Halston Starting a Pattern

Time to get with the actual copying.   Long ago I tried Nancy Zieman’s method of smoothing the garment, pinning and transferring the seam lines to a piece of tissue.  As always, she made it look easy; or at least doable. When I tried, I nearly lost my mind. No, I got really frustrated.  Garments don’t want to lie nicely and stay there for any length of time. Too bad I don’t have the patience and skill for the method because it is possible to produce a good pattern without damaging the garment. Sigh, for me it mean ripping seams. I tried first to rip the side seam and the waistline; spreading open one-half the pant.  I pinned and started tracing the back because I thought it would be easier and give me time to think of how I was going to handle the front and the fly. 

Frankly it was hard to accurately trace the crotch with the other half of the pant still attached; clumping; pulling etc. Equally difficult was trying to trace the inseam by pinning it to the tissue, flipping the front leg over -which never really got out-of-the-way because the other half of the pant was still attached. Didn’t take long before I decided I needed to rip it all apart. Well at least one back and one front. Inseam and back crotch separated easily, that front zipper was a doooozzy.  Why is everyone so enamoured with multiple pieces for fly zippers? Don’t y’all wear underwear?  The purpose of the shield which takes at least 2 additional pieces and lots of sewing, is to protect your tender skin and hair.  Panties solve that issue and a few others. Well I digress. I unpinned from the tissue. Took the garment to a chair and finished ripping out the front and back while watching HSN hawk computers. Truly wish I had done that before. Didn’t take long at all to have a front and back separated, pressed and pinned to my tissue.

Showing front pinned to tissue.

Tracing then was very quick. It was even possible for a ruler to assist me. Oh and I used a wash-away felt-tip pen from Crayola–the marks definitely disappear in the wash.

It was a good thing that I didn’t rip all the seams!  I didn’t measure seam, hem or waistband allowance before starting. Now I measured the still sewn-together half and recorded that on my tissue. Then I started measuring; and measuring and measuring.  Noted a couple of things, not all good. My front side seam is 1″ longer than the back. I don’t think that’s right, but I measured it repeatedly.  My back inseam is 1/8″ longer than the front.  (Sounds like a user {me} error. ) Seam allowances were variable, as is typical in RTW but I warn you, if your Halston’s are a little tight, buy a bigger pair. The seam allowances are a scant 3/8″ or generous 1/4″. You can’t let that out. Hem was an  unusually generous 1- 5/8″ .  I noticed that the jean’s hems (that I’m sending back) were closer to 5/8″. The waistband is 45″ long including 4″ of overlap.  Like my DG2’s, there is elastic inside-no interfacing or other stabilization. The elastic is how the waist fits all day long. DG still uses some other stabilizers. Usually light-weight and just in certain spots subject to strain.  I’m hoping the Halston’s are as durable without the extra stabilization. The zipper was nailed in there. I absolutely prayed while taking out one side and half the bottom.  I could not see well due to the dark thread, dark fabric, dark zipper. Knowing it was a critical area, I persisted. The front doesn’t have any darts.  The side seam must be cut in a curve.  The back however has a 1″ waist dart which makes the side seam curve.  I’m puzzling because I think the side seam curve is only 1/2″. So what is the effect of the other half of the dart?  Is it changing the back crotch?  No, I’m not going to rip it out.  There are working, welt-pockets on both back pieces.  I am not ripping all those pieces apart.  I’d never get them back together and I still have intentions of wearing this pant rather than just paying $50 for a pattern. I was happy with the crotch lengths. The back crotch will finish the same length as my Aug Bowl and the nicely fitting M3; the front however is short 1″; which confirms how I felt when the pants were on me.  BTW, I think that’s due to my tummy.  I added 1.5″ to M3 to achieve that nice fitting crotch. When I think about it, Halston probably did most women a solid with their front crotch length.  It would be good for so many. Me, I need more length.

The last thing I want to share, is the grainline I placed on my pattern pieces

I placed the grainline by measuring width at the hem line i.e. 1-5/8″ above the bottom edge. I divided that in half and carefully aligned my ruler with the hem’s orientation then drew a line extending upwards all the way.  The back is very, very similar to Wm Lehman’s illustration

My grainline terminates about 1/2″ away from the CB edge; 1/4″ away from both the crotch and inseam SA’s. Also note that beautiful L shaped crotch. No shallow scoops for Halston pants. At this point I haven’t incorporated the back dart.  I’ve just noted it’s position, width and length along with all the other measurements I’d taken.  I’m a believer if you have the measure it once, you’ll probably need to measure it again.  May as well write it down where you can find it.

Note the front grainline too

It too bisects the leg at the hem but as it extends upward, that changes. The front torso must also be tilted; probably not as much as the back ?  My front crotch is not a nice swooping curve. It undulates a little.  I traced it faithfully. The bottom of the pant crotch was trimmed maybe 1/8″.  The part which was included in the fly, was not trimmed. I didn’t know that at first. Had to go back and look carefully at both the separated front and the front still attached. I think smoothing  the bottom of the curve removing that undulation is in order. The Halston front had a pocket. I didn’t make any notations because, I prefer to make my own pocket pieces.

Sooooo, end of another day of intensive examination.  I did take a few minutes to compare the tissue with V1411. There are similarities of course, but I am experienced enough to know the two will produce different fit. The Halston is definitely tilted at the torso and the leg much slimmer (yeah!). I’d like to tweak the fit closer to my ideal which I think is increasing front crotch length, removing some excess fabric from the backside and removing some length from the side. It may be that making the front crotch length closer to my own will fix both front and back issues. I am hoping tweaking is all I have to do since I’m starting so close. I really am hoping the Halston draft is repeatable.  I have doubts because the same size jean didn’t look nearly as nice as the slack I’m copying.

Time to take a break and just think.




2 thoughts on “Halston Starting a Pattern”

  1. I’m finding this very interesting. It strikes me that the back crotch and the side thigh are not on the true bias but definitely at a strong angle, and so would have some bias type stretch which might be assisting with the fit around curves.

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