Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pants Encounter

Let's talk trousers, yes?

For starters, have you seen the new book Making Trousers, by David Page Coffin? I just received it, via online shopping, and I can't wait to check it out. It has a great, modern layout I can really get with - v. pictoral. I have high hopes and I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished with it.

Furthermore, today - after my 90 minutes of foot-happy yoga - I felt well enough to try a sewing expedition (notice how that word has the derivative of foot - i.e. ped - in it?!?). I sewed up the (Scott-assisted) muslin of the V1166 pants. I wore my air cast for foot stability, stopped, removed it from the cast, and stretched it often. To give you a sense of how easy these things go together, I sewed the muslin in 90 minutes - and that included numerous therapeutic breaks. Remember, lovelies, the only other pants I've sewn are prefaced by the word "lounge".

As part of my experiment, I sewed the size 14 without any deviations, save a length alteration. It has 3 pieces and the waistband is interfaced. I chopped 2 inches off the length - usually I need to chop 3 inches at least - but with these pants I think 1 - 1.5 inches is enough. I guess what I'm saying is, they're short. My muslin has utterly no give. I used 5/8 inch seam allowances. The pants fit perfectly - though there was not enough length to hem.

Of course, no one has "perfect pants" shape. If you're lucky you might have have Vogue Patterns or Burda or Kwik Sew "perfect pants" shape. Or wide leg "perfect pants" shape. I know I got lucky. I also know that I'm going to need to modify for the brown wool fashion fabric because it has much more give than my muslin. That should be, as always, interesting.

For example, I fear the trousers might be almost too-wide in the upper leg - especially in the wool. What I will say is, this pattern doesn't provide a ton of coverage for a full-derriere. However, if you need room in the thighs, it's great! With very little experience to draw on, I'm beginning to think my rise is short i.e the space between my navel (or waist) and the deepest point of my crotch. I suspect these pants would be much more chic with a cuff. Perhaps the Making Trousers book will tell me how to do this?

A propos of this, reecently Myrna wrote a fascinating post about crotch shape (I know, it's an odd topic, but germane!). See, till you start making pants, you really have no idea of how unique your own shape might be. Of course, I am the poster-girl for this lesson as it pertains to jackets and woven tops (re: the boobs). Can't tell you how much I'd appreciate not having to learn it as regards trousers. :-)

Nonetheless, I'm ready!

So tell me, how do you find pants-fitting? Is it easier than tops-fitting? Harder? Share your experience, please. I need all the info I can get.


  1. I'm not brave enough to sew pants yet. Also, I have a fear of - as you note - sewn pants having too much width in the thigh. My favorite RTW pants are rather wide and flared after the knee, but fitted above. It seems that so many pants patterns are more straight leg. I like the look at the Vogue Alive + Olivia pants patterns - the 2 look like they have the shape I'm going for. They might be my first pattern when I attempt pants.

  2. I apparently have a good shape for Burda and Jalie pants, at least low or medium rise ones. I am still terrified of trying to fit pants to the waist---I think it will be traumatic in many, many ways.

    That's awesome that your first pair is fitting right out of the envelope! (And I'm not terribly surprised they were short, but this may be coloured by my own need to add length all the time ;) )

    If you're worried about the fashion fabric bagging out, you could perhaps underline with something a bit more stable. Or just be prepared to take them in---not a particularly tricky excercise. Good luck!

  3. I like to draft my own pants-- but recently, I seem to have "grown" (i.e. gained weight!) and now fit into a size 14 almost right out of the envelope.

    I always use a 1" seam allowance on the outer seams. I baste those seams in the fashion fabric, pin-fit the pants to my shape, then sew them permanently.

    I think the hardest shape to fit would be someone who carries weight in the front thighs. Pants patterns don't seem to be very easy to alter in that area. But that's just my guess, since I only sew for myself and I don't have that particular fitting issue.

    My main fitting issue is that I have a rounded waist and tummy (and a natural rectangle shape), so my waistband can't grip anything and tends to slide down, resulting in a baggy seat. But I have that problem with RTW pants as well. I think the only solution for this problem is losing weight and/or wearing a belt.

  4. Sewn: You know the Alice and Olivia's look really well suited to the slim thigh! I have a pattern but I'm afraid to try it because it's not exactly beginner :-) One leg at a time, I say.

    Tanitisis: I really want to try the Jalie jeans - again, not quite sure I'm ready. Or any Jalies. I like supporting the Canadian companies...

    Ms. M: So smart about the basting! I should try that. And I think you are correct about the hardest shape to fit in pants, being wide in thighs. But can you imagine what a holy grail you'd find if, having that body shape, you managed to draft a pair of pants that fit gorgeously?

  5. I think we all have variations on shape. Vogue is often too wide in the thigh for me. Burda might be better but I stopped before I got the hang of it completely. I am short in the front crotch depth and long in the back, which is also evident in every pair of pants I buy. The trick is finding pairs where I don't look like a combination of humpty dumpty with a plumber's butt.

    Sewing pants will obviously be a high priority.

  6. M: That's a hilarious description! And I do find Vogue to be very wide in the legs, but not so wide in the waist!