Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prep work to knocking off the Houlihan

First things first.  When you are knocking off a pair of pants, dress, blouse, necklace, or whatever, proportions are key.

Design Notes

  • length is below calf, above the ankle
  • seams on front are split about 1/2 and 1/2 on top, tapering down to 2/3 and 1/3 on the bottom
  • seams on back are split about 1/3 on outside and 2/3 on inside
  • zipper on bottom is rotated slightly to front (most designer pants have the side seam slightly forward to slim the body)
  • pockets in front land on seams as do the points of the pocket flaps in back
  • the cargo pockets on the side land on front seam, but do not wrap around to back seam.

From the product description, we know that there is a 29 inch inseam and 10.5 inch leg opening.

I used the Ellen pattern from BurdaStyle.  Some reviews of this pattern said that it ran a little loose and long.  After measuring I decided to take my size as is, hoping for a tighter fit with the addition of extra seams and taking 1/2" seam allowance instead of recommended 5/8".  This results in the pants being tighter by 3".  When I do this again I will use a twill with 2-4% spandex to add stretch and comfort.  These pants fit very closely on top.

So on to taking your pattern apart.  When you print out the pages, tape them together on every side with packing tape.  It isn't usually necessary when you are using the pattern as is, but we will be cutting it into several pieces.

Cut out the size you will be using (I recommend going up one size if not using something with stretch).

Cut off the bottom 4" of each leg.

Leave the waistband as is.

Beginning at the upper thigh start tapering in the sides of the pants (inside and outside edges) so that near the bottom you have come in about 5/8" on all sides.  

Make Your Seam Lines

Keeping in mind the proportions,  start at the top of the back side and begin at the dart draw your line down, curving where necessary to keep the 1/3, 2/3 proportion.  Now do the same to the front, beginning about 1/4" to the outside of the grainline marking.  Again, curve where necessary.  About the knee mark line your line should be at 1/3 and after the knee your line should be at 1/4.

Next look for the knee line, just a small horizontal mark on the outside and inside of pants (the front knee mark is next to the 5c)  From this line measure up 1 inch from the inside (both front and back) and down 4 inches.  On the outside measure up 4 inches and down one inch.  Connect the marks in a diagonal fashion.

Mark the pocket on the upper front.  Measure down the side  3 1/2 inches and over to the seam line up about 1 1/2".  (When you cut, make sure to include a seam allowance for turning over the pocket edge)

Pocket Templates

I made my upper pocket template of a rectangle 6"by 5 1/2".  I thought a shallow pocket would be best considering the snug fit and addition of cargo pockets.

Cargo Pockets
Flap  3 1/4" x 6 7/8 "  Lining and fabric
Pocket 8 1/2" x 7 7/8" lining and fabric

Rear pocket flaps
I used piece 6 from the pattern and cut the point at 3 1/2" down, the sides at 2" down (7" across for those not using this pattern)

Belt Loops (Cut 7)
4 3/4" x 1 1/2"
Interfacing 4 3/4" x 1/2"

Your pattern should look something like this:

You'll notice I hadn't tapered in beforehand when I did it.  Learn from my mistakes.

LABEL ALL PIECES.  If you don't they will get harder and harder to tell apart

Take a deep breath, and butcher your pattern.

Lastly, you will notice that the knee piece does not have an outside seam.

Take the two knee pieces ( label top and bottom, front and back) and tape them together at the outside edge.  I do this by cutting the seam allowance off one and taping it to the mark of the seam allowance of the other.  It makes a nice chevron.

Also, you will end up with some excess fabric on the inside because we didn't account for the front and back extra seam.  If you want to account for this now to end up with perfectly matched pattern pieces, please do so.

As the pattern is right now, you do not have seam allowances on the chevron knee piece or upper and lower leg.  This is because we only took off 4 inches on the hem.  If you do put seam allowances on these pieces you may need to take more length off the hem when you finish.

That was a lot of notes, but I am happy to tell you my pants are almost finished!   You should see pictures by Monday at the latest.

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