Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Pants-along: Getting Started
For cutting out the fabric, I'll be using pattern pieces 10 (front) and 11 (back) (from See & Sew 3886) along with pants that fit me well so that I can refer to the height of the waist as well the style and length of the legs. Since I'm making shorts this time, the leg component is simplified, but the method is the same.
You'll be doing this with the front and the back: Cut out your pattern pieces. Fold the pants so that they match up with the pattern pieces. Put the pants on top of the pattern piece, making sure the crotches (nice word!) are lined up. Fold (or cut) the waist of the pattern down to almost to the waist of the pants--you'll want extra at the waist for your seam allowance. When I made my rough draft for the pants, I found that the size 8 using the 5/8" seam allowance was a smidge too tight, so I adjusted by using a 1/4" seam.
Do the same for length, using your pants as a guide. Leave yourself 2 to 3 inches extra to make length adjustments and for the hem. Before pinning your pattern pieces onto the fabric, match them up at the crotch and make sure they are even at the top and the notches all line up.
If you're making long pants, line up the crotch of the pants with the crotch of the pattern piece, and trace onto your fabric w/tailor's chalk, leaving enough on the edges for your seam allowance. The important thing here is to preserve the shape of the pants from the crotch up. From the crotch down, you can make whatever modifications you jolly want to. Have I typed the word "crotch" enough? Crotch, crotch, crotch!
Fold over your fabric, and pin the pattern pieces on top. You'll be cutting two from pattern piece 10 and two from pattern piece 11.
I like to mark my fabric pieces "F" for front and "B" for back. This is especially useful when the fabric looks the same on both sides. Blah, blah, blah. I feel like I'm talking too much. Have another picture.
It's time to attach a front piece to a back piece. With right sides facing, line the fabric up from the crotch. As you can see in this picture, the bottom of the pieces are a little off, but I'm not going to worry about that right now, since I left extra for adjustments. Stitch the pieces together at the inner seam. Do this to the other front and back pieces as well.
Serge the seam. If you don't have a serger, don't worry about it--you can still make these pants. All the seams are double-reinforced from all the topstitching, so your seams will be strong, regardless. Iron the seam toward the front.
Top stitch on top of the seam to hold it in place. Take your time. This part is fun! Do the same w/the other leg.
Admire your work!
To attach the two legs together, line up the inner seams and pin in place along the curve of the crotch. I like to start sewing near the inner seam going one direction, and then flip the whole thing over and sew from the inner seam in the other direction. This ensures that the seams line up nicely, and it also reinforces the seam.
Serge the seam, iron it toward one side and topstitch it in place. Your pants are coming together nicely!
Next up: Front Pockets.