Good afternoon, or evening, or whatever time it may be for ye!
Our progress so far: last month I posted the supply list and timeline, and earlier this month I posted our preparations, including creating our pattern. On the sixth I posted our methods for marking, cutting, and interfacing our fabric pieces. Today we will be constructing the darts, front and back, and the pockets, front and back.
Thank you to all who’ve participated, and emailed or commented suggestions and corrections to this sew-a-long. And 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.
To begin with, we will be pinning the darts at their matching points – along their marked lines. Here is a front dart as I begin to pin. You can make out the pink transfer paper markings:
If you notice, I have pins perpendicular to the dart seam line, with one pin, at left, marking the end of the dart, where I’ll be turning and stitching to the folded edge:
Back darts are even more straight forward: fold the dart and pin, matching lines. Sew carefully from raw edge to dart tip. At the end, leave a long thread tail:
For the best finish, tie a firm knot, then thread the tails to hide into the dart:
Pull the thread tails through and clip carefully. Finished darts! There are six in all – two in each front, and one in the back:
I pressed my darts carefully. This European linen I am using, while very wonderful and cool, is also very prone to creasing during pressing! First, I pressed the darts as-sewn, folded – making sure to press ONLY the dart and not the body of the front or back. Then I gently pressed all darts carefully toward the center front or center back, using a press cloth so as not to bring creases through.
Below you see the darts and the serged edges of the top edge of the fronts, the waistband, front crotch curve, and fly facing/extension:
Another close-up of the dart from the wrong-side, with the serged top edge. The serging may not be necessary for your fabric, but I serged mine as it was a very fray-prone linen, and no matter how carefully I handled it, it tried to come undone.
You also note that in the above picture I have marked the position of the back pockets, with pins. I put two straight pins through the wrong-side, and marked the top pocket location. Next, I made the pockets. I pressed the back pockets into shape, using a homemade pressing gauge on a piece of cardstock:
I then carefully affixed the back pocket in place. In order to make sure the pockets are symmetrical, you can pin each pocket, then carefully place both pants backs against one another, right-sides together. The pockets should line up like a little stack.
Five pins are sufficient to pin the pocket:
Sewing the pocket: usually I like to do a very precise and clean-finish triangle in the top corners – as I detailed in my last sew-a-long. However, let’s get real: No three year old is going to be using these back pockets much. They are decorative. So instead of the standard reinforced top corners, I simply backstiched a few times at the beginning and end of my pocket topstitching:
Finished pocket – voila!
Now, it is time for the pesky front pockets. First, I lay the trouser front, right-side up, and then pin the pocket piece to the slanted edge – right-side down, so that right-sides are touching:
I stitch this seam, then press it as-is. I then pink this seam allowance, and press the seam-allowances toward the pocket. In the picture below, at left you see this slanted seam after I’ve set the seam and pinked; at right you see the right-side of the garment, with this seam allowance pressed to the pocket. The pocket is the “wing” that is center of the picture. You can see the darts in the pants front at right:
Now I understitch the seam I just pressed – 1.8″ from the pocket seam, into the pocket, as shown below:
I then press the pocket seam – look how crisp it looks! (at left) – and fold and pin the pocket to itself. It should line up very well with the fold markings from the original pocket piece. But don’t be too alarmed if it’s not perfect. I often have pocket edges and side-seams that don’t line up perfectly, although I am an accurate stitcher. Sometimes I think this is because that first seam is on the bias, which can be tricky. That said, this time, my pockets turned out great:
The pants have dramatic front darts (very comfortable to wear!), so there is a lot of fullness in that front hip area. From the top:
From the wrong side (note how even a little pressing creases through my linen BIG TIME):
Next, we will sew the pocket bottom – the curved raw edge in the photo above. Sometimes I use a french-seam for a very clean finish, but in this case it would just add unnecessary bulk to what I want to be a very light-feeling pair of trousers. Instead I sewed with a very small stitch – 2.0 mm due to the ravel-prone nature of the linen, and then pinked the seam:
I then stitched the top edge of the pocket seam in place:
and pinned the side seam:
One can also baste or stitch this pocket side seam for security, but in my case the pin seemed adequate. Above all, you want the pants front to lie smoothly, and the folded edge of the pocket – in general – will be parallel to the grain line of the pants.
Pockets and darts, accomplished! Next session we will be constructing the fly front. This is this section of my tutorial that is most different from the pattern directions.
See you then!