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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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Friday, October 10, 2008

My test pair of pants from the duct tape pattern


Well having rushed through work to finish early today I was able to make my first test pair of pants, this pair from my duct tape pattern copy.

These are loose fitting pull-on elastic waist pants and I need a pattern for these, good for summer and schlepping and weekends. Now they are loose pants not really a test of fine fitting but I am super pleased with them for what they are. More precise fitting will be for future pants from different patterns and methods and I needed something wearable and comfortable at the beginning of this project.

A couple of notes:

  • I made a traced copy of the front waistband from my original pants in which the front waist band is its own piece and interfaced. I noticed that this front waistband is curved and fits the body quite well, I don't know if you can see that in the picture.
  • I inserted the elastic in the back and stitched through it once. In real pair I would probably do more stitching lines to distribute the gathers.
  • I learned something important about fitting my tummy. You will note there are no front darts in these pants - I don't need them. What is there to fit? You will also see, as I did right away. that as this is very drapey fabric that there are a couple of vertical folds running from my middle down the front. These are produced by my soft middle aged stomach and disappear if I pull in the side seams or pinch out a pleat down the top of each leg, however if I do this I really articulate my round stomach and this is not at all flattering in the side view. Basically what is happening is my stomach is just there and there is extra fabric where my stomach ends. I have decided that I will leave these as is rather than over fitting to remove this fabric and revealing my real stomach shape. I will probably be wearing pants like this with a shorter top out over the waistband so it should be OK, but you may have other opinions and advice. I like the way, in the all important side view, that my stomach and nice round rear disappear the way it is now.
  • The only issue I had with the ready-to-wear original was that it grabbed me at the back (for a good illustration of this see previous post of me standing out on my front step in my linen pants). This, for obvious reasons (see my body in my leo shots), has always been a problem. The awful thing if you have ever had it, with this problem is not just that you look like a dope, it is also really, really uncomfortable. I have for at least 20 years + being following the advice in all the books and articles and sewn a deeper seam to give more sitting room. If that had really worked I wouldn't be engaged in this experiment I guess. Anyway after reading at Stitchers' Guild about another and quite opposite approach, adding to the back crotch seam not subtracting from it, see previous post, I tried that. It worked! First of all by adding about 3/4" to the lower back crotch curve I acquired all the comfort room I needed and it looks smoother too, although not maybe in this picture but I am blaming the lighting.
  • I can't tell you how happy I am with the shorter front crotch. I am sitting here writing this in my test pants and I look down and see a nice flat (relatively) stomach and not the poufy extra fabric I usually see.
This is a good start. Tomorrow I am making these up for real in what my mother would call "the good fabric" and move on to my Pivot and Slide test (if I can summon the energy I am going to get up at 7:00 a.m. to watch Sewing with Nancy as a gesture of respect - you know you are marginal in your interests when your best shows are that early on a Saturday morning, but I am counting on the recession to change that). The general shape of these pants has taught me a lot and if I want too I am sure I could refine and add darts.

Now off to dinner cooked by my patient husband. Let me know what you think.


katherine h said...

The front looks good. The vertical drapes at the back are a problem that I have...and much more apparent in drapey fabrics. (See an old entry of mine...


This is a problem that I have been thinking about for a while and my best solution so far is to reduce the back crotch seam at the crotch point, which is what Joyce Murphy says not to do in her article Threads 122 dec 05/Jan 06 p41...but i ahven't founc anything that works better yet!

Barbara said...

Good idea Katherine, again a similar problem to my front, so much fabric needed to cover my rear and then it lets go and my legs are not as heavy by comparison. I will try reducing the back crotch seam tomorrow when I do another pair in better fabric. Really appreciate the helpful feedback, as I work my way through the methods I imagine I will learn one new lesson every time.

Elisabeth said...

this is so helpful in combination with the discussion at SG. And I had to laugh at your previous post about how helpful your engineering husband is! I am also married to an engineer, and I often regret asking his help/observations when I am fitting something to myself!
Happy Thanksgiving - I still have about 25% of my jacket to go before I start on the pants project.

katherine h said...

Hello, it's me again. I'm not sure if you want so much input from a complete stranger, with no formal sewing training at all, but now I am thinking about your pants as much as mine! I also have little need for a front dart, and have eliminated it when I cut out a skirt a size too small. In pants, I really like the wide, curved waistband on the Alice & Olivia Vogue patterns. The waistbands are 7 - 8 cm wide. This way, you can get the slight curvature you need and still have a flat front. It also means that part of the waistband is cut on the bias, which probably helps. I made a duct tape skirt pattern on my body recently, and after copying it onto paper, I cut off the top 8 cm to use as a template for curved waistbands on pants (just haven't made any more pants since then).

Barbara said...

Katherine I am getting ready for bed now and my mind is whirling. I looked at your blog and you did a great job in eliminating those back vertical wrinkles. I understand that you say you played around with the crotch point. Can you give me some specific detail as to how you fixed this problem? And thanks for the referral to the Alice and Olivia patterns, they are on sale here next week and I will make sure to pick one up to try. Thanks so much for your help.

katherine h said...

Hello Barbara,

It is Saturday morning here in Australia and I am backing and forthing between the computer and my sewing room and dance classes. I have sewing stuff in every room of the house, and I misplaced my fitting file...but it has turned up, under the Lego instructions, of course. Are you a Threads reader? The method I used is shown in Threads Dec 06 / Jan 07, p49 - 51 "By the seat of the pants. There's no need to live with a baggy seat when just two quick tucks can fix it". I only remove fabric from the inseam of the back leg, below the crotch curve, because I need all the fabric coverage over my butt. If you don't have this issue, let me know, and I'll draw some pictures, photograph them and email them to you. I swa your email address in my latest Australian Stitches... is it okay to use this address?

a little sewing on the side said...

clambaby, you are looking good!
Great job on copying the RTW. I agree with your assessment that the fit is just right in the front.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is really good work, clambaby! I am very much enjoying reading it.

--ejvc from SG

robyn said...

These are looking good! I, too find that when I really work on that back crotch curve it ends up more like an L than a J or a C. I have a little tummy but usually need darting to fit the pants to the waistband, and find it helps to move the front darts pretty far to the side.

Katherine, I'll check out that Threads about removing from the back inseam. Thanks for bringing that up.

Barbara said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to give me feedback. I woke up at 4:00 am today thinking about crotch seams and couldn't get back to sleep. Going to make two "good pair" today and try to fine-tune a little. Katherine I don't have that issue and if it is not too much trouble can you send on your information? I am sure I am not the only one who would benefit.

Thanks too Robin (I love your blog) and ejvc for your comments, really nice to know I am not the only one who thinks this is interesting.

Barbara said...

Oh sorry Katherine yes you can email me here at that address.

Heather said...

Great results. As you said the side is especially flattering. Look forward to further posts on this.

Barbara said...

Thanks Heather, the back needs work, these are OK for loose pull-on pants but not the ultimate and I did learn something about fitting and crotch shapes in this process. Hope your ankle is healing well.