Style Arc Jasmine Pants

Sunday evening project:

Style Arc Jasmine Pants

Style Arc Jasmine Pants
Top is the Style Arc Lolita

Style Arc Jasmine Pants

Style Arc Jasmine Pants

After a wardrobe purge this month I was in serious need of new pants. I realized while going through my clothes that that my favorite (and most frequently worn) pants are all stretch wovens. I think wearing mostly skirts and dresses to work for the past few years have made me less tolerant of sitting at a desk all day in non-stretch woven pants. I also prefer pants with a straight or slight bootcut leg, and since I hate having to tug down the legs after standing up I also like them to be a little on the roomy side. So with that in mind I decided to try the Style Arc Jasmine.

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The Jasmine pants are the Style Arc Linda’s big sister. They both use stretch woven fabric and have an almost identical leg shape (straight and around 18-20″ at the hem). However, instead of being a plain elastic waist pull-on pant like the Linda, the Jasmine has a front fly closure, traditional waistband, pockets, and a back yoke with darts. There’s also more design ease through the hip/thigh region, so you have more flexibility with regard to how much stretch is required from your fabric. The additional ease combined with the front fly closure and back yoke makes these a more friendly option than the Linda for pear shaped figures if you want to use something other than stretch bengaline. I would describe the draft as slacks – somewhere between trousers (full and wrinkle-free) and jeans (slim and with lots of sitting ease wrinkles.)

For this pair I used this cotton/rayon/wool/lycra blend suiting from Fabric Mart:

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It is mid-weight and very crisp – very similar to new denim. Before they included it in their regular website offerings it was a $6.99/yard Julie’s Pick. It is very comfortable to wear, and the weight, color, and fiber content make it perfect for the colder than normal spring weather we’ve been having. It has about 25% stretch, with some given in the length as well as width. (Most of my stretch wovens seem to be in the 10-20% range.)

I finished the hems with a blind stitch using my Janome 6500P. I know some people have dedicated blind stitch machines, but I think my Janome does a pretty good job.

Style Arc Jasmine Pants

The pockets are one of my favorite design features for this pattern. The angular shape something you would see in a Marfy pattern.

Style Arc Jasmine Pants

I used hidden hook and eye closures instead of a button for the front closure. In addition to interfacing the front waistband I also interfaced the back yoke with Pro-Sheer Elegance.

When it came to finishing the inner edge of the waistband I had intended to fold back the inner seam allowance and very carefully stitch it in place. However, the angle and V of the back yoke made this really difficult to do neatly and accurately. I ended up using a method I learned from a Kwik Sew pattern: fold back the first few inches at the center front and either hand stitch or very carefully stitch in the ditch. Serge the edge of the rest of the waistband and secure it in place by stitching in the ditch (with the fabric straight out instead of folded). Does it look as neat and pretty as a folded edge? No, but it is a lot easier and just as secure. I never claimed this was a couture blog! As long as the edges are properly finished to prevent fraying I have zero f&*#s to give about what the inside of my garments look like.

Fitting adjustments:

  • Lengthened the legs 1″
  • Increased the depth by 1/4″ in the front and 3/4″ in the back
  • Added 1/4″ to the front crotch curve extension for my full thighs. It is a little bit too much for this particular pair, but as I mentioned before most of my stretch wovens are not as stretchy as this fabric.
  • For my light gray pair I took in the side seams 1″ at the hip, tapering to nothing just below the upper thigh.
  • Added 3″ width to the leg openings, making these pants more of a bootcut rather than a straight leg
  • Pinched out 1/2″ from the back inseam only, tapering to nothing at the side seam. I then stretched it to fit the front while sewing. This technically puts the back leg off-grain, but when I wear them it helps get rid of those diagonal drag lines from upper thigh to knee.
  • Took in each back darts 3/4″. To get rid of the bubble at the end I had to taper them quite a bit, which resulted in them being a little too long…
  • Took a 3/4″ tuck out of the back yoke to match the amount taken out of the back darts
  • Removed a 1/2″ vertical wedge from the back yoke at the waistline, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the yoke. This made it more curved.

After wearing these for a day I feel like the entire back piece is too wide, which makes the back wrinkles more pronounced.

I think I will handle this for next time by taking 3/4″ tuck out of the entire back, from the upper edge where it meets the yoke to the hem. I will revert to the original dart width as well.

Have old jeans or fabric scraps?

My parents saw this letter in a farm magazine:

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I emailed Carmen to find out if she had any specific preferences with regard to fiber content and weave. She wrote a rather lengthy email response back to me, which basically said she will take literally anything! To give you an idea of what she does:

  • She makes quilts, blankets, and rag rugs. Some of the quilts are donated to organizations that deal with the aftermath of earthquakes and other natural disasters.
  • She cuts fabric and arranges fabric into kits. Some of these kits are for making bibs for handicapped children and adults living at an orphanage, and others are for lap quilts for a women’s cancer center in Nicaragua.
  • The parts of jeans she doesn’t use are given to a group that uses them (along with milk jugs and old tires) to make shoes for kids in Africa. (I had to Google this one. Warning: the video on the website about jiggers is horribly graphic.)
  • Fabric scraps that are too small to be cut up are turned into stuffing for pillows.

Now I know what to do with scraps and unwanted yardage in my stash! Yes, it will cost me money to ship it, but I really hate just throwing it away…

In case if you’re interested in sending yarn, old jeans, and/or fabric, here’s Carmen’s info again:

Carmen Pas
P.O. Box 394
Ozark, MO 65721
pazoriginals at hotmail dotcom

She told me she accesses her email from a library, so if you email it may be a few days before you get a response back from her.

Cloth Habit Watson: Moving the Vertical Seamline

I made another Watson today:

Cloth Habit Watson Bra

What makes this Watson special is the amount of surgery I did to the pattern this time.

I really like the Watson. It is comfortable, goes together easy, and has a reasonable amount of ease. When I first tried it on I loved it! However, after wearing it a couple of times I found out it had a major fitting issue: if I bent forward or to the side, I often fell out of the cups. The cups also tended to ride up, despite the band feeling like it was the correct size.

I thought on and off for the past few months about what was causing this, and how I could fix it. I didn’t realize it at the time but it was 100% due to the placement and shaping of the vertical seamline. I finally figured out what was causing the problem – and how to solve it – after trying on dozens of RTW bras and discovering that 90% of them had the same fit issues:

  • The apex-to-apex measurement of the cups was too wide. This problem presented itself as the inner edge digging in while the cups appeared too large. The bra also had the feeling of being both too small and too large. I read somewhere that women with a closely set bust tend to fall out of plunge styles, which is what was happening with the Watson. I noticed that if I shifted one of the cups inward so that the apex of the cup lined up with my apex that suddenly the cup fit perfectly.
  • The depth (aka the measurement of the wireline to fullest part of the cup) was often 1/4″ too low. If I tugged the cup upward vertically a little, so that the apex of the cup was placed at the correct spot, suddenly the cup stayed in place and the shaping improved.
  • The cups would often dig in at the armhole edge. This wasn’t just the straps being placed too wide – it was the entire cup being too wide across the center front, and not wide enough from the bust point to the underarm.

In addition to having a firm, conical, full-on-bottom shaped bust, I suspect that I also have a torso that is more cylindrically shaped than what most bras (and clothing, for that matter) are drafted for. This means I am narrower when viewed straight-on and wider when viewed from the side (aka my body has more depth than my measurements would indicate.) This results in things like darts and princess seams being placed too wide, and armholes and crotches cutting in, despite the overall ease being ok. I also have issues with the bridge/gore being too wide, particularly at the lower edge, and often have to alter RTW bras by taking a tuck out of it. I think I read somewhere that people of European descent have torsos that are cylindrical and have more depth, and people of Asian descent tend to have torsos that are shallower and more oval in shape.

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Source: Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach

So with this in mind, I went to work on my pattern.

After trying on my stretch mesh Watson I estimated that I needed to move the seamline 3/4″ inward toward the center front. I started off by highlighting the size I needed to trace and took a 3/4″ tuck out of the inner cup piece:

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Then I slashed and spread the outer cup 3/4″. I did a lot of haphazard truing of the lines, and in the process added about 3/8″ more depth to the cup at the lower edge. After I made up my first sample I decided to fold out 3/4″ length from the upper section of the cup, and pinch out the seamline above the apex a little. When I was done with my alterations the pieces looked like this:

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I then traced my altered pieces onto some card stock.

Here’s the original Watson inner cup vs my altered inner cup:

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and the original Watson vs my altered outer cup:

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The next two photos are my original vs new and improved Watson. Both are made out of stretch mesh. To give you an idea of how wide-set the seamlines were for my figure, the apex-to-apex measurement of my plastic lady is just 1/2″ narrower than my measurement.

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Watson Version 1
Cloth Habit Watson Bra
Watson Version 2

I wore this new and improved version around the house for a few hours to test it out. Right away I noticed how it stayed in place so much better than my original version did. Barely any riding up – despite the complete lack of underwires and boning – and everything stayed securely in place. I also think I have a slightly less flattened and more projected look than before, and the support is also better. It can’t replace underwires and/or foam as far as lift and shaping goes, but it is definitely a big improvement over most RTW bralettes I’ve tried. Here’s how it looks under a tee that I’m pinching out at the center back:

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