Apr 20, 2013

Leopard Pants Re-do: Curved Waistband Edition

The jury (me) has made its decision: curved waistbands are a necessity when you've got a booty (and you aren't wearing a waistband at your actual waist). Witness my new-and-improved leopard(ish) print pants, made using a pattern I drafted from Kenneth King's amazing Craftsy.com "Jeanius" class.  The curved waistband pattern is actually from a pair of jeans I drafted a couple years ago in my advanced patternmaking class at FIT. Rather than draft a new one, I thought I would see whether this old waistband pattern would work. And miracle of miracles, it was a perfect match! (How happy am I that my body has not apparently changed much in the years since I first drafted the pattern? Except...the waistband pattern was actually drafted for non-stretch fabric, and these pants have stretch....so maybe I have grown? Let's not dwell on that, shall we.) The pants!  

While the pants don't appear much different than the original iteration, they feel much better. I wore them out for a full day of walking last weekend on the High Line with friends visiting from Winnipeg, and I didn't have to pull them up constantly like I did with the straight waistband. See how flat it lays across my lower back?


This waistband pattern is actually in four pieces, with side seams AND a center back seam. That way you can achieve a steeper curve without running across grainlines in such a way that you end with the bias stretching around your hip curve. That was my patternmaking teacher's preferred method. It's definitely my preferred method now too. Look at how curved my new waistband was compared to the previous one:

Contoured waistband (all four pieces sewn together)
Straight waistband, curved using heat and steam
Kenneth King, meanwhile, recommends a straight waistband, curved using steam and heat from your iron. I imagine this works quite well if you are a man, or a woman with less curve in your hips, lower back and butt. In his estimation, the straight waistband is superior because it doesn't cut across the bias, which could result in stretching and distortion. I think my patternmaking teacher's four-piece pattern makes more sense when you're dealing with a curvier body because you can achieve a different shape on the front and the back; after all, your curves may not be the same on both!

I used a woven, non-stretch facing this time, and fused both the top (self) and bottom (facing) pieces with a lightweight woven fusible. I also zigzag-stitched in a length of grosgrain, using steam to curve it, for extra stability. I didn't have petersham (which is like grosgrain, but wider), which is what David Coffin recommends using for stability in his trousers book. (I could not make sense of his instructions, by the way!). But I figured the grosgrain would at least hold the upper curve in place. Here's what it looked like on the inside before I sewed it to my pants:


David Coffin also advises to only fuse within the seam lines to avoid adding bulk. As you can see above, I did that too. Here's the outside of the waistband. You can see the zigzag stitching across the top curve:


After I could tell I was going to be satisfied with this waistband, I added belt loops, the final touch:


I'm super happy now with these pants, and my pattern (thank you, Kenneth King!). I plan on making another pair right quick. 

Oh, and did you notice I also made an adjustment to my chambray "I should have listened to Phyllis" blouse, which was sewn from Pattern Runway's Pussy Bow Blouse pattern:

Those are some DEEP darts, baby.

Recall the original, which was boxy as a big box (and kind cardboard-colored too, now that I think of it)!:



I made "fish eye" darts at a depth of 1.5 inches at my waist (much more than what wise Phyllis recommended!), extending all the way up to my shoulder and down nearly to the bottom of the blouse. The fit is much more flattering now. I look like a lady again:


I'm off now, to Mood, to find some fabric for a second pair of pants! Should I go printed again, or solid? What's on trend? (I guess Pinterest could tell me, but I am avoiding for my self esteem's sake).

22 comments:

  1. LOVE the new waistband, I need to make that same adjustment for me too. The shirt looks GREAT and for the next one could probably have that dart extend right to the shoulder seam to make a shoulder princess seam, which I find to be more flattering and comfortable than a princess seam that curves into the armsyce. The brogues, of course, are perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis! It was more work, but so worth it. The fit is better too because the waist stays in the right spot. As for the shirt. If I make it again in this weight of fabric, I would definitely make the back in three pieces, with princess seams running into the shoulder. Much nicer than the dart.

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  2. I have a feeling I may need to make a similar curved waistband alteration to one of my current projects. Do you have any tutorials or links that you recommend for this alteration?

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    Replies
    1. I just dug out the instructions I used for making this waistband pattern several years ago. I will work on posting something easy to follow. Thanks for asking!

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  3. You are always si chic in your sewing. How do you do it? I agree, the curved waistband is the best thing ever invented. I lack in the back but I have a potbelly and it achieves the same result with that problem.

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    Replies
    1. "Lack in the back": you are tooooooo funny! !

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    2. "Lack in the back": you are tooooooo funny! !

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  4. I agree a curved waistband is a must. I have been burned too many times by those dreadful straight waistbands. The pants look great by the way!

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  5. These are just cool. Period!!!

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  6. Oh well done for fixing it! And adding the darts to the top too- yay! Oh and you are a very pretty lady :)

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    1. And you are a very sweet lady! Thanks!

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  7. Rowwrrr! (that was my lame leopard noise. oh dear) These looks absolutely fab! I really like the idea of the super curved waistband- it makes so much sense!

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  8. Ok I admit I was a bit dubious about leopard print pants but your styling is spot on and you've come up with a fantastic outfit. I agree with you on the curved waistband - a straight waistband would sit flat at the natural waistline but not too many of us wear our pants there anymore so your solution is a much better way

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  9. Very nice! Looks like you got a great fit and you look like a hot mama in the leopard!

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  10. Thank you for posting your Re-do. I recently found your blog which, for me, started with the Peggy Bundy pant. Your posts are of great inspiration as I'm starting to take my sewing seriously which includes (GASP) tailoring to my own body shape. Your fish eye dart is exactly what I need. Thanks for posting!

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  11. What a difference in curve. I appreciate your waistband experiment as aid in my future pants making endeavors, as I've got a booty, too!

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  12. The waistband looks great! And the shirt looks amazing, too! Now you've got perfectly fitted patterns for both trousers and a buttondown-- score! What did you choose for your next pair of pants?

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    1. Something hideous, but I think it will be cool. It has a pop of chartreuse in it, and is kinda swirly, pukey....it could be terrible!

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  13. these are so awesome. you rock them. can't wait to see more versions of these pants in other fabrics.

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  14. wow, that waistband before and after is very insightful. yeah, it seems that us ladies can't get by with a straight waistband, unless they're super high waist pants or something. you're lookin' good, lady!

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