sdBev's Pants!

Archive for June 2016

I want a second pair of jeans shorts. I also want to tweak the shorts pattern just a little, (legs are too long) and I want to try out a waistband treatment from my favorite Diane Gilman jeans.  From the outside my DG2  Jeans look like they have a typical contour waistband. In fact, I wore them several times before realizing it is a faced, cut-on waistband with top-stitching in strategic places.

I pulled out all the pieces from the jeans shorts just completed days ago.  I trimmed 2″ from the bottom on the leg. I think knee-length  dresses, tunics and shorts make me look shorter and stubbier.I think it’s just a proportion issue. Because I lengthen my dresses just enough to cover the knee brace, cut the tunics and shorts higher and the stubbiness goes away. Well, not completely because I am over weight and I am petite.

I traced the front and the yoke onto new paper and added 2-1/4″ (the width of my contour waistband) to the top of these two pieces:

I decided not to use front pockets, at least this first pair. I can get things ‘off’ with pockets so for a test garment I like to omit them.  But I do want to use top stitching to suggest there are pockets.  I traced along the top of the waistband and down the side seam about 8″.  Using my curve, I marked a hand opening.  then I trimmed along those lines to create this new piece:

After laying out and cutting my fabric, I align the new piece (now a pocket template)  with the side seam and waist of the front’s fabrics

and chalk along the bottom edge of the template:

I should mention, I’m already running the embroidery machine at this point.  I’ve found that I can maximize my time sewing if the embroidery machine can run while I’m doing other things. This combined with the lessor amount of embroidering I am doing, is becoming so successful that I may not need a stand alone embroidery machine.  I’ve chosen a leaf/vine like pattern and wanted more of a tone-on-tone effect vs the typical gold jean stitching. Of course I still wanted the embroidery  to show up.  My fabric is a dark grey blue. I chose dark blue grey embroidery threads but they read much brighter in the pics:

While the embroidery was stitching….

Normally, I would use the waistband pattern to cut both a waistband and a facing.  This time I needed only cut the facing. I also cut one interfacing.  I’m not sure that’s good or not. I prefer to interfacing both sides of the waistband and I won’t be doing that. I load sewing machine, serger and cover stitch with thread.  I serge-finish the side , waist and crotch before switching to the cover stitch and stitching along the chalked line of the fronts.  I proceed to insert the front zipper and stitch the two back pieces of the back leg together (I am using TJ906 with has a 2-piece back leg.)

At this point, both pockets have been embroidered. These faster embroidery machines are wonderful. I finish the pockets which involves hemming, and attaching to the back of the pant at the cover stitch machine. I use SAS to turn the edges under neatly and secure for the cover stitch machine.  I wanted to work on making the stitching at the point crisp. My bright idea was stitching to the point. Stopping and pulling the thread to the underside and repeat on the opposite side of the pocket.  Then tying the loose threads at the point and sealing with a drop of Frey Check on the underside.

I think it worked really well.  It is an extra step. Sometimes an extra step is worth taking.  I continued my usual construction routine with a few minor changes. I made my belt loops at the cover stitch as usual but I cut them 4.5″ long instead of 3″ so that I would be able to place them exactly as desired along the faux waistband. I also discovered that somehow in adding equal amounts to the top of the front and yoke made the back side longer than the front.  My first thought was I had put the yokes in backwards i.e. the deep end goes to center back and it’s not unusual for me to put the deep end on the side seam and have to rip it out. But, no, the yokes were correctly stitched.  I wondered if I did the calculation of how much to add correctly  (waistband width – seam allowances at leg top and waistband edge). I added the same to both. It shouldn’t change the overall length.   Did I trim the same amount of length from the leg bottom when adjusting leg length?  This is a close-fitting pant. My pattern pieces are really shaped. The excess, about 3/4″,  is not in the lower portion of the leg. It is between yoke and hip.  So I eased the front to the back

placed the leg over my pressing ham and steamed well.

Not perfect, but really good.  It perplexes me.  I used the same fabric and essentially the same pattern.  My only other thought is I had somehow stretch both side, back pieces. It’s something I need to watch for when I makes shorts again.

I added the facing and then top stitched through the denim and the facing fabric approximating a contour waistband.

Back

Inside

Note, I didn’t develop an overlap.  I’ll be wearing a belt, so these will probably stay up and closed. But I’m always uneasy about that and also added a tap and button to the inside:

Fit surprised me. I needed to increase the side seams 1/8″.  Why this time?  I used the same fabric last time and 3/8″ SA on the side and back leg seam.  This time the side seam needed to be 1/2″.  Other than that, fit is about as expected:

 

Which I know you can’t see because they are so dark.  Trust me, they look and feel pretty nice. I think the SOG should change on the yoke. It just didn’t feel right when sewing. My real issue is that all the top stitching I did, doesn’t really show up. I didn’t achieve the desired result i.e. copying the DG2 Waistband. My shorts look like a cut-on waistband. DG2’s looks like a contour waistband.  Maybe if I had used gold jean thread it would have been more apparent. I was copying DG2 as much as possible and she used the blue thread.  So for next time I’m purchasing jean thread in jean blue or jean black.  Also I think I also want to increase the tension so that the cover stitching tunnels just a little.  I think that would add to the illusion.

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Every warm day we’ve had since April 1st, I’ve been testing my summer clothes from last year.  Do they still look good?  In need of repair?  Do they still fit.  While bust and hip have remained unchanged the last few years, my shoulder slope has increased and my tummy seems to have grown.  My shorts made with elastic waists are still wearable but the jeans shorts just aren’t cutting it.  Time to replace. I don’t want to fuss a lot with fit so I’m using my all time favorite pattern Trudy Jansen’s Designer Jean #906.  I took the time to make a copy and cut it off at the knee notch.  Not having any denim remnants, I selected and cut into a very nice stretch denim.

Loading 3 machines with thread is time-consuming.  I can understand why some dressmakers look around their room and ask ‘is there anything else I can make that needs this color thread?”.  I loaded my sewing machine and serger with dark blue thread.  In the cover stitch, I used a dark grey for the looper and jean-gold in the two needles.  If you don’t want a cover stitch for any other reason and you sew jeans, you need to buy a cover stitch.  It made all the top stitching simple and quick:

I do have a little issue turning acute corners.  Guess I need to practice more.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little machine embroidery.

The whole design is on the back pocket.  I just trimmed portions for the  front pocket embellishment.

Truly, you have more designs than the number of files in your directories.  It’s up to you to look and say ‘what can I do with this?”

I opted for a trouser hook and eye.  My jeans buttons just dont’ seem to stay attached. With its metal backings and fabric piercing flanges, the trouser hook is done and stays done.  Sewing was simple.  For fitting, I added 1/4″ to the center front of the contour waistband.  Fit, while could be tweaked, is about as expected and impossible to see unless the pics are tremendously lightened as I’ve done here:

This jean short was one of those experiences that enforces my love of TNT’s.  I was able to do fun stuff (i.e. the embroidery and top stitching).  Fit adjustments were minimal; and I had a nice wearable garment in about 3 hours.

 

I’ll not give many construction details as this waistband is most commonly used on jeans. Instructions abound in many patterns and on-line tutorials.

However fit is a subject I’ll weigh-in on.  I grew up in the time of Bell Bottoms and Hip Huggers. Before TJ906 I struggled with fitting this waistband.  OK, I also thought my body was wrong and the pattern was right.  It’s only been the last few decades that I’ve been embolden by the Home Sewing Community with the concept “the pattern is only the beginning”.  TJ906 includes detailed instructions on what to do to make this waistband fit. I needed to make several darts in the contour waistband pattern piece. I placed  the wide end of the dart on the upper edge (waist side). I understand others (those with big waists and narrow hips), do just the opposite, ie wide end of dart is on the hip side of the waistband.  You can also slash and spread if the waistband is just not long enough and of course make tucks if it turns out to be too long completely.

Front

My pattern calls for placing the center back on the fold.  I’ve added a 1/4″ seam allowance and cut the center front on the selvage. It find the on-the-fold cutting layout is a fabric hog. I’ve also seen two -piece contour waistbands i.e. a center back cut on fold and a front cut double; then all the pieces seamed together at the side seams.  I may develop and share that version just because it is really fabric conserving.

Whichever style is cut, 2 are needed. One for the waistband and one for the facing.  I also cut 2 sets of interfacing.  I like a firm waistband.  I have not but understand others tape the upper edge.  I fuse interfacing to the waistband and then recut to match the original pattern piece.  I’ve been satisfied with that procedure but have had a few fabrics that would have benefited from the addition of stay tape.   Belt loops and belts saved those pants.

Inside

For fabric conservation practices, i.e. I’m cheap and like to buy the smallest length possible, I cut the facings from a second piece of fabric.  I find this to be a good use for remnants especially if I’m able to use a slightly lighter weight fabric like the dress linen in the photo above. (Quilting cottons and shirtings are my other favorite choices.) The lighter weight makes it easier to fold the facing and wrap it around.  I also prefer the triple zig-zag stitch for under stitching.  It may indeed be the reason I don’t notice the lack of stay tape.  To understand the superiority of the triple zig-zag to the usual straight understitching, well, you have to try it yourself.  It really does seem to persuade the facing to roll and stay on the inside; and while it allows a little stretch that upper edge is firmed.