What do you know, all my obsessive planning has at last resulted in a completed sewing project that instantly became a beloved wardrobe staple. It’s taken a couple weeks to get this post up and I’ve worn them no less than 7 times already! Behold my new McCalls 7445 cropped wide leg pants for which I shamelessly copied Katie’s modifications because I love how flattering and comfortable a completely flat front pant is.
In addition to replacing the front closure with a hidden back zip, I added one inch to each side at the hem and blended up to the hip notch to widen the leg without affecting the nice snug fit through the hip and waist. Since my frame is it’s widest at the hip, I find the proportions more attractive on me and closer to the look on the models on the envelope. Aside from those changes, I sewed everything up according to the instructions and it was so quick and easy I can’t believe I didn’t start making my own pants sooner! I did a little unpicking to adjust the front crotch curve after trying them on, but found the fitting instructions that came with the pattern really helpful and applicable to any pants making project so the money spent on the pattern was an especially good value.
The fabric is a light-weight denim with a slight 4 way stretch making the fit snug yet comfy without ever sagging after wear…confirmed because I wore them for 4 full days before washing them the first time. Since this fabric has been stored in my stash since working at JoAnn’s over 15 years ago (a bad habit I’ve broken), I was unsure of the fabric content or quality, so I went into the project hoping for a wearable muslin. It was a pleasant surprise to come out with pants I absolutely love. Considering the decline in quality of so many other things in that same period of time, the age of the fabric may have been to my benefit, come to think of it.
My sewing project list is long at the moment so I’m not going to sew these up again right away but I definitely want another pair in a colored or printed fabric and with my traced off and modified pattern pieces it will be a breezy afternoon project next time, yay!!
I wish I’d taken a photo wearing these on my trip to Santa Fe, but didn’t think of it. They were so perfect for the 90 degree heat since skirts tend to cause sweat/chaffing issues underneath if you know what I mean and these were light and swishy enough to keep my skin protected but not overheat like a standard pair of jeans. I know these will get lots of love in my summer rotation and beyond!
I’ve made a little more progress on my #2017makenine line up, beginning to tackle McCalls M7473 view D, the line drawing included in the image below.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” -Albert Einstein
The good news is, I’m alive and well. Unfortunately, I’m sharing another failure / learning experience. It was so disappointing because I sewed a muslin, made fit changes, altered the pattern and thought everything was good to go. Then I cut my fabric and mostly constructed the entire thing before slipping it on. Great fit! Pattern matching, not too shabby! Left side, love! Right side, hmmm??
It took a while staring at it in the mirror and thinking about the process to come to the conclusion that the underside, when cutting the front and back pieces on folds, must have slipped and come up shorter. I’m not sure how I want to go about salvaging the fabric yet but I see no way to fix this particular garment.
I really like the pattern and feel good knowing the issues weren’t due to the modifications I made to it, which were to lower the neckline, drop the notch on the side seam to create coverage down to hip level and extend the sides of the front panel to more closely match the shape of the back. The original pattern is only sewed to below bust level and I’m not about showing off that much skin at this stage of life or requiring the right under layer in order to wear it.
What really bums me out is after my failed initial attempt at the Anna dress using a similar type of fabric, I thought I’d done my homework and was more prepared to work with such shifty material. I didn’t pre-wash it and took great care to line up the pattern and keep the grain straight but just didn’t anticipate the underside slipping so much, even when pinned.
I’ve since read advice to use a felt board or flannel backed tablecloth to keep the fabric in place so I will try that next time as well as tracing off a full pattern piece rather than cutting on a fold. I’m feeling hopeful about the next version, but need to figure out what to do about fabric as I’ve used this piece down to scraps. So much to learn. So little time.
V9116 Wide Legged Jumpsuit (top)
B6293 Pullover Woven Top
B6293 Pullover Woven Top
M7383 Pullover Color-blocked Jersey Dress
Basic Gathered Midi Skirt (no pattern)
After two months of unsuccessful sewing, I decided all this work deserved at least a shared post to document the realistic journey into making ones own wardrobe. Plus, I’m always happy to read anything I can find about a new pattern before sewing it up, so maybe this will be useful to someone other than me??
- The first top was a test run of the Vogue 9116 pantsuit top. I didn’t end up liking the elastic in the back or the partial lining, the neckline is too high for my taste and it’s too short for my proportions even after lengthening. Basically, I wanted to change it so much that I may as well draft a pattern myself, but instead it was neatly folded and put away until summer was over and I now have no desire to add this jumpsuit to my closet.
- The striped pullover woven top, Butterick 6293 View C, was a mostly successful sew except for messing up the construction of the overlapping hem at the side seams and having to wing it. It was a new technique and pattern shape though, so it was interesting to learn. The real issue is I had reservations about the fabric even before starting. I picked up a 2 1/2 yd piece from the thrift store for $2 because I loved the blue and brown, but sure enough, I never reach for it because of the pink and orange. This was a bonus in a pattern I purchased for the jacket and I like it, this version just didn’t earn a space in my closet.
- After the semi success with the striped top, I cut a second one right away with big ideas for embroidery (inspiration here) only to completely botch the pattern alterations, attempt to sew from memory and mess up the side seams / hem intersection even worse than my first one! Total wash.
- The Vogue 8909 joggers, upcycled from a garage sale Lucky Brand maxi dress, were going to be the lounge pants of my dreams, lol…until the fit was off, my elastic casing was attrocious and I decided I didn’t have the patience to redo it for something that would never leave the house.
- Ugh, that color-blocked jersey dress, McCall’s 7383. I love the fit and it’s comfortable and flattering, but in my attempt to upcycle a blue tie dye maxi skirt that didn’t have sufficient yardage, I had to make a design decision that I really dislike now that it’s sewn up. So bummed because I love that blue fabric and I’m not sure I’ll get much out of the remnants even if I take this apart. BUT, the pattern works for me, so there’s that.
- The midi skirt was thrifted, completely taken apart and resewn into a slightly different style. My mistake was thinking it was SO basic that I could cut and sew willy nilly and it totally didn’t come out right. This will be salvaged after taking it apart AGAIN and starting over.
- Buying a pattern thinking I’d get handmade clothes in my closet faster than drafting saved me zero time.
- If I’m not IN LOVE with the fabric before starting, the finished garment probably won’t change my mind.
- The extra time to draw out designs on paper before getting excited and cutting is going to be worth it.
- Slow methodical sewing with attention to detail will result in a wearable garment a whole lot quicker than fast sewing, shortcuts and lots of seam ripping.
- I’ll never successfully execute my dream handmade wardrobe without learning to love the process. Every. Slow. Step.
I’ve decided that even though I’m dying to sew, I really need to step back and work through the creation of custom pattern blocks for myself. Draft, sew up, make adjustments. Get them just right, so when used to create my designs I won’t have so much pattern alteration to deal with after the fact. I’ve also realized that when I do purchase patterns, I should be focusing on those that will teach me specific construction techniques where my skills are lacking so I’m able to put together the patterns I make. Somehow, I hadn’t really looked at it like that before. It reminds me of that quote from Uptown Girls.
Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun.
Getting back to fundamentals for a while so I can create something worthy of it’s own post…and maybe sewing up that Schnittchen pattern I won on Instagram too 😉