Denim Shorts

Notice, I did not call these jeans:


Sorry for hanger shot.  They are a very dark blue denim with slight stretch (10%).  I used PP113. I cut 4 different pairs of shorts at the same time. Completion of this pair welcomes  the 3rd to my closet which now gives me a total of 6 pairs of shorts.  I used the “shorts” version (traced from PP113 trouser with legs trimmed to shorts level). I folded out the fly so these will have a fly front; cut a straight waistband and cut front pockets. No back pockets.  There are 4 darts in back, 2 in front and a front curved pocket. Hems were finished with two rows of top stitching.  Can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I was too lazy to thread the cover-stitch just to hem the legs.


I used a button & hole closure which I think further gives more of a denim-shorts than denim-jeans vibe.  They’re a little plain, but I love them already.



Brown Stripe Shorts

I cut 4 pairs of shorts at once. I knew that I wanted more shorts for summer. More importantly, I’m cleaning out the Under 2’s — those remnants of fabrics that are too big to throw away but not large enough all projects.  The next pair I cut was from a white with brown stripe, stretch twill.  Stretch factor is about 15%.

The cuton waist band was already pinned to the my shorts version of PP113.  To make this pair different, I opted for inseam pockets, a fly front and Euro waistband.  (WB  is cut on and darts are stitched through the WB.)

I serge finished inseams and, crotch and the WB edge.  Added the the inseam pocket at the same time as serge finishing the side seam. Then I stitched darts, zipper and serged the inseams.  I stitched the crotch seams and pressed them open but used water soluble thread to stitch the side seams and tack the waistband into place.

I realized that the previous fabric with it’s 100% stretch would be “roomy’ and increased the seam allowances.  I thought this fabric with 15% stretch would act very much like a woven.  This stretch amount is intended to provide movement ease not style or minimal ease.  I was surprised that the pant was obviously tight across my bum (and thankful for my 5/8″ side seams.)  At the same time, it was not tight enough at the waist.  I let the side seams out 1/8″ and made the darts 1/8″ deeper. With 4 darts, that took the waist in sufficiently.    The first try-on made me think the shorts were just a bit longer than my preferred length. I finished the hem at 2″ instead of my usual 1.25”.

All in all this was reasonably quick to sew.  In fact, this is what I expect of a TNT.  I expect that the lengths will be correct and that ease may need to be adjusted for the nuances of the individual fabric.    My ideal is stitching zipper and darts permanently. Basting the rest together. One try-on from which minor adjustments can be made and then permanent finishes for an excellent garment.  Today’s shorts fit that bill.



Summer Shorts: Knit Pull On

I know. I know. We all hate hanger shots.  But there really isn’t too much to say about these.

I used my TNT Pamela’s Pattern 113.   Drew a line where I thought shorts should end and then traced a copy only from waist to the shorts hem line.  At cutting time, I added the fold over waistband drafted for the Dress Blue Pants.  I folded the zipper fly aside because these are to be Pull-On i.e. no zipper, no zipper fly and quick.

My fabric is a cotton/poly knit with a bark like appearance but very soft. So soft that during construction I increased all seam allowances.  These are almost entirely serged. The hems were cover stitched and the fold over waistband was cover stitched into place except for 2″ which I left open for inserting elastic. After the elastic was inserted and joined, I closed that seam with two rows of top-stitching .    Unless you look really close, you can’t tell where the cover stitching ends.  Just because I hate elastic that rolls and folds down, I adjusted the fabric evenly along the elastic and then  stitched-in-the-ditch along  each crotch and side seam.  I’ve heard of and used non-rolling elastic but I’ve found they lie. So I don’t trust the advertising and take steps to ensure my elastic will stay upright.

I need these for summer. I started with 3 pairs of shorts, which is certainly enough for home use. Gracious, I can launder every day if I’m so inclined.  I’ve already worn these and I’m not over the top loving them.  Not the pattern’s fault at all.  The fabric is stretchier than I thought.  By the end of the day, the bottom is bagging slightly (just enough to tell but who wants that look?); and the front crotch stretches up somewhat.  I’m really glad I didn’t add pockets. Which I skipped because I wanted these shorts done so I could work with 5620. Had I taken time for pockets, I would have had even more weight on the side and waist seams which I’m sure would have caused these to look bad long before the day is done.

I am happy with them.  I have a pair of shorts that coordinates with a number of my summer tops.  Additionally I did confirm the waistband fold over width and test the hemmed length.   For the next pair, because although I can launder every day I don’t want to, I will make the hem higher. Just a bit.



Knee Slide

I have two pants patterns that fit really well. My jean pattern TJ906 and my trouser pattern PP113.  I’ve been trying to slim the leg of PP113. It’s fine for a trouser. I don’t want a jegging. I just want a little less fabric floating over my back thigh and a narrower hem (16″ instead of 20″). When I try to slim the leg, I start getting the X wrinkles.  I’ve had several pants patterns that fit nicely as long as I was content with a 20-24″ hem circumference. So while I was hoping for success with PP113, I wasn’t surprised when the last pair that was slimmed by a mere 1/4″ starting showing the X wrinkles.

Recently there was discussion on SG about Jill Stearns Knock Knee Alteration. So I clicked the link (which I’ve now lost) and read with interest.  She uses the typical Knock Knee Alteration of slicing horizontally at the knee, moving the lower portion of the pattern towards the inseam and then truing  the seams. When truing, some fabric is added between crotch and knee along the inseams and the same amount is removed from the side seam. Sort of like this:

I’ve done this before. Lena at IconicPatterns has an excellent tutorial which I followed. I moved the leg 1/2″ as recommended.   It did nothing. If anything, the X wrinkles looked worse.  I discard the alteration as not the solution for me. Until Jill Stearns blog post discussed needing to more the leg a full 1.5″ for a particular customer. I thought, maybe I needed to slide the knee more than 1/2″.  So I did. I thought about making the move incrementally 1/2″ at a time but decided I wanted to see the full effect immediately.

I’m using a stretch twill. It has 40% stretch. It takes 30% before I can even see the twill moving.  I removed a 1/8″ tuck from the front and back when I made the black pants (stretch denim) shown above. . Oh and I’m making shorts. Shorts won’t show the full effect of the alteration, but there should be some indication.

I was just stunned when this fabric with more stretch than the previous, looked so much tighter across my bum. But I’m seeing a reduced amount of ease over the back thigh (yeah).


My side view shows the same tightness and angles toward the back  at my hip-joint but the reduced fullness over the thigh itself looks close to what I’m wanting.

It is the front view which blew my mind

As well as being too tight, there are wads of fabric between my legs. Uncomfortable wads.

I made three more alterations changing the side seams to the minimum possible (1/4″)  While offsetting the front and back inseam trying to remove the excess fabric between my front legs without effecting the back.

The nice thing about shorts, I’m usually working with remnants. After 3 alterations I could not add enough ease to erase the VPL and had only slightly reduced the frontal wads. I tossed it in the garbage. I’m not sure if I’m onto something because the back did look nicer or “barking up the wrong tree” because the front was so hideous. Also, I can’t ignore the fact that this fabric with more ease was tighter on my body than the previous. The lack of ease is itself causing issues.

Now here’s my problem, my knees don’t actually rotate inward or at least noticeably.  No one ever looks at me and says “you’re knock kneed”.  What I have is a pad of fat on the inner knee mostly situated towards the back.  It (the fat) does give an appearance of the thigh angling towards center front especially since my thighs never touch. Yes I have thigh gap at my weight. Thigh gap is not an indication of thinness. I keep trying different alterations because nowhere have I seen my exact issue.  I see something close and then attempt the correction that was made for them… and I document them all on this blog.  Just like today’s mistake.


PP113 w/Jean Styling

I need to complete my planned black jeans for my Summer 6PAC’s but I’m excited about working with Connie Crawford’s patterns and not at all wanting to work on pants. Nonetheless it’s time to get it done. I’d already picked out the fabric, a light weight black denim with white stripes.  It has a Lycra content which provides about 15% stretch. I had in mind making a Faux Jean complete with front and back pockets, faux yoke and faux contour waistband using PP113. I do love this pattern and have been pleased with my ability to add styling–so far.

I refit this pattern April 2015 and for the first time used the narrow back. Since then every version I’ve made has been with non-stretch fabrics and retained the 18-20″ leg-hem circumference.  I’m going for jean styling which to me also includes a bit of jean fit.  I don’t want to use my TNT and then take huge seam allowances to compensate for the stretch alter my TNT so it isn’t usable as a trouser/slack.   Also my TNT has been through lots of changes. It looks more like a well-used road-map then a recent garment pattern.  I opted to cut a new copy. Just placed my TNT underneath blank tracing paper and rotary cut a new copy.  Adding notches, grain lines and other needed pattern marks after the tissue was cut.  I wanted to preempt the stretch factor.  I folded the new tissue along the grain line from waist to hem. Took it to the sewing machine and basted in a 1/8″ tuck on both front and back.

I wanted the look of the contoured waistband without all the work and without further altering my basic pattern. I know a way to do this.  I made a 2.75″ wide facing for the waist. I used  Swedish tracing paper to trace the front and back as is including the darts.  I trimmed the excess paper and stitched darts and side seams; pressed them open and added belt loop positions.

Onto the pockets. I stole the back pocket from another pattern I’m not using. Done!  Front pocket however had to be copied and drafted with the idea that it must extend all the way to the usual waist. That’s right, I’m not trimming the pant waist down. It stays as is including darts.  I started with the pocket bag that I’ve been using and copied it. Since this is a front jean-pocket, I made it not as deep, trimming  about 2″. Then I cut a copy of my new pocket bag and added the curved hand opening. Trick is that curve must be deeper. The usual jean-pocket as a narrow scoop. Mine is 2.5″ deep

Since this is a summer pant, in a summer weight fabric I prefer the legs to be ankle length. No problemo. I measured up 1.25″ from the hem and drew a line on front and back leg pieces. I folded the pattern up on this line.

I cut my fabric.  Stitched a faux yoke on the back.  That’s really easy. I measured the yoke and contour waistband of my exiting jeans and drew a line on the back pieces with chalk; loaded up the Cover Stitcher with black thread and stitch along the chalked line.

It’s one of those things that people need to get up close to see something is different. Even then most won’t realize that I should have had a separate piece. I know. I’ve done this before.

I stitched darts; prepared my pockets and fused them to the pant back before stitching the pockets permanently in place.  I deliberately chose to cut the back pockets with horizontal stripes. A decision I regretted at the first fitting. Considering that the pockets are fused and double stitched. They are not being changed.

I stitched the front darts and then added the pocket facing. I trimmed out the curve of the facing and wondered why I had bother to stitch darts. Then I added the pocket back and realized I was going to have fitting issues. Without the front darts, the pant front is sure to have too much ease. But I was moving right along and rapidly completed the zipper, inseams, and crotch before basting the side seams.

Then I started on the waistband. In theory, and this has worked for me in the past, the facing is sewn right side to the wrong side of the pant. It is then flipped up and over; the free edge is turned under and top stitched. That looks and fits just like a contour waistband but is only a facing turned to the public side. I did say this worked for me in the past?  I couldn’t get it to flip up and over. It would roll wonky with some of the wrong side showing in some places and the right side rolling to the back in others. For this to appear to be a contour waistband, the facing must turn crisply at the waist and turn under evenly at the bottom free edge. I made two facings. Choosing different interfacing. I forgot to mention that I also added belt loops because to me that’s an important part of the jeans look. The only good thing about this experience was that it was easy to rip out and toss because I had water-soluble thread in the bobbin. I struggled with the facing for more than an hour before deciding to use my straight waistband.

The straight waistband turned out to be a real gift. I was able to immediately see and fix the fit errors caused by sewing the front pocket.

So despite my frustration, pants look good

I had forgotten how I hate that curved pocket. The deeper the curve the harder it is to keep the facing neatly inside. I don’t want to stitch it down because I like working pockets.

Undoubtedly you’ll note that they aren’t even close to jean fit

Even taking out as little as 1/2″ ease, with a fabric that as 15% stretch caused the legs to pull at my knee.  For the final fit (above) I stitched the side seams at 3/8″ instead of 1/2″. I can still see a slight pull at the knee. This is what happens to me every time I try to get a closer fit.  Thankfully I have a link to Jill Sterns instructions regarding knock-knee fitting. I have tried this same alteration previously but I only offset the legs 1/2″.  In Jill’s instructions she says to offset as much as 1-1/2″. I’ll try on the next pair. This one is done.