Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A New Challenge

This is the second pair of pants I have ever made (here is the first).  

Well, I take that back . . . I made a few pairs of bloomers many years ago which count as bifurcated garments, I suppose.

Ridiculous, right?  Or maybe not . . . I have a pair of jeans somewhere, but I have not worn them in many, many years.  And they did not get a whole lot of wear, even back then.  So why spend my precious sewing time making something I will never wear?

Well, I have finally figured out one of the reasons I dislike wearing pants.  Off the rack trousers are rarely comfortable.  I hate waistbands that dig into my hips.  And I am quite confident I am not the only female who has extra squishy bits several inches below my waistband . . . google "muffin top" if you have any doubts.  On second thought, don't . . . it isn't a pretty sight.  Why, why, why is this considered an appropriate fit, and why is it impossible to find a pair of pants that sits at the waist??!  

But there is another issue . . . not only do I have a long torso from under-bust to waist, but my waist to hip measurement is also longer than the standard.  It took a few years of sewing straight skirts to realize I needed to add some length to the top of the skirt pieces in order to get the hip curve to sit in the proper place for my figure.

This alteration is also necessary (perhaps even more so) for a pair of pants.

And because I have been tempted each time I see a new version of Wearing History's Smooth Sailing Trousers, I thought it was time to make myself another pair of pants.  

In a continuing fight with PDF patterns, I managed to mess up my first try, not realizing that the paper had been overlapped too much until I was trying my first muslin on.

So I started over . . . and while I was at it, added one inch of extra length by slashing through the hip area.  After consulting a couple of fitting resources, I also added to the crotch length by extending the interior seamline.  I would not have come up with that alteration on my own - hooray for learning new things!

I pinked the seams and added a lining.

And here is another reason I finally got around to making myself a pair of pants . . . an excuse to wear these shoes!


  1. I too abandoned jeans many years ago due to, well, everything you said. I have just got through 4 muslins trying to make a pair myself from a 1950s pattern with really nice hip pockets and a high waist. I still need to make a few more adjustments, but it's been fun learning. I just hope it's all going to be worth it.

  2. I'm with you. I love pants and jeans, but my muffin top and my petite frame are in between the rtw pants and me!!!! I just finished a pair of Jalie jeans and I love them! I can't wait to see your pants!

  3. I can't wait to see these full length. I'm working on fitting a pair of pants well also. I checked a pants-fitting book out of the library. The copyright is 1989. It looks like a lot of great information as long as I look past the fabric choices.

    1. I can definitely be challenging to look past the odd styling choices in some of the older sewing reference books, but the information contained is well worth the extra effort!

  4. Once you've mastered your personal trouser fitting issues and which adjustments to make, there are some lovely vintage styles to consider, many with much more interesting details than available with RTW today.
    About the extra torso length which affects crotch depth (aka rise) and the lengthening of the crotch seam. It took me ages to appreciate the subtle difference between these two issues in fitting terms and the key is their relaionship with the seat angle. Alter one and the other two are affected. Eventually I found the secret on pages 79-80 in Dress Fitting (Classic Edition) by Natalie Bray. Just love the Natalie Bray Drafting and Fitting books - old school for sure but the reasons why are there.
    Later this summer I shall try these

  5. Overheard Frenzy #1:

    "Ship to shore..."

    "Hip to floor!"

    "I know, next she's going to demonstrate how to put on both legs at the same time."

    "Mmmmm hmmmmmm. This is the opening of a whole universe of bottom-weight options for this one to explore."

    "I shutter to think."

    "Me too. Laura Mae could have more blustery day photo shoots."

    "With more freedom of posing and positioning."

    "Her blouses could enjoy greater rotation, and her wardrobe an exponential combination variation!"

    "And if she came upon some high end drapey fabric in a delicious weave???"

    "ix nay on mentioning itexBray."

    "atThay auraMaeLay!"

  6. I think most folks dislike of pants is the way they have not fit properly. The seasonal changes in waistlines are just one poor fit factor. I have arrived at my TNT jeans and trouser patterns, and now would not wear a RTW pair if you gave them to me.
    Lands End had a custom service that included jeans for a couple of seasons, and that spoiled me. Mostly what really spoiled me was the questionaire: HOW do you like them to fit? Tight here? Looser here? Over the tum, under or across? How are your hips shaped? I wore them to death, and then cut them up to make my first jeans patterns.

    I would say most of my jobs have required pants (warehouse, workshop) except for the jewelry workshop. Not sure how we all ended up in cocktail dresses and suits (with lab coats worn with heavy rhinestone accessories or a pocket square), but when one person starts to dress up, gradually everyone else does as well. I did wear Doc Martens, as the floor was a bit toxic. It was the late 80's, so that was appropriate.

  7. What a tease you are to only show the hem and your shoes! :o) I bet they look awesome the rest of the way up as well!


  8. I hope that you will post a full length photo of these pants. I don't think I have ever seen you in trousers but I am sure they will suit you fine!