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,


Johanna Lu said...

I had just had to smile when reading your post, I can totally relate to every emotion you've gone through! I think it was great that you stopped, the pants look great, and I agree with you, if I'd find pants that fit me this well in retail I'd buy them straight away! Also you can fit the crotch until the crows come home, and after a day or two of wearing there will still be some wrinkles in the back.

luckylibbet said...

>>Hi Johanna - I've sat on this pair while writing the blog post and the review for PatternReview - and they're 100% cotton - so the wrinkles now are unbelievable! - so much for "close" fitting. At least they are comfortable, sort of fashionable, and definitely better made! so they will last.

Nancy K said...

Fantastic fit! I know that the back isn't perfect, but it is damn good. Enjoy a really terrific pair of pants.

luckylibbet said...

>>Thanks Nancy! Also, letting you know daughter and I are muslining (is that a word?) her BWOF trousers today. She also wants this pair too - I thought I would get the extra cut of black twill from Gorgeous Fabrics, but it looks like she's going to get both.

Leslie said...

I think your pants look great! That is a very useful waistband/fly treatment. As for the hook closures, I bought hook flex ones from a tailoring supply store for my first pants and really liked them. They consist of 4 pieces, 2 of the pieces are backers that go on the reverse side of the fabric and are clamped down with pliers. No sewing. Haven't had the pants long enough to say how durable they are, but it looks promising.

luckylibbet said...

>>Hi Leslie - the hook closures sound intriguing. Can you post a picture or tell me where to go look? I have to say, hand sewing on hooks and eyes, that I KNOW will not last, is one of my more frustrating sewing problems.

And thanks for encouraging me to try A + O trousers AND welts - you're the one who really MADE ME DO IT! Very, very grateful - I'd gotten into a rut and meeting you got my mojo back big time - and now the kid is interested again.

Amazing how the sewing goddesses smile?

Mary Nanna said...

Hi - I just popped over from Pattern Review because I was reading your review on the Alice + Olivia pant - the famed 64 step pant, looks like you added some more!

Well done you, superb job they look fabulous. I am now about half way through (say, about step 30) made a muslin but 16 was too big, cut it down to a 14 but my first fitting suggests its going to be too small now. Will have to unpick side seams and sew a scant 1/4 inch through just about all of them. Harumph!

Anyway, loved your review. love the trousers on you. Love your latin motto.

Trying to think of my own. Probably "non cogito ergo dissuo" (I didn't think, therefore I unpick)