Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pants Play

Sewing Classes really cut into sewing time. I just completed Pattern Drafting II class - skirt and pants. I now have a pants sloper that fits me wonderfully, especially in the waist, hip and “saddle” or crotch area. Using the waist and hip area of this pants sloper, I can draft skirts or I can combine my bodice sloper with a skirt draft to create fitted sheath type dresses. This class and the other pattern drafting class were taught by Annette Hickman, a mainstay on the G Street Fabric stores teaching staff, and an excellent teacher. Typically sewing class attendees are all women. One of the students in this class was a 13 year old Asian boy, “J” who is interested in fashion design and who sews clothing for his mother and sister. His presence caused a bit of scrambling on the part of the female attendees, especially those that had expected to have their muslin fit while wearing only underwear. The second class everyone showed up with close fitting exercise/yoga shorts which maintained modesty, but don't add bulk. The young man drafted a pants pattern based on his father’s measurements and we got to watch Annette fit the muslin on his father.

It was done very professionally and with respect for personal dignity. Annette is a great advocate for "reading the creases" of the fabric in areas like the crotch and underarm where is it difficult, and downright dangerous to be sticking pins to take up excess fabric or scissor to snip too tight seams. The body heat and moisture in those areas acts like a little steam iron. For example when fitting my drafted crotch curve, which was not deep enough, the muslin fabric bunched up in that area. After taking off the muslin we looked at where the fabric was creased because of the poor fit. Annette instructed me to sew the new crotch seam along the lowest crease line. In my situation and several of the other attendees, the new seam gave me a perfect fit. Thanks to J’s dad for participating in the fitting exercise. I don't know many men that would have pants fitted in front of an audience. I personally learned a lot seeing a man fitted. Especially from the discussion about their saddle area shape and the resulting pattern, versus those of a female. I live with three guys, including two very tall and slender teenagers that are hard to buy pants for, so this was especially useful for me. I am now reading anything I can find on using slopers to alter commercial patterns. Past blog posts by Jkaori and HongKongShopper were very helpful, as was this article from the Threads magazine. Using sloper on commercial pattern

To use my pants sloper for the first time with a commercial pattern, I chose to make a wearable muslin of this pair of "carrot" pants from the Aug 2009 Burda. Carrot pants are named so because of their carrot-like shape–wide at the hips and tapered at the ankles.

SSASYCHIC has some helpful guidelines on wearing pleated pants which includes carrot pants. Pleated Pant Types


These pants have a shaped yoke and a shaped waistband, with front pleats and tapering legs. I chose this particular pattern because it was fitted in the waist and hip area with the pleats starting below the hip. A better silhouette for me than one with pleats starting at the waist. The pattern is in tall sizes. My sloper matched the seam lines in the hip and crotch area closely for the size 88. Good thing my self image is not tied to a size, that number is big! Weirdly, my front crotch length was 2 inches longer than the pattern. The back crotch length matched exactly. I checked the pattern markings and all the descriptions to see if the front waist was supposed to be lower than the natural waist. No indication, so I compromised and added 1” to the front crotch tapering to nothing at the side seam. The fabric used was a medium weight, but drapey twill weave ?rayon? off the $2.95 table at G Street. If you read blogs or pattern reviews by sewists that live near the DC area, you may have heard of the G Street $2.95 table. It is a wonderful source for low cost fabric. According to Annette the fabric on this table is remnants and pieces from NY clothing manufacturers. It arrives weekly on Thursdays, stuffed in bags, via tractor trailer truck. It is dumped on the receiving area floor and employees fold or roll it up into neat bundles. By Saturday the new arrivals are on the table, which is at least 40 feet long at the Rockville store. I have found both beautiful and beastly fabric on the table, but I always enjoy pilfering through the pile.


I certainly don't look like the model wearing these pants, but they are comfortable and fun to wear. I didn't really have the other items of clothing to style them like Burda did, or the way the fashion magazines are showing them for spring; with a fitted tank top under a vest, but you get the idea. The final pair will be in a med. grayish blue drapey blend so hopefully they will look a little slimmer than the cream ones. Sorry about the headless pictures,I was taking my own photos with a timer. My photographers were busy, No. 1 - blowing leaves out of the gutter, No. 2 on his way to Hampton Roads for his girlfriend's Jr. Prom and No. 3 at friends.


It is a beautiful day today, so next on the agenda is planting oriental lily bulbs, Dahlia tubers and gladiola bulbs in my flower beds. Gardening in my yard is a war against critters. I have to plant most bulbs in wire baskets to prevent them from becoming mole/vole treats. The wire mesh Easter baskets from the Dollar Store work great for this purpose otherwise I make my own out of chicken wire. Thinking of some of the jewelry I have seen that is knitted using metal wire, I wonder if I could knit my own wire planting pouches. Something to think about while I dig.

16 comments:

KID, MD said...

It looks like you got a great fit!! Sounds like your pant fitting time was well rewarded.

KayY said...

Fun! Nice to see another real person try these. They look great on you and now I'm thinking I could use another pair...

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

You may have lost some of your sewing time but look at all the valuable information you learned. And now you can draft your own patterns...very kewl!

These pants are interesting with the pleats so far below the waistline. It will be kewl to see your final pair and how you style them!

Digs said...

I like'em! They look like fabulous bike riding pants - narrow at the ankle, and roomy enough for movement. Nice description of the pants fitting class too (I made a short sloper for my hubby last year, and the front has a deeper curve than the back! Ahem. Struth!)

gwensews said...

I think you look like a million fashionale dollars in those pants! Love them!

Vicki W said...

They fit wonderful and are really cute.

Trudy Callan said...

What great pants. You look so stylish.

Vicki said...

I really like those pants on you. I didn't think I was a fan of "carrot" pants but your version has made me think again.
As to fitting slopers to commercial patters, I can highly recommend Lynda Maynard's - De-Mystifying Fit. You can get it from Kenneth King's site. She shows lots of examples of adjusting patterns using your sloper or moulage.

Kathi said...

Your class experience sounds really neat. I would LOVE to visit G Street and rummage through their 2.95 table!! Like I really need more fabric!!!
Your pants are very cute!

Myrna said...

For information on comparing slopers to commercial patterns, you might be interested in Linda Maynard's book DeMystifying Fit. It's available on Kenneth King's site and - I think - on Pattern Review. Great info for upper garments and dresses. Nothing on pants.

WONDERFUL job on the carrot pants. I didn't know that's what they were called.

Susan Fogel said...

I love those pants! and they look ownderful on you.
They fit perfectly and the drape is luxurious.
Nice job!
Please take a moament and visit my new sewing blog:
www.susansewsdaily.blogspot.com

Eugenia said...

Congratulations on getting a perfectly fitted pants sloper - time definitely well spent! I love your new carrot pants - you look wonderful in them.

katherine h said...

Thanks for this great post. I had admired these pants in Burda but was wondering how they would go on a real person...thank-you. You must be super pleased to have a custom pants sloper!

Tany said...

I love those pants and you look great in them!
Great job!

j.kaori said...

The pants look very flattering on you! Sounds like you had a good class --- fun to learn new things. I made a blazer for my husband a couple of years ago for a tailoring class and he came to class for fittings --- he loved it! I've created a monster --- now he wants everything custom-made!

Cennetta said...

Great outfit. Love the design lines on those pants.