Doing the Pants Dance

I threw you off today, didn’t I?  No song related title.  Hah!  I am unpredictable like that.  Or something.  It’s possible I just got lazy.  Realistically, there was no way for me to keep that going forever.  Anyhoo.

You would think after sewing 8 pairs of pajama pants, that I would be a pro at pants. I certainly figured I could handle a pants pattern with the words “sew fast & easy” on it in large print.  I chose Butterick 4861, View A (in the picture below, View A is the top left set of blue capris).

These pants are the third and final piece of my Steampunk costume. I did the cutting of the nice burgundy stretch moleskin for this pattern a few weeks ago. A few days ago, I re-read the instructions and began piecing the pattern together.

I got as far as step 1 before I got thoroughly confused by my pattern instructions. Really?! Surely by now you know this is only adding fuel to the fire of my hatred for pattern instructions.

I had to work with the pocket pieces first, putting right sides of the pocket fabric and lining together, and stitching along the seam line for both curved edges. Here is what the pattern instructions said:

I have understitched before, both times on facings for necklines. But I could not for the life of me figure out why or how I was supposed to understitch with the pocket pieces already stitched together.  I’ve never been told to understitch through both pieces … the point is to keep the understitching from being shown on the outside / front of your garment.

I had the following conversation with Elizabeth at this point, via text messages, as we often do when we are sewing remotely:

Me:  “Reading my pants pattern. The waistband requires ease stitching … I hate that. And the zipper part talks about possibly shortening the zipper stop.  Eeeek!”
Me:  “And there is slipstitching.  Mother f*****.  This pattern lies – it is not easy.”
E:  Omg.  That’s awful.  But we can do this.
E: Is that really an “easy” pattern?
Me: “It says six sew fast & easy on the pattern.  fail.  currently trying to figure out how to understitch a pocket…”
E:  “Wow… I think an amendment to the pattern rant is in order.”
Me:  “Quite possibly.”
E:  “Damn them all. I still say we can do it.”
Me: “It bothers me that I have understitched before AND that this is the 1st step of the pattern and I don’t get it.”
E: “I understand.  Also, step one?!  Holy f***.”
Me: “Mmmhmmm.  Grunt.”
E: “Good luck, my friend.  It’ll be ok.”
Me: “I am wondering if I should not have done both sides before understitching.  But the picture is ass.”
E:  “I do not understand why this is the first thing you have to do.”
Me: “This is a different type of pocket than we’ve done. Kinda goes on the outside of the pants, like jeans.”
E:  “Yikes”
Me: “F*** it.  No understitching.”
E:  “Yes!!”
E:  “Excellent plan.”
Me: “Are you doing any sewing? Tell me of your sewing so I can forget how much I hate pattern instructions.”

I am so thankful for our banter, whether it is in person or remote.  Keeps me sane.  Or at least, it keeps my sewing machine in one piece.

At this point, I do not regret my decision to not understitch the pockets. Still have no clue why it was necessary.  Here are my pockets, the one on the right is inside out still, the one on the left is turned out and ironed (without understitching).  The arrow points to the seam that the pattern wanted me to understitch.  If anyone can enlighten me to what I was supposed to do here and why I will hate myself later, please let me know.

Next I attached the pockets to the front of the pants.  I basted across the open ends to attach them. I also learned a new term – “edgestitch” which strangely is a lot like it sounds. I straight stitched down the bottom curved edge of the pocket, as close as I could get without falling off the edge. Think of the pockets on your jeans, that is the type of pocket this project has.

The next steps are the scary ones, involving the zipper at the “fly” of the jeans. I had to stitch a portion of that front seam to start with. I even marked my fabric with chalk lines and symbols, you should be proud of me!

After the stitching, I pressed the left seam back (markings AND ironing? Insanity, I know), and examined the exact positioning of the zipper.

The yellow line in the above picture represents where the bottom of my zipper should be.  The instructions mentioned that I might have to create a new stop for the zipper by “whipstitching” over the zipper teeth.  It was time to confer with Elizabeth again.

Me:  “Wtf is ‘whipstitch’? is that in your sewing book?”
E:  “It is not. That shit sounds made up. Are you sure this pattern wasn’t printed on April 1st or something?”

Hey Easy Pattern! What’s with all the new terms?! Elizabeth’s sewing book didn’t even know that one.  Even sadder, this pattern actually had a glossary of terms at the front … but whipstitch was not in it.  Luckily The Google mentioned that it was like overcasting. I selected a zigzag stitch because it had the most options for changing stitch width  (6.5) and length (0.5). I am not sure how I feel the new stop will hold up to the test of time, but I feel like it will work.  I forgot to take a picture of the new zipper stop, but  I will have a picture for next post, I promise.   I think I have one or two sewing sessions left with the pants, based on the pattern, but we’ll see.  Probably 2.  These things better fit and look good with the rest of the costume when I am done with them!


4 comments for “Doing the Pants Dance

  1. ali
    April 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

    my experience is only in kids clothing, but understitching a pocket sounds like a load of crap to me! Unless of course you plan on filling your pockets with more pirates gold than could realistically even fit in them. Pattern instructions suck big time.

  2. April 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    This post gave me a good laugh this morning. I love it. I’m still annoyed by “whipstitch.” Sounds kinda painful, like whiplash.

  3. Jill F.
    April 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve had to do that with zippers before. It’s really no big deal. You just stitch back and forth (or around and around) over the place where you want the zipper to stop… and then stitch about 50 more times to make sure it actually DOES stop. 😉 I usually do it by hand but you can do it by machine.
    I also cut lots and lots of corners (figuratively and literally) when I use regular clothing patterns for costume purposes. It doesn’t need to be as finished or strong, and velcro works just as well as zippers and buttons if it’s not going to show. 😉

    • jadesabre9
      April 13, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Good advice, Jill 🙂 Thanks. I’m glad I did the zipper stop by machine, the stitches seem pretty tight, and I definitely went over them repeatedly … so paranoid LOL


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