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.