I think I'll be retiring the bottom portion of any of the options for McCall 5651. The tops, with some personal modifications, have been fine and workable. But the bottoms are just awful.
I already mentioned issues with the size. Originally, I had cut the correct size (M) according to the envelope, despite warnings from Pattern Review because the T-shirt I cut up was not nearly as stretchy as the normal fabric my underwear is made of. What I should have done is actually measured the pattern piece compared to my measurements before I cut.
I ended up scrapping the whole thing and going a size smaller. There are three pieces. That's it. I personally do not like the instructions or the way these garments are *supposed* to be made. I think more emphasis is on making them cute as opposed to making them appear finished, like something you would buy at the store. Here are some examples:
- The crotch lining is simply zig-zagged on top of the seamline of the front and back. Looking at a normal pair of underwear, this is not the case. So, using a pair of underwear as a guide, I put the front and back pieces right sides together, as the pattern mentions, but then I placed the crotch piece right side down on top of the back of the garment. When I finished sewing the seam, I simply flipped the crotch lining piece and covered the ugly seam.
- They emphasize zig-zagging with short stitches, but I was always taught long stitches are key when sewing knits, whether straight or zig-zagged (I personally do straight and there are no problems)
- There are over 6 design tips, but very few practical sewing tips
- There is no finishing of seams anywhere. It would have been easy to incorporate French seams to make the garment cleaner.
- There is no hemming anywhere on View B. I know, It's knit. It doesn't fray. It doesn't ravel. It doesn't need to be hemmed. Personally, I think it looks cheap that way. I hemmed mine...nothing fancy; I only turned under a 1/4" and sewed very close to the edge, but I think it looks far better. In addition, View A has all these wavy edges and I think it would just curl and look wonky after time.
- They simply tell you to pin stretch trim around. They tell you how it looks best applied, but not a whole lot about the length. Should it be exactly the same length? When I apply stretch lace trim, I usually want the lace to give some support, so I stretch it. I opted away from stretch lace because it would not have been enough to hold the underwear in place. I made a tube around the top with a long strip of fabric and fed 1/4" through using my measurements.
- The pattern gives you these elastic guides, but it would be more beneficial for the young sewer, and would be a better tailored garment if you just based these simple measurements on your own body. They use almost a full page of instructions talking about croquis and seeing what looks and works for your own body type; it would follow the same line of logic to use simple measurements where applicable.
The underwear I would have simply traced to get a better fit if I didn't want to try this pattern one more time. The biggest difference is the severity of the curve in the back of View B.
For tops, I would continue to recommend this pattern. For bottoms, I would maybe try this Burdastyle one, or perhaps this Kwik Sew one, but with less options. In all honesty, I'd probably just trace a pair that I already own, as I did before. According to PatternReview, I'm in the disgruntled minority on this pattern. Better luck to anyone else out there. I'll probably add my review in a week or so.