I’m getting ready to make those loose summer pants I said I needed at the end of my summer wardrobe evaluation.
Should be easy, right? Just pull out one of TNTs and start sewing? But I made a grave error last year. I got so excited wih the very idea that I even could fit pants using Peggy Sagers procedures that I tossed all my pant TNTs. All except TJ906 because it’s a jean and it doesn’t ever need fitting. When I was evaluating pants for spring and summer, I was shocked to see all those pants I fit using Peggy’s procedure had developed X wrinkles. I don’t think this is Peggy’s fault or that her procedure is at fault. I think I’m missing some critical piece of information. I need the answer to exactly why are my pants distorted through wear? (Remember they were beautiful when first fit and in pictures taken in the next few weeks). I need exacts that I can translate into pattern alterations. In the mean time, I still need pants to wear. Specifically, I want loose pants for summer. “Loose” so on those days that start nice but get windy and cool, I don’t need to change pants. Just pull these loose pants over whatever I’m already wearing. Or on those blistering, hot days, those days I know I must cover up my legs or cope with 2nd degree sunburn, I can slip these loose pant on- without shorts beneath- and be protected from the sun but not overheated as I would be with in a good pair of jeans. I’m continuing to work with Sally’s Pant because I think the majority of my fit issues are already solved whereas with my other pants patterns I need to start from scratch..
To use this pattern year round, I’d want to reduce the hem circumference and reduce the excess ease over the back thigh. Well, for summer loose pants, I don’t need to worry at all about the hem circumference. I may even want a little more. But I do think I’d like to take away at least some of that thigh ease. I carefully looked at the inseams of the tissue. I shortened the legs by folding out 3.5″ at the knee level then trued the inseam and side seam with my curve and ruler. Especially after watching Suzy Furrer draft a pants sloper, I’m wondering if I could draw the inseam different. I saw her plot a few points and then freehand draw in the crotch. With the inseam, she shifted a hip curve, not the french curve, up and down until she found a curve she liked. Those two important curves were determined not by body shape but by whim. Is that how all pattern makers draft pants? I’m thinking I should be looking more intently and adjusting that curve to correspond with my body. So the next pair is going to be another test/muslin garment but I’m crossing my fingers hoping I can make a wearable.
Even so, I chose fabric from the stash pile. It’s a 56″ wide cotton/poly with aqua, white and peach stripes. It’s a nice fabric except that aqua color has never matched or been in the same hue range as any other blue I’ve ever purchased. It is also transparent/semi-transparent. Do I really want to make pants that show my polka-dot panties? I have several similar fabrics I’ve purchased over the years with which I wanted to make light weight pants. The fabrics looked fine in the store (or the online pic with description), but single layer in my hands look far too transparent. I’ve decided to work on solutions for the opaqueness with the promise that if I can’t find easy solutions, all those fabrics will go in the muslin stash. I mean, I don’t want to keep pulling fabrics out and putting them away because they don’t meet my transparency requirements. Neither do I want to donate a box of beautiful fabrics. I’ve got one idea to try: underlining with another transparent fabric. Because it is summer, I don’t want to use any of my poly fabrics. Don’t want to use any of the crinkle fabrics. Don’t want to use patterned fabrics that would grin through. After rejecting my way through the stash, I finally ordered a 100% cotton voile. I like the weight, the transparency. Don’t like the shrinkage (2 yards became 1-3/4). Don’t like the wrinkle. But I’m using it for this pair of pants. If it works, I plan to order more.
I have a clear view of what I want my summer pants to look like. Long legs, yes. But because these are a “quick change garment” and to minimize the bulk when wearing 2 pairs of pants (at the same time) I want to make pull-on pants with a 1″ wide elastic waistband. That’s nobody’s favorite look and certainly not flattering to me. It is possible to achieve this style with a separate waistband. However, I decided to make a cut on waistband to again minimize bulk but especially because it makes sewing time so much shorter. No zipper. No waistband. That much less sewing. But I extended 2-3/4″ upward from the waist. This edge will be folded down 1.5″ and stitched at 3/8″ before inserting the elastic. I didn’t alter the pattern piece. I chalked it on the fabric and wrote down details for future reference. The downside to the cut-on waistband is that I definitely have to have 2-1/4″ yards of fabric. A separate waistband is fabric conserving. A cut-on is not.
One more note before we get going. Peggy is absolutely right that neither serge finishing nor underlining are not faster than lining a garment. I cut fabric, underlining and then serged around all 4 sides of all 4 pieces. Whatever time I saved by skipping the zipper and separate waistband was more than consumed by the underlining. Still, I prefer to either serge-finish or underline. Once the serging is done (I realize I could have basted the sides instead of serging), I’m no longer dealing with 8 pieces but 4. At that point, making a single garment instead 0f 2 which much be joined. Also, an underlined garment is easier for me to iron. A lining always drives me nuts at the ironing board. I just can’t seem to manipulate the lining and fashion fabric equally. Usually I settle for making the fashion fabric look good and console myself with the idea that the lining won’t show. IOW no one will know my lining is wrinkled is because I couldn’t iron it.
The first fitting :
Let’s be honest, it could have been a lot worse. Instead I noted that the butt was tighter than expected. Did the wool of Muslin 1 really adapt that much or is it that the 2 layers (fashion fabric + underlining) were much less… um…. forgiving? I noted that the X wrinkles are beginning to form at my knees. The front and sides seem to be most affected by extra length between waist and hip (diagonal drag lines from waist to high hip). Is that because I chalked in the waistband or again the change in fabric? Or because I made an on-the-fly adaptation? I had planned to fold down 1.5″ and stitch 3/8″ from the cut edge. The elastic wouldn’t feed through so restitched at 1/4″ from the edge. I think the pants could have gained about 1/4″ length at the waist.
For fitting #2, I folded the waistband at the side seams 1-3/4″ (instead of the 1.5″ planned) and restitched the WB 1.25″ from the folded edge vs the cut edge. I restitched the legs with a 1/4″ seam allowance .
The butt is still too tight and there’s not much more I can do. Both side and inseams are stitched with 1/4″. seam allowances I can’t let them out any more. I can let the back crotch out 1/8″ which will add total 1/4″ ease across. An interesting point on both Fit 01 and 02 is that the side seams appear to be perpendicular to the floor. The front now has too much ease. It is larger and looser than what I would normally prefer. The butt still too tight. Why isn’t the side seam pulling towards the back? I know that has happened to me in the past. Shirley Adams clearly illustrated this in her series. But it seems as though it doesn’t happen anymore to my pants. The back does not take the ease it needs from side and front. Why not? What has changed?
I’m pleased with that most of the diagonal lines have disappeared beneath the waist. Maybe a little more adjustment is needed?
For fit 3 I’m making 2 changes: 1) release the back crotch seam 1/8″; 2) shorten the side seam another 1/4″ ie. fold down 2″ stitch at 1.25″
to be continued