Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How did I manage so far without underlined pants?

So I've managed to get back (partially, because I'm not sewing with my usual passion) my sewing mojo and finished the first two items of my Timmel SWAP the past weekend. If you remember, my provisional SWAP title is "Not Your Usual Basics" and my first two items are NYU (not your usual) black pants and NYU pencil skirt.

The NYU pants are part of my wardrobe pattern (a requirement for the Timmel SWAP is to make at least three different items from the same wardrobe pattern) - Vogue 2813, an out of print Donna Karan. I don't like pants that sit at my natural waist (I don't like how they look on me) but I do like these pants - they have a really high waist and I call them my "toreador" pants. It is precisely this high waist that made me call them "not your usual black pants". The pants look great with a blouse tucked in or over them (see at the end of the post for a white Burda shirt worn over them) and I finally get to wear my older shorter T-shirts without flashing my panties every time I bend to pick up something :)

Fabric: gorgeous wool with a bit of elasthane.



I must say I find that the pants look better in real life than in photos. Worn them in the office yesterday and at least 6 people asked if I lost weight recently. Believe me, I haven't lost one gram!

Back of pants



Now, regarding the title of this post, I have two things to say: I'm very partial to underlining lately, I think I said it before on my blog, I like how the underlining moves with the fashion fabric, instead of having two separate garments joined at some seam, like in the case of lining. It is a subjective things, of course, but I'm going to use underlining instead of lining for most of my projects. Even for jackets, I'm thinking of using the flatlining method - described by Shannon Gifford in a recent Threads article.

Part of my great liking of underlinings is this gorgeous knit lining that I'm using - it is stretchy, thin, it does not alter significantly the drape of pants and anyway it improves it, and it has a silky side that feels absolutely luxurious against the skin. Plus it really minimizes the wrinkling which is very important, taking into account that I spend long working days sitting at a desk. The result: I cannot wear unlined pants anymore! :)

I've used this tip on PR for underlining and giving a Hong Kong finish to the seams at the same time. I'd like to explain a bit this method, insisting on the turn of cloth. This method has you cutting the underlining fabric with a supplementary seam allowance of 5/8 (aprox. 1.6 cm) . Therefore the fashion fabric has a 5/8 (1.6 cm) seam allowance and the underlining fabric 5/8 x 2 = 1 1/4 (aprox. 3.2 cm). You then join the fashion fabric wrong side to the underlining wrong side with a 1/4 seam allowance. I must stress that it is very important: 1) to be able to cut accurate seam allowances (I use my rotary cutter and its guide arm); 2) to be able to sew accurate 1/4 seams - use your 1/4 foot if you have one, your zipper foot (mine sews an exact 1/4 seam allowance if I align its edge to the fabric edge). I use my normal foot and a special setting on my machine which allows me to sew an 1/4 straight stitch seam. Now, from the supplementary 5/8 (1.6 cm) seam allowance, 1/4 is caught in the seam (0.6 cm), another 1/4 (0.6 cm) wraps over this 1/4 seam creating the Hong Kong finish and the remaining 1/8 (aprox. 0.3-0.4 cm) is for the turn of cloth. Now, if your fabric is especially thick or thin, you should increase/decrease the turn of cloth and the respective supplementary seam allowance of the underlining fabric. For a thick fabric, you'd cut more than 5/8 supplementary allowance, for a thin fabric, less.
See below the finished seam. I bound the hem with a band cut from the same knit lining, to go nicely with my Hong Kong seams.



The method works for vertical seams and I wasn't sure if I could use it on the center seam of the pants, therefore for those seams I used a method described by Shannon in this post. See the center seam below. The method described by Shannon (and coming from a Threads article I think) is a lot like Sandra Betzina's method, that I used for this pair of pants. I must say I like this one better than Sandra Betzina's, first because the underlining is cut with the same seam allowance as the fashion fabric and second because it has a 3/8 (approx. 1 cm) seam allowance instead of 5/8 (1.6 cm) which for me, looks better and cleaner. See it below.



I've used a self-made polkadotted bias binding for the facing (goes well with my SWAP colours - black, white and red and with my love for polka dots) . The same polkadotted satin was used to finish the end of the zipper. Perfect match with my label too :)



The waist facing is boned, I've inserted (see below the wrong side of the facing) 7 pieces of Rigilene boning, quite wide (almost 1 cm/3/8 inches, I think). After boning the waist of this skirt, I'm in love with this Rigilene boning. You don't feel it at all, because it is flexible and it molds to your body (it is sensitive to body heat). I wore this pants yesterday in the office and believe me, I forgot there was boning in my waist. Totally comfortable, no poking, no rigidness - but enough support not to have those horizontal strain wrinkles in the waist. The facing is also interfaced with a strong woven fusible (hope you can see it in the picture).




And now, my NYU pencil skirt - Burda WOF 12/2007, the skirt from the ensemble 123.



Not so usual, because the skirt is cut on the bias and also, because I've added a black-on-black handsewn embroidery near the hem.



Let me tell you, this pattern is gorgeous. The bias cut is form-fitting and curve-enhancing but at the same time there is enough ease over the hips to be comfortable and enough stretch at the hem to be able to walk (there is not slit in the back of this skirt).

The skirt is underlined with the same knit lining and using the same method described above of underlining and giving a Hong Kong finish at the same time.



I bound the hem too at the beginning but then I found that binding made it too tight for walking therefore I ripped it and serged the hem. The underlining is cut on grain and not on the bias, because the knit lining is stretchy enough. This eliminated all the problems you normally have with bias-cut garments and made it beautifully stable. See below that there is no rippling in the side seams and no bubble at the end of the invisible zipper. And that with no special effort, simply due to the underlining cut on grain.




This skirt made me change my mind about my most-flattering skirt length. This year I preferred to hem my skirts just to cover my knee. Now I find that hemming them at mid-knee is much more flattering. Maybe because the skirt stops at one of my thinner parts instead of ending at a wider part.

And last, a blouse made two weeks ago (before losing my mojo) which will probably be a SWAP extra. This is blouse 120, from Burda WOF 01/2008.

Fabric: high quality stretch poplin, black cotton lace

Sorry for the blurry picture... Blouse over the NYU pants




Blouse tucked in my NYU skirt



There is a collar underneath the collar with the lace. It has a bit of a different shape and it acts like a support for this decorative collar. Burda actually has you put two of these decorative collars, not sewn to each other, just two pieces of fabric, one with lace and the other one with a serger finished edge. My fabric having quite some body, I preferred to make only one "floating" collar instead of too. If I make this blouse again, I might ditch the support collar underneath altogether and only put the two "floating" collars.





I've used black lace instead of white. I love the contrast...

Also, I didn't have the special closures required by Burda, therefore made loops out of fabric bias strips and used some mother of pearl vintage buttons for the closure.



The inside of the blouse is secured with two ties, one caught in the side seam, the other one attached to the left front.

41 comments:

Adrienne said...

WOW! your pants look fantastic! Well, all of your garments do!

Erica B. said...

Everything looks wonderful. I love the pants, they are very flattering!

Patty said...

You are such an inspiration! Your level of workmanship is one I can only aspire to.

Pat said...

Thanks for a great post. I would love to try your method of underlining. What is the name of the fabric you used? Is there an internet source for it?

Beatrice said...

Marvelous!
I really admire your sewing skills!

Laura said...

Gorgeous - I particularly like the tone-on-tone embroidery on the skirt. Ditto on the question about the knit lining - is it just knit tricot, or something else?

Alexandra said...

Wow, I love the high waist on the pants. The bias skirt sounds intriguing. Thank you for the inspiration.

Lashell said...

Welcome back. I am loving the pants. Both garments looks as good on the inside as they do on the inseide. I'm going to have to try your method for my project.

Mimi Jackson said...

Adorable. All of it!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Wow! Let the swapping begin! Everyone is posting parts of their swaps this week and everyone's wardrobes are looking so fantastic! I am loving your NYU basics!

Shannon said...

What a great start to your SWAP. You look fab in all your new garments!

loopylulu said...

Even without your entire mojo you still make such great things.

MaryPat said...

You look great in your new items! Wow, the mojo is back with a vengeance!

Summerset said...

What great garments! I have that pattern, too, but was skeptical due to my size that it would work for me. I suppose they work beautifully for a petite!

AllisonC said...

Wow, you could almost wear those pants inside out, the workmanship is superb. I've just traced that 120 blouse so your review and inspiration is very timely, thanks!

Angelia said...

Girl you are awesome! I'm actually only doing the swap this year because I saw yours last year!!!
Great start on a winning collection. Thanks for posting where you get your construction methods too!

Alana said...

Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. The special custom details like the boning in the waistline and the black on black embrodiery are wonderful. Very flattering! Linda M.

Nancy W. said...

Your garments look fantastic, as usual! I'm a big fan of lining/underlining, but am going to have to try more underlining I think. I recently took Shannon Giffords stitch and flip class and I really like how the method attaches the lining at all the seams, like an underlining, but more finished looking, like a lining.

Cherie said...

Laura, so lovely! And the details make your pieces one of a kind, yours alone! I think you look happy in the photos, you should be, the fit is perfect and I like your twist on this wardrobe plan - the NYU is very interesting in your interpretations!

Vicki said...

What great co ordinating garments. A mini SWAP all of their own. Thanks for all the photos and instructions.

LauraLo said...

Thank you very much for your comments! I think that your appreciation will totally restore my sewing mojo.
And so many new (or delurking) people at my blog, welcome everybody!
Regarding the knit lining, I only found it in one fabric shop here in Bucharest. We call it here "Milanese" (don't know why) but I remember it very well from my childhood - it was used for RTW slips and camis. I found it on a site as well - http://www.elingeria.de/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=40_50&products_id=158 - seems to be what I use if I look at the photo, it is called "nylon sheer" and it is sold as lining for bra cups. Hope it is the same thing, I only can refer to the photo

Theresa said...

Great start to your SWAP-the garments look very stylish and seem to worn with great enjoyment-and the quality is very apparent-thanks for the info regarding underlined pants

Isabelle said...

Chère Laura - triple wow!! Your sewing achievements leave me at a loss for words, actually. I adore all three garments and all their details. Thank you so much for linking to the article on underlining. I just love every detail of your creations, inside and out.
I am sorry you lost your mojo, but what will it be when it comes fully back! :)

I really, really love looking at all your creations because we have a similar body type, similar colouring, and very similar tastes :) :)

Gros bisous. J'espère que tu te sentiras vite mieux et retrouvera ta belle passion!

Sigrid said...

These garments are so beautiful (again). And I admire your finishing of the pants.
The detail on the skirt is so lovely.

paco peralta said...

Oh ..!!! Laura .- precious and beautiful skirt pants. And the waist "high" you is great on your figure. What kind of lining you used? Perhaps a lining of tricot?. OK., Congratulations on such a magnificent job. Sincerely, Paco

Melissa said...

You always make such gorgeous things Laura! I love everything!!!!

Lori said...

Thank you for a wonderful post and all the links. Your garments are beautiful and you look fabulous.

Cennetta said...

All of your pieces are beautiful. I especially love the detailing on the skirt and jacket.

SusanC said...

Love the pants! Love the skirt. So sophisticated...and they fit you so well.

Katrin said...

Laura, when you come back you always come back with such a beautful collection. And - I don´t see anywhere a lost sewing mojo. I wish I would have this speed and perfection.

Best regards,
Katrin

laura said...

Underlining!Just in time.My very own post of last night laments the issues I'm having with it!I used polyester organza (the only thing I could find)and my iron melted it.Would silk organza make a difference? What about darts? Since we're treating the fashion fabric and organza as one,do I sandwich the organza into the dart (I had trouble with this as the organza didn't want to fold easily) or do you sew the darts separately and then lay them against each other? Your sewing is amazing and you make it look so effortless! Sorry this is so long, I hope you have a chance to reply!

Tany said...

This much fabulousness put together in one post? And this is you with your sewing mojo down... I'm speechless! I will certainly use your tips on underlining (and the great knit linings sent by you as a gift) from now on! These are the best looking pants I've seen in a while!

Susan said...

What gorgeous pieces you have made once again. And such fine finishing. I think I would have to take lessons from a professional to ever learn to do what you do. Wow!!! And you look so amazing modeling everything. Can't wait to see what happens when you get your mojo back full force!

alethia said...

Love the pants and the blouse. Especially, the black lace trim on the blouse, elegant and stunning

Susie said...

Thanks for this post. It made me curious and the recent Threads magazine has a great description of underlining. I'm going to give it a try.

LauraLo said...

Thank you again for all your compliments!
Hi Laura and so sorry that you have problems!
I've only used organza for underlining once, in a pair of pants that you can see here - http://laurasewingroom.blogspot.com/2007/09/fourth-wardrobe-item.html.
It is a mystery organza, I think poly. I've never worked with silk organza for the simple reason that I could never find it in fabric shops here. I used my iron on the silk setting on this organza and had no problem with melting.
The more important issue you're having, I think, is darts: I always sew separately darts in the fashion fabric and in the underlining. Then I do one of the two things: 1) I cut the darts and separate them, pressing them open; 2) I don't cut the darts but I press them in the opposite direction as compared to the fashion fabric (fabric darts are pressed towards the center seam, underlining darts are pressed towards the side seams). Hope that helps! Good luck

Berry said...

Thumbs up, it all looks amazing. I particularly like the pencil skirt and the blouse together. Your blog is always a pleasure to visit.

dawn said...

The pants are truly beautiful. I learned the hard way that accuracy is paramount in cutting an underlining...if you end up with too little the out side fabric puckers. Love your polka dot binding!

Kate said...

Beautifl sewing Laura- I love how professional everything looks (better than off the rack !). I hope maybe oneday I can sew half a s well (and stop being lazy and satrt lining - let alone underlining- stuff!).

viagra online said...

Wow, I love the high waist on the pants. The bias skirt sounds intriguing. Thank you for the inspiration.