11 July 2008

The Eternal Search for Pants That Fit

Now that the kids are done with the dance workshop you'd think they would eagerly jump into the opportunity to take pictures of me modeling sewing projects, but no. They're sleeping in and watching Leave It to Beaver. They didn't even bother going to the end-of-workshop pool party last night, citing extreme fatigue.

Which is all to say that I took pictures in the mirror again. The results were fuzzy. But they give a general idea of what I've been working on, which is pants.

Teri has assured me that if I ever get Ottobre pants to fit I will always be able to fit them, since Ottobre doesn't vary the fit, bless their souls. Last winter I worked on a pair of black dress pants which seemed to require acres of alterations and eventually got pitched. This summer I decided to try again, this time with a pattern for capris from issue 2/2007.

I started off by re-measuring myself, since I'm a growing girl (unfortunately in the wrong decades of life for that to be a compliment). The first thing I noticed is that I had cut out the winter pants in the wrong size, which would explain some of the problems I had with alterations. Doh. I'd made them a size too big.

So I thought, hey, why not simply try cutting the correct size and see how far off it is:

These are out of a linen blend on sale at JoAnn's. Not bad, but still very baggy at first. I ended up taking a half inch off of each side, pulling it in from the back so I wouldn't totally mess up the front pockets.

So I thought I'd try again, using more cheap linen blend. This time I figured I'd go down yet another size, since the next size down is a bit more than an inch smaller than the one I'd made, and that would match my alterations so far:

Whoops, too tight. But part of that was from totally blowing the fly front zipper. I'd decided that since I'd just done this exact pattern a couple of weeks ago I didn't need to look at the directions. Also, my method was sort of a mix of the Ottobre directions and Sandra Betzina's, neither of which I was terribly fond of. Which is to say, I had sort of winged it and it came out just fine the first time; the second time I wasn't so lucky. So after the pants were done I redid the zipper, reflecting on the fact that if nothing else I was getting pretty comfortable with deconstructing and reconstructing finished garments.

They're usable now. Particularly since my life seems to consist of 1) taking kids to dance classes, 2) going to the grocery, and 3) picking up books at the library.

I also left off the belt loops on the green pair, having decided that I'd never wear a belt with these anyway.

Thalia had been quite charmed with that green linen when I bought it. On the way to dance yesterday she got in the car and said, "My. Those are really green, aren't they." So I've apparently also facilitated a lesson in color choices. Thalia happens to have good color sense already, so I like to think something will come of this.

Next up, I have some stretch poplin that was on sale at Hancock's. And, yes, I have enough of it for the "outdoor pants" from issue 2/2007, which is pretty much the same pattern as this but with more length, some elastic business at the bottom of the legs, and some extra pockets. This time I'll leave more room in the hips, lengthen the crotch a tad (it wants to dip at the back waist), and find better directions for the fly front. I need to do something different with the back darts. The waist is still a bit big, and every version is saggy in the seat, as are many readymade pants I own -- snug in the hips, yet saggy bottomed. I"m pretty sure I can find an article or book that explains a "fix" for that, at least somewhat. Eventually I'll get it. Hope springs eternal, yes?


mermaids said...

it looks like you are very, very close. just keep track of your adjustments. that pattern with the wide yoke is my favorite.

don't give up!


km said...

While that seems so ambitious, it's really not as bad as spending hours in the fitting room looking for pants that fit. Here at least when you find your fit, you'll be able to duplicate the results.

Staci at Writing and Living said...

If you are successful on your quest, it would be worth it to me to drag out my sewing machine and completely overtake our only dining table in order to sew.

Although I'm only five-two, my legs are apparently long enough so that petites are a little too short and regulars are way too long. Then there's the whole waist, hips, and thighs being three completely different sizes. I'm with km, it beats spending ours in the fitting room.

Tara said...

I wish I had the time to keep sewing. At this time in my life it's taken a back seat and when I do sew it's costumes, tote bags, napkins and the like. Looks like you are doing a beautiful job fitting these. I admire your patience!

Becca said...

I am impressed. I like the pants! If only I could sew zippers.