sdBev's Pants!

After working diligently on T-shirt fit issues, I truly needed a breather.  At the same time I keep wanting to wear blouses and tops are best paired with  black or brown pants. So I decided on  a quick time out.  I chose TJ906,  as  fit with the tent fabric and a lovely winter fabric corduroy. Except this corduroy is luxurious.  The wales are so fine that once trimmed it appears to be velvet until you get up close — really close. The fabric is soft and has 25% horizontal stretch. Absolutely no vertical stretch, not even a twinge.  I did nothing unusual either cutting or stitching. Even my basting was limited to attaching the facing and waist band.  I used my cover stitch to create the belt loops, but my sewing machine for the blind stitch hem. Total circumference at the hem is 20″.

The fit is difficult to see. I have lightened the pic below 100%.;

These pants feel perfect and DH says they look beautiful.  I think I might should scoop the crotch a little or perhaps make sure that my multiple uses have not trimmed the crotch length.  Also I should admit that while the tape measure still gives me the same reading, I feel like my tummy is bigger.  (When you have to bend over further to read the bathroom scale, either  your tummy has grown or your eye sight has gotten worse. I just got new glasses).

During sewing I a noticed that I had to ease the waistband and yoke quite a bit. I’m not sure what is going on there and not sure I’m going to knock myself out fixing it. I do know that’s not new. But I’ve become so engrossed it fit that it jumps out at me.

Another interesting drag line is the one  from inner knee to the outside of the foot.  It is not always apparent, but I do see that drag line frequently in previous versions.  I think the pant is too long which I do deliberately    I repeatedly find that I’m discarding jeans and other pants because they become too short for my tastes. I like to start with my pants just above the floor about 1/2″.  I never peg my hems, but maybe I should.

That’s it for today. I consider this another successful pair.

I wasn’t sure about these, until I took “dressed” pics:

Fix the back of my hair, and I look fine in the bank line. Well at least as good as anyone else.

To the previous pant pattern (where I merged the yoke with the pant leg)  I took a 1/8″ tuck in the front and back pieces. This takes out 1/4″ ease per piece and 1″ total from the pattern. I also put a 1/2″ dart in the side seams.  I always seem to be adjusting the side seam to take out little bulges and frown lines  in the front. I also made my Yoga Pant Waistband. Really no big deal except I wasn’t sure how long.  I easily calculated 5″ would be a good width. But how long?  If my fabric were non-stretch, I’d want the waistband to be slightly longer than my hip circumference. You know, just big enough to pull up over my hips.  But with stretch, I just wasn’t sure. I started with my hip circumference and to make adjustments easy, I made two pieces instead of the usual 1 piece yoga waistband.

I’m using a wonderous stretch corduroy purchased from FabricMartFabrics about this time last year.  It is cotton + Lycra and has a 40% stretch.  Due to the stretch factor I used 3/4 CM SA instead of my usual 3/8″

Mistake. First fitting was way too tight. I  thought a 40% stretch fabric would fit like a glove even if you made the pattern 40% smaller. So not true. I liked the leg, but eventually restitched all the seams with a 1/4″ SA. I also pondered over the rouching that I see on the front side seams.  Because this happened with the previous pair, I thought The pattern pieces must not be the same length.  I walked the pattern pieces and sure enough, the front was longer. Longer by maybe 1/16″.  I couldn’t believe that account for the rouching/gathering I see taking place between front leg and back leg on the side seam.  I offset the seams first by 1/4, then 1/2 and finally 3/4″.  The gathering occurs from knee to waist so that’s where I made the offset creating bunny ears at the top of the side seam. I don’t fully understand why this is happening.  I walked the side seams after making my pattern alterations. I know the side seams are the same length. It has to be on my body. Is the front of my body shorter than the back? Did I need both side seam darts (see para 1) or only a dart on the front side seam? This is pretty consistent and usually easy to correct at the first fitting. I’m just kind of tired of making the same garment alteration all the time. I’d like to take care of it at the pattern stage.  Truth is, I as age I need more alterations.  Patterns never have and never will fit me as originally drafted. During my teen years, I had narrow shoulders, short back-waist length and tilting waist.  To those 3 standard/personal alterations, I need a few more. No big deal, when I know what they are.

I’m  ready to put in the final stitching i.e. you’re not likely to see updated pics, because these are good and enough. See Pic above.  But at that time I will make a few other changes.

I’m not concerned about the winkles at the waistband itself. The waistband length ended up being equal to my waist. The elastic is 4″ less than my waist. That’s what it takes to hold the pant up and on my body. I’m using Louise’s elastic which I dearly love.  I’m waiting for her new pattern at which time I will be ordering 10 more yards. Of each color. This elastic is soft and comfortable and does not ride up.  Here, I’m wearing it without the additional stitching the MSS would use.

This pant, this fabric is wonderfully comfortable. So it surprises me to see any issues at all.  I could have used the 1″ ease I removed from the pattern. Fortunately, my blouses will always cover up that fact.  An interesting fact is that the X wrinkles above developed only as I added enough ease to remove the VPL.  I think I understand why some of young ladies have decided to quit wearing panties. Of course, the VPL would not be visible were I also in shapewear. Shapewear helps with my back pain. It also smooths the curves and lumps.  It does not make anyone, including me a size smaller.  I don’t always wear it.  Only when I know that I will be doing something that requires a little more support for my back. (I’ve wondered is it supporting the back, or relieve the back from the stress of carrying my tummy?)

I’m going to add cording to the leg seams and see if that eliminates the X wrinkles. This is again a soft fabric. I’m thinking that since the taped seams helped the back of the previous pants, it will probably help here.  My concern is not  eliminating the stretch.  That’s why I’m thinking of  yarn/cording instead of tape and top stitch.

Sometimes it is just hard to figure out what to do.  1/2″ offset left gathering on the front of the side seam. 3/4″ offset has gathers on the back. Fortunately, all the seams are stitched with water-soluble thread. I can easily rip the thread and put the final seam in with a 5/8″ offset.

Still a few frown lines which fortunately will be covered by my blouses.   I’m loving the final 17″ hem circumference.  A really big accomplishment! I’ve been able to slim this leg from it’s default 20″ (for my size) to 19 easily. But any more than that seemed to create those back leg X wrinkles. In one of the previous iterations (not my yoga pant series), I marked the “knee box”.  That’s the topmost and bottom most of my knee. I did my hem circumference  alterations from the bottom of the knee box.


How Fit08 looks in the bank line.

Since I called the first no-yoke version of Tj906 done, I’ve made 5 more fittings. Each time I change something just slightly.  I realized I had not addressed the front bubbles.

Sometimes called frowns, on me they are the result of the front side seam being too long.  I opened the waistband and lifted the side seam 1/2″. That reduced both front and back side seam by 1/2″. I hoped that might help the back as well, but no.

Then an odd thing started happening. This pair of pants shrank. If you told me your polyester pants shrank, I would laugh and say “no way”.  But I’m telling you today that I’ve now let out all of the ease I took in after the first fitting. The pants shrink and continue to shrink with each pressing.  Which happens each time I restitch a seam.  I have a sister fabric, i.e. the same type fabric purchased at the same time in a different color.  I was thinking about using the sister fabric to test my changes. But I’ve decided that fabric needs to go into a generously sized PP113 so I can wear it a few times before it gets too small.  I’m really surprised by the fabric. Purchased from Hancocks last fall, October I think. It was not cheap and not on sale. But it had been several months since I found myself in company with good fabric. Anytime I can find bottom weight i.e. pants fabrics, I buy.

I decided to do some testing of seam finishes. I question if the body of denim is what makes this pattern fit so well. 906 has always given me perfect or near perfect jeans But I’ve also always used it with denim, twill or canvas. Oh yes and tarp one time.   At one time I purchased Trudy Jansens trouser pattern but could never get it to fit me well.  I tried several times, several sizes. 902 just didn’t work. Which perplexed me but at the same time I had other well-fitting trousers and simply lost interest. My question applies to trousers as well. Is the solution to good fit stiff fabrics? Can this be achieved with seam finishes?  So I made 4 samples (and may make more),

  1. Serged 4 thread seam.
    1. This is what I want to do. Just zoom and be done at the serger!
    2. Very flexible seam
    3. Hardly any body added
  2. Serged 4 thread seam Plus 2.5MM straight stitch at sewing machine.
    1. More work but usually what I do because it corrects ease discovered at  the first fitting.
    2. Little body added to the seam. I wouldn’t have noticed except I was looking and comparing with my serged only seam
  3. Serged 4 thread seam, pressed to one side and top stitched.
    1. This gives the look of a flat felled seam and afterwards will be referred to as the FFS Faux Felled Seam.
    2. So much more work than the previous two, but the look is worth it.
    3. Slightly more body to the seam.
  4. One side Taped,FFS.
    1. Definitely tape before and not after seaming.  Fit 08, seen above is the result of seam 2 followed by taping one side of the seam, pressing the seam to one side and then top stitching.  I did only the center-back leg seam on both sides. It’s difficult both at the ironing board while taping and again at the SM while trying to sew a leg that’s already sewn.
    2. Most definitely adds body.  This is almost like boning.
  5. Both sides taped, FFS
    1. May try this.
  6. Stitched and Boned
    1. Probably won’t try this.  I can’t imagine sitting on boned seams would be comfortable.
  7. A Faux Boning?
    1. Would be possible to serge over yarn or twine or cording of some kind and add more firmness to the seam without affecting comfort or mobility?
    2. Wish I’d thought of this before trying to tape the seam. Zig zagging over a cording would have been easier than fusing and top stitching a finished leg. Or at least, irritating during 1 process instead of two.


First Fit – Last Fit

I do think the last fit is much better than the first; and I do think that the taped seam is a major contributor to lessening the back leg wrinkles.

I think I’m done with this particular pant. Mostly because it keeps shrinking every time I press the seams. But I’m not done with the idea of beefing up the seams.

I’ve decided to morph my favorite fitting pant into a yoga pant. I expect some hiccups along the way because, Trudy Jansen 906 was developed as a jean draft for denim fabrics. Furthermore that would be a non-stretch denim.  But it has much of the shape I want.  It is semi fitted around the torso and thighs.  For me that means it doesn’t reveal my every curve but skims over them without using lots of ease.  This is one of the first patterns I worked with that also had a great crotch shape — for — ME.  I often transfer at least the bottom curve of this pant to other patterns.  I don’t understand why, I only know that the J shape which is lower in the back than the front crotch snugs up nicely over my nether regions.  I want to do this morph slowly so that I know what causes any hiccups.

For this first iteration, I divided the back yoke and attached it to the back leg pieces. (TJ906 is the two-piece back leg pattern.) I eliminated the front and back pockets.  I installed the zipper, serged the side and inseams and stitched the crotch before adding the curved waistband, belt loops and facings.  Sigh, most of the time I don’t realize I’ve aged. But this is one of those experiences which tells me, I’m just not a spring chicken any more. I forgot that the seam allowances are all 3/8″. Worse, I forgot that the “1” stamped on the sewing machine throat plate is not 3/8 but 1 cm and that the serger was set for a scant 1/4″ SA. The result is a weirdly fitting pant:


Not the near perfection I was expecting.  Once I realized the SA problem, most of the issues above just disappeared or at least relaxed into not bad. I also spent a few minutes decreased the flare.  That’s something I’ve been intending to do.  I still like a “baby flare” but for the most part I would prefer slim or semi-fitted cigarette legs.  To me, this amount of flare just adds weight to the below waist portions of my figure.

After corrections:

I think I’m back to wearable status, especially with the true colors instead of the highly lightened photos above:

I hadn’t worked with this pattern in a while (other than the wadder attempt to merge the two back pieces into a single leg.) I’d forgotten some things.

Ok there was the issue of the seam allowances.  I’ve now marked the SA’s so I won’t do that again.

I also need to make the waist band a little less long and more snug.  Even a belt won’t always hold my pants into place. The waistband is a continuing problem for me because my waist can be one size in the morning a different at lunch and change again before or after dinner. I need an adjustable waistband.  An elastic waistband or insert always works well.  A belt usually but not always helps.

I need to shorten the front side length. See  the little waves/drag lines about 4″ down from the waistband. Oddly, shortening the side length between the hip and waist takes care of those (both side and front view).

I also need to mark my front pattern piece to show exactly where the fold should be.  This time I made it a full 1 CM.  It was already nailed into place before I realized my mistake. Fortunately most of my tops will disguise the issue. But it’s better if I prevent those drag lines come from the tummy by stitching the center front where it should be.  I’m always surprised that such a small amount makes such a big difference.  By using 1CM, I took in the front a scant 1/4″. S-c-a-n-t.  But that’s enough to go from near perfect into too tight.

I like the current leg width, but still would like something narrower.  I’ve transferred the changes to the pattern pieces in such a manner that I can go back to this width. Also concerning me is that just the little bit difference makes the leg pull at the knee.

My last issue is with the fabric. .  This is a microfiber twill. Has a napped face and satin back. Not really a beefy fabric, but definitely not a light weight. Also it is 100% polyester and in my experience warm. I think it works best in a trouser draft.  Was hoping it would also be a great choice for a dressy yoga pant.  I’m wondering if firming up the seams would help.  Like with knit tops I always use fusible bias tape on the shoulders.  That keeps the shoulders smooth and hanging nicely throughout the life of the top.  I sometimes put the fusible tape on the neckline especially if it is a V or deep neckline.  I’m really wondering if firming up the seams a little bit would help the look of my pants?  Any thoughts? Has anyone done something similar?

Always curious, I ordered Silhouette Patterns Yoga Pant #3400. Well, it’s more than curiosity, although it is that too. I mean, don’t you want to try the patterns from new designers?  Don’t you want to test new delicious details?  But it is more than curiosity because I have a few patterns which fit me nicely but I still have issues.  I’m still wanting a pant with a slim leg.  The slim legs that I do have are either too slim (and thus reveal all that I would like to keep concealed) or have volumes of excess fabric each over the back thigh. I’ve made several attempts to slim down my favorite patterns, (Pp113, the Eureka, MSS…) I even took my favorite jean TJ906 and tried to put the pieces together to form a slim leg. No joy. In fact, slimming these pants beyond a certain point, causes them to develop diagonal back wrinkles.  As a result,  I’m always interested in seeing if a new draft can offer me a slim leg and nice fitting pant.

I chose to use size 16W.  Although hesitant, I also used the envelope instructions and wrapped my Ponti De Roma fabric around me and measured the fabric. I was perplexed that the envelope listed 16 and 16W as having the same measurements.  I emailed Peggy and then deciding that it was too late for her to answer that day, I decided to compare the two sizes. The 16W appeared to me to have a longer back crotch extension. My muslin plan had been to add 3/4″ to the side seams and 3/4 to the back inseam.  With the thought that the back inseam was already longer, I decided to use the 16W and add only the 3/4″ side seam insurance.   I also shortened the leg 3″. I always have to shorten the legs. I think it is difficult to see how the leg hangs when it is puddled on the floor.  So I shorten the leg immediately.  In summary just 2 changes, 1)add 3/4″ to side seams, 2) shorten legs 3″.

I basted all seams except for the crotch. Those I serged. Also I didn’t have 2″ elastic. The widest on hand was 1.5″. So I slipped that into my waistband and basted directly beneath the lower edge of the elastic before basting the waistband to the pant.

My first fitting was horrible.

The front and back were obviously too tight. Enormously too tight. I was so surprised at how tight it was that I rechecked pattern instructions, size recommendation and then whether I had copied the correct size.  (Copying the wrong size happens.)  With everything saying I had the right size, I decided to measure the pattern itself. I aligned front and back along the side seams but did not over lap. I measured at the hip line and it was nowhere near 43″.  I started sliding the tape measure down to find the widest point above the crotch which did measure 43″ but that includes the four 3/8″ seam allowances. I don’t calculate the seam allowances in the finished measurements. Had I known the SA was included I would have started with a larger size.

Well I still had my 3/4″ SA insurance. I let out the side seams as much as possible. In fact I changed all my seam allowances to 1/4″.  Doesn’t sound like much but it is adding 1/8″ per SA per side. Across the hip are 4 seams. So that would be 4 seams * 2( 2 pieces of fabric at each seam) * 1/8 (the amount being let out).  That alone adds 1″ ease.  Letting out the side seams added at least another 2 ” [2 (side seams) *2 (2 pieces of fabric) * 1/2″ (amount let out)]. I’ve added a total of 3″ ease. The pant should no longer have negative ease. It should have a total of 2.5″ ease.  And still looks like h@ll:

I’ve watched Peggy’s videos. She insists that taking a dart along the hip line will remove the diagonal below the leg.  This never worked for me before. But I haven’t tried this particular procedure in a while and thought it wouldn’t hurt.

Yeah, no joy .  (You can’t see the dart very well. I took it on the inside.).  I tried several other things pulling the sides up and down; pulled the CB up even higher.  Eventually I even scooped the back crotch. There was hardly any change to the appearance of the pants.

No joy for Bev with Silhouette 3400.

I’ve put the pattern away, for now.   I realize I have a contributing fabric issue.  This was purchased from Joanns bottom weight fabrics just last November. It is beefy, like I expect a bottom weight to be. It is Ponte Di Roma which includes a significant amount of rayon but also includes some poly. I don’t remember the exact percentages. Joanns is not known as a fine fabrics store, but I have found and sewn with better pant fabrics than this. In the end, I agree with the Clothingengineer: fabric can make the difference between a favorite and a wadder.

I might not be interested in this pattern at all except for the shaping in the legs. A lot of thought went into allowing room for hips, thighs, knees.  When I did my leg length alterations, I removed 1.5″ above the knee. I compared this pattern with my PP113 and aligned the knee.  Peggy has shaped side seam and inseam of both the back and front. This is meant to be a close-fitting or at least semi-fitted pant.  I would love to take advantage of the shaping. I always cringe when Peggy says that a hip dart will remove the back  diagonal wrinkles. Cringe again when it works on her models.  I’ve never had that work for me.  About 8 years ago, I also “did a round” with putting a dart on the back thigh just under the bum.  It would work beautifully on my muslin. Transfer to the pattern and make another copy and the diagonals were back again. What has worked for me, is sufficient fabric across the back, a nonclingy fabric, a  generous back crotch. The L and V-shaped crotches do not work for me, e-v-a-h. I need a nice deep J.  This crotch was not only kind of flat across the back extension like an L, but the upright rose at an angle.  I need the upright to be really upright.  I don’t understand why that makes a difference but it does for my body.

I’ve put this pattern  away to give myself time to think.   I’d like to use the side and inseam shaping. I just don’t know how at the moment.



BTW the hem circumference of this pant is 19″. That’s not a slim leg IMO.

Peggy responded much more quickly than I expected. Her advice was a it depends. She said the two, 16 and 16W were exactly the same (so why have 2). But if I felt I had a larger waist, go with the W.

Wrapping the fabric around me, is not the way for me to choose size. I can’t see what’s happening in back. Besides, I learned a long time ago that just because it goes around you doesn’t mean it fits.

I needed a 2nd pair of pants for my 6PAC and I needed to refit Pamela Pattern #113.  To my surprise adding the PBA to fit my protruding behind has actually introduced my dreaded X wrinkles. I couldn’t tell that with Ver1 or with Ver 2 but it was entirely evident when I made the Ponte version.  With that version (3), I blamed the fabric with the possibility of the waist treatment adding to the issues. But I could not deny that Version 4 made from a cotton crinkle and never shared; or  version 5 a cotton twill (not shared) also badly suffered from the same X wrinkles.  Why? Why suddenly was I seeing X wrinkles?  I looked carefully at PBA Versions 1 and 2 and realized that the wrinkles were lightly indicated.  Those particular fabrics had the right kind of body to minimize the X wrinkles.  Well not all bottom weight fabrics are made cotton/rayon or cotton/lycra. Actually the cotton/rayon in a bottom weight was/is a rare find. Why the PBA should create X wrinkles is a mystery to me. A mystery I don’t want to solve right now.  At the moment I want to complete my winter 6PACs. So I want to use the best of my pants patterns, TJ906 and PP113. Er the version of Pp113 that produced perfect trousers.

Except the original version has gone missing.  How could I have lost it?  I remember carefully labeling, folding and placing in the envelope. Later moving all the pieces from the envelope to a 6 page folder and finally moving all to a 13-sectioned filer. The very first section is labeled “Original Fit”. But it is empty.  The stretch fit has its 2 pieces. The PBA has it’s 2 pieces. But the original fit is empty.  The original fit was not misfiled, or hanging elsewhere.  So I begin the process of fitting from scratch. Again.

I read back through my entries and decided upon size, the front and full back.  My alterations were limited to adding 1″ to the back’s side seams and reducing leg length 2″.

My fabric is a beautiful, high quality twill with slight stretch.  If I remember correctly, this was purchased from Hancocks and has a polyester/lycra content. I stress again, it is high quality. This is not the fabric of inexpensive Walmart slacks. For a twill, it is heavy and thick. It sheds wrinkles.  It took 3 tweaks to make this into a classic trouser with beautiful fit. I wrote down every change both on the fabric and on paper . Before putting away the pieces, I also  summarized all the changes. I may need this again.

Unfortunately this fabric is also darkest black. Even lightened 100%, you can’t see the details.

I chose to use the Faux-Welt pocket. I don’t like stitching pockets after the pant is half-way put together.  (Pam’s recommendation is sew the pant together; check fit and then add pockets).  I stitched the pocket in place and then basted it closed with WST before proceeding to baste the pant together and complete fitting. I have left lots of ease. Which is good and maybe not so good.  As is, my hem circumference is 22″.  I prefer a hem circumference between 16 and 20″. I left it because this fabric wanted to reveal VPL even with 1/2″ less ease. I don’t know why. It irritated me but at the same time I thought with this much ease any of my woven fabrics should fit. Also it’s only a matter of time before wide trouser legs are back in fashion.

Anyway there it is, Piece #5 and my 2nd pair of pants for the Winter 6PAC

In the last few weeks, I experimented with TJ906. Trudy Jansen’s Designer Jean which  has a 2 piece back leg.  I’ve made this successfully with many fabrics. Rarely experienced a wadder. OTOH I’ve tried multiple UNsuccessful times to alter a 1-piece back-leg jean.  Just before this I attempted fitting B5403 again and failed miserably. I thought, why not try to convert TJ906 into a 1 piece back leg???

Using Monster paper, I cut the two back leg pieces.  Then at the sewing machine, I stitched them together.  I don’t think I ever realized how curvy that back leg is until I tried to persuade the stitched together pieces to lay flat. I ended up taking a 1/4″ dart at the inseam just below the crotch and a large 1″ dart on the side seam slightly above the first dart. It lay flat. But even with the yoke and waistband pinned into place, the side seams didn’t match.  I slashed the back-leg side seam open just below the yoke and spread until the side seams were even.

I cut and stitched together in a flash. I’ve made so many copies of this jean I don’t even need to think about it. Also I wasn’t concerned about it not working. This was an experiment. If it worked great. If it didn’t well another wadder bites the dust.  However it came close to fitting, So I ripped the side and inseams and did a little twiddling.  I’m using a cotton twill in a taupe color that was purchased with musling in mind. I don’t remember when where or how much I paid for it.  It is a fairly firm fabric but not stiff. It just doesn’t motivate me to make a lot of effort. I quit fitting and serged seams together when I realized that I had morphed a wonderfully fitting pattern into a garment that doesn’t quite work.

(A much lightened pictured)

I know I can blame the fabric, but I was really annoyed that the front and back developed wrinkles not previously seen; And even though I made a great effort to make the side seams the same length, it’s obvious by the ruching that they aren’t.  Fronts normally fit and look beautiful. I can hardly believe that change the back leg made the difference in front, but there it is. Not only are there leg wrinkles but suddenly the front crotch is too short?? I took length out of the leg. Never even came closer than 1″ to the crotch.  I’m not wearing a belt. So I can blame that too. Truth is the highly lightened view above shows much more than the real life view:

While I hate to admit having done this, I do have a pair of pants I can wear around the house.

What’s really interesting though is this comparison:

On the far left, is RTW jean that I’ve decided to buy. In the middle is the lastest version of TJ906 with the 1 piece back leg (pattern piece I’ve decided to discard). To the right is a pair of TJ906 jeans constructed with the 2 piece leg.  Of the 3, I like the 2-piece leg the most. I won’t mess with the 1 piece again (documenting with this post so I have a record of the fail).  The RTW, I might buy again. It is the best RTW jean I’ve tried on in years. In Y-E-A-R-S.  Most fit in the waist but are too tight in the b utt.  If the b utt fits, the waist is too large.  Either the crotch crawls up into my divide or the RTW jean is too big all over. This Diane Gillman jean fits in the waist. The front, which I didn’t share, is beautiful.  As is the side view.  The back has the dreaded wrinkles between b utt and knee. I think a tish more hip circumference would help but it wouldn’t change the knock-knee issue. I also feel like it is slightly too long which is odd because the TJ906 on the right is practically dragging the ground and doesn’t feel long.  I’m keeping this pair hoping that with a little time and body warmth, the hip issue will resolve itself. After all, denim will always warm and stretch.

I purchase a fabulous Ponte early this year while visiting Ft Collins Co.  It is a thick, beefy, spongy fabric. I thought it would make perfect pants. I wanted great pants and chose to use PP113 because that has been such a fabulous pattern for me. I mean, I’ve made at least 5 versions of this pattern. Each better than the previously.

I thought it was time to make a knit version of the pattern.  I’ve worked out all the fitting issues and already tested knits. Like  Pamela, I need to increase the side seam to an even 1″ (My normal SA is 1/4″. So I’m taking in about 3/4 more on each side seam.)  I traced the pattern and vertically folded out 1/2″ evenly from top to bottom on both front and back. I have worked with knits that were so stable, they needed to be treated as wovens.  My thought was most knits I use for pants will need a 1/2″ seam. Those that are more stable could be stitched at 1/4″ and those that are stretchier could be sewn with a larger seam allowance 3/4″ or more. Having done so many the exact same style, I craved changed I elected to add the faux welt pocket and  narrow the leg.   I also chose to use the magic waist band. I created a template that would add 1″ to the top of both the front and back.

I omitted the front zipper; happily serged the inseams and crotches together. Fortunately I had presence of mind or maybe just by habit, I basted the side seams and hems into place.  I stitched my elastic into a circle and tried my pants on as directed by Pamela. To my surprise, these were obviously too tight in the rear but too loose in front. Yes they were. VPL was plainly, in-you-face  apparent on back. the front drooped and yet floated. I decided it was a matter of individually adjusting ease front and back because the side seam was absolutely perpendicular to the floor and bisecting my side perfectly.  I offset the side seams to make a 1/4″ Sa for the back and 3/4″ on the front.  I trimmed another 1/4″ scoop from the front at the waistband to rid some of the droopiness….. and tried them on again. This time no VPL and the front looked good enough so I added the faux welt pocket.


You must try the faux welt. It really would be easy had I added it while the fronts were still two different pieces.  Because I checked fit, I was adding the pockets with the inseams and crotches stitched together. It’s a lot of fabric to bus around. Once the faux welt was completed, I stitched side-seams added the magic waistband and stitched hems.


Then I put the pants on for final pictures and ….

…….the real fitting began. I really should have known this: I cannot fit pants to myself until everything including waistband is basted into place.  Between the fitting and final stitching my pants were crawling up my crotch and the legs had developed the dreaded X wrinkles. I was bewildered. I re-read the waistband instructions to see if I’d one something wrong. The previous magic pants had fit beautifully. I had used the pattern with all the ease; no pockets and a different fabric. Did those factors really make all that difference??  I scooped the crotch 1/2″ and carefully adjusted the pant on my body so that the top edge of the waistband was really at my waist and not above.

These are what they are including pockets that pooch despite the front still looking like it has too much ease, and excess wrinkles under the bum. At least they no longer creep uncomfortably into my hoo-hah. Seriously, I blame the fabric. After I removed the worst of the back-action, I narrowed the legs a total of 2″ (1/2″ each seam * two seams = 2″ per leg). I kind of like the leg width at 18″ but wouldn’t mind if it iwas narrower.  This is a heavy fabric which I thought was also a little dressy.  I anticipated wearing these the rest of fall and into winter. During that type of weather I’m also wearing a long-sleeve top which would be untucked and totally cover my behind but not the leg. The upper part of the leg will be covered by my 3rd layer which is usually mid-hip or tunic length. IOW I will be able to wear these without shame.

Did I mention this was an expensive fabric?  I paid $18/per yard the tag said normally $29 (I’m a bargain hunter).  It takes 2 yards  for pants. (I’m short and have a short but deep crotch. ) So I’m at about $40 for these pants. I may be out of sync with the times, but for $40 I expect better looking pants and I mean from all views including the front.

Still the fabric feels fabulous.  I’d like to have several more yards of it.  Unfortunately, Ft Collins is a long ways away and I’m not sure I’ll ever get back there.  I did not find an equal fabric within 200 miles of me and buying on-line is iffy. Maybe I’ll get something this good but probably not. I’d love to make several pairs until I figure out what to do to make it into fabulous pants instead of just passable.

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  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.