Style Arc 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.
If you're like me, you want to finish all your projects quickly and perfectly, and sometimes the two don't go well together. I frequently sew past the point of exhaustion. I'm so excited about wearing something that I skip steps and call it "good enough." When I actually wear the item, I can see all its flaws. I don't feel proud to wear it.
The things I make during an in-person or Craftsy class turn out much better because I move deliberately and I don't skip steps. So the "new me" breaks her makes into bite-size pieces, and only spends a few hours at a time sewing. I am making fewer things, but more wearable things. Here are my bite-size pieces (by bite-size, I mean I step away from my sewing area for a few hours or days before I start the next step):
FIRST I fit and alter the tissue. I love Fit for Real People, and I have taken many classes from Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, so I never skip this step. I now have a number of altered patterns that don't need to be tissue-fitted, which makes them easier to create.
SECOND, I cut out, mark, and apply interfacing to the fabric. By completely preparing the fabric for sewing, I spend less time going back and forth from cutting table to sewing machine. Everything is completely ready to go. For the StyleArc Katherine pants I am currently sewing, I also underlined the linen. For underlining, I follow Gertie's instructions from a few years ago.
THIRD, I assemble all my tools and make sure my machines are ready to go. I wind a few bobbins in the correct color, make sure I have the proper needles in my machine(s), and experiment with topstitching colors and stitch lengths.
FOURTH, I practice the tricky bits or new techniques on fabric scraps. For these pants, I am going to create a button fly. I found instructions in Making Trousers for Men and Women by David Page Coffin. It's my first button fly, so I practiced it. I think it will be easier and better than a zipper fly!
FIFTH, I start sewing! The sewing part only takes a few hours because of all the preparation. Stayed tuned for the finished burgundy pants!
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?
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.
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.
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.