Tomato Pegs

I feel so trendy. I downloaded the pdf of one of those trendy indie patterns, and bought trendy cotton fabric from a very trendy little store with trendy high prices (but for which I had a gift card).

The pants are Named Alexandria Pegs. I saw them on another blogger’s site. She had made them out of olive green twill, and they looked great. Then I went to Pattern Review and to Named’s website to see other versions. I can’t say I was impressed. This, I suppose, is how Indie pattern makers get clients — through bloggers who try them out in some version or fabric that speaks to someone, somewhere. Olive green happens to be my favourite colour for pants (I have about six pairs in that colour). That may have contributed to my falling in love with them. Also the blogger, whose name I can’t recall, was very tall. With long legs. She looked terrific, and actually looks terrific in anything she makes.

I have to say I don’t think I made a mistake in a sudden fit of infatuation (I bought the pant pattern within 30 minutes of seeing the pants on the other blogger). I didn’t have fabric to suit them, but had a two-year-old giftcard that I wanted to use up. I liked the look of the fabric, and liked it in all their colours. But I could have wished it was a little more heavy duty. This is a lightweight fabric, without much body. They are perfect for warm weather, but if I want these pants in the colder weather, I’ll have to make another pair.

Here they are, my tomato-red peggies.

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You can see that the interesting thing about them is that they have a pair of pleats, one of which extends over the edge of the pocket.

I traced the size 8, but became alarmed when I read that the included seam allowance was only 3/8″. My hip measurement is closer to the size 10. So I cut the fabric 1/4″ bigger than my pattern pieces, and ended up using the 3/8″ seam allowance. In other words I made the size 10. The pants actually fit pretty much perfectly in the front, and all the extra ease for the elastic waist is in the back. I like that. Also, I think these pants are made for women whose widest hip point is at the upper thigh. I couldn’t see it in the pattern, but the pants almost seem to pivot at the upper thigh. I do love it when I encounter a pattern made for my body.

I added about an inch to the bottoms, and I’m glad I did because I needed the extra length for my long leg (it’s half an inch longer than the other, which is important when hemming pants).

Given that Named says its models are 5’8″ tall, I’m guessing the pants are supposed to stop above the ankles. I prefer to have them at the ankles and roll them up if I want the shorter look.

Has anybody else made an impulse pattern purchase purely because of seeing the clothing on another blogger? Clothes sure can look better on a real human being than on the pattern envelope can’t they?

 

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Just call me angel . . . in a napkin

I ended my last post by saying I’d be refashioning a table cloth for next time. I just can’t use that horrible, horrible phrase, “and now for the big reveal”. I can’t. You know?? It must be the ugliest phrase in the English language.

So, anyway, this is me, dressed in a table cloth.

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Pretty angelic, yes?

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It was a huge tablecloth, which I found at the local Sally Ann (does everybody know that nickname for the Salvation Army?) I almost left it behind (afterall, I didn’t know its provenance) but it was a fabulous, floppy, snow white cotton jacquard. It’s so hard to find nice cottons in Vancouver. Ninety percent of the cotton fabrics in town are quilting cottons, and maybe 8 percent are standard, basic, boring shirting fabrics. Which leaves the odd nice bolt scattered among the six fabric stores. So, I imagine it covering the long rectory table in some vicar’s cottage next to the oldest church in town, lilacs and violets in chrystal vases on its surface. Provenance, done.

The top is the first pattern I ever purchased through Pattern Review, because of reviews I saw at the site. When I received the pattern, and saw the envelope pix, I realized I would have overlooked it in the pattern book. It really doesn’t look like much. It’s Butterick 6024. I made a few changes. I raised the front and back neckline a bit. I replaced the elastic at the sleeve ends with a flat cord. I changed the hem design. The pattern has the front hem straight across, with a dip occurring only in the back panel. I cut the front and back to have the dip start in the front. A much nicer look, if you ask me.

This was my first pintuck operation, and my first woven bias binding neckline. I’m happy with how they both turned out. I love this top 🙂

The pants (shortened because I couldn’t get the whole length out of the table cloth after I’d cut out the pieces for the top) are burda 7400, which is a pattern I used once before. As I was laying out the (two) pattern pieces, I realized that I had mistakenly cut one of them for a size xxxxl! No wonder the previous pants I had made just weren’t right.

The pattern shows wide ribbing folded over at the waist. I didn’t do that the first time, and I didn’t do it this time either. Instead, I cut a rectangle and made a casing for elastic, sewing the casing to the top of the pants. It worked well. I have such a small difference between hip and waist that there isn’t much bunching. I may add belt loops so I can wear a belt with them too.

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I was so happy with these pants that I immediately took apart the previous pair I had made, cut away about an inch and a half from each of the two back pieces and sewed them back together. I like this pattern because it’s a great compromise between fitted pants and elastic waist pants. The pants fit pretty close to the body, and a belt hides the elastic waist casing. The side seams are not at the sides, but closer to the front. That means the pockets lie flat and won’t bulge out at the sides.

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These are obviously not “good” pants, but they are a general utility pant more comfortable for me than blue jeans. I love the green “railroad” stripes. For my next pair, I may put in a fly.

Big girl play pants

So, there’s what I’ve decided is a myth about ugly old lady elastic waist pants. I’ve actually seen this phenomenon once — a woman who had pulled her elastic waist pants up as high as she could over a tucked-in shirt, just like she might have done on a baby. It was an awful sight, and, well, I don’t know how anyone could be that oblivious. But I’m betting there are twenty-year olds who’ve never worn any but elastic waists. Yoga pants, sweatsuits, jogging pants, that’s all many young people wear around here. My prediction is they’ll never wear anything with a woven, interfaced waist band, and those uncomfortable things will be history in another twenty years or so. You’ll have to go vintage to find them 🙂

I wear elastic waist pants, and if I can slip a cord through the casing along with the elastic, well then I think I’m dressing young, not old.  I found a pattern that’s actually labelled “young” and decided to buy it (on drastic sale) primarily to compare it with my own self-drafted yoga harem karate dance pants. It’s a cool Burda pattern for short pants.

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I used an exterior microfibre fabric from my stash, and experimented with putting longer legs on this thing.

 

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I took a page out of Marcy Tilton’s book actually, and tried two angled wedges, one in front and one in back to make the legs narrower than they would have been if I just followed the inner and outer legs lines.

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This is the front one. The back one is a little less angled, and longer, but without topstitching (I was running out of thread). I have to confess I have no idea how or why angled wedges work. But if anyone decides to try this at home, make sure your pants legs are a couple of inches too long before you start.

They’re fun pants and super comfortable. More comfortable than the harem yoga pants, which give me trouble when I try to scramble into my truck. I plan to make another pair out of linen for the summer.

Unfortunately I had to steal a lace from a hiking boot for this project.

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What will we do about that?

harem karate yoga pants

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I was thinking of pants like this — I guess they’re called “harem pants”, but I don’t like that term — before I went wandering around Europe for a few months. I searched online and saw a few basic patterns, but nothing I trusted.

I had done nothing except choose the fabric I wanted to use when it was time to go to Paris. Wandering toward the Eiffel Tower one day I saw a chic young woman wearing an intriguing outfit that included these sorts of pants in black and white, black boots and a black leather jacket. I stared. Then I stared even harder as I tried to figure out how her pants were constructed. She called me on it, shouting at me from across the street. For a minute I envisioned fisticuffs with a chi chi, feisty Parisienne. Not a good idea in a city where I didn’t know anyone who could carry me home, broken and bloody in the aftermath!

Her angry comment to me — it was in French, but I got the drift — indicated she correctly surmised I was staring at her clothing, and not at her, so I really don’t understand why she was upset. Anybody?

A month or so later I was wandering through a shopping district in Florence when I entered a shop specializing in Thai products. They had a rack of these pants, all in assorted Thai printed cottons. I got to take a closer look 🙂

2015-03-10 13.46.24 2015-03-10 13.47.01When I got back home, I pulled out the fabric I wanted to use as the base (it was material I’d bought at a theatre company sale). I used a basic drawstring loose pant pattern, and cut off the crotch points. Then I made pattern pieces for a central triangular panel for the front and back, as well as a dirndl waist, copied from an old skirt.

I had already cut out pieces from the old skirt for the central panels when I went to a nearby yard sale and found the fabric that I actually used. I loved it, it was cheap, and it went with the base fabric better than what I was planning to use.

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So that’s it. Some thing’s I’d do differently — I used a too-stiff non-woven interfacing in the dirndl waist. It was all I had in the house. I’ve since stocked up on various weights of woven interfacing, and next time I’ll use something lighter. Also, while I love the central fabric, it’s sufficiently stiff to make the pants a little more “formal” than I would like. I will make these pants again in a lighter fabric, maybe linen, and I think they’ll look simpler and drape more softly. I would like to do piping when sewing two kinds of fabric together (many of the pants in the shop in Florence had piping). But I just don’t feel up to learning to make and install piping yet. Oh, and I’ve got enough of the yard sale fabric left to make a matching vest. That’s a project for some other time.

And in case anybody’s wondering — the pale green vest is a copy of the Marcy Tilton pattern I used for the “web” vest. Her pattern is actually for a jacket, but I de-sleeved both versions. I got the fabric, a wool crepe, in a remainders bin for a dollar or two. I just love those sorts of finds.

Tilton trousers redo

Okay, so I looked at the pix of my trousers (from my post on these trousers of last month), and no they don’t look alright even with the inseam adjustment I made. I tried the pants on again. Nope. I like loose pants and loved this pattern for its looseness, but these pants just look oversize and I knew I would only wear them out of a feeling of obligation — I made ’em, I gotta wear ’em.

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So I took apart four more of the seams (there are 8), leaving only the side seams as is. This involved picking apart topstitching plus the actual seams! And I checked my notes about the size and adjustments I had started with. I had sewn the pants on the size 12 cutting line because all the measurements told me that’s what I should do even though, as the pants came together, my eye was telling me the pants were about double the size my pants normally look. When the numbers and the eye disagree, which do you go with??

I decided, pretty arbitrarily, to resew these four seams on the size 12 sewing line, which meant taking them in 5/8 inch for a total of 5 inches. And they fit! After shaving a whole 5 inches off!tilton pant redo1

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The problem now is that the dye keeps running. I’ve washed the pants a few times and the colour has shifted from pinkish-peach to brownish-peach, with barely discernable streaks. Sigh. I wonder if this is why the large chunk of fabric was in the thrift store for such a low price. I’m going to think about dying these pants now. Or killing them!