As disgusted as I was with YED2, I did not quit sewing. I switched instead to a TNT, the Style ARC Talia, and made shorts. I did want something super ease to sew and no fitting issues.
I’m still needing shorts. As I wore the survivors from last year, I found several that are too tight in the waist. Funnily enough, they feel fine in the morning but must be undone after dinner — if not before. I decide to copy the Talia and make a shorts pattern. In past years I’ve simply folded up the leg. That doesn’t quite work. I don’t seem to fold the same amount on both legs and then I’m ‘making it work’. … And I do. I do make it work but I prefer to avoid the frustration of ripping and stitching and pic’ing over and over to get it right. So I traced from waist to the knee notches. I drew horizontal lines at 3″, 4″ and 6″ above the knee notch. See I’m also not sure what length is right for me. Oh I know it when I look in the mirror but I’ve never measured. I can’t quantify; can’t assign a number to where the hem should fall for me. I’ll make this pair 3″ above the knee …. which will really be 4.25″ above the knee because I’ll make a 1.25″ hem. No pockets. I don’t want to twiddle with this. No zippers but that has more to do with the fabric. And the simplest of waistbands the straight, elasticized.
My fabric is a rayon, fine-hounds tooth. The teeth are about 2mm. I use a similar fabric a few years back although it was a remnant from a failed blouse project. To my surprise, the rayon made a comfortable pant and the hounds tooth works well with nearly all prints. Somehow the eye doesn’t find the hounds-tooth jarring when placed against prints. Especially a small hounds tooth, like this one. The eye seems to blend it into a grey; not reading a shape at all. Downside is that like all rayons, that pair shrunk. I was able to use it for 2 seasons but only after reinforcing the crotch. Houndstooth will blow out in the rear.
Construction was really simple. I did the waistband first, but I’ll talk about it in detail at the end of this post. I serge finished the waistband then serged the front to back inseams. That gives me too big pieces to which I fuse interfacing along what will be a hem. I serge finish the hem, then serge the side seams and crotch. I reinforce the crotch at the sewing machine and hem the shorts by top stitching which disappears into the pattern of the cloth.
Onto the waistband
Talia has a two piece waistband. Since I haven’t developed the expertise to join the two pieces without a jog, I’ve moved on to a much simpler waist treatment. I measured the length of the two pieces, added together and subtracted 2 seam allowances. For me that equals 49″. No that’s not my waist. If you happen to follow my instructions, don’t use your waist measurement. The old waistband is 4.5″ wide. So I cut my waistband 4.5″ wide and 49″ long. I serge finish both sides before joining the short ends. I fold the waistband in half lengthwise, press and set aside. Don’t use your waist measurement to cut the elastic either. I used a 1.25″ elastic cut 34″ long because when I put this elastic around me and pull, that is the shortest length that is also comfortable. Other elastics may require other lengths. I join the elastic by butting the ends and stitching over a scrap of fabric. I zigzag once over each end and then once down the center where they abut. Then I Frey Chek the stitching and trim the excess fabric scrap. It creates the nicest, flattest, most comfortable join I’ve ever used. I have to credit Nancy Zieman for that one and I think she learned it from someone else. I quarter both my waistband and elastic; then snug the elastic into the waistband meeting the quarter marks and pinning through both elastic and waistband. Without removing the pins, I stitch about 3/8″ from the serge finished edges of the folded waistband first. That joins those edges and keeps them from sliding around, changing the width of my final waistband. I love the next part. Stitching through both elastic and waistband fabric. Technically, it doesn’t have to be done. Elastic is less likely to roll and fabric bunching less likely to occur if at least one line of stitching is made. this time I’ve chose to use 3. 1 is 3/8″ from the edge of the waist band. #2 is 1/2″ below that. #3 is 2MM below #2. When attached 2 & # will appear to be in the center of the waistband; #1 and the waistband will be mirrored.
I now quarter the pant. I learned the hard way you can’t simply assign the side seams as a quarter point. Then match the quarter marks of the waistband to the quarter marks of the pant and stitch together. I added a little black tab in the back during the stitching. I find it really helpful during dressing to have something which says “this is the back”.
If you’ve measured correctly, the waistband and the pant will be the same length. It’s just 1:1 stitching while fighting with the elasticized portion of the waistband. (Not much of a fight). Final step is ironing the pant and steaming the waistband. After all that stitching the elastic is out of shape. Steaming allows it to recover nicely.
These are a nice, loose pair of shorts. I think the fashionistas are calling anything with a little leg-ease “culotte”. I don’t think my shorts quite reach that category but could have if I added 1″ along the side seams and of course an equal amount to the waistband. (But not the elastic). I don’t think fit is an issue. The waist is comfortable. The pants don’t fall off my waist. The legs are supposed to be comfortably loose not necessarily flowing. I do think the next pair I make should be 1″ shorter. Just because it’s a better proportion for me. I’m not ripping the hem out and fixing the length because I can hardly see the stitching. I’m also planning to make a pair of cropped pants that will just cover my brace. As mentioned before, it’s now a part of my everyday wardrobe. The only downside I see with this pair is that I’ll be making these again in a year or 2 because rayon shrinks.
I want a second pair of jeans shorts. I also want to tweak the shorts pattern just a little, (legs are too long) and I want to try out a waistband treatment from my favorite Diane Gilman jeans. From the outside my DG2 Jeans look like they have a typical contour waistband. In fact, I wore them several times before realizing it is a faced, cut-on waistband with top-stitching in strategic places.
I pulled out all the pieces from the jeans shorts just completed days ago. I trimmed 2″ from the bottom on the leg. I think knee-length dresses, tunics and shorts make me look shorter and stubbier.I think it’s just a proportion issue. Because I lengthen my dresses just enough to cover the knee brace, cut the tunics and shorts higher and the stubbiness goes away. Well, not completely because I am over weight and I am petite.
I traced the front and the yoke onto new paper and added 2-1/4″ (the width of my contour waistband) to the top of these two pieces:
I decided not to use front pockets, at least this first pair. I can get things ‘off’ with pockets so for a test garment I like to omit them. But I do want to use top stitching to suggest there are pockets. I traced along the top of the waistband and down the side seam about 8″. Using my curve, I marked a hand opening. then I trimmed along those lines to create this new piece:
After laying out and cutting my fabric, I align the new piece (now a pocket template) with the side seam and waist of the front’s fabrics
and chalk along the bottom edge of the template:
I should mention, I’m already running the embroidery machine at this point. I’ve found that I can maximize my time sewing if the embroidery machine can run while I’m doing other things. This combined with the lessor amount of embroidering I am doing, is becoming so successful that I may not need a stand alone embroidery machine. I’ve chosen a leaf/vine like pattern and wanted more of a tone-on-tone effect vs the typical gold jean stitching. Of course I still wanted the embroidery to show up. My fabric is a dark grey blue. I chose dark blue grey embroidery threads but they read much brighter in the pics:
While the embroidery was stitching….
Normally, I would use the waistband pattern to cut both a waistband and a facing. This time I needed only cut the facing. I also cut one interfacing. I’m not sure that’s good or not. I prefer to interfacing both sides of the waistband and I won’t be doing that. I load sewing machine, serger and cover stitch with thread. I serge-finish the side , waist and crotch before switching to the cover stitch and stitching along the chalked line of the fronts. I proceed to insert the front zipper and stitch the two back pieces of the back leg together (I am using TJ906 with has a 2-piece back leg.)
At this point, both pockets have been embroidered. These faster embroidery machines are wonderful. I finish the pockets which involves hemming, and attaching to the back of the pant at the cover stitch machine. I use SAS to turn the edges under neatly and secure for the cover stitch machine. I wanted to work on making the stitching at the point crisp. My bright idea was stitching to the point. Stopping and pulling the thread to the underside and repeat on the opposite side of the pocket. Then tying the loose threads at the point and sealing with a drop of Frey Check on the underside.
I think it worked really well. It is an extra step. Sometimes an extra step is worth taking. I continued my usual construction routine with a few minor changes. I made my belt loops at the cover stitch as usual but I cut them 4.5″ long instead of 3″ so that I would be able to place them exactly as desired along the faux waistband. I also discovered that somehow in adding equal amounts to the top of the front and yoke made the back side longer than the front. My first thought was I had put the yokes in backwards i.e. the deep end goes to center back and it’s not unusual for me to put the deep end on the side seam and have to rip it out. But, no, the yokes were correctly stitched. I wondered if I did the calculation of how much to add correctly (waistband width – seam allowances at leg top and waistband edge). I added the same to both. It shouldn’t change the overall length. Did I trim the same amount of length from the leg bottom when adjusting leg length? This is a close-fitting pant. My pattern pieces are really shaped. The excess, about 3/4″, is not in the lower portion of the leg. It is between yoke and hip. So I eased the front to the back
placed the leg over my pressing ham and steamed well.
Not perfect, but really good. It perplexes me. I used the same fabric and essentially the same pattern. My only other thought is I had somehow stretch both side, back pieces. It’s something I need to watch for when I makes shorts again.
I added the facing and then top stitched through the denim and the facing fabric approximating a contour waistband.
Note, I didn’t develop an overlap. I’ll be wearing a belt, so these will probably stay up and closed. But I’m always uneasy about that and also added a tap and button to the inside:
Fit surprised me. I needed to increase the side seams 1/8″. Why this time? I used the same fabric last time and 3/8″ SA on the side and back leg seam. This time the side seam needed to be 1/2″. Other than that, fit is about as expected:
Which I know you can’t see because they are so dark. Trust me, they look and feel pretty nice. I think the SOG should change on the yoke. It just didn’t feel right when sewing. My real issue is that all the top stitching I did, doesn’t really show up. I didn’t achieve the desired result i.e. copying the DG2 Waistband. My shorts look like a cut-on waistband. DG2’s looks like a contour waistband. Maybe if I had used gold jean thread it would have been more apparent. I was copying DG2 as much as possible and she used the blue thread. So for next time I’m purchasing jean thread in jean blue or jean black. Also I think I also want to increase the tension so that the cover stitching tunnels just a little. I think that would add to the illusion.