I am obsessed by pants.

originally published 6/14/2010

I know I am.  I was planning to sew some fun things.  That was plural. As in several, many fun things.  I did sew a few.  I finished the dresser scarves and the coasters which I showed in a previous post.  Oh and I still have two fun projects a vest and wrap skirt from Burda. I need photos and it hasn’t been warm enough to take photos.  We are again in early spring. Cool, wet days abound and are predicted with regularity which has me asking if Mother Earth is confused. Hello, did you know we are officially in the Summer Season?

Anyway I had planned to work on several blouses. Some from Burda, some from New Look, a Vogue, and a Kwik Sew or two.  I was thinking of cute summery looks.  A little femininity for warm days.  Oh I know I’m approaching 6 decades, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be feminine.  It does mean I shouldn’t do Gaga looks. But cute, feminine, summery looks. Besides tops are easy fitting for me and with the serger they are very quick.  (Also, even though my closet also abounds with blouses, many are old, tired, worn and need to be upcyled into rags or something.  I probably need new tops more than I want to make new tops.)  But what am I doing?

I’m perusing my Burda Style magazines in Nancy Erickson fashion.  She does this wonderful dialog on looking for trends.  I won’t quote or share in it’s entirety because (1) that might be plagiarism and (2) it would take too much space.  But the essential is that you buy a magazine and look through for just one thing.  Like look only to see what shoes are being worn.  Look through the magazine again, but this time count how many times a certain color is used. In my case, I was looking through only at the trouser patterns.  What!!@@@!! I need, I want tops, but I’m looking only at trousers.  I find a pattern that is nearly dead on for a favorite, never-say-die pair.  I’ve worn this pair for 10 years.  Well OK 3 years it hung in the closet because it was much too tight.  Its a Dacron/wool blend.  Hardly wrinkles, ever, even when when worn for 18 hours on various flights.  Always comfortably fitting waistband – part of that 18 hour comfort- due to the partial elastic in the back; and double button placement in front.   Wash and dry in any ol’ temp or soap or skip all that and use Dryell.  Oh and was one of the first pants with “tummy control”.  Think of that as being said in a deep voice, echoing across the years “T.U.M.M.Y C.O.N.T.R.O.L”.  That’s the girdle like fabric in front.  Oh I forgot.  We don’t wear girdles. We wear slimmers.  So it’s the slimmer like fabric in front.  And I found nearly the exact pattern in Burda 2010-04-143.

That’s better than the style shot; but I like the technical drawings better for really understanding the design lines:

I look at that and thought OMG I can reproduce these favorite pants over and over again.  But did I –NO.  I started tracing 2010-04-118


Well because. Because it came in size 42 which is the size of the shorts which I fit perfectly (after several adjustments); and 119 (it’s sister pattern)  looked exactly like the shorts pattern except with long legs.  Um do you remember me saying I wanted to morph that shorts pattern.  Yes I did write that. Because I was so pleased with the final fit, I wanted to use it again and again.  I had planned to merge the waistband with the legs; and then change to straight waistband instead of a contoured waistband; and  then make long pants and and and…. But 118 would skip all that. Oh and 118 appeared to have the same back crotch curve which fit so well.  Oh my.  I just had to do 118.  But wait what about the tops?  Ah I can get to them later.

So far I’ve traced 118 and altered the pattern. After much hemming and hawing, I’ve decided NOT to use the slant pockets.  I have drawn them and traced the pattern pieces.  But I altered the front so that I could sew it without the slant pocket.  I’m concerned that a pocket will affect my fitting.  Not just because there is more room for error when adding pockets, but if I need to alter the side seams the pocket would interfere. I missed the indication that this was for tall people.  After tracing I compared with my good pants and decided to lop off 6 inches.  The pants were 8.5 inches too long.  I thought that 6 would be safe for now (plus my 10 year old pants my have gotten a little shorter or maybe that’s just one of the things that dates them.) I added 1.75″ to the crotch length front and back.  I’m thinking I may have to take some of that back off because the straight waistband should be accounted for in the total crotch depth, I think.  But I’m not sure.  So for now I can decrease the length but can’t add so that’s the way I went.  I also added 1″ to the back crotch extension and 3/4″ to the front crotch extension.  In the final version I needed an extra 1/2 in the crotch extensions.  I decided to put it all the back extension.  When I look closely at the pictures, I keep thinking the back needs just a little more….  I also added 1″ width from top to bottom of the entire pant.  That may be too much. Especially since when I added to the extensions I made the addition all the way down the leg.  The leg hem was originally about 16″ it’s more like 24″ now which makes a wide trouser leg.  I prefer narrower trouser legs.  But I’m in this stage of wanting the be sure the pants are not too small.  I can taper the leg some after I fit the garment but I can’t add hip width or add to the crotch extensions.  That has to be too much to start with.  One final thing.  When comparing the shorts pattern and the pants pattern, I found that the shorts back crotch was just 1/2″ less slanted.  I traced both crotches onto the pattern and marked it.  My plan is to sew with the crotch as given with 118, and then if that doesn’t give me the fit I want, I can rip and sew to the crotch line of the shorts pattern.  I just want all my options open.

I also chose and cut fabric.  What a challenge.  I must have spent 3 hours just selecting fabric.  Woke up in the middle of the night to look at fabrics a second  and 3rd time.  I knew I wanted something with a nice drape.  A trouser cut, especially one that may have wide legs, needs a good drape.  Otherwise all that fabric visually adds pounds and pounds and pounds.  But a drapey fabric will cling close to the body and not add to my over all size.  But I wanted a summer fabric.  Something light and comfortable.  But it couldn’t be transparent at all.  I have no desire, and I’m sure my neighbors and friends have no desire, to see my underwear or any indication of underwear.  We all know that stuff exists for a purpose.  But it should be a mystery.  It should add to a woman’s allure.  It should, well it shouldn’t be seen.   The fabric I chose is a Dacron/wool blend in a light blue.

I’m not sure how many years it was in my stash.  I think it came from my old Reno Fabricland haunt.  They had a table that they dumped their sale fabrics on.  Not at all like Joann’s racks of fabrics.  No, more like what people talk about for the mood and some of the garment district fabrics shops, but with a twist.  They put a price on the cut.  You bought the whole cut or nothing.  But you bought it at a very, very good price.  This piece was probably purchased 15+ years ago.  I used it for a pant suit and still had a lot left.  I cut the pants and also cut a vest and the complete lining and my extra vest pockets.  I have enough left that I’m considering patch pockets after the pants are fitted.  All this was probably $8.  Maybe $10.

Yeah, I decided I need the vest.  I need my vests but think my current vests are rather limited in their coordinating capability.  I need more just plain vests or plain enough to work with more of my closet.    So today I shall be sewing… not the tops I need… but the pants I am obsessed with.