Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vogue 8499 - Marcy Tilton pants

For a long time I have been wanting to make this Marcy Tilton pattern, except I was planning to make the skirt. Then, when I finally decided it was time to tackle the Holy Grail of Sewing – the well fitting pant – I took a second look at these cute pants with the knee darts and the horizontal pockets. Though this pattern isn't designed to be closely fitted, even loose pants can be a challenge to fit.

In this case, I read the reviews on Pattern Review and, uniformly, people said that this pattern runs really large. According to the hip measurement (and I always sew pants/skirts based on my hip measurement because I have small hips and a very large waist and it's usually easiest for me to alter the waist, but YMMV) I should be a size 16.

Most Vogue patterns indicate the bust, waist, and hip location, along with the finished garment measurement at those points. For some odd reason, that is not true of this pattern, so I measured the flat pattern. I was very surprised to find that the finished garment measured somewheres around 55" for a size 6. (I am going by memory, but it was in this range.) Given that my hips are 40", which, according to Vogue, is a size 16, I am not surprised that people have been finding these pants to be oversized.

I decided to cut out a size 6, the smallest size available, and alter the waist. The back of the pant is gathered elastic, but the front uses a curved facing. This makes sense because the pockets do not lay well if the front waist is gathered.

I said I decided to cut out a size 6. I intended to cut out a size 6. However, I cut out all the pieces as a size 6 except one – the side back. The side back I cut out in a size 12. I did not notice the error at first. I made the muslin before I realized my mistake. But the muslin fit me well, so I decided to leave it this way for the final pant, but it was an accident, and I think the size 6 on the side back would have worked too. :)

I altered the pattern by increasing the waist, the front waist facing, and also the side front, where the pocket is located. The waist shaping begins in the pocket, so both the upper and lower side front were affected. Finally, I shortened the pants by 1.5" on the "lengthen or shorten here" line – I am 5'5".

The fabric I used is a Taslan that a friend gave me. She bought the Taslan from Mizono, back when she manufactured locally. It's a 100% nylon fabric, in a khaki green color, and has a wonderful drape – and these pants need a fabric with good drape.

I sewed these on a recent sewing retreat and, even though they have extensive top-stitching (even the knee darts are topstitched), they were fairly quick to sew up. Once they were finished, I found them to be comfortable to wear and flattering. Seven women at the retreat also tried them on and they fit everyone, even though they were different sizes and shapes. The only alterations needed were in the overall length, or to take in the waist. The pants fit around the hips, and flattered, every person who tried them on.

I love these pants and will definitely be making them again. And I still want to make that skirt...


Back. I had worn these for several hours so they are a bit rumpled.

Closeup of knee darts. A little hard to see, but all seams are top-stitched, even the darts.

Using the pocket

Closeup of pockets and front waist with facing

Sewing Workshop - Now Shirt

Another great pattern from Sewing Workshop!

I have recently seen several versions of the Now top, the Zen top, and a hybrid of both. I need more tops, so I decided to make the Now on my recent sewing retreat. This fabric, a wonderfully soft Italian cotton, was from Emma One Sock. I think. It might have been Gorgeous Fabrics. If you recognize it, please let me know. It is, essentially, a plaid, though of course it prominently features the circle motif that I love.

My alterations were pretty straight-forward: a dart (more on that in a bit), and I lengthened both the front and back by 4".

The most interesting feature of the Now is the collar. The pattern piece is a rectangle, and it is sewn to form a tube. You could cut the piece on the bias or line it with a contrasting fabric, though I made it as shown.

This top has no interfacing. The front bands are formed by folding the fabric over twice. They are not supposed to be top-stitched in place, but I mitered the hem and top-stitched the hem and front bands at the same time. The front of the collar is also folded over twice, but I put in a strip of interfacing because the collar was so soft – I didn't want the collar to collapse. I also made a pleat on the hem of the sleeves and sewed a button. I did not shorten the sleeves, which is very unusual for me, so they run a bit short.

You can see that the collar is a tube. You could pull a scarf through the collar, if you wanted to. The buttons are mother of pearl, but I used the back side.

I did learn one important thing from this pattern. I have not been adding my darts properly. I mostly focus on adding enough width, without thinking as much about the length. My sewing friends pointed out, very correctly, that I need to add at least another 1.5" to the length at center front. I am very glad to learn this and will modify the pattern correctly next time. Thanks, you guys. :)