6440, template

Scratch McCalls 6440

originally published 12/14/11


In the last post the McCalls 6440 was now in the trash – still true.  I also mentioned that I altered TJ906 to have the same design feature, i.e. the 2 piece back pant leg and contoured waistband – no pockets, no back yoke.  What I didn’t mention was my confusion in choose the pattern size.  I have both a size 12 and a size 14 traced and apparently (judging from the notes on my envelopes) fitted. OK, both a size 12 and a size 14 can’t fit.  It’s got to be one or the other, right? I altered the size 12, cut the fabric (a charcoal stretch woven recently purchased from Fabricmart.com) and started sew.  I put the front zipper in permanently and then decided I should also serge the all the vertical seams.  I figured if I needed to let these out (unlikely) I wouldn’t have enough ease so why worry; also if I needed to take them in, well the seams would already be finished.  The waistband, facing and belt loops are basted into place.


I can  tell you I made the right decision. Also, that I remembered why I have a size 12 and a size 14 traced.  The size 14 is definitely needed for non-stretch fabrics.  And the 12?  Works perfectly with fabrics that contain stretch.  With apologies for the grainy photos this time a result of camera quality, cropping, software AND changing the exposure so we can see the wrinkles in this nearly black fabric:


I have a bit more to do.  In addition to sewing the waistband and facing in permanently, I also need to hem my pants add a closure (button probably) at the waist band and take in just a little in the center back leg.  I turned up the hem at 1-1/4″ it really needs to be 2″.  That’s what is marked on my pattern and I’m not sure why I didn’t follow my notes.  1-1/4 used to be my standard. But with experience I’ve changed to 2″ . 2″ adds just a bit more weight in the leg to help it hang nicely.  This pair will definitely be replacing 6440 sewn and shared previously.  It’s a much nicer pant because of both fabric choice and fitting but with the same styling.



I’m wearing my TJ906 styled as 6440 today. They are wonderful.  A lot has to do with the fabric itself; and I quickly learned that because of the width of the waistband/yoke, I really need to wear my 3″ wide belt. The 1″ belt just doesn’t hold them up in place.  The fabric is from fabricmart.com but I’m saying which exact fabrc—yet.  I love this fabric so much I want more.  I just can’t decided if I want 2,4 or 6 yards especially since there’s only 20 yards left!@@@@@


*** Just a note about the coordinating Vest Vogue 8756.  I got pics of the 4 Tucks!

The good is, it’s beginning to snug my body as I would like.  The bad is that the 4 tucks releasing at the waist look a little ugly.  I think I’m going to change the tucks to darts.  I’m not sure how long I’ll keep using this particular vest.  I like the style, but I think the length (ending just above my bu!!) and the fabric are both less than desirable.  For sure, I’ll keep it as part of this years Winter 6PAC.  But it could be gone next year.


ETA DH has weighed in on this vest as well.  He doesn’t like it because from the side view it makes me look like I have a big beer belly.  So I won’t keep  this vest.  He rarely makes negative comments on what I wear so I know it must have really caught his attention and I should pay attention too.  He’s my biggest fan and supporter.

6440, template

2011 Winter 6 PAC Trousers (Garment 1) Done…

originally published12/5/11



This fabric is surprising.  I chose it for it’s color, beefy weight and knit type fabric.  It is a cotton-poly double knit.


It is comfortable but in retrospect, I wish I’d chose a Yoga Pant pattern instead of the more fitted McCall’s 6440.  I planned to fit it more closely…


…. until I realized that the fabric was clinging despite having a beefy hand.


Fortunately, most of the issues (pantie line, belly bulge) will be covered up because I always wear tops untucked.


I wrote almost done, because I really need to lift these wrinkles out of there.  I’m not entirely sure of their cause so I won’t be altering the pattern.  The back-thigh wrinkles are an issue I have frequently and with most pant patterns.  My “wearable” muslin pair, hinted at the issue forming.  I made a drastic change since the muslin. The muslin was cut 18 width and 14 length.  I’m short but a little on the wide side. I over estimated my width and spent lots of time removing 4 inches of ease.  On this pair I cut a 14 length and a 14 width for the front.  I cut the back a 16 width.  Initially I was concerned that I would need a 16 length in the back, at least where the pant joins the waistband.  The alteration for a big butt is similar to the full bust adjustment (FBA).  You have a larger ball and need more width plus length to cover the bigger ball (or balls in my case).  I opted to keep the 14 length for this pair because I was using a knit.


I have to say, I do like this pattern.  I believe it is designed for knits, but could easily work with many wovens.  Despite McCall’s advertisement, I do not think it is a skinny pant.  I’ve usually cut a 14 and use 3/8 seam allowances.  I had to use a 5/8″ seam allowance and I think there is still too much ease.


ETA on my next pair I will cut a size 14 everywhere except the back crotch.  I think the 16 crotch is right for me and that will be the next configuration that I try.  Got to get the rest of the Winter 6PAC done first.

6440, template

6440: Ciggies

originally published11/27/11


How do you take 6 photos and all of them bad?  Well  one way is to move just before the shutter snaps. Another is a ridiculous pose. Third poor posture. Fourth, oh why go on.  Point is I will be reviewing the fit, the pattern AND I will point out why the review is right and the photo wrong.


I just simply cropped my head out of this photo.  You can’t tell much about the pants from my pose anyway but I wanted to bring attention to the hem and it’s circumference.  I measured: the completed circumference is 16″.  My pattern was multi-sized 14 through 20 with an advertised hem circumference of 12 to 15.5 inches.  I cut a size 18. That alone should have made the circumferences less than 15.5 inches. Each size added about 1/2 inch to the width of each pattern piece.  I would be expecting about 14.5″ or less even if I had not further taken in the seams.  Having removed over 1″ from each of the side seams, my finished pant is somewhere between the size 14 and 16 and the circumference is still larger than advertised? I’m really disappointed in this inaccuracy.  I do not have ciggies or skinnies (as the industry wants to currently call this style.)  Although my pants are slimmer than my 143’s.   I believe my 143’s and Jalie Jeans (once I slimmed them) ended up with a 18″ hem circumference.  My TJ906’s are about 20″.


I will take these pants in on the sides from hip to hem but just a little. I think many of the wrinkles are due to the pants having too much ease especially for this fabric. The waist is still just a bit too tight.  I let out each side 1/8″.  With 2 seams and 4 sides that means I added 1/2″ ease at the waist.  I’m going to cope with this for now because my weight has also gone up about 4 pounds.  4 pounds of hamburger especially at the waist will affect the fit greatly.  I also note that this fabric is a bit soft and suffering with some static cling.  It’s a seasonal disorder for my clothes.  I must remember to spray these pants when removing them from the dryer.  I also thought the pants were too short. Hemming was accomplished by serging 1″ bias tape to the edge and turning up only about 3/8″ of the pant fabric. I prefer my pants a little longer which means that they do generally have a few horizontal wrinkles in the lower leg caused by the pant “stacking” on my boots.  This becomes very evident when the static cling factor is added. Despite that, I’ve added 1.25″ to the pattern legs for the next version.


I’ve not adjusted the pattern at the waist.  I traced a size 14 front and 16 back for the next version.  I experimented with the concept of dual-sizing on my last pair of 143’s.  I was extremely surprised at how well that worked.  It’s too bad that I didn’t have the confidence to duplicate that experiment with this pair.




I’m content to discard the wrinkles below the knee as being the result of static cling, stacking and perhaps still too much ease for the soft fabric.  It is the diagonal wrinkles beginning to form on the back thigh that concern me.  I note that they are forming only on the inseam piece and only on the back side. Again, I know that I have a soft fabric, too much ease and static cling but the wrinkles are less than the first fitting. In the first fitting the wrinkles extended all across the back, the sides and slightly into the front. I did think that the wide, thick heavy seams were contributing.  The seams have all now been serged to 3/8″ wide. Curiously in the back view that I’m not showing (and the belted view), the wrinkles all but disappear.  It’s very odd, the waist feels too tight. There are wrinkles and bulges indicating that the waist is too tight especially in the front.  But when I belt the pants and pull the the waist up in the back most of the wrinkles disappear from the lower back leg or thigh area.  I might actually need some scooping which surprises me to no end.  One of the good things about knits it that they  should stretch around my rear instead of being pushed downward.  Sorry only someone with a rear like mine could understand that statement.


BTW, these pic’s were from the final fitting. I will make a few changes but I don’t plan to photo or review the completed garment. As mentioned, I’ve already traced the 14 front 16 back and added 1.25″ hem allowance.  I’ll finish these and wear them but it’s the next pair I feel excited about.  I’ve already chosen a similar fabric. Both this and the next fabric fall into the category of medium-to-heavy weight knits.  Both are a cotton/poly blend that was popular years ago for pants.  These are casual-dress fabrics.  Good for general office work, date night, or lounging around the house.  I wouldn’t herd cattle or show up for executive meetings wearing them but they will be fine for 99% of my life. As always there is more to come.

6440, template

McCalls 6440 Ciggies at Last

originally published11/14/11


I want skinny pants. I don’t buy into “straight from the hip” algorithm proposed by “What Not to Wear”. Nope I don’t. I am 5’3″ tall and weigh between 145 and 150 pounds. Pants that drop straight from my hips have a 24″ hem circumference and add 50 pounds to my frame, visually. Nope serious, such large flared pants or skirts make me look short and dumpy. I want skinny jeans but not leggings. I prefer clothing that skims and only hints at the substance below. I’ve been eagerly watching pants fashion evolve over the last 2 years. This year we again have ciggies skinnies.



I purchased 4 pants patterns, but the first up is McCall’s 6440:




This pattern is similar to my beloved Trudy Jansen 906 designer jeans.


I’ve made the 906’s many times from many fabrics and love how it fits.  I bought the pattern thinking that the two piece back would give me one more seam for fitting.  I’m not discounting that the yoke gives more fitting, but many jeans patterns have the yoke and I still couldn’t fit them to my body. To my surprise, Trudy got not only the fitting but the crotch perfect. I’m hoping that 6440 with it’s back seam gives me an additional fitting seam for stretch pants.


To construct the first pair, I chose a heavy cotton-poly knit in a dark forest green. It’s so dark, it looks like black, hence the pics which follow have been considerably lightened.




But I’m am absolute basket case trying to fit this pattern.   I don’t have a good feel for how wide and long the pattern pieces have to be.   I’m very definite that I want skim and not cling from my trousers. I did fit Jalie 2908 jeans, but only in stretch denim.  When I changed to cotton twill+Lycra, they couldn’t be pulled up over my hips. Change the weave and the pattern didn’t fit. (Denim is cotton. The fiber content is the same, only the weave and color were changed.)  Most of the time, my measurements fall right in-between a 14 and 16. Several years ago I learned that the smaller size should fit all the way up to the next given measurements.  So I usually cut a size 14, but use 3/8 seam allowances.  For blouses/tops this has been perfect.  (I did find that I prefer to cut the larger size for coats). But pant fitting is still a crap shoot.  In my last experiment I discovered cutting the width  a 14 front and 16 back (14 length) and then shortening another 1 above the knee was perfect. Unfortunately, I forgot all about that experiment.  So I cut a size 18 width (all pieces) and 14 length for McCall’s 6440.


18 when normally 16 is too large?  Yeah, well the pattern envelope said “stretch fabrics” not 25% stretch or measure here stretch, but just stretch fabrics.  With no other guidance I panicked.  I decided it was better to cut these too large than too small.


I was wrong.


I’m making View C, no pockets. I moved the zipper to the front and eliminated the zippers in the legs. The front zipper was inserted with permanent stitching on the 3/8″ seam line.   I had to use a 5/8 SA for the center back seam of the legs. Otherwise, the back legs would not fit the back yoke. I tell you, I sweated that out until the first try-on with all the other seams basted at 1/2″. Whoa…. wouldn’t stay up but dropped to my knees.  I tried basting at 5/8″ just in the waist — I was thinking I’d fit the crotch and sides later.  But that didn’t even slow the rate at which my pants dropped.  I decided to be bold.  I determined what the seam allowances would have been if stitched at the size 14 seam line. 1-1/8″.  That’s  a big bulky seam.  I know because:


I can see them!


This is a s far as I got last night.  The pants felt too tight a the waist, which I think the front shows. I will be wearing these as shown in the back view:



i.e. with blouse untucked.  Unfortunately it’s not easy to read these drag lines because the weight of the seams themselves adds drag.  My plan though is to seam at the 1″ line and trim to 3/8″…. for this pair.


I’m particularly pleased with the back view between hip and knee.  I can usually tweak the fit of the waist, the crotch even and certainly the leg length.  It’s the back thigh area area, below hip and abovew knee, that continually stumps me.  So many patterns and nearly all RTW, on me, accumulate multiple wrinkles just in that 14 to 18 inches. I’m not the only person to have encountered this problem.  But we all say the same thing: It’s hard to describe the solution.  The solution is a combination of grain line, body space, crotch length, crotch shape, leg and inseam construction.  There are so many details that may look perfect but off just enough to converge and look like “a diaper load that dropped in the leg”.   I’m particularly anxious that my proposed fitting adjustments to this pair and my pattern alterations for the next pair NOT recreate the diaper load issue



….. I’ll be back.