Category Archives: Pants

Trench update and new skill

I had another lesson with Thea last night…  We completed the muslin for my trench coat (Burda 03/09 #115) and I learned a new skill.  Click on over to the Trench Sew Along for my post on the trench muslin

My new skill?  Hemming pants.  Sounds simple right?  Well it is.  But I wanted to be sure I was doing it correctly.  So before I butchered my suit pants on my own, I waited until Thea came over and we went through the process together.  

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Measure both legs:  One hip can be higher than the other, so just measuring one leg might give you uneven results even if you are exacting in your measurements.   Mine had different measurements, so I’m glad that I waited to do this with Thea. 
  2.  Not all thread is created equally:  On the RTW pants I was altering, the overlocked (serged) hem allowance was thin in thickness, meaning the threads didn’t create a bulky edge.  The thread I bought for my serger, Maxilock, was thick thread and was definitely bulky when I finished trimming down the hem allowance.  Now I will have to be careful when I press these pants so that the ridge from the overlocked edge won’t show through the pant leg.
  3. I don’t like my blind hem stitch on my Emerald 183:  Well at least for fine garments like suits.  I can see the tiny stitches on the outside pant and it bothers me.  No one else would probably notice, but it would bother me to the point of never wearing the pants.  Solution: hand sew the hems.  Which is fine with me, since I enjoy hand sewing.
  4. That there’s always something to learn or a little trick of the trade with even the simplest sewing task: I’m so glad I waited for Thea to hem these pants.

 For the next couple of weeks, I will be working on my trench coat pretty exclusively.  There are a lot of great projects to watch unfold on the Trench Sew Along, so please check in on us.

Happy sewing everyone!


Question of the Day: Pattern Review vs Stitcher’s Guild


I just joined Stitcher’s Guild today.  Now, full disclosure here, I haven’t really checked it out yet, so this is not a review per se on Stitcher’s Guild.  As you know I am enthusiastic user of Pattern Review.  But I have noticed right away that different sewists use Pattern Review than those that use Stitcher’s Guild.

There are similarities between the two, both have boards, a beginner sewist section, contests, and a techniques section.  The one thing I don’t see on Stitcher’s Guild is class offerings, but maybe I missed it my cursory glance.  I will definitely take more time in the coming weeks to see what Stitcher’s Guild has to offer.

So my question of the day for you all is which do you prefer and why?


I have an update on how my first pair of pants wore on their first day of use.  First, let me say that they needed to have a little more structure for the lightweight fabric from which they were made.  The waistband seemed flimsy.  I am not a fan of the invisible zipper in front.  They wrinkled like crazy and pilled at the inner thighs.  PILLED!!!  What’s up with that?  The fit is still fabulous for my first pair of pants though.  One thing I will change next time  is the length for capris; they were too short.  When I sat down, they tended to hike above my knees which was weird and uncomfortable.  I compared them to some RTW capris I like from Ann Taylor and they were about an inch to an inch and a half too short.  Not sure how that happened.   One question I have is with a stretch fabric, should you automatically draft a pattern more fitted than you would for a non-stretch woven?  Let me know if you have thoughts on this.  Sorry, no pictures of the pants in action.


Jack and I have been back from San Diego a few days now and are settled back into our routines.  We had some tough times out there with the time change and new environment, but I think when we go back in December for Christmas, he might be a better little traveler.  Here’s a picture of one of the good times…



Happy sewing everyone!

My first pair of pants!

But not the last. They’re not perfect, but I will still wear them proudly, this weekend as a matter of fact.  Since my last post on the capris, I attached and topstitched the waistband, hemmed the pant legs, hand sewed the crotch seam below the zipper closed and hand stitched the closures on.  I am so proud of these pants.  It was a long journey, but so worth it.  I see many pants in my future!  Here are some pictures (I’m not sure why the quality isn’t great again, sorry!)…

front capri hemmed

rear capri hemmed

hem on pant leg

I folded the hem twice and stitched the hem. 

stitch in the ditch waistband

I topstitched the waistband and you can see my stitch in the ditch stitches right below the waistband where I attached the waistband facing. 

suit closures

I added two suit closure type hooks and eyes.  Thea taught me how to correctly sew them on:

  • Make 3-4 stitches per “hole”
  • slip needle between the facing and waistband to the next hole so your stitch doesn’t show on the facing or the front
  • when finished stitching to waistband, make a loop with the final stitch, pass the needle through twice, and pull taut.  Then slip needle between the facing and waistband again about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch and out.  Cut the thread and you’re all done!!!

It looked way more professional than when I stitched the hook and eye to my niece’s blouse.

The next picture shows some puckering when I attached the waistband to the pant.  😦

waistband mistakes


Things I learned on this project:

  • How to hand sew hooks and eyes properly
  • How to stitch in the ditch (maybe I’ll do a tutorial for the other beginners out there soon)
  • sewing with wovens is not as forgiving as with knits, every mistake shows.
  • order of construction matters! (I was going to add pockets, but didn’t know you had to add them before sewing the legs together.  Oops!)
  • It pays to make a muslin for pants and to muslin again for fit.
  • Why invisible zippers don’t look good in the front of pants.  (I should have bought a regular zipper)
  • I need to make more pants to perfect my sewing skills. 

Overall, I am quite pleased with my first pants.  I don’t think they come off as “loving hands at home”, but they’re not perfect either.  I will definitely be making some more.  Maybe shorts too!

I am taking a vacation next week with Jack to visit my parents and start a new job after that, so sewing might be a bit scarce for awhile.  I hope you’ll still be here when I get back.  😉

Until then, I wish you all happy sewing!  Oh and don’t forget to visit the Trench Sew Along and see what’s cooking there!  I picked out my pattern and bought my fabric today.

Just popping in to say…

I hemmed my suit pants today by hand.  It’s been bugging me that my brown suit pants’ hem was coming apart the last few weeks.  Ordinarily, I would send it to the cleaners to have the tailor there fix it.  But now that I know how to sew hems by hand, that would just be silly wouldn’t it? 

It’s such an ordinary thing, hemming pants, but I found it so empowering that I knew how to do it so professionally.  I am quite proud of myself I have to say.  I love this new interest of mine.  I love making things and then being able to wear them.  LOVE. IT.

Anyway, I just had to share my simple pleasure.

Stay tuned for the final post on my navy capris tomorrow.

Happy hemming!

Need some fitting advice…

So I sewed up the legs of my capri pants yesterday.  I took care to press all my stitching at every stage.  For the other beginners out there: that means to sew a seam, press the stitches to set the seam, then press the seam open.  That makes for a more professional look and less “loving hands at home” look.  My planned order of construction was:

1. sew outside seam of pant leg from top going down.
2. sew inside seam of pant leg from top going down.
3. repeat for second leg
4. sew crotch seam from front of pant starting at zipper bottom towards back
5. sew zipper into pants
6. sew hip bands together for outside and facing
7. sew hipband facing to outside
8. sew outside hipband to pant
9. sew facing to interior of pant.


I made through step 4 and then tried them on.  Here are the results so far…


Front view navy capris without waistband


Back view navy capris without waistband


Apologies for the crappy pictures, not sure what happened here.  I am rather pleased with the front, but a bit perplexed with the back.  The seat (butt) looks fine in back, but the there are a lot of drag lines down the legs. What does that mean?  Do I need more room down both of the legs, i.e., wider?


Please let me know what you think.  I have my at home sewing lesson tonight with Thea, I will ask her, but I don’t recall the muslin being so “wrinkly” in back and I used the muslin as my pattern.  Also, the front pant leg was shorter than the back pant leg on both sides, but that might have been an error on my part while cutting or when I measured for the capri pant length on muslin.  I don’t think it will be a big deal; I’ll just use my rotary cutter to even it out.


Trench Sew Along Update:  So we have some interest in starting up the Trench Sew Along.  I will post details tomorrow.  I think we’ll have our own blog, but need to set it up still.  If you’re interested in joining, please let me know in the comments of this post or the last one and I will add you as an author to the Trench Sew Along blog.  I’m so excited!!!

I can’t believe I’m about to do this — A Trench-Sew-Along

But, I am starting a Trench-Sew-Along.  Yep, you read it correctly.  Me, Elizabeth of the sleeve sewn inside out dress is starting a trench-sew-along.  In comments on my Burberry Trench Coat post, Kerry and Sara both suggested that we start a trench coat sew along together and I laughed and laughed.  Especially since my exposé Burberry trench post was posted right after the Sleeve Debacle.  I thought for sure that inserting a sleeve on inside out would automatically kick me out of the sewing club, not launch me into the coat-making stratosphere.  Apparently that was just hazing or some kind of sewing rite of passage. 

I’ve never hosted a sew along, so I don’t know how this works exactly.  If anyone is interested in joining, please let me know in the comments of this post.  And while you’re at it, give me some direction on how to host this kind of thing.  Should I start another blog with multiple authors so that everyone can post their progress?  Does that sound right?  My only caveat: I sew slow.  Very slow.  I overthink every decision.  So if you think I will be done with this trench coat before the first snow, you will be sorely disappointed.  Hmm… end date.  Not sure about that one.  This might be an evolving sew along with everyone’s input into shaping it. 

Here’s my starting point.  I have no pattern in mind, no fabric, no lining, and no notions.  I am thinking that a raglan sleeve coat might be the easiest to start with and nothing too fitted.  I definitely want a self fabric belt.  It has to be lined and have two pockets (not welted though).  An interior pocket would be nice too.  Does that sound doable for a beginner?  Am I nuts?  Out of mind? 

I’m going to borrow Summerset’s parting shot.  Here’s a pic of my stretch navy cotton all cut out and ready to be sewn up tonight and tomorrow night.  Could it be that I will have a pair of capri pants to wear this weekend?  Stay tuned to find out.  🙂

navy stretch fabric cut

Happy sewing!  And don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you would like to join the Trench Along.

Pant sloper update

I know, I know…  I never wrote up the final class I took with Kenneth King working on the pant moulage.  I just don’t feel qualified to speak on the changes he made.  And I don’t want to lead any beginner sewists astray.  Suffice it to say that I got a great fitting pair of pants out of it, well at least a muslin anyway.  However, there were no design details, no waistband, no pockets, no zipper, etc.  For my first foray into pant making, I wanted to make a pair of summer capris.  Well, this meant I needed to draft a waistband and figure out what kind of zipper I wanted.  I also needed to decide if I wanted pockets, how many and what kind.  As I am discovering with each project I take on, there are so many design decisions to make.  While it’s pretty incredible to make something so customized, I do sometimes feel a little overwhelmed with all the decisions to be made. 

My teacher Thea and I have been working on these pants for the last 3 or 4 lessons.  Working and reworking the waistband, adjusting the crotch curve, etc.  We haven’t even come to the pockets yet.  We finally have a great fit I think.  Here’s the muslin/sloper on me with the waistband and a centered zipper (please ignore how it’s crooked on my waist, I had no idea when I was taking the pictures).

final pant sloper front

final pant sloper back

I took it apart already and marked the seam lines.  I just have to iron my fashion fabric (a navy stretch cotton), lay out my muslin pattern pieces and cut away.  I am self facing the waistband.  So I will cut out 4 of the back band, and 2 each of the front bands.  I will do the centered zipper with a button closure (remember the coconut buttons I bought at Pacific Trimmings?). 

Here’s a close up of the waist band.

final pant sloper finished waist band


I won’t be able to work on it today because I am working as a race official for the Interesting Race.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!  But Sunday has been declared pant sloper day, so hopefully I’ll have an update for you all on Monday.

Happy sewing!