5682 - Jeans, Arlie W/Video

Corded Pants with Airlie Pocket

I bought a lovely stripe shirting, 100% cotton,  on-line in the middle of last winter.  I was think of a nice, cheerful shirt. A sun-shiny shirt. However as soon as I lifted it from the UPS box, I knew this was not destined for my back. It’s a lot closer in nature, even after a wash, to cotton duck than to cotton shirting. It’s heavier, firmer, more fully bodied. Not really crisp–like I’d expect cotton shirting. Definitely not shirt worthy.  Might make a lightweight jacket (especially with interfacings and other finishes), but I really see it as summer pants for me.  Not winter. No, I wear dull and at least darker colors during winter. Not because of any depressed outlook, but simply because they are much better at being wearable after the road splash which always occurs winter and spring. Anyway, it has not set in the stash all that long. It’s number came up after I finished the side-tied knit top.  That was yellow, which had me digging around in my other yellows and because it is summer, it seemed like the yellow, cotton, corded shirting should be used now.

I used my much-loved Butterick 5682. It’s a non-stretch jeans pattern but I love the fit and have pressed it into service as an all around slim-pant pattern. I’m going to confess that the final fit is not 100% pleasing to me. Me like about 70%.  I made a couple of errors. Firstly, I truly wanted to use the Airlie pant pocket even if I couldn’t fit the Airlie pant. Truly, that pocket was why I bought the pattern.  Even before the pattern arrived and I decided to attempt fitting, I was envisioning transferring the pocket to both Silhouette Patterns 3200 and this 5682.  I knew I would need some adjustments for the pocket to work on a different pattern.  OK, so already I’m planning changes which I hope will be minor. I take the untested 5682 pocket pattern, duplicate it for the facing and trace the Airlie pocket facing onto my new facing. Before we go any further, did you catch that “untested”?  Because it’s my mistake.  I used an untested, unverified pattern to make further changes.  I can’t explain why I just completely spaced the fact that my pants pattern has been adapted to fit me, but the pocket had not been altered to fit my pants pattern.  Now the 5682 pocket probably needs only small changes. But it is still an error to use the unadapted pattern piece.  And the problem with small errors is they accumulate.  I’m lucky that the pant front fits as well as it does. To the jury-rigging that had to made for the pocket to fit and look as nicely as it does

I have to add an issue at the center front.  During the zipper application, my zipper facing would not fold and stitch nicely at the 1.5″ it is drafted/adapted. Partly this because I add a wedge at CF for tummy room. Most fabrics cooperate and fold along the new line.  This corded cotton would not.  If folded the way I wanted, big ripples formed along the stitching line and at the bottom of the stitching.  Just what you want right? Everyone looking and asking, “What’s wrong with your crotch?”  You know they don’t me you; they mean your pants, but when said aloud it sounds as if you suddenly developed a new disability. Right? So in the end, Oh and as Peggy  says “The fabric always wins.”,  I sewed the zipper in as the fabric allowed.

Bottom line, I have both some wonkiness from the pocket application and some wonkiness caused by not enough tummy room.  I am grateful that they fit as well as they do.

I am however extremely pleased with my waistband:

I haven’t used a squared-off, front, waistband application in years.  One of the reasons I quit is because it is difficult to turn a perfectly squared extension. The lumpiness will drive you nuts. I’m not crazy this time because I anticipated and sometimes just avoided things.  I did not stitch across the waistband and then back to the pant at the Wb lower edge. Nope, I stitched straight down across the end; Frey checked and carefully trimmed and clipped the end before inverting it.  It wanted to be lumpy, so I pulled out my rubber mallet and brick and whacked it a few times.  Once it submitted, I folded up the lower edge; whacked it too. When those ends in full submission, I top-stitched.  It turned out really nice because I was really mean.

Another questionable decision was in my elastic choice. I nearly always run elastic inside the waistbands after discovering this was the ‘secret’ of RTW. If RTW doesn’t have back-gap, it’s because of the barely discernible elastic.  Or your bought couture.   Anyway, I chose my elastic by the fact I wanted it white and 1-1/4″ wide. I measured it by wrapping around my naked waist (just dropped the clothes to hip level–no real show) and overlapping the ends till it was firmly against my skin.  Turned out to be 34″ which is typical for me. However inside the waistband, it seems to be really stretching; almost over-stretched. Worse, while it felt comfortably close during measuring, it seems too loose when the pant is worn.  I don’t like this, but until my next WAWAK order arrives, I think I’m stuck with it.

But it all comes down to the less than perfect front and sides above, and the even less perfect back:

Sigh, so it isn’t my usual excellent fit. That does happen i.e. the same pant pattern does not fit exactly the same with a different fabric.  It looks to me as if the sides and back  are drooping. If that’s the case, when the new elastic arrives and is installed I will have beautifully fitting pants. Until then, I think I’ll just cope.  The fabric is sun-shiny cheerful and the pants feel great to wear.



Airlie, Arlie W/Video, StyleArc

Style Arc Airlie

Not sure how to pronounce Airlie but it’s a new pant pattern from Style Arc. Has a really neat pocket and SA gave is a VIDEO of the pocket construction. Also it came with its own fabric, Bengaline.  I bought the Denim blue.  It takes a while for things to reach me from Australia and I shoved it to the back of my mind.  When it arrived I was excited and had to work on it NOW!

For me, prep work is the key, followed by a test fitting garment and finally ‘real’ fabric.  Yes I have been following Peggy Sagers fitting procedures . I still like them. I still recommend them but I find there comes a point when I have to stop and adapt for my personal anomalies. For pants that’s a large front waist, tilted waist, high-low back crotch, and short legs. This last year I’ve also found that adjusting for the depth of my body is very important. So it’s not enough that the crotch has the total length but that length has to be placed where I need it.

The first thing I did was start checking measurements. Style Arc lists the finished measurements in the brief pattern instructions. Which is how I discovered I bought the wrong size. When I looked at the measurement chart I saw  metric and  imperial charts. “Hallelujah!” I thought, ” I don’t need to convert from metric to inches.”  When the pattern arrived and I started checking measurements I realized I bought from the finished chart not the recommended size chart(which is the metric). I’m starting with a size too small.   Since I waited so long for the package to arrive, I decided to see if I could adapt.  I pulled out my favorite pattern, 5682, to measure. It involved measuring equivalent places and then subtracting seam allowances before comparing to the Style Arc Finished Measurements chart. For the crotch, I needed to add in the waistband (less seam allowances). You need math. Not interstellar distances, but tiny bits that make sure your pants go ’round your butt.

A half hour later I said “Huh.” All the measuring. All the calculating;  and I’m probably not doing anymore than I did to my Silhouette Pants patterns.

The crotch and tilted waist have me concerned.  I like the look of this crotch:


Nice scoop in the back, little hook in front. In total, there should be enough length but when front and back are compared separately, the front needs another 1-25″ while the back should be 3/4″ shorter. Additionally each crotch extension needs to be increased 1/2″.  OK so I add to the front take away from the back. But do I add at the top of the front crotch? Split between top and inseam? Do I reduce the back crotch upright by 3/4″ or by 1.25″ since I need to stick 1/2″ on the back at the inseam? I used to do long math strings all the time. Believe me, it makes lots of room for error. Sometimes to solve the errors, you have to work each change in turn. Not that hard todo in programming/computers but in sewing we’re talking 4-6 test garments? Oh and should I have reconsidered the effect of the waistband? See, many wrinkles.  The logic is not all the easy for me to sort through.

So decision for Test garment 1:

  • -2″ leg (As always. I have short legs. That doesn’t change no matter what pattern I buy.)
  • +1″ to side seam allowances
  • +1/2″ CF wedge (that tummy of mine has to have room yours’ does not.)
  • +1/2″ Front Crotch Extension (the body depth issue)
  • +1/2″ Back Crotch Extension (the other half of the body depth issue)
  • +1″ at top of CF. (the rest of the depth issue. You might think length but it’s really a continuation of the CF wedge to fit over the tummy)

I will not have a well-fitting pair of pants with the first test garment. But I should have enough length, circumference and depth to be ready for some real fabric. Off to check required stretch and choose a muslin fabric!




2013-02-143, Pockets

Summer Shorts with Another Easy, Low Bulk Pocket

… now rapidly becoming essential, I converted Burda 2013-02-143 into shorts pattern.  I aligned my ruler with the knee tic marks on the pattern and drew a Shorts Line 3.5″ above. Then I aligned a 3.5″ strip of tissue with the Shorts Line, taped it into place and trimmed the sides perpendicular to the Shorts Line.

After that, it’s a matter of folding up and pinning the lower leg  above the newly created Shorts Line


My next thought was, What fabric am I going to use? I can make shorts in as little as 2/3 yard of fabric. So the first place I check is that stash of less than 2 yard fabrics I create.  In case you didn’t read this elsewhere, I arrange my fabrics by color and usage.  So all the fabrics I know will be used for coats are in a stack by themselves. As is all the fabrics intended for Home Dec projects.  From the stash of dressmaking fabrics I pull the cuts that are 1 7/8 yard or less and stack on a shelf I think of as the “Under 2’s”. This is also the shelf where I place large remnants from previous projects.  I had been organizing these strictly by length as in anything less than 2 yards but greater than 1.5 yards. Anything 1.5 yards or less but greater than 1 yard; and a 3rd area, anything less than 1 yard.  However when starting this project, I knew I would want to make several pairs of shorts all at once. Why? Well I didn’t even try on shorts from last summer.  I figured if all the long legged pants constructed before April 2013 didn’t fit, the shorts wouldn’t either. All my previous shorts were separated into donate and rag piles and summarily disposed. With this in mind, I pulled the mess of fabrics from the area ( and it was a mess) and started pulling out fabrics that would be acceptable for summer shorts.  I neatly folded and returned the rest of the fabrics to the shelf. Boy was I surprised. What previously had been one big, messy messy mess, was now not only neatly arranged but taking at least a third less storage space:


To say I’m pleased with myself, is an understatement. From the stack on the far left, I chose a 50″ X 1- yard cotton/lycra sateen in a lovely light blue. (You’ll see it later). I’m still concerned about the fit of the pattern. I know that with shorts, I don’t have to worry about the diagonal pulls at the knee. Now by choosing a stretch fabric, I think I shouldn’t make any more pattern adjustments but should fit the shorts to me.  That is, I know that lycra will really affect the pattern fit. If I change the pattern to accommodate the stretch sateen, it won’t be right for non-stretch fabrics. So I laid out the tissue pieces and immediately  discovered I would be short on fabric. The first thing I did was the lay the waistband opposite the specified grain.  That gave me enough for waistband but not facings or pockets.  From the  Under 2’s I pulled another remnant, the last remains from HAF2 completed last week.  I don’t really care for these two fabrics together but facings will be not be visible.

Then I decide, I really want a pocket. Pockets are so handy during the summer. Well all year, but I’m outside a whole lot more during summer and fall weather.  Having a place to tuck a Kleenex or key is practically invaluable.  I fret about pockets.I don’t have enough fabric to make a pocket of any kind. I’m down to strips slightly larger than needed for belt loops. What can I do?  I recall a particular inside pocket, that almost hides completely inside a slit. It isn’t a welt. Just a slit with the pocket inside. I have enough of the 2nd remnant to make this pocket but again I fret. This I fret because my experience has been that the heart, interior hidden or ear pocket will show just a little on the outside. What to do?

I start by constructing my own pattern. I know that women’s pockets usually have an opening at least 6″ long/wide (depends on pocket orientation). Also children’s pocket should have the same minimum because who do you think will be emptying their 3″ pockets? Mom will and Mom needs at least 6″.  So I know that my pocket needs to be at least 6″ long and wide.  Since I want to be able to put something besides my hands in my pocket and not have that something fall out, I decide my pocket should be longer/deeper than 6″. In my tissue scraps (if you sew, you end up with several stashes) was a scrap 10″ X29. I want to double check and be sure of the width, so I lay my hand upon the tissue and make a little tick mark

I rotate the ruler and draw a line the width of the tissue

It’s a small matter than to fold on the line and trim the excess length.

From here the pocket can assume various shapes. I could leave it rectangular as above, or draw a heart shape

Several shapes are possible, my favorite is the rounded bottom corner.

I like this shape because things (dirt, fuzz, lint etc) tend to accumulate in sharp-corner pockets.   The heart shape pocket with the point inserted into the waistband, has the least bulk along the waist. I prefer the wider top. I think it gives my tummy a little more support and believe me, my tummy appreciates any support it can get.

When unfolded, it looks like this:

and can be placed on the fabric either in the open, unfolded position

or positioned on a fabric fold with the tissue also folded.

.Either way once the fabric is cut, I mark the center of the pocket.

Then remember how concerned I was about the pocket showing on the outside?  And the fact I had only strips of the shorts fabric left?  The solution is to cut strips of the shorts fabrics and apply it to the center, right side of the fabric.

I fused and then stitched using one of the edge finishing stitches.  I think it’s possible to fuse only or even straight stitch those edges.  I use Steam A Seam 2 to fuse such things. My experience has been that SAS will last several washings, but eventually the joined pieces will pull free.  I do think I need to stitch the pieces together. I also prefer an edge finishing stitch rather than straight. Again my experience, but there seems to be some raveling with just a straight stitch. Maybe the amount of raveling, won’t bother you.

Once the strip is satisfactorily attached, mark the pant where you want the pocket to be.  I marked from the side inward 3.5″ and from the waist down 7″. I know I said 6″, but the seam allowance at the top will eat up some of that extra inch and another 3/4″ for inserting and removing my hand will not cause a problem.

.Align the pant and pocket right sides together along the line just drawn and the center line previously drawn on the pocket.

I don’t just guess.  I insert a pin in the top (usually the back side of the pocket fabric) and then lift that fabric and make sure my pin “nails” the line on the 2nd fabric, usually my pants.

This is one of those times when close enough, is not good enough. If I don’t do it right, now I will have problems later on.  However 3 pins is usually enough, one at the top, one in the middle and one exactly where I want my stitching to end. Then it’s onto the sewing machine where, like sewing a neckline plackett, I like to sew 1/8″ on either side of the center line.  I like to frey check the bottom

.before cutting down the center and finishing the edges.

.I also used a narrow zig zag stitch to finish those edges (after pressing) because it can be hard to keep those narrow less than 1/8″ edges contained. The zig zag nicely finishes those edges and with a pressing, looks professional.

.Oh and yes I did cut the bottom box with triangles just like a bound button hole and I used my Ruby’s tack stitch to lock the triangles into position again just like a bound button hole. I hope the next steps are easy enough not to need a series of photos. Because once the pocket looks like it does above, then the pocket is folded in half and the long side/curve is serged together. Followed by aligning the pocket in place along the top and stay stitched. Here you see that I’ve already serged the top edge of the pant and pocket. I want the edge finished during fitting.

.On the outside view, you’ll see that my pockets tend to separate just a little so that the interior of the pocket is visible.

.Maybe that’s just something weird I always do to this easy pocket.  That’s why I made the effort o put the strips of pant fabric inside the pocket.  Had I used matching fabric, that extra strip wouldn’t have been needed.

Also, I know with all these pics, the pocket seemed like a big deal. But really, the first you work it through you’ll wonder why I bothered. It is a very simple pocket, that looks good and doesn’t add a lot of bulk to any of the seams.  I know that various designers have included this pocket in their designs. Often with a slightly different shape and interesting name.  I really feel this pocket must be in the public domain.  I’ve been using a variation of it since I was a teen.

OK I’m off to work on fitting.


Easy No-Bulk Pocket

I’ve used this pocket twice now and I. LOVE. IT. No fooling. I love it so much, I want to share how to create the same pocket I used on both the Black Twill Jeans and the Grey shorts:

OK a little confession. I trace the pants -front pattern as if there would be no pocket.  Just straight across at the waistline. Well, I align the pocket piece and trace along those lines, but still my finished front-pattern piece shows no evidence of a pocket.  This allows me to choose a different hand opening without tracing another copy of the pattern. For me, there’s really no fabric or time savings to be had by cutting the pocket shape at the same time as cutting out the front. That’s a savings for professionals who cut and sew 100 or more of the same pattern at the same time and then sell it  for ridiculous (both too high and too low) prices.  It also means that I can decide a little later on, what shape I want that pocket opening to be. I do very little to pants. I want my bottom to be as plain and unnoticeable as I can make them.  That’s because I’m the classic pear shape with nice round bottom. I prefer to visually balance my top and bottom halves. Plain bottoms help me achieve that illusion. But I do like to embellish clothing or do something a bit special to all my clothing. My pockets are where I indulge that urge. Hence the desire to take my time deciding upon the hand opening. But I digress. Here’s how I cut and sew this fantastic, only 2 pattern piece pocket.

I’ve cut out the front (without pocket opening). Now I align the pocket pattern with the sides and waistline of the pant front.

I trace the outline of the pocket on the public side of the pant leg

and repeat with the pocket facing, but only trace the opening for the hand

The pocket facing includes a seam allowance along the opening for the pocket. I need to trim that away

I bind the pocket opening with bias tape.  I’m assuming you have your own preferred method. This particular pocket I stitched with right sides facing; pressed the binding up and over the edge and finished by stitching in the ditch with my cover stitch machine.  In a perfect world, I would be done with the pocket opening. But since this is real life, the final finish to the pocket opening was to trim the excess bias tape, now on the interior of the pant.

I added fusible tape to the right side of the pocket along the edges but not the side seam or waistline edge. (Oh dear, I should have taken a picture). Then aligned the pocket along the waistline and side seam of the pant front and  fused the pocket to the pant front. I don’t trust fusible tape to last through the life of my garment. So from the right side, I cover stitched the pocket into place.  I aligned my needles so the left most was stitching just inside that first traced line. I didn’t need to trim the pocket the way I trimmed the bias tape because the pocket was the perfect shape for the traced line!

Because it’s two layer – no facing- it is the flattest pocket possible. I could have used matching thread. The stitching would still have been visible especially when viewed up close.

I also like this pocket because I have a pocket, but the pocket doesn’t influence fitting. What I mean is that I’ve noticed pockets can disguise a lack of ease because the pocket will spread and the pant will utilize that spread so I feel like I have enough ease. Also pockets will not always fall into the desired place. For a long time I never made a front pocket without adding an elastic gusset between pocket and center-front seam/zipper.  I appreciated the tummy control but more important was the pocket control. This pocket can’t spread, can’t shift or move around.  It can’t effect my fit evaluation.

Isn’t this gorgeous:

***Thanks ladies for all your compliments.  I think it is a wonderful pocket and glad that you agree!