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project 14 - Best Friend Pants

So, we're gonna take a wild turn into non-chronological territory!! Hold on to your seats!

Today was my friend's birthday. My friend loves trains. She really, really loves trains. Especially this train.

Photo by http://www.jamaipanese.com
It's the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train that connects Tokyo to the northernmost tip Aomori (Tohoku represent!) all the way down to Kyushu. It's sexy, fast, and occasionally they cover it with Pokemon. My friend will travel no other way.

Turn down your volume...

Japan also loves the Shinkansen. My local shop carries not one, but four cartoon shinkansen-print cotton fabrics. So I made them into pants!

The fabric, while adorable, isn't really suited for comfy pjs. I've seen loads of little boys walking around festivals in Shink gimbei (kid's kimonos), so I assume that's the main purpose. Because it's not stretchy, I made sure to go with the grain when cutting my pieces. (I could have cut on the bias, but I didn't have enough fabric.) I used two meters, which was just barely enough to cover my short friend's pj size.

I also made a pocket!! I couldn't settle for just any pocket, either, it had to be a five-sided bias taped pocket. Don't ask me why. I had to use three different tutorials just to wrap my mind around bias taping corners. (And three of them are obtuse!! As in, not acute. The slower, more challenged math student might spend the better part of an hour confusing the two and looking up the wrong tutorials. Just a warning.) I even made a test-pocket, which kindof looks like Idaho. (Idaho and test pocket not pictured.)

Procedure Highlights:
  • Ruining the surprise by asking friend to lend me her pajama pants to use as a pattern. There was literally no other way I could get them from her. She's half my size, and borrowing them for any other purpose just seemed too unbelievable. Lack of surprise compensated for by awesomeness.
  • A serious lesson in drape. Not only is this fabric not stretchy, but it also just doesn't "lay" right. Not scientific, very subtle. Will make online fabric shopping difficult.
  • BIAS TAPE!! I bought some navy bias tape from the store, I didn't make it. It's also rough and I would have gone with something silkier upon retrospection. But damn, is that stuff handy. I used it for the drawstring, for the Idaho practice pocket AND the real pocket, and I have enough leftover to tease cats with now. Except I hate cats.
  • And that's it! I already made the Boyfriend PJ Pants (coming soon to a blog near you), with THIS TUTORIAL, so there were few surprises here.
  1. Elastic waistband, puckery-stitched instead of making a casing;
  2. crotch angles and sizes from a pre-existing garment;
  3. triple-stitching inside seams with my favorite machine setting. The usual!
  4. I had to make the leg hems very, very small since I didn't have much seam allowance to spare.
Next time maybe I'll try to pattern completely from measurements and not from pre-existing pants. Because I love pain.
Fabric: 2 meters cotton


Japan-a-lana said...

These are spectacular! Did she like them? Bias makes all the difference, Em. You are way beyond me in sewing techniques, but you are self-taught. So let me just say bias is fundamental. Bias makes the stretch. The pocket is phenomenal! I need your sewing advice when you come over this weekend. I'm trying to finish up projects so I can sell my machine.

Anonymous said...

It's Train Travel Time Today!

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