sdBev's Pants!

A Velvet Eureka

Posted on: January 15, 2014

I have this lovely fabric.  I know I purchased it thinking “jacket — velvetttttttt  jacket”.  However that purchase was made at least 15 years ago and a velvet jacket has yet to materialize. Nor is it likely.  Retirement brought many changes into my life, including how I dress. I don a jacket when I go outside and need extra warmth on my arms.  In the house, where I spend the majority of my time, I wear a vest or cardigan as my third layer.  Unless my life changes drastically again, I don’t expect to make or keep many jackets.  So why am I holding onto this velvet? I decided to use it for the pants that I do need.  To my surprise, this is not a typical velvet but more like a sweatshirt fabric.  Yes I was surprised. It has a plush feel and a rayon shine. The backing is clearly a cotton-jersey knit. It really would have made a nice hoody or other type jacket!  It handled really nice.  Did not ravel and despite its thickness, neither serger nor sewing machine balked.  I did use a universal point needle in the SM and selected the heavy-knit setting.

I’m still loving the Eureka pattern but tweaking the fit. I carefully walked the seams and marked the knee levels.  I thought I carefully marked the hip level but didn’t. It was obvious when I started sewing that I had marked the 3rd HBL on the back and the 2nd HBL on the front. Being that was the case, I pinned the legs together at the knee and carefully smoothed the rest of the seam into place –doing my very best not to stretch the fabric. Whew, it worked:

My seams are not only smooth but  not twisting.

The not twisting, could be due to another effort I made. I haven’t posted my review of Sandra Betzina’s Pants Fitting course on Craftsy.  I took the course when I was ill. I had a killer head cold that had me wanting to do no more than take a shower and go back to bed. Taking the course kept me up for at least a little bit each day.  I understand from a comment that Sandra made in the Questions and Answers that she taped this course when she herself was having some physical issues.  I had kind of a negative impression of the course but didn’t want to write about that until I can retake it with a clear and healthy mind.  Despite my current-hope-to-change attitude, I did take away something startling from her course. That was how she determines the grain line. Sandra says, and I agree, that when we make all the pattern changes that we need, the grain marked on the pattern is probably incorrect.  I followed her directions. Well, I watched the course again, stopping as needed so that I could write down the directions. I’ll say again, video is not my favorite learning medium. I don’t have a photographic memory.  I need something I can refer to when the knowledge is actually needed.  I’m good at taking notes. In fact, I’ve had the flattery of someone taking my notes and creating college-level computer classes. (Not saying the instructor didn’t add and make it better, just that he thought I had it 90% done and there was no need to re-invent the wheel just polish it to smoothness.)

So, I followed SB’s instructions for establishing the grain.  The front hardly changed at all. It’s maybe 1/16″ off from before.  I think I’ve said it before, but if the garment can’t stand that small of an error margin, I shouldn’t be the one making it. I’m good to go with the front. The back is a different animal.  The black horizontal lines mark the Crotch HBL and the Hem HBL. The RED line is the grain before applying Sandra’s instructions.  The GREEN line is the grain line established using Sandra’s instructions:

Yes, I think that’s enough difference to be significant and worth trying. Especially since Sandra says the “mystery wrinkle”, the wrinkle you can never get rid of or find its cause, is usually a result of the grain being off.  If the wrinkle is persistent i.e. every time you use this pattern you get this wrinkle, the pattern probably is mistaken or has become skewed due to alterations. Of course, I’m thinking of those diagonal lines between hip and knee that always occur on the back of my pants. Guess what?  This velvet pant made using the new grain line, doesn’t have those diagonal wrinkles:

But there’s a problem.  A problem with saying truing the grain-line fixed the diagonal drag line. I used my knit version of the Eureka pattern just as I did for that last Yoga Pant but I made changes to the pattern.  This is still a pull on pant, but not the wide yoga waistband. It is a narrow (1.5″) band which rests at my natural waist. I also removed the 1/4″ tuck from the lengthwise- center of the back pattern piece (i.e. added more ease).  Add to that, this fabric stretches much more than the Ponte used in the Yoga pant. Well, conclusion is, can’t really make a conclusion right now.  I did not do a fitting. I just seamed the pant together and tried it on when finished. Originally I used Louise Cuttings elastic but I removed and replaced it with the 1″ stiff stuff from Walmart. Louise’s soft elastic could not support the weight of the pant.  Even the stiff stuff is having a hard time holding the pant up to the waistline. You can clearly see that in the first pic I posted (the front view) because of all the excess fabric in the front at the knee. Unfortunately I can see that I will be altering this pant in the near future. I plan to take it in 1/4″ on the side seams and add belt loops so I can wear a belt and keep the waistline up at my waist.

OK maybe I can draw a few conclusions. First, I like this pant. I need to tweak it a bit (less ease, belt loops) but it’s good. Also changing the grain line according to Sandra Betzina’s instructions, did not hurt. It really could be the reason why the diagonal is gone.

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2 Responses to "A Velvet Eureka"

That grainline adjustment is massive. It would be good to see what happens on a plain even weave fabric with this adjustment (that is what you have been ‘fitting’ with so far?).
These pants look pretty good and I imagine they will be nice and warm to wear in cold weather.

It was such a big change, I hesitated to use it.

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