Beige Pants

Same pattern, cut out with the same modifications I used with the pink pants, and these came out larger – had to take in the sides 3/8″ at the top and from mid hip to hemline. Obviously the difference is the fabric in spite of the fact there’s no spandex in this fabric either….

The front has turned out fine, happy with that, but below the bum is a wee bit baggy. Not much I can do about that at this point – the pants may tighten up a bit with washing, although I prewashed the fabric. Sitting in them may also round out the backside some.

The pants are certainly wearable. 

This morning I dug out some navy cotton twill (no spandex) that I will wash tomorrow, as well as some prewashed beige cotton twill – both will get made into pants when I get back from Toronto (going to my niece’s wedding coming weekend). I also found a prewashed length of French navy blue light weight cotton/linen blend to use for a loose shirt. Once those garments are done, the pants with the stretched out spandex will go.

Tomorrow, I intend to interface the silk dupion I’ve had waiting to be made into a quilt. I’ll get that project started next.

Advertisements

Pink Pants

These pants were cut based on the modifications I made to my basic pattern in San Francisco – a small addition to the centre front crotch area, a 3/4″ drop in the front waist, and 1/4″ addition to the side seams because the fabric had no spandex.

This is a jeans pattern but I thought this wool/polyester fabric was a bit too “dressy” to turn into jeans so I left out all the top stitching, omitted the back pockets, and used a single seam for a neat hem.

Have to say they turned out pretty well – although everything that could go wrong did! I started by putting the zipper on the wrong side of the fly front, had to redo it, pockets went in fine as did the side seams, but I screwed up threading the embroidery machine and I had to take out a stitched (not yet cut, fortunately) buttonhole not once but twice. After rethreading the machine and doing a practice buttonhole (which I should have done in the first place) the third try was fine. Only then did I cut it open.

I’ve just finished cutting pants out of a beige fabric which I will sew tomorrow. The beige fabric I used for pants in San Francisco turned out to be dreadful – it’s a stretch twill and it now has a permanent stretch across the front where the spandex has failed – very visible. So once these new beige pants (with almost no stretch) are done, the SF pants will get tossed. 

That’s the same fabric I used for the light and dark blue pants I made earlier in the spring – they’re starting to show the same permanent stress marks across the front so they’ll have to be replaced. This time, I’ll use a cotton twill with no spandex in it. The original fabric wasn’t a cheap fabric, either. 

So lesson learned – stay away from fabrics with any amount of spandex – they may be intended to provide a comfortable fit with some give but the quality and durability is variable and pants take a good 5-6 hours of work. Too much time for such a limited result!

Remodelling Summer Pants

You get up one day and decide today is the day to swap out the winter pants for the summer ones. That was this morning – however, I knew I would want to do something with the fit in the back of all eight pairs of pants which I’d made last summer.

I tried each on, pinned a dart to get rid of the fullness under the bum. Then I dug out some thin cardboard and drafted a template for the dart.

All of the pants were made from a palazzo pants pattern – with modifications as I went along – the legs got narrower, some ended up cropped, the first pair had the side opening used in the pattern, but second pair on I changed to a fly front.

I figured out a system for doing the alteration – I turned the pants inside out, pressed along the centre back, marked 6.25″ from the lower waistband seam, positioned the template, marked the dart seam with a fabric marker or chalk, then stitched it. Pressed the dart toward the centre back, turned the pants right side out and pressed along the seam. Done!


The pants fit so much better than they did.

Now to incorporate the shape and depth of the dart into the back of my jeans pattern, as well as the palazzo pants pattern. I think I have the dimensions of the “dart” just about right now.

San Francisco 5

A fascinating day. Because all of us (we are 9 women) are interested in perfecting a pair of pants, it began with Sandra showing us an array of pants – from very loose culottes to very fitted knit pants as well as jeans… pointing out how these various garments would look good on a range of shapes, and explaining which fabrics would work and what not to bother trying.

Next we were each measured. Sandra has a collection with each of the pants patterns in every possible size. So after being measured the fun began.

Sandra demonstrated how to use our measurements to mark changes on the garment pattern, showing how to change size for different parts of the pants.

I wanted to start with a pair of jeans. Sandra suggested I try a size ‘B’ – which she said wouldn’t fit across the front, but would give us a sense of the back fit. Turns out I have a ‘calf’ problem – my calves are just large enough to prevent the pant leg from falling easily along my lower leg – so when adjusting the pattern, she recommended I add a 1/2″ to each side of the back pieces from knee to hem. Next she wanted me to try a size ‘E’ (I have a large waist) for the front fit – well ‘E’ fell off my hips, even ‘D’ was large, so we settled on ‘C’.

Next I set to work tracing the pants pattern making the adjustments, cutting out the pattern, then cutting the pink twill (pre-washed) fabric I had brought with me.

I have much of the prep work done now, and will begin sewing the pants tomorrow.

It was like that with everyone – each gal choosing a style of pants to work on, then trying on several pairs in different sizes – you can imagine the laughter as we unrobed over and over again and paraded in pants either too large or too small in order to determine the adjustments needed to establish a personalized fit.

Our work room was one busy place:

Tomorrow should see several pairs of pants completed.

Black Silk Pants

IMG_4509

I’m starting to get organized for the San Francisco trip in April. I had a phone call last weekend from Elke (Sandra’s assistant) about the workshop, wondering what questions I might have. I told her I was determined to come home with a perfectly fitting pair of pants!

In the meantime, the Saturday night we’re having dinner at Sandra’s home and apparently it’s a “dress up” affair – not too dressy, but not jeans, either. I have that lovely silk embroidered shirt I made in July from the fabric my friend Mary Ann gave me. And I have a black silk crepe top. All I needed was a pair of black silk pants!

I’ve had 5 yards of black silk in my stash for 20+  years – my sister Donna brought it for me from Thailand – I’d just never used it. The silk was a light weight shantung so I thought the pants should be lined. It just so happened I had some hot pink silk lining fabric which I’d bought a couple of years ago in Florida to line my Faux Suede Appliqué jacket. However, I found a better lining fabric, used it on the jacket, and put this lining fabric away.

IMG_0840This seemed a good use for it – I had enough for the pants (with a bit left over for lining bags, I imagine). IMG_4522Nobody will ever see the lining, but I’ll know it’s there and having it makes the pants drape nicely.

I used the modified pattern from the palazzo pants (don’t ask my why I didn’t use the Eureka pattern – I just didn’t think of it – I think I was originally thinking of a wider leg than I actually made).

All in all I’d say these pants turned out rather well. That notwithstanding, I know I’m still going to learn a lot about fitting pants. And in all likelihood I might wear these pants 2-3 times beyond this one occasion. So I wasn’t worried about a lot of tailoring detail – just made sure I had deep pockets on the front so I can carry my phone!

IMG_4513

 

 

Second Pair of Pants

Yesterday I completed the pants in Twill – I wanted to see how the pattern would turn out in a less giving fabric than the denim I used (which has a lot of give).

The front is great – no fullness on the sides below the bum, just a straight side seam.
IMG_4302

The side view is also good. The pants are about 1/2″ too long – I may take them up after I’ve washed them – I hemmed them at a 27″ inseam (my usual inseam is 27 1/2″ – given the way these pants fit I’m guessing I should use a 26 1/2″ inseam for hemming – I know my legs aren’t shorter!)IMG_4304

And the back fits nicely as well. So I guess this pattern is a keeper as it is.IMG_4305

A useful addition to my wardrobe.

That’s it for pants for now. On to other stuff.

Eureka!

In a comment on my Muslin #3 – Pat mentioned another pants fitting system she’d tried successfully. I decided to give it a go – Fit for Art Patterns: Eureka! Pants That Fit. I went online, found the pattern – it arrived last week – I went to work.

pants-that-fit

First I read the booklet to get an idea about how this system works. They (Carrie Emerson, Rae Cumbie and Sarah Veblen ) start out by saying Sewing pants is easy.  I agree – getting a comfortable, flattering fit is the challenge! Their system is based on three prevalent body types – their template pattern includes one front and THREE different backs – one for people like me – no bum, a second for a reasonably rounded ass, third for  “full” bottoms. What they’ve done, in other words, is make some of the most common pants adjustments:

adjusting pants

In Back 1, they’ve lowered the back waistline, decreased the crotch depth, slightly deepened the crotch curve, taken in the upper legs – all the adjustments I’d have to make for a pattern to fit my body shape. The sizing chart suggests for my measurements I make a Back 2 (for regular bums) but I knew that would be a mistake, so I chose Back 1 (for no bums) and traced both the front and back onto tracing paper. I decided an XS would work for the back but I made a combination of XS/S for the front.

In the booklet they recommend leaving a back opening for fitting – no good for me – I can’t pin that myself when testing the muslin, and in the end I’m going to have a fly front, so I set up the pattern tracing with a fly front. The template also has a straight waistband – I used the curved waistband I had used to construct the earlier muslins which fit quite comfortably just below my bellybutton. Then I cut out a muslin.

I sewed in a zippered fly front (Sandra Betzina’s technique – I’ll never put in a fly front any other way – this is SO straightforward), stitched up the centre back seam, the side seams, then tried the muslin on. The centre front seam didn’t quite come together – that meant I had to widen the front side seam about 3/8″ on each side. The legs were still a bit full through the thigh – I tried taking them in on the side seam – that introduced some pulling into the back, I put the side seams back and took the leg in on the inner side seam – the muslin still didn’t hang quite right but I had a hunch if I just took a smidgeon from both inner and outer leg when I redrafted the pattern I’d be OK. I marked on the muslin where I wanted the top of the waist to land, subtracted the waistband width (2″), marked that, (then added back 5/8″ to get the cutting line for the top of the pants. I finished the muslin by adding a waistband just to see if I was right about the location of the waistband top edge – I was!

muslin #4

 

Once finished, I could tell the back seam needed to be made a wee bit fuller (~ 3/8′) and the crotch a wee bit deeper – both back and front (~ 3/8″).

So I now set about redrafting the pattern with adjustments – this time using Swedish tracing paper so I’d end up with a durable pattern. Working from my traced paper pattern, I added 3/8″ to the front at waist (gradually decreasing from the waist to the belly line – I only needed the extra at the waist), I took my “crotch curve” (this came from a package: The New Magic-Fit Master Pattern for Pants – a pants fitting system from 1984!) and dropped the crotch a bit and increased the fullness of the centre back seam 3/8″, I slightly reshaped the thighs on the side and inseam slimming them to the knee line, I straightened the leg from knee to hem.

Yesterday, I cut out the pattern in an 8 weight denim (light-medium weight) and  got to work. I finished the pants this afternoon.

I have to say, this is probably as close as I’m going to get to the fit I’m looking for. The front falls straight with no extra fabric in the thighs:

IMG_4282

The side seam is straight down the middle and no dipping under the bum:
IMG_4276

And the back falls straight.

IMG_4286

The pants are comfortable, I can sit in them without having them pull in the back, the thighs are about the right width.

These pants are a smidgeon long – (I used my standard 27 1/2″ inseam but I think with the depth of the crotch I could use 27″); however, I know, with washing, the denim will shrink a bit in length even though I washed it before I used it. This way, the pants will end up the right length!

I added pockets to the outside of the front, and pockets to the back. So these pants are a cross between trousers and jeans. I incorporated a tab on the front of the waistband to accommodate an off centre button – (a centred button chews the front of my sweaters – off-centre I’m fine).

Now to try another pair in a twill.