Sewing and textiles with Ann
I’ve had all sorts of trouble with the sizing of the pattern. Maybe it’s just the version that I was sent, but I wouldn’t know, because McCalls’ customer services haven’t responded to my email, despite a commitment to respond within 48 hours. We’re currently headed towards 48 days!
When I measure myself I come out between a size 22 and 24 – which is nowhere near my ‘normal’ size. When I opened the pattern pieces, they only go up to a size 20. So, given that we all know that sewing patterns are not the same as high street sizes, I went with a size 20. And of course, it came out far too big! I measured it to be 14cm too big round the waist, which re-calibrated as a size 14. That’s wrong as well.
So rather than using measurements and checking the pattern, I just cut a ‘high street’ size 16, acknowledging that the result will be loose fitting. Then I wrote to customer services!
Luckily I was making a toile. These are trousers. I need a toile, or two. The toile requires almost all the stages except perhaps the hems, as the last but one stage is the elastic, which is going to make a difference to the fit.
The waist, which is the dicey part in terms of getting the measurement right, fits OK. The toile was a tiny bit tight as it pulled over my hips, but the fabric version… well, you can judge for yourself above. I knew the toile had no ‘give’. But I was slightly concerned about the ease in the legs. Lots of it…… Whilst the pattern picture doesn’t show a huge amount of ease, they are meant to be loose fitting, and I have been very careful with my seam allowances etc, such that I am confident that a size 16 is meant to make up as mine has done. And unless someone has had to make up sizing rules for international sales purposes, I am never smaller than a size 16. Looking at the photos, I think that, with the exception of the waist, I could quite safely make them up in one, or even two sizes smaller.
I have now made the trousers 3 times. It’s actually quite a quick pattern to make, once all the pre-planning and sizing is sorted. I made each pair in an afternoon. The final version are (is?) in a cotton fabric from Abakhan, Liverpool, a must-visit location on my relatively frequent trips to Liverpool! (although as I write this – April 2020, just be aware that even the online shop is now closed.) The front waist band takes a bit of patience and checking out the next stage before committing to anything, but I’ve ended up with a nice finish on all 3 versions. I lengthened the final version by 2cm, and then took all of it out when working out the hem length, which isn’t all that easy given the leg shaping. I’m wary of ‘half mast’ trousers. Ankle length trousers were a really bad thing when I was a teenager, unless you were the Bay City Rollers! And then they were still a bad thing!
I’m still not sure about all of the ease in the legs, but they are comfy and allow maximum flexibility. I could take out about 4″ (or more), at hip and thigh height, but that seems to be so much, that I am thinking that I either need to get my head round the design and live with them, or vow not to use this pattern again and stick with Vogue 9193 next time I want some roomy trousers! I have three pairs of 9193 already and wear two of them a lot. (The third pair are crazy fabric, and limited to holiday wear.)
The t-shirt is from Gertie’s Vintage book and has been worn loads.