Gimme Some Slack

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! Today we get to handle our fabric in earnest. This is big fun as it turns out!

To bring you up to date: last month I posted the supply list and timeline, and earlier this month I posted our preparations, including creating our pattern.

Remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype! I will Skype support any stitcher through the months of June and July 2014.

Today we are marking and cutting our fabrics, interfacing in preparation for construction. On the 9th we will be creating darts and pockets.

For this version of slacks, I chose to interface the pocket edge, the fly extension, and the entirety of all three waistbands. When using interfacing, select a woven or a knit fusible interfacing that is suitable for the fabric and the garment care (whether you will be washing in the washing machine, by hand, dry-cleaning, etc). As I mentioned in the supplies post, I use interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply as they are high-quality, and the owner is happy to help her clients get the best result. Fuse according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I like to block fuse, which means I fuse a slightly-larger piece of fabric, and then cut the pattern piece. This is done rather than cutting an interfacing piece in the pattern shape, and a fabric shape, and then fusing them together. I find it gives more-accurate results that are on-grain and well-fused.

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2Next, I fuse a strip of interfacing along the wrong-side of the pocket’s folded edge. You can see this in the photo from my flannel shirt sew-a-long, on the pocket at right, which has already been folded and pressed. You are basically giving the pocket a firmer edge where it folds. The results (in next tutorial session) will be obvious.

For the waistband, instead of using pattern pieces, I added several inches to the left and right waistbands, then measured the length of my back waistband and added that to find a total length (I will be cutting each waistband piece at 3 1/4″, which can be used for all sizes in this pattern). I cut a piece of interfacing this total length and 3 1/2″ wide, then fused this to a strip of fabric, then cut the waistbands. The back waistband should be the same length as the pattern piece (in my case, 13 1/8″), but the left and right waistband should be a few inches longer than the pattern piece. They can also be the same size – I used a 9″ piece for both. All should be 3 1/4″ wide.

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2

Above, from the top down: the shield/guard, folded in half and pressed; the three waistbands, and the fly facing/extension.

For tracing marks on the pattern pieces (the darts, pocket placement lines, and the bottom of the fly), I use a similar technique that I’d used for paper tracing. I lay the pattern piece on top of the folded fabric, which is folded right-sides together, and cut the pattern piece silhouette. Next, I carefully slide waxed paper so the waxed areas are facing the fabric surfaces. Then I lay the pattern back on top of the piece, and wheel-trace relevant markings. Here you can see I’ve gently pulled the paper pattern left, so you can get a general idea of my layers:

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2

Next, I will be making the lined cuff. If you recall, we did trace the lined cuff pattern piece. All we have to do is make up this pattern, but insert the lining. First, I cut four strips: two of linen, two of lining, each about 1″ wider than half the pattern piece both in length and width. Then, I sewed the strips together – right-sides together, lining to linen:

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2

This is our first seam! In general, make sure to “set” each seam by seam-pressing it as-is. Then let it cool before finger-pressing the seam allowances open, and pressing again. Here you see on the left, the wrong-sides of our cuff piece, and on the right, the right-sides:

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2

After understitching the lining seam to itself (optional, but you can see it in the photos below), lay the cuff paper pattern piece on top of the pieced strips, with the center line right along the join line, and cut:

Gimme Some Slack! Post 2


Gimme Some Slack! Post 2

At this point, you should have all pieces cut and marked. We’ve only done a little bit of stitching, on the cuff. Next session on the 9th of June we will be sewing up darts and pockets. A super-fun session as pockets are a lot of joy once you get used to them!

If you have any questions about anything we’ve covered, please let me know via comment, email, or whatever works best!