I think she’s got it!

“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”

“By George, I think she’s got it!”

My fabric is a medium to heavy weight linen. It was a remnant from Fabric-Store.com and has flaws. That along with only 1.5 yards of 52″ fabric meant it had to be shorts even though it’s a much better weight for autumn or winter pants. I gave the fabric the denim treatment i.e. 2 trips through the hottest laundry with the first trip including a can of coke. The result is a very soft, comfy, cushy fabric.

Everything I do just makes the front look better:

There is nothing on the front to criticize. For this version I  shortened the front crotch another 1/2″ and added the same to the back crotch length.  I also removed another 1/2″ ease (1/8×4) across the front added the same amount to the back. When walking the legs feel a tiny big long. The hem seems to pull across the knee.  With the loss of the last 1/2″ of length, the crotch no longer rubs between my front thighs but also is not crotch-hugging the way jeans would be. It’s really perfect for summer wear.

Usually I evaluate the side next, but I really want to brag about the back:

I see a diagonal bubble above the right hip.  I’ve been wondering if one of my hips is higher than the other but immediately after the pic was taken, I resettled the fabric because I felt it pull when I moved. I could still have an uneven hip issue, but this time I think the bubble is from not having settled the fabric into place.  I’m really liking the back view. The first pair:

contained diagonal lines from the hip to inner thigh, had V’s above the crotch, a slight tendency towards crotch creep  and showed VPL even though the shorts felt comfortable.  The third version (the blue shorts) have eliminated all the issues and are even more comfortable to wear.

I’m not sure about this side view.  I see a diagonal line from pocket bottom to waist which is not visible from the front. It could be that I need only to adjust the elastic around the waistline. However, I often have that wrinkle so it does concern me.  I note that on each pair of shorts the hem has angled upwards from back to front.  I don’t want the fronts any longer, besides I’m not really sure this is an issue. It could be that as I walk my knees are pushing the hems upward. Since I’m going to make the shorts at least an inch shorter, I’m not going to worry, just make note and see if it happens on future pairs of shorts

I added 1/2″ to the elastic length. The 26″ originally calculated seemed too tight during wear. However this 26.5″ seems too loose. These blue shorts seem to slide downwards a little during wear while the HoundsTooth shorts (the 2nd pair) did not. Since they are a heavier fabric than previously sewn into MSS shorts, it could be a fabric issue. The problem for me is that I’m not going to rip out  2 rows of 2.5mm stitches through elastic. I’m going to live with it. Note it and see if that’s a factor in the future. This is the reason I like belts and belt loops. I can easily adjust from fabric to fabric, style to style, and health issue to health issue with a belt.  I can’t imagine ripping and stitching the elastic every time my gut is bloated or emptied.

I’ve already worn this 3rd pair for a day at the lake. I was eager to see how my last alterations affected the fit during wear.  While not as pronounced, the crotch still tends to pull down in the back and creep forward.  I’m not sure if it’s the elastic issue (too much elastic), or that the crotch lengths still need adjusting or if it’s finally time to scoop a bit out of the back.  Scooping is the last thing I do. When everything else seems perfect about a pair of pants except the crotch is uncomfortable, I scoop. In this case, the crotch is comfortable,  but traveling while being worn.

I think with this last pair, I too have jumped on the MSS pants bandwagon. I’m officially a fan!


Fitting the Hounds Tooth Shorts

I took pics and then started wearing the shorts. So I’m wearing as I’m writing about them. The fabric does photo well, which is a relief.  I’m at a disadvantage by not having a fitting/sewing partner. I depend upon my camera for fitting advice. Sometimes I can’t tell until all the sewing is done that something is amiss.  But if the fabric doesn’t photo well, I can’t tell at all. I’m at the mercy of mirror observations and the feel of the garment. Neither are entirely reliable.

I photo and examine the back view first. I’m convinced that the back tells the true story.  Frankly, I’m pleased with this pic. I sometimes wonder if one of my hips is higher than the other but, if so, definitely not this obvious. During this pic I had unintentionally hiked up the side. That leaves me to wonder if I have a wrinkle on the right leg which needs to be fixed. It’s not on the left leg but there is a slight pull at the butt on the left. I prefer the uni-butt look and I don’t want my girlie parts evident either. So this back looks near perfect to me.

I’m sure there was some concern about my cutting the waistband on grain instead of cross grain. I could have arranged the pattern pieces just a little differently, cut the fronts and backs, then unfolded the fabric and cut the waistband pieces on the cross grain. I was anxious to sew and check my pattern alterations. I’d already taken time to change-up the pattern a 2nd time to: conserve fabric, lay out the tissue again and take pics (never a quick or easy task for me).  I was anxious to get going and slapped those pieces on the straight of grain.  As far as sewing, the straight of grain is just as good as the cross grain. There is a difference in appearance which I did consider. My conclusion was that there would be so much stitching and gathering along the waistband that the difference wouldn’t be noticed. What do you think? (Click on the photo for an enlarged view.)

I’m also really happy with the side view.  The side seam is hanging perpendicular and bisecting my side. In the previous pair it was obvious that the back side had insufficient ease and was borrowing it from the front. Just 1/2″ more ease and the back fits wonderfully.  The pockets are so gooooooooooood. I love the way they have folded into place and hang inside the front. Just love these. If you look closely you’ll see a little drag line on the back along the pocket opening. That’s not present on the other side. I assume that I must have mismatched or stretched the side seams. I stitched the side seams from the top to the pocket and then from the hem to the pocket. I don’t think the bubble is that noticeable, but it’s something I think I should be aware of and more careful to avoid in the future.   But the photo begins to show something that I feel when wearing the pants. The front pants waistband wants to crawl upwards. If I pull it down comfortably around my natural waist, the front crotch is too long.  It actually rubs between my front thighs.

Also from the front, I wonder if there still isn’t too much ease but only in front.  I do like the way it camo’s my tummy. I mean I look and think “too much ease” not “too much tummy”. That’s a good thing. Right?

Lastly, the all important “Bank Line View”.  Not bad. I’m probably the only person who thinks “Can I fix this? “.  I’m likely to scoop the back crotch just a little for this pair but nothing more. I fear the loose woven nature of the fabric and will not rip a single seam. I think what I will do for the next pair, is shift about 1/4″ ease from front to back. At the same time, now that I’m sure I cut the elastic correctly and it’s not causing the crotch issues, I will shorten the front crotch another 1/2” BUT I will do this Louise’s way which is to shorten the front and add to the back.  Did I mention before I’m at a disadvantage by not having a fitting partner?  I think a fitting partner would have gotten me closer during first fitting and I would have only needed the tweaks I’m planning for the 3rd pair but would have made them on the 2nd pair. Nonetheless I do get my clothing to fit better than any RTW I buy and better than most of my neighbors and friends. Sometimes I think I’m being too picky, which as dressmakers we tend to become. We know we can fix it.  I will wear both these Hounds Tooth and the Softened Linen shorts for the remainder of this summer.  Both are cool, fairly comfortable and harmonize with the tops in my closet. Being comfortably and appropriately clothed is more important to me than removing every wrinkle. Besides I know as soon as the body moves, the fabric will wrinkle.


Constructing the Hounds Tooth Shorts

I’ve named the MSS Shorts #2 to The Hounds Tooth Shorts.

I thought I’d take a moment to show the difference in fabric usage that my changes to the pattern were able to create. First pic is the layout as given by the pattern.  My fabric is 52″ wide.

I apologize for the angle of the pic and the fact that it’s difficult to see exactly how much fabric is left over which is at the foreshortened far end. I think you can see that I’ve placed the pattern towards the selvage so that at least the left over, because it’s on the fold, will be about 8-12″ wide.  At the far end is about 1/4 yard that is completely untouched.  Even had I been making long pants, instead of shorts, I would have had that long string  left over.  It’s part of my thrifty nature to not want to waste fabric. Especially since this was purchased from my own funds and by extension through my own labor.  Add to that, I’m even more guarded about my funds these days because my expenses have doubled in the last 5 years, however my income has hardly changed. Let’s not go there though. I can really rant and I’d rather write about sewing which I love.

The second pic shows the fabric is better utilized just by cutting the waistband separately and on grain.


I rearranged the pieces slightly and added the pocket as a cut-on piece. I could have cut the pocket as a separate piece to be serged onto the pant. I didn’t feel that resulted in a significant fabric savings and decided to eliminate one seam. The fabric piece I have left is 52″ by 7/8 yard plus a little, but it’s all in shape I can use for another project.  That’s a nice savings, even if I do say so myself.

I don’t think of myself as a fiber snob. I do like good quality and natural fabrics. But I’m also pleased with the qualities of most synthetics. There are some nylons and polyesters that I don’t want to wear next to my skin. I’ve found the ITY knits to be comfortable and some nylon blends to be good.  This fabric is quite nice even though I’m fairly sure it is 100% polyester. I didn’t give it the burn test. I can tell it is not cotton or linen or silk or other natural fiber. The selvedges were all dull without a little bit of luster which tells me this isn’t rayon.  Nylon always seems to be stiff which this isn’t.  It actually has a nice drape. But it does have some body. Not like a Ponte but more similar to the softened linen that I used for the first MSS shorts.

It is loosely woven, which probably contributes to the softness and drape but worries me when it comes to longevity. I’ve had loosely woven fabrics shred before they could be stitched together. I’ve had others that were fine during construction but shredded during wear. There’s nothing like going to work well dressed and returning home in shredded rags.  So I cut and stitched immediately. I cut the front, serged the waistband and crotch. Then  serge finished the top edge. As a matter of fact, I did very little at the sewing machine. This garment is almost completely serged together. But I did add the planned bias tape to the front pocket opening at the sewing machine. Next I cut the back,  serged the waistbands in place and the crotch. I serge finished the waistband and the side seams. I pressed all and then stitched the pockets into place.  To my surprise when pressing the finished pockets, the bias binding on the front pocket opening automatically folded neatly inside and was invisible!

I had intended that the bias be contrasting and decorative as well as finishing that edge. Generally I prefer not to fight with the fabric.  While I wanted the bias to be decorative, I immediately decided to let it fold into hiding.  Because  it wants to be that way, I’ll never have to worry about it peeking out. The front and pocket hang better than if I tried to force the bias into public view.

BTW, this really is a neat pocket.  My top stitching is barely visible following the angles of the pocket. I think the pocket could assume a more decorative role. Changing the shape of the pocket could create different interesting lines on the front of the garment.

I had intended to bind the hems as well and have sort of a coordinating trim at both pocket and hem. Now I’m thinking that plan has gone away and I’d rather the bias at the hem also hide away.  I serged the bias to the hem and pressed it up and to the inside of the pants. I finished the inseams. To hem I stitched along the top edge of the bias and then again 1/4″ above the folded edge.

This way I’m sure the bias at the hem will stay tucked inside. I’m also hoping I’ve put enough thread into these areas to keep my fabric from raveling.

I finished the waistline as per the instructions using 26″ of elastic and butting the edges together over a ribbon to secure the ends. I think it’s important to note that I correctly cut the elastic this time as I think that was part of the fitting issues with my previous pair.  A finally pressing and steaming of the shorts and they were ready to try on.

I’ll share the final fit tomorrow.  I want a chance to wear the pants both to check the fit and to see if the fabric is going to stand up to my lifestyle.


MSS Shorts #2 Begins

Personal plans, being what they are, often get disrupted. So even though I hadn’t planned to immediately sew a second pair of MSS shorts, I found myself without a project and time to sew. I decided to make a another pair and began thinking about the pattern tweaks I wanted to make.

  • I trimmed 3/8″ from center front and 5/8″ from the sides at the waistline. The pattern waistline now looks like a roller coaster but life is what it is and so is my personal waistline. Although as the day went along the front crotch continued to seem too long, I didn’t trim more than the 3/8″ determined during fitting.  My feeling is that until the ease in the back is correct, I can’t be sure what effect my rear is having on the fabric.  It could well be that the shortening back crotch which accompanies the growing front crotch length, is due to nothing more than the need for more ease. Mind you, the circumference feels fine. The pictures tell me that I need more ease in back.
  • I adjusted the ease by folding the tissues in half along the grain line. Then taking out 1″ on the front piece but only 1/2″ on the back.  I noted that the front might still need less ease but I like the way it camo’s my tummy.  Since the back obviously needed more ease I made the back fold 1/4″ (1/4″ * 2 = 1/2″).   I debated with myself about the back ease. The back feels comfortable, yet obviously I need more ease to erase the VPL (visible panty line).  Then again maybe I should have left all the back ease.
  • But the back felt comfortable other than slipping downward as the day wore along. I realized after my last post, that I had cut the elastic 2″ longer for fitting and had not removed that 2″ during finishing. The growing and shortening of the respective crotches could really be a waist issued caused by the elastic being too long. 
  • Sewing is similar to medicine in that the same symptoms can indicate very different problems.  The only solution is to fix the worst or most obvious issue. Test the fix and then decide whether to make another alteration.  Take The Sleeveless Blouse Otto 2006-02-04. The first impression said too small everywhere, swayback correction needed, petite between bust and shoulder needed. To fix that blouse, I added 1.5″ ease at the hip and waist narrowing to +1/2″ at the underarm. All problems were solved in what was essentially, a single alteration, that of ripping the side seams and resewing with smaller seam allowances.  For that blouse I started the fitting by tackling the most obvious issue: the blouse felt too tight everywhere and looked it in the pics. See what I mean?  Just because I see other issues with this pattern (i.e. the crotch changing throughout the day) the solution may not be altering the crotch.  The obvious issue is ease across the back half of me. A slightly less obvious issue is that I cut the elastic too long. I could have unconsciously fixed that issue this time when I cut the elastic to the correct length and the sliding crotch issue just disappeared. As it is, I’m making the conscious decision to cut the elastic the correct length and observe what effect if any that will have on the crotch issue. Whew! Sometimes I talk too much.

So then it was onto selecting fabric. I’m having difficulty choosing pant fabrics for wearable pant muslins.  As long as I’m fitting basic patterns, I want to use lighter colored fabrics with no stretch.  But when I reach for light-colored fabrics, suitable for pants, they all have stretch. That’s because my wearing  preference is pants with just a touch of Lycra. (1% is fine for me. 3% means I’ll need to do more aggressive fitting.) Next time I submit a fabric order, I’m going to be looking specifically for light-colored, non-stretch, pant-weight fabrics.  The fabric I selected for MSS Shorts #2 is a black and white houndstooth, loosely- woven, poly/cotton (with emphasis on poly).  I selected it because it’s not light blue (I’ve made 3 light blue shorts so far). Also it’s beefy but drapes.  I know I bought this thinking of a light weight third-layer. It’s more blouse weight than jacket but it drapes really well.  Seeing how Shorts 1, gathered around my front waistline, I think I still want to use a fabric which drapes and will gather tightly.  Oh and I selected this fabric because I thought it might photo well. I don’t have a fitting pattern other than my camera. I need the next fabric to photo well enough to tell my whether I ‘ve fixed the ease issue.  Or not.

I cut the pockets this time. I finished the front pocket edge with bias tape. Decided that would look  cute and should finish the hems the same way.

One thing I do dislike about all of LC’s pants, is they are fabric hogs. OK, maybe not all, but all the one’s I’ve made have been fabric hogs.  For long legs I need 3 yards and then I always have this big ole’ piece left over that I hate to throw away but isn’t good for much. (Dress fabrics do not make good quilts. See I know what you thought.) I’ve found that there are several ways to reduce the fabric requirement.  The first thing is alter the tissue to the length I want to wear the pants. In this case, I folded up the leg to the shorts length desired +1.25″ for hemming.  So knowing I’m finishing the hems by binding with bias tape, I fold up the leg another 1″.  Next, the cut-on waistband is a nice smooth finish. But I laid out the tissue on the fabric and said “Yuk. I’m going to have a piece the full length but 2/3″ long. Plus a big ol’ tail 1-1/3 yard long by 18″ wide.” Double yuk. So while the cut-on waistband is nice, I’ve opted for a separate waistband.  Interestingly when you trace the tissue, LC has you trace a separate waistband and then tape it to the pattern.  Knowing that was the case, I traced my pant, then slid the waistband portion under the tracing paper and traced the waistband.  Mine is all one piece. I can’t un-tape. Besides you need to add a seam allowance for this work correctly.  I did draw the line joining the pant to the waistband. So now I  traced the waistband to make a separate tissue. The pant tissue I folded 1/4″ above the drawnline. (Above would put it into the waistband area.)  To the waistband just traced, I added 1/4″ on the bottom for a seam allowance. It’s a simple matter to serge these together at the serger or sewing machine. Just remember to fold and add a SA the amount of the SA that you use i.e. if you are a devoted 5/8″ SA user, change the 1/4″ I used to 5/8″.   What this does for me, and you, is I can now place the waistband, cross grain on the fabric and use that 9″ tail instead of putting it back in my stash. The pant front and back tissues can now be placed closer together. Jointly, they now required 8″ or 1/4 yard less fabric.  Instead of 2/3 yard and big tail, I’m putting just over a yard back into the stash. One yard of fabric, is something I can use easily.



Months ago, I tried fitting the pants from Louise Cuttings My Swing Set. It didn’t work well. In the end, I had drag lines I couldn’t diagnose and couldn’t remove and didn’t know why.  Realizing that my figure had changed significantly, I decided to fit the JSM pattern first and return to this later. Well later has arrived, except at this “later” I need summer shorts instead of pants with long legs. I consoled myself with the thought that even if I couldn’t create a TNT pants pattern, I could establish needed ease and  crotch depth/shape. It might even be an advantage to work with the short leg since I wouldn’t be dealing with issues the knee can create.

There are many reasons to love this pattern. It can be as simple as 2 pattern pieces/ 4 garment pieces to zip together.  With its elastic waist you can have pants NOW without a lot of fussy sewing. Not that fussy sewing is bad, it’s just that sometimes I need to sew a particular garment in very limited time. While I liked the One-seams, they were real fabric hogs and contained much more ease than I prefer to wear.  I like my pants to skim my lower half. You know, the skim- everything- touch- nothing kind of fit. Because of my weight, I find a slimmer-fitting  pant to be more flattering. That’s just me. You could feel differently and that’s fine. You should make pants that satisfy you.

I started completely over. I didn’t even rely upon the measurements made just this last May (6 weeks ago?). My feeling is that I did something wrong or didn’t do something that I should have in May which resulted in never being able to eliminate all the drag lines. I traced the size recommended for my hips.  I compared this with B5403 after pinning the yoke to the back. To my surprise, I had excess ease but the crotch curve was nearly the same. I did not tramper with the curve.  I did the wedgie measurement and checked the chart. To my surprise, no change would be needed. I experienced a totally stunned moment as I realized I would be sewing the first pair without making any alterations.  I attached the waistband as instructed and cut my fabric.

My fabric is a softened linen that’s never going to look any better than it does today. But it will be comfortable if slightly messy, especially for the hot summer weather which has finally arrived in South Dakota. As suggested by LC, I didn’t cut the pockets. I did take a 1/8″ tuck down the front and (during finishing) top stitched the hems 3 times so as to echo the stitching of the waist.  Unfortunately, the top stitching doesn’t show up in my pics so I’m not sharing those pics. I stitched the sides together, cut the length of elastic to hold the pant up and then begin fitting the hip as per the instructions. Eventually I removed about 1″ from each side seam.  It felt like plenty of ease. In fact, it felt a little roomy and blousy and that’s what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t take pics of fitting the side seams.

Once the side seams were satisfying, I adjusted the elastic around my waist and started drawing the line to indicate my real waistline. This is also per the instructions.  I did take a pic of the resulting line, but it doesn’t show well enough to understand what’s happening. In a nutshell, the front crotch needed to be shorter 3/8″; the back crotch stays the same. Most interesting the side seams needed to be shortened 5/8″. This was surprising until I realized that is exactly what I’ve been doing to my other pants.  I keep pulling up at the side seam in order to remove the diagonal line across the front of my pants between waistband and hip.  I trimmed the pant along the waistline  as indicated by my fitting and then serge finished the upper edge.  Next I installed the waist elastic with all it’s stitching lines and finished the hem. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done all that waistline stitching, the pants are in-my-mind, FINISHED whether they fit or not. I’m simply not going to spend a day ripping out all those 2.5mm stitches.

With sewing finished, I took pics. Today (the day after sewing), I examined the pics for fit.


I’m very  happy with the front fit. I intended this pair to be loose, because Linen can be unforgiving in the stretch department.  The vertical drag lines tell me that I clearly have sufficient ease, I may want to adjust it across the front a little better when I start the day.  This linen clings more than expected. Perhaps it’s the heat and humidity.  So the tummy bulge on the side is visible but it will be covered by my top. (See very last pic.)

I’m kind of surprised to see the pantie line in this side view. At fitting time I removed ease equally from front and back. I checked to see that the side seam was still vertical and bisected my side. The mirror didn’t show pantie edge. I’m not sure if the VPL seen is from insufficient ease or just the camera’s flash.  When I alter the tissue, I will take more ease from the front than the back.  Other than that, I intended these to be blousy and I’m happy with the side view.

It’s always the back view which tells the real story.  First thing is I think I removed too much ease from the back. That VPL is really visible now. Thank heaven my Tops will cover it. Still I don’t I’ll wear this too far from home.    It does confirm my earlier thought when looking at the side view i.e. less ease should be removed from the back.   The crotch compared well with B5403 and felt perfect in each trial. But the photos — taken immediately after ironing and the only body movement was to adjust the waistband and stand in front of the camera- might indicate that the back crotch is too short.

What I both hate to see and am glad to see, are the diagonal drag lines extending from hip towards inseam. I hate to see these because I think they are ugly and they were the same lines I couldn’t fix in May. I’m glad to see them because I know I’ve eliminated the knee factor.  I know that I need to work on crotch depth, shape and torso ease. That’s all, but I won’t be doing much to this pair.  With all those 2.5mm stitches in place, these are finished.

But I’m already making the first steps to working-out the back issues.  Even as I evaluate the pictures for fit and type this post, I’m wearing the shorts and working on the issues. Interestingly enough, the front crotch almost immediately began to feel too long. Within moments the crotch began rubbing along the front inseam and the back began to dip.  Possibly the elastic should have been shorter. LC does say that you have adjust the length until you find the one which is comfortable to wear while holding up your pants.  This is the same length as I found to be correct for the May version. I’m more inclined to think my rear is somehow pushing or pulling on the back inseam pushing the back downward making the back crotch too short and then the front creeps forward becoming too long.  I think that way because that’s the issue I’ve seen over and over.  On both the JSM and B5403 I scooped out the back of the crotch. So of course, that’s the first thing and may be the only alteration I try with these shorts.

This will not be the last pair of MSS shorts.  I hope that I will be able to correct the fit of the back and make long-legged pants as well. This is basic pattern I think every sewist should have. I know women tell me they don’t like the look and feel of  bulky elastic waistbands; or they prefer the way a dropped waist (think low-rise jeans) looks. But here’s the truth. With my 6+ decades and X#of overweight pounds, I don’t run around in low-rise jeans. A mid-rise is the lowest I will wear. But it doesn’t matter for me because I never tuck my tops.  It’s really unusual for anyone to see my waistband let alone know where it rests on my body.  To me this is about appropriate appearances ( good looks) AND personal comfort, mid-rise to natural waist is my preferred waistband placement. 2ndly, This pattern starts with the elastic-gathered waistband, but LC provides instructions to create a more fitted waistband either by removing ease or adding a zipper and darts. (You’ll get the closest fit, least gathering with zipper and darts).  Once the basic pant fits as I desire, I plant to adapt it to something very close to Loes Hinse European Pant.  Yes I could buy the Loes Hinse pattern but why when LC has given me the instructions for changing the already (nearly)  fitting MSS pant?

In short, I just can’t say enough good about this pattern and these pants.


An Embroidery Break

I had to take a break sewing the Otto 2006-02-04 blouse.  Not that I wanted to but the stabiliser I used for the embroidery was dehydrating, shrinking and pulling the fabric out of shape.  I tried to continue but as soon as the steam from the iron passed over the stabiliser shrunk taking the blouse with it.  I was finished the facing and would be fitting next. Except shriveled as it was, fitting was impossible. The only option was to soak away the remaining stabiliser and dry the blouse. Hence, forced to take a sewing break from the blouse.

It just so opportunely or not, happened that I wanted/needed to sew another pair of shorts. The last pair , lovely thought they were, shredded at the pocket during the first wear. You read that correctly, the edge next to the pocket shredded.  These were already close fitting. There isn’t a 1/2″ of ease available to fix the pockets. Especially irking because the reason for the zig zag finishing of the slash edges is to prevent the any such freying. I worse those shorts for about 6 hours and then put them in the trash.

It leaves me short of shorts. IOW, I felt I had the minimum number of shorts in my wardrobe. After the demise of that pair, I didn’t have enough. I still have lots of remnants, though. From the stash I chose a light blue stretch woven. Pretty sure it’s 100% polyester. In its day this made wonderful jacket and pants. No idea why I still have this remnant. It must be 20 years old. I chose it now so that I wouldn’t have to change thread on the machines.

I’m using Burda 2013-02-143 again. I’m anxious to tweak this pattern and have added 1/2″ ease about 5″ down from the waistband and on the back piece only. At the same time I’ve removed another 1/8″ from the center back of the back waistband and increased the depth of both back darts. I need more bu_t room but less waist ease.


Unfortunately since this stretch woven has about 33% stretch, I can’t really be sure how my changes have affected the fit of the basic pattern. It is comfortable and looks slightly better than the previous versions. At the same time instead of the back ease being stretched to cover my rear, it is folding at the left side seam. This wasn’t something that I could photo and it is perplexing. But not visible to anyone but me because my top covers the fold and the fold is only on the left side.

I don’t have matching thread either all purpose sewing or serging thread. I chose not to use the coverstitch machine, because the difference would be obvious. Instead I did a simple 4mm straight stitch to secure the hems and waistband into place.

Did you notice the red arrow above the waistband?  I was trying to point out the new closures I’m using.  I purchased these from WAWAK. I think they are meant for men’s wear but I’ve grown to love them.  I purchased the 10 pack first and ruined about half because I removed them from the package and tossed the directions. Weeks later I couldn’t remember how to put these together. Hence leaning through destruction. Once I got the hang of them though, I was sold. I bought the 50 pack. The hold very well both during wear and through multiple laundry cycles. They’ve become my GOTO waistband fastener/closure.  I can have all 4 pieces secured in less time than it takes to choose a button. Just no dislikes here. Unless I particularly want to use a special button, I”m using this Pant Closure for all my pants.  As usually NAYY



Shorts 2 Finished

Pants are difficult to fit. Most men opt for comfort over looks.  As long as a man’s pants feel comfortable,  they look fine.  But women are different. We not only want are pants to feel good, but they must look good; and the standard for both looking and feeling good are different from person to person.


I finished these by hemming, completing the waistband with closure and scooping the bottom of the crotch 1/4″. A final pressing and into the closet they went, until I was able to finish a coordinating top (to be shared tomorrow on  sdBev.wordpress.com ).


I also walked the side seams and inseams and discovered that the pant front was 3/8″ longer than the pant back.  I ripped the seams open, trimmed 3/8″ from the bottom of the front; pressed out the previous hem fold and created another one all before doing the previously mentioned finishing.  As a result nearly all the side wrinkles are gone. I altered my tissue as well so that future shorts from this pattern, won’t have that particular issues.


I still need to add ease right at the bu-t.  I’m debating on adding 1/4 or 1/2″ only to the back piece.  At the same time, I think the back waist needs to be narrowed just a little more maybe 1/4″ (which would remove a total of 1/2″).  I’m not sure, but think it would be easier to alter the waistband and then increase the depth of the darts. The pattern shows 2 back darts. One of which is no more than 1/8″ wide. I didn’t stitch it because that small amount is easier for me to ease.

Overall I’m pleased with this pair of shorts and plan to wear them for the remainder of summer. When you see tomorrows pictures you’ll understand that despite the still visible drag lines, when worn with a typical T-shirt none of problems are visible.  These are good enough for this summer.


Shorts 2

I immediately cut a 2nd pair but carefully chose a microfiber fabric that would not stretch. I used the same tissues for the leg portion, but altered the waistband according to the changes needed to make the waistband fit yesterday.

The first thing I stitched, were the pockets.  I used the same pattern, but a slightly different procedure.  There was enough fabric to make pockets. Microfiber can be a bit limp, so instead of stitching a strip of matching fabric to the right side of the pocket, I stitched a 3.5″ strip of interfacing to the wrong side. Other than that, I did everything the same on the pockets.  Interestingly, it took less than 7 minutes to complete both. 7 minutes.  How often have you sewn 2 pockets in less than 10 minutes?

In the bank line– a slightly plump, 60-ish woman who is also reading her mail.

After the pockets, I immediately applied interfacing to the hems, inserted the zipper and then serge-finished all the edges.  I fused the waistband and facing with interfacing, serge-finished their edges and then carefully pressed. I trimmed by re-aligning the pattern pieces on top of the waistband pieces. That’s a trick Louise Cutting taught me (and of course, thousands of others).  It’s amazing at how much these small pieces can change in size and shape just due to initial handling. Every piece was trimmed at least slightly. But I’m positive now that I’m starting with waistband pieces that match the pattern. The pockets and zipper are permanently stitched into place.  The hem is fused. The side seams, inseams and waistband were all sewn at a 3.5mm stitch length. I pressed. Then pressed again.  The waistband and facing needed to be worked on for nearly 10 minutes. I mean, I spent more time pressing these shorts prior to the first try-on, then I did inserting the pockets. My fabric is a remnant from pants long ago. I don’t remember investing this much time into the pressing of the original pair. But having been confused as to was I looking at fit issues or pressing issues yesterday, well I decided to invest more time today.

What’s really nice, is that with this fabric due to it’s light color and zero stretch, I can really tell what is happening with this pattern.  For one thing, I know that I’m pulling them up.  I felt when I did it and deliberately pulled down at the sides for the photos. So #1 for my ease of mind, I need to add more height.  For now though, let’s look at what these need to be worn this summer.  First from the side:

I’ve almost corrected the angle of the side seam.  It still leans back a little at the bu_t and forward a little at the waist. The forward inclination is really minor and certainly hardly noticed. What I’m more concerned about is the multitude of little lines coming from the side towards the front. These lines are on both sides of the pant. It’s as if I’ve ease the side seams together.  I noticed this on the last pair, but it wasn’t present on the LL (long legged) original version.  My immediate thought, is I need to walk those seams and make sure that where I drew the Shorts Line, is indeed in the same place on both front and back.

I’m getting the impression that the crotch is too short (possibly my pulling it up?) and that I don’t have quite enough ease across the hip.  In the side view, the side seam leaned back. One clear indication that not enough ease was available on the back. There is also the matter of the slight dimples towards center back and below the waistband. These could be that the crotch upright is too long or it maybe that  the crotch is being pushed upward and the pant tries to find enough ease for my bu_t.  All things considered, I’m more inclined to believe I could use just a little more ease for the bu_t.


The front view completes the story.  First all the drag lines pointing to the crotch assure me that the crotch extensions need more length.  I’m also looking at the diagonals below the waist and above the hips.  The previous 2 pants had the same diagonals but they were pointed in the opposite direction i.e. from crotch to hip, a forward slant /. Whiles these are from hip to crotch, a backward slant \.  OK so I could be looking at the fact that this pattern is not designed to sit where I want it to sit.  If so that’s a future correction to the tissue. I won’t be doing today.

Today I will be scooping out the crotch both front and back. I will walk the tissue side seams. I will be hemming the legs, stitching down the facing and adding a closure. Honestly, I don’t look any worse than anyone else down at the bank. In fact I look better than 9 out of 10 customers. At least that’s what the tellers all say.


Final Alterations for 143 Shorts

I was really perplexed with how these shorts fit compared with the first long-legged version of the same pattern. After thinking about it, I removed the waistband and waistband facing. Then unpicked every single stitch made during alterations.  I pressed the legs carefully and hung them up.

I took the waistband and facing apart and carefully pressed each piece before comparing them to my tissues.  Whoa and Holy Cow. These pieces had grown in length by about 1.75″ on the front and another 3/4″ on the back. Further more, that growth occurred overnight between when I cut the fabric and when I cut/applied interfacing.  No wonder I was struggling.  The waist band pieces clearly were wrong.

After I  had the waistband/facing pieces unpicked, pressed trimmed to the correct size, I stitched their side seams again and tried to align them along the top of the pants fabric. Wouldn’t work. Clearly now the top of the pant had been stretched an equal or greater amount.  I ran a gathering line just over 1/4″ from the edge along the pants top.  Then I was able to gather the pants top to the waistband; fold down, press and pin the facing into place; and  again take fitting pictures.  The pictures above are what you’d see in the bank line (I might should reconsider wearing that shirt). The pics below are taken to expose the pant for criticism.


Already, I’m beginning to hate these pants.  I pressed the pieces when they were unpicked.  I pressed the pieces when they were sewn together.  I pressed everything, again just before the first set of 4th Alteration photos. I had to take 2 more sets of photos and iron the shorts that many times more to get viewable pics. This fabric wants to wrinkle. I swear it does. Those are not panty lines visible on the back or side. The fabric has folded in those places and refuses to hang any better despite the 3 pressings and 3 sets of photos At least the diagonal lines of the LL version have disappeared from all views. I’m not really sure what to think of the remaining wrinkles. For one thing, these shorts don’t look that bad when I look in the mirror. It’s possible that the camera is picking up subtle shadows that I don’t notice.  I am pleased that I can magnify all views and not see any feminine parts, other body parts or evidence of underwear being worn.  This is a humid, mid-level heat (86F) day. Perhaps the fabric is responding to the humidity.  I’m wondering if the fabric stretched this much from handling (admittedly a lot) or from the humidity and what will happen when it is laundered and baked dry. (Trust me. At some point DH will do laundry during which all fabric items are washed on the hot, sanitary setting and then  baked dry for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Whether they need it or not.)

This is disappointing in another way. I was hoping to at least be able to tell if the back crotch needed scooping.  As expected the LL pair softened and shaped itself to my body as the day wore on. But should I expect that or should I scoop the crotch?  I also wanted to know what was causing the diagonal lines on front and back between waist and hip. Still can’t be sure. Thirdly, I wanted to know if the drag line around the knee on the LL pants, is a knee issue or a bu_t issue. The way wrinkles have appeared, disappeared and reappeared, I still can’t tell about that either.

As much as I’m disappointed with these pictures, the bank line pictures above are satisfactory.  I did think I was closer to achieving perfect fit with this pattern. Now I wonder if I simply didn’t see the fitting issues on the previous pair because they were so dark. Then again, this fabric is something else. I’m not likely to photo these shorts again.  I will finish them and I will wear them (the bank pics aren’t so bad). But I will not make changes to the tissue. In fact I’ve already chosen the next fabric, a microfiber twill with ZERO stretch to make the exact same shorts.

Am I stubborn or what?


Fitting 2013-02-143 for Shorts

I’m perplexed and need a moment to think.  I expected these shorts to be easy to fit.  I transferred the changes made to the long legged version back to the pattern, and reduced the seam allowances to 1/4″. When it came time to cut the fabric, I added 1/4″ to the side seams giving me 1/2 inch of fitting room.  My fabric is a stretch cotton sateen. Not a big stretch, just 1% Lycra.  Normally that little bit of Lycra is just enough so that the pants will recover their shape whenever the body moves around.

But from the first try on and through 6 sessions of ripping and stitching,  these have defeated me. The first time I slipped them up to my waist and clipped the waistband together in front, the pants fell to my crotch. Obviously, the waist was too large. The whole pant felt too large.  I took in the side seams twice for a total of 3/4″ and took a big dart in the center back waistband just to get these to stay up. That’s when I took my first pics. To my horror, while the pants actually felt comfortable they looked pretty bad. I had removed  too much ease.

So side seams get ripped out and returned to the 1/4″ seam allowance. I left the center back dart because the waist band gaped pretty badly.  Next I made two alterations ripping out side seam from top of waistband to about 4″ down. I’d resew  with ever deeper seam allowances trying to narrow the waist enough to keep my pants up.  I had just finished my yet another ripping session when dinner was announced.  Sometimes I return to sewing after dinner. This was one of those not times. Which was a good thing. Over night I realized that I probably had two issues. First, when I transferred  my fitting changes of the long legged (LL) version, to the tissue the front waistband did not look as I expected. I rechecked my calculations. They seemed correct so I left the front waistband as altered and continued with this shorts version. A second hint that the front waistband was incorrect, occurred as I stitched the shorts waistband to the top of the shorts.  I should have been able to ease the two with the waistband being the shorter piece. Instead they were equal. So the front waistband was too long to being with

The second issue occurred way back while I was still trying to fit the LL version. There were diagonal lines beneath the waistband on front and back, but most prominently on the front. I assumed part of the issue was that the pants were drooping slightly due to the several alterations in the area and that possibly the side seams were too long.  I was attempting to work on this particular issue, when the seam between waistband and pant frayed practically beyond redemption and I was forced to call those done.

Now there was  3rd issues as well: the fabric itself. Generally, I don’t like to work with stretch fabrics early in the basic fitting process. By basic, I mean a standard set of sleeved blouse, sleeveless blouse, slacks and jeans. I’m pretty far along that list, having already fit or close to fitting all 4. Still I hadn’t resolved the issues of this particular pattern and probably should not have introduced the stretch factor. So here’s what I’m facing. Each picture shows the first, 2nd and 3rd fittings which correspond to sides seams, side waist fitting and 3rd altering the front waistband.

I’m astonished that throughout the fittings, what feels good, actually looks too tight across the rear. In fittings 1 and 2, my panty line is at least faintly visible.   With the 3rd fitting, the dipping back waistband would suggest that the back crotch is too short. however, those diagonal lines above only disappear when the pant back can be further hiked up or shortened. Below the waistband and above the hip are the diagonal wrinkles which I started trying to eliminate in the LL version.

Moving to the fronts, I actually like the first and 2nd fittings slightly better. It’s possible that pressing the front would make the 3rd look a little better. But the front is eased to the waistband on the 3rd version, instead of the 1:1 ratio previous.  It’ eased close to the gathering point. I’m not sure that pressing is going to help that issue. During the first and 2nd alterations, the front crotch had felt too long. On the 3rd alteration I offset the waistband/pant seam which had the effect of shortening the front crotch 1/4″. Obviously, not the answer I was looking for.

Onto the side. The side seam remains fairly upright through each alteration.  Many of the side wrinkles have disappeared, yet there are still diagonal lines above the hip and beneath the waistband, the same wrinkles discussed previously.

Oddly, these shorts sit lower, much lower than the LL version. Burda describes these as sitting 1CM below the natural waist. That is my preferred position, i.e. a mere 1/4 to 3/8″ below my waist. It is possible that I’m creating the diagonal wrinkles through unconsciously pulling the sides up, or maybe the sides travel upward on their own???

At this point, I’m just not sure how to fix my various issues.  That’s why I decided to write this post and upload these pics.  I’m hoping some insight will occur.