They were quick. Although ‘jeans’ may be a stretch.My fabric is a 100% cotton, brushed-twill in a deep-dark, almost-black, blue. Brushed twill is a wonderful fabric but not the classic denim that jeans are usually associated with. However, I think my choice of pattern, Trudy Jansen’s Designer Jean a#906, with all its jean styling makes these jeans.
Back there in late summer/early fall, I discovered that I need new ‘blue’ specifically ‘blue’ jeans. I donated a few pairs of jeans 1 of which was made from TJ906 about 6 years ago. I’m fairly sure it shrunk as opposed to my growing, because the pair I made last year still fit comfortably and the shorts made in June this summer have lovingly been put away for next summer. So I pulled out the previous copy of TJ906 and pressed the pattern pieces carefully. I noted some pins in the pattern; placed in a narrow dart just under the butt. Reminded me that I had been seeing some slight ripples but not the big ol’ mess in back that I usually have. I had attempted to correct the ripples last year by pinning a little dart under the butt. Didn’t work. I took out the pins, press out the dart and then made a new 1/8″ dart right at the hip line extended across both back leg pieces. Then stitched as usual up to the waistband unit which I added using water-soluble thread. Although that is normal. Attaching the waistband with WST for the first fitting is normal for me. After fitting most pants patterns, I stitch permanently the pockets, zipper, crotch and inseam but use WST for the first fitting along the side seams, waistband and hems. This slight deviation, stitching the side seams permanently, allowed me once last chance to easily adjust the fit. Which I didn’t need to do after all.
I did not do any fancy top stitching or pocket embroidery. I really just wanted to get this done and in my wardrobe. I did use a contrasting fabric for the pocket bags and waistband lining because I like to and because the lighter quilting cotton reduces bulk in both the pockets and waistband. Minor goof here, I had intended to triple zig zag stitch but used a straight stitch to understitch the waist band. I really like the difference using the triple zig zag stitch for understitching along the waistband. Somehow it is much better at securing all that bulk and persuading it all to turn to the underside nicely.
I used a button closure this time. I like using buttons. It’s really given me the chance to use up strays and singles but I think the slacks hooks hold better. I abandoned those regular jeans button thingys that have to be hammered on a stud. They hold the least well for me, usually coming loose the first wearing.
I made another slight goof with my front pockets. I fused the edge with tape but did not top stitch or understitch. Consequently, the pocket bag had a rolled instead of crisp edge and it wanted to roll to the outside. I knew it wouldn’t be possible to completely top stitch after the fact, so I chalked marks about 1.5″ away from the inner edge and 3/4″ away from the side seam on both pockets, and top stitched between the marks.
I’m blaming any and all front and side wrinkles/drag lines on the fact I’m not wearing a belt. These sit just below the waist. I’ve noticed that with waistband that sit at the waist, all my pants will stay up in place. But the somewhat more attractive below the waist waistband, droops slightly. I really need a belt for those pants to ensure the pant stays in place all day. Past experience tells me as soon as I put my belt on, all the drag lines seen in the pics will just disappear.
The back, looks great. No mess under the butt. I thought I might need to scoop the crotch a little, but it feels comfortable and looks good. I’ve been working on slimming the leg of this pattern. Out of the envelope, it has a 22″ circumference. Much too much for this petite, plump lady. I’m down to a 19″ circumference but would prefer 18″. With each new pair, I’ve been making a little dart starting at pant leg hem slowly decreasing the circumference. I didn’t continue to reduce the circumference this time because I was tweaking for the under butt wrinkles. On previous patterns, I discovered that there is a point at which my narrowing of the hem starts introducing drag lines around the knees. I’m still not really sure what causes those wrinkles, so the narrowing will continue to be a slow process.
BTW, I’m not just proud of these pants for their looks. I also love that I stitched them up in less than 6 hours (I’d never make it in one of those sweat shops. I’d be first the first day. First morning.) I’m really loving that I’ve used an old Walmart fabric. It has to be older than 10 years. I’m also delighted to have used a non-stretch fabric and achieve a comfortable result. As good as my Talia’s look, they don’t feel this wonderful. Point is, I’ve noticed that I tend to make the stretch fabrics into pants and leave the non-stretch marinating on the shelves. Stretch fabrics are more comfortable to wear. The stretch makes up for any lack of fitting. Truth is, non-stretch fabrics have to be made into good fitting garments. Not just good fitting, because the Talia’s are good fitting, but near perfect fitting. The better the pants fit, the better they feel. I’m reluctant to use TJ906 for all my non-stretch pants, but maybe I should?
After making my tissue changes, I selected a wonderful fabric. Surprisingly, it’s a Joann’s Rayon Ponte. The inside looks like you expect of Ponte but the outside is a nice smooth knit that is wonderful to touch. This fabric is beefy — I wouldn’t wear it in the blazing heat of summer. Marked at 50% off, I paid $15/yard. Wish I had bought more, but I’m not sure how well the rayon ponte holds up.
I finished the waistband first thing, again. using the Wawak elastic. Skipped pockets. Didn’t even top stitch to give the appearance of front pockets. Stitched the yokes and crotch permanently but decided up water-soluble thread for side seams and waistband attachment. I pinned the hems up and took the first pics. OMG these are near perfect! I have some horizontal wrinkles at the knee, totally acceptable to me. I’m going to wear these a time or two and take more pics. Garments can hang a bit differently after they’ve been on your body. Denim is famous for this.
So I replaced the WST with permanent stitching. Used a blind hem for my pants and took Final pics. This ponte is such a dark blue that even lightened 100% It’s difficult to see. However the front is near perfect:
as is the side:
Looking at the WB I think I’ve shortened the back elastic a bit much. That’s more of a feeling then being able to point out a definite issue. I do think that I still need to shorten the side seams bout the hip about 1/4″
The back has a couple of issues. I feel it pulling down at CB waist. I need to add a little length. The crotch has been scooped 3/4″. That’s usually more than enough. It does feel comfortable which can be attributed as much to the fabric as the fit. Those horizontal wrinkles I saw at fitting have been joined by more diagonals above the knee. I’m questioning exactly the issue. Is the hip to knee-length too long for this particular fabric? I shortened that area another 1/2″ making it a total of 2″ shorter. 2″ is what I’ve used on the other pants which fit nicely. This Ponte had 30% widthwise stretch. No appreciable lengthwise stretch. I mean, I feel it give, but when I try to measure lengthwise stretch I keep coming up with ZERO. When that happens usually I think the widthwise stretch has somehow also become diagonal/bias stretch. What is astonishing to me is how well these look at the first fitting and how much/badly that changed just a day later from hanging in the closet.
I stand by my decision to wear them a few times and see what happens. They could shrink a little. Denim is infamous for growing; Rayon for shrinking. If it shrinks, I’m betting 90% of the wrinkles disappear.
Note to self: Possible tissue alterations
- 1/4″ under waist dart
- spread 1/4″ at CB below waist.
- leg may need to be shortened for 4-way stretch or 30%+stretch fabrics.
- In: Eleanor
- Comments Off on New Eleanor’s
Now this will sound insane, but I’m refitting Jalie’s Eleanor. Yes my great fitting pattern that doesn’t need to be refit. The thing is I’ve discovered that I need new blue jeans. Specifically blue colored jeans. I also want to know if Peggy Sager’s pants fitting procedure is reliable or if easily fitting Otto #11 5/2016 was a fluke. So I’m starting from scratch, almost. I know what I had to do to fit the 11’s. I’m going to repeat that and modify Peggy’s procedure through these steps:
- Trace size CC
- Shorten the leg 1.5″
- Remove 1″ at hip level (dart)
- 1″ inseam horseshoe dart
- Scoop crotch 1/2″
- Use Seam Allowances
- side seam front 1/2″
- side seam back 3/4″ (my prominent seat always needs a little extra ease
- Crotch 3/8″
- All else 1/4″
I selected a fairly recently acquired fabric. Bought at a time when large florals were popular for pants. Didn’t think I could do the large florals but an ice-dye print? Maybe. However, it has marinated for 3-4 years because I just can’t see myself wearing something like this. I think if will make a fine muslin. If the first fit is successful I can use it as PJ’s to gauge DH’s reaction. If he’s negative, I know I won’t want to wear it publicly. This fabric is a cotton/poly/lycra twill with a built-in lining. The lining is a very thin, almost transparent batiste. Not sure how the two layers are attached because the fabric still has the required 20% stretch.
I finish the waistband immediately. It’s satisfying to having something done so quickly. I’m using Wawak’s braided elastic . It’s a little firmer than Louise Cuttings famous elastic. No matter how much I shortened Louise’s elastic it would stretch some more and this type of pant would droop. Wawak’s stitches easily. Slides up over my butt without problems and holds at the waist without dropping slightly through the day. I also permanently stitched the crotch and back pocket pieces. I had taped the front pockets pieces to the pattern and cut them on the pant front. When I started sewing, I top stitched to give an appearance of a front pocket. Hey these pockets aren’t big enough to hold a key. Mostly they just rumple up and have to be pressed to stay flat. Top stitching gives me the look of front pockets without the fiddly sewing of such itty bitty pieces. Side seams, yoke, hems and attaching waistband to pant were all stitched with water-soluble thread (WST).
I’m going to cut to the chase. I tweaked the muslin 5 times.
3 of those tweaks were because I wimped. With the last pair of Eleanors I had decided the AA length was perfect for me. I wimped when I realized I would be shortening the back crotch length (taking the CB dart doesn’t just pull up the bottom part of the pant). I thought the extra 1/2″ the CC length would be needed. Nope.
The other 2 tweaks involved scooping the crotch. I have that supposedly rare high-low anomaly i.e. the bottom of my crotch is not parallel with the floor. It is tilted upwards towards the front. Even the easily fit Eureka’s, PP113s and TJ906 needed to be scooped just a little (1/4″). I did scoop the back crotch tissue but I scooped in the wrong place. It may be easier to show:
On the left in red, I scooped the tissue in the well of the crotch. I should have extended the crotch upright down then curved upward (left side purple). When extending the stitching to the front, the front curve is changed slightly. Just enough that front and back meet smoothly over the inseam. Then I trim the SA to 3/8″. I stitched the final side seams at 1/4″ instead of the 1/2″ I allowed. I don’t like this ‘reveal everything’ trend. I want my garment to skim my curves. Letting out those seams was just enough for me.
Note I needed to adjust the exposure of the pictures to clearly see the drag lines. The fabric is much darker than the pics.
I still have a few issues. The leg is too long and has to be adjusted above the knee. I’m shorter from hip crease to knee than the average person. I know that because anytime the legs are shaped, I can’t hack the fabric off the bottom to fix the fit issue. The side seam between waistband and hip crease is too long. I can tell because I can pinch the side seam and remove a substantial number of drag lines on side, front, back. To correct the length any more on this muslin, I’d need to remove the triple-stitched back pockets. (Why did I put pockets on a muslin?) There is a time when you can no longer tweak the fabric. You have to change the tissue and cut new fabric.
For the next pair I plan these steps :
- Trace size CC width AA length (1/2″ less length than CC)
- Shorten the leg 2″ above knee
- Remove 1/2″ at hip (dart)
- 1″ inseam horseshoe dart
- Scoop crotch 3/4″ (extending the back crotch upright not in the well as done on this muslin)
- Use Seam Allowances
- side seam 1/2″ by adding
- front 3/4
- back 1″ (I add 1/4″ extra ease to the back hip whether it’s tops or bottoms. Helps to cover my prominent seat.)
- Crotch 3/8″
- All else 1/4″
- side seam 1/2″ by adding
I just had to know. Had to know if the alterations I made to Otto #11 5/2016 would be standard for all Otto pants. It would be wonderful, I think, to know that every time I trace an Otto pant, I can make the same corrections and achieve the same excellent fit.
So with that in mind, I traced #9, 5/2016,
the one-piece leggins in the size I used last, 48. (Otto recommends a 44 for me but I like more ease). I’m getting the hang of Peggy Sager’s fitting method and so I think CLD. Circumference. Well I did that by choosing the size. Next L length. Judging from the last pant (Otto #11 5/2016), I make a .75″ tuck (1.5″ total length removed) just above the knee. Now I’m working on Depth. First depth change is at the hip. Oh, this is one piece. Can I make the dart just from CB to an imaginary side seam? It worked better (the end result was flat instead of crumpled) to slash all the way across from CB to CF; make the 1/2″ (total removed 1″) dart at the CB which automatically tapered to nothing by the time it reached CF. Next depth change I need to make is at the top of the inseam. A 1″ dart needs to be made on the back inseam zeroing at the side seam; and repeat on the front. Oops. Cant’ do that. I end up with a tent. Yes folding out a dart that zeros where I imagine a side seam to be (instead of where there really is one) on both front and back inseams creates a tent in my pattern. I can’t smash it down. Oh it goes down but it’s a crumpled mess not a flat pattern. Can’t make a dart at the top of the inseam. How about a tuck? That removes L (length) but does not effect D (depth). This needs to be a D change at the top of the inseam. I could slice from hem upwards and create a two piece leg. Don’t want to. I want a 1 piece leggin. I see no other possibilities.
I already have a Kwik Sew pattern to make long johns. Since what I’m doing will produce the same pattern as my Kwik Sew, I crumple all the tissue and toss into the trash. Until I get smarter.
I have to admit that the experience made me think back to other one-piece pants patterns that I’ve attempted and some off-the-record advice received. . On rare occasions I can fit them in the mirror but later can’t sight of myself and wonder why they look so bad. It’s because I’m curvy. I need more places to adjust for my curvy body. Other curvy women have commented that they never have true success with this type pattern. They need seams and darts to look their best.
I made this quick blog post so that in the future if I’m tempted to use this pattern again, I will say “been there, didn’t do that because it won’t work” and I won’t waste my time.
After finishing the brown pair, I begin to wonder how quickly I could make pants using this pattern. I selected a lovely black ponte from my stash. It looks good even when stretched 40% and recovers in a split second. Incredible fabric. Hancocks has closed so I have little hope of ever finding it again. Again, lightly pressed and steamed then laid out and cut. Did I mention that Otto 2016/5 #11 is incredibly fabric conservative? I had 2 yards of this 62″ wide fabric. I’m left with 3/4 yard –enough for shorts next year or a variety of neck bindings this year.
This could be a serger garment. I serged the inseams and crotch; serge finished the side seams. I stitched the side seams at 1/2″ double the 1/4″ previously used for the stable knit. I felt that the greater stretch warranted a deeper seam.
I joined the elastic in a circle then serged it to the pant waist. Turned down and stitched using a narrow zig zag. I learned this finish from Pamela’s Patterns DVD. She found it on a shopping trip to Talbots and therefore calls it the Talbots Waistband. Since I learned it from her, that’s what I call it. I love that it is quick, easy and beautifully finished. The only issue is that the pant must fit at the waistband first. I supposed you could rip it out, but I won’t.
After the waistband I added the cuffs. I serged the seams, folded WST, lightly pressed and then basted the two raw edges together. 3 raw edges are difficult for me to keep aligned. Unlike that Hi-End Designer fabric, this Ponte stretched magnificantly. The leg and the cuff serged together easily. Time till done? Includes finding the fabric, determining stretch, cutting, loading 2 machines with thread and all the sewing. I did not do any fitting. Nope, didn’t stop even once to check. Total time to pics: ONE hour, twenty MINUTES. I mean these are pants I can have right now. Going some place and need a new pair? All I need is an hour and half (need 10 min for a quick shower).
Fit? Still think I need to scoop the crotch just 1/4″. Also may need to increase the hip dart. Won’t do that until I see what scooping the crotch does.
Once the muslin fits, it’s time for a ‘real’ garment, right?
From my stash I chose a 2-year old Hancock fabric that was marked “High End Designer”. It has a ribbed appearance but low stretch. However, I wanted the same stretch as the test fabric and it was perfect. I will say when purchased, I wondered about it. Located on the same shelf as the bottom weight Ponte’s, I wondered if it could have been misfiled but the weight truly was good for pants. Also might have made a very warm cardigan. Properly lined and interfaced, a great jacket. But as I said, I wanted to use it now because its stretch was 10.25%. Like the muslin fabric, I could pull really hard and make that percentage go up. I prefer to back it down so it looks like something I’d like to wear. I don’t remember the fiber content. It does remind me of the Woolray yarn I bought in the 80/90’s for machine knitting pants. That stuff was wonderful. Good stretch. Excellent recovery. Priced so the home MK’er could afford a pair of Jill St John or similar hi-end designer pants. (Back then I think those pants retailed about $200 and we were paying $20 per cone. Always needed part of a second cone, though).
I pressed lightly counting on the steam to help smooth out any bubbles or slight wrinkles. Partly that’s why I think it at least has a rayon content. Polyester or acrylic does not cooperate with low temperature, light steam. At least in my sewing room it hasn’t. Laid out my 3 pattern pieces and cut fabric. I serged inseams, side seams and crotch but basted the waistband for the first try-on. To my delight, it’s darn near perfect.
I may want to scoop the crotch a little. The CB dips down slightly and I feel it tugging on my rear. I’m not surprised. I’m the one with front/back crotch anomaly i.e. my crotch isn’t horizontal to the ground. Not just that the back and front crotch lengths are different but my front crotch is higher than the back. Typically, I need to scoop the crotch just a little. Adding length under the waistband doesn’t help. Instead it will develop little dips. Add at the hip and the back of leg mess recurs. Nope, the adjustment for me had got to be in the well of the crotch.
For the first time I added the cuffs which I think we’re calling ‘Lanterns’. What a pain. I had to cut a second set. Originally I had added 1/2″ to the cuff side seams. I added 1.5″ and the cuffs still wouldn’t stretch to meet the leg. I fought the issue with my serger, breaking a needle in the process and ripping out one half the leg seaming. Finally eased at the SM and finished the seam at the serger. Finishing was absolutely necessary. Oh, I forgot to mention I’ve never seen a ‘knit’ that raveled like this one. Making me question if it really was a knit. For the second leg/cuff, I got out the clear elastic and gathered the leg edge first before serging. I also basted the two raw edges of the cuff together before serging because on the first leg part of the fight was keeping the 3 raw edges aligned with the differential kicked up to 2 and tugging to try to feed the fabrics. But I finished and I’m super pleased except for one thing. These are winter pants! The fabric is that dang heavy. I won’t be able to wear them until sometime in November!
Note: Leg width above cuff is 19″. Cuff edge, with my 1.5″ seam allowancess finishes at 14″ . Better try on that cuff before serging it to the pant leg. Nothing like a pant you can’t pull up over your foot.
I’ve fit 3 Otto pants patterns but it’s always a struggle. Needed several muslins and at least one of them looked dreadful on me even after fitting. (The Carrot Pant.) But this latest issue 2016/5, had an interesting looking leg. I’ve been looking for that slim leg which is not body conscious nor does it flare at the knee or ankle. I also prefer a waistband either at or just below my natural waist–no plumber’s butt for me. I’ve seen a few patterns that come close, but they’re always issued by companies whose draft I can never fit (Kwik Sew, McCalls etc). So when this Otto design posted:
I knew immediately I wanted to try it but I wasn’t using my normal methods. Burda and Otto seem to like a closer fit than me; and since I’m in between sizes, I chose one size larger (48) than the recommended. I located Sheet C, traced the pattern pieces and extended the leg pieces as instructed. I tried comparing the just traced pieces with Eleanor, a knit-fabric, yoga-pant, type pattern which fits me (it took 6 muslins). Looking at the pics…
…should tell you why I always have to fit from scratch. My crotch and legs never come close to looking like the new draft. I’ve found I can’t just transfer my crotch to the new draft. Found that out the hard way with lost time and precious fabric. Can’t just measure crotch depth, leg length or ease. I know there are people out there who always transfer “their crotch” and claim the pattern fits perfectly. I have 3 great fitting pants patterns to which I did little at all ( TJ906 The Eureka and Pamela Pattern 113). Each of the crotches are vastly different but each somehow fits. It is the “whole being much greater than the parts” type situation. I know a new pants pattern means I’m fitting from scratch and will need several muslins.
Otto recommends adding 5/8″ equivalent to all seam allowances. I think that’s a waste at the crotch and inseam. I added 1/4″ — enough for my serger seam– everywhere except the side seams. I added 1″ to both front and back side seams. Knowing that I’m 3″ shorter than the standard figure, I shortened the leg above the knee by making a 3/4″ tuck (total 1.5″ length removed).
Also very familiar with my elastics, I cut a 34″ length of 1″ elastic.
I chose a remnant for my first test garment. With 10.25% stretch, it just barely makes it into the moderate stretch zone. I can stretch 10″ to 11.5 if I pull really hard –but I don’t like to wear pants that are pulled really hard. I laid the parts out carefully and marked knee (both sides) and hip notches. Then I went to watch TV.
Not just any TV but Peggy Sagers 8/8/2016 broadcast on pants draping. I paused, replays can be the best, to take notes which I’m happy to share.
I didn’t write down everything she said. Some of her fixes don’t apply to me; others I don’t care about. Also Peggy doesn’t cover every fitting variation. I don’t recall a single mention of asymmetrical hips, front-back low anomaly, etc , etc. Pretty much she seems to think no matter the issue, fix it during musling.
So I cut my fabric; basted the pieces together, including inserting the elastic. I can’t tell how pants fit on my body until the waistband is right. To my delight, the crotch and waist both snuggled right into place. No need to make crotch adjustments, however I could see VPL. My first alteration was to release the side seams 1/4″. With Fit 02 the front looked really good. Below the knee? Excellent. Butt was OK. Below my butt was the normal mass of wrinkles. I pinched back there as best I could. Felt like the full width of my thumb. Peggy says you can do this yourself but it is difficult to pinch and look over your shoulder into a mirror and decide if you’re helping or hurting. I placed a pin at the furthest protuberance of my rear so I would know where to take my 1/2″ tuck. That was Fit 03.
I’m going to show all the pics of the back right now, but keep in mind Fit 01 (out of the envelope) is not pictured and still to share is Fit 3 and 4.
Fit 03, (2nd from the left and the 1/2″ dart across hip) looked so good that I immediately pinched at the top of the inseam which also looked like a 1/2″ tuck was needed. When sewing I was reminded of a horse shoe and I’m calling it the horse shoe dart. I started this dart at the front side seam gradually increased from 0 to 1/2″ by the inseam; continued stitching across the back decreasing to 0 by the time I stopped at the back side-seam. I did this on only 1 leg, the right leg, Fit 04 (3rd from left, 2nd from right). Fit 04 looked really good but not as clean as Peggy achieved. I pinched some more at the hip and again and the inseam but looking in the mirror, I just couldn’t tell. The only solution seemed to be repeat those darts increasing the depth. Fit 05, I increased the hip dart to 3/4″. That’s it. I’d wear that leg (pic on the right).
Peggy recommends opening your muslin,making it flat and using that as your pattern. First off, you can see my muslin is still going to have wrinkles and bubbles. More important to me, my storage spaces already over flow. I prefer to have a very thin pattern to store vs that spongy, space-hogging, knit. I transfer the changes back to the tissue. At that time I also trimmed the front, side, seam-allowance from 1″ to 3/4″; walked seams and filled in any gaps that occurred when the inseam was darted. I’m thinking I can use this pattern for a stable knit and even a stretch woven. It might also be used on something like a ponte and slinky by taking in the side and waist seams. I do want to share the differences to the pattern once it is fit. First will be the original. 2nd the fitted pattern.
I’m amazed at how much the angles changed.
A note about time involved, roughly 8 hours. It could have been less. Pinching fabric and looking over my shoulder was an insecure event. I may have spent too much time with my back side turned towards the mirror. I always followed the mirror sessions with pics because that’s the only way I can really tell if I’m making a difference. A good difference, preferably. Every time I take pics, I run upstairs to look at them on the computer. I always seem to have short conversations with DH and just take a quick peek at what they’re doing on SG. I’ll admit that I might cut hours off the fitting time if I’d stay in the sewing/stash rooms but I enjoy the other 2 activities as well.
I’m really pleased with both Otto’s draft and Peggy’s fitting instructions. I had to see her in action several times. I think it was the Aug 08, 2016 broadcast where she fit 4 different ladies, 4 different patterns; the entire time discussing what she was doing and why. The notes helped me when I got into the sewing room. I think that my knit fabric could have made fitting easier, however, Peggy did fit at least one of the ladies in a non-stretch woven. I’m hopeful this is a process that I could use in the future.
*********SUMMARY TISSUE CHANGES
1/4″ SA except front side seam 3/4; back side seam 1″
3/4″ tuck above knee
3/4″ dart at hip back only
1/2″ horse shoe dart at top of inseam
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.