Upcoming and Planned Projects

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Spring Garden Pants

I've been meaning to learn how to sew pants. I have tried a few times, but it's always daunting and I'm never as happy with how they turn out as with my other makes. But I wanted some new pants to wear to work, so I decided it was time for my next attempt at them. I own a few pants patterns and am planning to work my way up through them by difficulty level. Fitted side zip pants seemd like the easiest place to start.

The pattern is Vintage Vogue V9189, a high waisted pattern with two shorts lengths and two pants lengths originally from 1960. The amazing floral fabric is a cotton sateen with a bit of stretch from My Hung in Hurstville. I've seen a few floral pants around lately, and given it is almost summer here I thought bright floral would be the best choice. Plus, being a plain slim-fitting pattern these pants can handle a print better than a more traditional trouser.

One of the really good things about this pattern is that it comes with three different lengths: short, medium and long. Given one of the problems I've had making pants before was where the curve of the hip sat on the pattern compared to where it is on my body, it was good to know when I opened the pattern up that I'd be able to use the different lengths to make those adjustments before cutting out if I needed to. In the end I made the medium without any adjustments, but for others who are taller or shorter, or who have different leg and waist lengths, this pattern effectively does those adjustments for you.

These are definitely the best fitting pants I've made, but that was partly by accident. I'd almost finished sewing them up - except for the waistband and hemming - so tried them on. With other pants I've made they have often been a bit loose at the crotch and inner thighs, and these were as well. Given the slim fit of the pattern it really stood out, so I decided I would sew the seam in closer. I had intended to evenly take in 1cm and see how it looked, but when sewing the crotch curve the pants back pulled a bit and I ended up sewing it in 2cm. I noticed because the seam was not straight just after I'd sewn across the centre of the crotch so I stopped stitching.

I was going to immediately grab my seam ripper and unpick it all, but thought I'd first try them on to check if I'd at least dealt with the loose thigh issue. When I put them on not only did the leg fit better but the crotch on the side I'd taken in was also fixed, which was great. Of course, that meant I somehow had to recreate my accidental fix on the other side. Because I'd started sewing from the thigh for my accidentally correct adjustment, I decided to do the same for the other leg. I also marked where I'd become uneven between the front and back, and very carefully sewed it, using my fingers to adjust the back until I reached where I'd initially stopped. 

There are slanted side pockets which are angled very close to the side seam making them slightly hidden. The pockets are understitched to try and stop them from turning out, but for some reason the righthand pocket facing doesn't always stay down. The side zipper was nice and easy to put in, just like a skirt's. The waistband also went in well - I have had patterns in the past where the waistband piece was too short or too long, but this one was just right.

As a finishing touch, the button is from my tin of vintage buttons I inherited from my grandma. I like that it's vintage, so fits with the era and style of the pants, the colour matches perfectly, and it's nice to have that connection to my grandma, who sewed a lot herself.

 I am really proud of how these pants turned out. The fabric and the fit are just right, and they are just fun to wear. They've improved my confidence in making pants, and I plan keep working my way through the other patterns I own increasing the difficulty, including doing fly finishes. In the meantime, I'll be wearing these as much as I can.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Patti Pocket Skirt

This is the Patti Pocket Skirt from Amy Nicole Studios. A month or so back I was lucky enough to get offered to pattern test a new skirt. And not just any skirt pattern, but one with pockets, which are too few and far between in women's patterns.

The fabric is from My Hung in Hurstville. It's a polyester rayon blend which I've been tempted by for a few years, but never previously had a pattern appropriate for the fabric. The pleats in this pattern needed a fabric that could hold both structure and softness. I couldn't find anything in my stash that seemed quite right, so went looking. Wandering through My Hung this fabric finally stood out as suited to a specific patter.

I made the size 0, view A, the above the knee length. The pattern is designed for petite sizes of 5'4" and shorter. I am 5'6", but long-waisted, so my legs are closer to a slightly more petite height. As such I did not make any changes to the pattern in my construction, apart from using French seams to prevent fraying. I also don't have an invisible zipper foot so had to do a standard zipper insertion. I even followed Amy's instructions to use very few or no pins which was honestly pretty daunting, but actually turned out well.

I started sewing this up a bit later than planned, so I used the second tester version of the pattern and the third tester version of the instrutions. The version I sewed up is I think identical to the final version for this length, and I used the final version of the instructions.

The skirt has six panels as well as pockets. The panels allow for blocking and print mixing. I did consider finding a fabric that would allow proper blocking, but in the end I liked this fabric too much. There is some very subtle blocking as I cut the side pieces on the alternate stripes - the blue and gold match all the way around, but the purple and peach alternate.

Overall I was very happy with this pattern. It was quite straightforward to make, with instructions both clearly written and with clear diagrams. The pockets on this skirt are slightly looser than the body of the skirt, which at first meant I thought I had cut the pieces unevenly. But the instructions do say this is intended, and it does mean there is room to properly use the pockets. The only small thing to note about it is that you need to take care when pressing the pleats and pockets to avoid uneven creases.

I really like this pattern. The pockets are a good size, the pleats are lovely and the length is great. The sizing worked perfectly on me, but for anyone taller or with longer legs it would probably be necessary to lengthen the shorter version A length. I am thinking about making the version B midi length, or possibly just a different version of this short length. It's a lovely skirt, and I definitely recommend it.