Florals for Fall: Rachel Comey V1170

Take that Miranda Priestly (okay, she was deriding florals for spring…).

I had hoped to finish this some time ago, but this time of year is busy for most people (and pesky little colds get in the way).  I know, I have so many skirts, but I’m always looking for a new style.  I’ve had Vogue 1170 for a while now, and even muslined it over the summer.  I plan to make the top as well, but I have a bit of Christmas gift sewing to do…

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Pattern:  Vogue 1170, Rachel Comey.  Misses top and skirt.  This post is about the skirt. From the pattern: flared skirt has front and back seam details, back invisible zipper and wide waistband.  I’d say more of the “flare” is on the back side, but that may be because I added 2.5 inches to the length.  Other details – you can do Hong Kong seams, as directed, but I serged.  The hem is interfaced and faced. The skirt has tiny little pockets, but I left these out (non functional pockets add bulk imho).  The wide waistband is also high.  The bottom of the waistband sits at the natural waist.  Some not so great photos after wearing front (left) and back (right):

 

Fabric:  A gorgeous stretch cotton sateen that I purchased a couple of years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love it.  Dark, dark navy with those purple flowers and green leaves… easy to work with, too.

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Nailing that corner? Not so easy.

Construction:  This one is pretty straight forward, and relatively easy to make.  The only real challenge is sewing those corners on the front.  It took me two tries on one of them, after nailing the first one.  I made a size 14 with no further adjustments (except length).  I do wish I had given more thought to pattern placement, as I’ve got a bunch of busy-ness right on the derriere!

I’ve styled it here with a navy silk jersey tank from 2 seasons back DVF, my leather coat from Ecuador (2004!), and last season Sam Edelman riding boots.

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Dirty mirror. And yes, the 7yo left his towel and clothes on the floor.  I’m trying to teach him to pick up after himself.  I gave in later in the day and put them in the hamper.

The flowers and fit on this skirt make me happy.

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Statement Sleeves M7630 (& another V1550)

I’ve finally made something with the statement sleeve that seems so popular (but completely absent from the most recent copy of Harper’s Bazaar).  I have several patterns, but finally settled on McCall 7630 as a quick make.  It’s cute, okay, but not really me.  It is very easy.

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Pattern:  McCall 7630, View E, size 12.

Fabric:  a crisp cotton voile I purchased as a roll-end several years ago. I’ve never known what to do with it, and this pattern called for chambray, poplin, denim or crepe.  The sleeve on view E would work better with a softer drape, even though the model appears to be wearing a crisp fabric.

Construction/changes:  I added length in the torso (standard adjustment, but otherwise followed the directions.  One thing of note, the bust apex is mis-marked on the tissue.  It’s almost under the arm.  In fact, there’s about 12.5 inches between the bust points.

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This is relatively simple to construct.  I liked the sleeve drape on the photo, which is more “curved” in reality.  The challenge with the sleeve is the narrow hem with that sharp corner.  I’ve never really done the sharp corner before, and wasn’t sure how to proceed.  I nailed one, the other is a little messy. I’m going to have google the technique for the silk blouse I’m currently working on, which has several of these corners.

Here I am – I like the blouse, it’s cute, but not really my thing.  It’s also a little sheer, necessitating a camisole. I’m wearing it with, wait…

Another pair of the Paco Peralto wide legged pants (V1550).  I love these pants so much I now have four pair – 3 in linen and this pair in super 120s wool.  I’ve worn out the black and purple linen pairs.

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Nothing new on the construction here.  This is a very drapey and somewhat shiny merino wool, with a tone on tone stripe.  I bought the fabric years ago from G Street Fabrics (DC) for pants for my husband.  He declared them too shiny.  I remember paying way too much.  Now I have a very lovely pair of pants. I wore them Monday with the Paco Peralto big white shirt and received many compliments.

Visiting mom, easy pullover.

I just returned to Florida after visiting my mom in the nursing home in Tennessee.  I also spent two days with my brother cleaning out my parent’s home.  This weekend we focused on cleaning out their massive collection of genealogy records and started on the family photos.  Both are big tasks.  I’m taking over their research, and we plan to scan all the photos to distribute among family.  Here are two great photos of my parents as teenagers:

Visiting mom isn’t easy. She’s in her early 70s, but has late-stage dementia.  She doesn’t know who I am, exactly, but she was happy to see my brother and me.  The moment of real connection was after about 10 minutes when I said you need a hug.  I  leaned over to hug and kiss her, and she returned the hug.  But the hug was strong from her and warm.  It’s hard to describe, but it’s like her old self was there.  She said, “this is nice.”  She was a little like herself too, showing me around her “house” and trying to find a place where I could stay the night.  It was difficult to leave.

Sigh.

I knew it would be cold in Tennessee, so I made something, of course. I wore it as a jacket/ pullover all three days.  It’s very roomy – on the coldest day I had a long sleeve tee and regular sweatshirt on underneath!  I made Very Easy Vogue 9330 in a couple of hours last week.  I plan on making one for my mom to wear, too.

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I had no problems with the pattern, though there is one error!  The pattern pieces are printed with instructions to hem 1/4 inch.  The instructions say 1.25 inches.  I went with the larger hem.  I made it a medium (size 12/14) with no alterations.  The sleeves are long – though they appear 3/4 on the pattern envelope, they skim my wrists.

I  often build Lego kits with my son.  And when I do, I sometimes think they have additional blocks to build a regular block so they can “up the difficulty” with more pieces.  This pattern is similar.  You could easily cut the back on a fold to eliminate a seam.  To get a slimmer look, you could eliminate the side and under arm panels.  You could add a sporty look with top-stitching (I top-stitched the hems, after serging).

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Another note: you don’t get the sleeve shaping shown in the drawings on the front – and you’ll note there is no shaping in the line drawings.  The sleeve opening is MUCH wider as well.

Last, the fabric:  a cotton/rayon/poly blend French terry from Emma One Sock.  I really like it (and she still had some two days ago).  It’s soft and drapey, but it does shed.  I stitched all seams on my regular machine and serged to finish the seams. The pattern recommends sweatshirt fleece, ponte, or wool knit with 35% stretch, but the amount of ease really negates the need for stretch mostly.

I took these photos after arriving home from the airport, so forgive the wrinkles and fatigue.

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In the details (Rebecca Taylor V 1199)

I realized I have a few items I’ve made recently that I haven’t blogged. It’s because somehow, I messed up the fit on these items (or didn’t like the style).  So, a few more mistakes, but for all three, I’m definitely going to do them again!!

IMG_3578A skirt!  Should be simple, right?  That’s what I thought when I decided to make this Rebecca Taylor skirt (V1199) last August.  Done in a day? Sure!  I didn’t pay attention the details at that moment.  The details make this skirt special.  Most I like (but not the fitting detail).

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This skirt has tiny little single welt pockets, a wrap around the waist tab, raised waist with notch detail at the back waist, and is vented.  One detail I missed is the grosgrain edging on the tabs (and ended up not doing, as I didn’t like the match with the grosgrain I bought).

 

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The fabric?  All cotton windowpane plaid from Philip Lim, that I purchased at Emma One Sock as a remnant. I love the fabric, but it does fray.  Next time I tackle welts with this type fabric, I must remember fray check.  I lined the skirt in black silk crepe de chine.

This wasn’t hard, and I managed decent looking welt pockets.  The directions were solid.

The final detail I missed?  This skirt narrows from the hips.  I did my typical fitting adjustments for a skirt, not taking into account that narrowing.  I need more girth through the buttocks and thighs.  So, as much as I love the skirt, I’m going to be donating it.

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I will make it again, but I will need to make those adjustments!

Oh, and did I tell you that I despise working with chiffon?  The vampire dress will be sleeveless.  It’s still in the 80s here anyway.

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The big, crisp, white shirt (V1526)

I love a crisp white shirt.  I reach for one regularly, so I knew it was time to make one.  When I was in NYC this summer, I deemed my wardrobe was in for an upgrade – it needed more style, a little edge.  Enter the Paco Peralto big white shirt (Vogue 1526).

Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta, from Vogue’s website.

The shirt has an interesting rolled collar, fun placement for the pocket, and opportunities to learn/practice tailoring skills.  I need more work on collars, flat-felled seams, and button holes.  I really enjoyed making this shirt.  (Note on pictures:  I re-pressed after these pictures.)

The silhouette? I’m really not sure. In looking at a few of my recent shirt makes, it’s all been about fit and ease.  This shirt is not described as “very loose”,  “loose”, or any of the other clues that Vogue gives about the silhouette.  Judging from the model and the line drawing, I judged it loose fitting – or having a lot of ease.  Even though I think a fitted style is more flattering on me, I once again chose a loose shirt.  This has everything to do with living in a hot, humid, location.

But this shirt is BIG.  I cut a size 12, and didn’t add anything for length.  The sleeves on the model appear 3/4 length, but are closer to 7/8ths or even-full length (no clarification on the pattern description).   Once again, I did not make a muslin, but this was more about learning the techniques than worrying about the fit.  I’m not sure about it, it may grow on me.  I still LOVE the collar, and did enjoy making it.  But I think I’m going to go for a more fitted/semi-fitted shape next.

 

The pattern:  Vogue 1526, by Paco Peralta c 2016.  I made view B, the shirt.  “Shirt has dropped shoulder and long sleeves with cuff.”  End description.  I do plan to make the jacket and pants, but I never had any plans to pair it with the shirt.

The fabric:  an all cotton poplin from Marcy Tilton I bought last year. It’s crisp, and a little difficult to iron – I washed, damp-dried, and pressed with starch the final version of the shirt. I used less fabric than the pattern called for, even with the rolled collar on the bias.  The only interfacing is in the collar – I used the crisp shirt interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, but I’m not sure I thoroughly fused it to the poplin.

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The instructions: are fine.  Definitely baste every time suggested, and more.  You definitely want to baste the placement and seam lines for the shoulder and sleeve seams. I ended up pulling out my first attempt on the shoulders and redoing for not doing so.  Step 22 (slip-stitching the cuff) shows the incorrect drawing:  You should have a right-sided (folded over) cuff slip-stitched to the wrong side of the sleeve seam.  The drawing shows only right-sides.

Will I make it again?  I don’t know.  I think I will scale it back.  Looking at these pictures, it’s almost 80s oversized on me. Perhaps if I wear it untucked, belted. (The angles below de-emphasize the looseness!)

 

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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Comfy Summer Dress: Vogue 8645 (OOP)

It’s hot and humid in Florida in the summer.  But I’m headed to NYC for a few days, where the canyons can be just as miserable.  What do I need? – a simple, pack-able dress.  I bought the fabric with a long maxi in mind (before the trip was planned), but decided the pattern wasn’t right. I asked the fasters on the RTW fast FB page about a few options, but in the end, decided against a maxi.  Enter Very Easy Vogue 8645 (c 2010)IMG_0007.

This is a loose-fitting pullover dress, and without the sash and shoulder ties, strongly resembles some of the dresses on the Zulilly ads I see on my FB feed.  The dress is comfy (has pockets),  and I expect to make another, but with some modifications.  I was too lazy to try to do selfies, so the pictures don’t really show how cute the dress is.  The v-neck is relatively modest, compared to some v-necks from Vogue.  The ties hold the fabric tighter against the skin, so the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction is reduced.

The fabric:  a sold out viscose challis from Marcy Tilton.  I love the colors in it, but I’ve never worked with this type of fabric.  It’s very soft, and very drapey.  I will consider buying another viscose challis (especially for this pattern) now that I have a better feel for the fabric.  I decided that a maxi in this floral could over whelm me, so I went with the shorter version of the dress.

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I lined it with a cotton/poly batiste I bought from Susan Khalje.  It’s softer and drapier than cotton batiste, but in the end, I still think it’s a bit too heavy and crisp for the viscose.  I will go with a silk CDC or forgo lining it next time.  If I skip the lining, I will use narrow facings for the neck and armholes.

By  the way, the pattern recommends some crisper fabrics – batiste and handkerchief linen – but you’ll get a far different look.

Changes I made: I didn’t make many changes. Of the three that I did, two I will keep, the other go back to the original plan.  I like that I did a narrow machine hem for both the lining and the dress – it’s a cleaner finish in the viscose.  Second, I did not top-stitch the neck and armholes – I didn’t think it would work with the viscose.  I decided to hand apply the lining to the dress, because I  don’t always get a good result in the approach recommended in the directions (sew at arm holes and neck, pull  through shoulders, then finish shoulders).  I used the couture method from Susan  Khalje which I have used successfully before.  I don’t like the result as much this time (and doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, given the shoulders are hidden by the tie on straps).

A new dress (front on left, back on right).

 

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Black & White (McCall 7600 & Vogue 1247)

Leftover fabric, a new pattern, an old pattern, and keeping it simple:  I love the outcome.

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The top:

The pattern for the top is Nancy Zieman’s  color block top (M 7600).  It’s really super easy and the directions have little tips for sewing knits. When I first bought the pattern, I didn’t realize it was for knits, but I think you could easily adapt this pattern for woven fabric too.

I made view A.  I originally cut a size 14, given how everything else was fitting lately, but when I basted the top portion together for a test run, it was way too big, so I cut the entire top back down to a 12.

I used the same black rayon doubleknit from Gorgeous Fabrics as the dress I just made, plus some of the off-white she had in rayon doubleknit.  The remainder of the black and white are reserved for a color block dress for the fall.  This fabric is luscious: it has body and drape and feels good on the skin.  I’m not fond of working with knits – the stretchiness and rolling are annoying.  Double knits are more stable though, so I tend to choose them over jersey (and if I buy jersey, it tends to sit in the closet).

There isn’t much to the construction of the top – though I made some changes.  First, I left off the embellishments.  Second, as described, the armholes and neckline are bound.  I didn’t do that.  The rayon is heavy and I felt the binding would distract/detract.  So, I interfaced the edges, serged them (trimming 1/4 inch), folded over 3/8 inch, pressed carefully and slowly topstitched. I did the same with the hems.

The final change I made was to pick out the top stitching under the arms (it’s actually forward on the top, toward the center seam by about 3 inches, as you can see in the picture. I had my doubts when I was doing this finally step.  Sure enough, when I put it on, the drape was compromised.  I was worried about wardrobe malfunction, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem (though it might be on a larger-breasted individual).

In the end, I find the top cool, sophisticated, and flattering (despite the lack of shape). I’ve worn it a few times already.

The skirt:

The skirt is one I’ve made four times now – the ever popular Rachel Comey (Vogue 1247). Funny, I never blogged the other three skirts.  I used the last of the black cotton sateen (with stretch) from the old Gorgeous Fabrics that I used for the not-great Pucci pant.  Of course, sateen reflects light, whereas the black rayon absorbs it, so the two blacks really don’t go together… but I’m okay with it … for now.  And this makes black skirt number 6 in my wardrobe.   A staple!  – different styles, fabrics… and two are near retirement.

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I did this quickly – it’s an easy skirt – making a few changes from the original.  First, I used the serger to finish my seam/hem edges, rather than binding them.  I’ve done both, and I’m indifferent on this skirt, with this fabric, so I went simpler.  Second, I’ve eliminated the pockets.  For some reason, they poof out weirdly on my, so only one version of this skirt ever had pockets.  And finally, I added six inches to the length.  This skirt is only 15 inches in length in its original form, and I wanted to be able to wear this to work, too.

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Impossible to photograph black.

One other note: I cut this out starting at a 12, adding 1/4 inch to each side (total one inch to the circumference).  Since the difference between a 12 and 14 is about 3/8″, I originally sewed 1/2 inch seam allowances (total 1.5 inch circumference).  The skirt was too loose, so I went back to the regular seam allowances.  I think the difference (and what I failed to take into account with the Pucci pant) is that the fabric has some stretch.

Yes, more wardrobe staples, and black/white can get boring, but I’m working on things I can wear for a trip to NYC later this summer.  I don’t want to pack a lot, but I want to look chic.  I can add bits of color here and there to change things up.

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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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