Le Sigh.

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I’ve been eying this tutorial for loungy pants for a couple of months now, and finally got the gumption up to try it last night. After having found the Perfect Vintage Sheet yesterday at the Goodwill, I drafted my pattern on brown paper left over from a mail order box – it was the only paper I had that was easily long enough without a lot of taping. I have this small thing for nifty sun representations, something I don’t really indulge myself with much, but the sheet called to me. It said, “loungy pants.” What’s a girl to do, but obey the call?

Part of the charm of this pattern is 1.) it’s taken from an existing pair of pants, so one knows they will fit, and 2.) one uses the top of the sheet, so one need not create a hem. Ah, bliss.

The realm of clothing is even more a mystery to me than basic sewing and quilting; I wrestled with a few terms, and a couple spots in the tutorial were a bit unclear, but had I the brain of a duck I probably could have puzzled it out more quickly. I’m not always the brightest of bulbs – quod erat demonstrandum. I even forgot to go out and witness the blue moon last night, instead opting to, well, forget I suppose.

But back to the pants.

Here we are, trying to gracefully pin the (thick, clunky) paper to the (thin, flimsy) sheet. We do not have adequate room.

And here we have our two halves:

Here is where we learn how to sew up the wrong side of the crotch. I could not for the life of me figure out how crotches work (stop giggling, already.) I was supposed to leave 3/4″ for “ease” and “placement,” but I couldn’t figure out where to start and stop. Ah yes, ease and placement – of course. WHAT?! Pretend I haven’t ever made clothing before, Nice Tutorial Lady – spell it out for me plainly. No? Fine.

Recognizing it wasn’t going to make any more sense after I’d read it aloud three dozen times, I wildly hoped to blindly get it right, and remembered it was not permanent if I got it wrong.  I got it wrong. It was only after being confronted by the odd, butterfly-shaped top half that I realized what I needed to do.

At this point, I was reminded of Pulp Fiction:

Zed: Bring out the Ripper.
Maynard: Ripper’s sleeping.
Zed: Well, I guess you’re gonna have to go wake him up now, won’t you?

Le sigh. Out came the ripper, out went the seam, and instead of sewing down from the point of the crotch, I sewed up.

Pinning front to back, I had something resembling pants:

After stitching the sides and inseams, I had Actual Pants. Mind you, because these are pre-hemmed by the sheet top, any disparities between the front and back panels means I’m stuck with a floppy, uneven hem, unless I want to defeat the purpose of the hem-free pants altogether. The front panel was a good 3/4″ shorter than the back. I didn’t want to rip them, so I left the uneven, floppy hems. This would be, of course, the very least of my problems.

I did an admittedly careless job of folding the top casing, resulting in a bit of pucker/gather at the front. It’s a design element, not a complete cock-up!

The pattern called for inserting elastic, but I just didn’t have it in me. I opted for a drawstring. The end result is a darned cute pair of pants!

I’d been extra careful to be generous with my measurements and seam allowances so I wouldn’t be left with pants that were too small to wear, like the stinking jeans skirt. Somewhat elated, I tried them on.

And the wouldn’t come up past my ass.

Son of a bitch.

It’s a darned cute pair of pants that I CANNOT FRICKING WEAR.

Immediately, I figured out the problem. The pants I took my pattern from are stretchy. The waist stretches out more than I thought it did, too. Rats! I really like these pants. Now, were I to lose the 60 pounds I should, they’d probably fit. So, when I’m 75 and wasting away, perhaps I’ll feel like wearing comfy sun pants. Although even then, they may be too low in the rise for my ridiculously high waist.

Perhaps, I’m just starting the year out on a humble note, getting all the fail right out of the way. Perhaps I am an Albanian jet pilot.

Still, I remain undeterred. I’m going to re-draft the pants, and while I don’t have enough of the awesome sheet left to craft new ones, I do have some Anna Maria Horner flannel that’s been slated for loungy pants since before I bought it. If I screw *that* up, there will be tears, I assure you.

Thus, to cheer myself up, a gratuitous photo of a cat:

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6 responses to Le Sigh.

  1. I want to make these pants too. I just have not found the sheet at the thrift store that calls to me yet.

    First, next time sew from the pre-hemmed bottom leg openings up to the top. Then the hems will come out even. You can always add extra fabric at the top to make the waistband if you need to.

    Second, to fix these, you could rip up the side seams. (ripper again!) Then you could add a strip of contrasting fabric wide enough to make the pants fit. Heck, you could even piece together scraps.

    Also, did you remember to add the seam allowance when you traced your pants? I looked at the tutorial and I don’t know what the 3/4″ mark is for either. It doesn’t seem to be referenced again.

    Thanks for helping my learning curve for these go smoother. The pants I plan to trace are knit as well.

  2. Sandi

    Congratulations on getting to point where you could actually try the darn cute pants on! Many on-line tutorials do assume a certain level of previous experience, as you pointed out. Good luck with the AMH fabric. I’m sure you’ll have better luck and some comfy pants after the next bout!

  3. maura

    I find cutting out easier on the floor. No table is ever big enough. On the floor you can lay out the whole fabric and pattern in one go.

    As was suggested, you can probably save these pants by adding strips along the side seams.

    To make a nice casing top, always use the iron and press it before sewing. Pin at 2 or 3 inch intervals and pull the material taut from front to back of the presser foot.

    I understand the 3/4″ mark and ease instruction , but I do not agree with it. Crotch seams are not eased. They are sewn with two identical pieces,(two fronts or two backs) so there is no easing possible. Easing is done when you are joining dissimilar pieces, like a sleeve into an armhole. Crotch seams are usually sewn double for strength.

  4. Elle Clark

    The pattern is really cute! Perhaps a gift for someone else? The good news is how much you learned from these pants! And what a beautiful cat!

  5. I hate painful lessons like these – I’ve had a bunch. But you always come out smarter! They are darn cute!

  6. Erin

    Thanks for the comments, everyone – with all this advice, I was able to rework these into pants that actually fit today – Yay! \o/ You guys are wonderful.

    NPH – I did add in a 1/2″ allowance into the pattern, but I don’t think I realized how much the base pants were stretching over my chubby hips. Next time, I’ll know to use a non-knit pair. I found the tracing process a bit awkward, but it was a good way to learn how one assembles pants, in general.

    Sandi – I surely hope I don’t muck up the AMH stuff. It’s too pretty. 🙂

    Maura – that’s a great idea. I should just block the dogs out for a bit and do it that way. Bit rough on the knees, but I won’t be spending hours on the floor as with basting. I took your advice on the new pair today and ironed the casing – it really did come out better, thanks. I also used a triple-stitch on the crotch seams this time, so they’re less likely to rip.

    Elle – thanks for the compliment on the kitty and the pants. 🙂 That’s Marshall, one of Mike’s cats, who seems to be adopting me.

    Jane – thanks! The second pair was far easier. 🙂

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