Friday, September 05, 2008

Pant Crisis

Crisis One: the weather is turning definitely fall-like. I have one pair of jeans, one pair of black cotton pants (well, used to be black), and one pair of slate blue wool pants with a silk lining (too warm!!).

Enter necessity sewing.

Crisis Two: ok, so I know I shouldn't sew when brain fogged. Really, I do. Except that Crisis One has been hanging over my head forever, and you know, getting things done is good.

Enter the men's wool pants makeover.



Men's 38 waist wool trousers, from Value Village, less than $10. DH not much of a fan. I was planning on using it as yardage to cut out my usual pants pattern (and had even started taking off the first belt loop before I thought to try it on see what was needed - btw? I know now why DH seems to pop something on everything I make for him - the seams on this thing were quadruple stitched. Often with buttonhole zigzag at near 0mm. Even a seam ripper was having trouble! I'll see whether ripping through the first zigzag layer does anything to that first belt loop in time!). So I stand in front of a mirror, pull the pants up to my natural waist, put pins down the side seams, and roll up the hem... looking pretty good to me!

So, I wasn't going for pinache (which was a good thing in that frame of mind), just easy and quick. Why not add two more seams in the waistband instead of taking it off all the way to the back? Take off the side belt loops, undo the waistband far enough to put in the new side seam, slice her down the sides. Stitch new side seams, serge edges together, stitch same amount out of the waistband, reattach, hem legs. No sweat.

Point 1: the pant legs were actually quite tapered. Probably why the pair was unhemmed, new, in VV and not to DH's liking. This would have been a good thing to realize before I took the same amount off the side seams from hips down. I eeked out a bit more by dropping the 5/8" seam allowance down to 1/4" by the cuff, but it's still pretty obvious.

Point 2: measure twice, cut once. Especially when that little voice in you head says "shouldn't the amount you take off each side of the newly cut waistband be the same?" - yeah, managed to hack of too much on one side. Scraped that together with a 1/4" seam which now does not line up with the side seam on that side.

Point 3: front to-knee underlining material is really slippery. Watch that you are cutting it off evenly on the side seams, and catching it correctly in the new seam. I did in fact realize some of this, as I basted the layers together before sewing. Except that the basting was off, and everything was bubbling as I was sewing, so I took it out and smoothed as I went along. One side ended up with the lining an inch shorter in width at the bottom than the pants. Hope no one looks inside - that bit is now cut up to where it's even, zigzagged along the side, and held to the side seam with a thread loop.

Point 4: which is a common point actually - the taper meant the hem width was too small compared to where I was attaching it. I had to split the side seam part way up to compensate. I'm pretty sure tailors do that too.







In the end? Probably not going to be my favourite pair of pants, but they'll do. Hopefully it'll remain too warm for wool for a little while yet though!

Perceived Crisis 3:

Which actually predated Crisis 2, but turned out better.

I did have two lengths of bottom weight fabric. I started with the stretch navy blue cotton. What was the crisis? I was determined to put in a double welt pocket in the back instead of side seam pockets. Except I was way too scared to actually cut into the precious fabric! I dragged my heels on this forever, with warnings of "have to mark and stitch precisely" going through my head.

One day, my annoyance overcame my fear (and unfortunately a bit of my sense), and I dove in. They are right, stitching and marking precisely is important. Choosing to use cheap package interfacing to do said marking and stitching on is a bad move. Such stuff tends to distort as soon as you put it under the pressure foot. So, no, I didn't stitch precisely.

But you know what?



Doing it "wrong" doesn't turn out that bad ;). Yeah, a little overlap. Yeah, a little pucker. But nothing anyone is going to see - at least anyone who's polite enough not to be staring at my backside from 2 feet away. So double goodness - I did it, and I'm not afraid of messing it up anymore!!







It's really, really hard to photograph dark blue!! Even with a nifty new tripod.

I think this is as close as I'm going to get with fitting. The tweaks from now on are fabric specific, and far more fiddly than I want to deal with. Maybe with a really great fabric, it'll hang better on its own (or be worth the struggle!).

The above photos also show why I never wear shirts tucked in!!

So one nice pair, and one ok pair down. One more length of fabric to go.

Crisis #4:

In my head is a little voice that says "right now is not a good time, brain function wise, to cut out patterns". Overrided by the "I'm on a roll, and there are only 4 pieces, and I've been up to my neck in pants for weeks. If I cut these out tonight, I can serge the edges, then switch the serger thread to white to do something else for a change!". Yeah, should have listened to the first voice. Fabric ironed. Back piece laid down and cut out (because my bed isn't wide enough for everything to be done at once) - rest of fabric pulled up. There's enough to go from waist to knee left over for the front. Sigh.

I'm now trying to come up with really creative ways to make a skirt that can use the cut out back. Because it was a really nice black twill. And I really needed to replace those black pants.

What can you do?

2 comments:

PurpleSage said...

What a busy person! The pants look great! Too sad about the last project :(

I'm sure you'll come up with a clever solution!

stitchin' girl said...

WOW! What a great accomplishment on those pants! From the picture they look really nice on you.