Big deal, right? I’ll bet you make pants all the time. You’re a wizard at crotch curves and the fish-eye dart and all the pants making things. Yeah. Well, in all the almost 7 years I’ve been blogging (!!!) I think I’ve made one pair of pants and one pair of knee-length crops. Oh and a pair of shorts or two. I’m not scared of them per say, it’s just that I’m more interested in making things that I can’t afford to buy or can’t find to fit me very well. Pants I can readily find in stores at prices I’m willing to pay, so unless it’s a unique design or some sort of suit coordinate, you probably won’t find me stitching any up.
These happened to be a unique design. Also they have loads of topstitching. (The top I'm wearing in these pictures is Vogue 8536, made way back in November of 2008.)
The pattern is Vogue 1378, part of the Donna Karan designer collection. You can see nothing of significance in the envelope picture, but the line drawing revealed some really cool construction lines, fun vented hemline, and miles of topstitching. I had to give them a try, but first I had to find the perfect fabric. I read the description for this black floral ponte de roma on Mood Fabric’s website and was intrigued. After my swatch came in the mail I knew instantly what I was going to do with it.
You probably thought they were just plain black, right? In normal lighting conditions the embossed floral motif is subtly noticeable. This fabric is really soft and has a slight sheen to it. Most of the construction of these pants are unfinished lapped seams, so the fact that my fabric didn’t fray or curl in the slightest made it perfect for the design.
There was quite a bit of thread switching going on while I was working on these. First I would stitch them together with black thread to get the placement right, then I would go back with heavy duty gray thread to do the 2 rows of topstitching. It was very much like a puzzle – I had to stitch together two pieces, topstitch, trim the excess away, rethread back to black, figure out where the next piece went, get it positioned, and repeat the process again.
Before cutting out the fabric I made a muslin out of an ugly stretch woven from my stash. It revealed that the pattern was super long, really tight from the knees down, and really tight at the hips. I decided I wanted to leave the bottom of these unhemmed, so I trimmed away the hem allowance as well as another inch in length. I also took an inch of length out around the knee area in a process that is too convoluted to describe. Then I added 3″ to the bottom leg width, tapering to nothing right above the knees. I added 2″ to the width of the hips and lengthened the top of the pants 1/2″.
A sharp scissors and a steady hand is a must if you are thinking of making these up.
The waistband is a simple fold over elastic one. The instructions want you to cut the elastic to your waist measurement plus 3″, which I totally ignored. I can’t have my pants falling down while I’m chasing my kids around!
I had a lot of fun making these. After the muslin and the altering of the pattern was completed, the actual sewing went quickly. This design is pretty unique, but I just might make it up again if ever I run across another perfect fabric.
Now, I want to let you in on a little secret. This fabric is not really ponte de roma at all - Mood has mislabeled it. Is is actually a nice weight scuba knit, which I have been wanting to work with for awhile. When I got my sample in the mail I knew instantly what it was. If you've been wanting to try your hand at working with scupa I would snap some up. At $14 a yard and in black it's an awesome buy. The thing with scuba fabrics is they don't want to lay flat at the seamlines. I did try ironing it at first but the heat made the embossed pattern disappear from the fabric face somewhat. For the interior leg seams I topstitched in black thread. The crotch seam is the only thing that's not topstitched down, but it's only a small part of the garment and doesn't bother me.
Here's a few pictures of my baby boy in case you want to see how he's growing. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. My mother and FIL both have blue eyes, so the gene is on both sides of our family, but Joshua is the only one of us that got them. His hair looks like it will either be blond or strawberry blond. Only Nathan was this bald as a baby and he has red hair.
Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.