Month: October 2015

The Pants Adventure

I have sewn one pair of pants in my life, and they were wearable, but I hated them.   I don’t enjoy shopping enough to go through the 6-8 pairs required to find the size and style that works, so getting a good pattern and finally taking the time to get a good fit seemed like a worthy end of the year goal.  It would certainly be less expensive than giving up and ordering them on-line.

I tend to plan out my purchases, so I began with my Hancocks flyer and determined that my pattern choices this go round were Simplicity and McCalls.  A little research narrowed my choices to McCalls’ 6361 and Simplicity’s 1696. I bought both, and selected a semi stretchy stone colored twill and some brown corduroy. On the way through I also picked up a very interesting wool boucle for a jacket pattern I already had in my stash.  I was very pleased with my excursion, according to the receipt I saved $112, which DH quickly pointed out wasn’t really true, because no one ever buys anything at the listed price…Still, two pairs of pants and a jacket for $65 sounded like a pretty good deal, especially for CUSTOM pants that fit (I hope!)

At the store, I decided to try the Amazing Fit pattern first. It was a little more stylish, and I liked the pre-adjustment for slim, average, and curvy figures.  Before I could lose my nerve, I threw the twill in the washer and started reading. A bonus on this pattern is that it comes with 1 inch seam allowances in all the right places. I also determined that I wasn’t going to do the ankle length, because it’s just not really me. And I don’t have those high heels to make them look fabulous. Instead I decided I would cut them LONG, and a hair wider so that I could do the normal (for me) loafers or tennis shoes look. Here’s the pattern info link.

Simplicity Creative Group – Misses’ & Miss Petite Amazing Fit Pants

I completed the worksheet and determined that I would attempt a size 10 average. I had conflicting measurements on the crotch depth…the joys of measuring one’s self, but I figure I was within range.  I’m fairly long waisted, with a pretty flat back side, so I hoped the lack of padding would help to alleviate the extra length.

By evening, I had everything cut out and was ready to begin. I (wisely) l for the night and got some sleep. I spent nearly all day sewing, though I had to stop at intervals and come out of the unfinished part of the basement where my sewing area is to warm up. (I refuse to open the heating vents; it would be equivalent to heating half the house again.) Of course I picked a day to sew when it was a whopping 6 above outside!

So far, I was extremely pleased with the pattern, directions, and my actual sewing. No mistakes or disasters, and it was pretty exciting to finally baste the legs and front to the back. Now for the moment of truth, would they fit at all? They were not too bad, but there were some issues. The back crotch was too tight, so I knew I had lots of basting to remove in the morning. However, all in all a successful day. When I actually put the pants on, I realized I had a zipper issue..note bene…baste that sucker in by hand next time, and one dart was a little too abrupt, but the rest was looking good.

Sleeping before ripping was an excellent choice, I realized, because the next morning, I had a better plan. I hadn’t adjusted my pattern for the 1/2 inch difference in waist measurement, so I was pretty certain that some of the back end issues were caused by the pants having to ride up too high. Could a 1/2 inch make that much difference? I redid the side seams gradually decreasing to a  7/8 inch seam allowance, starting at the hip notch. Much better, but I still needed to adjust the crotch.  I started with the inner leg, gradually moving to a 7/8 seam, and re basted, and was amazed at how much difference those two tiny adjustments made!

The pants felt good, but how did they really look? My inner obsessive 4-H’er reared up, and started to whisper that there must be no lines anywhere….YIKES!  I drank more coffee and pondered…must they be PERFECT?  After all, this was my 2nd ever attempt at pants, and the objective was to achieve a good fit, and a better one than I would get off the rack.  I set my ipad up on a music stand and took video of me moving in the pants, and I decided to go with what I had. After all, there had been plenty of Christmas indulging over the past two weeks, so I would likely lose a bit of padding when life returned to normal. Yes, I am guilty of justifying my unwillingness to rip more. I decided it was enough.

DSCN0310I  marked my seams, pulled the basting, and spent the afternoon doing the real sewing and seam finishing.  I felt like I had sewn two or three pair of pants by the end, but the pattern directions consoled me with a reminder after I had marked and recut my pattern pieces with 5/8 inch seam allowances, the next pair would be much quicker. To keep the momentum, I threw the corduroy in the washer.DSCN0313

Thus concludes my pants adventure. I was impressed with the pattern, and glad that I chose it as my first attempt. The added seam allowances allow for a lot of change, and it had some good information about other fitting issues. I did do more research on line, because I wanted more info on smile and frown fitting issues, but most of what I needed was in the pattern and accompanying directions. Granted, I was pretty close to the measurements on the pattern, so my fitting would be simple compared to some others, but I saw some vastly differing shapes online when googling the pattern number, and they had all achieved a pretty decent fit too.