2011 Pant Obsession

originally published12/19/11

.The number of “jackets” I completed during 2011 stunned me.  I had no idea I had sewn so many 3rd layer garments.  I found that especially surprising since I declined to commit to sewing a jacket each month thinking I would never make 12 in a single year.  That number is even more surprising because my obsession is with pants.


Speaking of which I completed 35 pairs, including wadders, muslins and those pairs quickly discarded. I claim several mitigating factors.  One very important being that many of my clothes had simply worn out.  They don’t last forever and I’m quite fastidious.  Pants get worn and washed every time.  But 2 of those pairs of pants are PJ’s and several are shorts.  I didn’t count the 3 pair of leggings/long johns.  Both PJ’s and leggings are super simple to sew.  They are tight but stretchy and never seen by the public.  They therefore have no fitting issues or at least fitting issues of consequence.  Shorts however except for the leg length, require about the same amount of sewing.  Fortunately I’ve gotten very good at putting in trouser zippers. 3 lines of stitching + 3 strips of fusible web and I’m done in 7 minutes. My hemming has also improved miraculously.  Yes I do use the hemming foot but I never used to get such good results.  These days I can set the foot in place, stitch and hem in mere minutes.  My Ruby does such a fine job that, other than my coat, I haven’t hand hemmed a thing.


I was disappointed with linen.  I thought if I pretreated it like denim, it would wear well.  Unfortunately, mine shrank with every wash.  I made 3 pairs of linen pants all of which were later donated because within 3 washes they were too small. I probably won’t use pure linen for clothing again.  I loved wearing it, but I can’t dry clean.  That’s why I don’t have wool (other than my coat).  Dry cleaning is not easily available not to mention very expensive. (I’m the one who’s dry cleaning is sent to the next state.)  What that means is the pants I made for summer didn’t last the summer and had to be replaced very quickly.


I also recall quite clearly sewing shorts in May from Burda 2008-01-132. For summer.  Which did not arrive until August.  Then in August I discovered those shorts which were great during a 5 minute try-on in cold May were distinctly uncomfortable for all day summer wear.  Oddly, simply scooping did not correct the issue.  I chose a TNT, Burda 143 and made more shorts.  That worked but it taught me that Burda is just as unreliable as the Big 4 when it comes to pants.


Another important factor is my search for fit.  I keep reading about “miraculous” fixes that others have stumbled upon and I have to try those too.  I keep thinking that I understand more now and can take any old pattern and adjust to fit.  Well, I can adjust so that they can be worn, but not to fit.  I made at least 6  one-pattern piece (aka one seam) pants.  I have pics of OS pants that look good, but feel terrible.  I tried another pattern that after 5 fitting adjustments (same muslin) just wasn’t getting any better. I made 2 pairs of M6440 before realizing there had to be something “off”.


In the end I always return to my 4 reliable patterns:  JSM (Joyce Simmons Miller) trousers, TJ906 designer jeans; Burda 2010-08-143 slacks and Jalie 2908 stretch jeans.


Will I still be obsessed next year?  Well clothes do wear out so I know I’ll be making at least a few pairs.  I like nice new crisp jeans. So that guarantees 2 pairs of jeans every year.  I’m already planning to draft my own pattern next year – bet that guarantees a few muslins- and maybe a revisit to OS pants if I really learn something new. And I do remember that I hadn’t completely exhausted my ideas for the Clown Butt Alteration. Yep. Think it’s on for next year.


Would you like to see what 33 pairs of pants looks like?  Ta da: