sdBev's Pants!

Archive for June 2017

I talked about the embroidery elsewhere. Here I want to discuss sewing; construction choices.

I’m using a remnant I think from the now defunct Mill Ends in Sioux Falls. I truly miss that store. They had a small section of designer fabrics –rejects for one reason or another. Like too much stock; didn’t use in time; or  crap for fabric. I also have a proclivity for upholstery fabrics. Many are  manufactured in much wider widths and are higher quality than  dressmaking fabrics; also surprisingly,  better priced. (For example, when I considered fiber and width, dressmaking silks were more expensive and of lesser quality than silks in the HomeDec dept).  This 100%, loosely woven canvas came from the upholstery remnants section of the store. Just barely 1.25 yards by 54″ wide. Just not enough for a pair of pants for my frame. Could have been a vest. In fact I think I did consider making it into a vest but never got that done. I need shorts now and I’m particularly interest in grey rather than black for summer.

This is a nonstretch fabric. It does not even possess the “give” of denim. I knew immediately I would be using Trudy Jansen’s 906 Fashion Jean. TJ906 is my goto pattern for nonstretch fabrics and has been or several years.  Long enough for me to have developed several variations. About a year ago, I developed what I call the DG2 Waistband..  OK, I didn’t really develop this waistband. I bought a pair of jeans from Diane Gilman and realized what a sweet waistline finish she had used. I got my french curve and a la Peggy Sagers, copied it.  Essentially, the front is extended at the top to include the waistband. The back yoke and back waistband are combined into a 2nd piece. The waistband pattern piece,  is retained as the facing. Front pockets are not used. They would be a PITA, but optionally stitching which suggests there is a front pocket can be used. (I didn’t this time).  DG2 uses back pockets. Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t.  Lack of fabric was the deciding factor this time and these shorts have neither front nor back pockets. I installed a zipper because hello nonstretch? I need a way to get in and out. DG2 sometimes uses a zipper sometimes not. With the 8″ of stretch in DG2’s jeans they don’t need a zipper.  I top stitched the back yoke seam. Mostly because it has a tendency to twist which can be irritating during wear.  I also did 2 rows of top stitching on the hem mostly because the first row wasn’t high enough to secure the edge. That edge would have rolled again being an irritant during wear. (I’m surprised at how many RTW details can be traced back to making a garment easier to sew or more comfortable to wear. Listen to the hawkers on TV and you’d think it’s all about beautiful you. Nope.) When I installed the facing, I used 2 rows to secure the bottom edge because hey that looks like real jeans but also to echo the dual lines of stitching along the  hem.

Must confess to one heart stopping moment during construction.  I’ve made this pattern so many times that I just assumed it still fit. About half of the shorts I’m wearing every day were made, I thought, with this very same pattern. My existing shorts are comfortable. They fit the way I want. I thought I had both the shorts and long leg versions nailed! My heart stopping moment came when I aligned the waistband with the top of the waist. The CF is marked 1.5″ from the cut edge. The entire waistband was not long enough to finish the upper edge! Even using the 3″ designed as beyond the CF.  What happened?  I don’t remember having this issue before. No remarks in my blog about a too short WB or too long waistline — even when using the very same DG2 waistband center front over/underlap. The only thing I can think of is that I did not cut and sew immediately.  I cut the pieces. Hung them while doing the embroidery and then stitched my shorts. The pieces hung for 2 days. I did not stay stitch or fuse, so it is possible that the waistline had stretched, I just doubt that it stretched 3″.

Instead of taking everything apart, adjusting and restitching, the way my Home Ec teacher would have insisted, I applied the facing, top stitched leaving the edges open along the zipper.  Then I threaded 1.25″ elastic through the channel created by the top stitching.

I stitched the elastic and the facing along the zipper and then again at the side seams.

I Frey Checked the edges of the elastic and trimmed close with my pinking  disk.

That stitching is enough to keep it all secured and the elastic evenly distributed.  The elastic cheat? It’s one I learned/developed several years ago when having to deal with an expandable waist and tailored pants. The elastic is undetectable. The waistline fits no matter how much I eat or how bad the IBS becomes.

I will not change the waistband at ATM. I will keep it in mind as a possible future alterations. What does concern me is that the side front and the side back do not match. After all this time,  I’ve made many pants and shorts, I don’t understand the mismatch. It would be easier to miss in a stretch fabric. I noticed it first with the cavanvas fabric because I had to stretch the sides slightly. Well more than slightly

The sides seams are  really rounded and bubbly. It does almost completely press out

However is evident in the side views:

Have to admit, even the back seems to be a little loose

(I may take these in just a bit after the first wear and launder.)

I looked carefully at my previous shorts and said “Darn. They’ve got it too.”.  Meaning that this excess length has been there a while and not the result of the DG2 waistband treatment.

Well despite that little issue,  I think these pants are just beautiful.  In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t taken the time for embroidery.  Canvas tends to pull free at the seams.  I did use a 2.5″ stitch length at the SM, N (which I think is also 2.5) on the serger. I don’t know what it is about canvas that helps it escape from seams. I just know that I feel a pang of regret realizing this canvas probably won’t last 2 seasons. This much beauty deserves a place in my closet for several years.

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Wanting to tweak the fit of my Eleanor shorts, I made another pair. I did not mess with pockets. Even cut off the faux zipper that I always like. But remembering the issues of the previous pair I made a series of minor changes to the tissue:

  • 1/2″ ease added front and back pieces
  • 1/2″ wedge across leg top
  • 3/4″ crotch scoop
  • 1/4″ added at top of crotch
  • shorten legs 1″

I picked another fabric and made sure it had the right amount of stretch. I went all the way back to the pattern directions. It shows 3″ stretched to 3-5/8″. That’s about 17% stretch.  My fabric has 20% stretch.

I’ve always loved how quickly this pant sews together. So I put the waistband together. Set it aside. Stitched yoke to back leg and serge finished seams. Serge finished front seams. Stitch the crotches together. Pressed lightly and stopped in my tracks. To my shock the crotch had developed an incredibly high peak at the inseam:

I’m not bothered by a little nub. That folds over or trims off.  This is about 1-1.5″ high. I got my curve and tried to elegantly join back to front crotch.  That’s the purple line you see in the pic above. I trimmed it away and said Nuh Huh.

I had this incredibly long crotch (above).

I thought I may as well finish and try these on. If nothing else it would tell me if I’ve added sufficient ease and if the length is now proportional to my tops. I stitched the sides together. Hemmed the legs; added the waistband to the top of the legs.  A poof of steam and then some pics.

I’m really socked that adding 2″ of ease didn’t take care of the fit issue; and stunned by the bubble along the yoke.  Yoke was not touched. I add ease and it  bubbles? I’m getting VPL and  I think the front crotch needs a little reshaping.  It’s just on the verge of camel toe.  I’m rather stunned. I expected between the additional ease and crotch reshaping that it would be better than the previous:

Above Previous Pair of Eleanor Shorts.

Not hardly.

The only things I’ve god right is the length and proportion:

Because I never wear my blouses tucked, my shorts are wearable around the house. It’s just that I was hoping to make shorts wearable in public.

I’m not sure what I will do next. I’m working with a copy of the pattern fit using Peggy Sagers procedure. Those pants fit when I made them but after wearing for a few months they developed X wrinkles in the back. It’s not just the Eleanors either. All my pants patterns (except TJ906 which fit without going through Peggy’s process) developed the X wrinkles after a few months of wear.  I have no more 20% stretch fabrics in the ‘shorts stack’.  I need shorts right now which means I’ll probably switch to 906 and make shorts. Which will give me time to think about the fitting problem.

 

 

I need more shorts. Yep 5 pair just ain’t gettin’ it for me. I’m down there in the laundry about every 3 days sorting thru and making sure the summer shorts get cleaned. Once fitting is done, my pants aren’t exciting garments. I keep my pants basic;  plain and usually one of 3 colors: midnight black, chocolate-brown or navy blue. Well, I do like to embroidery the pocket, so maybe not perfectly plain.

I  rarely buy fabric for shorts. The remnants from other projects are collected and shorted by length. Those about one-and-a-quarter yards long are shorts candidates. So for the Summer Shorts Projects, the first thing I did was sort through the remnants designated “shorts candidates”.  I donated some of them. I’m just not wearing 100% wool shorts. Hoping Goodwill can find someone with an idea for a small cut of a good quality wool. Once pressed and carefully measured, some of the other candidates were of insufficient length. I really need just over a yard. 7/8 will not do.  I carefully stacked the remainder and finished cleaning the stash room. I planned to start shorts sewing in the morning. Overnight my creative side offered me options for a blue jean remnant and a silver sage corduroy. (It’s interesting that I pull out corduroy in early November and pack it away early May because it’s too warm to wear. However I promptly pull out the corduroy remnants and wear the resulting shorts.  I even wore corduroy shorts in the Grand Canyon. In August. And I was comfortable.)

The Silver Sage Corduroy had  good stretch. Not sure how much. I  grasped two edges and yanked apart. I was quite pleased with how far it could be yanked. Obviously, not 100% cotton as it must contain a substantial amount of Lycra to stretch like that. Point is: stretch determined pattern.  Over night and in my mind, I’d been turning over pattern choices.  I didn’t want to do a lot of pattern work and had settled upon 906 for non-stretch fabrics and Jalie’s Eleanor for stretch fabrics; both patterns I thought already fit. I will be using this shorts pattern several times this summer and decided to make a shorts version. Very easy to do. I traced my existing TNT from waist to knee line i.e. lengthen/shorten line about midway on the leg. This should be longer than I prefer shorts but a good place to start.  I reread my notes which said I had made a 3/4″ crotch scoop. Well the back pattern didn’t look like it had been scooped. But I wrote that down. So did I scoop the fabric but not the pattern? Can’t remember. I think the safest plan is starting as  the pattern is now  knowing I will probably make more tweaks.

“More tweaks?” Yes and on all my pants patterns except  my 906 .  See last year I gleefully refit all my pants patterns after I discovered I could indeed achieve a near perfect fit by following Peggy Sagers’ fitting procedure. At the end of winter, I took pictures of all the pants I’d made and fit. I was dismayed to see the X wrinkles had formed in the back. They were not there when I fit the pants. 4-6 months later, the back of my pants even freshly washed, lightly starched and pressed fell into X wrinkles.  I know I will be tweaking pants patterns including the Eleanor pattern. Looking at it now, I’m anticipating an extra tweaking.

My 1-7/8 yard, silver sage fabric had flaws and two  8X10″ rectangles missing from the corners. That and its unusual color is probably why it was still sitting in the stash instead of part of my winter wardrobe.  I’ve noted before that the Eleanor is very fabric conserving. Proved again by my cutting 2 pairs of shorts all the while maintaining grain direction and avoiding the fabric flaws.  I cut one set of back pockets and fired up the embroidery machine.  Yep I’m back to machine embroidery. I’d say “like a fiend”  but it feels more like with glee. I love machine embroidery. (I’ll share the details in a separate post). When the embroidery finished I stitched up this pair of shorts. OMG I love this pattern. It is so easy to put together. Seriously fast.  Well, I didn’t stop for fitting so maybe that helped.

Before I share pics, let me say none of last winter’s Eleanors looked this bad. But I’m reluctant to change circumference as I didn’t measure the fabric’s  stretch. This could be a fabric issue and not a pattern issue.

 

The wrinkles visible beneath the waistband on the front are even more visible on the sides. It is typical for me to remove a 1/2″ wedge above my hip bone. That wedge (dart) always extends onto the back pattern piece. It really looks like I need to make that change but again I don’t know if I have a circumference issue, a length issue.  a fabric issue or a pattern issue.  I jumped into sewing without checking the fabric stretch.

When I start seeing the curve of my cheeks, I know I have to do something now. I’m annoyed that the CB is obviously dipped. Did or did not my Eleanor’s fit last winter?  Or did I make fitting changes but not transfer to the pattern.  I made a 3/8″ scoop immediately and took a second pic of the back side:

Not much improvement. I’m especially displeased by all the excess fabric over the back thigh.    I absolutely loved this pattern for its fit. From the get go, this fit nicely.

I scooped again, because I could still feel the back pulling on my coccyx.  I broke mine back in 2000.  Slid down a flight of stairs on it.  It looks fine but when I fit pants I can tell something has changed.

OK still not a huge improvement. Thing is, when I’m fully decked out, I look good:

Those bank line views need only a smile to be perfect. So I’m not doing anything further to this pair of shorts.

Tissue Changes to make:

  1. Scoop crotch 3/4″
  2. Add 1/2″ CB length just under the yoke.
  3. Side Fish eye darts from front dart to back dart 1/2″ deep.