Monday, July 1, 2013

Finishitis the third

Sorry about the blogging hiatus, after assuring you I had a third item to show you.  It was true, I am not trying to pull the wool over your eyes.  However, I ran out of time to document it.  In the intervening two weeks, my husband and I visited the other North American national capital and played tourists for a few days, and then my son visited and today is the birthday of my country.

Happy 146th birthday, Canada!

The fancy jets are the Snowbirds.  They show up every year, like clockwork at noon sharp, and fly over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.  That's after they scare the bejeezus out of us on their way there at 11:57 or so, as we live underneath their low altitude flight path.

Later, there will be fireworks in the same locale.  It has been years since The Sewing Lawyer has ventured close enough to downtown after dark on July 1 to really feel the explosions, and from a sedate distance they are pretty, but not very exciting.  

Maybe my new cropped linen pants are more exciting?  I'm wearing them now, and they came with me to Washington DC where they performed like champs in the very hot and humid weather that blanketed most of eastern North America last week.

The pattern is from the May 2008 edition of Burda Magazine.  And this is the third time I have made these pants.  They are extremely comfy for summer and (I flatter myself) I think they look pretty good.  To my surprise I again added the vestigial flaps (no pockets) with two decorative buttons as well as the zippered (real) pockets that hardly ever see any use, and the belt loops which often go without a real belt.  And I again made a belt, though this time I added little ties instead of a bulky buckle.

Here is a close up of the front.

In previous versions I used boring nylon zippers.  This time I went all out and bought shiny gold metal zips to mimic Burda's version (at right).  Too bad I can never find ones with interesting pulls.

The main novelty of this version is that I underlined the top part with a flesh-toned cotton interlock knit.  My intention was to hide the pocket bags and the outline of my (perhaps) white undies, since my fabric is white linen.  It looks strange off the body, since the flaps and belt are perceptibly whiter.  Somehow this colour discrepancy is less noticeable when I am wearing them.

I lucked out with the underlining fabric.  I went around my local Fabricland fondling fabric based exclusively on colour.  I thought a lightweight woven might be best, perhaps a cotton/poly blend.  But the interlock was the right price at $3/metre as well as the right colour, and when I tested it I found it was pure cotton.  In addition to hiding the inner details from outer view, this fabric also helps reduce the crotch wrinkling factor which is a definite plus.  And it makes the pants very comfortable without making them any hotter to wear.

Step 1
I recalled my own belt loop technique in making loops with no fraying ends to be found (see below).  I think I invented this technique and it works perfectly. The tutorial is in my Flickr photos, starting with this one (illustrated at right).  If only I had checked my photos first, I could have avoided the pain of turning a narrow linen tube right side out.  Oh well.

Check out the clean-finished belt loop!
The tutorial is also part of this set, documenting the first and second times I used this pattern five (ulp) years ago. Is it bad that I still wear both pairs, including the wearable muslin ones?

I also used this technique for the fly front which is neatly finished with no waistband, just facings.  Try it.  The trick is not to topstitch ANYTHING until you have completely finished putting it together.

And I made the belt, using the facing pieces from the pattern (with a seam at CB only).  Because the pieces are curved, they are on the bias at CB.  To counteract this, I interfaced all the pieces with the grain of the weft insertion fusible interfacing going the opposite way (i.e. the CF of the interfacing is on the bias and the CB on the straight grain).  This prevents the belt from stretching and getting narrower where it is on the bias.

See the difference?
At first I (stupidly) did the usual and sewed all around the corners of the belt, trimmed the seam allowances and turned it right side out.  Ew, ugly blumpy corners.  And I realized I had forgotten to insert the little ties (doubled twill tape).  So I picked out the corners and used the best ever technique for getting sharp square corners in a piece like a waistband.  Just press the seam allowances into the inside and attach the pieces together either by hand as in this third tutorial from my past projects (this technique is from the instructions in V7881, a Claire Shaeffer pattern) or by machine if you are topstitching the piece, as I was.  You may have to use a few hand stitches to make the seam allowances behave, but it will look SO much better than if you had tried to get a square corner by sewing first with right sides together.

Click to go to my Ravelry project (if you are a Raveller).
That's it for my finished projects.  I have another knitting project on the go, however.  Here's an in-progress shot.  Too bad I didn't finish it before today; it would have been perfectly patriotic with my white pants.


  1. well your pants DO look great, I must agree, and the fancy zips are especially nice.
    Happy Canada Day!

  2. Your pants are great -- superb sewing job.

  3. Kay tu es une source intarissable d'information en couture. Je me rappelais de ta technique pour les ganses de pantalon. Cette version en blanc de ton pantalon Burda est très réussi. Ciel que tu es mince comme un fil. Le chemisier est aussi très réussi. J'ai suivi les détails de construction. J'adore les coutures françaises. Elles donnent une touche de classe à tous les vêtements... même si nous sommes les seules à savoir qu'elles sont là. Pour le tricot, tu es tellement rapide. Mais dors-tu à l'occasion ?

  4. Pour le pantalon de Claire Schaeffer, je dois essayer ce patron acheté après ta première critique sur PR. Je trouve seulement que la taille est un peu haute... Mes pantalons à fleurs ont une taille très haute et disons à la fin de la soirée, je trouve ce type de pantalon moins confortable... après une repas copieux bien arrosé pour être plus précise. ;-)

  5. Your pants look great! I like the ties instead of a buckle. Beautiful details.

  6. Happy Canada Day!

    Thanks for the photos of the snowbirds; hoping to catch a glimpse of them at the Alberta International Airshow this summer.

    Great job on the linen pants.
    Take Care

  7. I love these pants and have long wanted to make them. Yours look fabulous!

  8. The pants look great, sewn with your customary precision. Nice tutorial on the belt loops. Happy Canada Day!

  9. I love this style and they look Great on you. I like the idea of lining them.

  10. These look great! I love all the details.