Friday, April 15, 2011

I fought the pants and the pants won

At least I am consistent.  My second attempt at making a pattern from finished clothing turned out just the same as the first: too small. I'm not sure what happened. The originals are denim, on their last legs and fraying badly; the copies are waffle weave without give.

I made the pattern  measuring point to point and adding a 5/8 seam. The originals only had a 3/8 seam. The pants made from the copied pattern fit as if they were painted on. I let out two seams and now they only look as if I were poured in. The shape is right, but yuck.
At this point I am tempted to stop beating a dead horse. I could, I suppose, add an inch width to the side seams. But we all know that this will just encourage another problem to appear. Still, the shape is right.... I give in. I'll add strips along the sides and see what happens.

I have 30 years of pants patterns, many untried, all bought in the hope that it  would be the magical pattern that trumps all others. I've bought patterns in classic and funky styles, the same measurement as my hip and two sizes smaller, as someone advised. I've used one size for the front and another for the back. I've measured, slit apart, added. When the pattern gets to the almost good enough stage, I am beat, done, unwilling to face the reality of tweaking  pants patterns for months or years.
I could try a pattern from another manufacturer. I have determined beyond argument that Simplicity will not work for me ever. McCall is marginally better. I have twice attempted a McCall pattern pants pattern. The pants fit, but only because I altered them substantially.  I like loose but not voluminous, and the pants I made from a knitwear pattern are right in the crotch length but wide enough elsewhere for me and a few of my closest friends.

I have a vintage Stretch N Sew pattern, but  I don't want knit pants. I have an old Vogue, but I think I want a complete change: Burda. It is rumored that Burda has a long back rise, so there's an alteration I wouldn't need, right off the  bat. Burda has a completely different sizing system.  Instead of 10-12-14, it has horrifyingly large numbers, 38, 42, 46.  

Maybe I should try again to copy pants. David Page Coffin makes it look so simple in his video.  His 2009 book, Making Trousers for Men & Women, addresses a raft of interior details that make all the difference.  Coffin uses photos lavishly to illustrate techniques, and is generous with his descriptions.  I agree with a good many of his preferences, the use of Petersham as a waistband liner, cut-on waistbands, extra fabric in the back for expansion. I may never attempt a curved pocket welt, but it's in there.
Thank you, Qbookshop and Craftside, for claiming that my answer to a silly question won, and for allowing me to choose a book. Making Trousers for Men & Women  arrived this week  and is a very satisfying read. I'm thrilled to have it, but with my track record with pants, I don't imagine I'll be a good advertisement for its merits.