Saturday, 11 December 2010

Vogue 1098 Anne Klein Pants in Stretch

I've been tending to make dresses lately, and before that it was tops and shirts, but in the interests of balancing my wardrobe it's time for a pair of trousers. Vogue 1098 (Anne Klein New York), which I kind of bought for the jacket, looked to be a flattering cut.

Here's what the pattern pic showed:

I made up a test pair in a very loud linen (a cheap find at Lincraft - at the time I thought I could use it for clothes for my daughter, but I don't think I could stand it even on her). In a size 12, I added about 10cm extra length to the legs, and in the waist /hips area I sewed deep into my extra-generously cut side seam allowance. The trousers basically fit, so FYI I've permitted myself less garish fabric for version 2, shown below. This is what the test pants look like without a waistband - please excuse my au naturel dishevelled state:

While cutting out the pants again in a good quality black rayon /spandex /other man-mades fabric from Tessuti, I somehow misplaced the pattern instructions.  I searched through the insides of many, many pattern envelopes, but to no avail.  I really do not know how to make trousers without instruction, but luckily I just happened to have an excellent multi-media book about trouser construction: David Page Coffin's book "Making Trousers for Men & Women".  This book suggested a different order of construction than I've seen in other Vogue patterns (although I don't recall the detailed instructions for this pattern), but it seems pretty logical.  Basically, after cutting out and 'finishing' the main pieces (NOT the small detailed pieces, which you're instructed to cut out later in case you want to make some modifications), you proceed as follows:
  1. darts, pockets
  2. front opening ie zip front
  3. side seams, and finishing for front pockets
  4. waistbands (and any pleats) - sectioned waistband to allow for easy adjustments
  5. in-seams
  6. centre-back seam
  7. hems

I think this will help ensures fit around the hips and waist early on, with room for adjustment in the centre back seam later if needed.  The book also has loads of great tips for zips, pockets and waistbands but I read these after cutting out my fabric pieces including separate fly facing and shield, so I wasn't able to sew with a cut-on fly extension or try a cut-on waistband as suggested.

Now of course a cut-on fly extension is less bulky than one that's sewn on (yes, that makes sense), but it also turns out that Sandra Betzina's famous basted-seam approach to sewing in a flat, fly-front zip assumes your fly extension is cut-on!  Disaster?  Actually, no; you can easily adjust the method for the sewn on fly facings and shield that your regular pattern tells you to cut out.  I don't know if anyone reading this would be interested to see the details of applying this method to a cut-on fly, and I suspect most of you are better sewers than I, so unless someone screams out for the info I'll omit it.

This is the fly - a solid metal one  - and you can see that from the outside it looks reasonably neat. The inside is a bit messy, I know, but only YOU are going to see that:

spot the error ...

I then basically followed the order of construction given above. Side seams, in-seams, and centre back seam.  Compared to the fly this is easy stuff, but I had to redo my side and centre back seams several times. Initially the pants were too loose on me because I hadn't factored in the stretch factor, then I took them in until they felt just right, then I read someone blogging on the perils of making stretch pants too loose so I took them in again, then they were too tight, and then I unstitched like mad and hopefully got them back enough. Phew.

David Page Coffin suggests that it's good to divide the waistbands at centre back so that the pants can easily be adjusted if you change girth. Again, how sensible! So I didn't use the waistband pattern piece, but instead cut out waistband pieces to match the fitted waistline. Actually I cut out a waistband in 4 pieces (and matching lining in 4 pieces) so there is heaps of room for me to grow or shrink and be able to adjust my pants to fit... but I know this is overkill, and my waistband is not that great. Hems last of all - finished on the train to work this morning. The old bloke sitting next to me didn't look too impressed.

And here are some more 'tried them on' views:

Gee that jacket fits badly - but I didn't make it!

I spy a Pilates mat!

The lighting in my house is really poor but I think the trousers have ended up too tight. Maybe the fabric will stretch, and maybe going to the gym will make a little difference in the right places.  Unfortunately too I've ended up with no fabric between the underside of the zip and my person (the error) - clearly I shouldn't have basted the facings to the upper edge of the pants and then sewn the waistband on top of that; but I just can't get myself interested in fixing it so the left side facing sits under the zip. Hopefully the zip will be friendly and not bite me. I do like the fact that for once I have trousers that are long enough with heels - "A Pip, A Ray", as my daughter says - and am already planning the next pair: in a heavy navy linen, and not so tight.

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