2013-02-143, Pockets

Summer Shorts with Another Easy, Low Bulk Pocket

… now rapidly becoming essential, I converted Burda 2013-02-143 into shorts pattern.  I aligned my ruler with the knee tic marks on the pattern and drew a Shorts Line 3.5″ above. Then I aligned a 3.5″ strip of tissue with the Shorts Line, taped it into place and trimmed the sides perpendicular to the Shorts Line.

After that, it’s a matter of folding up and pinning the lower leg  above the newly created Shorts Line


My next thought was, What fabric am I going to use? I can make shorts in as little as 2/3 yard of fabric. So the first place I check is that stash of less than 2 yard fabrics I create.  In case you didn’t read this elsewhere, I arrange my fabrics by color and usage.  So all the fabrics I know will be used for coats are in a stack by themselves. As is all the fabrics intended for Home Dec projects.  From the stash of dressmaking fabrics I pull the cuts that are 1 7/8 yard or less and stack on a shelf I think of as the “Under 2’s”. This is also the shelf where I place large remnants from previous projects.  I had been organizing these strictly by length as in anything less than 2 yards but greater than 1.5 yards. Anything 1.5 yards or less but greater than 1 yard; and a 3rd area, anything less than 1 yard.  However when starting this project, I knew I would want to make several pairs of shorts all at once. Why? Well I didn’t even try on shorts from last summer.  I figured if all the long legged pants constructed before April 2013 didn’t fit, the shorts wouldn’t either. All my previous shorts were separated into donate and rag piles and summarily disposed. With this in mind, I pulled the mess of fabrics from the area ( and it was a mess) and started pulling out fabrics that would be acceptable for summer shorts.  I neatly folded and returned the rest of the fabrics to the shelf. Boy was I surprised. What previously had been one big, messy messy mess, was now not only neatly arranged but taking at least a third less storage space:


To say I’m pleased with myself, is an understatement. From the stack on the far left, I chose a 50″ X 1- yard cotton/lycra sateen in a lovely light blue. (You’ll see it later). I’m still concerned about the fit of the pattern. I know that with shorts, I don’t have to worry about the diagonal pulls at the knee. Now by choosing a stretch fabric, I think I shouldn’t make any more pattern adjustments but should fit the shorts to me.  That is, I know that lycra will really affect the pattern fit. If I change the pattern to accommodate the stretch sateen, it won’t be right for non-stretch fabrics. So I laid out the tissue pieces and immediately  discovered I would be short on fabric. The first thing I did was the lay the waistband opposite the specified grain.  That gave me enough for waistband but not facings or pockets.  From the  Under 2’s I pulled another remnant, the last remains from HAF2 completed last week.  I don’t really care for these two fabrics together but facings will be not be visible.

Then I decide, I really want a pocket. Pockets are so handy during the summer. Well all year, but I’m outside a whole lot more during summer and fall weather.  Having a place to tuck a Kleenex or key is practically invaluable.  I fret about pockets.I don’t have enough fabric to make a pocket of any kind. I’m down to strips slightly larger than needed for belt loops. What can I do?  I recall a particular inside pocket, that almost hides completely inside a slit. It isn’t a welt. Just a slit with the pocket inside. I have enough of the 2nd remnant to make this pocket but again I fret. This I fret because my experience has been that the heart, interior hidden or ear pocket will show just a little on the outside. What to do?

I start by constructing my own pattern. I know that women’s pockets usually have an opening at least 6″ long/wide (depends on pocket orientation). Also children’s pocket should have the same minimum because who do you think will be emptying their 3″ pockets? Mom will and Mom needs at least 6″.  So I know that my pocket needs to be at least 6″ long and wide.  Since I want to be able to put something besides my hands in my pocket and not have that something fall out, I decide my pocket should be longer/deeper than 6″. In my tissue scraps (if you sew, you end up with several stashes) was a scrap 10″ X29. I want to double check and be sure of the width, so I lay my hand upon the tissue and make a little tick mark

I rotate the ruler and draw a line the width of the tissue

It’s a small matter than to fold on the line and trim the excess length.

From here the pocket can assume various shapes. I could leave it rectangular as above, or draw a heart shape

Several shapes are possible, my favorite is the rounded bottom corner.

I like this shape because things (dirt, fuzz, lint etc) tend to accumulate in sharp-corner pockets.   The heart shape pocket with the point inserted into the waistband, has the least bulk along the waist. I prefer the wider top. I think it gives my tummy a little more support and believe me, my tummy appreciates any support it can get.

When unfolded, it looks like this:

and can be placed on the fabric either in the open, unfolded position

or positioned on a fabric fold with the tissue also folded.

.Either way once the fabric is cut, I mark the center of the pocket.

Then remember how concerned I was about the pocket showing on the outside?  And the fact I had only strips of the shorts fabric left?  The solution is to cut strips of the shorts fabrics and apply it to the center, right side of the fabric.

I fused and then stitched using one of the edge finishing stitches.  I think it’s possible to fuse only or even straight stitch those edges.  I use Steam A Seam 2 to fuse such things. My experience has been that SAS will last several washings, but eventually the joined pieces will pull free.  I do think I need to stitch the pieces together. I also prefer an edge finishing stitch rather than straight. Again my experience, but there seems to be some raveling with just a straight stitch. Maybe the amount of raveling, won’t bother you.

Once the strip is satisfactorily attached, mark the pant where you want the pocket to be.  I marked from the side inward 3.5″ and from the waist down 7″. I know I said 6″, but the seam allowance at the top will eat up some of that extra inch and another 3/4″ for inserting and removing my hand will not cause a problem.

.Align the pant and pocket right sides together along the line just drawn and the center line previously drawn on the pocket.

I don’t just guess.  I insert a pin in the top (usually the back side of the pocket fabric) and then lift that fabric and make sure my pin “nails” the line on the 2nd fabric, usually my pants.

This is one of those times when close enough, is not good enough. If I don’t do it right, now I will have problems later on.  However 3 pins is usually enough, one at the top, one in the middle and one exactly where I want my stitching to end. Then it’s onto the sewing machine where, like sewing a neckline plackett, I like to sew 1/8″ on either side of the center line.  I like to frey check the bottom

.before cutting down the center and finishing the edges.

.I also used a narrow zig zag stitch to finish those edges (after pressing) because it can be hard to keep those narrow less than 1/8″ edges contained. The zig zag nicely finishes those edges and with a pressing, looks professional.

.Oh and yes I did cut the bottom box with triangles just like a bound button hole and I used my Ruby’s tack stitch to lock the triangles into position again just like a bound button hole. I hope the next steps are easy enough not to need a series of photos. Because once the pocket looks like it does above, then the pocket is folded in half and the long side/curve is serged together. Followed by aligning the pocket in place along the top and stay stitched. Here you see that I’ve already serged the top edge of the pant and pocket. I want the edge finished during fitting.

.On the outside view, you’ll see that my pockets tend to separate just a little so that the interior of the pocket is visible.

.Maybe that’s just something weird I always do to this easy pocket.  That’s why I made the effort o put the strips of pant fabric inside the pocket.  Had I used matching fabric, that extra strip wouldn’t have been needed.

Also, I know with all these pics, the pocket seemed like a big deal. But really, the first you work it through you’ll wonder why I bothered. It is a very simple pocket, that looks good and doesn’t add a lot of bulk to any of the seams.  I know that various designers have included this pocket in their designs. Often with a slightly different shape and interesting name.  I really feel this pocket must be in the public domain.  I’ve been using a variation of it since I was a teen.

OK I’m off to work on fitting.


Burda 2013-02-143 Finished

Well, this is where I quit tweaking:

In truth, I didn’t finish any seams before beginning the fit process. The front seam between waistband and pant leg started falling apart so it became necessary to finish up and make a final analysis. Pictures above is the Bank Line View. Below, the pic’s have been lightened to the max and I removed my belt so that the waistband is visible.

This was a good hair day. I almost didn’t cut off my head but decided I wanted to show pants so the head had to go. Without the belt, the pants drop a little from the waist. The waist needs to be a little tighter. I’ve accepted that I will always need something to help hold the waist into place because my waist fluctuates in size throughout the day. With the belt on, the back is flat (no little side dimple) and the tummy invisible. Most of the diagonal lines between waist and hip line, are just the pant settling downward because the waistband is slightly too large.  Really and truly, other than the drag lines at the back knee, this pant is dang near perfect.  These pants look good even having been on and off several times through-out the days and laying on the ironing board overnight.  The fabric is excellent: soft, comfortable to wear and recovers from body sitting, standing stooping walking, etc. This fabric came from FashionFabricsClub, but I”m not sure which fabric .  What I am sure is that I love to have more in several colors.

As I’m wearing the pants today, I note that while they look fabulous they are pulling right above the ta_l bone. This often happens to me. The pant will look perfect (yes I do eventually get perfect pants) but the back will be uncomfortable.  I’m hoping that wear will stretch these a little right where needed.  If not, I may be scooping the crotch not right in the bottom but at the back where it curves. I’m sure if this fabric had any lycra at all, I wouldn’t be feeling that pull.

This pattern is a keeper for me.  I transferred the changes for the tummy to the tissue and trimmed the excess tissue from the side seams which were cut 1.5″ wide. I’m eager to use the pattern again and see if I can fix the pull lines at the knee. One other thing, I cut the belt loops 3.5″ long. That’s too much. I need to make them no more than 3″ long and more like 2.5″.  One of the nice things about the contoured waistband with facing is that the belt loops are so easy to sew. Just pin them between seams and sew-on!


Burda 2013-02-143 Adding Room for My Tummy

I offset the side seams about 3/8″ favoring the front. I didn’t offset the entire side seam, only from about 1″ below the top of the waistband to mid-hip about 6″ down.  Immediately I decided that I wasn’t going to need to alter the crotch. That first try on after basting the pants together had felt tight in the torso and while the crotch had looked good it too felt like it was cutting into my wa hoo hoo.  So I was pleased with  this alteration immediately and took pictures:


Ok ok, that is the Bank Line View. If you can’t tell anything wrong, I’m pretty sure no one else can either. However, I really do want to share these and critique the fit, so I cropped the pics and lighten them as much as possible:

On the back I still see drag lines from the knee but the rest looks really good and feels even better. I’m pleased that those drag lines are not X-lines i.e. radiating both above and below the knee, Skip over to the front view where the prominent tummy has practically disappeared. There are some diagonal lines above the pockets but the pant feels comfortable and I’m pleased to note that there are no drag or feather lines along the front-thigh inseam. Apparently, Burda put enough ease in there for me; or maybe it was tracing the size large inseam??? I think the side view indicates that I need a touch more room for both tummy and hip. There is just a hint of the panty line but only on the side view.  Those horizontal pull lines are also slightly lifting.  In the past that has indicated that the side seam is too long between waist and thigh.  I think my next step is to stitch 1/8″ away from the first seam and to figure out how to remove just a little length on side below the waist band.

But I refer you to the Bank Line picture above. If I wanted to stop now, these are wearable.



Burda 2010-02-143 First Fitting

I used a variant of the Easy No-Bulk pocket shared previously. The other pockets were sharpely curved. Best finished by binding with bias tape. This pocket edge is straight. I added 1″ to the edge prior to cutting it out. (I did not cut the facing only the back pocket-pant  piece and the front). I interfaced the edge, folded it down twice and cover stitched. Then I fused the back pocket-pant into place, marked the edge with tailors chalk and cover stitched that into place. It is again a very easy, quick finish and helps me justify to myself the purchase of the cover stitch machine. I mean $500 because I’m too lazy to hem by hand seemed a little extravagent.  Having more uses eases my self-inflicted guilt.

This is a really short zipper. Maybe 4″.  I did permanently stitch the zipper, as well as the pockets, into place.  I’m concerned about that front crotch but if I need to add a gusset, the zipper will not be in the way. I hate ripping seams. I double-hate ripping zippers because zippers is one of the few places I sew with small (1.5-2mm) stitch lengths. So zipper is in permanently.

I interfaced the hems, pressed them up into place, but pinned instead of fusing or basting.  All the seams are basted. I’d rather not have to sew seams twice, but I don’t trust this pattern to fit without any effort.  I’m also a believer that my waistband/waist-treatment must fit before I can work on any other issues. So the waist facing has been basted together and in place but is pinned along bottom edge of the waistband.

Time to check on that first fit. Remember I said it would be hard to photo the dark navy?  Well I was right!  These pics have been lightened as much as possible. Try to look at how beautiful the fit is across the back from waist to crotch.  It feels tight, but is beautifully smooth and shapely.

Then entire back looks wonderful!  For me, normally the front of pants looks terrific and the back is a hot mess.  These are showing only a little pulling at the knee, my fat knee.

That diagonal line is better than the TJ906’s which I consider wearable now. These are an improvement!

However,  the front view is annoying.

In the pattern sizing analysis, I chose the size to trace based upon the waist.  In my mind, there should be enough ease in front and too much in back. But these clearly show a prominent tummy and not enough ease. I probably could get away with finishing these and wearing them. After all, my tops hang down to about mid hip.  So my tops would cover the tummy in front but the nice looking tush in back would still be visible. But I’m working on this pattern thinking of making future copies or similar styles.   So I examine the side view to see if it suggests the first obvious change.

I draw lines when I’m analyzing photos. The arrows show that my drag lines are pointing both to the tummy and to side at the widest point of my hip.   I also drew vertical lines following the side seam.  The side seam is fairly perpendicular from hem to that wide hip-point but then it leans forward between hip and waist. This suggests to me that the first issue to correct is adding additional ease for my tummy. The pant is sitting firmly on my waist neither too tight nor too loose.  I want to add ease for the tummy, but keep the waist the same. For now, I will not effect the hip or thigh fit. I’ve found that very often when I correct the obvious error, other problem just disappear.  I’ve also found that trying to make all the fixes at once, only creates more problems. Keep It Simple is a good rule for fitting.


Burda 2013-02 #143

I still need pants. I live in pants. I don’t have to have jeans, although I like jeans, but I do need comfortable nice looking pants.  In the last 3 months I’ve made over 30 pairs of pants. That includes muslins. In my closet are 9 pairs which get worn. 1 is a pair of shorts which won’t be worn much until the temps skyrocket. 1 is a dressy pair which I love but tend to reserve for dressier occasions. The 3rd pair I love and wear are the Mom Jeans. The last pair I love and count as perfect,  the brown cotton linen jeans with the curved yoke. The other pants in my closet have somewhat minor issues. The front crotch is too long but can’t be seen only felt. Another the back gaps – if I don’t wear a belt. A 3rd feels good all day long, looks good in the morning. As the day wears on the back droops until you would swear I was wearing Adult Depends. Two  have diagonal drag lines from knee to mid bu_t. I still wear all of these because they really don’t look bad and aren’t horribly uncomfortable, b-u-t  if I had replacements I wouldn’t wear any of the less than perfect pants. Even now, they are chosen only when my favorites are in the washer. Mind you I didn’t say dirty clothes, I said washer. As in wet and my front loading washer won’t let me open the door until the water is drained.  So I still need pants and I’m ready for some different styling. I’ve got the basic pant (JSM)  and a basic jean (B5403) fitting very well (fabric choices can still wreak havoc). I feel like I’ve added to my arsenal of pants fitting knowledge. Yep, I’m ready for something different but not too challenging.

For the next round of pants making I’ve chosen Style #143 from Burda issue 2/2013. The pattern was drafted for satin duchess and should work with my non-stretch woven. It has a faced, 1.5″ wide, contoured waistband which should sit 3/8″ below the natural waistline.  There are faced, slant front pockets but none drafted for the back.  It has a slim leg ending in an 18″ hem circumference.  I make a quick check of my measurements and then compared to Burda’s recommended sizes.  Burda recommends a 46 based on my hip size and a 48 for my waist.  I traced the size 48 and then remembering how easily Burda used to fit with a simple 1size larger inseam, I traced the size 50 front and back inseams.

Then I dithered about pattern alterations.  There are so many subtle and obvious difference between this pattern, my JSM pattern and the B5403 pattern. Too many to list.  I did chop 6″ from the bottom of the leg. The leg is fairly straight from knee to hem.  I didn’ see a special cuff or some other reason why the leg would be so long. Maybe I’m just accustomed to the shorter pants legs we’ve worn the last few years. The back crotch is very similar to the B5403 but the front crotch isn’t much more than a hook.  One of the features of B5403 which I think contributed to the ease of fitting, is  long front and back crotch extensions (sometimes called forks).  I shuffled pattern pieces around, pinned yokes and pockets into place and compared and compared and compared.  Finally I took out the tape measure. Using the size 48 there should be 4″ ease across the hip and 2 across my tummy. That should be plenty.  But I’ve suffered through this before. I know for a fact that all fabrics act just slightly differently.  More than once I’ve thought “x inches of ease is plenty” and then pieces the garment or tossed it into the garbage. So when it came time for adding seam allowances, I added 1.5″ to side seams and another 1″ to the front waistband because I want under/over laps.

My fabric is a 100% cotton brushed twill. It maybe more suitable for fall weather but I’m sure I’ll be glad to have this on cooler summer nights too.  Besides it is wonderfully soft and a deep dark navy which will be hard to photo but will look nice on me and with at least a third of my wardrobe.