Work in Progress Wednesday 9/19

Phew, another week has flown by and I actually have another work in progress for you! To be fair, I’ve managed to complete that work in pogress by now, but I thought I’d share some of the making process, just for interest sake. The work in question is a pair of True Bias Lander Pants. Or Lander Pant, as they’re described. Now I don’t know about you, but this term gets me, it’s like referring to scissors in the singular. It’s a pair of scissors, and a pair of pants/trousers/shorts! If you only had a pant, you’d be arrested for indecent exposure! And you’d be cold…

Anyway, that’s just me – I think. So, I had bought this pattern about this time last year, intending to make a pair for myself, and for Daughter No1, who wanted a pair of pants that really fitted closely to the hip, then almost flared out, culotte-like, to a cropped 7/8ths length. Finally tracing the pattern on holiday in September, I thought I’d start the experiment with a pair for myself, as you do! I traced the 0 for Daughter No1, and the 12 and 14 for me, not being 100% certain which would be better. Upon toiling and double checking measurements, I decided to go with the 12, because there’s a massive 2.5cm seam on the outside leg for adjustments. The hip measurement of the 12 is 2cm wider than my actual measurement, but the waist is a fair bit narrower, so I wanted wiggle room!

The toile showed me the straight 12 would be fine, even the length was good! That’s a small miracle in itself – I was fully prepared to remove up to 4cm. In hindsight, and this would have showed up if I’d used a stiffer fabric for the toile, I should have shortened the crotch depth by 1cm and possibly gone down a size at the inner leg seam. I’ve made those adjustments on the pattern for the next time.

Now, the instructions… Hmm. I bought the zip version (you need the original version before this will work…) because I knew I wouldn’t do the button fly, and it’s not Daughter No1’s bag either. So there are duplicate instructions for most of the making, and you have to slot the zip instructions into the order of work, which is fine. But I have never seen front fly instructions like it. They’re almost as weird as the ones for the Peppermint wide Leg pants! I have no idea why some pattern makers make inserting a fly zip so complicated when it’s really not necessary.

The other thing I have a real problem with are the Imperial measurements used throughout. There are people in this world who have no idea what 1/4 of an inch is, how big it is and what it looks like, nevermind having something on a machine to measure that. So the first thing I did was to convert all the bits of inches throughout the instructions to metric. Seam allowances are 1/2 inch, which in metric is 12.7mm. I do not have that marking on my machine, or my rulers. So I had to borrow a quilter’s gadget from a friend with all those little bit of inch markings on it to use for turning up edges and marking topstitching distances. This all takes time and delayed the completion of the project. Please, pattern makers, please just be more inclusive and include more universally recognised measurements!

I also reversed all the zip instructions, because, just like the Ash Jeans I made last week, the zip opens the wrong way. Luckily, while doing that, I was able to alter the other zip instructions so they were less complicated and wouldn’t have the “you won’t be able to get all the way so there’ll be a hole, but that’s ok” moment. So, the work in progress post will go over the revised zip instructions! Phew, let’s get started.

Number one, don’t sew the front and back legs together at the inside leg seam, nor do you want to sew the entire front crotch seam from the zip stop to the upper centre back before you’ve put the zipper in, trust me. It’s a fiddly job at the best of times, especially if you have a stiff fabric, so there’s no way you want to be wrestling with all that excess fabric when it’s completely unnecessary. My instructions will be for the fly as I have sewn it, on the opposite side to that in the pattern. If you like your zips opening the other way, simply reverse the lefts and rights.

Make up the pockets and do all the topstitching and then you’ll do the zip. You’ll need both front pants pieces, the fly facing, zip and fly guard. You want the front pieces to have the fly extension marked, as well as the centre front and the zip stop. Use chalk or tailor’s tacks, whatever works better for you – or both like me. I cut off the right fly extension along the marked line and then overlocked both front seams. At this point you can also overlock the fly facing and make up and overlock the fly guard.

Sew the two front pieces together from the zip stop marker to about 2cm before the end of the crotch seam, along the front seamline. Now pin and sew the fly facing, right sides together, to the right front, go right up to the zip stop. Press that seam onto the facing and understitch, stitch all the way past the zipstop to the end of the facing. Turn to the inside and press well. Pin in place. (I use a lot of pins!)

Press left fly extension to the inside

Fold the left pants piece in along the fly extension line and press well. Pin the zip with the head of the zip 19mm (3/4 inch in the instructions) from the top of the opening to the fold, keep that fold tight up against the zip teeth. Pin and BASTE. I rarely baste, but for inserting zips, this step cannot be ignored. With the zip foot, stitch up from the bottom, close to the edge of the fabric. You’ll find you cannot get past the zip head smoothly, so stop about 3cm before the top of the zip, with the needle fully down, lift the presser foot up and push the zip tab down to past your presser foot. Now put the foot down and continue to the top.

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Sew zip to left front

Line up the right centre front with the marked centre front on the left, I pin along this fold, through all the layers. You’re now going to sew the other side of the zip tape to the fly facing on the other side.

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Pin centre front lines together, but you don’t need the perpendicular pins shown on the left. The facing needs to be free

Fold the right front on top of the left so that the zip and facing are together. Pin the tape to the facing, baste and stitch, with a zip foot.

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Pin zip tape to fly facing, baste and stitch

From the right side now, measure approzimately 3.5cm from the centre front on the right. This will be the line you’ll use for your fly topstitching. Now, normally I’d wait until I had the fly guard on to do this step, but it does work this way with a thick fabric. If you attach the fly guard now, and then topstitch, you’d have to pin the guard out of the way of the stitching, which means making a lumpy bulge at the base of the zip. This would interfere with the topstitching. If you were using a linen, I’d wait and do this step after the fly guard is on because it’s a less bulky fabric..

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Mark the topstitching on the right

Pin perpendicular to the marked line so you’re catching the fly facing to the front of the trousers, you don’t want them shifting as you stitch. Now load your topstitching thread and stitch along that line, or either side of it, if you’re using two lines of stitching.

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Layers pinned together, ready to stitch

I used a denim twin needle – a little cheat, but so worth it for even, parallel lines of stitching. This is the reason why I topstitched now rather than later, because I didn’t want to mess up the curve or have extra stitching showing.

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Fly topstitching

Now, remove all the pins on the outside and turn to the left fly extension and zip tape. You’ll need to sew the fly guard to this section. Fold the trousers over eachother so the extension and zip tape stick out and pin the fly guard overlocked edge to the seam allowance, sandwiching the tape between the guard and the fly extension. Pin and stitch, using a zip foot. Pull the fabric of the trouser piece well over to the left so you can stitch as close to the fold as possible.

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Pin the guard so the zip tape is sandwiched

Now, because we have topstitched the fly facing already, you won’t be able to get all the way down, but it really is ok this time, because we will be catching the guard in in other places, so this won’t be flapping about. Just go as far as you can.

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Finshed fly.

Now, on the right side, and with a single needle and topstitching thread, stitch for about 1-2cm along one of the lines of existing stitching to catch that guard to the right front. Then you can sew the front and back pants pieces together along the inside leg seam and then sew the remains of the crotch seam. Press that seam to the right side in this case, and topstitch it down. The topstitching past the fly stitching will secure that end of the fly guard, so there you have it, no flappy guard, and a zip in without all the excess fabric and trouser legs! You can now sew the outside leg seams and finish the trousers as per the original instructions.

I hope that was all as clear as mud! Really, once the fly zip is in, the trousers are quick to make up, depending on how much topstitching you’d like to do! I wanted to have double topstitching along the waistband but didn’t want to use the twin needle because of how it would look on the inside. However, despite my Bernina being quite happy to use this new Denim thread from Gutermann in the needle, it didn’t like it very much in the bobbin. I spent ages messing aroud with the tension, thought I’d cracked it, but when the stitching was done on the waistband, it wasn’t good enough. As I really didn’t want to unpick it, I tried to make myself think it’s ok, no-one else will see it, but it didn’t work!

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Horrible, messy tension in the bobbin thread on the waistband.

So I ripped it all out (sob) and replaced the denim thread in the bobbin with normal thread and just settled for one line of topstitching. It doesn’t look wrong. The button is a leather one from the stash, I think it’s from a charity shop originally, as I only have the one.

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New single line topstitching, much neater!

So that’s that! I now need to get some proper photos of the Ash Jeans and these, and Daughter No 1 has promised me photos of a pair of trousers I made for her last month. They’re gorgeous, by the way! Can’t wait to show those off! Now, I’d best go and make dinner, someone’s getting hungry…