I started from scratch again. I took new front and back rise measurements, and had to construct my pattern in two halves as I don’t have paper large enough to accommodate the pattern. I also double checked my math and discovered that for some reason the first time around, I concluded that 35+1=39 when calculating the width necessary for my thighs plus ease plus seams. I also retook my waist measurement and was much relieved to discover that I have not put on 3” in two months after all. Whew! For the waistband, I added only 6” for the overlap rather than the original 12” that was called for in the instructions. I made the drawers up following the same method as the first draft, and these fit so much better. I can actually wear them. This time I used muslin instead of batiste because I didn’t want to waste any more fabric until I got the fit correct. When cutting the fabric, I kind of cheated. I laid out only the back half of the pattern on my fabric and marked it out, then marked the front height on only one side and adjusted the waistline cut after. This resulted in both inseam cuts being made together so they were a perfect match when stitching them up. I liked it that way.
Regarding the fit, I think I should add a little more in the rise for ease. If I hike them right up, they do indeed fit my waist fine, but they are a bit uncomfortable bunching up in my crotch. Dropping them down to the level referred to as mid-rise for jeans made the crotch much more comfortable. Next time I will add just another inch or two to the rise. I did add the ease recommended in the instructions, it just isn’t enough for my body.
Another thing I will do differently next time is to square the center back corner. I drew it with a straight line as shown in the diagram, but it would have been much easier to work with if I had made the corner a 90* angle for even one inch and then dropped down towards the front. I also smoothed out the center side, where the front and back waistlines meet. I prefer working with smooth curves when gathering than with hard angles. Since I had a 7” difference in front and back rise, the angle was a bit prominent. I had never considered myself to have such ample endowment in the rear, but apparently I do. Providing a square angle at the waist I imagine will also help the overlap lay more smoothly.
I gathered the waist fairly evenly across the length of it, but when I put them on, I discovered that there were symptoms of poor fit in the crotch. I assume this is the result of the style and cut rather than fitting, because of the fact that we use a straight line for the crotch “seam” rather than the curve that is used modernly. Modern pants use a curved crotch and straight inseam, whereas this pattern seems to do pretty much the opposite. I am not too worried about trying to make the “smile” go away.
The tucks came out nicely with the ¼” sizing, but there is still some adjustments I need to make. If using tucks that are ¼” deep, taking up ½” of fabric, then I need to add ½” per tuck to the overall length from waist to cuff, but I need to keep 1” per tuck square at the calf. I believe that it is a 1:2 ratio of extra fabric length: amount kept square at calf, regardless of the size of the tucks. If I am wrong, please let me know. I have never worked with tucks before and would gladly learn more.
Overall, I am so far very pleased with how this pair turned out. They are certainly wearable, whereas the batiste ones are not – at least not for me. Since I had never really heard of split drawers before, I would love to hear your experiences with them.
I decided that I needed a pair of split drawers to add to my little collection of undergarments. I used Elizabeth Stewart Clark’s pattern here. Since I am on the more ample side regarding my hips, I am using 44” batiste rather than 36”. I took my measurements and was horrified at some of them. It would seem that I have put on 3” in my waist since I measured to make my first corset attempt in November. I knew I haven’t been eating well lately, but that is ridiculous. So I made up my pattern according to the instructions and cut out my fabric. The pattern is huge, but such is the case when the garment is meant to be roomy. I decided to add three tucks to the calf for some decoration. The instructions said to keep one inch per tuck straight in the calf for easiest stitching. I see now that I misunderstood how to measure tucks. I wanted three half-inch tucks, so I measured an inch for each tuck, but then realized that that wouldn’t leave any space between the tucks. From what I have seen in photos online, it looks like tucks should be spaced about one tuck-width apart. So I added ½” to each tuck allotment. Then I added another ½” just to be on the safe side.
I stitched up the inseam, cut out the facings and stitched those on following the instructions, then I hand-stitched down the free edge of the facings. I took shorter stitches in the outer fabric and longer stitches in the facing. It was then time to do up my tucks. I understand now that a ½” tuck seems to mean that is the amount taken up in the tuck, not the width of the finished tuck, which would then be ¼”. Thus, 1” per tuck would have provided ½” to take up into the tuck, the ¼” that would sit behind/under it, and ¼” for spacing before the next tuck. So my tucks have no spacing between them. I also wonder if I added too much ease to the cuffs.
The waistband was the next part. The instructions said to take your waist measurement plus 12” for a back opening. Due to my recently expanded girth, I needed to piece together my waistband. I staggered the seams for added strength, so the seam on the waistband was on the opposite end from the seam on the facing. I gathered the top edge of each leg excepting the portion that overlaps on each end. I overlapped the front edges by 1½” and stitched the waistband on. I stitched the facing down inside with a hand stitch. I found a couple of ½” buttons that I thought would look good, and handstitched some buttonholes for them in the rear overlap section. I also made sure to overlap the back in the same direction as I overlapped the front.
I tried them on, and was horrified to discover that they didn’t fit. The waist was too big and too low. If I got the back to the right altitude, the front was waaaayyy too low, and vice versa. It then dawned on me that when I took my rise measurement, I sat on the chair, and measured from waist to floor, as I use for other pattern drafting techniques. What I should have done is measure from waist to center crotch instead. Then the two rise measurements, front and back, will total the distance from waist, between legs, and back up to waist. For the waistband, I realize that 12” additional is more than is needed. The two sides overlap by 5.5” so you only need to add one amount of overlap, not both. I need to reduce the waist by 6”.
I am going to redraft my pattern with these new insights. I am hoping to be able to just recut the fabric I already have made up instead of having to cut new fabric and have this pair go to waste. Here are pictures of the places I went wrong with them.
Photography courtesy of DBGraphics, except for the one on the ironing board.