Tag Archives: sewing pants

Basic Jeans and Tee

I sewed another pair of stretch denim jeans.

 

It’s the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull on Jeans.  It’s the fourth time I’ve used this pattern.

My denim is from Cali Fabrics.  It is 10 ounce and described as midweight.  I like this denim, but it isn’t as stretchy as my magic denim shorts that fit me perfectly through weight fluctuations.  It was sold as 25% stretch, but I tested it as about 15-20%.  My magic denim (from the thrift store so it’s also mystery denim) has about 30-35% stretch and the comfort is amazing! I still like the weight, the color, and even the smell of this denim, but I would love to find a stretchier denim.  Previously, I had ordered stretch denim that I liked much less: one was shiny and didn’t look like denim, and another with color that came off on my hands just from touching it.  It’s hard to find the perfect denim, but this is close enough that I would buy it again.

I love the cute doggy fabric that I found at Dollar Tree for the pockets.

I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the waistband over my hips, so decided to skip the elastic.  I may redo the waistband and add elastic when I start wearing them again in the fall.  I was going to substitute ponte knit fabric for the waistband, but the denim does stretch enough to just get past my hips.  I will wear these a whole bunch because they meet my two musts in pants : stay up while walking, and complete comfort while sitting.

It turned out my Ginger Jeans are unwearable, because they wouldn’t stay up even after I added a button further in than the first one. I am always needing more bottoms than tops because I have often have pants that are either too big or too tight as my weight fluctuates 5-7 pounds.

flat lay of jeans and tee

I topstitched with the same gold thread, but omitted the rivets since I used them all up.

But…I made a mistake eliminating the back seam.  That seam really does help with lessening the typical bagginess I have in the back thigh.

I would have taken in the inseam more but I had already topstitched it.  I also think I have a too long crotch extension. I did a flat seat adjustment, but that wasn’t enough.

On the same afternoon I finished the pants, I quickly sewed up a tee shirt.  I used a 3X tee shirt I got at Dollar Tree as my fabric, and a free pattern.  I really like my dollar shirt.  I used the easy tee pattern from It’s Always Autumn blog.  The one size she offers, a size large, fits me well.  I’ve also used the free Kirsten Kimono Tee Shirt pattern from MariaDenmark for this type of tee shirt.  The shirt has cut-on sleeves without an armhole seam.  I raised the neckline, and I sewed a band for the sleeve cuffs the same as I did for the neckband.

Next up:  I’m excited to get started on my summer sewing.  I plan on making 2 to 3 pairs of shorts, 2 tops, and maybe a dress or skirt.

 

Ponte de Roma Knit Pants

My first make of 2020: slim navy knit pants.

I wanted a pair of winter pants that would be very comfortable for working in my home office,  but still presentable for walking in the neighborhood and going out.

Ponte de roma is a fabric I had never sewn with.  Ponte is a double knit, resulting in thickness from the two layers, with a greater stability and firmness than other knit fabrics.  These characteristics make it easy to sew with. Pants made from ponte are opaque, not as clingy and skin tight as leggings, and can have pockets. The ponte I bought has a composition of 66% rayon, 30% nylon, and 4% spandex. Other pontes have polyester as the primary fiber.

My pattern was the Patterns for Pirates Mama Bear Joggers.  I bought these because they have a variety of waistband, pocket, hem, and rise options. Looking at the size chart, I discovered my measurements put me in a size M hip, XL high hip, XS thighs, and a L calf! I have strange proportions! This explains why I have problems with getting a good fit in ready-to-wear.

Below is a diagram from an article on the New Mexico State University website.  I’m a heart shape.

I compared the medium pattern piece to my already modified Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans (laid on top) which are designed for a stretch woven.

It seems the joggers pattern is shaped for a diamond figure, and I have the concave proportions of a heart.

I had to reduce the hip and upper thigh, add width to the lower leg, and add to the rise.  I also shortened the legs by about six inches. This is another advantage to sewing: instead of lopping the six inches off the bottom of a pair of pants I shorten the pattern in two places, above and below the knee, and am able to keep the proportions correct.

As I began sewing the pants, they started morphing into the Mountain View pants which I’ve made several times.  I prefer the construction sequence of those pants with the outer leg seam sewn last, which allows for ease of altering.  I also used the Mountain View waistband, which is quick and easy.  An inner and outer waistband are sewn together and the elastic is stretched and sewn to the seam allowance.  I realized I really didn’t need the other pattern.  It makes more sense to use the pattern that I had already fitted.

 

I should have used a thinner fabric for the pocket lining because they bag out a little at the bottom.

Worn with a pullover sweater I knitted way back in 2007 and still wear.

The back:

Worn with a raglan tee shirt I sewed in December:

Dressed up with a favorite thrifted velour sweater knit top, and matching purse:

I gained a few pounds post holidays and some of my pants have been feeling a little tight when sitting or eating. These ponte pants feel super comfortable and cozy, look flattering, and are a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Stretch Woven Pull-on Jeans #2

I ordered gray cotton stretch twill to make another pair of Itch to Stitch Mountain View pull-on jeans.  The idea being that on my second go-round I would have the advantage of learning from my mistakes from the first pair.  My two main problems were cutting the fabric with the stretch up and down instead of across the body, and twisting legs.  Despite these mistakes I have worn the olive green pants lots, and the only thing that bothers me about them is that they slip down a bit. To fix that problem I am making the second pair with a higher rise, and with tighter elastic.

So how did I do this time around? Will this be mistakes part 2?

I cut the pant pieces very carefully, measuring to keep the grainlines straight, with the stretch in the right direction, and in a single layer.

I did this in an effort to eliminate twisting of the legs. I believe the twisting was caused by the back and front outer seams being different lengths causing me to twist the legs as I sewed them. But the extra steps couldn’t hurt.

I also referred to this pattern review post and especially the diagram about balanced pants.

I had to piece the pockets to cut all the pattern pieces from 2 yards of fabric, and topstitched a simple design that well with the seam. I used a lighter gray all-purpose thread for the topstitching.

 

Straight legs!

I like this pants pattern because instead of having a bunchy elastic waist they are smooth and flat, and hold my stomach in while being comfortable. I also enjoy the actual sewing of the pattern; the instructions are good and making them is just complex enough to be satisfying, and easy enough for me to sew well.

Fake fly but real pockets

And this time I decided to change the back waist to knit ribbing, and used the navy I had on hand.

Um, no.

This time I couldn’t pull up my pants!!

I learned the number one thing to know about working with stretch woven fabric: test the stretch percentage.

I ordered fabric with the same description from the same vendor as my olive green fabric, but while the olive has 30-40% stretch, the gray has only 10%. When I received the gray twill, I thought it felt different, but ignored the sewing “red flags”.  The pattern states the fabric needs to have between 20% and 30% stretch. I used the Megan Neilsen guide  for calculating the stretch.

After I added the waistband, the pants couldn’t get over my hips.  I thought about adding panels to the side waist, but then realized the length of the waistband has to stay roughly the same to sew onto the pants. The stretchy knit ribbing I used for the back waistband worked, to my relief. I don’t wear my shirts tucked in, so it doesn’t show. Luckily, the pants legs are slim but not skinny tight, so I can move in them, although they’re not as comfy as my stretchier pair.

I plan to make a shorts version for the summer, and a denim version eventually.

For me, there is a lot of problem solving in sewing.  I’m able to get through projects faster now that I’m better at figuring out solutions. Do you find that you are always having to solve problems in your sewing or in your craft ?

 

It’s Time for Pants – Simplicity 1967

I’ve been a little worried about making pants.  I’ve read about how difficult they are to fit; there is crotch length and depth to consider while trying to figure out what terms like “scooping the crotch” means.  I didn’t even know how the pants pieces looked, or how to sew them together.

I wanted to make very comfortable, lightweight cotton pants for wearing around the house, and Simplicity 1967 seemed to fit the bill.  This is one of the earliest patterns  I bought, from a quilt store that has since closed.  The pattern cover assures me it’s easy, so I figured it would be a good introduction to pants sewing.  The pants have patch pockets and a separate waistband with a drawstring. I paired it with some blue gingham cotton fabric I had bought with pants in mind.

I tested the pattern by making it up with a sheet.  I noticed that the legs were very baggy on me, and that while the rise in the front was plenty high, the rise in the back was too low.

I needed to add more length in the back.  I added 3/4 inch at the center back tapering to nothing at the side, and I also slashed below the notches and added an inch in back length to the pattern.

center back waist raised

crotch length back alteration

I tapered the legs on both sides to take off some of the excess roominess.  I drafted my own patch pockets, making them larger with a top that is caught in the waistband and an angled opening.  I also added elastic in the casing. Since the pants are pull-on, they’re fitted for the hips, and I wanted them to pull in a bit at the waist.

I didn’t understand how to sew them up from the directions.  The pieces didn’t seem to fit together.  I found this pajama tutorial that was very helpful, and I used the method of putting  a right side out leg into a wrong side out leg to sew the crotch.

I’m proud of my pretty little eyelet buttonholes, and the pretty bias bound waist seam with the ribbon label on the inside.

Gingham Pants Pockets and Drawstring Waist

Inside Waistband of Pants with Bias Binding

These were easy, and a quick make.  The part that took the longest was seam finishing, and inserting the elastic.  I made a mistake, and had to unpick to leave a space to insert the elastic.

Just what I wanted!  I am enjoying wearing these pants.

Causual Drawstring Pants

Cotton Gingham Pants Sitting

Gingham doesn’t photograph well.

Simplicity 1967 Drawstring Pants

Have you ever gone to the store to try to replace a favorite piece of clothing and can’t find what you want?  Well, I won’t have that problem with these pants.  I can whip up another easily.   I will be making more pants, shorts, and pajama shorts in the future.  I also have a  pants pattern with a side zipper and one with a mock fly front when I’m ready to change it up.

P.S.  The change I made to the length of the back piece is an alteration of the crotch depth, and scooping the crotch, when done to the back piece,  is lowering the curve to give more room for the buttocks.