Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Pants Project

The temperatures are dropping here on the East Coast and I actually wore a pair of pants to work this week. Granted they were an unlined, ltwt. wool blend pair but they were pants.  It got me to thinking about my *sigh* winter wardrobe and I realized that I'm still lacking pants.  

Once upon a time, I'd sewn five pairs of black wool pants for my winter wardrobe. It was a goal I set and it took awhile to reach.  I was so proud when I got there that I immediately moved on...not realizing that I would need to keep that up if I wanted to retain those five pairs of pants. Unlike my dresses, my pants get alot more wear during the fall/winter, especially if it's a particularly cold winter.

However, I have some challenges ~

1.  I only have one box of 15 yards of the Dritz soft & easy stretch elastic.


This will allow me to make five more pairs of pants.  Probably enough for this winter and this winter alone. I've looked everywhere, googled and just can't find any more of this elastic which is depressing.  I know there are other elastics out there and I will probably have to work with some to come up with one that works for me...but I'm not looking forward to this...challenge.

2.  I need to alter my pants pattern again because even my thin leg trouser pant looks too big in the current skinny pant environment.  Now I'm never going to wear skintight skinny pants...but my pants legs need to be thinner...so some pattern work is involved...challenge.

3.  There are only two pairs of black wool crepe pants currently in rotation.  Do I use up elastic for three more pair or do I go in another direction.  My first thought is to sew the black pants because they work with everything and will work in my professional work wardrobe...but do I really want to do that since I'd really like another plaid pair and maybe even a small dark floral pair...challenge.

4. Then there is this pile of pants that need to be altered aka stretched out elastic removed and new elastic added. I really want to repair them and add them back into the rotation...but that takes away from the elastic stash.  So do I fix them or ditch them...challenge.


5.  Maybe it's time I try another pants pattern with a zipper closing. My fitting skills and sewing skills have improved since I last tried a pair...so maybe I should stretch my sewing skills and go there...challenge.



6.  I don't own a lot of pants patterns. I do, however, own a lot of patterns and these pairs of pants that I'm thinking of using are included in wardrobe patterns. Although, I really didn't even notice them when I purchased the patterns. All of these have now caught my eye so they will be considered for new pairs of pants.

As the title of the post says this is "The Pants Project" and I will be working on it for the rest of the fall & winter.  In January/February of this year I made four pairs of pants. Add them to the two pairs of black wool crepe pants, a pair of brown wool crepe pants, a gray pair that I made last year & want to rework, and a couple of other pairs. That means I will have ten wearable pairs of pants. I would like to end up with 15 to 20 pairs especially since this winter is predicted to be snowier and colder than last year. I want to be ready since I hate the cold!

There will be more talk of The Pants Project here on the blog. Especially when I embark on the journey of using the new pants patterns, as well as, altering my existing pants pattern yet again.

Next up is the finished dress ~ McCalls 6988.

...as always more later!

44 comments:

  1. I am also on a pants project. I promised that 2014 was going to be the year I mastered pants fit. After putting the muslins aside for the summer, I am back at it and have 2 different patterns almost perfect. Then I will have my own TNT pants pattern to use again and again.
    Do you have a fitting buddy? I found that was key in my pants project. You can see your own behind very well, even with a 3 way mirror. And it is tough to pin yourself with the pants on when you see something that needs tweaking. My fit buddies helped me perfect my muslins, so I have pants that fit the way I like. Good luck. Can't wait to see your progress.

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  2. I look forward to learning from you. I keep thinking I'm going to tackle pants, but I continue to get side-tracked by other projects. (I like all those patterns!)

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  3. What about using a different elastic, saving your good stuff, and reworking a couple of your needing repairs pants. That way you won't waste good elastic and could take the opportunity to try out different waistband elastics. Who knows? You might find something as good or better to use. And if the chosen ones are duds, you would not have wasted as much time as if you made anew pair from scratch.

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  4. This post seriously Carolyn has pumped me up so much! Congrats on you weightloss, you are looking even more fabulous!

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  5. I saw it on the Dritz website. It's not in a box, but it is labeled "Dritz 1 1/2" Soft Waistaband Elastic"

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the note but that is not the elastic I'm presently using. Because of course I ran to the site thinking I'd overlooked something but nope...disappointed again. I appreciate you posting about it though.

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  6. Louise Cutting's elastic make work. I really like it. It is soft and you can sew thru it. I think that I have a TNT pants pattern that I have worked on for the last several years. It might need one more adjustment before I'm satisfied. Pants are high on my project list.

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  7. I second testing new elastics on the repairs and saving the good stuff!

    And muslining a couple new pair.

    I love sewing pants. I have a pair to hem right now and really need a few more.

    Oh and rather than sew all black ones what about a charcoal? Just as versatile as black!! Ooooh. I want plaid pants...

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  8. I'm on the same wavelength. Last month I finally bought 2 Palmer Pletsch pants-fitting patterns (because if you're afraid to try making pants at least you can have plenty of patterns...). This month I even bought 1/8" gingham so I can make a fitting muslin where it's easy to see whether the grainlines are straight. Too bad I have that fall jacket I'm making. The face fabric was too lightweight so it had to be underlined, and there were lots of alterations, and it needed a full lining instead of the partial lining in the pattern and... I finished it today. I guess it's time I faced my fears and cut out the dang gingham. Of course, I'm doing a lot of phone-banking and canvassing for my local Congressional and Governor's races, and making GOTV calls to NC, Ga., and Ky... Maybe I need to put it off till November...

    I know everyone has her favorite elastic, but can I just recommend the Fantastic Elastic that Pam Leggett sells at her Pamala's Patterns website? It is 1.5" wide, but can be cut to any width. And it can be sewn through.. I usually cut it to 1" for waistbands, and use the .5" leftovers for slip waistbands, underwear, and casing elastic. I love to use sewn-on elastic waistbands, sewn just to the upper edge. It makes a much smoother, sleeker shape.

    Thanks for giving me a little push to dig into my own pants project!

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  9. Fitting pants (trousers) is my worst nightmare as I have lots of fitting issues and no fit buddy. I was hoping to make lots of pairs for work as I live in them and RTW never fitts me so I will be watching your posts carefully. I bought Simplicity 3688 and 4044 plus the fabric for them but they are still waiting to be muslined.

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  10. Is there an option for elasticated back only? Then you could make double the number of trousers. Result! I love the idea of a pair in a Prince of Wales check. I wish I could wear trousers, but I always feel really self conscious in them. Don't know why! I'm looking forward to learning vicariously as you sew yours though! Rachel ☺

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  11. Pam at FSS carries some nice elastic - I would suggested consulting with her to test some replacement brand on the remakes. Just y opinion and experience - but I wouldn't bother with the zippered pants. I am a plus sized elastic waist skirt wearer. I got a bug last spring that I had to have a skirt with a waistband, you know, a "normal" waist. Big mistake. I hate it. Very uncomfortable after all the years of elastic waist wearing. I never wear it. I won't go that direction again.

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  12. Maybe "audition" other elastics on the pants which need new elastic. That way you haven't spent more time on making new pants, only to be frustrated with the elastic.
    Good luck!

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  13. What an ambitious plan! I admire that you plan ahead so thoroughly, not to mention planning an entire winter wardrobe of pants from the get-go. I would suggest starting with the new ones, since you are such a lovely new size, and crack out some that fit you to a T right now. Then do the remakes to fit you as you are right then. I checked around locally and didn't find any of that Dritz elastic that you're looking for, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for you. Creative Hormone Rush

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  14. Well I know you know that I am a big pants person. I'd suggest changing the elastic rather than ditching those good pairs. When you do get around to to altering the pants leg of your pattern to the slimmer version, please do pictures!!!

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  15. I have a muslin of a pair of pants that have been sitting on the floor in a corner of my sewing room for over a year and a half! Perhaps watching you embark on your journey will inspire me to pick them up again.

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  16. Louise Cutting sells a wonderful elastic for waistbands, it's all I ever use.
    http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Shopper_id=648101213526648&Store_id=516&page_id=23&Item_ID=1167

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  17. I'll be following your pants challenges with interest. I always want to make pants, but so far, I haven't made a pair I love yet.

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  18. Goldstartool.com has this elastic. It is not labeled as such, but I ordered 12 yards of the 1 1/4" wide elastic, and it is in the exact same box. Soft & Easy Stretch, with rainbow stripes on one side of the box. However, it is labeled "Wrights" on the bottom. When you looked at the website, though, you don't see the box and therefore don't know what brand you're getting. Maybe contact customer service for help? Free shipping on everything, and 10% off for new customers. Not affiliated with them.

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    1. I meant to write - it's not labeled on the website. The box is labeled identical to yours.

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    2. I checked the website and don't see anything. I will call customer service. Thanks for the lead!

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    3. http://goldstartool.com/Elastic_woven_Non-Roll_white_black.html
      It's listed on the webpage under "Elastic" - then "woven non-roll elastic.". There are drop-down boxes for different widths. I previously ordered the 1.25" and it came in the box, just like yours. I'm glad to hear you like it, because I had never seen this type - "Soft & Easy." But you should probably call to be sure that it's still this brand.

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    4. Thanks but this isn't the elastic I'm presently using either. I really think that they've just stopped making it and I'm going to have to use something else.

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    5. carolyn--we seem to have similar fitting issues. have you ever tried the pants pattern from "jude's"? it is my tnt trouser sloper and has the best drape of any i've ever sewn--must have to do with the grainlines.--anne

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    6. I sent you an email with a photo attached of the elastic I purchased from GoldStar tools. You can see that the box is identical.

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  19. Carolyn, what is the item number for this elastic? I think I have the same elastic by Dritz but in a different box. The item number I have is 9427W. From your pictures, it looks like what I have. I purchased mine from Joann's. I found a wholesale supplier that sells this elastic,

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  20. Hey C: I have a bunch of 1.5 inch elastic (store seems to stock it regularly - and they deliver, I believe). I'd be happy to send a couple of yards your way (for scientific research purposes). Then, if it works for you, you can purchase in bulk from the place. If you'd like, email me with your address and I'll pop some elastic in the mail...

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  21. Peggy Sayers sells this 2" wide soft elastic on the Silhouette Patterns website. It can be trimmed to any width and you can sew through it. http://www.silhouettepatterns.com/html/notions.htm

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    1. I didn't find the elastic there that I like but I did find some closures that I'm going to buy! So thanks for the link!!!

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  22. I have not read through all of the comments, so I don't know if anyone else recommended the elastic that Pam sells on Fashion Supply. It's very nice and soft, unlike all of the elastics that JoAnn's sells.
    If you like the crotch on your tnt pair of pants then I suggest that you just narrow your pants legs. That's what I've done and it works well since the crotch is the hardest part to get right.

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    1. Nancy - definitely planning on narrowing my TNT pants pattern cause my crotch curve definitely works and I'm not going through that trial again!

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    2. I really think the crotch curve is where you start from for fitting pants; I think it really helps to take a pattern off a pair of pants you love and refine it from there. There's no point in reinventing the wheel if you have a place to start that you know will work. And now I love making pants (jeans actually) because I have my TNT and I know they will be great even with all my fifty year old ladybumps to work around.

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  23. Following your progress as pants is what I need to learn next...

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  24. Isn't it frustrating when a favoured tool gets taken away from you. Good luck with finding a replacement and with your pants. I can't imagine having so many pairs.

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  25. I know that a few other people have mentioned, but Pam's elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply is very nice and soft. It's all I use any more, unless I'm in a pinch and need to run out to JoAnn's.

    If you do want to venture down the road of a more traditional trouser with a fly front and waistband, I'll suggest muslining a few pant patterns from the companies that are known for their pants fit, such as StyleArc, Burda, HotPatterns, or Jalie, and then go with the one that looks like it will need the fewest fitting tweaks.

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    1. Michelle - thanks for the suggestions, but I haven't seen a big protruding booty gal yet in the StyleArc pants, and the crotch curve for Burda pants doesn't work for me. HotPatterns and Jalie just don't do anything for me...sad right?!

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  26. I like the elastic from Pamela's Patterns. It can be cut to the width that you want.

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  27. I just saw a lot of new elastics at Joann's but I haven't tried any of them yet. I'm just glad to see someone is finally offering more options! Also, one suggestion since you're steadily losing weight would be to insert buttonhole elastic inside the waistband? You could construct with a zipper fly (or even a faux fly) and hide the buttonhole elastic inside so you don't have to deconstruct the entire pair of pants if you keep shrinking? Just a thought. Pants are on my list for this fall/winter too.

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  28. I like Jess' suggestion-rework the pants with worn elastic with different types of new elastic. You already know how those pants fit, and like them (or the elastic wouldn't have worn out!)-you can get an idea of which brand of elastic works best for you, without putting a brand new length of fabric into an experiment.

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  29. I look forward to seeing what you do with these. I did a pair of Burda pants years ago that I just loved...they had little roses embroidered on tan linen. I LOVED them - even though I totally botched the zipper. LOL.

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  30. I purchased big roll of elastic fromhttp://www.ctsusa.com/index.aspx. It's very similar to some brands that are mentioned in the comments.

    Good luck on your pants collection.

    Thanks for sharing your block dress alterations on a previous post.

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  31. Carolyn - couple of comments - I understand your pain with finding the right type pattern for you. It is out there - keep searching. Have you thought about a combo elastic waistband with zipper closure - will accommodate weight fluctuations etc. Also I am still trying to wrap my head around how elastic wears out. I have workout clothes that I made that are 8 or 9 years old and the fabric is giving out well before the elastic. For pants I have taken 4 pants patterns 1 - front zip, 1- side - zip, 1 - back zip and 1 - front fly/zip with pleats and made them each my TnT - then I work on modifying the legs i.e. front zip flat front straight legs or side zip wide leg - but the most important part of the crotch fit and waist fit and upper thigh fit is already done. Just a thought Now I have 4 go toos' for pants and that is awesome.

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  32. I wear elastic waist pants year round. Our climate is rather mild so a good ponte knit or stretch gabardine works very well. I have found that the elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply is perfect. It has a nice, comfortable give, and doesn't stretch out of shape easily. Pam Erney carries quality products and has sales on her elastics. They are in white, beige and black so it will work with almost any fabric color. Hope this helps.

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  33. I'll be following along, you can be sure. I've never made an elastic waistband, so look forward to posts covering that. I'm quite keen on the combo elastic waistband/zip closure. RTW doesn't work for me and I did a number of toiles last year to make well fitting trousers but lost a fair bit of weight ( regrettably over half put on again!) so alterations made were no use next time. I'm going to start again, though.

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