green stripey trousers

A.k.a. those effing pants.

I cut these out about a year (!) ago, after which point my good scissors went AWOL, and they still haven’t turned up. I had hoped to complete them in time for a little trip last May but there was lots of other stuff to do and realistically I wasn’t going to get them done, so I set them aside.

I returned to them after the trip, sewing and resewing the side seams so that the area from the hip up resembled a railyard with all of its intersecting tracks. I tried a petersham waist facing, which didn’t work worth a damn – probably because the non-stretchiness of the facing disagreed with the stretchiness of the fabric.

Then I started revisiting my previous finished trousers (grey, purple) and trying to get them to work better. I figured it made more sense to try to learn some lessons and then apply them to these pants, so they remained on hold.

More recently I made a new facing using my draped belt/waistband pattern, this time using the same fabric as the rest of the garment. Pinned it in place, taking care to incorporate curve/turn-of-cloth while I went around the waist to account for the different lengths required for the facing versus the outside of the garment. Tried it on and discovered that I did it the wrong way around so the facing was too long (probably by ¼” overall) and the waistline gaped at centre back. Bugger!

Got some help from my seamstress friend who recommended pinching out a little more (an additional 1/8″ pinch, which amounts to ¼”) from a back dart on both sides to help the fit, and adding clear elastic at the top to snug it in a smidge and reduce gaping. Ripped off the facing. Put the facing back on before realizing that I had forgotten to fix the darts. Crap! Took the facing off again and experimented to see whether it would be better to widen the back dart closer to the side seam or closer to the CB seam. Neither, as it turned out. Both shifted the side seams way back, so I just took width out of the side seams instead. However, the side seams were still shifted back somewhat, so ripped it out again and resewed the side seam to take all of the ¼” out of the front piece. Resewed the hip curve a couple of times because I alternated between overfitted and ripply side seams without ever hitting the proper fit, then decided it was close enough and said screw it, I’m done. Rettached the facing, taking care to get the curve right. At some point in that process, I tried the clear elastic trick but found that it stopped the waist from lying flat against the body, and the fold at the top of the trousers became more of a roll. I also tried topstitching around the waist, and found that this stretched it out enough to cause a touch of gaping again. Balls!

The final details:

  • stretch cotton
  • narrow trouser leg, but not super skinny
  • close-enough fit by means of vertical seams/darts, while keeping side seams straight
  • waist facing (draped, not drafted) made of the same fabric as the rest of the garment, inserted to make the facing a touch shorter than the garment itself
  • no clear elastic, no topstitching at the waist
  • understitched the facing to seam allowance around waist
  • tacked facing to vertical seam allowances
  • eyeballed the CF closure – the zipper is a little more exposed on one side than the other, but the excess is folded over at the top so the side meet evenly when you look at it from the outside
  • no hook and eye at the top of the zipper, which seems weird – will try to do a nicer job next time
  • belt loops – unlike everything else about this project, these went on easily and no ripping required
  • cut a 3″ hem allowance (folded twice so the stitching line is just less than 1½” from the bottom edge) because on the grey pants I only did 2″ (folded to 1″) and it seemed a bit meager; the 1½” seems a bit much now, but maybe that’s because I was lazy and sewed a simple seam that’s visible from the right side; I’ll fix that if I ever decide that I care enough to do so; or maybe it’s because these pants are narrower at the hem than the grey pants and it’s a proportion thing

Stripe-matching at CB seam. With cat hair.

After all this, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to wear the effing pants anyway, but I don’t think this is going to be a problem. I have two pairs of RTW dressy polyester pants that look fine, fit OK, and feel awful, which is what I’d ordinarily wear when I’m required to dress up for work. I’ve had a few occasions when I’ve needed to dress up and I chose these new pants every time. Also, after coming home from work, I didn’t feel the need to change out of them immediately. They’re not perfect, but I think we’re be able to put our differences behind us.

Speaking of not perfect, here are some of the ways in which these trousers aren’t perfect:

  • radiating wrinkles pointing to back crotch point suggest that the back crotch extension is too short
  • front crotch bubble, which according to Palmer and Alto indicates the need for a more vertical (less angled) front seam

Duly noted. Hopefully I’ll remember these points before the next time I cut.

Also in not-perfect news, I’ve been sitting on this blog draft for weeks already because of the photos. First I didn’t have any. Then I finally got around to taking some and they all sucked. The realisation slowly dawned that perhaps the photos weren’t themselves inherently bad; perhaps the problem was actually that the pants don’t actually fit as well as I thought they did, and the photos just make this painfully clear. Anyway, I’m sick of these effing pants, start to finish, so here’s some crappy photos to illustrate the point.

front – crotch bubble; the horizontal wrinkles are from sitting all day

side – not bad; some back thigh issues but otherwise reasonable fit

back – some booty issues

Bonus: After being folded (and occasionally wadded) up for the better part of a year, it appears that this fabric doesn’t crease. Yay!

stash -1m


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
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