Weekend Failures

Two Failed Sewing Projects

I’ve been working at trying to get pants to fit me for a long time. I made my last pair last winter (I’m actually wearing them at the moment). Since then my waist has expanded a bit, my bum is still many sizes smaller, my inseam hasn’t changed… So instead of adapting my old pattern I decided to try a new Jeans pattern. I chose the Jalie 2908 – Women’s Stretch Jeans (I’d read good reviews).

I laid out the pattern pieces, saw I needed a size Z at the waist, a size U at the hips and a size R for the inseam. So I traced the pattern, making the adjustments between sizes using my trusty French curve, cut out the pattern pieces, cut out the light blue fabric (which I’d bought on sale and was treating as muslin) and put the pants together.

For me, the trouble with pants is I can’t baste them together and have any idea whether they fit – I have to put in the fly zipper, the pockets, add the waistband, even hem them (because the legs don’t hang correctly even pinned at the correct length) – in other words make the pants – before I know whether the pattern works or not.

I was using a stretch denim twill (20% stretch called for in the pattern) and the resulting pants were just ill-fitting! I didn’t bother with buttonholes in the waistband (all that was left to do) – I put the pants in the “off to Value Village” pile. (I will try the pattern again but probably not before the summer.)

That was Saturday.

Sunday, I went back to my Sandra Betzina Jeans pattern (V7608), redrafted the back panel yet again – last version had a long dart down the centre back of the leg from just under the bum to the top of the knee. I wanted to remove that excess fabric, instead, from the side seam and the inseam. Once I had the pattern retraced (with adjustments) I cut out my darker blue stretch denim/twill and constructed the pants.

I was doing a great job – put the decorative stitching on the pockets, attached them to the back panels, added the back yoke/waist. Attached front pockets and fly – both without a hitch. Time to join front and back – and here’s where I went disastrously wrong. I forgot to attach the front waistband before doing anything else!

I had stitched the front crotch so putting in the zipper was easier; I now stitched the back crotch (you get a slightly better fit if you sew the inseams first, then the crotch seam but in my head I was working on a second muslin and decided ease of inserting zipper trumped finessing the fit). I sewed the inseams, and the side seams – without the front waistband in place. Even though the front side seam was 2″ shorter than the back side seam (I trimmed away the excess on the back) then I stupidly serged both side seams – without questioning why the length difference. It was only when I reached to attach the waistband that I saw my mistake.

I stopped sewing. I made a quick trip to the fabric store to pick up more of both blue stretch denim/twills since I still had valid sale coupons and the fabrics were themselves still on sale. Planning on starting over – paying careful attention to what I am doing!

Today, I tried removing the “waistband” portion of the back yoke on the darker blue pants, tried adding a full waistband – only to see that I’d attached the waistband upside down! Not meant to be.

The pants would have fit quite well had I assembled them correctly. What I did learn is that although the legs fit not badly, I probably should add 1/4″ to side seam from the hip to the knee – in other words, take a bit less off the sides (I can always take them in – can’t let them out). These legs fit rather snugly.

So taking a deep breath, I’ve washed and pressed the new fabric and am ready to start over. Planning to assemble the parts in the right order this time.

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