Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just The Waist Is A World Of Learning

When I was in the grocery store Monday afternoon, I ran into one of the women who taught me to quilt MANY years ago. She asked what I was doing now. When I said clothing, she told me that at a lecture I gave at the gathering of the guilds, she'd had the thought "she should be sewing clothes". I must have had several pieces of wearable art with me to prompt that awareness but I don't really remember. It was almost twenty years ago.





At first, I wished she'd mentioned it sooner - LOL - but then again, not really. All the learning curves I went through with quilts and especially with textile art are applying themselves now to creative everyday wear and if I hadn't had the curves, I wouldn't have the learning. This is good.





Sometimes, it can feel like we're making absolutely no progress and then something clicks. Don't be too hard on yourself. Eventually, with practice and persistence, it - whatever it may be - comes together. When I first returned to sewing clothing, I would never have recognized "my" crotch curve. It's a celebration to have reached that stage.




It's the same thing with techniques. I remember only quilting 1/4" away from the seams because I couldn't stitch in the ditch neatly and then I finally took the time to practice and on this pair of pants I used the technique on the cuffs and the waistband. Techniques are worth working for. It's far better to learn how to make say a beautiful buttonhole than to avoid garments with buttonholes... or zippers... or whatever it is that's being avoided. Do the work. Reap the results.




And the great thing about learning is that we can also learn to adapt where necessary. Burda 7400 comes with a wide waistband sewn from ribbing. It's fun and not for me since I'm short waisted and rarely tuck in tops. A thick point of interest around the waist isn't the best of choices. I substituted a one inch wide, sewn on, elastic waistband and there's a whole learning curve behind that sentence about what suits my body and which waistband is better for an angled waist and what width is best for my waist and do I prefer a fitted or elastic or faced waist. Just the waist is a world of learning.




As you can see on the diagram in the earlier image, view B, bottom right, the seam appear to be more forward on the garment hear the hip bone. In the sewn version top left of the envelope, the model has her hand in the pocket which is much closer to the side seam. That's how mine are. One thing we quickly learn with sewing is that things are not always as they seem and that's okay because we can make them what we want them to be. We sew.




Ruth wrote to ask - Would it be possible to show more detailed before and after shots of your back crotch alteration? Just from the way you describe it I'm not understanding the alteration and how it is different from "scooping". How do you determine the position at the center back to add the wedge and how do you decide the angle of the wedge? 

I took a picture of the pattern as the before shot. If the instruction below doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll redraw my pattern and be more detailed.

From the above tissue, I traced my size and marked both the grain line and the horizontal line from center front to the side. Not all patterns have that line. If yours doesn't and you need to make an adjustment, typically it's made in that area or anywhere above the curve of the crotch seam and at a ninety degree angle to the grainline.




The dotted green line is the original line from the pattern. I cut on it from center front to the side seam being careful to go to but not through the seam allowance. Put a tiny piece of tape there and then clip from the outside toward the seam allowance too. This creates a hinge for opening the pattern. Tape one edge of the cut line to extra tissue paper.




Mark the seam allowance along the crotch curve. Spread the wedge the distance needed. This is the angle. You arrive at that measurement by substracting your actual crotch length from the pattern crotch length. Measure the wedge at the seam allowance to make sure the proper amount is added exactly where needed. The arrows in the above diagram show the wedge. At left is a solid line connecting the dotted lines of the seam allowance. That's where I measured. Tape the other edge of the cut to the tissue paper.

True the pattern and the grainline. Creating a wedge changes the outside lines. To true this pattern, I connected the lower seam allowance of the crotch curve with the top point of the center back seam allowance. It looks like I took out fabric but if you look to the side seam you'll see that it was added back when I trued that edge. The grainline will be crooked above the wedge. Simply extend the line from below where it wasn't altered and use that. This method adds crotch length. If you need to subtract crotch length, you would use the same process in reverse.

How does it work? Imagine that the crotch point is stapled to your body and that you have a low back crotch. As the garment settles at the waist, center back is pushed down and the length of the back crotch seam also pushes downward going around the body as needed. If you are working with a garment in progress, you can't change the length of the back seam and would need to scoop that extra out because there's no way to add fabric unless you add a back yoke. That's the advantage of a muslin. You can make the adjustment on the pattern tissue and get the fashion fabric near to perfect right away. Adding a wedge is a pattern tissue adjustment. Scooping is a fashion fabric adjustment. 

I'm very happy with how these pants turned out. I made them on the snug side so they'd fit a bit longer through my exercise program but they feel quite comfortable now. The fabric is cotton so it has give. When I added the waistband, I had to do a bit of fine tuning that had more to do with where the waistband sits on my body than the crotch curve. I have high back hips and a low rib cage which tends to push the waistband around. I realized with an elastic waist that I should have measured to the top of my elastic and not the bottom which - of course - made me think more about the difference between elastic and fitted waistbands. I would like to try these same pants with a zipper opening, darts, and a narrow, fitted waistband just to see what happens but that's an exploration for later. Right now... a top to go with.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful
- a near to perfect pattern and the template for a great crotch curve

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for the details! Love the pants. They are very fun!

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    1. Thanks. It's a great pattern and really comfortable to wear.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing more details, it is so much clearer now. I have a new pants pattern staring at me from my sewing area, and I need to work on it and not be scared!

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    1. Excellent. Definitely don't be scared. It's only fabric. They're making more every day and if - for whatever reason - you pants don't work out you still have that fabric to re-invent in new ways. Have fun.

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  3. Hey! I have been "catching up" with you this morning. Love everything you are doing right now. I may have to copy that dress with my own blue/green version of that knit - and I just did that alteration on the pair of jeans I have cut out at home. Funny huh? Things are looking great.

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    1. LOL - thanks for catching up. It feels like I'm in a good place right now in many ways which is excellent from my perspective. Would love to see your version of the dress. VBG - we can wear them out to dinner together and be twins. Too funny. Which jeans pattern are you sewing? I was debating trying those again soon and maybe adding some surface design to the fabric - stressing or painting or something.

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  4. Another home run. You are on a roll. The pants are a great fit.

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  5. The pants looks great. And thanks for taking the time to explaining your crotch curve alteration so clearly.

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  6. M: Just want to say how much I appreciate this post - or how much I will when I am able to return to it after work (and when this headache subsides). I'm sure there's a ton of info to learn from. xo

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    1. You're welcome. For your pants, keep in mind that the front crotch length and the back crotch length are two different numbers that equal a total. What you do in front, you don't necessarily do in the back. They are completely different entities. The shape that needs to look the same is the side seam which is why you always alter to but not through the seam allowance. Talk soon.

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    2. OK, just reread this without the headache (or with a headache that's totally manageable). What an awesome description of how this works. Bizarrely (well, I mean, I did have the benefit of our email exchange), I did exactly the same thing with my pants. I swear I'm not copying! :-) The only difference is that I added a bit of fabric onto the back waist in the truing because I wanted some more room in the waist (re: info I gained from my previous muslin) and because I'm need to consider that full abdomen alteration. I really don't like the name of that alteration...

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  7. Thanks so much, Myrna! I think your tutorial has just solved a problem I was having with a pants pattern that was giving me a very hard time to fit in the back. A lightbulb moment!

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    1. You're welcome. I hope it did solve your problem or at least creates a bridge to the answer. Love those lightbulbs.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.