Before I even started fitting Pamela’s Perfect Pants pattern, I wanted to make the Magic Pants and the Grown-Up Leggings. Today, I finished the Magic Pants and I’m in love.
It helps that I started with a wonderful fabric. I think I bought this fabric from Fabricmartfabrics.com. It is described as “Dark Brown Stretch Poly/Rayon Crepe… Maggy London). It is very similar to the Modern Gab stocked at Fashionsewing.com but a lot cheaper. It was a steal that I don’t expect to find again. Also, I couldn’t be 100% sure how good it was going to be like until I opened the package. Then it was too late to order more, or I would have. This brown is so dark that I need to place it next to black or blue to tell the difference.
To make the Magic Pant, start with your already basic fitting pant pattern. Fold out the zipper placket and add 1″ to the top . Pam likes to use back darts. She says she also like the look of the front darts and will use them; but says it’s your choice. Use. Don’t use. Whatever you want to do will work. I added another 5/8″ ease to the back pattern piece and covered all pieces with non-woven fusible interfacing. I like to add non-woven fusible interfacing to my TNT patterns. It reinforces the tissue, preserving it from tearing and also grabs a little when placed on fabric. Instead of chalking the needed change onto the fabric, I made templates that can be reused. for the templates, I copy the pant pattern from Hip HBL up to the waist. I mark the HBL and grain line on the template. That makes it easier for me to realign the next time I want to use this template. I copy the other lines of the pattern (darts, notches) onto the template and then add the changes. Once I’m sure the template has all the information I need, I trim the excess tissue. For the Magic Pants, all that is needed is adding 1″ above the waist. I also added a 1-1/2″ marker because I use both 1″ and 1.5″ elastic for pants waistlines.
In sewing I didn’t mark or sew any darts probably saving 10 minutes.. I serged the side seams and crotch using 1/4″ seam allowances. I serge finished the hem and the waistline before turning up and fusing the leg hems into place. Pam has you leave the waist unfinished for hours. I serged because I know in the long run, that’s best for me. I’ll explain in a sec. Pam has you try on the pants to determine the amount the side seams need to be taken in. She says it is usually between 1/4 and 3/8″ but can vary with the fabric. Then wear the unfinished garment for a few hours to see if it needs to be taken in more. I immediately stitched the side seams 1/2″ wide/deep.
I’m not sure why I made the following mistake. I know that different elastic stretches different amounts. I knew I was using WAWAK elastic and Pam was using her special elastic. But I followed her instructions to use a 1″ elastic that was the length of my waist measurement-2″. It slipped up easily over my hips. It also slowly worked its way down to my butt. The biggest trouble with this is that I did not follow her instruction for testing the elastic and pant fit before attaching the elastic to the pant. So I had cut my elastic, joined it in a circle and then using a wide long attached the elastic at the waist. This is why it’s good to serge finish the top edge: I had to rip out the zig zaging in order to remove and shorten the elastic. Thank heavens it wasn’t serging that had to be ripped. The WAWAK elastic needed to be shortened 2″ for my taste YMMV. I also took the pant side-seams in another 1/8″ (each side). That’s a generous 1/8″ almost 1/4”. I thought it was justified because even holding the pants up, they sagged below my butt and the front just looks — roomy.
I did not wear my pants for hours before finishing. Nope I immediately finished using Pam’s “Talbots Waistband”. (Fold down the elastand stitch-in-the-ditch along each seam and dart.) Without the darts, 4 stitch in the ditches was not enough to hold the “waistband” in place. I also vertically stitched half way between each of the previous. It’s wearable. It’s OK but I think in the future I will finish the elastic differently. I know several cut-on-waistband finishes. It’s a matter of choosing one that works and looks good to me. (Which is odd because I never tuck my blouses. So why should I care what it looks like as long as it stays in place and will never be seen?)
I think I maybe at the point of scooping the back crotch. I always have to do this. Even the Eureka needed a small scoop. I need the back crotch to be lower than the front instead of on the same horizontal parallel-to-the-floor plane. That’s me. That’s the way I’m built. I know there are several others out there that have the same crotch shape. I’m also sad to see the back X’s developing. The scoop will help but truth is, my body is shaped the way it is shaped and I stand the way I stand. The X’s, diagonal pulls crossing from butt-knee-calve, occur anytime my pants hem circumferences are less than 19″. This pair finished at about 16.
Yes I shared pics before the pants are completely finished. I just need to scoop which will take care of the drooping back waist and excess ease under the butt. (Maybe even help those knee line drags). I also took these pics after carefully pressing but not wearing the pants. Being a woven stretch I’m sure they will continue to stretch while being worn. I’m really happy with this version even at this unfinished point. I spent more time fusing interfacing to the pattern and making templates, than I did sewing — and that includes ripping. I do think that future versions will take a few minutes longer because darts are warranted and I want to add pockets. Still this is a good pair of pants than can be made in about an hour, maybe hour and a half.
Side and back view of almost finished pants: