Monday, July 30, 2012

The long and the short(s) of it...

    Hello again.  Yes, it's been a while. Somehow summer has other priorities than just sewing, but I have completed four garments since my last post.  Pants and more pants, and on top of that I got a "new" sewing machine. (As usual, these patterns are from PatternMaster Boutique).

    The first pair are teal shorts.  I decided to make them more snug after making my white capris, but this fabric doesn't stretch.  They ended up a little tight, but they are wearable. (Click on the pictures for larger images). 
    I drafted two darts for the front, but only sewed one, in order to give me more fabric for the front. I added the equivalent amount to the back darts to bring the back waist in more. I also scooped out the back crotch more.

    Then there's the decorative stitching.  The side stripe was not part of the plan, but I had a crisis of the serger type.  The blade on the serger cut a slit up the side of the pants.  I threw them aside for several weeks before I picked them up again and designed a cover-up. (Click on picture for larger image)

    PMB settings: classic pants, western pockets, round crotch front/back.

    I decided that I would do some experimentation with my next pair of pants.  I increased the ease to remedy the "too tight pants" problem.  I also used a 1 inch seam allowance and experimented with the side seam and crotch seams, taking them in and letting them out.  I ended up only making a few small changes.   Compared to the teal shorts, I drafted two darts for the front but didn't sew either of them.  I drafted three darts for the back and added the front dart amounts to the back.

    The fabric is a twill, which is my favorite fabric overall (regular twill and denim).  And look, it coordinates with my vest, in addition to my burgundy fleece jacket.  Whoo Hoo!  I'm excited about having some coordinating outfits in my wardrobe!  

My mistake was using a contrasting fabric for both sides of the fly.  I didn't realize how much it was going to show when I wore the garment.  Sigh.  Next time I'll get it right.

    Now comes the denim!  I don't know about you, but that's what I wear the most on a daily basis.  I don't have to dress for work, so denim is my usual wardrobe. I thought I'd be clever and efficient and sew two pairs of pants at the same time.  I sometimes spend a lot of time sorting things out between steps so sewing two pairs will save me the "thinking" time.
    I put eight belt loops on the pants because I like the extra support and shorter spacing between belt loops.  And a change I made from the burgundy pants was to change to a flat front crotch to reduce the poofy-ness of the front fabric.  I think it helpe
d. These pants feel a little "high rise" but then again I think that helps smooth out my profile, make for a less abrupt change from waist to hips.

    Somehow, in the process of creating two separate patterns, I managed to mess up one of the settings in the pattern for the long pants.  I moved the side seam forward.  Fortunately, it didn't make a big difference in how the pants fit, just surprised me when I figured it out half way through.

    This denim is fairly heavy and stiff, so tends to stand out a bit from the body. Over time it will soften up more and become more relaxed. I did pre-wash it twice with vinegar which helped.

    I learned my lesson on the fly fabric. The left fly on each pair of pants is made from decorative fabric, the right fly is made from denim with a decorative fabric shield behind it. Do you like my cute red zipper?
    Changes for next time: Increase the hem circumference on the shorts. When I sit down and they ride up a bit, they are too tight around my thighs.

    I have customized the size of the pockets to fit my needs. The "coin" pocket is big enough to hold my car keys.  The regular pocket accommodates my bulky cell phone.  And in the process, the two are kept apart from each other.
    PMB settings: classic pants, flat front crotch, round back crotch, jeans pockets. I believe somewhere along the line I raised my hip point a bit, too.

    Oh, about the sewing machine.  I had been struggling with my newer Brother NX650 and my older Kenmore 158.17501 which had been my grandmother's.  Neither machine was really happy about sewing through layers of denim, such as belt loops and pocket corners, though I had done some cleaning and adjusting on the Kenmore and it was working very nicely otherwise.
    I did some research (if you know me, you know I love to research things before I buy) and decided I wanted a vintage Kenmore of the same era (1969) as the one I had, but one that came with the dual belt system that was supposed to provide more "oomph" for sewing heavy fabrics. I acquired a 158.17530 from another sewing person in Iowa.  She had found it at a garage sale and wanted to find a good home for it.  On the same day, I sold my old Kenmore to an acquaintance of mine who was very excited to take it home. I feel bad about selling the sewing machine I inherited (sorry, Granny) but I feel good that it went to a good home with someone who will appreciate it.  The 1753 has lived up to expectations and I keep it set up with a twin needle for topstitching when I am sewing denim.
    Whew!  Now I believe I am caught up on my sewing blogging. Next, some time off for mending and other such projects, then I'm excited about making some blouses out of a number of the fabrics I have hanging in the spare bedroom closet.  And it won't even be heavy fabric.  That should be a nice change.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing!

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