Monday, September 24, 2007

Learning from RTW (2): Peaking inside men's trousers

I've just finished Vogue 8425 (the high-waisted skirt) in a black Italian suiting (a mix of wool, rayon and elasthane). I will take pictures tonight and hopefully post them tomorrow, together with a full review.

My next project is a pair of slouchy men's pants. I've been hesitating between Hot Patterns AD Slouchy Men Pants and McCall 4926 and I've finally decided for the HP. I've made them before (although my natural inclination is towards new patterns). Secondly, I did a quick comparison between McCall 4926 and one of my favorite pair of pants and the McCall seems awfully high-waisted (10 cm higher than this pair of pants!). Also, their leg is perfectly straight, while the HP leg is more shaped, giving a tighter fit on the hips and the beginning of the tights - which I like and find flattering. What is essential, in my opinion, for a pair of wide-leg pants to flatter your figure is: 1) very drapey fabric (forget about making them in twill, corduroy and the like - from my experience, the stiffer the fabric, the wider your thighs will look); 2) a closer to the hips and thighs pattern. That doesn't mean I won't try the McCall pattern. Only this time I must make a muslin to see what they look like. I've got this horribly green fabric anyway (what did I think when I bought it???)....

I want to copy all the details found in a men's pair of pants therefore decided to have a look at the inside of one of my husband's expensive RTW pants. Here's out I found:

1) The fly extension has a different shape, flaring to the upper part (the one connecting to the waistband). This extension also has a buttonhole, and there is a button for it, on the inside of the pants. This secures the pants.

2) The fly extension facing is cut on the bias and on the double. It also extends over the waistband facing.

3) The fly facing is finished with foldover bias tape.

4) The waistband facing is replaced with a special waist band, which is made out of lining fabric, cut on the bias and, folded in two and wrapping inside a piece of canvas or sew-in interfacing, also cut on the bias. A cross-grain tape is then sewn on the middle, to stabilise, I guess. I can find this kind of waist band, pre-made, in notion store. I can also find another kind of waist band, resembling Petersham ribbon and specifically made for pants waistbands (see the last photo in this post)

5) There's also this nice little trick to keep your belt buckle in the center of your pants and not allowing it to slide to the side....

6) The center back seam allowance are a lot wider than the rest. The waistband has a center seam too and each half of the waistband is sewn to the pants and then the entire center back seam (pants and waistband) is then sewn. This allows for easy alteration of the pants (can you tell I took in my husband's pants many times?)

7) There is a welt pocket in the back and I intend to copy this detail. I will make a fake pocket (welt but no pocket bags) as I don't really need a pocket in the back, nor do I need the supplementary bulk. It's interesting that in this pair of pants, one of the welt pocket lips (do you call them that? I can't remember the word) is wider than the other. I've never seen this before.

8) There is a special band reinforcing the hem and giving it weight. That I already knew and used for my pants.

I've hesitated a lot before deciding if to underline or not the pants with organza. I've received great advice on the Artisan's Square board, I can't thank enough everybody for being so helpful and supportive. Why did I hesitate? I would like to underline to minimize wrinkling and to give my pants that expensive look. However, I don't want the pants to become less drapey. Also, I'm not sure what kind of organza I have. I don't think it's silk, because it melts when burning with a lighter. I don't think it's poly either, because it doesn't scratch the skin a bit. You can see it in the photo below, it's very-very silky to the touch, smooth, sheer and a bit shiny. Could it be viscose? I really don't know... I think I will give it a try because I put it together with my fashion fabric and it didn't seem to change the drape. Speaking of polyester, have you read this post on Diva Ann's blog?

So, here you are: fashion fabric - another great Italian suiting (wool and viscose), mystery organza, pre-made waist band (the one with the yuck Christian Dior logo), the other waist band (Petersham-like), pre-folded bias tape, tape for the hem of the pants, a strip of bias canvas and cross-grain tape in case I decide I want to make my own waist band, men's trousers hooks (there are two types, one that you sew in and one with tiny little things that go in and are then bent - cant' explain it better than this, sorry :(), buttons.


Leslie said...

How about just underlining the upper hip area, or over the top of the thigh? That way you could reduce wrinkling through the more fitted area, and still retain drape through the legs. I think Erica of Bound By My Hook used this method awhile back.

LauraLo said...

Thank you, Leslie, I thought about this too. For the time being, I cut entire pieces from the organza and I'll see as I go. I did this when sewing pants for my husband, except I underlined to the knee - well, below the knee

Summerset said...

I do a lot of alterations on men's pants and have seen a lot of those features. I just did 3 pair last week.

Yes, you can use the word "lips" for the welt portion of the pocket - I've seen it used that way in English in many places. Almost all the men's pants I've seen have only the single lip/welt on the bottom of the back pockets.

Vicki said...

Thanks for sharing the photos. I haven't looked that closely to men's pants. Hope yours goes well.

Tany said...

Laura, thank you so much for sharing all this info!! I'm a sucker for fine RTW details (in fact I might steal your idea in the future; I have a few RTW garments with details worth showing!)

johnnypk said...

Thank you. I'm from Peru. Sorry for my bad english. I want to do a jean trouser. You know I have to use denim. Can you show us how to do the pattern. Thanks.

johnnypk said...

Or can you recommend a link about this topic. Thanks

Leslie said...


HELP! I've been asked to take in some men's dress pants, they have the back seam that should allow for easy alterations, I undo it all, then sew together and nothing lines up right. I'm a fairly experienced seams-mistress, but this is kicking my butt. Please email me with your tips and tricks. I don't want to hand these back to my client un-finished.