Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The lace top pants

Be prepared for the longest post ever. Seriously. Buckle up.

This fall, I was in Little Rock and made my way to their Anthropologie store, where I fell in love with these pants. Lace at the top, tweed at the bottom. Gorgeous, and they fit pretty well, too.

The only downside?

Very very very scratchy wool. I just have trouble wearing wool right up against my skin anymore. I get a rash on my neck, my legs get all blotchy and itchy, it's ugly. And these pants weren't lined.

So I snapped these dressing rooms pics and went home with the idea of someday making my own pair.

Well, that some day was last week. I had the week off for Thanksgiving, and I was working up a storm around the house. Besides these pants, I finally started my embroidered wool coat project that's been in the works for oh, I don't know, five years. 

I found some very soft plaid suiting at Joann's, a poly/rayon/spandex blend that feels like flannel and stretches quite a bit. It's not very dressy, and is questionable how it will wear but I got it anyway. I bought two different laces to pair it with it - teal and black - not sure of what would look best, and finally settled on classic black. Mostly because I knew I could always find a black top or sweater to wear with these.

And black shoes.

I pulled out Simplicity 1696 and made a few adjustments. For one, I wanted a slim boot profile instead of a cropped slim pant. From the knee break to the hem (for me, that's 15" after the crotch line), I cut the legs straight down. This pattern has 1" seam allowances on the major seams which is lovely, you can make adjustments easily. I cut a 14 due to the extreme stretchiness of the plaid and the lace, although my true measurements are more of a 16 (38-30-40).

In my classic style of avoiding anything difficult, I thought I could postpone the tricky part of actually attaching the lace further down the construction process. But no. It became clear that the very first step (pockets and pocket facings) would require the lace to be attached already. Damn.

As I had been thinking about this process for a month or two already, I guess I thought I would end up snipping the lace into a shape and then hand-stitching it onto my fabric.

Um, no.  I won the lottery with this one. After assembling the pocket facing and then turning and topstitching it, I realized you can't see a damn thing on these two fabrics! Between the business of the plaid and the business of this lace, the stitches seem to dissolve. I grabbed two bits of fabric for a test run, and practiced machine stitching around the lace shapes. It worked like a charm, you can't see it at all on the outside.

So that's exactly what I did. I just stitched in an irregular scallop around the bottom of the lace.  The only bit of trouble I ran into was when I went to attach the pocket lining to the pocket facing, I had to unsnip a few stitches so the pocket facing would be free. Other than that, it worked like a charm.

I always use Sandra Betzina's zipper fly video to install zippers, and would have done this time except I wanted a fly shield. It's cold out here and I didn't want a cold zipper laying against the top of my belly.
I found 25 invisible zippers in my stash when I went looking for one for these pants. And two regular zippers. WTH??
I found this blog post from The Naked Seamstress with zipper installation methods, and followed along with Trudy's video. While I like the idea of a video that makes the process seem easy, this one wasn't so great. The video doesn't capture the action from above, but rather from an odd forward angle. She also chose to sew with white thread on white striped fabric. I never saw the seam lines, even when she urged the cameraman to zoom in.

I ended up with my fly shield attached to the wrong side of the zipper, beautifully so!

Shit. So I had to unpick the entire thing and redo it, this time doing it my way because I couldn't figure out how to reverse engineer her instructions. Maybe I'll work on doing a photo pictorial for myself to refer to next time I'm putting in a zipper with a fly shield.

Anyway, zipper fixed.
Plaids matched ok here. Not so much on the side seams, no idea why.
The rest was classic pant assembly. I assembled the waistband by the section instead of in one piece, which is nice for fitting but I don't love the way it looks at the end. I used a simple black cotton for the waistband facing, and interfaced both that fabric and the fashion plaid because it's so stretchy. I've been burned in the past with waistbands stretching out of shape because I forgot to interface enough.

When I tried the pants on at this point, they fit pretty well but I didn't care for how low I attached the lace (7" from top of pattern pieces down), and the lace didn't scallop at all. So I got out my little snips and made tiny adjustments to the lace to make it a bit more feminine looking. I could keep going with the snips, but I stopped to finish the pants lest these turn into The Pants I Sewed for Six Months and Never Wore.  It could happen.

In looking back at the inspiration pants, the lace only extends about 4 or 5 inches down from the waistband.  That's something I need to work on.
I barely referred to the instructions on these at all. I glanced at them, but I guess I've made enough pants in my life that the steps are starting to form naturally in my head. So that's a win! OK, I know it's lame but whatever I'm taking it.
Matching plaids? No. I was lucky to get the legs sewn together into a wearable form.
Anyway, all in all I'm OK with the results. The pants are ridiculously comfortable to wear, and hopefully they're pretty enough nobody will think did she have her elementary school son make those for her? I need to snip the lace out a bit more into a scallop pattern, and I need to hem them just a tad shorter because man this fabric stretches.  They don't look nearly as nice as the inspiration pants, but for a total cost of about $20 they're not bad.

And now. Brace yourself for the most epic-est blog post ever from me. The one where I make a coat.

I'm exhausted.

1 comment:

  1. Cute pants! Check out the photo tutorial of the fly front in the ginger jeans sewalong. It's really good and easy to follow. I had never done a fly front zip and it worked wonderfully