Sunday, January 28, 2007

Simplicity 5562 - Drawstring Pants - 1st Project - Completed July 2006

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Before I took up sewing in July 2006, the only garment I had ever made was a pair of elastic-waist crop pants that I made when I was in my early teens.

So for my first project, I went for crop pants again, using Simplicity pattern #5562. I made View C.

This was one of several patterns that I found by going through Simplicity's online catalog. I really like being able to search for patterns that way, versus having to go to a fabric store and troll through the paper catalogs.

One thing you get with the Simplicity site is a very nice "Design" view of the pattern. With it, you can see the front design picture, line drawings of the front and back, and a view of the back of the envelope. For the last, you will need the Adobe Reader installed on your computer.

With that information, I was able to get an idea of the size I would need, and the amount of fabric I would need.

Lesson #1 - Don't let the pattern sizes throw you!!!!

I had a rough idea of my measurements when I started and OMG!!!! According to those, I needed to get a size 20!!!! I figured "Holy Smokes! That can't be right!".

Well my friends, it is right - well mostly right anyway. There is a standard sizing method that all the major pattern makers (and most of the independents too) use to size their patterns. The result is that the size you need to get in a pattern rarely matches what you normally get in a RTW (Ready-To-Wear) garment.

Sometimes the size you need will be smaller. Most of the time though, I think people find their pattern size is larger than their RTW size (mostly because of RTW "vanity" sizing). The best advice I've heard for this is to buy the size you need. You're making the garment yourself - no one need ever know what size you used to get there.

I ended up going with a size that was closer to my RTW size (size 16). As it turned out, it was the right size to get, but for the wrong reasons. I didn't learn about why until after this project was done though.

I picked my initial set of patterns up at WalMart. While I was there, I picked out some fabric for the project. My DMIL had made my DD a cute little circle skirt out of a fabric with a butterfly print. There were two variations of that fabric available and I purchased some with a blue background (my DD's has a black background).

Oh yeah, and I picked up my sewing machine too while I was there. :)

Lesson #2a - Read the instructions...

With this first project, my goal was get through the basics. So I read the instructions beforehand very thoroughly and followed them very closely during construction. The only thing I changed was the pockets.

Lesson #2b - but feel free to deviate as needed or desired

I wanted the leg finishing on View C, but not the cargo style pockets. The pockets I wanted were in View D. It looked like a simple enough change to make and it indeed turned out to be relatively simple. When doing this sort of thing, you want to be sure to notate the changes, or mark them directly on your pattern instructions. That way you don't get lost in the middle of construction.

With one slight exception, this pattern turned out to be a great beginning pattern to work with. I knew a little about sewing before I started, and the instructions were pretty complete and complimented what knowledge I had very well. The pants are fairly loose and the pattern seems to forgive slight mistakes easily. So this is definitely a pattern to try out early on in your sewing adventure.

Lesson #3 - However, pattern instructions are not always perfect.

About the one problem I had. I did not understand the instructions for putting the back pocket together. I ended up with something that looked wrong to me. Instead of the pocket top having a nice fold, I ended up with a "mini-pocket" inside the main pocket. I have yet to figure out if the problem is with the instructions, or with me.

So, you might be asking, how did they turn out? I thought the pants themselves turned out well, especially for a first attempt.

However, as you can see from the picture, they don't fit as well as they could. The pattern says that the waistline falls 1 inch below the natural waistline. As my body proportions are not "average" the waist is lower on me. I also have a bubble-butt, so the waist in the back tends to pull down quite a lot when I sit down. Lastly, the leg bottoms came out a little wide for my taste.

Let's just say that making these pointed out to me very quickly that I was going to need to do more than just follow patterns out of envelope.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the experience. I found I that really like that sewing projects have multiple steps with tasks that are sufficiently different to keep the whole thing interesting. I have other craft hobbies, such as crocheting and knitting, but I tend to pick those projects up and put them down over the course of years because much of the work is really repetitive.

I can certainly say that this project was enough to put me fully on the path of becoming a sewing junkie!


B.E. Sanderson said...

Those look sooooo comfortable, Jan. How's about we trade? Comfy pants for used books. Umm... Hows about new books? Umm... Cash? I'll be your test mannequin?


Janimé said...

Heh heh - I'm willing to give it a shot, but I can't promise timeliness.

Once dearest Hubby found out that I really could sew, he gave me a backlog a mile long!! :)

And my own list is even longer.

The thing about developing a skill like sewing is that you begin to have ideas for things to do falling out of your brain all the time.

It's quite fun, but boy sometimes I wonder if I will ever get enough time to do all the neat things I think about doing! (Especially after having to spend my "free" time the last two days cleaning up stinking viruses!!)