McCalls 3665: Pattern Analysis

Another kid pattern, this time a knit pattern for a newborn.

I’m making view D, the short-sleeved short-legged bodysuit.


My first stop for figuring what changes I need to make for a new pattern is always Pattern Review. There are two reviews for this pattern, by Harmony, who made the pants and loved them, and by Tanya MT, who (almost) made the bodysuit, and doesn’t give such a glowing review.

Her first problem is with sizing. Most commercial patterns, to my mind, tend to run larger than I like. This isn’t such a problem when you are sewing for yourself, but if you are sewing for someone else (at this point in time unmeasurable, since the potential recipient of this gift is still snugly inside their mother lives in New York — welcome!), you have to guess sizing. Tanya’s review says the sizing runs very large on these. I figure eh, I’ll make it in the newborn size, and if it doesn’t fit, it can be put aside for a few months.

Her second problem is with the finishing. The pattern calls for facing and interfacing at the neck and front openings (extending to the front parts of the legs), and bias binding at the back crotch. I have a few problems with this idea, too.

  • Interfacing is stiff and not conducive to soft newborn skin.
  • The front and back facing pieces are enormous and leave all sorts of flopping around fabric.
  • Bias binding at the crotch is (i) weird and (ii) itchy.

So. A fix is in order.

The first thing I did to this pattern was to eliminate the asymmetrical front. I’m not sure it adds much, and if I’m fussing with facings, I’d rather not also have to deal with an asymmetrical front. To do this, I just added an allowance to the center front, as shown below.

Adjusting asymmetrical front

How much of an allowance? Well, the snaps sit on the CF line, and they are 3/8″ wide, so half a snap plus 1/4″ between the snap and the edge plus 5/8″ seam allowance, which comes to ….. bloody hell, why don’t we go metric already? Ahem. Which comes to 17/16″, or an inch and a quarter for luck.

The next problem was to change the facings. All I did here was simply extend the front facing piece so that it matched up with the front, extending from the neck edge to the crotch edge at the leg, and then narrowed the facing. The original facing is marked in blue, below, and the new shape I drafted is in red.

Mcalls 3665 facings

How wide should the facing be? Well, the seam is 5/8″ from the edge. At the front and the crotch, it has to support snaps. My snaps are 1/4″ from the edge and they are 3/8″ wide. I then left another 1/2″ to turn under the edge of the facing (which will be topstitched so it doesn’t flap about). That comes to a total of one and three quarter inches on those two edges. At the neck, I don’t need space for the snaps, so I left the facing just an inch wide. The back neck facing was similarly narrowed.

Finally, I needed to eliminate the bias binding at the back crotch with its own facing. Because the pattern is designed to have binding here, there’s no seam allowance. So I traced the back crotch curve, then extended 5/8″ below it for a seam allowance, 7/8″ above it to support the snaps (notice how these numbers added together make an inch and three quarters, which is matches the width of the front crotch facing). And then I added a 5/8″ seam allowance to the crotch on the back piece proper.

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3 Responses to “McCalls 3665: Pattern Analysis”

  1. m0g0 Says:

    Anna, I saw these free patterns and thought of you:

    http://www.studiokatdesigns.com/freepatterns.htm

    And also, this sewing-machine cover:

    http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=157285.msg1571928#msg1571928

    Would have emailed them, but I don’t have your email!

  2. annaphor Says:

    Oh, cheers, Morrigan! Those look fun.

    (You can email me at annaphor at gmail dot com, btw)

  3. Handmade Jewelry Says:

    Handmade Jewelry…

    […]McCalls 3665: Pattern Analysis « The Coracle[…]…

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