Friday, October 5, 2012

Pants with Pizzazz

Sewing Level:  Intermediate

Women wear pants more than skirts or dresses, often for comfort and convenience.  If you are going to wear comfortable pants, they need to fit great and be cut in a shape that works with your particular figure variations.  Great fit enhances a woman's appearance and is achieved by cutting a pant pattern out of unbleached cotton muslin and basting the seams together.  The muslin pant is analyzed for fit problems and the necessary changes are made to the pattern.  The actual pant is then quickly sewn out of fashion fabric with no delays or ripping due to fit problems.  If you really want to use your time well, sew three or four pairs of pants at the same time!  There are many books available that will assist you in fit correcting a pant pattern.  My favorite is 'Trouser Draft' by Kenneth D. King.

For these pants, I chose a pattern with slant front pockets.  I added a seam down the center of the pant front.  Then I cut the side front panel in an attractive curve shape. The upper side front panel is called a hip inset.  Seam allowances are added each time a seam is added to a pattern. I used gray cotton/lycra sateen bottom weight fabric for the pants, and Swiss lace scraps laid over the gray inset. The pants are fun, flattering and wearable.  The pattern work is illustrated at the end of this article. 

Wide tuxedo stripe adds style

Next time I make a pair of pants I plan to add a wide tuxedo stripe to the side seam similar to these ALC pants.  It appears the front hip yoke features contrast fabric to match the stripe. To create the stripe, I would cut a 4" wide bias strip of fabric, the strip length equal to the side seam length plus seam and hem allowances.  The strip needs to be cut on the bias if the pants are close fitting.  If you sew wide legged trousers you could cut the strip on the lengthwise grain as well.  Fold the 4" strip in half with wrong sides together.  Baste the strip to the pant back side seam.  Once the side seam is sewn, press the strip to the pant front and edge stitch in place.  If you turn the strip to the pant back, you will make your body look wider which is usually undesirable. 

Designers are showing pants in brocades and metallic threads which are a relief from reliable denim.  Brocades tend to not have stretch so you will need to choose a somewhat looser style to be comfortable wearing the pants.  Add an inset or tuxedo stripe while you are creating your next pair of great pants.

Pattern work for hip inset:

1.  Start with Pant Front
 2.  Cut Pant Front in half and add curved inset lines

3.  Add seam allowances where you added seams.  Finished!

By the way, all the pattern companies draft their pant patterns differently.  I like Burda pant patterns best for their nice crotch shape.

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