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Pants

  • Jalie Yoga Pants -- Yes I'm Brave Enough to Show You

    Do you know about Jalie patterns yet? Jalie is an independent Canadian pattern company with a great variety of patterns. They are well-drafted and each envelope contains 27 sizes.  Jalie carries patterns for what I consider 'regular clothes' -- Polo shirts, dolman-sleeved tees, easy knit dresses. I have made a Jalie swimsuit, which I like, but you will never see. I am brave enough to show you these yoga pants, however. I love this pattern because it has a center back seam. The seam improves the fit in general, and allows for extra tweaking (no, I did not say twerking). The waistband is also two pieces, allowing for tweaking and interesting design elements.

    This is my first version of these pants. I unintentionally treat the first version of anything I make like a muslin. I should make actual muslins, but I'm too antsy and hopeful. I promise myself I will pay attention to all the details and make sure everything is perfect, and then I jump in with both feet. Unfortunately, I am always too distracted by finding the correct fit and learning how the pattern goes together. Although I like this finished product, I put the waistband on backwards, I completely forgot to match the pattern on the waistband, I cover-stitched with blue thread instead of black....

    Long yoga pants....A tall woman's dream come true! Please disregard the center-front waistband seam -- it's supposed to be in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones. Long yoga pants....A tall woman's dream come true! Please disregard the center-front waistband seam -- it's supposed to be in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I made these pants with a super-strong polyester-spandex from Rose City Textiles. The fabric is from a famous bike-short company, and the pants are thick and WARM. I think the fabric is better suited for shorts. These pants will definitely keep me cozy through the Montana winter!. The waistband is a fun cotton-lycra jersey from Art Gallery. Both will be available in my shop and online (soon!).

    The back. I tried enhancing the photo so you could see the center-back seam, but other things were also enhanced. No thank you! Photo by Andrea Jones. The back. I tried enhancing the photo so you could see the center-back seam, but other things were also enhanced. No thank you! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I chose a size based on my hip measurements, and made no changes to the pattern except lengthening (my inseam is 36 inches). The waistband is held up by half-inch elastic cut to fit your waist and sewn on the inside. I can't wait to make more pairs!

    Close-up of the waistband -- wouldn't it look good if I had matched the pattern and put the vertical seam in the back? Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the waistband -- wouldn't it look good if I had matched the pattern and put the vertical seam in the back? Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Straight-Edge Jeans

    As you know, I'm a big fan of Jennifer Stern's pattern line. I wrote about my first pair of her Misses Jeans here.  I have made many versions of The Tee for myself. I have taught two classes using The Tee pattern, and my students love it. Now Jennifer has a jeans pattern for women whose hips are relatively straight, called J Jeans. The side of the pants is perfectly straight, making the pattern great for uber-cool Japanese selvedge denim. I have now made two pairs of J Jeans. Both out of Montauk Twill (which I will soon be selling on-line and in my store!). Robert Kaufman's Montauk Twill is beefy, but becomes very soft after one washing. 

    J Jeans side view. Photo by Andrea Jones. J Jeans side view. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    In case you don't know about Jennifer or her patterns, you can scroll through her blog here. She has classes on Pattern Review, and a brand-new jeans class on Craftsy (25 percent off during Memorial Day Weekend). In addition, she videos a Quick Tip every week on her blog, and a few months ago, she used my baggy-knee issue with these pants as her tip. You can see the knees bagging in the photo above. I had done a flat derriere adjustment using Fit for Real People, which helped a lot, but did not fix all the issues. I sent Jennifer a photo, and she posted her great video here.  Did I mention she is awesome?

    I made my first pair of these jeans at a quilt retreat without making any alterations to the pattern. I hoped they would be a wearable muslin, but no. I tweaked and tweaked, but I couldn't get them to fit well enough for public viewing. 

    Live a clean life, or you may find yourself here late at night -- in a public restroom with a quilter taking a picture of your butt in badly fitting pants!!!! Photo by a quilter who prefers to remain anonymous. Live a clean life, or you may find yourself here late at night -- in a public restroom with a quilter taking a picture of your butt in badly fitting pants!!!! Photo by a quilter who prefers to remain anonymous.

    I had fun with the top stitching. Photo by Andrea Jones. I had fun with the top stitching. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Back to this basic blue version. I made a few alterations to the paper pattern. First, I lengthened the legs (but not enough!) Second, I did a Fit for Real People flat derriere adjustment, which for me involves folding out one inch of width in the  back. I made a long vertical fold all the way down the leg in the back, including the yoke. Third, I pinched half an inch of length out of the front by folding the tissue horizontally between the waistband and the crotch because the front of my first pair was quite roomy. Fourth, the shape of the back crotch was similar to mine, but I lowered it by about an inch (I turn 51 next week -- and all that wisdom comes with some southward migration).

    The back looks pretty good if you can't see the knee bagginess. There is no stretch in the fabric! Photo by Andrea Jones. The back looks pretty good if you can't see the knee bagginess. There is no stretch in the fabric! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The front. My next pair will have a little more length, and a little less knee bagginess. Photo by Andrea Jones. The front. My next pair will have a little more length, and a little less knee bagginess. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I do love this twill, so my next pair may be out of the same fabric in a different color, but I am tempted by the challenge of Japanese selvedge denim. I have some for the shop, and I'll need to be able to tell my patrons how to sew with it, right? 

  • More Burgundy Pants

    I love burgundy and burgundy loves me. It's a great color for my skin tone, and I have burgundy jackets and tops that get worn all the time. I have never made pants in burgundy, though. Last month, I pulled out burgundy ponte and burgundy linen from my stash to make pants. Color me happy!

    This is another pair of Style Arc Katherine pants -- my favorite pants ever. This is my fourth pair (the rest have ripped or worn out). I don't need to alter them at all. I just add an extra "just in case" inch to the side seams to ensure they'll fit in all kinds of fabrics. I learned my lesson about the just in case inch when I was making my second pair of these pants out of a non-stretch denim/linen blend. I was able to squeeze into them with a teeny, tiny side seam allowance, which came apart at the hip during a conference in Seattle! Luckily, I was able to casually hold my conference materials next to the rip as I snuck to the elevator scurried to my room as fast as possible.

    I tried a new technique for these pants -- A button fly! I followed David Page Coffin's instructions in his Making Trousers for Med and Women book. I made a test version and then went for it in the pants. I love the retro feel of the button fly. It also gave me more control over matching right and left sides of the fly, making the fly construction less stressful. Check out my Instagram feed on the right side of this blog for a close-up photo.

    The width of the flare is just right for me. Photo by Andrea Jones. The width of the flare is just right for me. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I love the flat front pockets. Photo by Andrea Jones. I love the flat front pockets. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Fits in the rear, right out of the box! Photo by Andrea Jones Fits in the rear, right out of the box! Photo by Andrea Jones

  • Thoughts about Pockets

    I finished the non-muffin-top burgundy pants (V8859), and Andrea Jones photographed them. I love that they are stretch pants that hit at the right spot on my waist. I also love that they don't look too casual -- they have a design element on the knee and actual pockets in the back. The back pockets were quite problematic, though. I knew the pockets were too small and badly located, but I didn't know how to fix them for the best visual effect. After my photo shoot, Heather Lou at Closet Case Files had a great blog post on jean pocket placement. She went into great depth about pocket size and placement, and she included many photos of good and bad placement. After reading her article, I ripped out my pockets and cut a bigger pair. I then pinned and repinned the pockets in place (I'll spare you the multitude of photographs) until I had them even and well-placed. I'm much happier with the look of my derriere in the pants now. If you want to make these pants, or any others with small, high back pockets, do yourself a favor and read Heather Lou's post first. Friends don't let friends have small back pockets!

    Cute knee detail. Photo by Andrea Jones. Cute knee detail. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The front -- They are long enough! Photo by Andrea Jones. The front -- They are long enough! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back with the original pocket size and placement. If super flat butts are ever in style, I'm set. Photo by Andrea Jones. The back with the original pocket size and placement. If super flat butts are ever in style, I'm set. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Home photo of bigger, lower pockets. Please ignore the many markings. I feel much more confident with these pockets! Home photo of bigger, lower pockets. Please ignore the many markings. I feel much more confident with these pockets!

  • $1,000 Jeans

    When I bought my Viking Designer I sewing machine ten years ago, the warranty card had a little survey on it. The survey asked, "Why did you buy this machine? Check all that apply." One of the check boxes was marked, "To save money on clothes." Hahahaha! I could buy a ton of clothes for the price of my new machine!

    The creative process of sewing my own clothes is priceless, however. I love choosing the perfect fabric, planning my project, buying the thread, listening to music in my sewing room while time flies. The sewing itself is soothing and satisfying, and the finished product makes me feel comfortable and proud. So, while the making of these jeans was an epic and expensive task, it was a wonderful process, and I will "save money on clothes" when I make my next pair. 

    These jeans started their life in Detroit, Michigan. Fred and I traveled to Detroit last fall -- I wanted to attend the American Sewing Expo, and Fred wanted to visit his step daughter and grand babies. At ASE, I took an all-day jeans fitting class with Jennifer Stern. I had watched Jennifer's Fit Your Tee to a Tee class at Patternreview.com, so I knew I enjoyed her calm, clear teaching style. 

    In Detroit, Jennifer had us all make test garments out of stiff denim muslin. Mine fit great. She had also lugged a giant roll of denim from the garment district of NYC to her home in Connecticut, and she had driven it to Detroit for the Expo. I bought 6 yards and flew them back to Montana, where they sat for months.  

    In June of this year, my daughter graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut -- Just 20 minutes from Jennifer Stern's house! I used my test garment to cut out the denim from NYC, and packed it in my suitcase for another trip across the country. Jennifer and I spent an entire day together perfecting the fit and sewing up the jeans. We had a great time, and I learned a ton.

    I repacked my partially finished masterpiece and flew it across the country again. When I got home, I quickly finished the jeans with oh-so-satisfying topstitching. I bought some rivets from Taylor Tailer. Now I have just one more purchase -- a rivet press -- and my jeans will be perfect. Here they are, sans rivets and buttons!

    The front. Photo by Andrea Jones The front. Photo by Andrea Jones

    The side. Photo by Andrea Jones. The side. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    And a close-up of the back. Yes, I used two different top stitching colors. Photo by Andrea Jones. And a close-up of the back. Yes, I used two different top stitching colors. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Close-up of the front! Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the front! Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • No-Side-Seam Pants

    No-side-seam pants are great for summer. They work best in lightweight fabrics, and are fabulous for pulling on over a swim suit when it's time for drinks on the lanai. I am wearing my no-side-seam rayon pants and dreaming of drinks on the lanai. We are still drinking hot toddies here in Montana, but we are dreaming of hot days. Today's high was 44 degrees. Yes, today is June 17. Yes, I choose to live in Montana.

    The lack of seams makes these particular pants super quick to sew, but a little tricky to fit. You can't tweak much with only a crotch seam and an inseam. I had Pati Palmer fit McCall's 6571 to me during one of the two pants workshops I have taken in Portland. I started with a very large size (22 is just a number, right?). The crotch seam fit me well, so Pati had me make a vertical fold in the tissue where the side seam would be -- narrowing the hip and leg without affecting the crotch seam. I had a length of elastic around my waist, and Pati pulled and tugged the waistline of the tissue until it laid smoothly. She then marked where my waistline should be.

    Here is the front in a gorgeous blue and black rayon batik. Photo by Andrea Jones Here is the front in a gorgeous blue and black rayon batik. Photo by Andrea Jones

    This is my second pair of no-side-seam pants. I made them both in a rayon batik. I made the first pair without pre-washing the batik. They are now capris. Rayon batik really shrinks! I pre washed and dried the fabric for this pair, and the first couple of times I washed them, I remembered to not put them in the dryer. I accidentally put them in the dryer the last time, and now they are too short! These photos were taken before any washings. I don't think I'll make any more pants in rayon batik. It does not stop shrinking! This lovely fabric is from SewBatik.  I bought it while I was at the American Sewing Expo in Detroit. I also purchased some border print batik, which I plan to use for a skirt or dress.

    The side. I may fold out a little more width in tissue next time. Photo by Andrea Jones. The side. I may fold out a little more width in tissue next time. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back. Photo by Andrea Jones. The back. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Update!

    Hello Everybody -- I apologize for not posting for so long! Work keeps getting in the way of blogging. And, my wonderful photographer, Andrea Jones, is on vacation with her family (the nerve!). She will send me my newest batch of photos next week.

    I have been sewing and learning, however. In fact, my daughter, Charlotte, graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, last weekend, and I took the opportunity to visit Jennifer Stern at her studio in Manchester, Connecticut. She and I had a great time making progress on the JStern jeans I muslined during Jen's workshop at the American Sewing Expo in Detroit last fall.

    My muslin-ed butt in Detroit. My muslin-ed butt in Detroit.

    Me and Jen in her Connecticut sewing studio. Me and Jen in her Connecticut sewing studio.

    Making changes to the paper pattern based on the muslin. Making changes to the paper pattern based on the muslin.

    As you know, I am an avid fan of Marta Alto and Pati Palmer. Their method of trying on the tissue and altering the paper pattern based on what you discover works great. I teach others using their method. But...I am also enjoying learning how to alter patterns using muslins. Both Jen and Beth of Sunnygal Studio start with muslins before they alter the pattern paper. Although garments look different in fashion fabric, the dimensionality of a muslin is really helpful. I'm looking forward to morphing the Palmer/Pletsch method and the muslin method to find what works for me! I'm glad you're along for the ride.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

  • Pants in Portland

    During my second week in Portland, I took the Palmer/Pletsch Pants Class for the second time.

    Maria from the Bahamas wanted her pants TIGHT. Marta swoops in to tighten. Maria from the Bahamas wanted her pants TIGHT. Marta swoops in to tighten.

    Rebekah works at Fabric Depot and wrote about our class on the store's blog. Rebekah works at Fabric Depot and wrote about our class on the store's blog.

    The School of Sewing is at Fabric Depot, and the store sent its young blogger, Rebekah, to take the class with us. Because a video speaks even more words than a picture, follow this link to Rebekah’s video of the class.

    Straightening the crotch seam Straightening the crotch seam

    I  learned a lot, but I still have so much to learn about pants. If the words “crotch” and “rear” make you giggle, this post will be a hoot for you.

    Have you heard that crotch curves are like darts? Have you been told to “straighten out your back crotch?” I have heard those plenty of times, but I never understood what they meant. A crotch curve is a dart? What? Straighten the crotch curve? Compared to what?

    My rear has always been flatter than my belly, even when I was running track in my teens. That means I have to straighten my crotch curve in the back because the crotch curve is like a dart. Huh? Here is a photo of how I straightened my crotch curve to make a smaller dart – Finally, I get it! 

    Accepting my pants certificate from Pati. No, she is not a midget, I'm 6 feet tall. Accepting my pants certificate from Pati. No, she is not a midget, I'm 6 feet tall.

    As always, we carpooled to Pati’s house for graduation dinner and the distribution of certificates. We not only got to eat great food prepared by Pati’s husband, but we also got to tour Pati’s sewing room and office. Rebekah and I lingered around the office, and we got to see Pati’s collection of all the patterns she has designed: 229 at last count!

    After Pati and Marta handed out the certificates, Maria gave a tearful tribute to them. Maria's mother traveled all the way from the Bahamas to Oregon with her. While Maria was sewing up a storm in Fit, Jackets, and Pants classes, her mother wove beautiful baskets for her teachers by hand. Wow.

  • Ode to Style Arc and Colette Pants

    Front of Katherine Pant Front of Katherine Pant

    Altering pants patterns is difficult. Many of the alterations are counterintuitive (make the seam allowance bigger to make room for your rear? What?), and it is really hard to see behind you, even with a couple of mirrors. 

    It seems to me  most commercial pants patterns are drafted for 20-year-old athletes who have never had children. I have altered a few commercial pants patterns under the tutelage of Pati Palmer. They fit wonderfully, but Pati does not live with me (sadly). What can a normal person do without constant assistance from Palmer/Pletsch fit experts?

    side of Katherine Pant side of Katherine Pant

    A normal person can buy her pants patterns from Style Arc or Colette! Style Arc is an Australian company with a ton of fashion-forward patterns. The first time I received one, I thought the company had sent me its master copy by accident. Each pattern is a single size and is traced by hand on an as-needed basis onto strong paper. The patterns are simple and lovely. I store them flat on a long shelf.

     

    Back of Katherine Pants Back of Katherine Pants

    My favorite Style Arc pants pattern is the Katherine Pant. My daughter thought the pattern had been made especially for me (since my name is Katherine). After sewing them up with no alterations, I have to agree. This pair is made from linen underlined with an old cotton bed sheet. The underlining helps them hang well and stay a little less wrinkly. 

     

     

     

     

    Front of Colette Clovers Front of Colette Clovers

     

     

     

    This next pair are Colette Clovers. I tried to make some alterations to them. I redrafted the waistband to create more room for my tummy. The new waist was too big, so I pulled out the original waistband, cut it out, and the pants fit great. I used a dark wash lightweight denim with some stretch.

     

    Thank you Sarai of Colette and Chloe of Style Arc.  

      

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