So of course, in continuation of my Style Arc binge, I simply HAD to include this pattern, in the hopes that it would fit me as well as it does everyone else.
The suggested fabric (and enclosed fabric sample) is for a stretch bengaline, which is a woven fabric with just a small amount of 2-way (not 4-way) stretch. It is apparently easily available in Australia, but not so much in the U.S. (at least in good quality), so us poor non-Aussies have to make do.... I had a mystery fabric that was a nearly perfect match for the sample, albeit a bit thinner & with more drape. Sadly, my (nearly nonexistent) fabric cataloguing methods left me totally clueless about what this fabric was :::eyeroll::: Especially since it really is a great fabric for these pants!
I swear I'm going to change my ways. Definitely. With my next fabric purchase. For sure.
The first thing I did was compare the pattern (size 10, in my case) against my best-fitting pair of RTW stretch pants. The most notable difference was that the Linda pants had a much wider back piece, and a longer crotch curve in the back. Was this the magical fit secret? The overall sizing appeared to be good for me, so I carried on, & cut them out exactly per the pattern, except for the length...
Note on the length: I'm 5'4" (almost) & my legs are proportionately short, so I chopped off almost 3" from the length. (they allow for a 2" hem) I did not allow for how much fabric would be taken up by my *ahem* thighs, so I ended up with less than an inch for hemming - I'll leave more next time! (Yes, there will be a next time) I would say the length allows for a 5'5"-5'6" person; if you're taller, or have long legs, definitely add more!
There are 3 pattern pieces: Front, back, & a folded waistband that is the same for front & back. There's a nice little tip about the recommended stitching sequence in order to "improve the crotch shape". (Sew the inside legs together, then the crotch seam - back to front, then the outside leg seams) I'll believe their method, because something sure seems to work!
They do say to use a "stretch thread" - I'm pretty sure what this means is a "stretch stitch". I used the zig-zag lightning stitch on all of the leg seams, and a long stitch, followed by serging, on the waistband.
The waistband calls for adding 2" wide elastic (optional). Given the stretch of the fabric, you could possibly get away without using any elastic - I considered this, but ended up using 1-1/4" elastic. Partly because I didn't really want elastic THAT wide; partly because that's what I had...you know how it is....
I stitched it into the top fold of the waistband, like so:
|1.25" elastic & folded waistband|
|elastic placed near the fold|
|elastic stretched & pinned in place|
|Stitched along the top fold|
These pants could easily be a quick evening project, start to finish, but of course, if you follow my sewing progress, you know by now that I'm going to find something to do to make it a little more challenging....
In this case, the RTW pants I was comparing these to had a little hidden zippered pocket at the waistband, and I decided that would be a fun addition. Which is why, instead of finishing these in one evening, they took 3. The fuzzy brain that goes along with late night sewing was a contributing factor in taking so long to figure out the logistics, but I did end up with a workable pocket. Finally!
If anyone wants to tackle it, (or improve on it - please do let me know if you find a better way of making a pocket like this work) here's what I did (apologies for the fuzzy photos):
- I used a C&C invisible zipper (it's what was available on short notice - next time I'll find a sport zip w/ lighter, smaller hardware; this was too bulky!
- I cut a length about 4.5" - too short by the time I secured the end & had it sewn in. 5.5" minimum next time!
- Sew the waistband on with a long stitch (to be serged later) & leave an opening for the zip.
- Sew one side of the zip to the waistband, the other to the pants top
- Cut one piece of fabric for your pocket - I serged the edges
- Sew the top of the pocket to the waistband seam and the zipper tape, so that your seam is made with the following layers: the 2 raw edges of the waistband, the zipper tape, and the pocket top
|Pocket laid in place|
|Pocket flipped up|
- Serge the waistband to the pants, making sure you don't catch the lower zipper tape in the stitching. It got tricky around the zipper pull (note the blank, unserged area), but I figured this would all be nice & secure when I topstitched the SA in place.
- Note: I really should have used a wider serge stitch - it wouldn't have helped my issues of getting around the zipper pull, but it would have helped with the topstitching!
- Clearly, I need to learn more zipper techniques to avoid this issue in the future!
|Finished Zipper, open....|
|The 3-finger pocket. |
I don't think any pickpockets are going to pull a fast one on me with these pants! ;D
I would definitely want to add an inch in width, but still, the pocket is big enough for a key & a credit card, or even a cell phone :)
This is not how I would normally wear pants like this, (shirt tucked into stretch pants = not such a great look) but I wanted to show the fit details, and it's not like anyone but my closest web friends will ever see this picture, right?
Bottom Line? The Sisterhood of the Traveling Linda Pants has been carried on! I'm very happy with the fit overall. (My tummy is a different matter, & it isn't even Thanksgiving yet....rats....But that's what stretch pants are for, right?) I'm not really sure how I can improve on this fit - if anyone sees any solution to the existing wrinkles, do let me know, but overall, they're super comfy & I WILL be making more! I'll definitely cut them a bit longer, & will try them in a slightly heavier fabric. And I won't bother with the pocket in all of them, although I do like my pockets.....
I think it may be time for a bit of Style Arc break for awhile.
That is, unless my Jilly Jeans arrive tomorrow. I mean, JILLY Jeans? What choice do I have, really? I know they weren't really named after me, unlike the shaza pants, which really WERE named after our very own shams.
Which makes me wonder, has anything ever been named after you? Any interesting stories out there about your namesakes?