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project 15: the pants that never end

Oh my gaaaawd, guys. I just spent the last week making a piece of clothing that I have MADE TWICE before. Wtf.

What happened was: jersey.
The material is some kind of knit jersey (yellow rose print) and it was only a 1.5 meter cut in the bargain bin at Mabuchi. (1000 yen is a bargain??? Only in Japan.) I was in the market for some new pjs after an audible rip in my beloved blue stripey ones.

I lucked out in that the 1.5 meters meant the width, not the selvage length (which was only 1 meter), so the grain (read: stretchy) part would go across the right (read: booty) part of the pajamas.

In an act of sewing karma, the blue stripeys were sacrificed to annoint the new pajamas.
pajama sacrifice

So, these started out as normal. I pinned down a pre-existing garment as a pattern, drew freehand with a very unprofessional inkpen, and cut out the fabric. But then, I had a realization.

This shit's stretchy.

I was plagued with doubts. How is it going to feed through my machine? Do I need a special needle? What stitch do I use? Do I have to pull on it? (Note: DON'T PULL ON IT!)

After hours of googling, note-taking, and drinking, I came to a few conclusions.
  1. You DO need a special needle. A ball-point pushes between fibers rather than piercing them. (Says this lady.)
  2. OMG, do they really come in different sizes? Damn.
  3. You can leave your ends un-hemmed. They'll just roll up! (Says this lady.)
  4. You can use a double-needle for topstitching. (Would have come in very handy if I had read this one first. By this lady, whom I adore.)
  5. Everything will go wrong.
  6. Keep red wine away from your fabric. The carpet had it coming.

These graphs are worth copying and pasting, though I think I'll just throw a dart at them to decide which needle to use in the future. They're kinda cryptic.

EXPLANATION here, if you dare...

And so, it was determined that the needle I'd been using all along was a general-purpose 90/14 (lucky!) and I switched to one that looked a bit rounder. (Ha!) I found out that my sewing machine had a setting which could work as a poor-girl's overlock (Thanks, Gertie).

Then came lots of sewing. While drinking. And looking at this good old tutorial, which I used on the boyfriend pants. (Key point: pants should have more fabric in the back than the front, and a slightly longer crotch seam. "Easy" patterns that say you can use one-sized cut for all 4 pieces are crap. Crap, I tell you!)

And then, in the morning, I did MORE sewing! And when I got home from work, I did MORE sewing. Then, I finished the last seam (love that setting number 11!) and tried on my slinky, stretchy, soft and comfy masterpiece... just to find that they were about 3 inches too short.

Now, if there's one thing a tall girl hates, it's short pants. I loathe them. Long legs deserve full coverage and warm ankles, it's like the American Dream.

So I devised myself a plan (that should be the envy of most any man) and created my own false hem. (Or maybe you'd call it a cuff?)

In a nutshell, I rolled a piece of 28x15cm fabric, cut on the grain, into a loop, sewed it shut, folded the hems, and folded it in half. (After two more days and a disastrous first cuff, which literally resulted in crying, I made sure to fold one side longer than the other--the longer side goes under your pantleg, so you're sure to catch it with the needle. Same logic as the bias tape we saw last week!)

This is the result!!


And super completely uneven. Also, all my tugging at the stretchy fabric made this fun UFO effect at the ankles. They kindof hover in the air and float around me when I walk. Fun!

But, by god, they are LONG ENOUGH!

As a final touch, I bought 1 meter of yellow ribbon for the drawstring. (To be threaded through the buttonholes in the waistband.) As if fate were laughing at me, it turns out that 1 meter is not enough to go around my waist and then make a bow. Typical.

I'm so glad it's over!!


Japan-a-lana said...

Yeeeesh, Jersey. You are so brave and are learning a lot! Strechy fabrics are not easy. I finished my WW pjs and am half finished my Sailor Moon ones. I was right, there won't be enough fabric for full length pjs. So capris it is!

Emily said...

Thanks, Alana! And I love how sewing brings out the ingenuity in us... don't have enough fabric? Capris it is! Screw up your pleated dress? It's a t-shirt instead! Good luck with the pjs. Where did you get your pattern from?

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