Pants fitting fun

I started working with the Closet Case Patterns Sasha trouser last weekend and finally got to a good fitting stage today.  Unfortunately, I want to tear my hair out.  So instead, I thought it would be fun to compare the fit of those out of the envelope to two other pairs of slim fitting black pants I already own.  It’s not pretty.

Black photographing as terrible as it does, I have cranked up the exposure on all of the pictures, my apologies

First up to bat are a pair of Andrew Marc black ponte pants in size 6 that I got from Costco for less than $20 and zero trips to a fitting room. They are comfortable to wear, but over the course of the day the knees bag out, which isn’t so bad, but the growing waistline that creeps down my torso is. These pictures are fresh out of the dryer, so the tightest fit they have.  If I could have something like this in a stretch woven without the jeans-like styling of the back, I would be thrilled.

Next are the reason I wanted to try the Sasha pattern in the first place- Sloan trousers from Banana Republic in size 4. They looked good if a tad tight that day in the fitting room, so I got two pairs in the ankle length because they were perfection in length and made my butt look good. Tossed them in the wash without noticing the dry clean only care instruction and whelp, they’ve never been the same since. They are a touch too short now for me as I don’t love a cropped length and are tight. So stupid tight. Oh well. That’s why I figured I could just sew up a pattern that’s pretty much a duplicate for the Sloan trousers if you look at the Closet Case Patterns website.

These have the worst visible panty lines, how?!

As it stands now, these are a wreck. I cut a straight size 10 as those are dead on for my waist and hip measurements right now. And really the hip measurement seems to be working out. Too bad it’s the only part that is working out. Yeah, yeah, I know about making muslins. Find me cheap muslin fabric with 20% stretch across the grain, and I’ll work with it; otherwise, I’m stuck taking measurements and hoping it’s for the best. These are not slim fitting on me below mid thigh, which is disappointing. The waistband gapes pretty badly through the small of my back, so I’m going to have to dart it as I don’t have any extra fabric for cutting a new one. Live and learn, right? But that pales in comparison to the crotch and back curve. It does not fit the shape of my body in any way, shape, or form. Now, go back and look at the RTW pants. No threat of cameltoe at all, whereas the Sasha does have that issue. The back length feels too short, but measuring it, it should be enough. So why isn’t it? That’s where the fun starts.

Sloan (top) and Andrew Marc (bottom)

The Sloan’s flyshield did not want to cooperate for photography purposes, but I hope that you can see some vestige of the front curve.  More importantly, look at the back curve.  There is a good sized scoop down.  Heather calls it the low butt adjustment in the fitting guide blogposts at Closet Case, but I’m wondering if it’s just more of a standard draft in ready to wear.  My jeans don’t do this, but they have longer back lengths instead (1 inch longer than the Sasha for a size 4 Levi’s midrise and 2.5 inches longer in the size 6 CK skinny)


Indeed, my jeans have this exact back curve, but definitely more length, which makes sense for a jeans fit. So my first order of business for fixing the fit is to fix the order of construction for the inseam and crotch seams (they should look like the BR Sloans and not like a pair of jeans) and then start scooping out under the buttocks so that there is room for them. I think that there is technically enough length but because there is not nearly enough negative space for my body, the back length is getting pulled down to make that space. I don’t know that it will fix the back waistband, but I’m kind of hoping it does before I decide how much of a dart it needs. Now, onto the front crotch. Notice how straight the Sasha compared to the two RTW curves? I’m grateful that the front doesn’t look worse on me, honestly. Hopefully, I can have a happy post sometime this week with a great fitting set of pants, but in the meantime, I feel like I learned a lot about what I need to do to make these work.

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Georgetown Cardigan

Time for a brief crafting digression. I started knitting during the winter of 2010-2011 because the December 2010 issue of BurdaStyle had a cute scarf in it. I figured I could make it, so I did (it helped that it was a simple 4×4 ribbed scarf). Naturally, thrilled that I had added another skill to my crafting repertoire, I did what comes naturally to any good crafter- I built a stash. I skipped the big box craft store phase and went straight for the local yarn shop. Furthermore, its presence right by my preferred grocery store meant I always had an excuse to drop in. Initially, I tried to stay away from hoarding yarn and contented myself with buying books but that didn’t last long. One afternoon during the summer of 2015, I was browsing the yarn and propped up nicely on the front counter was Hannah Fettig’s Home and Away. I love everything about the aesthetic of this book. Comfy warm sweaters, pretty Maine pictures, it’s like catnip for my knitting soul. From the first flip-through, I knew that I was going to make the Georgetown cardigan. I picked up the yarn December 2015 when I was stress shopping before my sister-in-law’s funeral, and this winter I finally did it.

The pattern is designed to be knitted either mostly seamless with top down sleeves or all in pieces and then seamed together. Well, I don’t like to follow directions, so I did the body mostly seamless, and then knit the sleeves bottom up and then sewed them to the body of the sweater.  I didn’t consider the fun of not seaming flat which is how it’s normally done, but it came together very nicely. On the whole it is not a complicated design but the 17,000 stitches in 1×1 ribbing for the collar did feel like it took forever (it didn’t- whole sweater start to finish was 2 months).

I had only six skeins of yarn to work with, so 1176 yards of worsted weight. This is the same yarn I used for the ribs and cables hat I posted three years ago. I still love knitting with it. It’s a sturdy feeling wool on the fingertips and extended knitting sessions would leave a touch of lanolin on the needles, but the quality is consistent, it’s domestic grown and milled, and I like it. The pattern said 1200 yards needed for the size 34″ bust. Well, my bust is a smidge bigger, but it’s an open front garment, so I swatched and then cast on for my sweater figuring it would work out okay in the end. I really thought I was going to be playing yarn chicken at the end to finish this, but no. I have an entire skein left over, so I could have made the size 38″ and had the intended positive ease. Oh well, I made the best decision I could with the information I had going into the project.

Overall, I like the final sweater, but I have learned some things that I would consider for my next sweater. The only shaping is a set of increases and decreases right along where the side seam would be if I had knitted in pieces. Those are fine, well and dandy, but I have a massive amount of extra fabric over the small of my back where I don’t need it, and could stand to have a bit more on the front. Also, the sleeve caps are whack. This pattern has the decreases worked as k2tog and ssk two stitches in from the edge of the sleeve. This made seaming easy because it was a vertical edge to a vertical edge. Problem arises that visually the sleeve starts past the decreases, out on my arm, so I think it doesn’t look as cleanly tailored as a set in sleeve ought to be. That one is just my personal take on it. Also it was weirdly puffy at the top and I was getting gauge, so I’m not sure why this happened. Others on Ravelry had noted that same issue with the top down sleeve so I don’t know what’s going on with the sleeves in this pattern.

Happy things from this project, the weird bent tip needles you see in YouTube videos demonstrating mattress stitching are life changing. I always dreaded seaming because I could never easily find the little stitch ladder and it would take forever. Having a needle that gets into the stitches and exposes the proper stitch makes the entire process go faster and more pleasantly. Love that I got a pack of those. Once I got the sleeves into the sweater last night and put it on, I have been loathe to remove it because it is so warm and snuggly feeling. Yay for successful knitting endeavors!

Meanwhile on the sewing front, I have the Sasha trousers from Closet Case Patterns cut out and ready to sew, but I keep finding excuses to not sew them (like needing to rethread the serger-lame!). That’s for Future Me to worry about though.