Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sewing Project: sweatpants

To all the fellow bloggers/writers who warn that sewing pants is hard...you're right. And I'm sorry I ever doubted.

A while back I posted about the Kimono Dress that I made from Heather Ross' book, Weekend Sewing.

One of the other projects I made from this book was a pair of sweatpants. Shouldn't be too difficult, right? It probably wouldn't have been such a long project for me if 1) my walking foot had been working and 2) the pattern fit. The pattern is actually for a pair of pajama pants made from wovens, ideally flannel or something like that. But I had a pair of knit grey collegiate sweatpants that I had had for almost 10 years, and my husband had practically banned me from wearing them ever again. So, I set out to replace them.

Sorry for the crappy overcast morning light. I made these pants back when I was fairly new to sewing and still learning about fabrics. I went to Jo-Ann's and looked for fleecy sweatshirt fabric, and couldn't find any (I've since discovered a tiny selection of it). Somehow I ended up with a yard of grey rib knit. I was basically trying to match my previous pair of sweatpants (they were just grey jersey!) and that was the closest thing that passed the feel test. I know now I should have used interlock or jersey, but oh well. The ribs are very fine and the only time it's an issue is if I stick my foot in and trip myself because it gets caught in the stretchiness of the legs. NotthatIvedonethat.

Completing the "easiest" pair of pants ever is a waistband with a casing for elastic. My pair of decade-old originals had an applied elastic waistband, and while I loved those pants, I did not love the feeling of elastic on my skin all the time. This casing is much more comfortable.

Like I mentioned with my Kimono Dress, the patterns in the Heather Ross book are all huge. They're multi-sized, but even the small sizes were much too big for me. I scaled down while cutting out, and then basted the crotch seam and did about one thousand fittings. The most, uh, unflattering feature of my old pair was the saggy bum, so I did my best to avoid the same trap with the new pants. I didn't know the "right" way to change the crotch depth, so I pinched out fabric and basted over and over again. In my memory, this process took forever, but eventually I had a pair of pants that fit well. I left the hems raw because I knew from previous experience that I would just walk on them and ruin the hem anyway.

Notice I've not included any pictures of me wearing these pants. That's because they have a tendency to stretch out. Throw them in the washing machine and they get better, but I'll never get back that well-fitting bum area that I had when they were finished. Sigh. And I guess that's why, upon seeing me proudly wearing my completed pants, my husband responded with: "sweatpants never make anyone look good".

He's probably right, considering that I don't even want to put a picture of myself in sweatpants on the internet. Someday I might run for president, y'know? Gotta be careful what you put on the web.

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