This year I want to focus more on planned sewing, rather than ad hoc … everything! So I have joined in on a few sew-alongs. I made this particular project as the first item for the Build Your Wardrobe – 2017 – Monthly sew-along. This particular sew-along is being run s part of a Facebook group and we are all sewing the same new garment each month. For January that garment is Business/Dress Pants – with a zippered fly!
Normally I start my posts with information about the pattern and a description of the features and options etc. but today I’m going to start with the fit of this garment. Overall I like the fit…but I know that its a straight leg pattern and supposed to be loose fitting, but probably not quite this loose fitting. I think that was a combination of two things:
1. Lately I seem to have made up a lot of things in a size bigger than what I actually am. I think this is because I don’t like feeling that things are too tight or too small on me, or that I need to continually adjust what I’m wearing to make it stay where it should be. Obviously I’m not trusting myself, my measurements, or the pattern. I think that as a result of this, I chose a size that was one size too big, maybe even two.
I find this ironic, because when I was much younger I frequently made things that were too small – mainly because I wanted to be really skinny. I was tiny back then, but I wanted to be even tinier. Now that I’m not tiny like that any more I think that I’ve been trying to hide myself, and not just from others, but even from myself. I haven’t been buying very much RTW clothing for quite a while now because of that – technically it is my size, but I don’t like the way that it looks on me, or the way that it always feels too tight, or too short, or too something. Sewing for myself gives me the freedom to make things that fit me properly, and for me this means getting the proportions right, but I’ve been over-compensating.
Quite a few of my finished garments haven’t made it onto this blog, not because I don’t wear them – because I do, but because I don’t really like the way that they look. I wear them because they are comfortable, because I like the fabric, and I’ve tried to get good photos of some of these items, but I don’t like the way that I look in them when I look at the photos.
Admittedly I’ve got a lot more relaxed in front of the camera lately (and I have quite a few more posts coming up featuring items that I’ve made for myself), so that obviously makes a huge difference to how I look in photos – my posture, the tension in my shoulders, how much am I trying to suck in my stomach, and how ‘forced’ my pose is – all these things contribute to they way that I perceive how I look and what size I am.
It also contributes to the choices I make when choosing what items to make for myself, too many times I have looked at a pattern that I liked and thought (to myself) that it won’t look any good on me or it won’t fit right. Therefore, I have been choosing to make garments whose primary purpose is to ‘hide’ something. And that is so very wrong of me to do that. It takes away all the enjoyment that sewing for myself should bring, and replaces it with complacency, not about my size/shape/age etc, but complacency about where I perceive I fit in the grand scheme of things.
So, this takes me to a point where I don’t want to be complacent, I want to sew for myself because it makes me feel good. I quite like the pants that are the subject of this post, and I like the way that they look in these photos. Although I may have to buy a belt, because of course I don’t own one – a belt goes against my self-perception. Despite that I actually feel that by my participation in some planned sewing ventures I have moved forward into a better space where I will make better choices about what to sew, and that I will gain more enjoyment out of all sewing because of that.
What are your thoughts about this? I’d love to hear what you think.
…and now back to the main story
2. The other reason that the fit is loose on this garment is because the fabric is quite stretchy, and the pattern isn’t really designed for that, its designed for linen. The fabric is stretch suiting from Lincraft – and I really like the fabric, it is a nice medium-weight suiting with good stretch, but I probably should have down-sized to accommodate for that.
So, I think that I could have made this two sizes smaller for a more tailored fit. However, I am liking the wide-legged pants look, so I’m pretty confident that I will be wearing them a lot.
I chose to use a pattern that I have had for a couple of years, I am a subscriber to Ottobre Magazine and have been since about 2012. I really enjoy their style of construction and I know that their instructions are minimal, but I have enough confidence to work through it, most of the time anyway. This particular pattern is from Ottobre Woman Spring/Summer 2/2014. The pattern is for straight-legged linen pants, and it is provided in two size ranges. I didn’t do any comparison, so I’m not sure exactly what the differences are, but I suspect it is mainly just to spread them over two different pattern sheets, as those who have seen them will know, Ottobre master pattern sheets are very …busy.
It has been a really long time since I made fitted pants for myself – I’ve made a couple of pairs of Luna Pants, but that is a much more simplified pattern and doesn’t have the same structured details. I think I was in my early twenties the last time that I made myself a pair of pants with a zippered fly.
And, because I’ve had this pattern for quite a while, this project also counts as part of my planned capsule for the “Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests” (Facebook group) Seasonal Sew Wardrobe: Deep Stash (SSW:DS) challenge. The challenge for this is to sew 8 coordinating garments using only patterns that you purchased prior to 1 January 2017. I have a huge
stash collection of patterns that I’ve been accumulating over the years, so this is a great challenge to bust into that collection and pull out some patterns that have been on the to-do list for a long time.
…and this is a garment that I’ve really been needing – so practical, and yet not so easy to get to fit well.
Let’s start with the part that makes me do a happy dance – the zipper!
I think that the finished product looks pretty good – and I only had to use the quick-unpick once! It also sits well when closed, which since that is the way that it will be when I am wearing these pants, is pretty important. There is a separate pattern piece for the fly shield, I think that’s what caused me to make a mistake, that and not reading the instructions correctly and trying to insert the zipper before I had done the crotch seam! When I first did it, I had folded over way to much at the front seam so I had to unpick just a small section and resew it. Fortunately it was not the part where the zipper tape was sewn at all.
These pants have hip pockets, installed in the usual way, the top stitching turned out really neat on these, I’m really pleased with them. I’m also really pleased with the rise of these pants – I was afraid that they would not be high enough, but they actually ended up sitting at exactly the right height, and hit my preferred waist comfortably.
The back has back yokes, I’ve made quite a few pants with this style of construction when making pants for Jonathan from Ottobre patterns. There is also elastic encased in the back waistband – practical and comfortable. This is the first time that I’ve done elastic in only half the waistband, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Although there were some parts that were a bit fiddly – such as sewing the casing closed. There are also belt loops on these pants – which as mentioned above I think I’m going to need as the pants ended up just a little bit too loose around the waist.
The back pockets are top stitched in place. They don’t look quite straight, especially in this photo, which I think is a bit deceptive because of the angle and the way that black fabric photographs. It is hard to align the stripes with this fabric, and I think that I would have liked the outcome better if I had taken more time with this part of it.
I got a cover stitch machine for Christmas, so I used that to do the hems on those back pockets. I also did the leg hems too. I have been getting quite confident with the cover stitch machine, and as the novelty is nowhere near wearing off, I am using it at every available opportunity. I really do like the three rows of parrallel stitching.
I am particularly happy with those, they look so neat on the outside, and the inside as well. And the finished seams are just as stretchy as the fabric itself. Aesthetically I really like that.
As always, I would love to read any comments you may have, and thanks for reading.