The O Pant

originally published 5/27/11


Sorry not Oprah, but Darlene Miller’s pant draft for Oval bodies.  This is a new line to me.  She designs patterns based upon 4 body types.  The pear, my usual, is not in her line up.  But her description of the Oval body shape had me saying “That’s ME!” immediately,  My Sewing Angel to the rescue by providing the pattern I needed.


I had other sewing planned first.  In fact I have 3 new blouses already cut just waiting for their turn at the embroidery and sewing machines.  But, I couldn’t overcome my obsession with pants.  I just had to compare the O pant to my JSM pattern. The JSM pant was almost perfect right out of the envelope.  Sigh, I have yet to find the perfect pattern, although I’m now able to alter most to fit.  The JSM is the closest to perfect.  I make and enjoy the Jalie 2908, but it depends upon a great deal of lycra to achieve fit.  After a few wearing the lycra “remembers” my body and the jeans become perfect with out further alterations.  But for pants without lycra, the correct draft is critical.  My altered JSM is my standard.  So I pull out my JSM and compare to the O pant.


I placed the JSM underneath the O pant and shift the pieces around checking for the draft differences.  The back crotch seemed long enough but not deep enough.  The front crotch looks too long and too deep.  All the necessary width and length is there, it’s just shifted by 1/2 inches here and there.  My immediate reaction was that the back crotch will need scooping or extending and the front crotch will need shortening in both length and depth.


But I made no alterations.  Why?  These days, every new draft is an experiment.  I really want to know how the differenent drafts perform.  So at least for the first pair I leave the draft alone.  For other patterns, I’ve added 1″ side seam allowances.  But this pattern has all the necessary ease.  I’m not changing a thing for the first pair.


The instructions are to make a bonifide muslin.  OK but I have no muslin.  In fact with the last move (5 years ago) and the subsequent purging of possessions to fit the house (normally called retiring and downsizing), I haven’t any fabric that qualifies for muslins.  Well, that’s not quite right.  I did identify some polyester knits to be used in musling.  But I don’t want to use a knit.  A woven, with little give, is my best choice for trying out this pant pattern.  So, knowing there isn’t any bonifide musling material, I start the search for fabric I won’t mind sacrificing if this “Goes South” but has enough yardage and is appropriate for pants i.e. the gauze isn’t going to work.  Somewhere in the refolding and shuffling a beautiful fabric has made it to the top of the stacks.


I’m not quite sure what this fabric is.  There is 5-7/8 yards of it.  Which tells me this was an early WFO purchase.  During those first Walmart fabric sales,  I purchased 5 yard cuts of fabric and I’d take any leftovers under a yard.  So I’m thinking this must have been in my stash about 20 years.  It’s also an unusual blue.  I’d call it a muted aqua or an aqua grey.  On my 3-In One Tool it matches 8-20, aqua blue tint + grey.  I seem to recall this fabric being sold in fall collections in mid-range RTW i.e. stores other than Walmart.  I read Sam Walton’s autobiography in which he describes loading up his private plane with buyers, traveling to the New York garment district and buying their left over fabrics. Which would coincide with about the time I purchased this fabric.  In those days, he wasn’t buying China’s left over crap, he was buying fabrics the designers and fabric mills wanted to liquidate.  The fabric itself is a twill, probably polyester (I don’t think microfibers had been invented yet) and has a wonderful velvety texture.  When you feel it, it says quality.  I haven’t given it the burn test yet.  But I’ve ruled out silk and rayon because it frays and ravels like polyester.  Whoever designed it was going for silk.  So I have a unusual aqua grey, woven in a very small twill, faux-silk probably polyester which feels wonderful to the touch.


I’m willing to sacrifice this because it has been in my stash so long.  I’m sure I purchased it thinking of suits.  I no longer wear suits.  It’s not one of my colors and therefore will probably be difficult to use in my wardrobe.  But while I’m willing to sacrifice it, I’d still like for it to be wearable.  I know, I know. This could be a definite error as it will prevent me from freely slashing and altering the fabric which is why a bonifide muslin would have been recommended.


My first shock with the O pattern came when laying out the 2 pant pieces (Front and back, no pockets and the waistband is developed after fitting.).  My fabric is 60″ wide and 5-7/8 yards long.  It has a definite, unmistakable nap.  So the pattern pieces must all be laid in the same direction.  Also it’s difficult to tell right side from wrong side.  I told you this said quality.  I’ve used masking tape to mark the right side.  When I folded up the remainder, I took a moment to measure it.  I have 3 -1/4 yards left.  That means this pair of pants required 2-5/8 yards fabric!  That’s a lot for me.  If there is no nap, I can make a pair of pants in 1-1/3 yards of fabric. However, by the time I can use that little, I’ve also made all alterations including reducing the legs about 3″ in length.  But I wonder, if I use the pattern again, how much fabric this pant will need?


I know that while I love my TJ906 pants pattern, it often gets passed over because it requires nearly 2 yards of fabric. While my JSM Ciggie version can be made in 1-1/3 yards and if the fabric is 60″ wide, all the pieces can be laid in the same direction! (No nap problems with the JSM).


…to be continued