Happy Pant, Shorts

Checkered Happy Shorts

After the last 2 pairs of shorts (here and here), I expected to do some serious fitting.  I think I know what’s going on that the shorts never fit the same way twice. First my body is constantly changing. Almost like when I was a kid. Except it is chemo + steroids that is making the changes and I’m not growing up, I’m growing out. I’m looking more and more like a little Buddha. A second factor is the different fabrics I use. If I used the same exact fabric for every pair, I could expect the same results.  I’m trying to use up the stack of fabrics I’ve been saving especially for shorts. The fabrics are not long enough for long pants. Some are only long enough for short shorts. Some are relatively new, 1-3 years. But there are many that are much older 6-15. Like this rayon checked print I think I bought in Utah at least 15 years ago.

Back then I had picked up a remnant and made shorts. Loved them Surprisingly, that tiny eye-torturing check looks good with almost any other fabric i.e. all the tops in my wardrobe and the rayon wears well requiring little upkeep. It is a medium weight rayon.  Neither light like rayon-challis nor as heavy as rayon crinkle. And it made a fantastic pair of shorts.  Before the season ended, I bought the rest of the fabric on the bolt.  I’ve made new shorts every few years and now there is just enough for this final pair..

As for fitting, I had decided that something went wrong with the slash and spread alteration I did. I removed that. Literally. I untapped the addition; squished the slash together and taped it in place. Then I add an even 1″ vertically along the side seam dropping it straight down from the hip to add a little flare at the hem. I was also concerned with crotch length. So I added 1/2″ evenly along the inseam.

Repeat for front pattern thus adding 4″ ease where it mattered, stomach and butt. I remembered that the “poof” wasn’t completely gone and increased the back crotch dart another 1/4″; total 3/4″ deep.

I laid out fabric and pattern pieces before leaving for the evening. I returned the next day; cut out the pieces; serge finished and then basted all seams together. I’m using the same elastic waistband. I like the way it fits. So I cut and completely finished the waistband before basting it into place. First pics were a stunner. I”m not even going to show them because they were that good. 3rd session and I finish the shorts completely.  Even gave them another press (could use a little more).

Front and back crotches are pretty nice.  Could have pressed those hems a little more carefully but my initial impression was to say “Was it that easy?”.

At first glance the sides are equally good. In fact, there are people that wouldn’t even notice the things I will critique.  My first critique is in looking at the curve of the back leg from hip to hem.  It shouldn’t. Curve that is.  I added enough ease that this should be a full leg; no shaping after the hip just straight or flared a little; close to a culotte look; definitely not a slacks fit. I looked at the back seat and again and realized that it might be a little close across.  This was all present during first fitting.  I decided then to leave as is because the shorts look good, they’re  just aren’t the look I wanted from this garment.

I’m using the right side to illustrate but both sides look the same.  The pink line shows have the waist is pulling forward. I’m not sure why.  There is lots of ease and it didn’t pull forward on the previous shorts.  You can see the top of the pant gathering into the waistband.  Between waistband hip doesn’t look unduly tight. I’m not sure redistributing the gathers would help or if I truly need to add a full tummy wedge or redraft the waistband.

The other thing that really attracts my eye is that the side seam doesn’t biset my body.  I’d say that 1/3 is back and 2/3 is front.  I’ve had the issue before. Several years ago.  I think what I did was remove 1″ ease from the front (using a vertical 1/2″ deep tuck) and add to the back (with a 1″ slash and spread).  Because my shorts may still be a little tight across the hip, I wont remove any ease from the front. Next time that is.  These are finished and being worn just as they are.  I mean, nobody but me is going to notice the “issues” I just pointed out.  Am I right?

 

Happy Pant

Happy Pant: Fitting the Waist

Throughout my work with this patter, I have relied upon an elastic waist so I didn’t have to deal with another fitting area.  But now, I’d like to use various waistband styles and in particular I would like to approximate jeans. To me the next logical step in that direction was draping in those waist darts.  At the same time, I’d like to get rid of the “poof” below the back waistband that I note and basically ignore with every new pair.

The solution for the poof is pretty simple:  a dart placed in the crotch, like so

It is a 1/2″deep right at the waist and tapers to nothing just as the crotch curves.  That did work well

The poof is almost completely gone and most of the diagonals along the crotch are gone. The remaining diagonals have been greatly reduced in size. It’s good progress. Next time I will increase the “dart” depth another 1/8″.

Draping the darts went well.  I have an idea of where my darts need to be (in the hollows of my body).  Frequently I need 2 each side. Although a times I don’t need darts at all in front. I marked the first darts on each piece 5/8″ deep and stitched it before applying my waistband. I used the same waistband I had fit months ago. Unfortunately my waist has increased in girth so I lengthened the WB 1″ total i.e. 1/2″ on each center front.    When I pinned the waistband to the legs, I was able to determine the depth of the 2nd dart by  pinching. I was rather surprised, but that all worked! The front looks even better than the back:

Return to tissue alterations… I assumed that when I scooped out the back crotch a little more that I would need to add a little more to the sides.  I had previously added 1/2″.  Figuring I’d rather stitch side seams deeper than try to let them out, I wanted to add  a net 1″ to the sides this time and maintain the same seam allowance.  J Sterns had shown an interesting method of reducing ease. When I asked, she said the same method could be used for adding ease. I wanted to try it because I thought it would keep the nice side-shaping I had worked so hard (took 4 fittings) to achieve.  It’s really pretty easy:

About a 1/2″ from the side seam, I slashed from waist almost to hem.  Slid a piece of tissue beneath and spread the slash.  The slash is allowed to vary in width from hem to hip but is measured and taped  1″ wide at the hip and waist.  The tissue alteration looks great. So why did the first fitting look like this:

The butt looks tight and the front has multiple diagonals radiating from the crotch. The sides, well

Did I really add that much ease?  I don’t remember seeing it in the yellow seersucker  just sewn which had the same amount of ease added by drawing a line 1″ away from the tissue. The yellow seersucker had the poof, but did not appear to have all the front and side diagonals nor the extreme tightness across the butt.  Was it the waistline being fitted?  The scoop in the back crotch? The 1″ added at the side?

I decided the front crotch definitely and the back crotch possibly, were showing signs of being too short. I decided to let out the inseams; stitching them both at 1/4″ just below the crotch.  I decided the side wrinkles looked more like side had suddenly become too long and offset the waistband 3/8″ at the side seams. You know sort of lift the sides up. I debated with myself of what else could be done. I mean I’d already added 4″ ease and the butt looked like what?   I’m using a light weight denim with just a smidge of Lycra.  The fabric has a 10% stretch which would have been perfect for a jean jacket and I thought also good for summer shorts.  Did I misjudge the fabric? Could my problems possibly be the fabric?  I opted to finish the pant.

With the corrections, the shorts are only slightly better fitting. As I stared at these pictures, I reminded myself of the same words of advice I give others: “Dont be too picky about fit. Once your outfit is put together and you are moving around, many of the to-you-glaring issues will be invisible. ”

…and sure enough, I add a top and start moving around.  They feel comfortable (which is #1 in my requirements). These aren’t my favorites and I will probably replace them before summer’s end but for now, they’re wearable.

Happy Pant, Shorts

Navy Happy Shorts

I used a cotton/poly broadcloth for this pair of summer pants i.e. shorts.  It is a blouse weight fabric but works well with the style. I removed the 3/8″ front-crotch length added to the previous pair and moved it to the front inseam. Instead of adding ease evenly along the side seam from waist to hem, I flared the hem by dropping the side seam straight down from hip to hem.

I am happy enough with the front view

It feels comfortable albeit needing a little more pressing. It is not going to “drape”, it’s broadcloth, but it can look a little nicer.  The front crotch feels “right”.  I get in a hurry taking pics.  I set the camera timer. Then walk to position and try to quickly smooth things before the camera clicks.  I have only 10 seconds. I can and usually do get it “wrong”. IOW, the shorts would look better if I’d just adjust and smooth a little more before taking the pic. (PS All pics lightened 80%. Fabric is a dark navy. These wrinkles I comment on are hardly visible IRL especially when wearing a top.)

The side views

are also acceptable. I see the diagonals beneath the waistband. I’m not sure if something is actually pulling or if it just the easing of the waistband. I’ve added 1/2″ more ease to each side seam at the hip, total 2″ but I’m still seeing a little hugging of my thigh curve.

I had to tug a little to get the back up past my seat and you can pretty clearly see the seat here.  Is it ease or crotch curve? If I was using a stretch fabric or a fabric with a little give (linen, denim etc), this probably wouldn’t be a concern. Sigh,  I’m afraid fit will be a perennial l issue. Due to the Chemo I am continuing to gain a little weight every week, like maybe .2#.  It adds up. Between the 2 factors, I will probably always be adjusting the fit.  I’m hoping to reach a point of knowing the most ease I require for the most unforgiving fabric. It’s really easy to increase the seam depth if the fabric is more forgiving and the pant a little too large.

The things that concerns me here and now and which I may be able to correct…

…are the birds and the poof.  The birds are what I call those diagonal lines that meet in a V shape along the back crotch.  The poof is directly under the waist at center back.  The diagonals indicate, on me at least, that the back crotch length is too long. I correct those by  trimming the back-crotch length at the waist.  Adding length only adds more birds.  The poof I can correct by trimming the back:

I do have a nagging question in my mind.  For the months I’ve been working with this pattern, I’ve concentrated on fitting the crotch; eliminating the under butt wrinkles.  I have not attempted to fit the waist.  I need to do that before I do any further modifications at the waist. Some of the issues I see could simply be distributing the waist ease correctly.   I’ve really been wanting to add pockets and try different waistbands. I think between the two combined (fitting waist, and changing WB styles), I know what I want to do next with this pattern:  A straight waistband!!

Happy Pant, Shorts

Happy Shorts Dark Grey

I like full legged shorts.  Almost skirt like is good with me although less is OK.  They just need to be full enough to allow the air circulation which makes full-legged shorts cooler than those that fit close.

Not sure what’s going on with these, fit wise.  I added 5″ ease (1.25″ each side seam); lengthen the inseam to 11″ and added 3/8″ to the front crotch length.

When I added the 3/8″ to the front crotch, I wondered if it needed to be made at the inseam (fork/extension).   I think this front view could be answering that question.

Sigh, sometimes the only way to determine which alteration needs to be made is by trying one and then the other.

 

Next time I will add at the inseam.

This is a polyester/lycra fabric with 15% stretch and is really drapey.  Surprisingly so for a twill weave.  It drapes like a crepe but it handled like a twill.  I mean it didn’t crawl around while I was cutting and I only used about 3 pins on each long seam.  An unstarched crepe would have  shed the pins and its edges refused to stay together when fed under the sewing machine foot.  That is the crepe would have done all that if it had behaved long enough to be cut.  This twill behaved perfectly.

Until I put it on for pics. I am surprised to see the poof just below the waist and there absolutely should not be any sign of my underwear with all that additional ease. The latter could be the fabric but then why is the VPL only visible closer to the inseam?

Once I put my shirt on and walk about, you’re really not going to notice the things that bother me and anybody staring at my butt when I’m in the bank line is getting their face slapped.  So, I’m not making multiple tweaks when cutting the next variation.  I will make changes 1 at a time until I can figure out exactly what needs the small  adjustment. We are, after all, talking 1/4-3/8″ adjustments.

In the meantime, I now have  5 summer bottoms. Well 3 pairs of shorts and 2 dresses I can wear during the hot weather.  We got our first taste of summer weather this week.  Triple digit, 100deg temps. Yeah we had frozen food delivered to our house that day.  It was all thawed by the time we discovered Fed Ex had delivered to the garage next door which isn’t ours.

 

PS DH took pics.  Usually he is the better picture taken.  I can blur pictures when using a tripod. Figure that one out.

Shorts

Short2 II (10″inseam)

I need several pairs of shorts especially since I cannot run downstairs to do laundry every day. So I made pair II with a yellow seersucker. I shortened the inseam to 10″; added 1″ to the side seams and added 1/4″ to the crotch depth.

They kinda of look poofy.  I think that is the fabric.  I think it has more body than I realized.  The front and side view both look good too me.  Shortening the front crotch was definitely the right thing to do.  It looks and feels more comfortable. Then back crotch was too long. So….

I shortened the back crotch by offsetting the waistband 1/4″ below the upper edge of the leg. Then I took the miserable picture above.  Even though the back view may look worse, shortening was the correct action.  I can tell by how the fit feels.  I don’t have the pant sitting on me correctly and the hem definitely needs a pressing still I was hoping for a better looking seat.

When I make the next pair, I will add only the 1/2″ ease at each side seam that I need (letting out each Shorts I side seam 1/4″ was not enough.)

I will add 1/4″ to the front crotch depth because that feels and looks right.

The 11″ inseam-length guess  of the first pair of shorts, was the best choice for me. I don’t care for the proportions of the 10″ inseam.  I will be returning that to 11″. and will be lengthening the inseam to 11″.

The wonderful thing is still the short time they take to sew.  Partly that’s the shorter seam. Partly it is the decision for a elastic waistband a no other details (such as pockets).  Partly it is because I had it planned in my mind before laying out the fabric and didn’t need to change thread in any of the machines.  Despite all those, I love being able to make a pair of pants in record time.