One of the many reasons I wanted to sew my own clothes was so that I didn’t wind up wearing the same as anyone else. Not to stand out from the crowd necessarily but just so I could be me.
But every so often the sewing community manages to turn that ideal on its head and makes me want to sew the things other people have made, haha… oh the irony!
In particular McCalls M7726 shorts. As spied on Giorgia’s Insta feed over at @1stitchforward. I mean, come on…. super classy matching fitted jacket and all!
In between then and now, I have been careful not to overbuy fabric. It’s crazy to think that I’ve never got the right kind to use, despite a toppling stash. But when I saw a little Chanel suit on the YouTube FF Channel – a fitted jacket and shorts in their signatory bouclé, I think – I remembered some fabric I was saving for a ‘particular something’!
Now I’m not trying to pass this awful fabric as bouclé. But I did envision it as giving a similar vibe. Ten out of ten for naivety…!
I’ve no idea what this fabric is. But I’m sure you can see from the flat lay below, just how vulnerable to pulling it is. It didn’t take long before I realised it didn’t have a straight grain either! I sulked for a bit. And sweated over countless placements of the pattern pieces. Didn’t matter how I manipulated those bunched criss-crossed threads, they just did as they pleased. So I followed the selvedge for the ‘straight’ and ignored the ‘grain’ because there wasn’t one… seriously frustrating!
Once the pieces were cut. I had another sulk because I was convinced they were going to look so wonky. And the fraying! More like unravelling! It is such a loose weave. I abandoned it at this point knowing no amount of overlocking would hold those edges.
And then a brainwave. A roll of Prym seam tape to the rescue. Literally a whole roll! Every edge of every piece I taped down. And then overlocked for good measure. I’m still yet to wash them so I don’t know how well it will hold.
After I did this it was more enjoyable to sew. The impending feeling of failure was much reduced and I serged on. But I definitely ruled out the prospect of a matching jacket!
Tailor tacks were many and necessary to align all pieces. Though not fun to pick out at the end! I had to be super careful of not pulling out threads of the actual fabric!
But as the shorts started to take shape, I began to love the project. And I felt pride in not giving up.
I love how neat those pockets are. Probably due to the stabiliser tape. But the edge stitching gives a sharpness too.
No such word as ‘cant’ !
All was going well and then I had a wobble over the belt loops. How on earth was that going to work in this fabric? With lashings of Prym Fray check. Thats how!
The instructions were to make a long tube and then cut to size. ie: sew along the long edge, trim, turn, edge stitch and cut into 3 separate pieces. In fall-apart fabric? That was going to be a joke. I considered other options and with some great suggestions from IG followers as a safety net, I went ahead to try – just in case it did work. Thanks to that stinky stabiliser, it actually did.
Though the bodkin wanted to poke out between every thread of that fabric tube along the way. Boy I’ve become a determined soul in my old age!
And finally the leg hems. My initial thoughts were not to roll them them up as suggested as I think its a bit of a scruffy finish with the side seams showing and all. I sewed another pair of shorts here – sadly outgrown – whereby bias cuffs were sewn as turn ups. It’s a much neater technique that hides all the raw edges and side seams. But then I had a little think and noticed that the open seams are kind of camouflaged so I opted for the more casual look to the turn up as per instructions.
For such a little project there were plenty of painful and lengthy processes but lots of new lessons learned too: Believe it or not, this was the first time I’d sewn a fly zipper, and belt loops! And I’m pretty damned chuffed with the result. I genuinely thought they were heading for the recycling bin so soon into the project and yet now I have a great pair of shorts for all seasons!
We took a little wander at sundown with Dan to shoot under the flyover at Hammersmith. In truth we didn’t have the energy to go further afield – it was very hot!
I can’t wait to sew these again, in a more stable fabric of course. It will be a breeze. Breeze! Oh how I want actual real life breeze right now. Bring on the storms!
5 Replies to “The making of McCalls M7726 shorts – an unexpected triumph!”
Cor blimey Missus them is GORJUS!!!!
Why thank you so much Mrs C x
They look great and I think your seam tape was a great call! I think I’ve underlined fabrics like this before to make them more bearable, but that would have made the turn-up situation worse, hmm. Well fought and a well-deserved win!
Thanks so much, lovely. Oh yes, underlining would have been a great call. I could have done separate cuffs, then the underlining would have been hidden. x