Monday, November 24, 2014

Hanging from the crotch seam

It's kinda hard to find a title for a post about staring at crotch seam variations, but there we are. To sum up a rather long post: your trousers hang from your crotch, your jeans hug.

Before we fall down the rabbit hole, sewing has a lot of conventional wisdom. Your coat fastens this way or that, your pants fly opens this way or that. There are a lot of do's and don'ts and everyone has an opinion but mostly we go by convention.

And most of these conventions are apparent, obvious, and overdiscussed. So to find one that hasn't been is weird.

This post is for the overdiscussers. Which I guess includes me.

Over on Closet Case Files, HLou is running though the Ginger sewalong. And her dominant seam for the intersection of the front and back pieces runs from side to side. Which looked really weird to me, as the instructions I always think of are these:

from Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch's  "Pants for any body" , 2000, my copy *

Youre leaving that bit at the crotch point open so you can sew the legs together like below

Except when you're making jeans

Sewing order: front for fly and pockets, back for yoke and pockets, sew up outside seams. Final seam is side to side.

This is a pair of men's jeans, with the fly open at the front. The final, dominant seam runs from side to side

A pair of men's trousers, where the seam runs from front to back

typical Vogue pants construction information (where you stuff the one leg inside the other and sew the final seam) BTW: reading these instructions, don't trim that seam to the second stitching. You'll weaken the seam more than you will adjust the fit.

After inspecting every pair of pants in this house that were purchased, I've pondered the whys of this.  I have gone to a lot of effort over the years, and for what?

Taking that step to leave open the seam after you make up the fly is a pain; the only real reason why you'd go to that trouble is so that the fabrics for trousers can hang better. They are designed to drape your legs, and you'd want that seam to act as a hanging line.
 Jeans hold themselves to you, even if you're using a lighter weight fabric. 

And camel toe is so unpleasant. Which is why there are no model shots of these jeans in progress.

I keep changing weight and moving seams around, so this is version 5 of the Jeanius jeans. And once again, the sides are too high and the back and front are too low (yes, bigger in the back AND the front. Damn you cookies!)

I can't do much about the front: the fly is finished, the zipper trimmed, and such.

I can shove a wedge in the back at the center to bring up the waistband as I bring it in

Yes, my backside is that round. 
Or I can do what I did, which was add a side to side gusset at the crotch.
Faint pencil line at center to help match up front and back seams......taking the dominant seam to a side to side  and then some
Don't add a side to side gusset at the crotch.

This does bring up the front and the back. It also gives me too much fabric in the inside legs, which creates a cavernous camel toe effect. Which is interesting, but not quite what I was going for. And I am just not interested in that photo for sharing. 

So another pair of 'eh' trousers; not sure if I leave in the gusset OR just drop the side seams at the top for a lowriderish effect.
Given the way I remodel my clothes, I will probably live with it and THEN remodel it. 

And that's why we save the leftover bits.

I am finishing this up and going to alter the pattern again, which will bring us to version 6.

*Hey, I don't make $$ from links. I make money from sewing and selling patterns on Craftsy. The Spoonflower thing makes me money I spend on Spoonflower making more samples for more prints. Etsy has never made me any money. I don't recommend buying on Amazon, for a long set of reasons we don't need to bore ourselves with here. They do control the used book market; go look on Abebooks site for more.  But they did pay me a lot of money for toy reviews in the 00's. Ah, those were the days!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fancy SchmancySeam Ripper is STILL worth it.

(go to Ebay, search term: hand seam ripper)

If you have ever wondered if buying one of these was worth it, it certainly has been for me.

Yes, you can buy all the parts online.
And if you have a lathe, you're in business.

What sold me on this particular one was that the vendor specified the type of blade (and there are many out there). And then delivered on it.

It feels great in my hand, Just enough weight and size to make it easily turned, light enough not to wear my old hand out. 

Lookit them porky pinkies. Always been a big handed gal

The Japanese blade is superlative. And it's sooo pretty.

And it's been sharpened. The point is practically microscopic. Which is good, because the stitching on this chiffon is pretty tight. This showed up in the nick of time!

This is my unpaid testimonial. The fella who made this is no longer online, but plenty of other people do. 
Or you can make your own, with the steel parts and a wad of Fimo, or a hollow handle (regular flatwear knives work) and a tube of two-part epoxy.

Kenneth King photo and tools, from Threads Magazine (link noted above photo)

A good tool always makes the job go better and faster and happier.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who Survives and Who Thrives

 My college sweetheart's mother, quite the battleaxe, went to college with Fred Rogers. He was always the guy you saw on television, and "the nicest @#^$ I ever met". Thanks Sally for the salty quote!

One good thing I took from recent online seminars: the Internet is a neighborhood. The people in your neighborhood, your peers, are your neighbors and you should be....neighborly.

So the online version of shopping locally is what? 

I look to the independent pattern makers when I am shopping for a pattern.

I look for the indies first, because I assume there will be good new ideas there. Since I'm largely drafting my own stuff now, I am looking for inspiration or a kick in the pants. It's no different to me than paging through the big Two companies catalogs with their endless repetitions. 

Hey, they do have good and interesting stuff now and then. And they have a wider audience to appeal to than me.

Targeting your audience as a company is a good way to get repeat business. Lots of folks aim at the the newbie sewist, combining a sewing lesson with a pattern.  Others have a design niche (pockets! trending styles! Princess Kate!) This is all good news.

There are always new businesses coming up and older ones fading away (either age, death or real life intervening with business). 

LaFred sketches. Love her jackets!

I miss LaFred terribly. But the patterns are still there.

Barcelona Dress Textile Studios

I've been reading A History of the Paper Pattern Industry, and you would not have known that the one that survived would be Butterick from the companies over the years (and even that is just a nameplate since 2001). And when the PDF format turns into something more practical for the home sewer (and when we find a better term than that, cause I am not sewing a home)....

I have a tight deadline on those grey hems. More later.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Digital Marketing Lessons

screen shot from April Bowles-Olin Creative Live workshop
would like to thank Creative Live for their free streaming. If you sign up now and watch it live, it's free. If you watch it later, it's money.

Spending today pulling hems and watching online instruction.

A pal did a CreativeLive online class and it was great, went well, all good.

On now and tomorrow.
Will discuss later.

Should I mention I live with a marketing guy?
We refer to it as the dark art....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cutting A Fashionable Fit Online - a little history lesson

Let's be honest: once a history major, always a history major. 

I'm at my happiest in the stacks at the library, or in this case, with the electronic access materials online.

Cutting A Fashionable Fit

is a 1979 article written for the Smithsonian (where apparently she worked at the time) by Claudia Kidwell. I stumbled on this through my library system, and include the link so you can read it online as well.  

Towards the beginning,  Ms Kidwell clearly states "This paper is not an exhaustive treatise on 
dressmakers' drafting systems." 
illustration from Cutting A Fashionable Fit

Check out this chart: it couldn't be. It seems that at one point or another, every other sewist in America had their own, patented system for measuring and cutting clothes.

Ms Kidwell is an engaging writer on this topic. She is an archivist and (I suspect) a sewist. What she does in 100 pages (the other 50 or so are her source records, it's that thorough) is give you a cogent history of American dressmaking and the people and the issues at play. 

 Initial reviews of "A History of the Paper Pattern Industry" by Joy Emery have been mixed. I like it, but it is pretty dry going.  Consistent with it's purpose, "Paper Pattern" is built like a dissertation, with summaries at the end of each chapter. Her time span covers the beginnings of the commerically printed paper pattern for the home sewist with Ebenezer Butterick in 1863 and through the 20th century. It should be titled the American Paper Pattern Industry, but it has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of color illustrations to boot. It's not everything I could want, but you read the Kidwell in turn, and you've found your place in the historical turn things have taken with PDF patterns and pattern drafting software.

I requested this from the Seattle Public Library, and just couldn't wait any longer for it. This is my copy.

Worth reading about. And Now I want my own McDowell Pattern Drafting Machine.

Both are a quick read, "Paper Pattern" is probably just a library away

"Fashionable Fit" is just a click at that link at the top.

(waited til the end of the Ebay auction to put this up)
(no, I don't want any more competition than I have already)