originally published 5/13/11
This to me is experimental sewing. Yeah, sure, I’d much prefer to look in a catalog. Find a style I’d like to wear. Purchase the pattern. Then make up the perfect pair for wearing. But it doesn’t work like that, for me at least. I’m thinking, despite all that been written, all that I’ve read; and tried; that I still do not understand why a pant/trouser/jean fits or does not fit. It’s like I think I understand the theory but the practical application elludes me TOTALLY. So pants patterns are always experimental sewing. I could trace another pattern; or buy another pattern; or try drafting a different pattern. But I don’t think I’m really going to understand; I don’t think that practical application is ever going to be part and parcel of my tool kit by testing pattern after pattern. I do think that a better path to knowledge is using the same pattern and discovering “what happens when I do this.” For that reason I traced Burda 2010_04 #143 again but in size 48 and I used a 100% cotton. The fabric was not in the quilting section at Hancocks. No it was in the fashion fabrics along with several others. I think I purchased 2 different fabrics in 2.25 yard cuts. I’m pretty sure of it. I was thinking of walking the beaches at Galveston Texas. 100% cotton would protect me from the sun while still being comfortable. The fabric I chose to use for my next version is a light aqua blue and white stripe. Very summery. I also decided that I was likely to burn from the kness down and and an ankle length pant would provide just a smidge more sun protection as well as being a current style.
I’m not a fashionista. I’m not a clothes horse. I’m also not a young woman. Nonetheless, I do like to be aware of fashion trends and incorporate one or two in my own wardrobe. This year, 2011, the catalogs are showing several lengths including a knee length, just below the knee length and an ankle length pant that are all attractive on me.
I decided to keep the the front patch pocket but ditch the back pockets. Still wanted the front fly/zipper closing and the seperate waistband. I decided to add the missing darts. 1 in the front and 2 in each back that’s a total of 6 darts. I added only 1/2″ to the side seam; 3/8″ everywhere else and traced the hem at the view A line. The darts were a great idea. But not quite enough. The front patch pocket got in the way and I ended up gathering the pant top to the waistband although it’s not as gathered as the size 46 version.
Turn out that the 48 is big. I kept increasing the the width of the seams until the side seams were 3/4″, the waistband was 3/8″ and all else was 1/2″. I really needed an extra dart in the front and both back darts should be a little deeper. View A length, designed to hit mid-calf on the 5’6″ lady was about 1″ higher than my ankle. I was initially disappointed in my fitting efforts. The pants were just too big everywhere. Eventually I rechecked the waistband and discovered that I had inadvertantly added 1″ to the finished length. Once that was corrected, the pants started hanging correctly and I could start fixing the fit. Nonetheless, by fit #3, I was preplexed. Why did these (the stripe pair on the right) look unfitted while the brown, knee length pair on the left were almost business like?
I tweaked the fit one more time (do you hear me dying?) removing another 1/2″ from the waistband and stitching 1/8″ deeper on each seam. I also finished the hem by cutting a 2.5″ bias strip folding in half and serging to the hem. Once it was unfolded and nicely pressed, these pants were long enough. And the rest of the fit? Much better. Much much better. I did develope a “keyhole” (look closely at the pant backside above) but the X wrinkles gave way, the fit became less rumpled and I realized that I looked like the typical 60-something white american tourista (please don’t take that as a racist or sexist. I mean only to acknowledge what I am: middle aged, middle class, female, white, american who would love to travel if the economy permitted.):
But I was slightly preplexed. This pair hardly looked any better than the previous, yet both patterns were very close in size both width and length. I did not need to scoop out the back crotch, nor was the front crotch too short. I did seem to have some extra room in the front, but with all that “taking in” I wasn’t sure if the pattern was the problem or progressive alterations created a problem. In a way it did not make sense that two nearly the same patterns produced two very different fitting pants.
For all intents and purposes, these were done. I spray starched and ironed one more time and placed in my closet. They are, after all, plenty good for summer wear in South Dakota