sdBev's Pants!

I use some of the same terms over and over but they aren’t common to the general public and may not be readily understood by every sewist.  I’ve been following common courtesy by spelling out the first instance accompanied with abbreviation and then using the abbreviation when needed subsequently i.e. Water Soluble Thread (WST) the first time then just WST.  Frankly, I know I’m lazy. I also tire of writing out these terms over and over. Yet I know that very people have read my every post and few of them are likely to understand all my abbreviations. But I’m still lazy.  I’ve opted for what I hope is an acceptable substitute. I’ve created a page on my base blog sdBev.wordpress.com  titled “uncommon abbreviations” and I will link my abbreviations to that page. Granted the reader will have to scroll down that list to find my definition which could be a bit inconvenient for them. I apologize for that and the fact I am slightly lazy. But I’ve learned I can’t please everyone. So it’s most important that I’m satisfied with myself.

Uncommon Abbreviations

MSS Shorts

Posted on: July 6, 2014

I have been sewing just not sharing.  I had some nondescript mending to do.  DH wanted me to convert his jeans-that-wrestled-with-barb wired-fences into shorts. His is an easy request.  I cut the pants to his desired length; stitch 1″ bias tape to the cut edge; fold it up and slightly roll the bias tape to the inside before straight stitching into place.  High temperatures have occurred  and so I began wearing my clothing from last summer.  Surprisingly most is still wearable. That is really surprising since most of my long pants (made before Jan 2014), have had to be replaced. The shorts made from the very same pattern are OK. Well a little sung along the crotch. Pictures show that they are not digging in or developing tight horizontal lines.   I discarded one pair of shorts because of the fabric. The fabric was very firm when constructed last year. I mean it didn’t have a bit of give then and didn’t soften throughout last summer.  I wore the pair once this year and decided I’d gotten my money’s worth.  It was too uncomfortable to go through that another year.

I sorted through my stacks of Under 2’s. I decided to rearrange into Tops, Shorts, Vests and Scraps. Then I took the Shorts stack and separated into two piles 1) the fabrics I’d like to make into jean shorts, the fabric I’d like to make into  MSS shorts.  I selected 4 fabrics but then decided that a moleskin would be better as a vest.  Moleskin is warm and not really conducive to circulating much-needed air during summer.

I checked the fit of the MSS pattern (Cutting Line Designs 11202 My Swing Set) back in May 2014 (that’s not too long ago); at which time, I added a single pair for my Summer 6PAC.  Possibly I didn’t need to add more shorts now, but I like to sew-down those stacks during the summer and those old shorts do  feel close through the crotch.  I decided to make the pattern as currently fit with the exception of folding down the casing only 2″ instead of the 2-1/4 marked.  The result is perfect.  I probably should copy that back to the pattern.

I had plenty of Louise’s elastic on hand so  I just sewed. I produced a pair a day.

The first pair is a bright blue cotton/polyester that was only 45″ wide. I carefully recorded the steps I make to construct that beautiful MSS pocket.  I don’t follow CLD instructions to the letter. Most prominently, I use self-bias instead of fusible interfacing to complete the pocket opening but my construction sequence is also slightly different.  Works for me, when I remember it. When I don’t remember, I’m ripping out seams and rustling through the pattern instructions. I wanted the pocket instructions separate from the pattern so they are easy to locate, readily at hand for implementation with other patterns and quick to review. I know I know. Seems ridiculous but otherwise I spend 15 minutes hunting through the envelope to find the right sheet. Yeah, it’s a personal problem.

My 2nd fabric was a rayon/ cotton/ lycra  blend. A delight to sew and wear.  In the picture, it is freshly washed but not dried.  I wanted pictures now and so pulled it out of the dryer.

The last pair, (on the right as we are looking into the picture),is a brushed, polyester twill. Sincerely doubt there is a whiff of cotton or other natural fiber content. I purchased two short cuts thinking I could make 1 pair of long-legged pants.  One of the cuts was a mere 30″ long.  I never figured out how to cut long pants for me from that short length.  Turns out I need to either piece the leg or start with a length of at least 42 inches. It is a soft fabric and wonderful to wear but I am concerned that it will be too hot for the up-coming dog days.  I decided to finish it a little better than the other two. It is slightly dressier and very appropriate for the overly, air-conditioned spaces I must visit. I made the legs slightly longer and blind stitched the hems. All the top stitching along the pockets and waistband are done in matching thread. It looks like a classy skirt.

The pockets on each pair of shorts, is decoratively stitched just slightly differently. The bright blue pair uses a triple stitch in navy blue thread. The middle pair uses my Ruby’s built-in cross stitch in a contrasting black. I top stitched the hems of both these two pairs using multiple rows of stitching for the bright blues. I changed up the distanced between rows of stitching on the elastic for each of the 3 pairs of shorts.  That added a little interest for me during sewing as well as during wear.  I’d venture a guess that if a person didn’t sew, they wouldn’t realize I used the same pattern, same basic design for all three. Not only is my finishing different, but each fabric hangs and fits a bit differently.  I love all 3, but I appreciate each one’s individual traits.

PBA2

Posted on: May 27, 2014

I have things to share, but finding the loss of my pen-tablet functions to be severely hampering. I’m excited enough about my 2nd go at PBA2 to persist through the frustration. That and having finally decided which tablet I want, finding out it won’t be here until about June 4th. I like ordering from Amazon. I do wish that estimated delivery times were stated by non-Amazon warehouses. Had I known it would be nearly 2 weeks, I might have bought something else or hied myself to a big city. So onto PBA 2

My fabric is a cotton/rayon blend in a summery yellow color. I was concerned it would not be heavy enough for pants.  I need light weight pants for summer. I burn easily and there are cooler days and places where a bit more coverage is desirable. But I don’t want to expose my underwear either as a visible panty line from a too tight cut or as a shadow beneath the outer layer. I’m happy to say this fabric is perfect. Its rayon content provides a wonderful drape.  It might have been perfect for even a fuller-cut leg like the One-Seams of old.

Indeed, this side view shows how much ease is in the medium-size of Pamerla’s Patterns Style 113.  I’m rather happy with PP113 and in particular, this version. Because of the protruding b utt alteration, I have not added any width to the hemline. It is 20″ as the designer drafted.

What’s very different about this PP113 version, and excites me, is the placement of the PBA.

Red=PBA1; Green=PBA2

 

On the first version of the PBA (Red lines), I split my back pattern piece the red lines.The lines disected the crotch and waist lines leaving hinges at side seam and hem. The pattern was spread along the lines.  I felt this was a qualified success. PBA1 also did not add ease at the hem, but did add between crotch and knee.  I might have left it alone except I don’t really want billows of fabric over my back thigh. Rather than trousers, I want slacks. I want something that instead of concealing the body beneath, hints at curves and shape.

So I attempted the PBA a second time. As shown with the green lines, the back leg is again disected vertically along the grain. The waist is bisected and opens as much as needed but that split stops just below the tush.  The horizontal split was placed 1″ below the darts because that is where my b utt sticks out the furtherest. OK my b utt is not really a point. From that point and  about an inch my b utt is the same large width. I decided since  that’s the first point at which I start needing the maximum width, that would be the point to start adding extra width. To my delight, the vertical split did not need to descend as far into the leg.  I spread the vertical slash apart 3/4″ (instead of the 1″ last time) and secured it with a little tape. I did the same with the horizontal slash and then smoothed all the flapping pieces, persuading them to lie flat. The back crotch opened up over an inch effectively adding length to the back crotch.  The first fitting was heavenly–almost. The pant felt truly wonderful. Granted the fabric has a lot to do with that but I’ve noticed everytime I really improve the fit of my garments, they feel remarkably more comfortable. My first fitting however showed that the back crotch was now too long. I’m using the same front piece as fit with PBA1. For PBA1  I needed to shorten the front crotch length by about the same amount as I  now removed from the back.  I think that the PBA could be the “magical” alteration I’ve been looking for.

Before I share the back view, let me say that I had the same camera problems as always and…

my right pant leg got hung up around the high hip. Another step forward, a shifting of the weight, even a quick tug and smooth and my right leg would have looked as good as my left.

I won’t be altering the fit of this pant pattern further (unless I change shapes again).  I will be converting to magic pants and pull-ons; adding pockets other details AND most importantly slimming the leg. This 20″ hem circumference is the widest that I like to wear.  Any larger and the pant looks like it is wearing me instead of the other way around.  It is the same width as flared style jeans drafted by Jalie or Trudy Jansens (TJ906).  In the past, I’ve successfully narrowed the leg between knee and hem as much as 3″. I’m also still concerned about the amount of ease over the back thigh.  I am wondering if I I can shorten the back fork.  It’s something I might work with in the future.  My concern as always is avoiding the Big X wrinkles that develop between knee and b utt.

Apologies for crappy photo. I know the shorts look better on my matronly body. But the temps are still cool. I simply wasn’t going to model these at 58 degrees.

The fabric is 100% cotton; a remnant from the rose Brown pants made a few weeks ago.  I used Louise cuttings MSS pants shortened to just above the knee.  Oddly, shorts never develop any of the wrinkles that long pants do on me. Well, I think it’s odd. This is the pattern that I folded out 1″ ease from the front and add 2″ ease to the back. These pants are therefore 1″ wider at the hem and over the thigh/leg than the designer intended. I like the full leg on shorts. It’s breezy. Lots of air circulation.  Air circulation is good during the summer.

Usually when I want shorts, I fold up the legs of the last pattern fitted. I made so many of these last year that I traced a separate pattern just for shorts and altered the leg to my preferred length.  This pair of shorts was incredibly easy and fast.  Those last 4 rows of stitch along the elastic get boring. But then it so satisfying to see the elastic draw up and assume the proper shape as I pass the steam iron over the finished pant. Easy. Quick. Fits. TNT’s are worth the effort.

The PBA

Posted on: May 6, 2014

ETA: It’s not de ja vue. You could have read this post before! This post went public before I intended.  It really needed this last edit and maybe one more. 

I’ve noticed that the fitting books all read “if you have this problem, do this” or something to that effect.  So when I tell people I have lived 6+ decades and have a mass of fabric beneath my tush, they look a the “this problem” and  promptly advise  a “do this”  of flat-butt alteration.  However, I don’t think I have a flat butt.

That’ s my b utt. I earned that b utt.  It’s a left over from my childhood when running was my favorite activity; high school when I played the Field Hockey Right Wing; and years of walking as a method of solitude, meditation and exercise.  Now that I’m retired, 2 flights of stairs taken many times daily, keep my b utt high.  When i saw the picture above, I decided I needed a FBA (full-bust alteration) for my b utt. I started looking through my library;  searched the internet but found nothing. (Warning do not search the internet for b utt alterations. You will not believe the finds.)  The general attitude seems to be buy a pattern big enough to go around and your pants will fit.  P&P even suggest that I might want the extra fullness over my back-thighs to fill in and disguise how much I stick out back there.

I gave up and went about my sewing. Until the day I was looking in my books for something else… when I delved into Lynda MacIntyre’s “Easy Guide to Sewing Pants“. This book is not just about sewing pants. It includes lots of fitting information including the elusive PBA Prominent Butt Alteration”.  Although I had planned a quick and easy pair of pants, I had to try this alteration.

I traced both front and full-back pattern pieces of PP113, size medium.  It’s possible I didn’t need to trace the front at all. But I’m unsure of exactly what alterations I’d made. I decided to start from scratch and document the changes like I’d  have alzheimer’s today. I’ll spare you the details of the changes I made (which are normal for me) and jump right to the PBA.   The PBA consists of two slashes one horizontal along the HBL starting at the back crotch going to to but not through the side seam. The 2nd  vertically bisects the first along the grain line. It would look like a big cross. The vertical does not cut through either the waist or hems.  Then the PBA is spread apart, taped into place  and the back crotch line trued.

The first question I asked was how much do I spread the PBA. I’m always trying to add 1 inch ease. On the MSS and Eureka pants patterns, I folded out 1″ of ease from the front, then split the back along the grain line and spread the back 1″ (effectively adding 2″ ease to the back hip.)  Other patterns, I’ve tried to create wedges and curves to add 1″ or more at the side seam.  Believe it or not, the PBA slashing and spreading is a better way of adding ease. I spread the vertical grain line apart  1″.I didn’t want to create a bubble at the crotch seam, so I pulled the slash towards the side seam to open it.  I slipped some tissue paper beneath and tacked the spread in place. I worked from the vertical slash towards the side seam and then again from vertical slash towards the crotch allowing the tissue to fall into place. Surprising to me, the slash along  HBL  also opened 1″ at the back crotch.  It wanted to. It just sort of spread open as I was working towards the side seam and settled into place. Frankly I wasn’t sure of what I was doing and decided to trust the paper.

Once all was secured with tape, I cut fabric.  My fabric was purchased about 3 years ago in Rapid City SD. I think I was at Hancocks. I make it a habit to look for good pant fabrics anytime I’m in a real fabric store.   This particular time Hancocks had splurged and added a few colorful denims.  I purchased two, well I purchased 4 fabrics that day, but 2 were in unusual colors, a light rose-pink jacquard and a periwinkle denim. Both with 2% Lycra. I used the rose pick jacquard today.  It tested with 15% stretch which I reluctantly didn’t take advantage. I mean, I didn’t want to stretch this pair of pants to fit.  I wanted to alter the pattern to fit.  I put the darts and zipper in permanently. Skipped the pockets; serge finished all the edges and then using water soluble thread, stitched the pants together for the first try on.

Heavenly, just heavenly. The front crotch was too long –the same complaint I made about the pants Pam fitted on the DVD. Interestingly the first pair of PP113’s I used the 1″ SA on the back to cover my rear. With the PBA, both front and back side seams are an even 1″ — I’m not using the side seam insurance to fit my backside.  I feel like  the PBA creates  less distortion of the design line.   I’m excited that there is less excess ease over the back thigh and the hem circumference has not increased by my attempt to add more b utt ease.

I ripped out the waistband and reset it  3/4″ lower in front; 5/8 lower on the side narrowing to 0 (or no change) at the center back seam line. Perfect. I transferred the change to the pattern by overlappinig and taping the sides along the side stitching line; slashing across front and sides to the center back stitching line and over lapping the pattern pieces; and finally taping the alteration in place.

I finished the pants by narrowing the lower leg between bottom of knee and hem; 1/2″ each side total 2″ per leg. I also scooped the back crotch just slightly because the first pics showed the back crotch creeping between my cheeks. I’ve not transferred the last 2 changes to the pattern.

 

The front looks a little large to me. I’d like that ease for trousers, but slacks are a different animal.

This is very close to how I want my slacks to look. I want slacks that hint at shape and fall smoothly from my waist.

I am pretty happy with this pair of pants  I do think they are just slightly large for slacks. They’ve been worn for 3 fittings and about 30 minutes before taking pictures. I plan to take in the side seams another 1/4″ and call this version done.

BUT I’m not 100% satisfied with the PBA.  I wasn’t sure where to place the PBA and chose the HBL.  The fullest part of my butt is about 1″ below the bottom of the darts which is 2″ higher than the HBL marked on PP113. When I think back it makes more sense to place the cross over the largest point instead of 2″ below. The split would then  come back together about 2″ above my knee and not be as wide over my thighs. I’m always complaining about the excess fabric in that area — (it is that symptom that causes people to say make a flat-butt alteration)– when in truth when I’m trying to add ease across my b utt, the area over my thighs is also getting more ease.  I also think that a full one- inch spread could be too much. I see that in the length of the back crotch as well as the over all ease in the back.

Oh yes, there will be another version…..

 

 

I’m sure the bolt didn’t say it was tent fabric. I’ve had it for so long that I’m pretty sure it was off a Walmart $1 table with content listed as “unknown”.  I’m not sure why I didn’t realize it would be perfect for tarps or tents either then or when I started these jeans.  5 minutes into pressing and I decided this fabric had to be softened or discarded. I ran it through 3 different hot, boiling hot washes to which I added a liter of coke and a cup of vinegar each time.  It took longer to pretreat this fabric than to sew the garment.Thankfully, the fabric did soften. But I will always think of these as my Tent Jeans made with my all time favorite jean pattern Trudy Jansen 906.

Once softened, I cut the the fabric and then embroidered the yoke, back pocket and front pocket

The embroidery file is used is half of the back pocket. I then rotated and clipped to make the other designs.

I have to tell you that I made no changes to the pattern since I used it for the pants in the March 19th post.  I’m not sure if it’s a fabric issue, or a dressing issue. At first I could feel the pants sitting too low. But then correcting that seems to have resulted in the pants being too high and tucking in between my cheeks.  After the harsh pretreatment the fabric has gained and almost velvety nap. It now feels like a brushed, heavy-denim. But it’s possible that some of the original stiffness is still inheritant and causing the pants to sit the way they do.

I will direct your attention back to the side view.  Well meaning people are always telling me to make a flat-butt alteration. I claim I do not have a flat butt and that picture is my proof.

Before I even started fitting Pamela’s Perfect Pants pattern, I wanted to make the Magic Pants and the Grown-Up Leggings.  Today, I finished the Magic Pants and I’m in love.

It helps that I started with a wonderful fabric.  I think I bought this fabric from Fabricmartfabrics.com.  It is described as “Dark Brown Stretch Poly/Rayon Crepe… Maggy London). It is very similar to the Modern Gab stocked at Fashionsewing.com but  a lot cheaper.  It was a steal that I don’t expect to find again. Also, I couldn’t be 100%  sure how good  it was going to be like until I opened the package. Then it was too late to order more, or I would have.  This brown is so dark that I need to place it next to black or blue to tell the difference.

To make the Magic Pant, start with your already basic fitting pant pattern. Fold out the zipper placket and add 1″ to the top .  Pam likes to use back darts. She says she also like the look of the front darts and will use them; but says it’s your choice. Use. Don’t use. Whatever you want to do will work. I added another 5/8″ ease to the back pattern piece and covered all pieces with non-woven fusible interfacing.  I like to add non-woven fusible interfacing to my TNT patterns. It reinforces the tissue, preserving it from tearing and also grabs a little when placed on fabric.  Instead of chalking the needed change onto the fabric, I made templates that can be reused. for the templates, I copy the pant pattern from Hip HBL up to the waist. I mark the HBL and grain line on the template.  That makes it easier for me to realign the next time I want to use this template.  I copy the other lines of the pattern (darts, notches) onto the template and then add the changes. Once I’m sure the template has all the information I need, I trim the excess tissue.  For the Magic Pants, all that is needed is adding 1″ above the waist.  I also added a 1-1/2″ marker because I use both 1″ and 1.5″ elastic for pants waistlines.

In sewing I didn’t mark or sew any darts probably saving 10 minutes..  I serged the side seams and crotch using 1/4″ seam allowances.  I serge finished the hem and the waistline before turning up and fusing the leg hems into place.  Pam has you leave the waist unfinished for hours.  I serged because I know in the long run, that’s best for me.  I’ll explain in a sec. Pam has you try on the pants to determine the amount the side seams need to be taken in.  She says it is usually between 1/4 and 3/8″ but can vary with the fabric. Then wear the unfinished garment for a few hours to see if it needs to be taken in more.  I immediately stitched the side seams 1/2″ wide/deep.

I’m not sure why I made the following mistake. I know that different elastic stretches different amounts. I knew I was using WAWAK elastic and Pam was using her special elastic. But I followed her instructions to use a 1″ elastic that was the length of my waist measurement-2″. It slipped up easily over my hips. It also slowly worked its way down to my butt. The biggest trouble with this is that I did not follow her instruction for testing the elastic and pant fit before attaching the elastic to the pant.  So I had cut my elastic, joined it in a circle and then using a wide long attached the elastic at the waist. This is why it’s good to serge finish the top edge: I had to rip out the zig zaging  in order to remove and shorten the elastic. Thank heavens it wasn’t serging that had to be ripped.   The WAWAK elastic needed to be shortened 2″ for my taste YMMV.   I also took the pant side-seams in another 1/8″ (each side). That’s a generous 1/8″ almost 1/4″.   I thought it was justified because even holding the pants up, they sagged below my butt and the front just looks — roomy.

I did not wear my pants for hours before finishing. Nope I immediately finished using Pam’s “Talbots Waistband”. (Fold down the elastand stitch-in-the-ditch along each seam and dart.)  Without  the darts,  4 stitch in the ditches was not enough to hold the “waistband” in place.  I also vertically stitched  half way between each of the previous.  It’s wearable. It’s OK but I think in the future I will finish the elastic differently.  I know several  cut-on-waistband finishes. It’s a matter of choosing one that works and looks good to me. (Which is odd because I never tuck my blouses. So why should I care what it looks like as long as it stays in place and will never be seen?)

I think I maybe at the point of scooping the back crotch.  I always have to do this.  Even the Eureka needed a small scoop.   I need the back crotch to be lower than the front instead of on the same horizontal parallel-to-the-floor plane.  That’s me. That’s the way I’m built. I know there are several others out there that have the same crotch shape. I’m also sad to see the back X’s developing. The scoop will help but truth is, my body is shaped the way it is shaped and I stand the way I stand.  The X’s, diagonal pulls crossing from butt-knee-calve, occur anytime my pants hem circumferences  are less than 19″. This pair finished at about 16.

 

Yes I shared pics before the pants are completely finished. I just need to scoop which will take care of the drooping back waist and excess ease under the butt. (Maybe even help those knee line drags). I also took these pics after carefully pressing but not wearing the pants. Being a woven stretch I’m sure they will continue to stretch while being worn. I’m really happy with this version even at this unfinished point. I spent more time fusing interfacing to the pattern and making templates, than I did sewing — and that includes ripping. I do think that future versions will take a few minutes longer because darts are warranted and I want to add pockets.  Still this is a good pair of pants than can be made in about an hour, maybe hour and a half.

Side and back view of almost finished pants:

 

You know how you can overfit  a pair of pants until you can’t move while wearing them?   Well you can also over tweak a pattern and I think, that’s just what I’ve done.

I thought this pair of pants would be a quick check of the changes made on the previous pair.  I was so confident, that I wanted to make this confirming pair interesting. I decided to  cut the pieces for the MSS Pocket and  Pam’s contour waistband.  I planned to check the fit, add the pocket and then the contour waistband.   Should be a 3 hour job. Right

I selected a cotton/polyester fabric with the appearance of linen. It is not linen.  What it is, is the last of bolt of med-grey perfect-for-work-suits purchased many years ago. I didn’t buy the whole bolt, just the majority which I think was about 9 yards.  I did so because the first pair of pants were wonderful to wear and resisted wrinkling.  I looked almost as good at the end of the day as I did at the beginning.  It was fabulous fabric, but I’m down to the last 2+ yards. I tested stretch, something I’ve never done before with this fabric.  10″ stretched to 10″. IOW no stretch at all just like the first pair PP113’s made from  canvas. But I would not have used this fabric, if I’d known the following sequence of events.

For starters, I never had a 3 hour block of time or any large amount of time for working on these pants.  It was just like pre-retirement 30 minutes here; 10 minutes there.   Constant interruption and delay.  This wasn’t such a problem when I was younger.  But now, I don’t remember things so well.  If I’m taken away before I write things down, I may not remember what I’ve done at all.

I transferred the last changes to the pattern, laid out the fabric and cut the pair of pants.  I opted to serge finish all the edges before beginning. To my horror, the newly-inserted, serger needles puckered the edge. One of the things I’ve loved about my Viking S21 serger, is that it adjusts tension perfectly.  Every time. If the tension is off, something is wrong with the threading. Either the thread is not in the guides correctly or caught on something.  The tension is always perfect. But I could find nothing wrong.  I checked that the needles were fully inserted. That helped some.  I replaced the new needles with another pair of new never-used needles.  No help any at all.  I tried a different fabric . It serged perfectly.   I tried two layers of my fabric. Two layers serged without puckering.  Only this fabric in a single layer puckered. None of this fabric used previously has puckered. I made a jacket and 2 pairs of pants. I’ve run it through sewing machines and sergers. Never did I experience puckering with this fabric.  With reluctance, I decide, it’s not the needles; not the machine; somehow it must be the fabric.

At the SM (Designer Ruby) I put the zipper and darts in permanently the basted all the other seams including a straight waistband. For the first time, I didn’t need two darts in front. Oh I needed both back darts as usual, but only 1 front dart.  I thought this odd, but trusted my TNT straight waistband. My waistband is never wrong. So what went wrong with the pattern; or fabric?  In each of the previous pairs of pants I needed to take out ease at the waist and did so by taking in an even amount along the side seams.  I made that change permanent by trimming a scant 3/8″ from the back and front pieces between waist and about 6″ down. I’ll point out again, that the back with its two darts fit the waistband correctly, but the front would have been too tight. I let out 1 front dart on each side and basted the waistband into place.

I tried on the pants.  To my horror, both front side-seams puckered .  Not the back piece. Not the inseams. Nor the crotch. Nor waistband. Only the front side seams puckered like they were deliberately ruched.  I still had the short, diagonal lines right above each hip (as with the last pair of pants) and definitely, this time, the butt was too tight. I’d always questioned the ease across the butt.  The pants always felt comfortable, but in the pics looked — a little close.  Previously, I thought “my old lady eyes” were telling me the fit across the rear was wrong when in truth the fit was fine. This time, there is no question. This pair of pants is clearly too tight across the rear.  I can’t correct it. I’ve already stitched with 1/4″ seam allowances. I can’t let out any more.

I may know what’s wrong with those diagonals.  Pants For Real People (PFRP) say that the side seam is being pulled upward. Their suggestion is “yank it down”.  Mrs Mole said that ease is off . I think, she could be right.  Yes partly, ease is lacking across the butt. I know that because I can see it in the pics  and feel it on my body.  I also see the pant trying to push upward and gain ease from the leg.  So ease is a big factor. Then too, I believe the darts are in the wrong place.  Whenever my pants gape, they gape at center back. Not at the sides. In this pattern, the darts are moved more towards the sides.  I need to move the darts more towards center back . I probably could move one dart to the center back . That would give me a ski-jump slope along the center-back seam . An odd-to-me shape which  has fit more than one pant pattern to my back-side. I also think that I may have canted the darts. I took out 1/2″ crotch depth from center front and sides but only 3/8″ from center back.  That tilted the darts slightly. Maybe I should  un-tilt the darts.

I removed the side-seam basting to  add the pockets. The MSS pocket is really a wonder. Easy to add. Doesn’t affect fit. Can be added while cutting the fabric or like now as a separate piece. The top stitching shows on some fabrics, like the current one, but completely disappears with other fabrics.  I’ve used the MSS pocket at least a dozen times. OK maybe not a dozen, but enough that I felt confident to just sew without reading instructions. M-I-S-T-A-K-E.  Yeah, big time.  I ripped and re-stitched the pocket and side seams several times.  I never did get the front facings completely stitched into place. (Opted to finish with a little permanent bond. The stiff fusible web from Walmart). During the process, I restitched the entire side seams at least twice.  One of the front side seams needed trimming 3/8 length which then  un-ruched. The other?  Didn’t need trimming. It is still the same length. It appears to match the back, side-seam length perfectly.  It lays flat while stitching or at the ironing board.  When I put the pants back on, it is ruched! Gathered! Puckered!. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  and crap!

After more than a week of interruptions, false starts and wonky whatevers, I decide  to finish these pants. Just “get ‘er done” and move along.  I wanted to try out the contour waistband. You’d think that I’d have learned from the pocket fiasco to  check the instructions before starting. But I didn’t (learn or check).  It was not until I was trying to figure-out a front closure that I thought something might be off. Then I checked instructions which say

  • Unzip the zipper. Baste around the waist of the Pants about 1″ from the top edge and through the zipper. Cut 5/8 off the top of the pants, cutting the extra zipper length off.  This is necessary since the contour waistband sits slightly lower than the straight waistband.
  • Sew the back seam together for the waistband and the waistband facing.
  • Put on the pants and the fitting elastic. Make sure it is at you waist!
  • Wrap the waistband around your waist. Pin the top of the contour waistband to the top of the fitting elastic and the bottom of the waistband to the pants. Mark the key points as indicated in the DVD.

 

What?  I’m sewing and I’m supposed to stop and view the DVD? Huh?  Why is this so complicated?  Am I correctly reading these directions or dreaming this up? Why doesn’t the professional have an easy, simple way to convert for the waistband?  If I wanted complicated, I have several drafting and draping books that have been accumulating dust and disgust.  I want easy; straight forward; or at least understandable.  That’s why I buy patterns and allow books to accumulate dust. I want the pattern drafter/designer to solve these kinds of problems and give me a nice neat cutting line and pattern piece.  I can tell you, I am not stopping to view a DVD every time I want to sew a pair of pants. Not happening. I’m more likely to toss the pattern (and the DVD). So crapola!

I did it my way and … my finished waist is dropped about 7/8″ below my waist.  I have attached a reversed facing (i.e the facing is on the public side instead of inside),  but it is neatly and carefully done.  I really worked at making the facing even in front both at the waist and bottom of the facings where the ends meet and show on the front.  This was also an excellent opportunity to work with my cover-stitch belt-loop folder  (really truly wonderful).  Also, the designer, Pam, does make reference to the PFRP chapters  which show multiple waistline finishes. If I ever get the pattern adjusted for my body, I want to try every waistline finish, plus all the pocket and hem suggestions in those chapters. Funny, I’ve had this book at least 4 years and don’t remember these sections of the book.  I suppose, I’ve always been too focused on fit and missed these design suggestions.

Final Fit

By far, this is not the worst pair of pants I’ve worn.  They do feel a little tight across the rear.  I’m more concerned about the dropped waist. Not all contour waistlines are comfortable for me. They tend to feel like the pants are falling off my body. For care-free wear, I prefer the straight waistband which securely anchors at my waist line. Amazingly, this reversed-facing, waistline-finish look like a contour waistband without not nearly the amount of work.  I do think in the future, I’d prefer to finish at my natural waistline rather than below (aka dropped).  Truth of the matter is, once I’m fully dressed, this pair of pants doesn’t look half bad. Not perfect, but not bad either:

Dressed, Ready for what he day may bring.

Taking a break from this pattern. Not abandoning it. Truth is, 7 years ago, I would have been totally satisfied with the first fitting and never made any further changes. For now I’ve walked and correct the side seams; and added 5/8″ ease to the back (vertically dividing the back to add 5/8″). I may return the leg width to the 21″ hem circumference because successive 1/4″ trims between knee and hem create ugly diagonal lines. Obviously not the way to narrow the lower leg. Also need to check the back dart placement and alignment. Those darts need to be where my pants gape and need to be on-grain.

 

I truly believe that the fabric was responsible for the failure earlier this week.  Perhaps that’s unfair. Fabric is manufactured with all kinds of qualities. Some is directed at the Home Quilting market, some for home dec, some for us garment sewists and some for those who are just looking for a bargain. It’s up to us shoppers to choose the fabric which suits out needs. Honestly,  I’m not always making the best match between fabric and pattern.   I used the first cut of the microfiber twill fabric in a blouse. It didn’t make  a wonderful blouse. It’s a good blouse. It’s wearable and looks pretty. But it’s always just a bit heavy and restrictive. So I thought, the fabric would be better as light-weight pants. That didn’t work out well either. While I blame the fabric, I acknowledge that I seem to be missing some knowledge I need to reliably make successful matchs between fabric and pattern.  With that in mind I chose not the rust fabric I want to work with, but a dark rose chocolate I know I selected from the suitings at Hancocks.  I think I was planning jeans rather than trousers.  Trousers require a bit of drape to wear nicely.  This is like 99% cotton and it’s pretty beefy. It makes a “large cone” as Fabricmart would describe.  That 1% Lycra is hardly noticeable.  To measure the stretch factor, I used a full 10″ and pulled hard to reach 10-7/8″.   I don’t mind this at all.  Having  more than 4X spread across my behind, my garment will finish with 4″ of stretch PLUS whatever ease is built into the pattern. I’m happily anticipating make the seams a little deeper.

I didn’t blow off the possibility that the new copy of my PP113 pattern had issues.  With the microfiber twill,  I was hoping just to tweak the fit and maybe the pattern. This time I’m double checking or hedging my bets as much as possible. I pulled out the Eureka pant to compare with this tracing of PP113.  The Eureka back was closer in shape to PP113-full back than my MSS and over-all more closely corresponds in size and shape. I did find significant differences in the seam allowances of the waist and crotch (both front and back pieces).  Once a pattern fits well, and I’m planning to use it again, I trim the seam allowances.  I like to stitch and finish the seams in one go at the serger. Just whoosh and done. I don’t like all the mess a serger can make. My solution is trimming the seam allowances to 1/4″ (the width of the serged seam) except for the waist and crotch seams.  Those seams are always finished at the serger but stitched together at the sewing machine.  The feet of my sewing machine are a scant 3/8″ wide. I trim the waist and crotch seam allowances to 3/8″.  But that’s when the pattern is finished. I realized that I should have stitched the failure (see above) using a full 5/8″ seam allowance. That definitely added excess ease everywhere.  I didn’t realize it. Didn’t even think about it.  This pattern is close to fitting, so I trimmed the tissue at the waist and crotch to 3/8″.   The other thing I noted was that the back crotch upright of my PP113 was taller, even after trimming the SA.  During fitting the first pair and 2nd pair, this too tall back crotch was an issue.  I know that if the upright is too long, I will have bubbles under the waist band or what I call feathers along the back crotch seam.  (Feather are two short diagonal lines that mirror each other on either side of the seam.)  So, I also shortened the CB by 3/8″

 

Total changes to the pattern are now:

  • Front inseam:  trim 3/4″
  • Front side seam:  trim 3/8″
  • Crotch height:  trim 1/2″ starting at CF and across front, narrowing to 3/8 at CB.
  • Leg length: reduce 3″
  • Front and Back waist and crotch seam allowances trimmed to 3/8

That’s it just two changes to the existing tissue.

I laid out and cut my fabric as usual.  I probably should have basted things together. But I stitched all 4 darts, the zipper, inseams and crotch at 2.5mm, the stitch length My Designer Ruby recommends for medium weight woven fabrics. I switched out the bobbin for a water-soluble thread (WST) and stitched the side seams and waistband into place.  I just folded up the hems and gave them a quick press.  One other issue I’d like to address is the 21″ hem.  I prefer a maximum of 20″.  Looking at the pictures of the first pair of PP113’s just confirms my preference.  Once I got past the close-up of the fit and could step back to get a general impression, I see a pyramid with my feet as it’s base.  A slimmer leg will help me look taller and slimmer.  To work on the leg width, I’m going to need those hems open and easy to change.  The waist is a little large for my TNT waistband.  I eased the pant to the waistband until I’m sure what needs to be fixed.

Oh joy, the pictures of the first try on showed a garment this garment looked much, much better, but a little large. I took the side seams in 1/8″. Still looked OK .

first Fitting

Take in another 1/8″ and whoops! Too tight in back but still too loose in front.

Because I’m using WST the side seams are easy to open. Just spritz the WST, pick up the thread and rip. Out and gone. I offset the back and front so that I’m taking 1/4″ ease away from the front. The waist is equally too large both front and back.  I look at increasing the dart depth. One of the back darts is 5/8″ the other is 1/2″.  I’ve not had really great experiences with 1″ deep darts. They end up being bulky and difficult to manage.  Even when tailoring a jacked with humongous shoulder darts, I had problems.  I decided since the waist needs to be taken in evenly both front and back, I would reduce the excess ease along the side seam.  This changes the straight up and down nature of the side seam to a curve and no I didn’t do that for the Eureka or MSS.

Onto my next and final issue, the hem circumference.  I need to reduce the circumference a minimum of 1″.  I like to reduce it even more but I had a bad experience trying to reduce the hem width of my JSM which fisnished at 20″.  By bad I mean it fit perfectly until I started reducing the leg width, at which point it developed horrible diagonal wrinkles emanating from the knee and but! . So I know I want a smaller hem circumference, but I proceed with caution.   Each leg has 2 seams and each seam has 2 layers of fabric. The math is 1″/(2*2 or 4 for those of you not struggling with Core)= 1/4″ each seam.  This is a minor amount which I simply slice off by placing my ruler at knee on  the cutting line  and at the hem 1/4″ over the stitching line.  With that, I finish the pant.

Completely Finished!

I expected to snug this pant in more, that is make the side seams even deeper than they are.  In my mind that just says that 1% Lycra is still a pretty stable fabric. Except that the but! looks tighter than before.  I’m thinking that multiple full-steam pressings may have shrunk it a bit. Being  99% cotton, the fabric should relax curing wear. I also scooped the crotch 1/4″.  In the previous pictures the back crotch still looked a little short to me.  But it could be just that I’m more accustomed to an old-lady type fit.  Even 1/4″ produces the short diagonals along the back crotch seam. In the past, those diagonal have always indicated a too-long back crotch.  I also see that I have some diagonals above the hip. These perplex me. They are not repeated on the front which would indicate that the side-length waist-to-hip, is too long. Since they’ve been in all 3 pictures, I’m not inclined to blame the scoop or back crotch length.  Another thing I’m unsure about is the ease over the back thigh. Sometimes I think there is too much. Then I think, these are trousers/slacks they should have a little sitting ease.  Pam is right about over-fitting. I know I could end up with a pant in which I couldn’t move — like sit or bend.  Even 1% Lycra can only stretch so far.  When looking at the side, the waist seems to rise at CF. Shortening the front crotch is not an option–my lady parts start appearing.  The uneven waistline is at least slightly visible in all 3 pictures. The waist appears level in both front and back views and feels level during wear. I’m just not sure and decided to leave well enough alone.  My last critique, is a big smile for the hem. Just reducing the hem circumference 1″ in the lower leg  makes a huge visual difference and one that I like.

 

Total changes to the pattern are now:

  • Front inseam:  trim 3/4″
  • Front side seam:  trim 5/8
  • Crotch height:  trim 1/2″ starting at CF and across front, narrowing to 3/8 at CB.
  • Leg length: reduce 3″
  • Front and Back waist and crotch seam allowances trimmed to 3/8″
  • Side seams trim 3/8 at waist to zero 6″ down.
  • Leg, both sides between knee and hem  0 to 1/4″

*Note I scooped the pant 1/4″ but I don’t think that helps. I didn’t transfer the change to the pattern and did not include it in the list above.

I want to point out, all the changes listed above are minor changes. Tweaking to suit my preferences. Actually in the basic form and with the right fabric PP113 is good. 7 years ago I would have worn pants made from 113 without any further adjustments. I’ve gotten really picky the last few years.

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PS Sorry if the pics create problems on your device.  For the first time, WordPress is not letting me control the display size.  Oddly the pictures are all the exact same size, but during preview WordPress is distorting the images. I hope that your device will take over and resize to fit your screen. It’s like yesterday my on-line banking made updates to the site which make banking easier. So of course, somebody else had to make life on-line more difficult.

When I wrote this post, I was so disappointed that I decided to keep it to myself.  I’m publishing it now, instead of keeping it private, because it leads into my next project and upcoming post.

I’m not making the pants I wanted to. I’m working an a rust and blue-aqua outfit that needs rust colored trousers. I wanted to use PP113 because of my last astounding success but I messed up my pattern.  I had altered my tissue per the changes in my last post about PP113. Then I realized, I didn’t want to make my alterations the way I did.    I was trying to shorten the crotch 1/2″ across the front  except the last 1″ (before the stitching line) would narrow from 1/2″ to zero. The tissue rebelled at being so contorted and developed bubbles.  I solved those by slashing through one of the darts all the way to the S/L line and allowing the tissue to fold over flat.  That made for a distinctive curve at the side seam and a loss of about 1.5″ at the front waist side; total 3″ front waist. Then I realized that wasn’t really going to work as I also needed to remove some the length from  the back to remove the bubble directly below the waistband. I tried undoing the alteration and making another. When I started walking the side seams, I became very confused.  This is one of the things that tells me I’m not a spring chicken any more.  I used to hold cutting sessions once every 6-8 weeks. I planned an entire outfit of 4-5 pieces and sewed it up over the following weeks.  I might mention, I sewed it up exactly as I planned it. Now, not more than a week after the first experience of PP113, I can’t remember what I did or did not do either the first time, the fitting or the alterations. I need Ginko. Lots of Ginko. In the end, I traced the size medium once again and made these changes to the tracing

  • Front inseam:  trim 3/4″
  • Front side seam:  trim 3/8″
  • Crotch height:  trim 1/2″ starting at CF and across front, narrowing to zero between back side seam and back darts.
  • Leg length: reduce 3″

I didn’t want to use my “real” fabric.  I did realize I might need to make a few more changes.  So I hunted through the stash looking for something light in color and pant weight.  I settled upon a light-grey, microfiber twill.  I used this same fabric in blue for a winter blouse.  While satisfactory, the blouse always feels a little heavy and despite the lovely drape,restrictive i.e. not really flexible.  I’m always thinking it would have made better pants than a blouse. So, voila the next microfiber twill  is going to be pants.   I realized that the previous PP113 I had removed 1/2″ ease from the pattern (not counting the inseam) whereas this time I was removing only 1/8″. I didn’t think 1/8″ ease would create problems

The first fitting was astounding and a bit ugly:

You’d never know these had been lightly spray starched and carefully pressed just before being worn for less than 5 minutes. They are too long. I’ve removed an extra 1/2″ length as my last fitting indicated and the legs are again dragging the floor. The back bubbles beneath the waistband. There is a bubble beneath each dart. I do not get bubbles at the end of my darts. I learned a long time ago to carefully mark darts and stitch all the way to the end.  I do not get dart bubbles. Now I’ve got 8. The side seam leans sharply back at the waist. The front is poofy just below my stomach. Reminds me of all the pants I had whose front crotches were way too long except this can’t be more than a 1/4″ too long. There are uncountable diagonal lines on all the seams making me wonder if I should have used a different sized needle (I am using a new needle) .

I sigh. I prefer to correct one issue at a time. So starting at the waist, I remove one 3/8″ front dart from each front; which should move the side seam to an upright position.  When I attempt to restitch the waistband, the pant is 3″ wider than the waistband. ???  I take in the side seam between the pocket and the waist 0 to 5/8″.  Could the waist have possibly grown that much?  I reattach the waistband but offset it 1/4″.  This will effectively shorten the depth all the way around the pant not just in the back where the 3 bubbles are.   I take new pictures:

I have to say I thought this softer fabric would benefit from a little more ease. but my impression is  over all excess ease. Did the whole pant stretch like the waist did? Should  I have made the smaller size.  I’m not a small. I really don’t think I’m even a medium. I buy Xlarge. I sew Large.  But this medium looks too big and I still have not removed enough length between waist and hip.  The dang pant is drooping every where.

Again prefer to make one change at a time, but I’m getting tired of this.  The pattern was near perfect the first time I made it. Why is this version  so contrary?  For the 3rd fitting, I stitch the side seams and waistband 1/4″ deeper.  Usually and with the very first version of PP113, I use a 1/4″ SA except for the crotch which uses a 3/8″ SA. I do this because then I stitch one time, serging, to sew seams.  I don’t have to stitch, trim and finish seam edges. I take pictures. Sigh. Sigh. Results of the 3rd set of garment tweaks.

The ease feels OK except the crotch now feels like it is cutting into me.  I have spray starched the fabric at least 4 times.  I have carefully pressed 4 times.  These look like I just got out of bed. They haven’t been worn at total 15 minutes.   I still have a poofy front, now paired with a tight rear. My underwear is shows. My rolls are showing. My cellulite is showing. Well at least the pants are now the right length.

I look at these and think about the lovely double knit blue pants which hang in my closet unworn.  I think I have once again mismatched garment type and fabric. I‘m going to finish these and put them along with the double knit pants into the Goodwill box. Hope somebody can get some kind of benefit from them.  It used to be that fibers could be recycled into rags, furniture padding, heat shields and a number of other things.  I don’t think that happens anymore.  I do hate to just throw things in the trash, but even donating to the Goodwill, I don’t think is a good solution for these. I put both the double knit pants and these unfinished microfiber twill pants into the trash. The thing I’m asking myself now, is

What should I take away from this experience:

Crotch depth – that distance between waistline and bottom of the crotch is still too long.

Front Bubble – In the first PP113 pair, the front looked roomy.  In this pair, I have a distinctive bubble on each side of the zipper that I can’t get rid of.

Fabric- I need to be careful when selecting fabrics for pants.  This microfiber twill should probably be banned from my stash (I have several more pieces).  I dislike it both in blouses and pants which are the two garments I wear.  There’s no point in keeping fabric in the stash which makes ugly garments.