Monday 1 October 2018

autumn sewing: McCalls 7726 and some bonus tops

So a combination of holiday and having completely unphotographable hair means I've gone the best part of a month without posting again, well done Jen. This is the price you pay when you wait two weeks past the last possible moment to go to the hairdresser. We had a really lovely holiday, though - two days in a hotel/vineyard/spa/extremely fancy restaurant in Bordeaux, and then a few days in the town. We've managed to have quite a lot of wine without getting drunk once (the French are SO SENSIBLE with this stuff, we were never even offered dessert wine), which is... a new experience for us, if nothing else.

Anyway, trousers!

(Better hair, right?)

I bought McCalls 7726 on a bit of a punt. They looked a bit weird, which usually means the pattern has a roughly equal chance of being awesome or awful. They're high-waisted, with no waistband and shaping created by multiple pleats in the front and back, what I can only describe as very long pockets, and options for either wide or tapered legs. I finished them nearly three weeks ago and I've worn them a ton since then. However, I do have a lot of feelings about various aspects of the pattern. 

Pro: These are hella comfortable, and ridiculously easy to fit. The waist has a large grown-on facing that isn't tacked down until right at the end, so you can try on the finished trousers and then take the waist in or out as needed. For someone like me with a small waist and massive arse this was a godsend - the trousers gaped very noticeably at the back when I first tried them on, but flipping up the facing and taking a wedge out of the back was the work of seconds, and they now fit incredibly well. Frankly, that alone makes it worth a second pair. 

Con: Some of the construction is pretty weird. I couldn't really use any of my existing trouser construction knowledge on these; the pockets are unlike anything I've ever seen (but we'll get to that) and the front fly is grown on with identical pieces on both sides. Now, this does work, but it confused the hell out of me looking at these four tiny diagrams with sparse explanation trying to work out what it wanted me to do. I think I almost got it, but I didn't quite get the stitching line in the right place so it bulges a bit at the top, as you can see below. Since it's covered by the belt most of the time, I'm not that bothered by it, but it would have been nice to do it properly. 

(If I had a deep scientific understanding of pattern construction this wouldn't have been a problem, but I'm still working on that one.)

Pro: Suddenly a bunch of my tops have found an outfit! I made this Wanted top months ago with a leftover scrap from my Givre dress, and I've never worn it because it's too short to tuck into most of my clothes and it doesn't look right sitting out. However, it got several wears last month because it looks really good like this. I've got at least two other tops I've struggled to work into outfits that go with these trousers, and I think they'll go with my cropped sweaters too. 

Con: While I really like the way the pockets look, they're not the most practical shape. The bottom of the pocket is quite thin, almost triangular, so the corner of my phone ends up sticking out if I try to store it there. That doesn't happen even with my tiny wrap dress pockets, and I'm really not a fan. I'm not sure how easy they'll be to alter (as I said above, the pocket pieces are shaped very strangely), but I could definitely do with an extra couple of inches' width at the bottom. 

I haven't yet decided if the overall shape is a pro or a con yet. I really wanted the super high waist, but I haven't worked out if I'm just not used to this proportion yet or if it doesn't quite suit me. It doesn't do any of the things I hate in trouser fitting, though, and I'd like to know if that will carry over to the slim leg version. I'll definitely try making at least one more pair, probably two. 

While we're here, I haven't shared this top yet. I've been missing cami tops in my wardrobe for ages (beyond one really old one that I should have thrown away but sometimes you REALLY NEED a cami top), but the patterns haven't crossed my path. Most of the ones I've seen have been for floaty wovens, which I don't have a use for, and the cami in Simplicity 8424 was completely the wrong shape for me. I eventually found this free pattern from So, Zo and I think it's going to be incredibly useful. I do wish there was an actual shop that sold fold-over elastic so I could see it and stretch it before buying, but this stuff is fine. Getting the straps the right length and positioned correctly without a helper was a giant pain in the arse, and I think next time I'll make them an inch shorter. I'm going to make a black one for maximum usefulness (and also because that's the other colour of elastic I have. I am nothing if not practical). 

Up next: depends on how well my ill-advised second leather jacket is progressing! Also I went to Abakhan with my mother-in-law a couple of weeks ago and they had a 2m piece of super-soft thin black faux leather for £7, so I'm possibly making TWO more ill-advised jackets. What is wrong with me??


  1. These look great on you! I love them paired with the cami.

    Is there such thing as too many leather jackets? I don't think so!

  2. Ooh, I have a resource for you! I ordered and used them in three cami/tanks recently. The prices were great and the variety of colors were excellent. I recommend them.