Welt pockets, take 2

Holidays always put a wrench in my best thought-out sewing plans, and Valentine’s day was no exception. While in the fabric store searching for a pink lace fabric (more on that in a later post), I came across wool suiting remnants for $2.99/ yard. Thinking that I know a deal when I see one, I picked up a 3.25 yard piece, with the intent to make my husband a pair of pants for Valentine’s day with one week to spare. Here’s the fabric— it’s actually navy blue (as is evident in subsequent pictures), but showed up grey under the flash:


After the Vogue 8890 fiasco, I chose the Burda Jochen pant, which I had purchased some time ago (together with their sew-along class when it was on sale, since I’d been sufficiently traumatized by Vogue 8890).

Red flag #1— I got home and promptly washed the fabric by hand in cold water (after basting a 4×4” square in one corner, to monitor shrinkage). The fabric lacked the characteristic sheepy smell of wool. Even my wool blends smell sheepier than this did. The fabric submerged quickly (unlike wool), and when I pulled it out, it went drip-drip-drip like an umbrella. I concluded the fabric was polyester, but I proceeded undeterred.

Red flag #2— the smallest size for the pant pattern was for a 30.75” waist. My husband is closer to 28”. I took out 1” by shifting the dart legs over by 1/8” plus tapering the side seam at the waist by 1/8”. That would bring me to 29.75”. However, I had no idea if the pattern was drafted correctly, nor how much ease there should be at the waist (2” is standard for women, I have no idea for men).

On to the topic for the day, I started off making the welt pockets. The sew-along instructions don’t always follow the written directions, and I decided that the written directions made more sense in this case. As far as welt pockets go, these are conceptually more straightforward (though perhaps less elegant/ clever) than many others (certainly more so than Vogue 8890). This is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on making welt pockets (there are many available online), but my goal is to show some highlights and/ or things that caught be by surprise even after reading tutorials.

I thread-traced the pocket markings. This was important because there later came times when it was necessary to see the marks from both sides of the fabric. The center horizontal line, along with the two Y-shaped ends, is the cut line. The upper and lower long edges are where the welts will be sewn. The short sides are largely irrelevant.


I interfaced the back of the pocket on the pant piece. I used a woven fusible shirt-weight interfacing throughout. This was nice and stable, and I think was the key to success.


Because I don’t have x-ray vision, I stuck pins through the pocket markings on the right side, then drew the markings between pins on the WS. In retrospect, it would have been easier to transfer them with tracing paper and a tracing wheel.


I cut and interfaced the welt pieces (called “piping” in the directions), folded in half lengthwise (WRONG sides together), and basted very close to the long raw edges.piping1047

I pinned one welt to each top and bottom pocket marking line. The key here is to have the raw edges of the welt pieces meet in the center. Here’s the top welt pinned in place.


I stitched along the pocket stitching line from the WS (since I don’t have x-ray vision to see through the welt piece to the stitch line underneath). Here are the two welt pieces stitched in place on the right side. The key here is to start and stop each stitching line right at the corner of each stitching line.


By pushing the welts apart, I could see the cut lines underneath.


I cut along these lines,


folded in the overhanging welt bits


and shoved the welt pieces to the inside:. Here they are before pressing:

Here is a triangle generated by the Y-shaped cuts, and shoved to the inside:


I stitched this triangle to the overhanging welt bits, in the orientation shown above.

Here are the welts looking tidy after a good pressing. There’s a little pucker in the upper left corner, where I overshot the corner of the welt stitching line by one stitch. I undid that stitch later, and eliminated the pucker.


Next up, the pocket lining was attached to the welt. The lining was first aligned to the lower welt upside down


and the lower welt stitched in the ditch from the RS. I placed several pins like this to make the ditch more easily visible/ accessible:


Then the lining was turned down over the stitching line.


At this point, Burda did the sensible thing and instructed you to sew a buttonhole through the pant piece and pocket lining, right below the end of the dart tip.

The pocket bag was then overlayed on top of the pocket lining from the wrong side, and the pocket lining and pocket edges were stitched together, catching the welt overhangs and triangle in the stitching. Here’s the pocket from the wrong side in the finished pant:


and here’s the bit where the triangle was stitched to the welt overhangs and then to the pocket.


And here’s the finished pant, not yet pressed


After finishing the whole thing (other skills required are inserting a fly front zipper, and side slant pockets), the pant was about 2-3” too large all around. I managed to take about 1.5” out of the center back seam, the only place I could make adjustments after the waistband was attached. Because the fabric was not a true wool suiting, it has stretched a bit all around over the course of many fittings.

Overall, though, the construction and fit is much better than for the Vogue 8890 pattern, and I plan to try again with the remaining fabric, this time reducing the width of the front pieces as well. My husband is looking forward to wearing the pants this week.

Blazer rehabilitation

The last of my January TBD (To Be Done) pile was completed today— the infamous blazer. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t take any pictures before the alterations, but here’s the finished result (shown with the skirt I altered earlier in an effort to clear the TBD pile):


And here it is after giving the sleeves a good press:


Here’s what I did to rehabilitate this blazer:

  1. Unpicked and restitched the sleeve caps. One sleeve required multiple attempts. The secret to that one was pinning and then hand-sewing directly on the seam line.

  2. I undid the attachment of the sleeve hem to the lining, and restitched it. I used a stitch that the Colette Guide to Sewing Hems calls a “slip stitch.” Basically it makes tiny stitches anchoring the lining to the fabric, with large intervals between stitches where the thread travels through the folded edge of the lining.

  3. I undid the lining attachment to the bottom hem. This one had me stumped for a while, because it results in a quarter to half inch being left raw on the side of the facing (potential raw edge indicated with arrow– the bottom edge of the facing really is flush with the bottom of the jacket!):


I couldn’t find any tutorials that addressed the issue, even in a Craftsy class on blazer-making. Finally I found this tutorial from  Threads Magazine, which instructs you to slip-stitch the raw edge closed (which would have been my default option in the absence of any better solutions).

I slip-stitched the lining in the same way as for the sleeves. Here’s how the pleat looks when pushed up.


And when folded down:


In knitting news, I revisited an epic stole project that I began last year. It’s in a beautiful cobweb silk yarn. I’m about 1/8 of the way through, hopefully it doesn’t take me 8 years to finish it!


I think I’ll finally move on next week to starting a shiny new project with tempting new yarn and/ or fabric, of which I have plenty.

1960s color-blocked top

My favorite TV show of last year (in fact, the only show I watched at all), was The Great British Sewing Bee, and I was overjoyed when my husband gave me the associated book, “From Stitch to Style,” for our anniversary. Last week I began by tracing off two patterns from the book, and noticed some issues with the pattern pieces. I forged ahead this week with the “1960s color-blocked top,” a tank-top version of the famous Yves St. Laurent Mondrian Dress. Without further ado, here it is:


This pattern is a great stash buster, and the fabrics I used may be familiar from earlier posts. The brown is a hemp-backed silk that I used to make a neck-tie for my husband. The tiger print is a very slippery polyester charmeuse that I used to make a bias-cut wrap top. I used up nearly every last inch of the brown fabric (the back of the tank is entirely in the brown fabric), and almost all of the tiger print.

The pattern itself is well-drafted. The pieces fit together, and it comes out to the advertised size and shape. The pattern markings and instructions, however, leave a bit to be desired. Perhaps to be more fair, there is a discrepancy between the stated goal of the book (to guide sewists of all skill levels, particularly beginners, through the process of making the pieces seen on TV), and the level of detail and accuracy provided by the pattern pieces and instructions. I have no issues with patterns like Burda’s, which don’t purport to teach sewing from scratch, nor Marfy’s, which are explicitly for advanced sewists and don’t come with instructions at all. The issues I had with this pattern are:

  1. The neckline is supposed to have a 3/8″ seam allowance, but this is marked on only 2 of 3 pieces that comprise the neckline, and not marked on the facing pieces at all. The instructions don’t tell you to sew with a 3/8″ allowance at this stage (other patterns in the book with 3/8″ allowances do include this instruction).
  1. The position of the zipper stop is about 1.5″ short. The pattern calls for a 10″ zipper, but the notch marked for the zipper stop is only 9″ from the top edge (the instructions call for placing the top of the zipper 5/8″ from the top edge). There are no instructions for shortening the zipper.
  1. Many notches don’t have partners. It became clear that some notches on the horizontal brown stripe were meant to align with the edges of the vertical brown stripes. The instructions only call for “aligning notches,” with no explanation of the partner-less notches.
  1. Because the darts are in the front pieces, the horizontal brown stripe must be eased to fit the lower bodice. The instructions don’t indicate this, and I can see a beginner being thrown off because the seamline of one piece is longer than that of the piece it’s being sewn to.

Nevertheless, because the pattern was well-drafted, and I’ve sewn tanks before, it was fairly clear what was supposed to happen, and I plowed ahead. I spent a long time on the facing, using my own method to attach it. I first finished the edges of the facing pieces, so they look like this:

Someone at sewing club was intrigued once by this finishing technique, so I’ll describe my process here:

  1. Cut all facing and interfacing pieces as indicated.
  2. Lay the NON-GLUEY side of the interfacing on top of the RIGHT side of the facing. This is the opposite of the way you’d align them to glue them together.
  3. Stitch the edges that will not be seamed to each other with a ¼” allowance (these are usually the un-notched edges).
  4. Trim the seam allowance, and turn so that the gluey side of the interfacing is against the wrong side of the facing. This may take a bit of effort if the edges are curvy; clip the seam allowance as needed to make a neat turn.
  5. Fuse the interfacing to the facing, and proceed as usual. No floofy bits coming off the interfacing, nor stray threads coming out of the facing fabric!

Because my two fabrics frayed like crazy, I finished the seams with pinking shears. The front section had far too many seams to do mock-French seams, which is my favorite finishing technique. Well, I suppose someone with more time/ effort/ motivation could have managed it, but it wasn’t happening at my end this week!

If I were to make this again, and I might, I would take in the side seams a bit under the armhole, tapering to nothing at the waist. I would also take a bit of fabric out of the upper back area. Overall, this is a well-drafted pattern, with unfortunately inadequate instructions.

In addition to making use of my stashed fabric, I’ve made progress on my TBD pile. I unpicked the lining and armhole seam of a blazer, and reset the sleeve at sewing club. I pulled it off with only the tiniest ripple remaining. I’ll try once more to steam it out, or unpick and resew, but I may have to come to terms with it. I’ll tackle the other sleeve at sewing club this week. It’s much easier to do it with friends around!

On the knitting front, I received Barbara Walker’s 4th volume of stitch patterns for my birthday, completing the set. I will be experimenting with some of those soon, and I’m hoping to find inspiration there for a sweater-quantity of grey worsted-weight wool yarn I purchased on sale before the holidays. Hoping to have pictures of the outcomes next week.


Mittens and upcoming sewing projects

After the whirlwind of productivity and the excitement of a new pattern release last week, this past week was much more calm. The good news is that my alterations to the tunic for my mom worked for her, and I was able to present her with a fully finished piece, ready to wear. Unfortunately, I don’t have a modeled picture. Wrapping up my Christmas gifts so early in January is a bit of a record for me. I think last year’s Christmas gift for my husband wasn’t completed til late spring!

Now that the TBD pile is resolved, I’m making a concerted effort to decrease my yarn and fabric stash. I’ve had this skein of yarn since last March, earmarked for mittens. The yarn is basically an enormous strand of roving, definitely not my cup of tea. It is labeled “100% super soft wool,” for what that’s worth (my first time seeing a subjective descriptor in the fiber content info).

In any case, the only use of this yarn to me was in the form of mittens, and I found the perfect pattern during the Ravelry-hosted Indie Design Gift-Along in December. Daisy Bulky Mittens, by Triona Murphy, turned out to be the perfect thing for this yarn. I had to adjust the cuff pattern a bit because my stitch gauge was a tad looser than called for, and I started with fewer stitches to compensate. However, the adjustment was quite straightforward to make. I had to adjust again for the top of the mitten, which again was straightforward working in stockinette stitch. Each mitten took at most 2.5 hours. Even though I was less-than-excited about the yarn, I was thrilled with the instant gratification the yarn/ pattern combo provided. Here are the mittens.

In keeping with my stash-reduction efforts, I’ve decided to embark on two projects to use leftover fabrics. Both projects are from the 2016 Great British Sewing Bee book “From Stitch to Style.” The first is a “Chinese-inspired Top,” which is a Qipao-style tank top with a mandarin collar and diagonal opening across one shoulder. The opening closes with an invisible zipper, but is embellished with decorative frog closures. I have quite a bit of leftover brocade from my earlier bomber jacket adventure (I’d purchased enough fabric to make the entire jacket in brocade, but then made the sleeves and trim in a plain satin). The second project is a “1960s color-blocked top,” based on the Yves St. Laurent Mondrian Dress. I’ll be using a brown hemp-backed satin that made an appearance in a tie for my husband, and a tiger-print charmeuse that was used for a wrap top. Ideally the back will be solid brown and the front window-pane panels will be tiger-print (separated by brown stripes), but I haven’t laid out the pattern pieces to make sure I have enough of each fabric. If not, I can change how I color block the piece, and facings can be a different fabric altogether if needed.

This week I only got so far as tracing the patterns. The patterns are printed in color in an overlapping fashion, which I suppose is a necessary evil when you’re trying to provide as many patterns as this book does. The book implies that it’s a great starting point for beginners, but I have to say that some knowledge of how sewing patterns are drafted goes a long way in tracing off the convoluted map of patterns on the printed sheets. I suppose that such knowledge is not essential, but it definitely made things easier.

Secondly, I thought the labeling was a bit inadequate. There are often rows of notches, with no indication of which notch corresponds to which size.

Otherwise the patterns appear straightforward, with the expected elements (darts, zippers etc.) in the expected places. Overall I think the patterns are not tricky, and the book gives good instructions in what they call “Core Skills,” such as inserting a zipper or sewing a hem. I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting point for learning to sew.

My plan is to make a muslin for the Chinese-inspired top, since the fit through the neck and shoulders needs to be precise for the design to work. When it comes to the color-blocked top, however, i’ll throw caution to the wind and go for it. The color-blocking introduces enough seams hat any adjustments can be made after the fact. And I’ll also make a muslin of the skirt pattern that’s intended for the lovely grey velvet I posted about last week. Hoping that at least one of these is finished by next time!

Polishing off the TBD pile, and new pattern release

Week 1 of New Year’s resolution-keeping is off to a good start. First of all, I’m writing this post, so that satisfies my “blog regularly” goal.

My excitement for this week was the publication of one of my patterns by Valley Yarns Designs! Here’s Sabine Pullover, made in Valley Yarns Colrain (a merino/ tencel yarn). The sweater features a stitch pattern by Annie Maloney, who designs beautiful patterns. I’m in love with all her patterns from the Lace Cables volume.


Secondly, the goal this week was to clear my backlog of unfinished projects or those needing repair (the “TBD” or “to be done” pile). I did pretty well. I finished the Adiri sweater, a few days late, but within the intended week. I’m beyond thrilled with it. Here’s a picture taken in bad lighting, but hopefully the beautiful stitch pattern is clear.



My sewing to-do list grew a bit since I last posted. I fixed the sleeve caps on my cowl-neck tunic. It’s hard to see in the before and after pictures, but the tucks are gone now.

Setting in sleeve caps is always an anxiety-inducing event for me (I imagine this is how I’d feel trying to, say, steer an airplane). I follow the directions in this Craftsy tutorial for setting in sleeves. The conventional directions of running a line of gathering stitches only seems to solidify the tucks in my hands, not eliminate them. Here’s a picture of my pinned sleeve cap. I didn’t eliminate all tucks on this first attempt, and had to unstitch a small section again and retry. I used even more densely-spaced pins on the second attempt.


I also decided to peg the hem of a pencil skirt I made about 5 years ago. It’s in a beautiful wool fabric I got on sale for $5. After my unexpected success with the Marfy dress, I realized that the reason I don’t wear the pencil skirt more often is that I don’t like the shape of the hem line. So I pegged the hem by 1” at the bottom, tapered over the course of 11”. I didn’t even try to trim the seam allowances of the skirt or lining (particularly because I’d finished the lining seams with mock-French seams, and didn’t want to undo those). I wasn’t going for couture here, I just wanted something I’d be happy to wear. Nobody else is going to see the inside of this thing, and I’ll just avoid looking when I take the skirt on and off!

I also had my mom’s and husband’s Christmas gifts to wrap up. My mom’s had been 4 years in the making. I purchased the pattern (Burda 2964) and a lovely ponte knit at Britex Fabrics on my last trip to San Francisco in 2012. The lady who helped me with my selections even went so far as to match the fabric to my complexion, when I told her that the garment would be for my mom (she asked if we had similar skin tones first, which I assured her of). I had made a muslin of view B in a cheap knit fabric purchased locally when I returned from the trip. My mom is about a size 10/12 according to the sizing info. I cut a 12, thinking I might have to take it in a tad, but the tunic was far too enormous around the neck and shoulders. Stumped, I spent the next 4 years contemplating the fitting issues at intervals. The stars aligned to retry it this Christmas, and I decided to cut a size 12 below the bust point, and taper to a size 8 in all pieces above the bust point. This fixed the original problem of having too much fabric between the full bust and shoulder seam (in the vertical direction). However, the neckline was still far too wide. I pinched in the front and back princess seams (0.75” and 0.5”, respectively) when I fit my mom over Christmas, but was still stumped by how to take it in properly.


The side front and side back pieces form the side edges of the neckline, and I didn’t want to narrow the shoulder seams any. I had an epiphany last week and decided to keep the seam allowance of the side front and side back pieces the same, and take all the extra fabric out of the center front and back pieces. I drew a new point on the center front piece 1.5” from the original seam line, along the self facing fold line. I then drew a tapered line from just above the bust point to the new point at the facing fold line, and aligned the seam allowance of the side front piece to this line, and stitched it. I repeated for the back piece, taking in the center back section by 1.” (the photo shows the back piece, with the new seam line drawn on the right side).


It now fits me much better, and since my mom and I are about the same shoulder/ neck size, I think it will be ok for her. I’ve lost the graceful curve of the princess seam into the side neck edge, but oh well. At least it’s wearable now (and I swear there are no tucks in the sleeve caps, despite appearances!).


My husband’s gift was a lot easier to finish. I had made a winter-weight pyjama set (using a stable knit fabric from Mercer’s Fabrics), and McCall’s 4320. I’m used this pattern for lightweight pyjamas in quilting cotton and seersucker, and it did great with the heavier knit as well. I finished all the hemming today, using a twin needle that Santa (aka mom) got me for Christmas.


Learning to use it was a bit harder than it should have been, because it took me a while to realize there’s a thread guide for the right hand needle on my machine. One tutorial I found online said not to run the right-hand needle’s thread through a thread guide at all (I think the demo machine had only a left-hand thread guide), but on my machine this caused all sorts of clunky noises and jamming. Once I discovered the right-hand thread guide, everything went smoothly. I also used the twin needle to hem my mom’s ponte knit tunic.

Now the only task is to fix the sleeve caps on the blazer. This one will require some fortitude. Meanwhile, now that I’ve mostly cleared my “TBD” pile, I’m allowing myself to embark on new projects for the new year. First off will be this skirt from Burda, in this velvet fabric I picked up at Mood while in NYC last week. The fabric is a dark grey with  purple undertones, and a subtle burnout pattern.

As my new year’s resolutions seem to be sticking, I’ll be back next week!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted. If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a lot more of me in the past year there. One of my new year’s resolutions is to post here more regularly, so here goes Day 1 of my resolution.

I realized that I left off on a bit of a cliff-hanger with the last post. I finished the pants, although the inside is untidy and back pockets just don’t sit right. Here’s a view of the front, which looks quite reasonable.


On to knitting news, I had 2 pattern releases this year. The first was Ascending Leaves Pullover, which was published by Valley Yarns. The yarn used for this sweater, Longmeadow, a blend of cotton and microfiber, held up to its promise of being a cotton yarn with the properties of wool. I loved the stitch definition, without the fuzz of a wool yarn.


(c) Valley Yarns Designs

The second was Peony Shrug, made with Revel DK yarn (a merino superwash) from A Riot of Color. The yarn was a dream to work with, and was a bit sturdier than most superwash yarns. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I also had the chance to knit from published patterns. I made this baby set (Sirdar 1666) for a friend’s baby. Actually, my husband learned to knit in the past year or two, and he made the hat and bootees! I knit the sweater, and did all the finishing and flower trims on all the pieces. The yarn, Bio Sesia (a cotton fingering weight), knit up beautifully, but was difficult to work with, as it resembled 14 strands (yes, I counted!) of loosely-spun sewing-thread-weight plies. Fortunately all pieces fit the recipient, and mom was very happy!


I had a much more prolific year of sewing than knitting. I’ll show some highlights below:

Vogue 7876, in a tiger-print polyester charmeuse. It’s my first animal print ever, and I love it!


Vogue 1481, in a brocade I picked up in NYC a little over a year ago. I managed to squeeze the dress out of 1.25 yards of a 45” inch cut (the pattern calls for 1.75 yards). The brocade frayed like crazy. I swore I wouldn’t work with brocade again, but then I couldn’t resist signing up for McCall’s fall bomber jacket sew-along, which I made in….. brocade!


This is Butterick 6181. I followed the sew-along instructions for adding a lining, which worked well. I was thrilled to see that this was one of the jackets featured on the McCall’s blog in November!

On the topic of fraying fabrics, this kimono, based on a tutorial from Elle Apparel, was cut from a polyester chiffon sari donated by my mom. I french-seamed everything. Next time I’ll make the back-neck smaller as it tends to slip off my shoulders, but overall I’m happy with it.


Fortunately I didn’t spend the entire year battling with fraying fabrics. I made this dress using a “midweight wool” that my husband purchased for me two years ago from Britex fabrics. I waited for the perfect pattern, which was published last fall by Burda (Burda 09-2015-116 Long Sleeve Shift Dress). Love everything about this dress and fabric!


I also made the Dove top, very soon after it was released by Megan Nielsen this fall. The fabric is an Art Gallery voile print. I love everything about this top too, and hope to make more like this in the future.


My crowning achievement for the year was this Marfy dress, made for the One Yard Wonder contest hosted by Sewing Pattern Review. It is fully lined, and made with 1 meter of fashion fabric (some kind of polyester satin). The total cost is under $10! This pattern required some adjusting (taking in the side seams above the waist and below the hips, and taking in the bust seam), but was worth the trouble. The contest voting will open later this week on Sewing Pattern Review, so if anyone is a member there, you can cast your votes soon.

And finally some garment-related resolutions for the year. Rather, for the week (I’m taking this in baby steps): this week I plan to fix a couple of garments in my wardrobe that I’m not 100% happy with. One is a cowl-necked top that I love, but would love just a tad more if I hadn’t gotten tucks into the sleeve caps when setting them in. The second is a blazer from 2013, which has— you guessed it— tucks in the sleeve caps. This will be much harder to fix, as it is lined and has shoulder pads. I’ll start off with the cowl-necked top as a warm-up, and then move on to the blazer. Finally, I plan to finish my Adiri sweater, designed by Julia Trice, which I made as part of the Indie Design Gift-Along on Ravelry. The sleeves are blocking now, and should be ready to sew in tomorrow.

Do you have any projects that you’d love just a bit more if they didn’t have that one thing wrong? Join me in fixing up past projects to make something you’ll be thrilled and proud to wear. I’ll post about the progress I make at the end of the week, before moving on to the queue of new projects I have lined up. Looking forward to embarking on my 2017 projects!

Tackling Men’s Trousers

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! I got the idea last year to undertake making my husband a pair of trousers; one of the few proper trouser patterns available was Vogue 8890, which had the additional bonus of including a jacket pattern (for future consideration).


The pattern has 20 unique pieces. I used 3 of them to make a muslin for fitting– the pant front, back, and side front (which is the inside of the front slant pocket). It fit great through the waist and hips, which is where most of my husband’s fitting issues occur (I didn’t include the waistband in the muslin. If I knew then what I know now, I would have.) The inseam, on the other hand, was a mess. It started only 2″ from the end of the fly closing, which meant the inseam was almost at the front of the leg. I measured my husband’s RTW pants and found that the inseam started generally 4-5″ from the end of the fly closing, so I opened the outer leg seam, and drew an inseam line 2″ away from and parallel to the original, made new pattern pieces and added seam allowance, and was off. Except that most pants have a region marked “stretch here” along the back leg’s inseam line, and I didn’t know how to recreate this along the new seam line, so I didn’t.

I used a wool suiting fabric from Winmil in Boston. I cut all the pieces (a multi-afternoon task), and thread basted all markings. I’ve discovered that thread-basting saves lots of trouble going forwards, and I’ll now do it for everything, rather than trying to get by with chalk. Ink that disappears with heat works well too (I like my Frixion pen), but I’m absent-minded when pressing during construction, and prone to erasing important markings.

Here’s the position of the new inseam. The original was located midway between the current position, and the bottom of the fly closing… you can imagine the consequences:


The back leg at the inseam is baggy because I didn’t cut the seam line a bit short and then stretch it to match the front seam line.

The pattern starts off with possibly the hardest construction step, the back welt pockets. I practiced on a muslin first. It went mostly ok. The inner pocket was a bizarre construction I still haven’t wrapped my mind around, but by following the instructions step-by-step, I did generate a pocket bag.

When I made the pocket on the actual pant, using the prescribed hair canvas for interfacing the welt, it became painfully clear that there was excess length in the welt, which was an error and a problem. I’m not referring to the welt “tabs” or “ends” that get tucked in, but rather that the marked stitch line on the welt was longer than the corresponding stitch line of the pocket marked on the pant piece. I ended up easing the welt to the pocket line, which was a big mistake. It causes the pocket to bulge out, as seen here:


I should have, instead, put the welt flat along the stitch line marked on the pant piece, and stitched along that line, ignoring the stitch line endpoints marked on the welt.

On the inside, the pocket bag is a bit wider than the distance from the pocket to the side seam. I think the pockets are the same dimensions for all pant sizes, and they didn’t account for this difference for the smaller sizes. Or didn’t account for it sufficiently. Here’s my attempt at dealing with that issue:


I’ve eased the pocket stay (I think that’s the name for the top portion that gets tucked into the waistband) along the waist line, in an effort to incorporate the excess fabric.

Sewing the front pockets mostly worked fine according the pattern, although the notches on the outer leg seams didn’t quite align. The zipper was mostly ok as well. Then I moved on to the waistband. First of all, I discovered that men’s trousers have a “facing” for the waistband facing, instead of finishing the raw edge of the facing with bias tape (as most women’s pants are done). I have no idea why, but all the RTW pants have this construction. I also learned that the belt loops (“carriers,” to use the technical term) are top-stitched to the top of the waistband after the fact, rather than being sandwiched between the waistband and facing. That was all well and good, and it was my opportunity to learn something new….

Except…. that most of the notches on the waistband and facing pieces didn’t align. Not facing-to-facing, and not facing-to-waistband. Something was always off at each step. I had to guess what the intention was (the illustrations in the directions were no help), and try to make it look as intended, not as written. While the fly facing on one side seals in the raw edge of the waistband facing, on the other side a bit of it remains raw no matter how I overlap things:

raw_edge_smIf I fold down the waistband first, then overlap the fly-facing-thing (the part that’s finished in the photo with a zig-zag edge), then the lower facing’s raw edge is sealed, but not the upper.

I’ve finished most of the heavy-duty construction. I need to fix up the center back seam. It looks like this, and though it’ll be covered by a belt, I have higher standards than letting it go:


I’ll have to do this by not sewing across the intersecting seam (which causes the jog), but stopping and restarting on the other side of the intersection.

I also have a belt loop to correct, and a crotch shield to install, though I may omit the latter since I’m overall not happy with the pants. Despite all these issues, though, they do fit nicely, and they’ll get some wear.

I was hoping this trouser pattern would be the go-to for making multiple pairs of pants in different colors/ fabrics (men don’t have the problem of needing drastically different styles). Unfortunately, with all the issues still remaining to be fixed, I might be better off with a different pattern, if I can find one.