Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pants Options

Soooo, I've gotten bigger.  Not in an unhealthy way, but definitely in "some kind of way".  I'm going to attribute it to losing a small amount of weight last year (it was a tough year) that just happened to bring me down a size and coming back to a weight that's actually within my normal range.  Add that to the ice cream I scarfed down for the first 6 months of the year and hitting weights for the last two, the combination of food and muscle has added inches to my waistline. So yeah, all this is to say that summer's almost over and I can't fit ANY of my work pants.

I've been on the lookout for some good pants patterns.  All the rtw dress pants that I own and love are from the Limited (I'm especially mad that a pair that i bought  and love don't fit anymore, even though I only got to wear them a handful of times). Other pairs that I own have also gone the way of being entirely too snug.  To remedy this situation, I've decided that I'm FINALLY going to attempt to make pants for myself.  I've made a pair of linen pants for a male friend of mine and in terms of fitting, that was simple; make sure it fits the waist and the length and you're good.  But for me, I have curves (that I would love to show off) and I'm nervous about all the different things that can go wrong with them.  But we shall prevail!

The first step is to find a pattern that I think will look good on me!  Let's go through the options that I see available to me:

I have this pattern.  I'm not sure why I bought them when I did.  I didn't own my first pair of cigarette, side zip style of pants until this past spring (and I owned the pattern prior to that).  There was just something about that full unobstructed front face that just turned me off, but it's growing on me.  If I use something that has some stretch to it, I think this would be a nice place to start as I won't have to grow through the process of creating a fly-front.

I've been looking at this pattern for a while but I haven't bit.  I'm not exactly in the size proportions as Tasia so it would require some effort to grade the pattern (which I learned while making the Gabriola Skirt).  And I guess I just wasn't trying to make pants before.  But I've seen some good makes on this and I think I like the way it hugs the hips and doesn't look frumpy.  Frumpy is not in my vocabulary, especially not for work.

These are a straight leg trouser that I just found on Pinterest. These look decent, I haven't really found much on them but they're an option.


The Emma Pant seems to be a business slacks type of pant.  It has an overlapped front closure (like a few of my Limited pants) and is a straight leg.  It also seems to a be a decent pattern though I haven't seen any reviews or makes of it yet.

Chelsea Pant - straight leg pant

Straight leg, wide waistband and high hip, these pants seem spiffy.  These seem like a loose fitting pant from the hip which will be good for when I don't feel like showing off ALL of my curves

A new shape in stretch pants

This has a side zip, slim leg and wide waistband.  These seem similar to the Colette Clover but just with a wide wastband which I find to be flattering.

Great basic woven pant, suitable for the office or the weekend

Sammi Seems cool.  I don't really have much more to say about her.  Just a basic business pant.  The Clothing Engineer sewed them up and they seem to fit her well.

Pull-on pants with wide waistband

This is the last Style Arc one (they have entirely too many patterns).  Straight leg, faux closure with velcro and made for stretch wovens, this seems pretty decent.  I haven't seen too many rtw with velcro and my only issue with it being on this pant is that many of my blouses seem to have too much of an affinity to velcro and it usually leads to their demise.  But I could easily change the velcro out for something that's more blouse friendly.

All in all, for work pants, I'm not pulling from a whole lot of options, which, in theory, should make it easier to find what I want, right? I left off a few that just weren't me, The Colette Juniper Pants, The True Bias Hudson Pants, and a slew of Style Arc pants (entirely too many patterns).  I stayed away from the Big 4; I honestly haven't noticed any pant patterns that have every appealed to me, they always look like they're from the 80's or early 90's and just not me.  More than likely, I'll start with the Clovers (since I already own them), but I'll be looking to try something with a fly front not to long after that.  If you have any suggestions for patterns that I've missed, shout 'em out in the comments!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sand Dollar Gala Dress

The Gala was great!  The dress turned out well and I was really happy with the style and some of the design elements.

I used an African Wax Print (I don't remember where I got it), but I've had it for a while.  I have a whole collection of African Prints but this is only the second item that I've made for my self with them, and I love it.  The second fabric that I used was a brocade that I bought from FabricMart while they were going through their A-Z sale.  I really like this fabric as well, it's decently lightweight for a brocade and I'm glad that I have enough for another project.  I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the two fabrics had similar patterns, hence the name "The Sand Dollar Dress"

Please excuse the lack of seam matching. But the fabric matching makes up for it!

As stated in my last post, I used Simplicity's Project Runway S0571 in a size 14.  I'm learning that I don't like the ease that's built into these patterns and I'm going to start tracing a size down for the bodice. I probably could have fixed this with my muslin but I still need to work on using my muslins for fitting.  I've noticed that I tend to use them more so to get through the sewing instructions and understand what they want me to do than for actual fitting and adjustments. 

The best design element of this is the ingenious way they did the sleeves.  To help keep it off the shoulder and keep it in it's place, there's a covered elastic band inside of the sleeve.  I made mine a little loose, so I'll have to take it in, but the theory is great and I can't wait to see how it works on other creations. 

This was my first time color blocking. The pattern already had princess seams on the front bodice but it only contained darts on the back bodice. In order to continue with the blocking on the back of the dress, I had to change the darts to princess seams.  I can't find the tutorial I used (it really took me too long to write this post), but it was pretty simple and worked well.  I also blocked the sleeves, as you can see, so that the black fabric line continued into the sleeve for continuity.  The blocking of the skirt was simple, I just cut a line straight down from the center of the pleats.  Since the two fabrics had different weights, they hung a lil differently, but the end result was still good, imho. 

All in all, it was a good night and a good make. I paired it with a tulle skirt, a wide elastic belt, bronze pumps and chunky pearls and I received lots of unsolicited compliments (the best kind).  Thanks for reading and hopefully you'll see me on here sooner than later!

All photos of me in the dress were taken by J.Lamothe Photography.  And of course had to add a pic of the ladies.