Learning to (sew a) fly. Guy LaRoche pants (V2578).

Wow.  Where did January go?  I was so busy at work this month, I was too exhausted to do much more than read a book before bed.  I started these pants at the beginning of the month, but only just finished them.  Meantime, the passage of time included me taking up running again, which is making sewing (fitting) a little more challenging as my body starts re-shaping itself.

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The pattern is from 2001: a lovely Guy LaRoche pant and jacket.  I had considered making the skirt in stead of trousers, but decided to push my self to learn new skills and work on fitting.  I’m planning on making the suit with a lovely dark brown tropical wool and the jacket multi-toned tan wool.  Description for the trouser:  “Semi-fitted, straight-legged pants have contour waistband and fly zipper closing.”

But since I have limited experience with a fly closure, practice was in order first.  And, as I’ll write below, I’m not sure if it’s my limited experience or the directions, but I did a fair amount of ripping out.

I first practiced the fly with the muslin (though not the waistband, which would have highlighted an error in the instructions).  The muslin revealed (to me at least) horizontal wrinkles, so I graded out to I think a 16 (or between 14 and 16).  The pant is narrow, but my thighs are wide.  I was also going to need length, so I added an inch.  I did not encounter issues with the fly.

Three weeks later, I found time to do the fly again.  And again.  I was proud of my first attempt:

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I’ve pinned out the pleat.

Until I realized that I put in the right fly backward.  I also couldn’t figure out how I got a pleat at the bottom part of the zipper.  I followed the directions, but I think it has something to do with the second step in the middle of the photo – you’re to fold over and press, tapering to nothing.  I can’t see that in the picture, and I clearly didn’t do it right.

 

Rip out, redo.  Looks great.  I proceeded with adding the waistband to realize that the left fly is mis-marked for zipper placement.  I painstakingly marked the fabric, and it’s about 1/2 inch too close to the fold. You can see in the directions below that the fold should line up with the top stitching on the right.  And, when I attached the waistband, I had an extra half inch.  I trimmed it, at this point, because it was too late to do anything else.  However, it did make it difficult to put the button hole in neatly, because there wasn’t enough space…

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My left fly doesn’t line up with the right fly top-stitching as it does in the sketch below, and I ended up with extra waistband and a funky button hole.

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Does anyone know how to prevent the funky turn at the corners you see in the picture below?  I was super careful cutting, stitching and turning, and yet the corners are distorted.  Enough that I will likely wear these trousers only with tops un-tucked.  It’s like I pulled too much and stretched the fabric out of shape.

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Oh, speaking of the fabric:  a tropical wool with stretch, cross-woven black and white to produce a lovely blue grey (from Rag & Bone).  I purchased it as roll end from Emma One Sock last fall.

Other random thoughts:  I intend to wear these with a kitten heel, as they are too short otherwise (even after adding an inch).  I’ll add length to the next pair, to help elongate the legs.  These were lined, btw, but I left out the lining.   I will start the jacket for the suit before the brown pants.  I want to re-muslin giving all the running I’d doing.

And, with that, it’s time for a run.

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Vintage Ralph Lauren tank in silk (V1724)

For most, summer is almost over.  Here, in North Florida, our version of fall will come soon too: its crowning distinction isn’t cooler temperatures, but drier air and no thunderstorms!  (77 days this summer with severe thunderstorms).  That means I can still sew summer-like items.  Unfortunately, this tank failed for me.  Of course, if I had toiled it, I could have made adjustments to prevent the problem.

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Vogue 1724:  I should have taken note of the under arm gap in the photo.

But first, the details:

The pattern:  Vogue American Designer pattern 1724, Ralph Lauren tops c1986. I made view A, the tank, buttoning at the top shoulder.  Absolutely nothing complicated about this one.

The fabric:  a devine 3 ply silk crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Construction notes: nothing of note, really, as this is a simple top.  I did change the button top (I couldn’t find two teeny 1/4in buttons) to snaps, and added a button for decoration.  I used french seams on the side seams, and finished the facing edges with the serger.

The problem? The armsyce is shaped funny and gaps. In the pattern, at the point of the gapping, there are instructions to ease fashion fabric to the facing – but they fit together without the need to ease.  I blithely sewed til completion and was met with disappointment.  I don’t know how to save this at this point, as the armsyce is already rather revealing. The seam has been sewn, understitched, and clipped. I have no scraps left either (though I do have some in off white).  I attempted to snug it up with some narrow clear elastic, but you can see from the photos that it only introduced more problems.

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Here’s what happened when I tried to add narrow clear elastic to tighten it up.

 

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The other side, sans elastic.

What to do?  For the moment, Ralph hangs on the dress form.  I’ve begun a serious weight loss/exercise program, and usually lose in the bust first.  I’d like to see how it hangs after that (at a size 12, it was just a bit too close and pulls some, and the gapping tends to occur above the bust point).

Yes, I’m disappointed.  I had hoped to wear this to work yesterday with a new pair of those fantastic Paco Peralto pants I keep making – this time in a pale pink linen.

Editing the Pucci top/another V 1550 (Peralto Pant)

I finally decided to alter the Pucci top that didn’t work from a few weeks back.  First, I put buttons down the back (simple purple shirt buttons).  Second I took in the sides:  I added a “curve” to the straight box cut by taking it in 1/4 inch (1/2 inch total each side) on the side, tapering to the hem and up to the bust dart.  Third, I added fish eye darts to the back (total of 2 inches removed at narrowest part of back) and front (one inch total).  Yes, I removed 4 inches from the waist to provide a semi-fitted silhouette as opposed to a straight one.

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BEFORE
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AFTER

I like it much better, but the second problem is not fixable.  I really think the print overwhelms my frame.  No matter, I will wear this running errands.

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The pants are Vogue 1550.  No changes from the black pair I made some months back.  IN fact, I started these the week of my dad’s funeral back in April and they were the first things I completed when I started sewing again.

The fabric is a cross-dyed linen from Marcy Tilton that I bought last year.  The threads are black and hot pink, which combine to give a purplish appearance.  It’s quite lovely.  This linen is more wiry than the black, so it’s not as appropriate for this pattern in terms of drape, but it’s manageable.  It was a bit shifty though, and the grain is slightly off.

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Grumbling about photo quality, yet I’ll not do anything about it…

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Vogue Couturier 1394: Pucci Pant and Top

Sometimes I have a grand vision of an outfit and how I will look once I’m finished putting it together.  Then reality hits.  I’ve wanted to make the Pucci pant and top (Vogue 1394) for some time, delayed only by looking for the perfect fabric.  I made it last week, but my conclusions on seeing it on me:  it does nothing for my figure (which peri-menopause keeps changing).

But it’s not a complete loss, for I did enjoy making it and learned a few new lessons.  You would have thought that making a muslin would be enough, but not in this case.  I didn’t  get the real sense of it until I finished.  This outfit works for those who are slender and tall, which I used to be.  My waistline/weight has been a problem in recent months (despite diet and exercise) and this top didn’t help.

The top/over blouse:  nothing complicated here.  However, despite the slightly curved line drawing, the side seams are perfectly straight and there is no shaping in the top.  Add in that I needed to grade out from a 14 (old sizing, it would be a 12 today) to at least a size larger to accommodate the hips, and you’ve got a triangle shape.

The fabric is a linen/cotton blend remnant I picked up from Emma One Sock.  Though Linda doesn’t identify the Italian designer, Marcy Tilton had the exact same design, but on a cotton, from Ratti. It’s a loose weave, and frays, but quite lovely otherwise and easy to work with.

The directions are quite good, though a bit different in terms of order from current instructions.  This plays out in the facing, and constructing the “shoulder” seam.  There is no shoulder seam, rather the back piece (cut in one) comes over and is stitched to the front to form the square neckline. I took my time with it to ensure a professional and perfect match.  It’s the first time I’ve been able to do this type of join cleanly.

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Four things done differently:  I under stitched the facings, by hand (not requested).  Since I could not get a perfect blind-hem with this fabric, I top-stitched the lower hem. I also used french seams for the side seams. And, despite repeated attempts, I could not get my machine to produce a decent button hole.  Every time I’d do step 3 (go in reverse to stitch the right hand side of the button hole), the machine seamed to protest going in reverse and stitch a big knot.  Since the button holes would show on this fabric, I sewed snaps instead.  After the first wearing, I’ve decided to sew buttons for a decorative element, but also to keep the facings from pulling away as I move.

The “slim pants”:  I needed to grade up a size, so I did.  I traced off the pattern, cut, spread, and added the equivalent of a size, using some books I had about maintaining the proportion.  The first muslin revealed a crotch smile and a side seams curving at the waist line pointing to the belly button. Oh, and they were still too tight. I was sad that night, as I began to get realistic about my changing body.

The next day, I made the fitting adjustments suggested by Pants for Real People.  I added a quarter inch to the sides, straightened out the center front (from notch up), and added a smidgen to the inner leg seams, tapering to the notches.  Felt good to go, so I cut them out.

These pants aren’t difficult, of course: faced waistline and hems, side lapped zip.  The novelty here is the tab (and I managed a decent button hole).  In no time I had the pants sewn together, all but facings, tab and zip. I pulled them on and they looked and felt fantastic (side zip not in, but opening pinned shut).

I completed the pant and … the waist is still a smidge tight, and I have too much fabric everywhere else, especially between my protruding belly and the crotch line.  They aren’t comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  I’m trying to decide if I can make adjustments on the final pant, but not sure where to start.

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Not a fantastic photo, but I took it looking down at my feet, pinching out the excess fabric from between the belly and the crotch line.

The black cotton sateen is medium weight with a bit of stretch.  I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2016. I have one yard left – a skirt or shorts?

If I can figure out the fit and/or slenderize me, the pants do have potential.  However, next time I will consider facing the hems and waist with a lighter weight fabric to reduce bulk. I would also consider a different way to apply the zipper, facing and tab.  I prefer my zipper tops to be sandwiched between the fabric and the facing, but here, the zipper is applied after the facing is completed.  Because of the bulk, I finished the lapped zipper by hand using a pick stitch.  It didn’t look great top stitched on, especially since I could not keep the line nice and straight (again, bulk).  The only other thing I did differently was under stitch the waist band seam.

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