Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vogue 1051 Alice + Olivia

Well, my next post was supposed to be a tutorial on a waistbandless/faced fly zipper ... but it isn't, although I did use the technique, and I will write the tutorial to supplement Kay Y's excellent version. Promise! I also need to work on my Design History knockoff. I got so far as to draft a front pattern, then decided draping might be easier, then the holidays got in the way - yeah, yeah, excuses, excuses. And I want to write a post on my sewing Christmas gifts, some real goodies straight off my wish list. And one about my sewing back story per Lindsay T's request.

But when I got back from my visit back East (which was very nice, thank you, although way too cold - California has totally turned me into a weather wimp!), my little inner sewing voice told me I wanted to sew Vogue 1051 rather than do anything else. I know better than to ignore her. If I do, my attention wanders and disasters happen.

I'm not going to recap the review. You can read it on PatternReview - see the side bar at the bottom right, "My Pattern Reviews." I will cover a few things I found either difficult or interesting, plus my fitting saga in the hopes that it might help others.

First off, my decision to sew the fly zipper up into the waistband, necessitating treating the facing differently. I thought a three inch zipper was awfully tiny (and for us obsessive people, awfully, you know insecure), and I hate sewing sliders or what the packaging calls " sew-on hook and eye closures." They always seem to fail, as I believe the metal eats into the thread. (Any comments on how to better sew things like hooks & eyes and sliders GRATEFULLY accepted.) I like sewing NEW things, rather than repairing older things. Those d**n sew-on closures are ALWAYS the first to go. I'll keep replacing one slider, but not three. So, decision made - bring that zipper up into the waistband.

I knew I wanted a fly protector too - RTW always includes a fly protector, which I understand really developed from menswear - they have, ahem, anatomy to protect from the zipper (ouch!) which women don't - but I really like the clean interior finished look that you get with a fly protector.

It took me three tries to get it right. All the while I'm following Kay Y's tutorial, which BTW, is the ONLY one I get in the first ten pages of a Google search, which quite frankly is my limit on searches.

First time, I cut the fly protector following the pattern. That doesn't work, as when I fold the facing back, the fly protector doesn't go all the way to the top, just to where the waistband ends. Sorry, no pictures - I was frustrated at this point!

Second time, I cut the fly protector lengthening it to allow for the width of the waistband, and remembering to finish the top in an attractive way. (TG for buying too much fabric! I had at least a yard too much after shortening the legs - sometimes it's GOOD to be petite! extra fabric, wowza!) This time turned out better - I had accomplished my goals, at least... extending the zipper into the waistband with a fly protector... but it seemed - something... too bulky. Especially for a middle-aged lady with a less than ideal figure (European peasant ring a bell? think THICK.) I sat on this version for a week, stewing. Do I proceed? Is it good "enough" - I could think of it as a wearable muslin - the fabric was only $4/yard - but dang! I'd already done really good welt pockets. OK, ready to invest in another step.

Seam ripper got a workout, but I'm happy with the third attempt. I call this the "integrated fly protector with facing" version, AKA - the why CAN'T YOU DO IT JUST LIKE THE PATTERN SAYS? BECAUSE YOU'RE STUBBORN AND WILL DO IT YOUR WAY REGARDLESS! version.

OK, so here are the pieces I drafted.

From the wrong side

From the right/interior side.

I cut two pieces, one the integrated protector/facing piece, and the other the fly protector piece. I sewed them together along the curved side with a scant 1/4 inch allowance, clipped the curved edge, and turned right side out. I then treated the fly protector piece as the facing - the shorter piece - sewing it to the zipper following Kay's tutorial.

Here's the finished result from the outside.

And here it is from the inside. I think it looks very clean and bulk free.

This is probably clear as mud at this point - let me know if you need more information and I'll try to supply it.

Oh, I also used Debbie Cook on inside corners for serging that tricky inside corner.

Next point: fitting...

First attempt, trying the back inseam 1/4 inch shorter than recommended,thinking I need MORE room, not less. I get some pretty pronounced wrinkles at the back crotch point.

Taking it in via a wedge - this helps. This wedge is hand basted right at the curve and takes up 1/2 inch.

Transferring the wedge to the inseam gives me some of the wrinkles back. At this point I say the h**l with it. It's better than any RTW pair - right? especially for a SHORT person.

Analysis can go too far - and being the obsessive-compulsive person I am, I will bring it WAY TOO FAR - but sometimes a gal just has to STOP and FINISH and THEN move on.

Another thing I did: 1 inch elastic at the back, inserted into the back facing. Cut 1 inch shorter than back pattern measurement. I've done this for almost every pants pattern I do now, although mostly it's been a full waist measure all the way around. With menopause, I find my shape changes almost DAILY and the elastic in the waistband, gives me some flexibility in fitting for a constantly changing shape.

Cheers! and hope this helps,