I don’t like to buy a new pattern for every project. I kinda think that’s for kids, you know? At a certain point, even an amateur ought to be able to start altering patterns to produce a handful of different pieces from one base pattern. But I browse pattern books looking for ideas. Which is how I came across Vogue’s Marci Tilton patterns. I’m in love! I haven’t yet seen one of her designs that I haven’t fallen hard for and what to do? Those Vogue patterns are expensive.
I popped for one of them, though. It’s V8499, loose trousers and a skirt. I thought I’d have to buy fabric, but I pulled out something I’d picked up a few months earlier from Value Village. It’s a fabric that’s hard to decipher. Pale peach — not really my best colour — but at nine yards for about $20 I thought I could make curtains with it if nothing else. I set fire to it, naturally, as soon as I got it home, to see what it might be made of. The little clipping flamed high and turned to ash in too short a time for me to catch a whiff to determine exactly what kind of natural fibre it was. I think it’s silk, or a silk blend. It’s heavily textured, which made it seem kind of stiff. Even after washing, it seemed pretty stiff until I draped it over my hand, at which point it showed a lovely flowing drapiness. It’s an odd fabric that appears heavy or light depending on whether it’s lying flat or hanging. Eventually I decided it would probably drape in the right way for loose pants.
The pants are made of eight panels, four per leg, and they’re all topstiched. I decided I’d better get the size right since I wouldn’t want to have to alter the fit after the fact, not with eight top-stitched panels. So this project turned out to be a great exercise in care and meticulous preparation. I actually made a muslin (well, half of one, just one leg ). I spent a lot of time. Since Vogue apparently thinks women have hourglass figures, I had to redraw the curve from hip to waist to match my more boyish shape. Then I used the muslin leg to figure out which size I needed. I used my measuring tape! Repeatedly! I smoothed the muslin leg across my waist and hips, measured it and me, and was certain I had it right.
So I don’t quite know how I managed to fail. I didn’t really know how these baggy pants were supposed to fit. I knew they had to be able to fall over the widest part of my hips/thighs, but I didn’t really know just how much ease they needed, and the Vogue pictures are too dark and muddy to help enough. Halfway through the project I was getting concerned because the pants looked huge. But the measurements for the front were correct, and the back was going to get elastic in the waist, which meant I couldn’t try them on for an accurate read until they were done.
They’re too baggy.
I made a matching vest using a pattern I made by patching together a couple of shirt patterns and a funky long vest pattern. Then I researched online for how to line a vest.
I had a really nice stripped, stiff cotton fabric that I wanted to use. But I’m not terribly happy with the vest either. I think I should have interfaced it. And I’m not really sure it’s okay to have a lining fabric that’s stiffer than the outer fabric.
Since these pix were taken, I’ve somewhat altered the pants. I took in the inseam by about half an inch to reduce the width of the legs, and I took in the centre seam, particularly in the back. They’re perhaps still not perfect, but they’re a lot better. I can enjoy wearing them now. And I’ve got a darker fabric ready to make a second pair in a smaller size. Then we’ll see if Marcie Tilton loves me back.