The whole question of fit is fascinating. This is what sets apart well made clothing but we each have our own “issues” or how we think we look, how we want others to see us and how to accomplish that. I personally have big boobs thanks to some decent genetics from my father’s mom : ) I look completely different from my own mother – she’s wider at the hips, has no boobage and a flat derriere. Nothing wrong with either one of us UNLESS we’re trying to look like something we’re not. I won’t even go into what the fashion magazines want us to emulate! The best WE can do is deal with what we have AT THE MOMENT. I’ve dressed thousands of people, from dancers to actors, amateurs and professionals. I’ve seen what I would consider THE MOST ROCKIN’ BODIES and they are usually attached to individuals with fairly low self esteem. Not all the time but more often than you might think. The happiest people are those that can look themselves in the mirror each morning and be content. I’m not saying we might not have room for improvement but unless you can be content in the skin you’re in then making clothes that fit will be as elusive as sleep before a big party : )
To that end I’m going to show you a simple way to get better fitting pants, a technique borrowed from men’s tailoring.
One of the “hot” trends of the last few years are pants that “take a size off”. Other than selling spanx with each pair how do they do it? Simple. Let me show you the inside of a few pairs of name brand jeans –
First up are our friends from Levi’s. Good local brand : ) Made in China : ( Notice the pockets. You can see the rivets, the stitching that outlines the pocket but the lining goes all the way to the center front/zipper area.
Next up are a pair of the Macy’s brand, Style. I like them, I’ve bought them in the past. I can usually get them on sale for around $20 a pair or less, depending on the coupons : ) They, too, have a pocket lining that goes to the zipper/center front seam but notice the extra rows of stitching. That gives you a “girdle” effect, or helps hold the tummy in.
And finally a pair of Not Your Daughters Jeans. These are fairly expensive for jeans, starting at $110 and up. They, too, have the pocket lining that goes to the center front but the stitching lines that create the “girdle” are a different design (can we say trademark?). Are they worth the extra price? That depends on your values. They DO fit better than the Levi’s on me and their biggest advantage is the “Made in USA” tag. I would support them even more if the fabric was made in the US but that’s just me.
One reason for doing those rows of stitching is to hold the weave of the fabric in place. The reason we cut our patterns with the length of the grain parallel to the selvage is the long fibers, or warp threads, are the long, strong threads. The side to side threads, or weft threads, are not continuous and so ‘weaker’. If you’ve ever had a pair of pants get “knee sprung” it’s because you’ve stretched out the weft threads and that’s their job. That’s what gives you ‘give’ in the fabric if you’ll forgive the play on words : ) So what those rows of stitching are doing it holding those weft threads in place to prevent stretching out and hold the tummy in. If you like pleated pants and want to keep the pleats in place us this style of pocket, then they won’t spread and look like bad 80’s pants.
The pattern I’m using for my jeans is the Calvin Klein jeans pattern from 1977/8. I made it when it was the new, hot pattern on the market and I really wanted a pair of Calvins, just couldn’t afford them! The interesting thing about this pattern is the one paragraph on the back:
“It makes sense that the ONLY way to have Calvin Klein jeans is to have them with the exact fit! That’s why Vogue patterns (always a stickler for proper fit) brings them to you in his sizing rather than our traditional one.” Keep in mind that in the 70’s we were into large legged pants and Calvin’s weren’t. It was the beginning of the “pencil” trend in the late 70’s when it came to pants.
I decided NOT to do the “special stitching” for two reasons – 1) my machine is old and cranky, it REALLY needs a spa day and 2) MY denim has lycra in it : ) Back in the late 70’s the only thing that had lycra in them were the pants sold by Frederick’s of Hollywood meant for discos and somehow were relegated to Ladies of the Evening. But NOW we add lycra to ALL KINDS of things and there is a good amount of stretch in my denim. I want to see how this works, I may regret not adding the stitching but I’ll never know if I don’t try.
Most manufacturers are using a lightweight cotton for pockets and lining because it’s less expensive. I had enough fabric to just cut the pieces from the denim and let me reassure you, the hold factor is GOOD!
Now that my pockets and the zipper is in and done I’m halfway there. Had to take a cookie break.
One of my goals this year was to try some new recipes, and I have a fondness for back-of-the-box concoctions (ever tried the Ritz cracker Mock Apple Pie? Amazing). A couple of years I ago I tore out a recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies off the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour. “Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies” it says. Are they?
They’re actually pretty good : )
The recipe is EASY, a definite plus. And it makes over 4 dozen, another plus. Took about 10 minutes to mix up and thanks go to Miss Amelia (brown) and Miss Prudence (white) for the eggs. These are the ultimate free range, organic eggs from very happy chickens!
1 1/2 cups butter (I use Earth Balance that I buy at Trader Joes, real butter makes me VERY sick and EB works beautifully!)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 oz. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl beat butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs on medium speed or with spoon until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.
On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by tablespoon 2″ apart. Bake 11-13 minutes or until light golden brown (centers will be soft). Cool 1-2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Yes it does : ) You’ll notice the amount of chocolate chips is actually TWO bags worth so this recipe is good for a family or just cookie-lovin’ folk. Next time I might cut down a bit on the sugars, and I didn’t have quite 2 full packages of chips (I used dark Guittard chips for extra yummi-ness) and they are fine.
After she laid her egg Amelia headed out side to sit in the sun with Chloe. She’s on her side, opening her wings so they get air and sunlight to kill any “bugs” that have hitched a ride. This is why battery cages are so horrendous, those girls don’t have enough room to lay down let alone access to sunlight. Miss Amelia lived in a warehouse for the first year and a half of her life. She and 4460 sisters were rescued from a facility in Turlock almost a year ago after their “owner” decided to stop feeding and watering them. She survived for 2 weeks before rescuers brought her “Into the Light”.
I know it seems like I haven’t done much updating lately and I apologize. I’ve had some pretty big projects in the works so there will be several updates in the next few days! AND I’ve had a request from Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes of Wellington (as in New Zealand!) to post a calendar of my challenges honoring the other Sew Weekly contributors. I will be getting that up in the next couple of days : )
Up next – Legs, finishing touches and 4,000 pounds of bricks