Tweaking Burda 2012-12-148

Todays post will underscore what we all know, “What a difference that fabric can make”.

This is the 3rd time I’ve made this pattern. I planned to tweak the pattern more than I did. After the last version I had decided to shorten the front crotch length 1″, the back crotch 1/2″; shorten the legs 1.5″ and add 1/2″ ease to the front.

But my fabric choice has slightly different characteristics.  I’m using the polyester lycra Moleskin from Fabric.com purchased I think about 18 months ago.  This doesn’t qualify as an old fabric, but I do think of it as a woven fabric which fulfills my knit/old/woven self-promise.  Even with 3% lycra content it has only about 20% stretch –and that’s when I pull hard. It is wonderful pants fabric; wonderful to wear. The satin-back finish is silky and smooth slipping over tights or long johns and doesn’t tend to hang up on hips, calves or any other bumps. But I was leery of sewing without the greater stretch of the two previous fabrics. So I shortened the front and back crotches evenly by 1/2″. I made sure to add my belt loops this time and a fly front.  Even with stretch, they are easier to pull up and down if the waist is opened during the process.  I shortened the leg 1″. I did not add ease to the front. Instead I planned, and executed, eliminating the front darts and easing the front pant to the waistband.  I also added 1/2″ to the waistband which wasn’t part of my previous evaluation.

When standing, these pants are comfortable to wear.  I was thrilled during the fitting and eager to finish and take pics for final evaluation.  I don’t know why these pics are blurry. I used the tripod. I hope they are clear enough for you to follow my evaluation. The color was called “Med Grey” however it is to me a dark grey –close to black.  I thought it had a blue undertone but when matching thread I used a dark, very dark green so a touch of yellow in there somehow.  The first pic above is pretty close in actual color. The pics to follow were lighted as much as possible for discussion.

The back is always the most worrisome for me.

I’ll reiterate that these feel comfortable, all 3 pairs.  With the first version I had added to the side seams and shortened the legs about an inch before making up. The first fabric has the greatest stretch and the pant back looks almost nice between waist and thigh. The 2nd pair really suffered from the change to an elastic pull-on waist. I shortened the elastic several times but this 3/4″ elastic was just not enough to keep the pants in place. None the less they too looked relatively OK between waist and thigh.  The third version is bubbling beneath the waistband (despite the crotch length being 1/2″ shorter) and I’m seeing the bu tt vortex develop.  Definitely the 1/2″ must be returned to the back crotch length. I’m inclined to think that this less stretchy fabric (even though the pattern specified 20% stretch) needs more ease.

Shortening the leg length went a long ways towards eliminating the back of leg wrinkles. From knee to ankle is perfect.  I don’t particularly like this length.  When I sit down about 6 inches of leg is exposed.

Both the knee and behind the thigh wrinkles have been reduced. The glaring X wrinkles of version 1 have all but disappeared.  There is still a suggestion of too much ease across the back thigh. Although how can I both add ease for the hip and side without adding a smidgen of ease anything further down is a mystery.  The lessor ease of Fabric 3 may be helping to control the wrinkles.  A known solution for knock knees is to reduce the ease to the point the fabric clings to the leg and can move neither upwards nor downwards.

The side views

…are even more interesting. While the leg now hangs nicely from hip downward, the excess ease across the back thigh is very evident as is the insufficient ease across the tummy. Note again that the pattern ease has not changed, only the stretch factor of the fabric and waistband. Ver 2 is by far the worst of the 3 side views. I think that’s because the waist elastic is not holding the band to the waistline.

The front views

I’m happy with the front view of Ver 3. It’s obvious that I still need a little more tummy room but nearly all of the wrinkles are gone.

I had planned to use Ver 3 as my grey/black pair of pants for the Spring 6 PAC.  But after today, I don’t think so.  Having worn these for a day I can tell I have a fabric/pattern mis-match. The 3% Lycra, 20% stretch is not enough to be comfortable in all body positions.  This has me squirming and pulling at my clothes.  Not an activity I like or am patient about doing for long.   That’s in addition to the crotch pulling down at the center back and the leg hem migrating upward 6″.

I also note this pattern has a leg-hem circumference of 15″. I think for my body that’s just not enough.  I have the knock-knee problem to deal with.  I can either cover it by adding ease at the right place or accept the X-wrinkles in the back. I thoroughly dislike the X wrinkles, so I want to be sure to allow sufficient ease. I would still like to have a pant and pant pattern with a slim leg opening.  While Burda makes a good pant block for my figure, they use a very limited range of hem circumferences.  Burda seems to push the 20-24 hem circumference especially for us in the “women’s”  size range. 20″ is the maximum I think flatters my stature. .  After that my figure takes on a pyramid shape with all the width at the floor.  I think I can chalk this one up as another learning experience or at least the project as a whole (narrow legs)  needs more thought.

I think all 3 pairs will be donated to the Goodwill by the end of winter.  They’re fine for wearing around the house but I know I can do better.