30 November 2012

Sewing Confrontations: Pants, Part 1

As I mentioned earlier, my friend Jessica over at Quilty Habit is doing a series this month called Sewing Confrontations, challenging fellow sewers to tackle some lingering challenge.  Being all super ambitious, and thinking I had all the time in the world when I signed up, I decided I would work on making myself a decent-fitting pair of pants.

Any of you who know me in real life know that I don't wear pants all that often.  7 days of 10--probably 9 of 10 in the spring and summer--you'll find me in a dress.  This is not because I don't like pants, or because of any exceptional twee-ness on my part.  It's really because a) dresses are easier to fashion into a proper outfit;  and b) it's much easier to find (or make) dresses that fit decently.

One of the first things you want to do when sewing garments is to anticipate possible problems.  I already know ready to wear pants give me all kinds of fitting issues, due to the following facts:

1) I'm tall, and long-legged.  I wear a 34-inch inseam, which is hard to come by.  Most stores' "long" pants are 32" or 33", which is not-quite-sufficient for me.  Or, (very occasionally) they go the other way entirely and offer 36", which is way too long.
2) My waist is both high and small.  My hips are both wide and long.  Sometimes a pair of pants will fit just about everywhere, and then I sit down and it's like I'm wearing legwarmers only, because they do not really cover anything anymore.  If the rise is high enough that everything's covered, and the pants fit my hips well, my waist is probably swimming. 
3) I have a fairly significant swayback.  For those of you who don't sew clothing-- a swayback is the term people use for that hollow at the small of your back, just above your hips--when it curves inwards dramatically, you've got a swayback.  Do you try on pants or skirts and they seem to fit everywhere except the back waistband is always floating in space inches away from your actual back waist?  You, my friend, are a member of the Swaybacked Sisterhood. 
4) I have full hips and thighs.  Sometimes pants in my size are tighter than they should be up top, but a larger size is so much bigger everywhere that that doesn't help. Usually at that point I just give up and leave without any pants. 

So knowing these things, there are certain lower-body fitting adjustments I am always on the lookout for, even when I am sewing dresses--lengthening the leg and hip, grading the waist in and hips out, and taking in or adjusting the back waist.  In skirts and dresses, these things are relatively simple to do, but how to translate them to pants?  These are the challenges I'm setting out for myself this winter. 

For this week, however, I need to get into the habit of actually constructing pants.  (photos after the jump!)

15 November 2012

In Which I Make My Swap Item But Do Not Make The Swap

Let the record show:  that 2 potholders were, indeed, made by me for the November meeting of the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild.  I'm sort of really in love with postage stamp quilts, and so I figured I'd see just how much of a PITA it would be to work on one by making these little potholders.  It wasn't too bad, and I love the look. 

love these little explosions of color...
But, alas and alack, my car has decided we are fighting after 10 years together, and my work schedule is cutting the fool with me as well, so I didn't make it to the meeting to swap.  It's probably for the best.  I didn't finish stitching the binding on one, and the one I did finish was just unspeakably bad:

Dear self:  O for real, though?

I mean, really?  LOOK AT THAT FOOLISHNESS.  You'd think I never picked up a needle in my life.  Utterly shameful, that is.

I did, however, get to try out the new little 1040--still not happy with the stitches--and do some walking foot quilting, which I sort of made up as I went along.  It even emboldened me to get back to my bed quilt!  This weekend, PANTS.  I think.


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