunic top is a simple construction too; with the neckline and armholes finished with bias binding. I opted to make my own to get a perfect match – plus I find using self fabric generally gives a better end result.

I posted the above pics on my Instagram feed recently to demonstrate the method I use to get a flat, unwrinkled finish to my bias binding (Swipe to Pic 2), which piqued a fair amount of interest in the mini iron I use – it’s actually a multi-purpose craft tool and it’s great for getting in those small awkward spaces!

Whilst the top is an easy sew, I had to do my usual gamut of fit adjustments to the pattern pieces first! I have a rounded upper back together with a forward neck and shoulders – these posture problems paired with a larger bust mean a Hollow Chest Adjustment is also needed in order to stop the neckline from gaping.

I started by tracing the pattern pieces based on my Upper Bust measurement (as I’m a much larger cup size than the standard B the pattern is drafted for) and ‘tried on’ the paper pattern pieces pinned together in front of a mirror.

Having done this initial tissue fitting, I added a centre back seam, so as to enable a Rounded Upper Back adjustment, adding in approximately 0.5″ of additional curved length there. I also figured that adding a centre back seam would allow me to easily do a Sway Back Adjustment to the pattern pieces later to get a better silhouette when I make the dress as well.

From there, I did a half inch Forward Shoulder Adjustment, lowered the bust dart an initial 1″ (simply by redrawing the dart legs at this stage) and then did a whopping 2.5″ Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). I then lowered the bust darts again by a further 0.5″; this time by moving the entire dart downwards.

For an FBA of this size I decided to try something I haven’t before – the Y method. This has an additional slash to the standard FBA which is useful, especially when sewing a sleeveless top, in ensuring there is enough coverage at the front underarm. I was really pleased with the end result…

It’s a bit wrinkled from wearing all day!

I finished off with a simple Hollow Chest Adjustment, taking a half inch ‘dart’ from the side neckline disappearing to nothing at the armhole – this miraculously brought the neckline and the shoulders into perfect position.

In case I’ve just boggled your brain, here’s a quick look at the adjustments I’ve mentioned, for reference; they’re all from my beloved Palmer/Pletsch ‘Complete Guide to Fitting’...this book has seriously improved my sewing life!

My heavily annotated Fitting Bible!

After all that, the actual cutting into fabric and sewing was a breeze, haha! I cut out on the single layer, doubling up my front pattern piece rather than cutting on the fold. I very nearly always do this unless the fabric’s particularly stable.

Wondering if this a Twin Set too far, haha?!

The only change I made to the pattern instructions (aside from finishing the seams *rolls eyes*) was to press the bust darts UP! I find this looks much more flattering on a bigger bust. I also added a sweet triangular bartack to the side splits which I joined with the topstitching…

All in all, I think NL6517 is a beaut collection of summer wardrobe staples – I want to sew the dress now (View A) but the turn in the weather means I’m back in cardigans … still, we’re promised another heatwave so watch this space!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Enter your email to subscribe to Sew Sarah Smith

Other places you can find me :

*Disclaimer : I was sent the Blue Mint fabric for review purposes. I purchased the Harbour Blue, the pattern and anything else mentioned. This post contains affiliate links; choosing to purchase via an affiliate link will not result in any additional charge to you but may result in my receiving a small commission which supports this blog and for which I thank you. Sarah x


13 thoughts on “New Look 6517 : Sewing a Capsule Summer Wardrobe”

  1. I’ve only made a couple of linen garments and the one time I made self-bias tape, it was truly amazing!

    Love your outfits, separates are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cheryl, the hollow chest adjustment goes hand in hand with a rounded back I think and it’s been an absolute revelation of an adjustment for me! It was like a miracle seeing the neckline and shoulder move up into their correct place following that adjustment! Xx


  3. I am certainly going to come back to this post! I am new to making adjustments to patterns but did take a course on the Palmer/Pletsch method. I have a full bust which shots low on my chest and will have to check out the hollow chest adjustment. Some typos gap terribly in front on me. I am book marking this post to come back to in the future Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great idea to make this capsule pieces…plains are so useful and these pieces will go with so much. Great fit, the y technique is interesting. Such dedication to fit, but totally worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s