Wednesday, 11 February 2015

McCall's 6173 - Crushed Velvet Shorts

My crushed velvet shorts

First, I'd like to apologize for the low quality images in this post. My camera is acting up and isn't focusing properly any more, so all of my images are grainy and blurry, hence the reason I've made them smaller. It certainly doesn't help that I feel like shit again today, as I have no patience for taking pictures of myself to begin with. Instead of working away on my current sewing project (which I really want to finish) I only feel up to writing and napping today. I figured I'd finish my shorts review, which is a few weeks overdue now.

*** And yes, your eyes do not deceive you, I chopped off 17" of my hair before Christmas. I have mixed feelings about it. It no longer takes me an hour to blow dry my hair, nor does it take me fifteen minutes in the morning to brush - it doesn't knot at all! - but I'd like it a little longer. I'm going to grow it down to just above my bust, which is only four inches away.

Most of us are finishing winter and greatly anticipating the warm weather of spring. I'm no different, I want warm weather back. We haven't had hoards of snow but the last two months we've been reaching bitter temperatures, which has made going outside rather unbearable. In fact, this weekend temperatures will drop down to -20°C and feel like -30°C. Yay. In an attempt to do away with the winter blues I decided to sew up a pair of shorts. I don't have as many shorts as I used to because I gained weight in my thighs, so I just wanted a cute pair of shorts that were comfortable. But I forgot something important... I don't really have a shorts pattern.

McCall's 6173 Misses' Leggings and Pants

I had to do some brainstorming for this project. My material is crushed velvet, it's a knit with a bit of stretch but not as good as stretch velvet. I knew I wanted a pair of high waisted shorts but I didn't want my buttcheeks to hang out. I only really had two options, a legging pattern and a bathing suit pattern; I knew the latter would likely not be a good fit. I've worked with McCall's 6173 before but I never finished it. I have a pair of leggings that are stashed in my UFO (unfinished object) bin. The reason I stashed them is because the leggings don't fit quite right, they're baggy around my calves. That's when I realized, they're not baggy around my thighs! They fit perfectly at the top, which means they should fit alright as shorts. I set forth on altering the pattern into a shorts pattern.

How did I do it?

I had to make a few alterations, obviously with length, but as well as width and design. First, I cut the front and back pieces from the pants pattern (NOT the leggings from McCall's 6173, that's only one piece and doesn't have a zipper flap which I needed). To create the appropriate length, I marked a straight line across each piece, 4" down from the crotch line. I felt this would not only give my butt good coverage but also had enough material to create a decent sized hem. This pattern calls for stretch materials only; although my knit velvet has a little stretch it's definitely not stretch velvet, so I knew I had to add some ease to my shorts otherwise I'd never get them on! I achieved this by slashing and spreading the pattern pieces down the center (near, but not affecting the darts), adding about a half inch to each piece. I also altered the waistband accordingly.

The waistband for these pants is just a long rectangular piece that is cut on the fold, because I wanted my shorts to sit at the waist I knew I had to widen the waistband. This posed some problems, if you make the waistband higher it won't confrom to the curve of the waistline and just gapes open, I had to shape it to fit my waist. I widened the band by about an inch, I curved it slightly and cut it into three pieces that taper toward the waist. I hope that I explained that well enough, but maybe the diagram will give you a better idea of what I did.

What did I like about this pattern?

This is a bit of an unusual review considering I used the pattern for a different purpose. The pieces are easy to sew and the directions were very straight forward. The zipper was a dream to apply and I greatly appreciate that, because I sometimes find zipper instructions and diagrams to be absolutely worthless! I'll definitely use this pattern in the future for shorts or pants, but with some modifications.

What did I dislike about the pattern?

What I dislike about this pattern has nothing to do with my shorts, so it's rather irrelevant, but as a leggings and pants pattern it needs some tweaking. It just doesn't sit right. Also, I once tried making jeans using the pants pattern and it turned out all wrong! I used stretch denim but it somehow came out fitting way too small (I only used size small) and it was baggy in the calves. Talk about a waste of denim, I still don't know if I can salvage what's left. I will use this pattern for leggings in the future and do a brief review on them.

What did I learn?

I learned that with some careful planning and imagination you can utilize one pattern for different needs! I recommend doing a draft/muslin first to see how well things fit, just because fit is a little weird in this pattern.

What would I change if I were to sew it again?

Not much! I will probably sew this again in the spring. I bought an adorable stretch floral denim that I would love to make a pair of shorts out of. If I do, I would like to add more width to the waistband and the legs, only because I worry that the denim - despite being stretch - might be tighter. I figure if it's too loose I can just take it in.


Not even kidding, I LOVE THESE SHORTS! They are seriously the most comfortable shorts I have ever owned. They look very stylish, too. For someone who normally hates crushed velvet, it's surprises me that I could like something like this but they're very tasteful. I'm looking forward to wearing them on warm, sunny days.


  1. DOnt worry about the image quality. I dont see anything wrong with it. You look super cute in these pictures!

  2. You look amazing in those! Shorts are something I struggle with so much, due to being a 4 on top and a 10 on the bottom. Maybe I should make my own ;) Hehe I'd have to learn to sew first!

    1. Thank you! :) I struggled with shorts a lot too. My biggest issues were gaping waistlines or too short of cuffs, I'm a 4 on top 6/7 on bottom. Making my own shorts has definitely helped eliminate the fit issues I find with ready-to-wear clothing. If you ever learn to sew, they're a good project to try out!


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