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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Duct tape knock-off pants pattern

Yesterday I started my attempt to make a paper pattern copy of my natural linen pants using Jean Haas' tape method.

The steps are described in detail a few posts ago.
This is how it went.

Step one outlining the seamlines with short bits of tape was easy. 

Nice relaxing TV compatible work. Being a fairly random person I much preferred this to careful measuring methods I have tried before. So far so good. I put one leg of the pants inside the other and worked from the wrong side so I could see the crotch shape easily.

The next step, to fill in the interior shape with wide horizontal strips of tape, was also easy. To prevent distortion from too many layers I pulled the pant leg out and laid the full pair of pants flat. Since I don't want to bother with the inseam pants it was simple to just lay the tape over


Then it got tricky, or I thought it might. The tape had to be pulled off, slowly. Here I was glad I opted for duct tape instead of the painter's masking tape Haas also recommends.

My duct tape "pattern" came off really easily in one sheet (I had run two strips of extra tape lengthwise to make sure and that might of helped). 

I then had to put this onto paper, brown wrapping paper I decided because I thought it wouldn't wrinkle. Haas suggested laying the tape pattern sticky side up on a table and rolling the paper over it, I tried that but got mega wrinkles, probably because I couldn't see what I was doing.

Since my pattern was something I could pick up and move, I then tried laying it sticky face down on the paper and that was much easier, although there really were more wrinkles than I could deal with, definitely the part of the process I will need to refine. I then traced around the tape pattern, added hem and seam allowances and was able to then remove the tape. I was interested to see how shallow the front crotch curve was, quite different than anything I have seen in a purchased pattern.

I have the pants back to finish now (going to have to enlist help stretching out the waistband) and I am done.

So what do I think about this method?

First off it's really easy, about a two and a half hour process and I felt that the tape was in fact more accurate than measuring in some ways as it was a direct copy of the garment shape. Also when working with the pant back, which is wider than you can see when the pant leg is laid flat, it was possible to stick on the tape and roll it around to the back to find the seam line that lay underneath (does this make sense). This method would be wonderful for rounded shapes like sleeves I think that you can't flatten to trace.

However until I sort out how to eliminate the wrinkles in the tape (maybe a more careful sewer can) it is not obviously 100% accurate. I feel I am generating a good basic shape, which is important in pants, but is it accurate to the 1/8" ? No, probably not, but I think I can work with this and get a reasonable facsimile, which is what I am aiming for right now.

The real test will be the translation to fabric. Evening project for the week.


Heather said...

Just getting caught up on your pant making adventures. I have been laid up with a broken leg and not blog reading. Am looking forward to seeing the final results.

Barbara said...

Sorry to hear about your leg! That just happened? Hope it wasn't a bad break. Look forward to your comments as this project progresses. Take care.

katherine h said...

I'm following you closely. I was going to leave my pants fitting to next year, but am getting caught up in your momentum. I have just compared a Vogue pattern and Burda pattern I have...the Burda pattern has a much flatter front crotch seam than the Vogue...more like your pants. I then went and checked out the flat front crotch option in Wild Ginger. I have only ever made vogue pants, so I can't wait to see how a flatter crotch curve compares.

Barbara said...

I have a 12 hour day at work today so probably won't get sewing tonight, but I am anxious to see how the different methods work too. It will be interesting to lay out the different crotch shapes in a row and see how they compare. There has to be a reason why I, and other sewers, have not been able to sew pants that fit and I want to find out what that is.

Let me know how your own testing goes too, interesting about the Burda/Vogue differences.

Heather said...

Hi Barbara, I broke my ankle walking in the woods a little over 2 weeks ago. I had surgery and now am hobbling around with cast and crutches. I thought I could get lots of sewing done but am finding knitting to be the craft of choice right now.

katherine h said...

This link is not related to crotch curve, but it is an element of fit


You may have known this already, but i was interested to read it yesterday.

Barbara said...

First of all Heather, I am so sorry to hear about your ankle, sounds painful, but good thing you knit. I love knitting, just have to learn how to get faster at it, I have fantasies about knitting everyone a sweater for Christmas, handknit sweaters are pretty rare things kids really appreciate when they are adults. Just have to do something about being a really, really slow knitter. Hope you get mobile soon, or at least as soon as your knitting projects are done.

And Katherine that link about cutting pants waistbands on the crossgrain made perfect sense. Maybe we need to cut through the thousand handy hints on pant fitting and construction and come up with a short list of what really works - I would definitely put this idea on that list.

Thank you for sharing this, when I get as far a a waistband I will try this for sure.