Eureka Pant, SandraBetzina

3 Piece Leg

I’ve been wanting to convert my Eureka pant pattern into a 3-piece leg i.e. 1 pattern piece for the front + 2 pattern pieces for the back.  At this point, the Eureka is almost perfect for me.  I’d like to remove a little excess ease over the back thigh. I also want to discover a way to keep the pant from drooping during wear.

I think the drooping can be handled the same way I do for all my pants patterns. That is, add belt loops and a belt. I’ve been adding those without thought to my other patterns because I also need a way to adapt the waistband for my fluctuating waist. One of the things that impressed me with Dave Page Coffin’s trouser book was that he addressed the fluctuating waist problem an offered several suggestions.  So I know I’m not the only one who continuously (not just at Thanksgiving) faces this problem.  The belt works on both waist and drooping issues for me. It can’t be more than a 10 minute sewing job.  So no brainer, start adding belt loops.

The 2-piece back leg is especially interesting to me because the first jean fit I found and loved was Trudy Jansen’s  #906 Designer Jean. Those jeans don’t droop and don’t have excess ease over the back thigh. I was never able to fit her 3-piece trouser, think that’s 902.  But I was able to adapt the Designer Jean.  It’s not an easy process. The yoke must be divided and added back to the upper portion of the leg.  Not easy, but I did it and then I changed sizes. Then last winter (2012) I changed shaped. So this year I’ve started refitting all my pants patterns but had not gotten around to migrating the two piece jean into a two piece slack. One additional feature I wanted, but was never able to develop was moving from the contour waist band to the straight waistband. Changing TJ906 to the straight waistband involves adding the yoke to the legs, then adding the contour waistband, then extending the pattern up to the waist and finally adding the waistband. Definitely complex and not achieved by me. I like a straight waistband. I know that’s old-fashioned, but it feels secure. The contour waistband always seems to stretch and then my pants slide downward. Yes I’ve interfaced front and back. Yes, I’ve tried twill tape.  Yes I’ve read and followed Trudy’s instructions for fitting the waistband. I’m telling you that during wear the fabric stretches slightly at the waistline and the pant won’t sit up there. Don’t forget, I’ve got kind of a humpty-dumpty figure usually politely referred to as a pear.  Anyway, I prefer the straight waistband which sits at my waist and I wanted a 3-piece leg because I wanted the beautiful fit of TJ906.   I’m hoping that starting with an almost perfectly fitting pattern, the Eureka, which already sits at my natural waist,  I can develop slacks with a  2-piece back leg and then tweak the fit over the back thigh.

I’m not going into this totally blind. I have notes from Kathy Rudy’s One Pattern Many looks course. She recommends splitting the pant along a vertical line dropped from the center of the dart to the hem; remove the dart (which forms the curve and waist fitting); and then add seam allowances. I also have a Spring 2009 ASG article which my sewing angel provided that sows how to fit a princess seam pant.  I’m kind of a chicken. I have already developed a stretch and non-stretch version of the Eureka pant pattern. I decided to work with the non-stretch because the tweaks between the two are pretty small and I always seem to be making final adjustments at the first fitting. I started by tracing the back leg of fitted Eureka pattern and comparing it with the back leg pieces of Sandra Betzina  7179.

It was a difficult compare.  Her pattern pieces are pretty straight up and down, while I’m curvy everywhere.  I finally decided to split the pattern nearly in half and parallel to the grain line(because in her Pant Fitting Technique class, Sandra says this seam must always be parallel to the grain).   I added 1/4″ seam allowance to both sides and began contemplating fabric.

Eureka Pant, SandraBetzina

A Velvet Eureka

I have this lovely fabric.  I know I purchased it thinking “jacket — velvetttttttt  jacket”.  However that purchase was made at least 15 years ago and a velvet jacket has yet to materialize. Nor is it likely.  Retirement brought many changes into my life, including how I dress. I don a jacket when I go outside and need extra warmth on my arms.  In the house, where I spend the majority of my time, I wear a vest or cardigan as my third layer.  Unless my life changes drastically again, I don’t expect to make or keep many jackets.  So why am I holding onto this velvet? I decided to use it for the pants that I do need.  To my surprise, this is not a typical velvet but more like a sweatshirt fabric.  Yes I was surprised. It has a plush feel and a rayon shine. The backing is clearly a cotton-jersey knit. It really would have made a nice hoody or other type jacket!  It handled really nice.  Did not ravel and despite its thickness, neither serger nor sewing machine balked.  I did use a universal point needle in the SM and selected the heavy-knit setting.

I’m still loving the Eureka pattern but tweaking the fit. I carefully walked the seams and marked the knee levels.  I thought I carefully marked the hip level but didn’t. It was obvious when I started sewing that I had marked the 3rd HBL on the back and the 2nd HBL on the front. Being that was the case, I pinned the legs together at the knee and carefully smoothed the rest of the seam into place –doing my very best not to stretch the fabric. Whew, it worked:

My seams are not only smooth but  not twisting.

The not twisting, could be due to another effort I made. I haven’t posted my review of Sandra Betzina’s Pants Fitting course on Craftsy.  I took the course when I was ill. I had a killer head cold that had me wanting to do no more than take a shower and go back to bed. Taking the course kept me up for at least a little bit each day.  I understand from a comment that Sandra made in the Questions and Answers that she taped this course when she herself was having some physical issues.  I had kind of a negative impression of the course but didn’t want to write about that until I can retake it with a clear and healthy mind.  Despite my current-hope-to-change attitude, I did take away something startling from her course. That was how she determines the grain line. Sandra says, and I agree, that when we make all the pattern changes that we need, the grain marked on the pattern is probably incorrect.  I followed her directions. Well, I watched the course again, stopping as needed so that I could write down the directions. I’ll say again, video is not my favorite learning medium. I don’t have a photographic memory.  I need something I can refer to when the knowledge is actually needed.  I’m good at taking notes. In fact, I’ve had the flattery of someone taking my notes and creating college-level computer classes. (Not saying the instructor didn’t add and make it better, just that he thought I had it 90% done and there was no need to re-invent the wheel just polish it to smoothness.)

So, I followed SB’s instructions for establishing the grain.  The front hardly changed at all. It’s maybe 1/16″ off from before.  I think I’ve said it before, but if the garment can’t stand that small of an error margin, I shouldn’t be the one making it. I’m good to go with the front. The back is a different animal.  The black horizontal lines mark the Crotch HBL and the Hem HBL. The RED line is the grain before applying Sandra’s instructions.  The GREEN line is the grain line established using Sandra’s instructions:

Yes, I think that’s enough difference to be significant and worth trying. Especially since Sandra says the “mystery wrinkle”, the wrinkle you can never get rid of or find its cause, is usually a result of the grain being off.  If the wrinkle is persistent i.e. every time you use this pattern you get this wrinkle, the pattern probably is mistaken or has become skewed due to alterations. Of course, I’m thinking of those diagonal lines between hip and knee that always occur on the back of my pants. Guess what?  This velvet pant made using the new grain line, doesn’t have those diagonal wrinkles:

But there’s a problem.  A problem with saying truing the grain-line fixed the diagonal drag line. I used my knit version of the Eureka pattern just as I did for that last Yoga Pant but I made changes to the pattern.  This is still a pull on pant, but not the wide yoga waistband. It is a narrow (1.5″) band which rests at my natural waist. I also removed the 1/4″ tuck from the lengthwise- center of the back pattern piece (i.e. added more ease).  Add to that, this fabric stretches much more than the Ponte used in the Yoga pant. Well, conclusion is, can’t really make a conclusion right now.  I did not do a fitting. I just seamed the pant together and tried it on when finished. Originally I used Louise Cuttings elastic but I removed and replaced it with the 1″ stiff stuff from Walmart. Louise’s soft elastic could not support the weight of the pant.  Even the stiff stuff is having a hard time holding the pant up to the waistline. You can clearly see that in the first pic I posted (the front view) because of all the excess fabric in the front at the knee. Unfortunately I can see that I will be altering this pant in the near future. I plan to take it in 1/4″ on the side seams and add belt loops so I can wear a belt and keep the waistline up at my waist.

OK maybe I can draw a few conclusions. First, I like this pant. I need to tweak it a bit (less ease, belt loops) but it’s good. Also changing the grain line according to Sandra Betzina’s instructions, did not hurt. It really could be the reason why the diagonal is gone.