It’s still sinking in that I’ve made my first real garments – pants using McCall’s pattern M6843 – Misses’ Shorts and Pants.
As I’d mentioned in this previous post, I blindly ordered FIVE sewing kits for clothing on Craftsy. Then I ordered a men’s T-shirt pattern from Jalie and four different knits to attempt to make James new shirts. WHAT WAS I THINKING???
One night I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning (on a work night at that!) prewashing and drying all of the fabrics.
Because I was terrified at the idea of clothing, I’ve been watching every YouTube video I can find to pick up a few techniques.
After much scrutiny, I decided this McCall’s pants pattern might be the easiest out of all of them. Plus, it didn’t involve sewing knits – which I’ve never done. The pattern came in Craftsy’s Coastline Linen Pants Kit – on sale for $18.99!!! Included are the pattern and 2.6 yards of Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in the color Flax.
From what I’ve picked up, it’s ideal to make a muslin of any pattern you’re trying for the first time. That way you can work out any fit issues before busting out the “good fabric.” I’d read somewhere a tip about using sheets as muslins since they’re so inexpensive and you get a lot of material out of one.
At Walmart, I saw twin flat sheets for $4.97 and chose a fun blue and white geometric print. If the pants turned out okay, it could be a wearable muslin. The sheet is a 60 percent cotton / 40 percent polyester blend. It washed and dried beautifully with NO IRONING REQUIRED. The package did say “easy care,” and that was truth in advertising.
For this pattern, I cut out the medium size. Because I have a shorter torso, I cut the crotch part of the pattern pieces to a small. That turned out to be a smart move, as the fit is spot on.
My measurements for this were:
- Waist – 30 inches
- Hips – 37 inches
- Back Waist – 15 inches
- Inseam – 29 inches
There are several different options including tapered or straight-legged shorts, cropped pants, or full-length pants – with or without pockets. I made the tapered pants, and they don’t appear to be very tapered. A few reviews did say the straight-legged version was too wide for their taste.
With only two pattern pieces and four total to construct the pants – they weren’t too cumbersome to cut out. I used tracing paper and a tracing wheel to transfer the markings at the waist to the wrong sides of the fabric.
To make things easier later on, I ironed the folds at the waist and hem before sewing the pieces together.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I made a big mistake in sewing the very first inner seams. The instructions tell you to join the front pieces to the back pieces. Instead of doing that, I joined front to front and back to back pieces using a serger-like stitch on my Janome 7700. Ripping out the seams would have taken forever.
Wanting to take a shortcut, I simply cut off the entire seam lines. Then I joined front to back and front to back but using only a 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8 inch. Lo and behold – that resulted in a better fit! When I make this pattern again, I think I’ll do a “generous” 5/8 seam allowance so the pants aren’t too baggy on me.
This was also my first time using elastic on a project, and it wasn’t very difficult at all. The pattern includes guidelines on sewing three encased seams at the waist, but because I marked them on the wrong side of the fabric I could not see them. I made a couple alterations. The instructions tell you to zigzag, serge, or overcast the raw edge at the waist. However, I ironed a 1/4 inch fold, then folded down at the pattern line. I edge stitched at the bottom of the encasement, and in the middle – using two pieces of elastic instead of three. Two seem to work just fine to me!
Start to finish my time was approximately six hours. I really took my time on this one, had to do one step twice, and doing the serger-like stitches takes longer on the sewing machine vs. a real serger.
I used less than half of the flat sheet to make the pants, so the fabric cost was only $2.50. Estimating thread and the elastic at $1 – this project only cost $3.50. I’m not including the price of the pattern since the Craftsy kit rang in at less than if I were to buy the fabric it contained standalone. (The fabric alone would be $20.80, but the kit with pattern AND fabric was $18.99)
My wearable muslin will work for around the house, and even out running errands. I assumed the material would be rather see-through, but it’s fairly opaque.
Not it was time for the real deal… This was attempt number two using Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax. Just to see what one of the other options looked like, I tried the straight-legged pants. These are pants that I will wear out of the house more, so I folded the raw seams into the center and topstitched them together for a cleaner finish. I also did the three pieces of elastic and like the waistband better as it was intended.
M6843 is a great choice as a foray into garment sewing. The directions were clear enough, and the construction is very simple. The final linen pants will be a wonderful addition to my summer wardrobe. They’re comfortable, loose-fitting, and easy to get on and off.
If you’ve tried this pattern before, I’d love to get your thoughts and opinions – feel free to drop me a comment.
See you next time!