Finding 4 Extra Inches

The last 2 pair of pants for my client involved adding more knit wedges but since it meant cutting through a shaped waistband/yoke I saved the tougher ones for last…yes, I can and do that. Using that same swimsuit knit I cut 2 rectangles and pinned and attached to the pants section below the waist:black-and-white-wedge-insid

But the really problem child was the second one…bias, shaped and faced with no side seam…no side seam? 1-slash-waistband The lower wedge is already attached, chalk where I am going to cut,

2-cut-away Great…now what can we put there? How about 2 inch wide elastic?3-both-sides Remove understitching on facing,4-attach-elastic open out the waistband and stitch the elastic to the front only.

5-fold-over-facing then fold facing back over the front and stitch 3/4 way down.

6-one-side-sewn Pull elastic to reveal clean finish on one side, repeat to other side. Since we did not sew all the way down to the bound facing edge we have something to lay flat for the finishing topstitching.7-inside-facingRight side ready to attach to pants8-ready-to-attach Using an 1/4 inch seam let’s attach the front side:9-attach-to-waist10-clip-seam To get the elastic section to lay flat and the fabric to flip up under the facing for the topstitching, I clip both sides and flip.11-topstitch Topstitching stops at either side of elastic.12-inside Fold under the remaining little flaps and stitch vertically along the fabric parallel with the elastic.13-topstitch14-finished So that is how to treat 2 separate sections. Could I have just sliced through everything in the beginning and treated it like the first pair of pants? Sure, but the knit is flimsy and would not have been a good match with the double layer of fabric and facing. This way the waist is held snugly and the hips have some stretch and it will all be covered with a blouse…Does it bother me that the sections are different widths and don’t line up? Not at all since they both needed different degrees of stretch and recovery. Remember…Mrs Mole CAN sew couture when she has to but these are everyday pants here and they need solutions that can handle a lot of use and not bag out after one wearing.

Before I go back to the brides, I want to share today’s harvest from the garden. Mr Mole says showing photos of veggies is sort of like bragging…I told him, I didn’t do anything to make them grow so the good Lord is just gifting them to me:

Happy summer sewing and welcome to all the new followers!

 

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22 Responses to Finding 4 Extra Inches

  1. Theresa says:

    Always a marvel and what a great tutorial to have at ones finger tips. Thank you!

  2. mrsmole says:

    Happy to help and share and even more happy that the forest fire in your area has been controlled, Theresa!!!

  3. How wonderful! I also sew for others, and everyone asks why I do it and don’t I want to sew for me? But it’s problem solving challenge that I love. Ball gowns are nice to do, but giving a garment new life is fantastic and I appreciate your sharing these with us.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ain’t it fun, Gloria? And aren’t we lucky to have so many resources online to make our dreams come true? Even in my rural town we have a JoAnn’s that had the right elastic. My pants clients asks me, “Why don’t all pants come this way with knit wedges?”…actually…why don’t they?

  4. Debbie says:

    I always look forward to your posts! I refuse to do alterations, excepts for hems, so I appreciate all the techniques you share with us. Also your comments on the customers who say, ” All you have to do is …. ” . Then if it is so simple they should do it themselves, right? I love to see your harvest too. Good day, Mrs. Mole. Your friend, Debbie

  5. mrsmole says:

    Thanks, Debbie…even simple takes time. I could cut my own bangs…simple right? But they would look like I did them…I’d rather pay my hairdresser to do a good job. Lots of women tell me they make table runners and pillows…that’s great but a wedding gown is a bit more “muy complicado” with layers and layer of layers and layers attached to a fussy bride and mother….ha ha.

  6. Bunny says:

    Amazing, your skill and your fortitude! What’s that leafy veggie on the far right, really? Nice harvest!

  7. mrsmole says:

    Hi Bunny, that is red tipped lettuce…in fact as it was going to seed, so I used the very top as a feature in a flower arrangement…with little seed heads…so pretty!

  8. Marsha says:

    I just love seeing how you do these unusual alterations, but I’m always left feeling that your clients must be a bit..ummm…eccentric? Since these are just everyday pants, wouldn’t it be easier (and probably cheaper) for the client to just buy pants that are big enough to begin with? Or have some made to fit? I guess my problem is that I’m too logical!

    • mrsmole says:

      My clients have unusual requests usually because of body issues or medical devices.There are few seamstresses who want to mess with complex alterations that require lots of brain power. Having a blog almost forces me to take these things on so I can share them with all of you.

  9. accordion3 says:

    Marsha said it for me. The alterations you do are astonishing, but, why do your clients make life so hard for themselves? I’m guessing that asking you to fit a pair of pants from scratch would be a similar cost and have so much better outcomes for themselves.

    I use Lycra as a pocket stay on pleated pants. Gives me some wriggle rom and keeps the pleats nice and flat.

    • mrsmole says:

      Most clients have spent a tidy sum on nice pants and just want a quick fix and my prices are reasonable and in this community we can trade services if they work at their own business so altering pants sometimes gets me a facial or massage. To make pants from scratch would always include a muslin and lots of fitting and pinning time which I don’t have with deadlines and brides so “eccentric” solutions work for me…fingers crossed.

  10. JustGail says:

    I could use that waistband alteration on a few pants I have – even in my thinner days, I had to choose between waist or hips fitting well in RTW. I’ll need acquire some wide elastic and swimsuit fabric….speaking of which – I bookmarked a couple of places you linked to for supplies in past posts, have you ever done a posting just on your favorite suppliers, supplies and tools you use? Some of the things they sell in stores I have easy access to are ok for occasional use or fast crafty projects, but for things you want to last a while, not so much.

    And a question on your garden – on July 4 you posted photos of it, and in the photo right before Mr. Mole, what are those square black raised beds made from? Your garden looks lovely, I’m thinking I need to go back to raised beds, running the disc through the ground every year spreads the weed seeds from end to end, so I’m looking for ideas on what to use.

    Did your schooling in fashion/fitting help with learning alterations? I know it would be useful with seeing where the problems are and what changes need to be made, but did it help with the actual dismantling/reassembling work? Or was that hands-on learn as you go and ask other seamstresses if you got stuck? Fascinating business, but i confess, I’m glad I’m not in it 🙂 !

    I recently wandered into your blog following interesting comments on another blog (Peter’s?) and I just spent several weeks reading through your entire past postings, I rarely do that. I love the way you convey your frustrations with a healthy dose of humour.

    • mrsmole says:

      So many questions Gail…here goes…The raised beds are heavy plastic that come with covers and are made in Utah. We bought ours at Costco for $99 each. We move them around and use the covers in the winter to keep the snow and hungry birds off the lettuce and chard. My college degree did not include alterations unless it was in the paper pattern for grading. The course was designed to take students into the industry and work for manufacturers. In the draping classes, 2 years solid, we took the draped muslins back down to paper and back again to muslins to prove our designs. Our models were the industry mannequins who were perfect bodies…bitches. Working with many human bodies and gingham gave me an eye for grain lines and that is the key to good fit. I encourage everyone to make a gingham muslin where you can see where the problems are immediately. As far as time when I may get stuck, I don’t ask anyone for help since I have never had anyone interested in that area of sewing. I use older techniques, don’t own a blindhemmer and would never trust anyone else to sew on my projects. Peter’s blog has sent me many new followers…he just has so much freedom to go nuts and living in NY the world is his oyster! I envy the blogs when he has a real gathering of other bloggers and they spend the day shopping and eating…heaven!

  11. JustGailj says:

    I could use that waistband alteration on a few pants I have – even in my thinner days, I had to choose between waist or hips fitting well in RTW. I’ll need acquire some wide elastic and swimsuit fabric….speaking of which – I bookmarked a couple of places you linked to for supplies in past posts, have you ever done a posting just on your favorite suppliers, supplies and tools you use? Some of the things they sell in stores I have easy access to are ok for occasional use or fast crafty projects, but for things you want to last a while, not so much.

    And a question on your garden – on July 4 you posted photos of it, and in the photo right before Mr. Mole, what are those square black raised beds made from? Your garden looks lovely, I’m thinking I need to go back to raised beds, running the disc through the ground every year spreads the weed seeds from end to end, so I’m looking for ideas on what to use.

    Did your schooling in fashion/fitting help with learning alterations? I know it would be useful with seeing where the problems are and what changes need to be made, but did it help with the actual dismantling/reassembling work? Or was that hands-on learn as you go and ask other seamstresses if you got stuck? Fascinating business, but i confess, I’m glad I’m not in it 🙂 !

    I recently wandered into your blog following interesting comments on another blog (Peter’s?) and I just spent several weeks reading through your entire past postings, I rarely do that. I love the way you convey your frustrations with a healthy dose of humour.

  12. June says:

    I so appreciate your inventive solutions! Great call with the 2-in elastic!

    I just successfully altered a pair of shorts and am way too pleased with myself, meager skills and all. I have a question for you, if I may – do you have any tips for ripping out very dense, tight stitches like bar tacks? I had to remove a bunch of bar-tacked belt loops, and damn if I couldn’t stop myself from slicing into the fabric. Lucky that I was making the shorts smaller, so the tiny hole ended up in the new seam allowance, but I kept thinking that a better way must exist!!! Maybe just more patience? I use a Clover ripper, not a scalpel or razor, and I think it is still reasonably sharp. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes June the shorts were made as http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/greige_goods
      The manufacturer can make thousands of one version and then have them dyed as they are ordered..clever? The same happens with the white showing on side seams and pockets where the dye did not soak through or the thread prevented it being absorbed…just another thing to watch for! Felt markers usually fix the problem.

  13. mrsmole says:

    Oh June…bar-tacks…I ripped so many off of the altered pants when I was removing all the belt loops…I found that using a cheap seam ripper (red or blue handle) on the wrong side kept me from doing a lot of damage and also using a scalpel to slice across the most prominent stitches on the back side helped as well…then you can safely pull from the front and sneak the seam ripper under those stitches and wiggle and lift. The thing is…bar-tacks are meant to stay put…ha ha. Wouldn’t be great if we could microwave them off and be done with it?

    • June says:

      Thanks for the tips! I noticed that when I rip the fabric, it tends to be toward the end of the seam – I now attribute that to impatience. Getting the first stitch open on the back side is hardest part. A funny thing that I noticed – the shorts are a solid navy blue throughout, but when I removed the belt loops, the fabric was white under the bar-tacked area (both the loop and waistband) and the threads were partly navy and partly white!?! Could it be that the pant were dyed AFTER assembly? In what world does that make sense?

  14. Kathy says:

    Dear Mrs. Mole,
    One of the joys of finding a new-to-me blog is being able to binge-read all your postings from the beginning – so interesting and helpful, certainly, but it’s your sense of humor that just has me laughing so hard I’m almost crying. Where do these rude, demanding, and supercilious customers come from? I’m secretly thrilled (saying to myself “YES!”) when you hold true to your boundaries and give them a little lesson in civility and even refuse their business. Love that! You are a superhero! Thank you for such an entertaining read!
    Best wishes,
    Kathy

    • mrsmole says:

      Welcome Kathy…thank you for reading through 4 years of posts…whew, that is a lot of diet Dr. Pepper! Who would ever imagine in my small rural town all these distinct personalities would emerge? What started as a blog to bitch and moan about clients has evolved into a nice place to share secrets of sewing and wacky brides.

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