Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Obsession With Pants Continued

Finished!  Not quite perfect, but pretty darn close.  Close enough that I am happy to wear them.  I have had quite a journey getting here.  Years in fact.  I am not a woman who can make a pair of pants out of the envelope so I've striven to get a tnt pant that I can make over and over again without having to go through major machinations to sew up a pair of pants.  I live in pants and I can't easily buy a pair that fits well and frankly, I can't afford a pair of really well made pants in high quality fabric.  I can however afford to make them.
These are a gorgeous silk and wool blend from Emmaonesock.  You can see the sheen from the silk in the pictures. I  paid $24 a yard for this fabric, or $60 plus a zipper, thread and well, the pattern I've gotten my moneys worth out of it.  Not cheap but what can I get for $60 in RTW?  Certainly nothing that is either made well or fits me.
I started out with Hot Patterns Razer pant because the basic draft is good for me.  The L shaped rear crotch works with my flat rear end.  The back on these was pretty easy  to fit.  One thing I did need to add 1/2" for my high right hip.  I took off 3/4" on the left side after I fit them. I also added  1/2" at center back.  I should say that these were the latest adjustments to this pattern.  I had already straightened out the cf and done a flat  rear end alteration which also straightens the cb.

  These have side front pockets and a faced fly front.  I have made them this way but with my uneven waist my pants look  better with a contour waistband and I prefer not having a waistband at my waist so I don't usually make a straight band.  The pockets just add width to my already wide hips, so I skip them.  Not having details at the hip area is better for my figure and doesn't show through tops I don't tuck in.  I sewed up these pants with the changes I showed in the last post, but this fabric doesn't have any lycra in it and I sewed the seams at 5/8" in the hip area.

As I looked at these pictures, I realized that I'd forgotten to interface the hems.   They could use the weight.  Am I going to take out the hem and add it?  No way.  It will do for this pair, but it is something that should be done on non stretch pants hems.

The other thing I did was change the construction order.  Usually you'd sew the pants together and then add the waistband but if you want to be able to easily take them in if you loose weight, that makes it harder.  I also leave the  crotch unsewn for about 1 1/2" before I sew the inseams.  After sewing on the separate waistband pieces I pin fit the side seams and try them on.

The first picture above is one of the side seams.  I cut a separate band piece for each section of pant.  I attach them to each piece and fit the pants.  I sew the facing to each section and then sew them up the side, and rear.  I fold down the facing and stitch in the ditch.  Then if I need to adjust the fit there is much less ripping involved.  You can see where I've attached the facing and need to fold it down and stitch.  The other thing that I've learned is that the facing needs to be slightly smaller at the lower edge  than the waistband to fit smoothly.
I am finally happy with the fit and now I can make lots of pants without having to make a muslin every time.  I also took this pair of pants an narrowed them to an 18 1/2" hem (these are 22" wide) so that I can make some narrow pants to wear with tunics. 

BWOF 110 1/09

I finished this top at the end of last year and just got around to photographing it today.
The fabric is acetate lycra, otherwise known as  slinky from Emmaonesock  that was an end from Chico's. 
It's also in my favorite kind of print:  animal!

See above for the top with my wool and silk pants
Here it is with an earlier jacket you may remember,  the Hot Patterns Riviera Cardigan.


I usually make a real fba, even in a knit.  Here I cut a 42 in the shoulders easing out to a 44 in the bust and a 46 plus a bit in the hips.  I also straightened out the side seam to make it less form fitting.  I narrowed the shoulder and did a forward shoulder adjustment, changes I regularly make on any pattern.
I should have raised the cf because, true to Burda it was too low.  I added a hook and bar to keep it in place.  Since I want to make this again, I altered the pattern raising the cf.

They  are the usual poor Burda  instructions for knits.  I always change the construction order so that I put in the sleeves flat.  Who sets in a knit sleeve? Burda and the big 4. 
I lowered the cap height by folding out a 1/4" better for a knit and making it easier to sew flat.
The pattern calls for making a French binding at the back neck and turning in the raw edge on the front neck and sewing it down.  Why on earth would I  do this?  Knits don't ravel.  My knit was also too thick to make a nice French binding at the back neck. But, again, why make it this way?
Instead I added 3/8" sas all the way around stabilized the neckline with  a  fusible knit stay tape that I'd recently bought and turned and stitched it down with my coverstitch machine.  Easy and it looks good.

I will be making this pattern again.  Absolutely! I love how it fits and looks.  I wish Burda featured more knits like this.  It's a little different and the front gathering is good at hiding a less than flat middle.
Good top and a  well drafted pattern.  Thank you Sigrid for reminding me about this one!

What's up next?  More pants.  I am cutting out a pair of wool black and white twill weave pants.  This fabric was  bought at Paron's half priced annex for $12 a yard; a bargain for such great quality.  These I plan on lining in Bemberg rayon.  After these, I am actually planning on starting spring sewing ahead of the season!  Wow what a concept. 


  1. The whole outfit looks great, and the fit on the pants looks perfect to me.

  2. I admire your style so much. Over and over again, I love what you make and how it looks on you. And your idea of sewing on the waist bands front and back separately to make it easier to adjust is brilliant. Thank you. Mary M. Mohr

  3. Beautiful pants! I think you may have acheived the holy grail of pants fitting. And I too LOVE animal prints. So much so that my daughter has forbidden me to buy any more. Your top looks wonderful on you

  4. Both of these pieces look wonderful on you!

    Thank you for sharing the specifics of the changes you made (and why) and for showing the altered back pattern. I think it will help many of us the next time we try to fit pants ourselves.

  5. What a beautiful outfit! And, those pants fit marvelously well.

  6. Gee, I wish I had made that top instead of the red knit vest I'll be posting tomorrow.

  7. Wow, that ensemble is a knockout. Looks expensive! Congrats on a great fitting pair of pants. Last year I did the same thing, obsessively perfecting a single go-to pattern for pants, as I also have never been able to buy a pair of pants that fits properly. What kills me though is how differently the fit from the same pattern turns out every time, depending on what fabric I'm using! Sometimes it's spot on, sometimes it's baggy, and sometimes it pinches in certain places! I hope you have better consistency with yours :)

  8. Wow, wow, wow! and again Wow! Beautiful marriage of pattern, fabric and fitting. You look beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Jane (a former native LI-er).

  9. Your pants are really lovely. They have a beautiful sheen,and look expensive. Nice top too, and the boulevard jacket looks terrific with the two pieces.

  10. Both pieces are a great fit on you and make a fabulous outfit together.

  11. You look so elegant, beautiful outfit.

  12. You are becoming a Fashionista! The outfit looks awesome and the fit of the pants is great!

  13. Those pants are fantastic, and the other two pieces make for a wonderfully chic outfit. The fit on the pants is great. And you are right, what could you get for $60.00 in RTW? Certainly not something as luxurious as what you have there.

  14. Great job! I love the top in the animal print! You look smashing in that outfit.

    Rose in SV

  15. You are looking razor sharp in your new pants! How wonderful to have developed a pants pattern that fits so well, I'm sure it'll become a TNT.

  16. You know what, as people above have been saying, the pantslook perfect, chic and expensive. As someone who buys almost exclusively in RTW I will tell you that for $60, you can't get much that is going to last for more than a season. I am PISSED that my $80 RTW pants from Le Shop (Korea) ripped apart at the seams up the butt the other day. Talk about crappily made.

    The top is also super flattering and something that would look good on a youngin like me. I wish I had an outfit like that to teach in. I'm soooooooooooooo bored with all of my solid color button downs, polo shirts and sweater ensembles. Getting dressed isn't fun when your clothing is boring. :(

  17. Tres Chic! Great tip about the waistband/side seams. I will definitely be doing that in the future.

  18. Nancy - I LOVE your pants. They look excellent - they don't tilt front or back, or side to side. And...
    "Upside is that the person only has to be able to pin out wrinkles, not be knowledgeable about sewing. "
    Amen - this is really true.

  19. wow, they (the pants) look so good! I think you have finally arrived :) And love the top and the whole outfit. You always looks so chic!

  20. The pants are perfect and you can see the beautiful quality from the pictures. Very elegant combination, love the pattern for the top on you too and like you, wish that Burda made more of these.