Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Steampunk Orange: Laughing Moon California Pants (Part 2)

Okay, so I grossly underestimated this pattern.  I expected it to be doable in 15 hours of sewing time - and it might be the second time through the pattern, but I've been working on these evenings and weekends for five days and I haven't even gotten the inseam in yet.  I am not a particularly fast sewist, I admit, but still.  Including making a quick muslin and planning for a simple modification, it took me about ten workroom hours just to get the pattern tissues prepared and my fashion fabric cut out.

Commercially available patterns - the kind you buy at the fabric store - are rated  by how many pieces they have in the pattern compared to how many pieces are in a block for that type of garment.  A pants block has just two pieces; my favorite jeans pattern has eight pieces and is rated by the company as "easy".  Really, getting a good fit for jeans should make it more like an "average" pattern.  The Laughing Moon pants pattern has 22 pieces and includes a couple of kind of tricky things to construct.  Unlike most patterns, many of the interfacings have their own pattern pieces.

It has set-in pockets on the front (like jeans) and double welt pockets in the back; it also features a crotch gusset, an elaborate button fly, a fit gusset and split waistband at the back; the waistband has a separate lining and a curtain facing.  A lot of these are things that you only find on pretty high-end menswear these days.

Double welt pockets with bartacks at the end.  I know, hard to see because it's white on white.
More after the cut!

I suffer from fly anxiety.  I can't say I rightly understand how a zipper fly goes together; I just cross my fingers, follow the pattern instructions (even the ones on the back of a zipper package work fine), and then voila, I wind up with a working zipper fly.  This button fly gave me the heebie-jeebies as I read through the instructions, but it turns out to be more sensible to do than the aforementioned zipper fly.  If you take on this pattern, don't let all the fussy pieces in the fly intimidate you.  I apologize for the photos - it's tough to see the details, since I'm working in white on white.

The closed fly.
The open fly.  You can barely see the buttonholes, but they're there.

I haven't sewn the crotch gusset in my fashion fabric yet, but I did for my muslin; it also turns out to be not too tough to do - just be careful to carefully mark the pattern markings on your fabric's wrong side.

One place the pattern instructions were poor is on edge finishing.  The pattern just says "finish all eges by hand overcasting, zigzag, or serging."   I don't really like to do that places that will be enclosed as it adds bulk, so I've been serging seam allowances as needed as I go.  This is among the things that will be WAY WAY easier the next time around, because I'll know ahead what needs to be finished and what to do before I sew.

The pattern offers multiple cuts and that has helped - it's VERY easy to pick one that will fit well the first time out.  The pattern itself is nicely done up; all the parts fit together properly and the markings are clear and make sense.  The one downside is that the multi-size patterns are sometimes a bit confusing if you're not using the largest size (and, like me, aren't willing to cut the pattern out on the size you want because you may want to make it again in a different size); they made it a bit tough to cut out accurately as well, but I had good luck using transfer paper and a tracing wheel.

I am not finished with these pants, but could reasonably finish them in another two evenings (or one serious weekend session) given someone to help make sure they're hemmed to the right length.  I still have the inseam, the waistband, and the hems, plus buttons.  I will definitely post pictures as soon as I've wrapped them up.

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