Friday, 15 July 2016

Completed UFOs 2 & 3: failure to fit

Firstly, I want to apologise for not replying to the comments on the last two posts - I know people like getting a response but life has just been so busy lately and I can no longer access blogger through my work computer (I used to work on my blog during my lunchtime) and I rarely seem to have a spare 30 minutes in the evening before collapsing into bed at 11pm most nights. But I do appreciate each and every comment, so thank you for to those that comment and to all that read my posts.

But I have been doing a little bit of sewing each night, and I've been making slow but steady progress tackling my mountain of UFOs. Actually I'm getting a huge amount of satisfaction of finishing things off and ticking them off my list. I quite like problem solving, which is what my UFO challenge is all about - finding the reason why I didn't finish a project and figuring out a way to finish it.

When it comes to sewing problems, fitting pants properly is top of my list. That's the cause of these two UFOs, and while I haven't managed to fix the fitting problems they are finished and that's good enough (for now). There are a few other pants UFOs in the pile too, but that's a story for another day.

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I have one pair of sewn pants that fit me ok, ironically made many many years ago when the only fitting I used to be concerned about was whether I could button up the waistband! So I figured that if I used the same pattern it should all work out fine and in a fit of productivity I cut out two pairs at the same time. As it turned out, they didn't fit very well at all and so they sat in my UFO box for the past few years.

I used New Look 6736, long OOP, which I bought in the early 1990s and despite being rather dated it's an ok pattern with four variations:


I made view D - flat front pants that are longer than capri length on me. One pair I've made in a black and white print cotton sateen and the other is in a grey wool with a subtle pinstripe. Neither look that great, but I was a bit relieved that pants I started making 4 years ago still fit:

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

In 2014 at the Australian Sewing Guild annual convention I attended a pants fitting workshop which I also failed dismally at - I was trying to make fitted pants from a trouser pattern, using cotton drill instead of draping fabrics so despite the best efforts of the instructor it was never going to work out. But I did learn quite a bit about my body shape and the fitting changes I need to do. First thing is I have a hyper extended calf, which in the photos below you can clearly see how the drag lines point to my calf and the side seam has shifted to the back:

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

This can only be fixed before cutting out because the pattern needs extra width added to the calf by slashing up the centre of the back leg piece to the knee and spreading the pattern. So it remains a problem in these pairs of pants, but I know better for future iterations.  

I also have full inner thighs, which means I have to add extra width to the inner leg seams - this also needs to be done before cutting out the fabric so for these versions I just sewed them with a very scant seam allowance but I really need to add about 1.5cm. After much discussion with the ladies at a recent ASG sewing day I think this may be the main cause for the terrible drag lines on the back view:
New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Other fitting changes I have under control are scooping out the crotch curve to an elongated "j" shape to account for my not perky bottom, adding extra rise and removing a small wedge at the centre back seam to account for my sway back, and making sure I measure myself around my widest part (ie my saddle bag thighs) when choosing the pattern size.

So while it wasn't possible to fix these fitting problems for these two pairs of pants, they are at least finished and out of my UFO pile. They are good enough for casual wear, and I'm coming around to accepting that I'll never make a perfectly fitting pair of pants. I am doing another pants fitting workshop in a few weeks with Anita from Studio Faro through my ASG neighbourhood group, so hopefully that will also help me along this torturous journey. But for now, these pants and my new chunky wool jumper are getting me through the very cold weather we're having right now:

New Look 6736 grey wool and black and white print pants www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

But I'm starting to think that my obsession with making pants that fit perfectly (ie fall smoothly at the back and front) is a little misplaced - I see so many ill fitting pants worn by people every day so clearly hardly anyone else cares. And then I saw these pants for sale on an Australian retail site:


These pants, on a slim and no doubt tall model, look no better than the ones I've made so while I do want to strive for much better than RTW with my sewn items I'm going to give myself a pass mark on these two pants.

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