Tag Archive | project pants

Me-Made May Progress

I’ve been keeping up with MMM, quite easily. My outfits don’t generally require too much of an effort to be all me-made, these days, as I’ve got more me-mades and refashioned items than ready to wear in my wardrobe. If you want to see the outfits, day by day, you can follow me on Instagram.

But the main challenge is, of course, Project Pants. I started the month off, literally with only one pair already made, so I had to get a wiggle on to make the second pair, and it’s been quite the learning curve, but I’m getting there… I’m now up to 10 pairs, with plans for a few more before the month is out.

I’ve been having a ball reclaiming all my jersey scraps, including the tiniest ones, and getting interesting colour matches.

I can’t believe how pretty these two pairs of knickers are!

For the two pairs I made this weekend, I was using a couple of camisole vests that I know I won’t wear again. For the pink pair, I cut the gusset from a pair of purple Sainsbury’s Tu knickers, where the lace front had shredded beyond all decency, but the cotton back still had plenty of life in it. The main pieces I cut from the front of the vest, and there was plenty of fabric left over on the back, for more gussets, so I used the pink for the lining of the green pair.

Upcycling – when vests become pants

If you look carefully at the hips of these two pairs, you might see the side seam from the vests.

I’m also amazed that I’ve managed to find colour combos that work with the limited supplies of foldover elastics I had acquired. I’ve just ordered a load more, because I don’t see myself stopping the knicker production line soon! I’ll be on holiday for the last week of May, and there may well be some more hand-stiched versions arising then.

I’m mastering the elastic better now. I’ve got a better handle of what length I need, and how to distribute it around the leg holes. I guess it’s true what they say about Practice…

Finally, can I give a big shout out to Megan Nielsen’s Acacia Pants pattern? It is brilliant! It’s got the perfect amount of coverage, and the shaping is just how I like it. I’ve graded it, and made a tiny tweak to the rise of the gusset (isn’t “gusset” a lovely word?) and now that I’ve got it right, I don’t need a new knickers pattern ever again. And the best thing about it? It’s free, if you sign up for Megan’s email. Which is no hardship, she’s really not in the least bit spammy. And it gives you instructions and information for using all different kinds of elastic. It’s a super pattern, and it prints out in only 6 sheets!

Project Pants – Update

Things are going a bit better now. I worked out the reasons why I was struggling with the elastic insertion, namely I was using cheap thread (which I know my machine doesn’t like) and I needed a new needle (which I really should have thought of earlier). So I can stop blaming the machine and admit I’m just not very dexterous when it comes to doing the elastic…

But I’ve now come into possession of a new machine, courtesy of my Dad. Full story to follow, but I’ll say now: this new machine is well swanky! I had to try it out, with the next lot of knickers that I’d cut out and constructed:

The first one I did was the cream coloured pair I’d already tacked, in the last post. They came out fine, and so much quicker than the previous pair!

This is more like it!

This spurred me on to try without the tacking, which certainly sped up the process even more. I was using the leftovers from the Black & White Batwing dress, that I’d made for One Week, One Pattern. I’d made two in basic brief sizing, and also one pair of massive and comfortable Big Pants. I was also using the remnants of the Instagram Takeover Dress, a gorgeous silk jersey.

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Top to bottom: Big Pants, small pants x 2, all three using the black & white cotton jersey from my B/W Batwing Dress, and small pants using purple silk.

 

I did end up doing one pair by hand-stitching the elastic, and I have to say, they’re ever so pretty, and very luxurious. Far and away the loveliest knickers I’ve ever owned! I’m now slightly wishing I had more of this stuff available, because I would rather like to have more silk undies.

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Elastic fully hand-stitched

My self-stitched pants count for Me-Made May is now up to eight, which is a bit more like it. I want to get another  3-6 pairs made, so that I’ve got plenty to see me through the month (and to justify throwing some of my older pairs away because some of them really do need to go in the recycling bin!). I’m trying to use jersey scraps for these, or repurposing jersey fabric from garments that I’m no longer wearing, rather than cutting into new fabric. It may require piecing scraps together.

To see what I’m wearing on top of the me-made knickers, for Me-Made May, follow me on instagram.

Project Pants is not going so well

I have started Me Made May with the poorest preparation ever. The arrival of 1st May saw me with just one lonely pair of me-made undies to wear, despite my pledge being that all scrunts worn in MMM were to be me-made. But with best foot forward, I did have two pairs cut out, using Megan Nielson’s Acacia Pants pattern, and jersey scraps and I optimistically figured I’d just be dashing them off in less than an hour. I had *foolishly* forgotten my own often-dished-out advice – Things Take Longer Than You Think.

I desperately needed to get at least one of these done for Day 2, so I got started on sewing them together. Construction was absolutely no problem. I was making a couple of pattern tweaks, but that didn’t affect the process. I was just widening the pattern a smidge, for greater comfort for both pairs, also extending the gusset a little way forward, again for both, and I was trying out a Big Pants extension on one of them. I understood the Burrito method of gusset insertion, and all was hunky diddly dory.

And then it came to the elastic insertion…

My Nemesis…

Let’s take the first pair… Using the Floral Aqua jersey from this top, and a high rise for Granny Pant comfort.

Oh my stars, I’ve never known such an apparently simple job be so laborious and frustrating! I was using fold-over elastic, thinking that it would be easy and decorative. My sewing machine just basically hated me for trying to sew with cheap thread. I was using what I had available in the right colour, but she’s a big old thread snob, and the thread kept breaking, and I kept not quite catching all of the fabric within the fold, and it was just a Total Freaking Diasaster. I swear this took my 2½ hours to do, and it’s the worst sewing known to mankind. I would have cried, except that crying would just have wasted time.

They’re pretty and comfy, but will always remind me of fold-over elastic Hell.

I’ve got a wearable pair of knickers out of this process, but I did not enjoy it one tiny little bit. Thank goodness these pants are comfortable, otherwise wearing them would only ever be a bitter reminder of how hard they were to make.

Onto the second pair… I was recycling an old George at Asda t-shirt, and managed to get the pattern just about cut from the back piece, with the gusset (plus a load of extra gussets for future use) cut out of the front & sleeves – yay for upcycling. Again I was using the Fold-Over elastic, but I thought of the Aqua Floral Big Pants, and decided I would tack the elastic in first, to at least make sure I got all the fabric caught up.

Tacked and all ready to sew

I decided that I quite like the look of the tacked version, with the contrast thread and all, but it still took SO much longer than I thought it would. I simply don’t understand how people can knock three pairs of pants out in half an hour – these are taking me forever!

In fact, I’ve decided that if I have to tack to be sure of getting the elastic in right, then I might just as well embrace the hand-sewing process, and make a feature of it. So there will be hand-stitched undies showing up here in a short while.