One Seams Part One

originally published 4/12/2010

A few days ago, I began my first effort at Louise Cutting’s One Seam Pants. There are a few versions of this idea available which I think should have been titled One-Less-Seam.  It’s not true that you sew only one seam and have a pair of pants.  Nope. You have a minimum of 4:  1 for each leg (thats 2 seams) one for the crotch and one for the elastic.  If you add pockets there are more seams.  If you have multiple stitching in the elastic that’s more seams.  But what you don’t have is a side seam.  Ah I’m wrong.  Instead of One-Less-Seam, it should be Two Less.  Because there will be a side seam for each leg of your pants and that would be 2 seams.


I have for years used the pattern designed by Sandra Betzina. I used Sandra B’s version with pride and delight; made many variations; adjusted lengths up and down until last fall. Last fall I discovered that none of pants, including the fabulous Sandra B’s, were flattering on me from the rear view. I’ve struggled nearly 9 months to develop pants patterns that would at least not be horrifying when viewed on my rear. Oh and I’ve been successful  and am now in possession of a trouser, jean and stretch jean pattern.  All of which I love.  But I still desire the ease of contruction and alterations of this simple pant, the famous One-Seams. 


I’ve had Louise Cuttings One-Seam pattern for quite some time.  I just didn’t take the time to fit it.  I had a very similar pattern and was actually using LC’s tweaks on my Sandra B pattern.  But since I needed to refit, I decided to pull out the LC One-Seams and give it a go.  I carefully read her instructions and followed along step by step. 


I believe I may have been in error during measuring the crotch.  I didn’t see a specific width of the elastic, so I used the same 1″ elastic that I planned to use in my final pair.  I measured from the top of the elastic in front, down around and up to the top of the elastic in back.  The very first fitting showed that the crotch was at least 2 inches too long.  I posted a comment at SG to which Louise responded and said I should have used 1/4″ elastic or measured from the bottom of the elastic.  Well that’s not all that bad.  I had only basted in a chanel for the waistband.  But I also saw the draft included an extra inch in the back, one of the first things I usually add.  And that was very nice, but I still needed to remove another inch from the front crotch.  My waist is tilted, my crotch length is not actually longer or shorter than the average person;  just sort of shifted so 1 inch that’s expected in the front is in the back.  Again this would be an easy fix.  I ripped out the waistband and choped a wedge off the top.  I chopped 1.5″ from the front and 1″ from the back because Louise said to remove only 1/2 the full desired amount.  I didn’t reason it out, just believed the instructions completely.  



I also ignored her latest tweak which is to reduce some of the width of the pant.  For my size, 41″ hip, the chart says remove “nothing” from the straight leg pant and only 3/8″ from the tapered pant.  Well it didn’t seem to be enough to worry about so I didn’t remove it.  Wait till you see the pictures, that 3/8″ which would be a total of 3/4″ wouldn’t be nearly enough to fix these pants.


I’ll also confess to mistake #3 bad fabric choice.  I thought I was pulling a ponte knit from the stash.  After cutting, during which I’m concentrating on the instructions and am hardly aware of the fabric, I think “This ponte is odd”.  With the first trying on, I look carefully.  It is a woven not a knit.  Doubled, it looks and feels good.  Single, it’s a little flighty.  I did a burn test, bright orange flame and black stringy mess.  I’m thinking 100% nylon.  But when I actually get the chart out and look carefully at the pictures, this is 100%  POLYESTER.  It’s the polyester we all hate.  I’m rather stunned.  Why didn’t I notice this?  Yes, yes it’s been in the stash for so long I don’t know where or when it was purchased.  But I haven’t kept this crap around.  It’s one of the first fabrics that were pulled and discarded during moves.  How did this one survive?  I think because when doubled it had a completely different hand.  Note to self:   do drape and crush test on every fabric no matter what the label says and do it with only one layer of fabric.   


So finding the crotch wrong and the fabric yucky, I’m thinking if there are any other problems it’s OK.  This is truly going to be muslin, because I don’t like it. 


So crotch is fixed.  Waistband basted back in and elastic threaded through.  I decide to wear it the next morning with complete styling.  Give the pant the best opportunity to look good.  I take pictures.   DH tells me I look nice.  This morning I look at pictures.  Full styling:



At the time I took the pictures, I wasn’t feeling bad and had not a clue as to how bad these look.  The lack of smiles must have been physic.  I looked at the pictures and said “WOW this is exactly what the 90-year old buttless woman wears.  She keeps this one pair of unsnagged 100% polyester pants in her closet and drags them out anytime she wants to look ‘nice’.  Having never looked at herself in a mirror or from behind, she has no idea how ‘unnice’ she truly looks.   Just to be sure I cropped and then lighted the back view:



Yep at least 90 years old.


Besides having about 4″ too much ease, what’s wrong with these? See all the wrinkles and folds in the back. Yes I have a butt and I still have nice legs.  Both are the product of the 2 flights of stairs that I traverse several times daily.  Want a nice bum?  Forget those special pantles and all the knee bends.  Just walk the stairs.  It tones, trims and helps you lose weight.  Wonderful exercise, walking stairs.  But back to the pants.  They are pulling up at the inseam all the way down at the ankles!  Never seen that before.


I’m really disgusted with this pair of pants.  Yes the fabric is a big factor, too much ease is another big factor.  The crotch length front and back has been corrected.  That’s no longer a factor.  I’m looking at these and wondering if I still have my Sandra B’s.  I would only have to add to the back crotch extension and maybe decrease the back crotch length.  I might even get away with just scooping out the back crotch.  All 3 would be easy and quick as compared to working on fixing this pair. I’m not posting at SG.  I’m not actually asking for advice even with all the ??? scattered through out my post.  I’m just hoping I can find my Sandra B’s