I need to get started with my Autumn 6PAC. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I’m having health issues of which one side effect is a slow but constant weight gain. The trousers which fit me last year and even this spring, can hardly be buttoned. They are IMO unwearable because they are uncomfortable and not nicely fitting. So I’m starting by sewing trousers and using a recently fitted pattern: February 2011 Burda Style 136.
I used this pattern just a few weeks ago to create summer pants of cotton/silk which I absolutely love. My 6PAC trouser fabrics consist of a navy blue stretch twill and a very interesting weave of navy, cerulean in the weft and a russet warp. From a distance the effect is a dark grey-navy. Up close, you pretty much see whichever color you want. I chose to start with the second fabric because it was non-stretch and I would be able to recheck the fit (although my weight gain between versions is insignificant). The fabric ravels so I took time to serge finish edges. I also took time to work on nicely finishing the front.
The pockets create extra bulk. I used a left over silk charmeuse for the pocket bag which does help reduce some of the bulk.
I also have issues applying a smooth tummy stay. I’m using the pattern pieces from Burda as drafted. I’d like to replace the tummy stay fabric with a lycra or other corset elastic, but first I need to be sure my stay fits and I can proper attach it. This time I attached the stay after the zipper was inserted but before the waist was finished. It was tough to do and even harder to describe. I separated the stay and zipper facing from the pant front and sewing in a little hole attached the stay to the zipper facing with the overlock stitch on my sewing machine. I did find I needed to trim one side of the stay about 1/2″ shorter than the other. If I didn’t there was too much distance between facing and pocket. The stay would not lay flat but bowed creating a rumpled look on the outside. I think if I were using an elastic, both sides of the stay could be trimmed 1/2″ and both would stretch to fit. But until I get to the point of being comfortable with my procedure, I think I’ll plan on trimming as needed.
Although not shown, I reduced the amount of waist elastic. I ran it from front dart, across the sides and backs to the front dart on the opposite side. I secured the elastic to the facing side of the waistband by using the overlock stitch on my sewing machine. I secured at each elastic end and at the center back. This will keep the elastic from rolling but still allows for a floating application. I prefer the floating elastic because it can be easily adjusted or replaced. I also added an inside button and button tab. I like the way this keeps the zipper from sliding downwards even a little bit. My issue was always neatly finishing all this, especially since I added the belt loops. Oh they are so much bulk! I changed to a size 14 Jeans needle to stitch down the waistband.
However I didn’t stitch down the waist band, or serge the side seams until checking the fit. As I looked at the pics I realized I could almost get away with the first fit.
Almost, because I always wear my tops on the outside and with a vest a little more would be covered. But I realized if I left the pants as is I, most likely, would have to replace them in a short period of time (See the first paragraph regarding health issues.) So I hung them on a peg overnight to consider.
I already knew that the seam could not be let out enough. Adding a self-fabric strip would not be possible either. There simply wasn’t enough fabric left to cut a single piece the length needed and I didn’t want to do the pin-tuck thing I’d done on the red blouse. The solution for me was a classic. I added a 7/8″ navy blue grosgrain ribbon into the side seams.
I serged the side seams to the ribbon which removed 1/4″ from each side and 1/2″ from the width of the ribbon. The net addition is about 3/8″ each side; 3/4″ total. I also needed to shorten the legs. Was very surprised because I thought I had already shortened the pattern. I wanted a neat hem and I didn’t want to try easing the hem area higher upon the leg. This fabric doesn’t have a lot of give. My past experiences involving slashing off from the bottom and turning up a new hem, weren’t always elegant. I chose this time to apply the grosgrain ribbon to the edge of the pants (after slashing off the bottom). Grosgrain attached nicely, turned beautifully, spread apart like bias to give the extra length needed at the upper edge of the hem (in this case the ribbon) AND wonder of wonders grosgrain adds a perfect amount of weight to the hem! I’ve often substituted bias tape at the hem. In the future I think I’ll stock and use grosgrain ribbon.
Most importantly what a difference in fit!
Instantly comfortable! Until I put these on, I didn’t realize that the unaltered pair were too tight. Now I knew adding that 3/4″ ease was an excellent decision. You can see kind of a forward pull at the hip along the ribbon. It’s not from lack of ease. In fact, there may be too much ease right there and the pant slightly collapses. IRL it is not noticeable. Also, I may need to scoop the back crotch again. This is one of those adjustments that can vary from pattern to pattern and fabric to fabric. I don’t really mind showing I have a little shape back there, I just don’t want to outline actual private parts. This pattern is such a winner for me.