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.
Today I completed the side seams while watching the 1983 BBC production of Mansfield Park. Having the armscye seams extend only to the stitching line was a great boon. It was much easier to flat fell them. Once both sides were done, I made two rows of gathering stitches along the neckline. I made my stitches rather longer than usual to make it easier to match up the two rows of stitching. Following the instructions, I started and stopped the gathering rows at the armscye seams. Do remember that I added 5/8” seam allowance rather than the pattern’s ½” and that I stitched the armscye seams from the raw neckline edge. This later came to trouble me. I stitched the neck binding to the gathering, but found the large stitches a bit unwieldy. Still I got it together and folded the binding over to secure on the inside. At this point, I discovered that ½” x 4 (seam allowance, back up to top of edge, down to other side and a second seam allowance) equals the 2” I cut for the binding according to the pattern, but 5/8” does not. Therefore I removed the binding and pressed the binding into fourths so I had a proper line to follow when stitching. I was mildly discouraged by this, but it is really only a small setback. I apologize for not taking any photos today. I spent about 6.5 hours working on it today.
I found the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge and decided to jump right in on the first challenge, which is foundation garments. Interestingly, I found the blog hosting the challenge after seeing it advertised on several other blogs as I searched for a period chemise pattern. I decided to take up the challenge and began right away.
The pattern I am using is from The Sewing Academy (http://www.thesewingacademy.com/compendium/, scroll down to find the free pattern). I have a bolt of muslin that I got for pattern development and making mockups of outfits, so I dove right in. I was so excited to start that I didn’t notice what time it was when I started. Using other clues (last read email time stamp, the time my daughter left for work, etc.) I figure I probably started around 9 am. Also, I decided I am going to handstitch the entire garment.
I began with 2 yards (measured very roughly as being twice the length of my arm from hand to the opposite shoulder) of unbleached muslin, washed, dried and ironed. The pattern called for 16” across the half-pattern, so I trimmed the fabric down the edge from the original 48” to 32”. In retrospect, I should have cut it down to 34” for the seam allowance. I did have the room to spare. I used the edge I cut off for the sleeves, thus making very efficient use of the length. Following the instructions, I drew my pattern directly on the muslin. Wait, that is a bit misleading. The instructions did not say to do that. Rather, I measured down 5/8” from the top edge and in from the side edge for seam allowance, then drafted the pattern directly onto the muslin instead of a piece of paper. I then added the seam allowances, except that being the kind of person I am, I didn’t wait to see how much seam allowance the pattern called for and I just used the 5/8” I am accustomed to. Next time, I need to remember to use the washable pen. I hope the pencil will wash out. I drew the stitching lines on each piece and began flat-felling the armscye seams. I stitched from the edge at the neckline down to the raw edge at the armpit following the felling instructions in the pattern, but when it came time to do the underarm seam, I realized that might not work so well. I unpicked the armscye end of each seam just to the stitching line for the underarm seam to better accommodate those seams. Also, for some reason, one of the side seams isn’t perfect. The armscye seams don’t quite line up, and I’m not quite sure why. I set it down at 5:30 to make dinner. Counting out time spent helping my 12-year-old work on an outfit for her doll, and basic parenting (the kids are all home from school until Monday), I probably spent about 6 to 7 hours on this today.
I'm sorry the pictures aren't more elaborate. I just wanted to show the stitching. I'm not sure how else to photograph an otherwise big blob of fabric.