4-WayStretch, Happy Pant, Stetch 20%

Happy Pant: Phenomenal 2 (TWO) DAY Pants

Pics have been lightened 100%

Yeah, I’m super chuffed! !!! !!!!! It’s been years, like 25 or 30 since I’ve been able to cut, stitch, fit and finish a pair of pants in just two days. What’s the secret of my success?

  • Well for starters, I’ve been working with the Happy Pant and it’s designer J. Sterns at J. Sterns Designs for weeks and we’re not quite done. Bored, no it’s been a super learning experience. I’ve learned a lot, I tell you, a whole big bunch about the current shape of my lower half. We think I’m close to having this pattern fit perfectly. A fit that is repeatable, time after time. One that adapts to style changes and fabrics. That’s a damn-fine pattern, especially for pants.
  • 2nd contributing factor is the fabric.  It is a 100% polyester described as “Drapey Suiting” by the seller fabricmartfabrics.com (Dont think there is any left of my espresso brown but there was a green and black here when I wrote this post). When tested, the fabric measured a 25% widthwise stretch and 30% lengthwise stretch. I found that surprising but even more so since I had to pull pretty firmly to get the widthwise stretch, but it stretch vertically if I just breathed.  Very possibly the fabric could have been cut cross grain. I continued with the standard grain cutting so that I would be consistent in my experiments with the pant pattern.

I cut using the full leg version of my Happy Pant (HPFL). Not shared I have been experimenting with changing the width of the lower leg and using with stretch fabrics.  I’ve been successful, so why did I choose to use the HPFL with a stretch fabric.  Blame it on Linda at Sewing Workshop and her video from about a week ago as of now.   (That’s Face Book link. To view, you must be a member of Facebook and part of the Sewing Workshop Pattern Collection group.)  During the video she talks about the pant fabrics she likes to use. She does mention twills and firmer fabrics and which patterns work really well for them, but mostly she talks about drapey fabrics and their effect on her fuller-leg pants. And they do, work well I mean.  I look at the samples and don’t even think about the pant  having a full leg. I see the overall fit, the silhouette, the elegance and I drool.  So while I was planning to use my fabric for a slimmer leg, the video convinced me that I had in my hands the perfect fabric for the fuller leg. The stretch was a not factor in either style selection (full leg) or in fit. These are cut exactly as the linen muslin, except using the full leg length.

Actual sewing was a breeze.  I’ve now sewn these so many times I’ve lost track.  I used Gutterman all-purpose thread to stitch legs and crotch together, after serge finishing the ravely legs. Also stitched the waistband with permanent thread but when attaching the WB to the pant leg, I used my beloved Water Soluble thread. After try on and pics, I offset the waistband 3/8″ from the waist of the pants and I hemmed the pants 1/4″ deeper.  I’m not sure the leg needed to be deeper but shortening the entire torso area, I think called the crotch depth, really was needed.  It was just enough to snug the pant to my body at the crotch and eliminate the side-drapes I get.  One significant change with the waistband, even though the band and the elastic were the same length as all the others I’ve made, I attached it so that 1″ more length goes across the front, my tummy.   It’s a 1 piece band, that’s stitched in a circle and quarter marked. But the side quarters are marked 1/2″ closer to the CB seam.  That’s a personal fitting adjustment most people will never need to make. I do it because my back at the waist is slim (I actually have a waist in back), but my tummy is rotund.  I have real issues with the elastic WB wanting to creep up over the tummy and find some place smaller (under my boobs) to rest. Giving it, my tummy/front, just 1″ more is an excellent solution but does take a few extra moments of planning.

Are there still possible fit improvements?  Jen (J Sterns) thinks the leg could hang better and lose it’s bell shape with a little altering.  I also see a little poofyness at CB under the waistband and a little extra drape in back over the thigh.  With a full leg, I’m not so sure that the ease of the thigh should be considered an issue.

Lovin’ it!


Stetch 20%

Happy Pant in Stretch

I’m not doing too well with 8268. I thought with my new found knowledge, I’d make a few changes at the tissue stage and drape the rest during fitting.  So far, none of the places I think are critical are fitting.  So I hit the pause button on 8268. I asked myself, again, what is it I want?  Well I want a non-stretch slack and  trouser pattern that I can adjust the leg width.  I want versions of the same which can be used with 30% and 50% stretch fabrics. Then I want to be able to make small style changes i.e. the waistband, pockets, yokes etc. Oh and I want to sew  these without making 8-10 muslins.

I pondered what I wanted and the fact that new patterns (no matter who is ecstatic about their fit) never easily work for me. And I thought back to my work with the FitNice master pant pattern.  I almost had it fit last year.  Just needed to adjust the front crotch fork length and then I heard and followed the jean siren song.  I never picked up where I left off. Which is too bad because once the pattern is fit, the author, Judy Kessinger, offers adaptations to 5 different pant styles plus a host of small style changes. You really can get a lot of mileage out of the master pant pattern. Now I thought HMMMMMMmmmmmmm

First I found the instructions in the Fit Nice Workbook “Design It Yourself” –back there about page 363 or so.  I find the book well worth the price (I got it half price during a sale) and am reluctant to share  the copyrighted information. Much better if you get the full information from her instead of bits and pieces from me, so I won’t quote substantially. Reading through the changes needed sound pretty simplistic:  a) fit the non-stretch master pant pattern b) increase seam allowances  so much for 2-way stretch fabrics c) increase seam allowances so much for 4-way stretch fabrics.  Could it really be that simple?

I have a nicely fitting non-stretch pant pattern, Jen Sterns Happy Pant which I decided to start with.  I copied my fitted pattern.  Found a 25% stretch, rayon/lycra fabric and got started. Notice, I have not changed the pattern.  I am cutting this 25% stretch fabric the same size and shape as the non-stretch linen used in the last pair of Happy pants. When it came time to baste the pant together, I used a 7/8″ seam allowance on the inseam and the side seam.  During fitting I found, I really needed just a bit more room right at my seat and changed that side seam SA to 3/4″ between waist and crotch.

I didn’t find it mentioned in Kessinger’s book, but I needed to shorten the crotch depth 3/8″ front, back and sides.   I know that when I convert a non-stretch top pattern to use with stretch, I shorten 1/4″ across the armscye and again 1/4″ right above the tummy. So shortening the crotch depth (which I did by offsetting the waistband at the top of the pant) sounds right to me.  That I didn’t find the instruction in the book could be my fault.

Note, I had a friend that quoted me essentially the same information from another source.  That source increases the side and inseam allowances 1/4″ and shortens the crotch depth 1/2″

Finally, I spent some time narrowing the leg from knee to hem.  The final hem  is about 20″.

This is an experiment that turned out well.  I do have some fabric issues. This rayon is very soft and drapable. It might have performed better as a Palazzo pant. Unfortunately I had my heart set on a slack fit.  Because it doesn’t have a lot of body, pics taken seconds apart can be very different.

Swear pics were take seconds apart. I took pics with my T-shirt and wig. Removed same and took a 2nd set of pics. The fabric always wins.

I admit, I could also have some fit issues. In particular the front and back crotch appears to grow and shrink on a whim. Again, that might be fabric since the linen version was pretty stable.


The experience makes me eager to try the same idea (deeper seam allowances) with other stretch fabrics. I think I’m going to be playing with the Happy Pant for a while.