You all know how I rave on about how well Coni Crawford Butterick 5222 pants fit all my clients. Her pattern comes with a waistband and fly front but I modify
/eliminate those 2 features to be less bulky by making a facing instead and using an invisible zipper like the big boys/ high end designers use.
I was telling the two private label reps here in town-Carlisle and Doncaster that I felt that I must have altered 40 pair of pants for one of their clients in the past 2 years. Sure enough when I went back through all the invoices…there were exactly 40 along with multiple jackets and blouses and skirts with almost the same amount…picture her closet…no don’t.
But anyway, what I have seen is a trend toward invisible zippers, mainly down one side seam to make them a bitch for we seamstresses to alter and all sorts of smaller facings inside to keep them close to the body. In my world, I have been putting invisible zippers right up the center front of my other client’s pant along with custom shaped facings using the same fabric. Sounds simple enough but getting the shaping just right by folding out the darts in the main front and back pattern pieces and re-drawing out a new facing piece to fit isn’t always as nice as planned. It still adds bulk and a ridge depending on the fabric and the thickness of the body part/curvy hips below.
So, I thought about using 1 inch braided, NOT non-roll elastic instead on the last pair of wool crepe pants. My environmentally concerned clients pre-wash their wool fabrics (buy 1/4 yard extra for shrinking!) so as to avoid dry cleaning visits and sewing on that type of wool is a dream. The weave has a slight stretch and loftiness that curves and molds itself over hips and butts and tummies so it is a perfect combo with soft elastic. Below are the photos and steps I used:
Let’s get it ready for elastic placement…Clean finish the top edge using your serger or pinking shears. I use the serger foot as a guide placing it along the stay stitching and chalked lines. Continue to the other end:
You will need to now fold the zipper onto itself right side together, you can see the interfacing on the back of the invisible zipper. Then place the bottom edge of the elastic right along the stay stitching and using a longer stitch for stretch, just stitch close to the edge. Then trim off the tails flush with the folded edge of the zipper. Trim off the corners of fabric under the elastic and any thick edge of the zipper tape hiding before you flip all this to the right side.
The finished waistband with hook and eye and supreme comfort. Now your fabric needs to give a little to make this work…a little spandex content or forgiving weave like wool crepe is a perfect match. There will be gaps of fabric between the tacking sites but the elastic will stretch to fill the gaps when worn. So curvy girls can enjoy the snug fit without a bulky or binding waistband where they have no waist or extra skin folding over the top of their pants.
That reminds me of the issue of crotch depth…how many times do you see unhappy sewers modelling their newly sewn pants with the center back seam crawling up their crack? The pants fit OK in front and then the dreaded back view. They ask us “What do you think” on their blogs and I want to scream…”DROP THAT CROTCH SEAM”…but usually I don’t. Women fail to measure themselves or know the amount needed to run from the belly button to center back. Hey…before you cut one more paper pattern please measure from belly button to va-jay-jay and from va-jay-jay to center back waist…write it down…now measure your paper pattern. Does it match the pattern? Probably not. Many of my curvy clients measure 31 inches from front to back- that is 13 inches in front and 18 in back. Try finding that in most patterns…I dare you…well Coni Crawford knows women come with those dimensions and she raises center back in the larger sizes so when you or your client sits down that back seam does not sneak down and expose your undies. She also eliminates the bagginess under the butt and back thighs…how does she do this…is it magic? No, it is proper drafting and paying attention to real women and using industry techniques that many pattern companies leave out.
Before I leave you I want to share a hazard of sewing for brides that most people don’t know…OK maybe my friend in Georgia who works at a David’s Bridal is familiar with this phenomenon. After my newest bride has been standing for 30 minutes, knees locked staring at herself in the big mirror and spot lights on her white dress she says she feels funny. I stand up from pinning her 3 layers of silk chiffon hems and her eyes roll back, her face turns purple and her knees fold up and her arms droop. Holy crap…this girl is either fainting or going to have a seizure. I reach around her, give her a bear hug and drag her to a chair. She is given a huge glass of water and while she sits there sweating like a pig she says, “Maybe I should have eaten something today”… it is 2:30 pm… a starving fasting bride is no fun and with her wedding 8 days away on the 18th she thinks this will make her more photo ready…GUESS AGAIN! What it will get you is a chair to use on the altar or collapsing before you say those vows. Be a star in your own wedding, get on YouTube and embarrass yourself before the reception that your parents paid a fortune for…brides…wearing a white/ivory dress makes them loopy for sure!