sdBev's Pants!

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”.

Hmmm. Do I need to trim a few threads?

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.

Every warm day we’ve had since April 1st, I’ve been testing my summer clothes from last year.  Do they still look good?  In need of repair?  Do they still fit.  While bust and hip have remained unchanged the last few years, my shoulder slope has increased and my tummy seems to have grown.  My shorts made with elastic waists are still wearable but the jeans shorts just aren’t cutting it.  Time to replace. I don’t want to fuss a lot with fit so I’m using my all time favorite pattern Trudy Jansen’s Designer Jean #906.  I took the time to make a copy and cut it off at the knee notch.  Not having any denim remnants, I selected and cut into a very nice stretch denim.

Loading 3 machines with thread is time-consuming.  I can understand why some dressmakers look around their room and ask ‘is there anything else I can make that needs this color thread?”.  I loaded my sewing machine and serger with dark blue thread.  In the cover stitch, I used a dark grey for the looper and jean-gold in the two needles.  If you don’t want a cover stitch for any other reason and you sew jeans, you need to buy a cover stitch.  It made all the top stitching simple and quick:

I do have a little issue turning acute corners.  Guess I need to practice more.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little machine embroidery.

The whole design is on the back pocket.  I just trimmed portions for the  front pocket embellishment.

Truly, you have more designs than the number of files in your directories.  It’s up to you to look and say ‘what can I do with this?”

I opted for a trouser hook and eye.  My jeans buttons just dont’ seem to stay attached. With its metal backings and fabric piercing flanges, the trouser hook is done and stays done.  Sewing was simple.  For fitting, I added 1/4″ to the center front of the contour waistband.  Fit, while could be tweaked, is about as expected and impossible to see unless the pics are tremendously lightened as I’ve done here:

This jean short was one of those experiences that enforces my love of TNT’s.  I was able to do fun stuff (i.e. the embroidery and top stitching).  Fit adjustments were minimal; and I had a nice wearable garment in about 3 hours.


I’ll not give many construction details as this waistband is most commonly used on jeans. Instructions abound in many patterns and on-line tutorials.

However fit is a subject I’ll weigh-in on.  I grew up in the time of Bell Bottoms and Hip Huggers. Before TJ906 I struggled with fitting this waistband.  OK, I also thought my body was wrong and the pattern was right.  It’s only been the last few decades that I’ve been embolden by the Home Sewing Community with the concept “the pattern is only the beginning”.  TJ906 includes detailed instructions on what to do to make this waistband fit. I needed to make several darts in the contour waistband pattern piece. I placed  the wide end of the dart on the upper edge (waist side). I understand others (those with big waists and narrow hips), do just the opposite, ie wide end of dart is on the hip side of the waistband.  You can also slash and spread if the waistband is just not long enough and of course make tucks if it turns out to be too long completely.


My pattern calls for placing the center back on the fold.  I’ve added a 1/4″ seam allowance and cut the center front on the selvage. It find the on-the-fold cutting layout is a fabric hog. I’ve also seen two -piece contour waistbands i.e. a center back cut on fold and a front cut double; then all the pieces seamed together at the side seams.  I may develop and share that version just because it is really fabric conserving.

Whichever style is cut, 2 are needed. One for the waistband and one for the facing.  I also cut 2 sets of interfacing.  I like a firm waistband.  I have not but understand others tape the upper edge.  I fuse interfacing to the waistband and then recut to match the original pattern piece.  I’ve been satisfied with that procedure but have had a few fabrics that would have benefited from the addition of stay tape.   Belt loops and belts saved those pants.


For fabric conservation practices, i.e. I’m cheap and like to buy the smallest length possible, I cut the facings from a second piece of fabric.  I find this to be a good use for remnants especially if I’m able to use a slightly lighter weight fabric like the dress linen in the photo above. (Quilting cottons and shirtings are my other favorite choices.) The lighter weight makes it easier to fold the facing and wrap it around.  I also prefer the triple zig-zag stitch for under stitching.  It may indeed be the reason I don’t notice the lack of stay tape.  To understand the superiority of the triple zig-zag to the usual straight understitching, well, you have to try it yourself.  It really does seem to persuade the facing to roll and stay on the inside; and while it allows a little stretch that upper edge is firmed.

Finished and attached:

Style Arc’s Talia pant pattern has interesting details beyond the fit. One being the 3 piece waistband.  I’m calling it “3 Piece” but it has only 2 pattern pieces.  A shapely front piece and a long wide rectangle for the back.  Here’s the pieces from my first Talia shorts, cut and with the fronts interfaced.

Also needed is 1.25-1.5″ wide elastic in a suitable length.  So far that length for me has been between 16-18″.  Depends upon the stretch.

Note:  I like the idea of this waistband but I’m not entirely satisfied with the finished product. In an attempt to improve the finished waistband, I’ve already begun slightly altering Style Arc’s instructions.  I expect to further alter the instructions and even the pattern pieces as needed until I can produce a waistband of which I am proud. I know you may say “Why so an@l?” After all, my waistbands are seldom seen because they are covered by my blouses. Well, even if you can’t see it, I would know.

The front and back waistband pieces are cut  the same length as the top of the front and back of the pants respectively. Being the same length makes it really easy to sew the waistband to the pant. Fit is assured due to the elastic.

I interface both front pieces because my tummy would cause the front to compress and fold.   I also use a weft interfacing trying to stiffen and further support the front waistband.  Most waistbands I would also interface the back.  This waistband will always have elastic inserted.  Elastic is a far better at support than interfacing .

Next I prep the back. On the inside, I draw horizontal line dividing the width evenly.

I use a ‘purple pen’ the disappearing ink kind. It not only divides the width in half, but I can see it when placing my elastic. With the recommended elastic width,  I want multiple rows of stitching to attach the elastic to the waistband. That gets a little dicey for me since the stitched areas want to roll and fold differently from the unstitched.  I start by aligning my elastic along that purple line and then making a vertical line of stitching at the center and both ends.

This first stitching attaches the elastic to one half of the waistband. You can see the elastic pulls and folds the waistband.  Next step for me, is to fold the waistband wrong-sides and lengthwise edges together.  Then I baste the long raw edges together before stitching however many rows of stitching I desire.

At this point, it can look a bit wonky.  I steam it, allowing it to draw up which often also causes it straighten and lie flat.  I may still need to trim the short ends (potential side seams), which I will do, to ensure they are neat, even and flat. The back waistband will never look better than it does now. If it’s a loser now, proceeding will ruin the garment. Trimming a bit from the ends is a small price to pay to assure a nice finished waist.

I trim any excess interfacing from the front pieces

and, RST, stitch  the long, top edges.

I confess, I don’t remember exactly Style Arc’s instructions. Up till this pair of shorts, I trimmed top seam allowance to 1/4″ and ran it through the serger. I pressed flat and then to one side before understitching. But I kept getting jogs where the front and back waistband is joined and decided I needed to do something different.  One time, I top stitched a scant 1/8″ from the edge which I think makes a nice, sharp professional finish all the way up to the nasty jog at the side seam. So, no more top stitching the waistband.

Instead of serging, I stitched RST and 1/4″ from the edge before carefully pressing that seam flat; open;

and finally WST. At that point, I carefully placed together the back and front side seams

before folding and pinning the front waistband over the back waistband. I made sure the top edges of the front and back were snugged as close together as possible.

I stitched a 3/8″ side seam; opened up carefully and discovered yet another nasty jog.

WB is upside down

OK that didn’t work, how about leaving the last 1/4″ of the top waistband open and inserting the back waistband into the seam

Eh, No

usually I grade the corners and seams after the seam is stitched. How about trimming the corner before stitching?

… Jogged again!

WB is upside down.


Yeeeeesh. Apparently, there’s something I basically don’t understand about constructing this waistband; or maybe this construction will always have a jog at the side seam? The only thing I know for sure is that I have yet to achieve a nice smooth top edge at the side seam with this 3-Piece Waistband.


Temporarily defeated, I serge finish the entire raw edge. Stitched the pant legs together and attached the waistband by aligning RST of waist band and legs before straight stitching at the sewing machine.

If I could just conquer the jog at the side seams, this would be an incredibly nice waistband. It’s also fabric conserving as it can be cut from a largish scrap. The back could be pieced (attaching the elastic would completely hide the piecing!) The front’s curve is a nice fitting touch also contributes to avoiding that folding and scrunching previously alluded to and for which interfacing was added.


I’m sure I will be updating these instructions. I’m not sure if I will replace this post with a new post or if I will keep this for historical pieces. Sometimes it’s good to know what you did even if it didn’t work. That at least tells you not to do that again.


I don’t do very much with pants. Style wise, I mean. That’s because I am and have always been very conscious of my pear shape.  Yes, even as a pre-teen I thought I had big hips.  So I’ve always looked for ways to minimize the hips.  A very good method is keeping the clothes on my bottom half very plain; even stream lined. So I don’t do much, style wise, with pants, yet making the same exact pattern over and over would be boring sewing.  For that reason, I’m always looking for slightly different pockets and waistband and the occasional … um… refreshing hem treatment that doesn’t shout “look at my big rear end” but is interesting. Or at least different.

I want/need  an easy reference and instructions I can understand. Sort of a place where I can ask “What can I do different this time?”; browse quickly and pick something.  I do have one book Waists and Waistbands  however it’s far from a complete  wiki. I thought I was lucky to have purchased  on sale (thereby not wasting much money) because I didn’t see anything new or interesting (to me YMMV). I’ve decided to start a Category here, my pants blog, to collect Waistband treatments.  I’ll also add pocket and hem collections but not necessarily on this blog. Nor will you see them in the immediate future. Making blog posts takes time.  Including instructional texts and pictures, even longer.

Like my Cover Stitch Blog, I think there will be many waist band posts initially. Then number of posts will taper off and probably be rare within a year. But by then, I’ll have a nice collection to refer to when I need another pair of pants but can’t bear to make the same ol’ same ol’.

  • In: Talia
  • Comments Off on Talia Shorts

I have a few groupings of odd colored fabrics. Odd in that I don’t normally purchase these particular colors. Since buying on-line has become my major source of fabrics, more of these odd colors make it into the stash. If I acquire enough of any particular color, I can make Collections. Otherwise these will become my muslin stash.  I’m working with a fabric today that I purchased in a store (so I have no excuse for color mis-choice)  fully intended that it be summer pants. I had two other fabrics that worked with it well. I made a sleeveless, button front blouse 2 years ago.  Last year I made a pullover trapeze blouse (also sleeveless) but the pants fabric went back on the shelf with a note ‘not enough for slacks’.  At the time only PP113 fit nicely but wouldn’t work with this fabric because the fabric shrank in the wash. I had 1-3/4 yard instead of the 2-1/4 purchased and a width limitation (44″).  It is a 100% cotton, so I expected some shrinkage… just not this much. I love this particular type fabric for summer pants. It’s like a light weight duck fabric. It’s a plain weave, with visible threads. The threads are soft. Between the feel and the absorbancy of cotton, it’s just wonderful for summer wear.

I decided to use the Talia because, well I know it fits, but also it has a slimmer leg which translates to a smaller foot print when I lay out the pattern pieces. The two pattern-piece waistband can fit on any large scrap. Have you noticed garment sewing tends to create large scraps that aren’t large enough to make another garment but not good for quilting either?   I opted to cut ankle length pants and folded up the pattern-legs 3″.  After that, I had a little excess — 2-3″– instead of definite shortage.

Taking my own advice, I put the waistband together first. Unfortunately, I stitched with all-purpose thread instead of water-soluble. Unfortunate because the waistband was too loose.  Well the real culprit here is the new elastic.  I purchased 1.25 and 1.5″  sports elastic from Wawak.  It, like CLD’s elastic, is too soft. It doesn’t hold it’s length but easily relaxes. That’s fine when you don’t mind your WB sliding down an inch or so.  In my case it is important that the waistband stay in place. Otherwise the combination of high-low crotch anomaly and high protruding seat will pull the back of the pant downward until it puddles between buttock and knee. I was loath, I say l-o-a-t-h to rip the waistband apart. We’re talking the two side seams and 4 lines of stitching through elastic. I opted to stitch the side seams at 7/8″ instead of 3/8″. Which was a gross mistake.  I thought I would be easing a mere 1/2″ each quadrant of pant to each quadrant of waistband. Nope, I had inches to ease in each quadrant that didn’t want to ease. I ran a gathering line and gathered the waistband to the pant which is pathetic. You make an elastic waistband so that the waistband does all the gathering and easing for you. But it’s what I had to do.  The first try on completely stunned me. As in “I thought I had this fit???”

I had big, back X wrinkles:

Front hip poofs

and I’m at a total loss of words for the side view:

I don’t remember these issues in previous versions of the Talia. So, do I admit defeat and toss these?  It would be easy to say the wrong elastic ruined the fit and be done with it.  But I do have 2 maybe 3 blouses that coordinate nicely. 3 blouses plus this pair of pants and I have a small summer collection.

I opted for shorts.  I’ve noticed in the past that most of the back wrinkles simply disappear when I make a pant  pattern is made into shorts; and it worked this time.

OK there is still one V back there.  I’ve scooped the crotch 1/4″ and need to scoop it again because the perfectly even hem is lopsided. It is being pulled upwards by the crotch which is also trying to snuggle between my buns.

I  trimmed 3/4″ from the top of the front leg while keeping the same length at CF and CB. Think of my waistline as a roller coaster track instead of hula hoop circle.  I’m surprised the pattern doesn’t already reflect my roller-coaster shape. So I could could have a pattern issue that the previous fabric and elastic were able to overcome.  Currently, the side does look slightly better

but I’m not sure about the front

My right side drops nicely into place with only a little upward twitch of the inseam hem. No idea what the left side is doing. I removed the waistband; aligned the top edges of the pants (front with front, back with back) and pinned into place before drawing and trimming a measured line along the top.  The curve I created is the same on both fronts and both backs.  I have not attempted to compensate for a higher hip because I’m not sure that’s one of my issues.  I often see a hint in the back of blouses which disappears when I compensate for my right, lower shoulder. I know have a lower shoulder issue, I’m not sure I have a hip issue as well.  This is  one of those times when I’m grateful for the blouse lengths I prefer because the planned blouses make this short look good

Ignore face. This was at the end of a frustrating sewing session.

I realize I won’t be wearing these shorts for long anyway. The second blouse I planned to wear was made 2 years ago and has shrunk

Ok so it’s my donuts-to-dancing ratio that’s off and the blouse didn’t shrink I grew. Either case, I won’t be wearing the blouse especially after seeing the back view



Kinda of sad about that because this blouse contained beautiful cutwork I did with the embroidery machine. Even with the machine to help, cut work is a delicate, lengthy process. Trimming those little openings will make you cross eyed if not blind. This blouse is ‘me’; the romantic, feminine me.  I hate to see it go. But I have a policy of wearing what I love and what looks best on me. When something becomes too large or too small, I donate.  I tell myself, “I’ll have the pleasure of making something new if I get to that size again.”

I have a 3rd possible blouse

… which is too tight just above my elbow. Apparently Zumba and Cize do nothing for that area of the arm.  It’s 100% rayon crepe and I’m pretty sure it is shrinking rather than me growing.  I rarely wear my rayons more than 2 years. Between pilling an shrinking they just don’t last.  I was surprised that this blouse looks as nicely as it does. I expect a stripe and a print to clash badly. It looks better IRL — do keep in mind this is at the end of the day and a frustrating sewing session.

So my Talia shorts aren’t completely done but you won’t see any updates.  I need to scoop the crotch another 1/4″ and I need to make the pants shorter. This isn’t the best length for me especially with my preferred blouse length. I determined short length on-the-fly. I’m not sure what to do with the Talia pattern itself. I do think I’ve gotten the crotch too short. The snuggle-between-the-buns look has been going on (but much lesser) for several Talia’s. BUT I have the wrong elastic. Walmart’s elastic is better for me because it is stiff and stays where I want — except I never find 1.25 or 1.5″ widths. So far all the elastics I’ve tried have been soft and intended for pants that would slide downward on the body–something I don’t want.  I want to know that when I put my pants on the waist will be in the same place every day, all day. Not getting there with these ‘better’ elastics.

I’ve had these pants finished about a week ago.

You’re right. You really can’t see anything from the photos.  I used Pamela’s Patterns 113 and a Fine Twill purchased from

It’s a 100% polyester that I adore for use in dress pants. It launders well. If needed, presses easily. Comfortable to wear, but yes that’s partly because the pattern fits.  I made this pair after taking all the summer pants out of storage and discovering I’m missing  navy,  dress pants.  This is like checking a box. Done. Nice. Not too special. Straight waistband with center front zipper; 8 darts because I need 8 darts. 4 in front and 4 in back.  Good to go.

Fitting Talia was a much longer journey than I think it needed to be.

I started right.  Jen provides a worksheet, which I used, in her Craftsy Class. It’s basically a list of critical places to measure in the first column. Second is the same critical measures but from the pattern. Third column is the calculated differences. According to that chart my circumferences were within tolerances plus/minus 1/4″.  The leg length changes( -2 above knee and -2 above hem) were spot on. But the crotch was different. Her chart would have me adding 3.25″ to the back and subtracting 1/4″ from the front. I measured a finished pant and started from there.  I did indeed add 4″ height but only to offset  the 4″ hip dart that I removed. a push? So far I have removed the 1/4″ from the front crotch rise but may need to remove more. Jen does state that these are beginning points and will change according to what the muslin reveals. Right now, I’d said thumbs-up because I started with enough circumference in the right places i.e. at about the right lengths.

I may haven added time to the process when I worked with Peggy Sager’s Hip Line Dart. The hip line dart is an easier alteration than Jens diagonal dart but required a 2nd alteration to increase the back rise. The 3rd alteration of scooping is something I usually do to finesse the pattern into my shape.  I may not keep using the hip line dart because my center back still dips/sags. When I used Jen’s Diagonal Dart on other patterns I did not have a CB problem. Jen’s dart is more difficult to transfer  to tissue and would require a 2nd alteration to level the hems. Plus, Jen’s dart doesn’t completely remove all the back wrinkles. The crotch can only be distorted so much and then other issues develop. As Jen says, sometimes it is better to accept a few wrinkles.  Maybe it’s better to accept a little sagging?

I also added time when I corrupted, Tissue 3. Tissue 3 should have been near perfect instead of a totally wasted piece of good fabric. Then it took time to discover what went wrong. Sure I could have skipped that process but I think it’s important to understand errors — mostly so I can avoid them in the future. I know that the mere tracing of an original and then making minor length changes can result in errors in the tissue.  Usually I’m not off more then 1/8″ . I discover and correct that during truing the seams. This time, I not only introduced some error, I got the whole crotch angled incorrectly. I’m not sure  how that happened.  When I trace, I tape my original to my cutting table and tape my tracing paper on top.  I draw my grainline and at least one lengthen/shorten line immediately.  It’s a quick on-the-go check.  If I see these 2 lines have shifted, which can happen through the action of the pen pressing against the paper-I know to stop and realign.  The knock knee alteration canted the grainline above the knee. I intended and thought I was using the knee HBL and grainline below the knee.  When I removed the KK on Tissue 02, I thought I retrued the grain. At the time, it seemed that starting with the original and making fewer alterations would have resulted in a more accurate pattern. I’m thinking the error occurred when I smoothed the crotch alterations.

I’m sure, dead-positive, that fabric is a big part of the equation. I expected the 100% Rayon used in Muslin 02 to soften and meld slightly with the body. It ‘melded’ enough to cover any pattern defects.I’m certain of that because Peri required changes to the waist, crotch and ease distribution that weren’t even hinted at by the Rayon muslin. While Peri is finished and thankfully, wearable, I still have an issue with the back crotch and maybe side-to-front lengths.

Summary of  ALL Tissue changes:

(that includes Tissue 01, 02 and Peri version)

  1. Traced Size 18
  2. Leg Length
    1. -2″ above the knee
    2. -2″ below the hem.
  3. Crotch
    1. +1″ to back extension
    2. -4″ Back Hip Line Dart
    3. +4″ Back Rise
    4.  -3/4″ Scoop — not transfered to tissue because the scoop depth can be different with different fabrics
    5. Align front and back at stitching point; trim excess extension length (makes easier to align when sewing)
  4. Seam Allowances
    1. +1/2 side seams
  5. Ease
    1. -1″ Front
    2. +1″ Back
  6. Front 3/4″ horizontal tuck below waistband
  7. Hem turn 1.25″ instead of 1″
  8. Asymmetrical offset
    1. trimmed 1/4″ at waist from right front and back – not transferred to tissue. My left side does not need the offset.  To me, it’s easier to make the adjustment at finishing instead of trying to make full left and right sides.

I hope I’ve written down all the changes and copied them all back to Tissue 02.  Despite the drama, I give Talia Two Thumbs Up.  It finished with a 16″ hem and without masses of wrinkles or excess ease over my back thigh.  Talia is, to me, a slack fit.  Not really body conscious but close enough to indicate a woman is inside while loose enough to indicate I’m a lady. This is the fit I’ve searched for and wanted for a very long time. It seems during the last decade we’ve either had form fitting, body conscious or total body concealment fitting styles. I’m really happy to have purchased and made the effort to get the fit I desire. Without a doubt there will be more copies of Talia in my wardrobe.


Fit 05

Despite my earlier and extreme annoyance, I’m beginning to lose steam with this project. I decreased the back side seam allowance as much as possible.  The basting is now not even a thread over from the 1/4″ serge finish.  I marked the front side seam 1″ and basted at 1.25″.  No changes to the tissue, yet.  I still had a little poofing CB just under the WB.  I marked 1/4″ into the back  at the crotch under the waistband;  fetched my curve and redrew my back crotch. Basted along that new line  and pressed open.

Time to turn my attention to scooping the crotch. I’ve done everything I can do with the rise/top of the crotch.  Adding rise, increased leg wrinkles. Lowering rise, creates discomfort across my rear.  J. Sterns advises scooping the crotch at this point.  It’s one of the things I love about her.  She doesn’t say ‘never scoop the crotch’ or ‘never alter my pattern’ (no I’m not working with her pattern but most designers will scream that phrase even if you are the Hunchback of Notre Dame’).  In fact during one our email exchanges on Craftsy, she asked if I had scooped yet. Jen says a 3/8″ scoop is about average.  Most ‘experts’ recommend starting with 1/4″ and continuing to scoop 1/4″ until the crotch is comfortable.  Knowing my butt, I marked 1/2″ then hand sketched the  new curve.  I know from experience that  a J scoop or fish-hook crotch works better for me. My back crotch seems to be lower than the front. Only Palmer and Pletsch address this calling it (if I remember correctly) a high-low anomaly.

I sketch my new crotch starting at the straight of the back crotch and go straight down until  I’m 1/2″ below; then curve upward to levelly join the front crotch.  Here’s the catch: the newly stitched crotch  has no effect until the seam allowance has been trimmed.  Since this fabric does ravel a little, I use my pinking blade and trim about 1/4″ away from the new stitching.  I didn’t get it quite right and so trimmed a little more on a second pass.

So did my changes improve the fit?

I think so. The poof is gone at CB and my left leg looks really good but not perfect. That could be a fabric thing.  The right leg still needs work. I think that is an asymmetrical hip thingy.  Not sure I’m going to address it.  I’m relieved that scooping the back crotch also improves the front. IOW I’m not seeing a camel toe below the waistband (and I’m not seeing camel toe at my lady parts either).  The legs look like they might be a little long. I kind of prefer new pants to be just a tisch long.  Average life span of pants, for me, is about 3 years. I’ve found that many fabrics shrink during that time and what was once a tisch long becomes shorter than I want to wear. The wrinkles on the front right leg are more pronounced and appear to be twisting a little.  I wonder if that too is part of the asymmetrical thingy.


I’ve manipulated the front/back ease enough that the waistband side seams don’t exactly meet the leg side seams.  I’m opting to ignore this design feature because I’ll probably cover the waistband with a T-shirt or blouse and it won’t be visible to anyone other than me.   I’m more concerned about the waistband being higher in front than back. I’m wondering if I should I shorten the front crotch now. The CB still dips a little in back. I’m reluctant to scoop any more.  There is a point of diminishing returns. In the case of pants I find myself in a loop of scooping at the bottom of the crotch  for comfort and then pulling the pant up at the waist to make it look good.  Whatever I tweaks I make at this point, won’t be transferred to the tissue. I’m tweaking for fabric characteristic more than actual fit. I’m still painfully aware that the Rayon muslin needed no tweaking or changes even at the first fitting let alone the 5 fittings I’ve gone through with this Periwinkle Cotton/Poly. As usual, fabric makes the difference.

I think I’ve pretty much done all I can.  I finish by serging all the seams along the basting line, except for the crotch.  Before serging the crotch, I draw a new line scooping another 1/4″ for a total of 3/4″.  Normally, when using a really nice fabric like this I’d prefer to leave the seam allowances wider than the 1/4″ my serger trims. But I’m dealing with multiple off-set seams and I’m tired of this game. It’s faster and maybe more accurate to serge away instead of trying to rip and trim.  After pressing the hems up 1.25″ instead of the 1″ indicated by the pattern, I used the blind hem stitch of my Dream.  I’m not finding that sweet spot like I did with my Ruby.  Either I miss 3 out 4 times, or I take a little bigger bite than needed. With matching thread and careful pressing, it really isn’t  obvious. I guess Ruby spoiled me. She blind-hemmed as well I hand-hem. Ruby’s embroidery only status is permanent. That dang hopping foot is not all that easy to switch out and back.  Of course the waistband was basted as well and had to be taken apart and restitched with permanent stitching. When I reattached, I offset the right front and back 1/4″.  Effectively lifting the right side 1/4″.  Did it work?

The side is near perfect.  My pics are lightened 70%.  IRL I can’t even seen those shadows.  I’m pleased with what I think of as ‘summer length’.  I prefer my jeans and dress pants to be a little longer — about 1/2″ off the floor.  I don’t like cropped pants at all but I do find the ankle length to be cooler in the summer.  Admittedly the shorter length is also needed because of the 16″ finished hem circumference — the biggest reason I bought this pant pattern. Oh I like the waistband and look forward to using the welt pocket but it is the over all slim-not-tight fit terminating in a slim hem circumference that I love. I’ve been looking for this fit for a long time.  It seems to me this last decade we’ve had the choice of either wide, flared legs or dancer’s tights. Neither are particularly flattering for the ,um, mature matronly figure.

Despite multiple session offsetting the side seams, my ease addition was limited to 1.5″.  When I make ease alterations, I transfer a full inch which because there are two backs means 2 full inches across the hip.  I think I still need that extra half inch. The final 3/4″ scoop did make a huge difference. The crotch is comfortable and even though the CB still appears to dip, it doesn’t feel bad. It doesn’t feel like I’m about to have a plumber’s moment. I think that the 1/4″ length  I removed at the last second (by offsetting the waistband 1/4″ lower on the right side ) make a huge difference in the pants.  I may increase that change to 3/8″ on future pants. For now, I’m delighted to see real improvement.

I’m still getting some verticals and diagonals on the front which indicate a combination of too much ease over all and too much length at the side seams. I think they are what’s causing a hint of camel toe. That 1/4″ offsetting of the waistband has improved the front legs. They look alike even if not totally unwrinkled.

Not showing, I still didn’t get rid of that side-seam bump between front and back waistband. It’s small but enough that I can see it.  It’s enough, that if you brought it to me, I would think it needed to be fixed.  Having basted, ripped and restitched several times, I’m not sure what I need to do next. I’ve seen this type waistband in RTW. It can be done perfectly and it must be easy — once you know the trick.

Overall, I’m really happy with this pair of pants. Sure I see room for improvement. When do I not? But let’s face it, I’m fine standing in the bank line: