A Halston to Copy

I purchased/charged the Halston pants with the intent of making a pattern if they fit nicely. I’ve decided to have a go at making a pattern from the medium blue slacks, return the light blues that were too big along with the jeans which did nothing for my tush:

Probably someone out there is asking “Are you sure you want to copy those med-blue pants? They’ve got issues in the back.”  Yes but the picture was enhanced by changing the exposure greatly so we could see the drag lines.  IRL that blue is considerably darker…

..and the drag lines hardly noticeable. I have worn worse-looking pants and I think this may be corrected by scooping the crotch. Most importantly, this pant is better than any I’ve been sewing lately. Not to mention, I haven’t been able to keep RTW pants in a long time. I try them on in stores. When I can pants looking good on  model with a similar body, I order pants through on-line shopping shows. Other than the DG2’s, they all go back.

But before I started copying, I was eager to check the grainline.  The friend who recommended Halston, also stated the pants have a very unusual grain line (which she believes is the reason for her excellent fit.) I plan to send the light blue pants back because they would need complete recutting to be worn but I used them because the grain should be most easily detected.

Oh, my word!  The twill weave is so tight I could not see the grain.  I tried rubbing a little with a lead pencil. No help.  Tried several different colors of chalk.  Still no help.  Holding up to the light, nope. A little water, no. No! No! No!  I used the chalk and lead because those are usually easily removed. I plan to send these back.   I’m desperately  hunting for something that would make the grain more visible but not make the pants unreturnable. I ran upstairs and found a strong magnifying lens. Sure that helped (read with sarcasm). I could see the cross grain just fine. But not the grain.  I could not find the grainline using non-damaging methods. Arghhhh!!!!

Well I learned long ago to trust that nothing is ever truly a waste of your time.  This is one of many incidents that confirms my trust. Remember the drafting I did back in August. I stumbled and essentially failed but I did learn that the grain line is positioned mid-way at the hem and will be perpendicular to the cross grain.  So if that’s true I should be able to align the short end of my ruler with the cross-grain I can see at the hem. The long-edge of the ruler will then  extend upwards along the grain. Worth a try, right?

It took me two pics to capture the result:

The grain line starts in the middle of the hem just like every pant pattern I’ve ever worked with.  It extends up but then angles across almost to the center back. I really want you to see that. I drew a circle on it

I’ve never seen a pattern with a grain line like this.  Even my jeans pattern have not been so angled.  Usually the grain goes straight up dividing the garment equally.   That’s definitely the method my drafting class presented.

I have seen something similar in an older book I am reading now:

Practical Instruction by Wm Lehman. I stumbled across this book while searching for alterations which might apply to my fitting issues.  Not sure where I got the original reference, but this is free and the Library of Congress has a number of free books along those lines. Click HERE to see a list.  Hope the link works.  There are several more I’d like to read.

I consider this book hard reading.  I can’t just read it and “get it”. The book was written/published in 1919.  Even though it is written in English, I can’t easily understand.  They spoke differently a century ago.  For example, Mr Lehman kept referring to “outlets”.  I have not seen that term used in sewing.  I know about electrical outlets. Water outlets. Sewage… but not garment outlets. Was it the neck? Holes for the legs? I think, still not 100% sure, but I think it is the seam allowances. Once I puzzle the terminology and phrasing through, I find he does a good job at explaining and illustrating things. But here again, the illustrations require my thought and sometimes further research on the Internet.  Finally realized when he refers to “full’ look at the solid, unbroken lines. But often I can’t find the  -.-.- lines or the +.+.+ or… well whatever symbol he uses in the text is not always the symbol in the illustration. I’ve opened and closed the book several times because hard reading is also slow reading.  Sometimes I have to read, think, research and then read again. When I finally understand, I find there is good, really good information contained in these pages. Information such as this page on how the grain should run in pants:

The description occurs on the page before and the page after which I think makes for a difficult read. You need to be looking at the illustration while reading the text. That illustration shows  the ‘wrong’ draft in full unbroken lines.  I’m most interested in the correct draft.  For easy viewing, I copied, traced, and I’m sharing just the correctly drafted back leg:

(No seam allowances are included in illustration.) ,

Look at the grain line.  It starts in the middle of the hem and extends upward but by the time it reaches the thigh, it is no longer evenly dividing the back leg. The torso portion has been tilted so the grainline terminates at the center back.  WOW so much like the my pic of the Halston grainline:

BTW, my friend confirmed she too had seen this grainline when she did her own copying.

Well there’s more, but this is enough sharing for one day.



4 thoughts on “A Halston to Copy”

  1. Most of the yokes on jeans that have them are on a slightly different grain. Also be aware that women did not wear pants in 1919 and the line drawing would have been of men’s pants to be worn with suspenders. Also the typical man those pants were drafted for had a flat butt.

  2. Such interesting information. Hard to see how that grain line works but maybe instead of it pulling around the bum, when the crotch gets curled under the bum, the part around the bum is sort of on the bias and hugs it?? I’m not sure I’m explaining that well.. but interesting.

  3. It sure had me bug-eyed. Im not sure how this frainline works or if it is repeatable. For me, this is a big experiment hopefully with a big payoff. But it could be nothing.

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