Sunday, September 21, 2014


Wiki on Paisley

I'm gonna start this off by saying that I DO like paisley, especially when done up in vibrant bohemian colours. But there's something else that has always kept me from wearing it. It reminds me of something. 

Let me set this up for you first. Do you remember that show from the late 70's and early 80's called "Connections"? It ran on PBS forever and you can get them on DVD from Netflix.  I got the first few episodes back when Simon was 9ish with the hope he would love the history of science and technology that went with it. But I was a few years early. In any case, there was one episode that really stuck out in my mind.  It was about the print known as paisley and where it came from. 

Now, there is a somewhat decent wiki page about paisley you can find here. It matches up with what James Burke said, that the name comes from the town of Paisley in Scotland that was the first industrial manufacturer of the print. The print itself was actually a copy of the prints found in old Middle East and Western Asia, places now called Iran, Uzbekistan, and Northern India, many of which were tribes of nomads.  Now what the wiki article doesn't say and was actually covered in Connections was that Paisley rugs were often woven for newlywed couples as a fertility charm of sorts.
Which, for me, tells me that ancient cultures were a bit more in-tune than we give them credit for because I cannot look at paisley without thinking they look like sperm. 

You're welcome.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

TNT Files: The Quest for Pants That Fit

Or trousers, for the British persuasion.

Before getting into a somewhat photo heavy post I thought I'd share a life update, because a lot has happened. For one, the 3rd anniversary of Mom's passing was on the first and eight days later was her birthday. Right before all this my husband's job was unexpectedly and with no warning, terminated. Georgia is an at-will state so they didn't need a reason to do so.  Later we found out there was a management shift (rumors also of selling the company) and honestly he has so much stress lifted off his shoulders. With unemployment we are still above water but now I can't stress shop for fabric. I mean, I got plenty, TOTALLY stocked up but.. but...  Leh Sigh.  And not so much bad but funny, my Aunts have started reading my blog and I got several tips on how to improve my grammar. For all of you Grammar Enforcers, I will do my best to use it's instead of its,  I promise.  However, I'm still going to do two spaces at the end of a sentence BECAUSE THAT IS THE PROPER WAY.

Ok, on to the actual sewing portion of this program. Remember back in January when I said I had a goal of turning more patterns into TNT's (tried-and-true) that could be remade many times? Well, I've been trying to work on that but its been a snail's pace.  The biggest gap in my wardrobe and sewing repertoire is woven pants for work and Thurlows were at the top of the list. And I've been seriously dragging my feet on this project because fitting pants is something I am not yet good at and well, it is a tedious amount of work. I've become accustomed to the quick fix knits can bring me. But I finally kicked my metaphorical ass in gear and started.  First I did the largest size straight out of the package.

This is what they looked like. Poor cell phone photos but its good enough to relay informations.

So these look like they fit but the problem here is that they are skin tight. I CANNOT sit down in these.  And they are hugely long.  Sewaholic says they draft for the average 5'6" but I'm not so sure. Granted, proportionally speaking my torso is long and legs are short. And my waist is high by comparison.

From the side can you see how the seam is straining forward? That would be my full front thighs and ample booty. 

Ah, now the "smiles" under my butt saying I need more room there. Again I know this LOOKS like it fits by the back seam is 1/4 inch right now. I squatted down after these photos and it went RIIIPPPPP. Not a good thing. So here's the first changes I made.

Oh, man, I didn't annotate the lengthening of the posterior inner thigh. That is that v-shaped slice you see with the washer on top. That was for my second muslin.  The scooped out crotch is for the perky booty bits.  Sorry, I failed to get second muslin fitting photos.

I made this modification where instead of two different front pattern pieces I have one with the fly flap so I can do the flat fly insertion method found here. I highly recommend this method and this modification because it will make your life 10 time easier. Seriously!  I found the link through Erica B, and of course it's from Threads Magazine.

This was done for the second muslin, then elongated a bit for the third one. It certainly helped but I still had false smiles.  I finally stumbled upon a fix for that, which I outline below.

The High Hip Curve Adjustment:

This is actually a new adjustment for me, I kept looking at the fitting photos and thinking that this can't be more inner thigh/crotch curve room because at this point I can basically squat in these without much worry (my litmus test for wearing in public safely). Pants Fit for Real People did not cover this anywhere and I finally found the closest match in Fitting and Pattern Alterations textbook. The high hip curve. I tried to annotate as best I could on how I did this change.  Hence the horribly embarrassing fitting photos. Seriously, the things I do for my hobby!

This photo also points out that my right hip is a bit higher than my left. I think I may have to do a left and right side for my pants some time in the future to adjust for the unevenness. For now, I'm ok with it. Also noticeable here from my first muslin is that I've shortened the legs, looking at this I need to shorten it some more.

Now, this is done below the slashed pocket line. Had I been thinking I would have tried to diagram how that part worked. This is how it works if you have not slash pockets in the front.  It took me a few moments of mental gymnastics to work it out to make front and back even with each other. You may end up taking the waist in just a smidgen because it should sit just above the hip curve now.

So, I'm hoping to cut out a wearable pair today, possibly get it sewn up but we will see!  I cut out a couple things destined for gifts.