Sunday, February 21, 2010

Au Bonheurs des Petites Mains - Capri Pants w/ Pocket (PL000002)

Well, it was only a matter of time. Since returning to sewing for myself last August, I had avoided making pants. I had a few pair of purchased pants that fit me pretty well and I was none to eager to join the quest for the Well-Fitting-Pants-Pattern Grail.

Nevertheless, I told myself I would make a pair of pants for the 2010 Swap on Stitcher's Guild and... It. Was. Time.

This Au Bonheurs pattern comes in sizes 36 - 46 and 48 - 60. I purchased the smaller size and traced off a size 46, removing the zipper and replacing it with an elastic waist. I made a muslin out of green bathrobe velour and tried it on. Yowza. The pant technically "fit" me. By that I mean it went around me with no problem, but it was very low waisted (yuck) and it gave me such a wedgie!!! Hello!

I decided that, before proceeding, I needed to perfect the fit on another pattern. I chose the very popular One Seam pants pattern by Louise Cutting. I chose this pattern because I have seen many sewists have success with it (and rave about it) and because it has no side seam. The Au Bonheurs pattern also has no side seam.

I traced off the One Seam tapered pants pattern in a Medium – the pattern includes both a tapered leg and a straight leg design. Once again, I made up a muslin using the green bathrobe velour I had picked up at a recent BABES meeting. I am not a pants fitting expert, but I could see there was too much fabric at the crotch, so I slashed the pattern 9" down from the waist, beginning at CF and going across to the CB, leaving a hinge. (The hinge was 5/8" from the CB, so I made a tiny slash from the CB edge.) I overlapped the pieces by 3/4", removing 1 1/2" vertically from the pattern.

Feeling rather brave (and without another muslin), I laid the One Seam pattern over the Au Bonheurs pattern and transferred the differences to the Au Bonheurs. The primary change was additional crotch length to the back crotch curve. (Good bye, extreme wedgie!) I also lengthened the Au Bonheurs pant by 2 inches. The original capri length was a bit too short for me.

I then cut directly into the fashion fabric, which is a substantial black knit with a slight rib. I am not sure where I got this fabric, because I tend to buy black fabrics in quantity and I don't recall the lineage of each one. :)

This is a quick pattern to sew up, especially if (like me) you don't have to bother with a zipper. The leg is fairly full, and there are two horizontal tucks in each leg, so a drapey fabric is a must. There is a pocket on one leg, and I put it on the left leg. The bottom of each leg is slightly gathered into a band, so no hemming is required. That was nice because this fabric would have been a pain to hem. Once I had the pants completed, except for the waistband, I tried them on with elastic tied around my waist. I ended up shortening approximately 2.5" - 3" from the top edge. I marked the new waist seam with pins while it was on my body. I removed the pants, cut the excess fabric off, and sewed on the waistband.

I was thinking of using the "Elephant Ear" pocket pattern from the One Seams pants on these, but I decided against it since I was still perfecting the fit. But if I make these pants again, I do plan to add a pocket.

Yes, these photos were taken in the rain. :)

These are a fun and funky design. The fit is not bad, but I think I could do even better. In fact, in the middle of this project, I signed up for a fit clinic next month at the Sewing Workshop. I think some additional help is in order. Before then, I plan to sew up muslins from several other pants patterns, like Loes Hinse Cruise and Oxford pants. Maybe I should try one of the Sewing Workshop pants as well. I'm open to suggestions. :)

Oh, and I now have a new pair of pajama bottoms using the One Seam pattern. The fit isn't great, because they were made from the original One Seams pattern, before I made any alterations, but they are certainly good enough for pajamas. :)