Tag Archives: skinny pants

Completed: Ultimate Trousers

14 Aug

Hey look, here I am again – with another pair of polka dotted trousers! Are you surprised? Would you be surprised to know that I have another pair of dotty trousers sitting on my sewing table as we type speak? Do you think I have a problem? I’ve never considered myself a polka dot trouser kind of girl, but these sewing numbers don’t lie!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This polka dot cotton sateen is actually an old spoil from the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC, which I bought while I was there in March. I knew I wanted to make pants with it – what pattern specifically, I couldn’t tell you, but pants for sure! I love using cotton sateen for pants as it’s usually a good weight with a nice, heavy stretch, and the colors are always so lovely and saturated. Plus – polka dots! Yesss!!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The pattern I eventually ended up using is the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over it. I actually tested this pattern ‘way back when earlier this year, to help get it ready for it’s print debut. I was on a pretty tight deadline during testing, which meant that I didn’t end up with a finished garment – just a muslin and a loooot of notes. This is actually pretty typical for me as a tester; I don’t always finish the pattern to the effect that it warrants a blog post! Once I got everything back to Lisa, I put the pattern on the backburner since the summer heat was starting to ramp up and I couldn’t handle the thought of wearing pants in this kind of humidity.

Anyway, we’ve got promises of cooler weather lurking on the horizon, which means it’s PANTSSS TIMEEEEE! Yay!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I did make a few changes to the pattern, both for fitting and general style. Let’s go over the fitting stuff first. Every time I make trousers, I end up doing the same adjustments across the board, especially if the pattern doesn’t include a front zip fly. I realize that trousers are kind of a scary subject for a lot of sewers, so I’m going to show y’all what I do in my fitting and hopefully that’ll shed some light on the whole matter (and even more hopefully – prove that they really aren’t so scary to fit!).

I don’t have muslin photos of this particular pattern, but I do have muslin photos from my archives (super unflattering muslin photos, I might add! Ha!) back when I made the Colette Clovers. Different patterns, but the concept is similar.

 photo CIMG0016.jpg
See all those horizontal wrinkles allll over my damn crotch? This is an indication that the crotch is way too long for me – so it’s wrinkling. The easiest way to fix this is to pinch out the excess into a long horizontal line, and transfer that to your pattern piece with slashing and taping. I’m petite, and while my torso is a pretty standard length, my crotch length is on the short side. So this is an adjustment that I have to make with *most* trouser/pant patterns. The amount can vary depending on the pattern – obviously the Clovers needed a lot taken out, and the Ultimate Trousers didn’t take much (and I just made a pattern the other day that I had to remove 2″ from!) But it’s a common adjustment for me, and this is what it looks like.

 photo CIMG0006-1.jpg
Same muslin, back view – see how tight the ass is? Like, not even flattering tight, just imma-bust-outta-here-like-a-jailbreak tight. This is fixed by adding a wedge to the back crotch depth pattern piece. How much you add will depend on how much room you need (the Ultimate Trousers didn’t need any, but the Clovers clearly needed a lot), but you can easily hack this alteration by just cutting a bigger size right there at the back crotch (this picture from Sunni’s Trouser Sewalong shows where to add length – right in that blue circle).

clover close-up
Here’s a pair of Clovers where I fixed the length issue, but now there’s some weird puffiness around, well, my crotch. Isn’t that flattering! You guys, this particular fit issue took me a LONG time to figure out because it seemed so weird – but it’s really not. Basically, my crotch requires a different shaped crotch curve than what is drafted for most patterns. I’m a J shape, and the majority of patterns I sew are an L shape. This is a stupid easy adjustment – you literally just redraw the curve, and once you’ve done it on one pattern, you can trace that curve to every pattern thereafter. For the first pattern, you’ll have to eyeball it (or find a pair of pants that fits and copy that crotch curve) and adjust until you get it right, which might take a couple tries. Once I figured that out – what it looked like, how to fix it – that really opened the floodgates of trouser making for me. Also, you should read this post on the Fashion Incubator.

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Here is my front pattern piece with the adjusted crotch shape – I’ve already redrawn and cut my piece out, but I put it back on the table so you could see the difference in the curves. For whatever reason, I don’t need quite as aggressive a crotch curve when I’m making pants that have a front fly – it’s just trousers with a smooth front (especially if it’s sewn in a stretch woven).

You can also see where I tucked out the length horizontally. I didn’t take a photo of the back piece, but I sliced that length to hinge, and the side front has the same removal of length with it tapering to nothing at the center back/crotch, if that makes sense.

So yep, those are my pants adjustments! I know they might seem confusing, and to be honest – I learned all this when I was going through my Clover saga a few years ago (never got those pants to fit right, but I sure learned a lot in the process!). It was a LOT of trial and error, but hopefully my notes will help a least a few people go through less trial and error :) As you can see, there aren’t a whole lot of adjustments needed to get a good fit on pants – but they all work together, and each one affects the other (and they are all adjustments that need to be made BEFORE cutting your fabric, which is why a muslin is SO essential when making pants!). For more fitting help, I strongly recommend investing in a copy of Pants for Real People, which is basically a pants-fitting Bible. So much good information in there, I use that book often!

Ok, now that THAT’S out of the way – let’s go back to talking about this pattern, and the style adjustments I made!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This pattern is designed to be worn cropped (or as shorts), with a faced waistline. I have learned that I really don’t care for faced waistlines, so I decided to add a waistband to my pants. I didn’t draft a waistband – I just used the facing pieces and flipped them to the top as waistband pieces (and cut two, so I could face the waistband, as you do). I think, for me, these are a little more wearable with a proper waistband. For interfacing, I used tricot fusible, which I looove because it stabilizes the fabric but doesn’t compromise the stretch of the fabric (which is what makes the darn pants so comfy to begin with!).

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I also kept the length on the longer side, which means I can wear them full-length in the winter (with cool socks!) or fold them up to make them cropped. This length is straight out of the pattern, by the way – I didn’t shorten anything, and I’m 5’2″. Just fyi!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The one major design change I made to this pattern was to sew it in a stretch woven, as opposed to the firm woven (non-stretch) that the pattern calls for. For one, my muslin was a firm woven and I plain just didn’t like the way they felt! They were too restrictive! I like wearing stretch woven pants, ok. Also, it’s hard to find a good pants-weight print that isn’t a stretch woven, so there’s that. I think these are fine in the stretch fabric, although I should probably go back and size them down a little because I think the legs look kind of loose. I was trying to avoid the stovepipe legs look, just to try something different, but I think these do need a little less ease. These are a size 8, by the way!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

So that’s it! Thanks Lisa (and the Sew Over It team!) for letting me test this pattern, and being so patient with me taking months to make a finished wearable garment :) Londoners, if you’re still afraid to tackle the trousers, there is a whole class for making these (with tea and cakes, omg I wish I was in London) if you still wanna try them!

Those of y’all scared to try trousers – what are your thoughts? Do you think the process looks any easier? Are you going to throw caution to the wind and try anyway? Y’all – pants are fun!

* Oh yeah, and I cut my hair! I hope you like it! Well, I guess it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it – it’s not like I can stick it back on my head lololol

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Completed: Leopard Skinnies

21 Jan

I never thought I would actually be saying this – but I made myself a pair of leopard skinnies. Wheee!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Grey leopard is a neutral… right?!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I’m trying to get more into wearing pants that aren’t, well, denim. As much as I love my I+W jeans (so much, in fact, that I went out and bought myself a second pair a couple of weeks ago. I’m bordering on “collector” at this point, eep), sometimes I find myself gazing jealously at the girls in their wacky print leggings and purple skinny jeans. NO FAIR, I WANT TO JOIN THAT PARTY. So when I saw this leopard print stretch twill at the Mood Fabrics site, I knew I’d found the perfect piece for a lil’ toe-dipping.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

This twill is pretty awesome, honestly. It’s got a nice stretch, but it’s hefty enough so you don’t see panty lines (a must with pants this tight… and I don’t wear thongs. TMI? Oh well. Maybe you need magical undie-covering fabric too!). The lycra content keeps the seam allowances from shedding too much – which is good, cos this pattern had me going crazy over the fitting, 1″ seam allowances and everything. Not a good time to start unraveling!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Since the twill is a brushed cotton, it’s even a little bit fuzzy. Love it!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used McCall 6440. This pattern is… ok. The fitting was a pain in the ASS, pardon the pun, mostly because the pattern has way too much ease. I’ve actually made these up one time before (but it’s ~top secret~ so you can’t see those quite yet… oops I’ve said too much already ;)), so I knew kinda sorta what I was getting into. The main issue with sewing something out of stretch fabric is that every fabric has a different stretch factor (well, maybe not *every* fabric, but there are certainly enough differences to keep one guessing!), so you generally end up doing some tweaking to get the pieces to look right, in addition to going down a size or two to make up for the negative ease.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These are a size 6, with some additional tapering taken out at the legs and the waistband. FWIW, the body size for a 6 is supposed to have a 23″ waist. While I can assure you that I do not have a waist that small, I did have to take an extra inch out of the waistband to get it to fit. See what I mean about excessive ease? Measure those pattern pieces, folks! Don’t trust the lies of McCall.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I know, this pattern is super duper similar to the Clover pants from Colette, which is another pattern I have. I ended up with this one because I’ve never really gotten those Clovers to fit right, despite all my tweaking a couple of years ago. I wanted to try a new pattern, and I liked that this is a Palmer/Pletsch – I love their fitting books Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People, so I was banking that I’d love the pattern, too! And I guess I kind of did, minus that ease thing. For one, the crotch curve is pretty much perfect for me – something of a Holy Grail among pants sewists. That Clover pattern, not so much :) (but maybe it’ll be perfect for you!). I also liked how high the waist is, the seam down the back of the legs (that you can’t see because it’s ~camouflaged~ by the leopard, ooh, see what I did there?), and the leg options included with the pattern. Spoiler alert – I went for the straight leg, but maybe I’ll experiment more in the future! Baby steps for now, starting with this outta control print. Oh yeah, and just an advance warning – these were exactly the right length for me, and I’m 5’2″! Tall ladies, beware!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Speaking of how high the waist is – see what I mean!? I don’t think this is supposed to reach *quite* as high as it does on my petite frame, but the waistband just covers my belly button. Which means, obviously, I’m gonna be Bettie Pagin’ the shit out of these with heels and a crop top come spring, yaaay!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Whenever I post a photo of myself wearing something with a ridiculously high waist, someone always inevitably comes out of the woodwork to tell me that my outfit isn’t flattering. So, here I am, brushing the dirt off my shoulder in advance because la la la I don’t care!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Like I said, I had to adjust the leg seams to get everything as fitted as it is. Not to say the leg width of this pattern is bad – it’s just more straight than what I wanted for these pants. I wanted to be able to tuck them into boots! Since the pattern is drafted with 1″ seam allowances on all side/leg seams, this made things a tiny bit difficult once it came time to start poking myself with pins – those seam allowances get bulky when you’re sewing something like twill!

What I ended up doing was just focusing on one leg – pinning, basting, fitting, and then stitching the final line once I got to the desired tightness. To mirror the second leg, rather than taking measurements or repinning, this is what I did- I learned this trick at my stint with Muna!:

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

First, I stacked my legs on top of one another and pinned along the seam lines, making sure they matched on the opposite side.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Then, with the adjusted leg on top, I pinned along the new stitching line I had created.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

When you flip the fabric over, you can see the pinned original seam line and the new seam line marked by a second row of pins. Make sense?

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

From there, I just connected the pin lines with a my handy marking tool, which gave me a new stitching line. Super easy, and now both legs exactly mirror each other!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These pants are finished with serged seam allowances and an invisible zipper. Speaking of which – I learned a slightly different way to insert an invisible zip, also courtesy of Muna. Anyone interested in a tutorial? It’s not OMGSODIFFERENT, but there are a couple of tweaks that make insertion practically flawless.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

One thing that made me irrationally happy was that the fabric is lightweight enough so I could face my waistband with self-fabric, instead of trying to find a matching cotton. As much as I like contrasty facings, I also like matchy-matchy!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Not sure what I was thinking when this photo snapped, but it looks like a roar so we’ll leave it at that.

Finally, we have a winner Andi Satterlund knitting patterns giveaway! Before I drop that bomb, I just gotta say… that was by far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a giveaway. Who woulda thunk I’d have so many knitters who follow this blog and love Andi as much as I do? :) Thanks y’all – I appreciate every single one of you! Wish I could give you all patterns, too, but unfortunately I’m not that rich… yet :)

Anyway, without further ado – who’s the lucky number today?

winner47yay

winnerAlexandra

Yay, congratulations, Alexandra! Expect an email from me with how to collect your prize – I can’t wait to see how your sweaters turn out :)

Thanks to everyone who participated, and big huge thanks to Andi for providing the big prize :) For everyone who didn’t win – Perhaps I can entice you with one of Andi’s many freebies?

Completed: More Thurlows, With A Side Of Skinny

28 Jan

Fair warning #1: I almost resorted to calling these the Thinlows, but I refrained. You guys are welcome.
Fair warning #2: These pictures are really really terrible and I am sorry for that. I was saving to buy a new camera because mine sucks, and then I accidentally spent the money on something else that I decided I wanted more. Actually, I’m not sorry about that part.

Skinny Thurlows
Check out my new Thurlows! We are up to six pair at this point, so I understand if you are sick of this pattern now, but y’all gotta understand that I am just in love and we’re still honeymoonin’ strong over here. My TNT! My one true love! The Thurlow!

Skinny Thurlows
You’ll notice these are a bit different, in fact they went on a bit of a diet! As much as I loved those nice flared legs in the original pattern – I’m a skinny girl at heart, at least as far as my pants are concerned ;) I’ve hemmed and hawwed for a few months now on how to properly execute the slim-down. I probably should have hemmed and hawwed just a little bit more because honestly, these aren’t exactly my best attempt! Blame it on a combination of bad pattern, er, combinations (which I’ll get to in just a second, so put your hands down!), as well as a tricky fabric choice. It was a learning curve, that’s for sure!

Skinny Thurlows
To get the legs skinny, I ended up merging the top of the Thurlow pattern with the legs of the Clover pattern. One issue I noticed right away with my tracing – and you probably notice this right away in these pictures – was that the grainlines for each pattern were TOTALLY different. Just skewing in completely different directions. So which grainline was I supposed to choose? I took a wild guess and stuck with the Thurlow grainline. Also, SPOILER: I picked wrong; look at those crazy wrinkles and folds and off-grain madness going on – the side seams are trying to so hard to wrap around my legs! WAH! First lesson learned here: pay attention to those grainlines. They need to go straight up and down the middle of the legs, which is why each pattern was so different.

Skinny Thurlows
Mistake #2 came from my fabric choice. I really like this fabric – it’s a very soft, wool-blend felt that I picked up at the Vogue store while I was in Chicago last year. It was super cheap, feels great against the skin, and I love the color/fuzzy soft texture. However, it has waaaaay too much stretch for this pattern. I don’t know if that saved the grainline fiasco or made it worse than ever, but the massive amounts of stretch definitely contribute to how these pants hang off my legs. Also, the sizing was horribly off, due to the stretch. I kept basting and taking in the sides – I took over 1″ off each side seam. The welt pockets are now too close together as a result; and the pants are still a little loose. Didn’t think that one through, I’m afraid! Second lesson learned: no stretch on these pants, at least not without sizing down first.

Skinny Thurlows
Here’s a better picture of my fails. Wrinkles all up and down the backs of the legs, and the welt pockets are sitting in a weird spot. Oh well!

Skinny Thurlows
I don’t think they’re all bad, though. They’re quite comfortable, thanks to the stretch and how soft the fabric is. And honestly – is the fit that much worse than RTW? I dunno.

Skinny Thurlows
NOPE, NEVERMIND, THAT’S PRETTY BAD. HAHAHA!

Skinny Thurlows

Skinny Thurlows

Skinny Thurlows

I plan on revisiting these again, as I have not yet satisfied my need for skinny pants. I think I’ve got a better grasp on the grainline issue, but if anyone has words of wisdom they’d like to share – let’s hear it!

Skinny Thurlows

And yes, I still plan on wearing these. In all their wrinkly, off-grain glory.

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