Sunday, September 18, 2011

Less is Less*

What do you want first - the good news or the bad news??

Right. Good it is, then:

V1166 pants are finished (unlined cuz I don't like lining / the wool has stretch, the use of which would be nullified by lining). Peeps, the construction is just freakin' gorgeous. For any of you who suggest that I'm a perfectionist who can never see the excellence in my own handiwork, let me disabuse you. I made these flawlessly and I rock.

For starters, observe the inside (you know, the part with the visible seams):

Here's the full garment (right side):

And a shot of the hem (the equivalent of subjecting you to photos of a beloved baby doing something cute - it's meaningful, for the person who took the photo):

OK, on with the bad:

I followed my many notes and guidelines - this is something like the 7th time I've made these, not including the muslins. But I did one thing differently. Instead of leaving the outer leg seams unserged i.e. giving me the latitude to rip them out and alter the leg width, as necessary, I serged that seam too. Why did I do this? Cuz it's prettier construction, IMO. And I've done my time with this pattern (so I thought) to be able to take a nervy step. Note: I did baste the pants together first, to ensure they would fit. And, at that point, I did think that the 4 inches I removed from the outer leg (2 inches on each side), was slightly excessive - so my goal was to leave a little excess by serging to the outside the baste line. That line would then be removed to reveal a slightly roomier seam.

Alas, I didn't eyeball the serge line well enough and I ended up serging the pants to more or less the same width as the baste line i.e. I didn't build in my margin. Y'all know, you can't put that fabric back on, right? (Insert diatribe about how knitting has this all over sewing.)

As a result, the pants are too tight in the hips. Not hideously, not enough that I'm not going to try to wear them and enjoy their abstract beauty, but enough that you can see notable pull lines at the crotch - and my thong is too visible through the (admittedly drapey) fabric for my liking.

This may be the moment to qualify my perspective on modern pants-wearing. Have you noticed that a majority of the younger generation - yes, I did just write that and I do mean those who are younger than 30 - wear their pants too tight? I'm not talking about jeggings and skinny jeans. I mean pants one wears to work, to the lawyer's office, to funerals. I don't want to see the peach-like outline of one's derriere, even if it is youthful and high. And note: The zipper shouldn't pull.

Well, I'm about to flout my own dressing guideline for the potential pleasure of wearing great new fall pants (though it does remain to be seen how much the hip whiskering is going to torment me).

You may be thinking: Kristin, how about the recalibration? Isn't that leading you to a land of relative slimness? Well, the answer is, probably. But not yet (I'm not dieting, just eating moderately). And furthermore, the issue with the pants is in the hips - an area I rarely lose any mass in, because I don't have much there to lose. I mean, I'd have to be very skinny to note a change in hip size. Though losing volume in my butt would likely ameliorate the situation somewhat.

Thoughts and feelings? Do share...

*Something tells me I've used this title before...


  1. The pants look beautiful!

    If I were ever to take up sewing, it would be to make pants. I'm tired of the constant struggle to find a decent pair that fits. It's the only negative of an office job. Life would be easier if I could just wear my jeans everyday.

  2. The pictures are beautiful. Pants still scare me so I'm in awe.

    Completely agree about some people wearing clothing too tight and thinking that it fits. I have one coworker in particular who is a beautiful person on the inside, has a lovely curvy figure and has no clue how to dress it. Everything is too small, pants, shirts, everything. Sigh, she would look so much better (and actually thinner if that's what she's going for) if it didn't look like she was still trying to squeeze into clothing that fit 15lbs ago. And she definitely fits your under 30 definition.

    I have a pair of beige summer pants that are a bit snug and have a specific weight set point. In a dark fabric with less drape, they would be okay, but they show where my thighs start, it's not so much whiskers as diagonal fold lines. My solution is to wear them with longer tops (and below that set weight point so the zipper isn't pulling).

  3. Raven: I don't find RTW that difficult to fit - but making one's own gives the opp to perfect things for one's size at any given time - theoretically :-)

    S: I know! I see it all the time and I want to stop those women and say, Sweetie - it's easy to look fantastic when the (insert clothing item here) fits...

  4. Yeah, you have to watch those serger gremlins that shove your garment further into the knives than you planned. Been there, done that, donated the t-shirt to Goodwill because it was too small after that. ;-)

  5. Such beautiful work! Look at that perfect zipper installation.

    As I've said before, I live in fear and awe of the serger. The serger ate one spot of the V8565 pants I made in inexpensive pima cotton to test the design/fit. I was able to reinforce using a pick stitch, so I wear them for housework and they're fine. You would think I would NOT have tried to serge the same pants in silk jersey, but I did, because like you, I love the clean construction. Well, I got lucky. Awesome!

    But I hate it that the next serger glitch lurks in my future.

    I'm really tempted to make V1166, even though it doesn't have the rectangle icon, because the line drawing shape looks really similar to that of V8565. Maybe the shape icons have to do with the top/tunic, not pants? Anyway, I understand that V1166 is more fitted so I would need to make a muslin.

  6. Put a long cardigan over them! That's what I do when my pants are too tight.

  7. I'm pretty sure I'm one of those who wears things too tight (especially pants...)... and I'm not even under 30 ;).

    They are looking great from here. Is there room to let out the side-seam even a smidge? It might not take much. Although, if they're a stretch woven they may stretch out with wearing, so I'd be sure to give them a day in action before judging. And there's always the recalibration...

    (I tend to make mental notes to myself when laying out the pattern---oh, I'm going to cut this a little bigger, that a little wider---and then totally forget when I'm actually cutting 30 seconds later.)

  8. And yes, the jeans are designed that way but since that's all I've ever really worn, I don't know how to look for a looser-fitting pant, y'know?

  9. CGC: I'm so careful, but the serger (in the end) does what it wants.

    Susan: Thank you! I can't believe how well the zipper worked. That has never happened before!

    Sewn: Smart solution!! I'm on it.

    T: I'm holding out for the stretch possibility. They are quite stretchy pants. And in the same way stretch jeans bag out after a wearing or 2, I have to hope the same will happen here. Or the recalibration will kick in hard.

  10. The pants look great -- at least on the floor! I know the pain of making beautiful things that don't fit -- I had a skirt with plaid pleat insets that was perfectly made and NEVER fit me. I think I made it a full size too large and by the time I gained enough weight to fit into it, my shape had changed. It was a sad experience.

    I'm quite picky about pants and I think one of the reasons why younger people wear their clothes so tight is that they don't remember clothing before everything had lycra in it. Most of us oldsters buy our clothes the size that fits in the dressing room, but kids know the pants will stretch out so they buy a size too small. Problem is, it's the rare pair of pants that actually stretches a full size so everyone ends up in things that are either too big or too small.

  11. If you find they aren't comfortable (I hate to sit all day in pants that are too tight), you could always cut open those seams and insert a grosgrain ribbon down each side. A dark gray would be pretty. It would be like a tuxedo effect.

  12. LSCG: The misery of the ill-fated, but perfectly constructed, garment. It's times like these it would be good to be a line tailor. You are so right about why the young uns wear their pants so tight! Excellent observation. Sad reality!

    Couture: That's an awesome idea - and yet, I can tell you, way too much work at this point. I'd have to deconstruct the pants altogether. I'm too lazy.