X is for X-back Top: McCall’s 6751 – A Pattern Review

For the 24th post in my  series, the letter X, I made McCall’s 6751, a summer top with a cool X-back design.

Back in December when I decided to use Sew All 26 as the model for my initial posts on DenverSews, I brainstormed ideas for each letter of the alphabet. But apparently either I couldn’t think of anything for X or I ran out of steam toward the end of the alphabet. When I looked under X to start my 24th Sew All 26 project, X was blank. Oops!

I frantically searched my pattern stash and came up with Butterick 4200, a vintage X-back dress pattern. But after revisiting my previous Sew All 26 posts and reflecting on how often I’ve worn some of those garments, I decided that I might not get a whole lot of wear out of a 1970s patch pocket sundress with a huge ruffle at the hem. Of course I didn’t figure that out until 10 days prior to today, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of any cheap pattern sales for a replacement X pattern. Yikes! I’m way too frugal to pay full price for a Big 4 sewing pattern! What to do?

I finally found McCall’s 6751 on ebay for $5.95 including shipping. I imagined wearing this cute X-back top often, and the pattern would arrive before my post was due. Via my usual due diligence on PatternReview I found a link to a blog post on 6751 that mentioned a tutorial for the top on YouTube. I had no idea McCall’s made YouTube tutorials for their patterns, how awesome! After watching the video I was totally prepared to tackle my X project.

When the pattern arrived I picked out a multicolored striped fabric that worked with a skirt I’d made for my upcoming Y post and cut a size medium. Medium is size 12-14. I’m size 14, but the Big 4 patterns run large, and the size that actually fits me is 12. So the medium was the correct choice since it included the size 12. Wow, will I never learn to check the finished garment measurements on the pattern before choosing my size? Yup, the medium was huge! The finished bust was 42″ and the finished waist was 45″. I was swimming in it.

I pinned out the excess fabric, but I couldn’t fix the medium. And now I didn’t have enough matching fabric to go with my Y project skirt:( Giving up on the coordinating idea, I grabbed a random thrifted bed sheet and cut an extra small. The size small didn’t look much different than the medium and I had pinned out A LOT on the medium. Hmmm, the finished bust size on the pattern was 36.5 for the extra small and my bust measures 36″. But unfortunately I still hadn’t looked at the finished measurements. Well, maybe I could wear the extra small as a wetsuit while swimming in the medium. The extra small was just about that tight.

What can I say? I’ve never worn an extra small and I should have known better! But the wetsuit size did eliminate the medium size problems of a gaping neckline and my bra showing around the armholes. So I unpicked the back and side seams on the extra small and sewed them at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″. This increased the 36.5″ finished bust measurement to umm, well, math is not one of my strong points, so let’s just say to big enough that I could actually breathe in it.

And oh, by the way, I couldn’t find a single bra style that works with this top, due to the X-back and the low back keyhole opening. So me imagining me wearing this top was correct, I won’t actually be wearing it, I’ll just be imagining that I will.


  1. Agree with Maureen Kelly above – get a colorful bra and let the straps show :), so it looks intentional. This looks too cute on you to not wear it often.


  2. Unfortunately my X-back bras don’t work with this particular top due to the keyhole opening below the X-back. The opening falls right where the hook closures are on the bra band. There is another variation of this top included with the pattern though, without the keyhole opening. That one should work with my X-back bras – maybe I’ll try making that variation.


  3. What adventures you have with sewing! I think there are X-back bras you can buy to wear with such tops. I see them occasionally at the gym. Can’t wait to see you wearing this one! I think the back looks really nice.


  4. lol! love your closer there Ms. Kitty. That top looks so cute on you too. You could do what all the younguns seem to do which is wear it with a bra and let those straps show! can’t wait for Y – you have intrigued me!


    • Aww, Maureen, you’re the best friend anyone could ever wish for. I can’t believe how sweet you are to follow the blog! Y is actually kind of blah, but I feel good about a technique I learned in order to complete it. So it’s all good. Much love to you and to Lia.


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