Pair number one is complete! (minus hemming and rivets. Details, details.)
These are capri-length for summer (since I only have one other pair of capris). I used Becca A’s from Pattern Review’s alterations for making an even lower low-rise (thankfully her daughter and I are close to the same size) which worked perfectly. I also wanted a contoured waistband, so I used the one from the Burdastyle Ellen pants pattern (because it was free). This also worked out well, although it still ended up with a bit of gaping… I think probably from stretching during sewing as it fit perfectly when I was trying it on in advance. I converted it into a single-piece band and narrowed it a bit.
So… aside from my usual sewing blunders (I still haven’t quite figured
out the zipper insertion… I got the zipper facing the right way this time but then sewed the fly shield on the wrong side, and the zipper wound up sitting way back from the centre front, which I think isn’t quite right) I’m pretty darn happy with these as a first pair. My attempt to pre-curve my yoke panel worked fine (there was no gaping at all at that stage of the try on, just after the waistband was attached). I think I have finally understood why the original yoke comes so “straight”… it’s very easy to take it in, but it would be somewhat harder to spread it out evenly if you have a flatter bum… so they drafted it to the “flattest common denominator”… at least, that’s my theory. I tried them on right after I sewed the outer seams, and wore them for a few hours to gauge the fit, after which I took each side in about a 1/4 inch. This improved it nicely, though it wasn’t that bad before; I think most of my issues with the “feel” of the pants have more to do with the fabric (which really isn’t very nice. Next time I will splurge on the $18/m fabric.
There were some hiccoughs in the production. I spent quite some time drafting a lovely ankh pattern to topstitch on the pockets… and totally butchered it when I tried to stitch it down. Partly I’m not very good at machine embroidery, partly it was the stretchy fabric (perhaps I should’ve interfaced the pockets)… anyway, that was a bust, so I reverted to some boring straight lines. Oh well. I did make the pockets mini (the same size as my daughter’s) and I like the way they look on my less-than-oversized bottom. The
interfacing helped with the “flabby” feeling of the waistband immensely, but thickened it up enough that my machine balked at doing the buttonhole… so I hand-finished that, which is the first time I’ve ever tried it. It’s definitely not as nice as all those couture hand-finished buttonholes I’ve seen photos of ;). I originally failed to heed Becca A’s advice and cut a size Q yoke (same size as the rest of the pattern) rather than a size R as she suggested, and it was too small (since the lowering of the rise widened the seam… I am brilliant, aren’t I). So I had to re-cut that too.
The topstitching thread, as expected, was a little finicky. I found that most of its tantrums happened at the start of the seam, and could be avoided by holding
on to the top thread so that the end didn’t get sucked down into the bobbin and do weird things, but it was still a bit of a crapshoot. And I managed to shatter my double-needle (perhaps I’m cursed with those) when I went to do a test stitch with it and had the stitch still set to zig-zag. The needle hit the presser foot. The waistband turned out a little bubbly and bulgy, and the fly is still a little gapy; I’ll have to try a couple more fabrics so I can figure out whether that’s me or just the flabby fabric pulling funny.
(artistic photos by my daughter… sorry about some of the wonky angles 🙂