Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pattern Quest: wearable pants

You'd think that with 30 years of pants patterns, I would have one that actually fit. I can find pants in stores. I just can't make them from patterns. It's given me a warped view of myself. The reason is that patterns are made for banana shaped people, and I am a pear. Or so I'm told.

My quest for a decent pants pattern is strewn with many disappointing results. Some are garbage, some are cut up for other projects and one or two get worn no matter how bad they look. My size changes before I get around to altering the pattern, or to making something new from an altered pattern. The whole process is exhausting and discouraging. I think I've gotten fussier over the years. It never used to bother me that I was taking in 2 inches on each side seam even though I used the sizing the package  recommended. I'm not sure why they want us to measure, when they don't pay attention.

The problem with most patterns is that nothing fits well. I alter one thing and discover that another problem was hidden by the major annoyance. Years ago I made a pair of pants from a wornout pair and they were too small. Why? Because the worn out pair was relaxed fabric and the new ones were new fabric. I guess.

From time to time I decide to take my measurements and draw a pants pattern. Several times I've done 9/10 of the work to draft a pair of pants from scratch but I never have the nerve to cut out the pattern.  I have one from the 70s made to Ruth Amiel's instructions in
Finally It Fits. I've got a larger one made to  Donald McCunn's instructions. Making the pattern takes so much time I'm exhausted for the next week. The resulting pattern looks so strange I never make it up. But I save it.  I'm always a different size. Smaller, larger, smaller…

Right now I am larger, and can use a pattern I made from a pair of jeans that almost look decent. They feel fine, so it doesn't really matter how they look. The day before I wanted to use the pattern, I folded all the pieces together and rolled them up. The next day they were nowhere to be found. Today the pieces popped up as if they've never been AWOL. Before cutting them out, I tried the pattern up against the pants again, added a little here, subtracted a lot there, and cut them out.

I'm afraid to sew them up. A friend pointed out I had nothing to lose, that the worst that can happen is that they don't fit.