In the last couple years I have changed my method for sewing waistbands. The old method has been basically following directions which usually consisted of sewing on the waistband, turning the inside seam allowances under, and top stitching. Sounds easy enough but often to get that topstitching to match perfectly on both sides was an irritating challenge. That is if you like things perfect. I think I am in that category. I have become much more free in my sewing, making my garments with my way of doing things.I don’t worry about the instructions and make it my own. Some people do this naturally. Some people drive themselves crazy by trying to follow someone else’s instructions. I used to always follow the rules. But not anymore.

This is one way to do it.

Sew the waistband lining to the waistband . Trim or grade seam. Edge stitch using #10D foot.

{Wowza, look at those matching seams}

This is where your options begin. For this post, I will be using the serger method.

The fastest way to finish your seams is to use your serger with a 3-thread overlock stitch with a short stitch length. Like a 1 or even less. The width is pretty wide. Maybe a 7.5. There are no rules. Make this your own.

Isn’t that pretty?

Then you can add your label before you attach the bottom of you want.

For this pair I stitched a tight 3-thread zig zag (#7).

You can also stitch your label on after everything is attached. Sometimes it is fun to use a contrasting thread on the outside like this:







After attaching your label, stitch the short ends of the waistband (leave the lower edge free). Then, on the lower edge, fold it under on each end to where you think is appropriate spot. (Perhaps it could be folded under for the entire width of a front pocket, wherever it looks nice). Pin the entire waistband.

For this pair the pants, the waistband was stitched in the ditch from one end to the other. This pair has a contrasting lining. I put matching thread in the bobbin for the lining.

The inside looks like this (there is elastic inside):

I think they look great. Much better than sloppy topstitching. 😱



Front Zipper Fly

I really like to make front zipper fly’s. They always turn out perfect in my humble opinion. To me, if you don’t have a zipper, you might as well be wearing pj’s. I don’t read directions anymore. I just do it.

Perhaps the terms are confusing? There is a fly shield and a fly facing. The fly shield protects you from zipping up your unders unless you are going commando, then it still protects you.

I’ll try to debunk zipper fly’s.

Preparing your pieces:

Fly Shield. For this pair of pants the fly shield is just a rectangle. Fold right sides together and sew the bottom seam. Clip and turn and iron well. Serge the long end with a 3-thread overlock with a stitch length just less than 2. Set aside.

Fly Facing. This is the curved piece. Serge the curved edge.

Left and right sides. Serge the inner curves, from waist to crotch. Some patterns will have about a 5/8″ section of fabric where the zipper will go, if so, serge both edges.

Iron. I love ironing.

Here comes the fun part.

1. Lay the zipper UPSIDE DOWN matching the side of the zipper to the raw edge of the front. Sometimes there is a notch to place the end of zipper, sometimes not. I place it about 5/8″ above the length of fly shield. (It should be about an inch above the end of the crotch curve.) If you want your zipper to open on the right side, do this on the left front. Baste.

2. Take your fly shield and place it on the zipper. Match raw edges, I shimmy the shield a little more than at the raw edge. So the zipper is sandwiched in between the front and the fly shield. Stitch on the basting line.

3. Turn the piece over and it should look like this:

Iron next to zipper coils. You can top stitch close to to fold if you want to.


Perfect. Isn’t this fun? It’s so beautiful. The front piece will look like this.

4. Take your fly facing and stitch to the other front piece right sides together. Iron and fold to wrong side.
5. Place the front pieces on top of each other right sides together, sew from crotch point to as high as you can sew. Keep the zipper and fly shield out of the way for this. Sometimes I use foot #39 as it has a short front. Now I pin the left front where I want it like this.

Turn to the back side.

See the zipper hiding in between those two little pieces? Hi zipper.

Turn upside down so you see the zipper laying on top of fly facing.

Finger press it nicely, then stitch next to zipper coil and again 1/8″ away right on to the fly facing. Stitch only the zipper to the fly facing. Make sure there are no other parts of the pants behind there.

When you turn to right side it will look like this:

Get your marker ready.

And start drawing how you want it to look. I just free hand it.

You can follow the lines of the facing. I just measure 1 1/4″.

Make sure the end of the zipper is above where you are stitching. Keep fly shield AWAY from any stitching. I pin it away like this.

I stitched this pair with a stitch length of 3.

Now unpin the fly shield and lay it flat. I did 2 bar tacks to hold fly shield in place.


Hot Pattern 1091 Drawstring Pants

I finished these pants today and I think these are going to be some of my favorites of the season.

The fabric is a tencel denim look, hard to get a good shot but they are soft and drapey.

I made a muslin and did a couple of my apparently standard pant adjustments. These include a one inch shorter front crotch length and about a half inch increase for a ‘full thigh’ adjustment.  Thank you mother.

The fit is perfect although I missed the part that these pants should be ‘slouchy’ until too late, so next time I will do my same adjustments and go up one size.

I purchased the fabric last year from EmmaOneSocks. It is still available too. http://www.emmaonesock.com/fabrics/bottomweight.asp?lcd=139807. They also have it in a blue. I like EmmaOneSock because you can get up to 5 fabric samples for free. Some of the same fabric is available at fabric dot come for less money. Emma’s has very fast delivery but not cheap. They have different shipping options and your order does not automatically get the cheapest rate unless you check each option and they have about 5 different ones.

The directions for HotPatterns are not for beginners in my humble opinion. Although the pattern says it is for Advanced Beginners. These were not hard to make if you are experienced in front fly zipper placements. I have made so many jeans that I use the method I know. This time I tried to follow the zipper instructions and it said to stitch the zipper and fly shield from the top to the notch. I never did see a notch anywhere so I did my own thing.

I planned to make these pants totally on my serger and it turned out I made it almost totally on the Bernina 830.

These pants have a drawstring which is made partly of the fabric and it is attached to elastic. The pattern calls for one inch elastic but I will use 3/4″ next time as there was just barely enough room in the waistband for one inch elastic.

One of my favorite ways to attach a waistband is to serge the lower edge of the inside waistband. The line of stitching you see is where I stitched in the ditch on the other side. I could have stitched on the waist band but using one inch of elastic did not allow any stitching on the waistband.

To do a fly front zipper isn’t so hard. I like to do them, probably why I’ve made about 15 pairs of jeans.

The first thing to do is to make the ‘fly shield’, all you do is stitch the bottom. This one was just a rectangle so you fold in half and stitch the lower end, clip corner and turn. I always serge the raw edge. Always always always.

Baste the zipper upside down. Then put fly shield on top of this and stitch together.


This is the fly shield from the inside of the pants.

The left side is the fly shield. Now iron that right side so it looks nice. It can be top-stitched too. For these pants this is the left front.

For the fly facing, serge the curved edge. Then sew to right side, ride sides together. I stopped the stitching line at about 5/8″ from the bottom of fly facing.

Fold over and iron to the other side. Now both fronts can be stitched from the crotch to where you stopped stitching (the invisible notch).

This is where it looks tricky. You still only have one side of the zipper attached (to the left side). So put the right and left together like this:

This is what it looks like on the right side. I want it pinned closed just like it should look when finished. The other side looks like this: crazy huh?

You want to pin the fly shield(on the left) out of the way and hold the zipper where it lies on the fly facing. Don’t reposition them from where they were when lying flat or else it will mess everything up.

Stitch here twice about 1/8″ apart. Then unfold flat again. Here I take a marker or chalk and draw how I want the topstitching on the curved edge (fly facing), keeping the fly shield out of the way. For these pants I stitched a few stitches a half inch near the bottom curve and also near the bottom center to hold the fly shield in place.

The pockets were easy and topstitched around from the inside. I used the stitch length of 3.

Attaching the curved waistband was only tricky if each piece was not labeled. So make sure you use arrows and other markers that show which is right or left, up or down. Ask me why. 😏

Another thing for these pants! The button hole marks (for the drawstring) on the pattern piece are in the wrong spot. They need to be moved about 1 1/2 ” away from where it is. Otherwise you will have no place to put a buttonhole for the top of the zipper. I had to put a snap there because of that.

After the pockets were attached, the seams were stitched. For these pants I stitched on a regular machine at 5/8’s then serged each side of the seam and ironed. They lay very flat that way.

The pants have a 2 inch hem and also button tabs so that you can wear them cropped if you want.

These are very comfy and I can’t wait to make another pair. I have ordered some woven fabric, Oscar de la Renta linen viscose in Fog for my second pair from Mood Fabrics. http://www.moodfabrics.com/oscar-de-la-renta-fog-linen-viscose-woven-310271.html

Can’t wait for it to arrive!

I am quite happy with these pants!

My next project

I will be working on my next pair of pants for this weekend. The muslin is cut out and ready to go. Here is the inspiration photo.

My pattern is HotPatterns #1091, Wong-Singh-Jones Marrakesh Drawstring Pants. Here is a picture of the pattern.

I already owned this pattern and was surprised how close it is to the picture of the Silpada catalog that I kept staring at. Would love to find that light colored fabric but for now will use some tencel that I got last year at EmmaOneSocks. I also have some brown RPL from the same place. Both have great drape that will be perfect for these pants. I hate making muslins but I’m going to do it. I think I may want to make these with a slimmer cut that the one pictured.

I’m thinking I need that sleeveless white cropped tank top too….

Cropped linen pants- part 3


I’ve ironed the serged edge under and I’m going to top stich the hem.

Sometimes I coverstitch. The last pair I used foot #38 (uneven foot) and stitched. But this time I’m just going to use 10D.

I ironed before stitching (of course) and I stitched on the wrong side. I used 3.5 for my stitch length. Perfect!
Mine are finished now. I ironed a crease on both sides. I still need to put my label on them and I haven’t stitched the elastic in place yet.

I like them!
Just so you can see the Eileen Fisher pair that I copied, here is a picture of those. They are not ironed and well worn. I hope my slate blue pair wears as well.

Cropped linen pants- part 2

My serger is set up for a 5 thread safety stitch. The first seams to stitch are the inner seams, front to back. Important to mark right side, wrong side including front and back. I use chalk and also a safety pin to  designate front piece. Beautiful stitch every time.
Then the crotch seam. I have already done a muslin with these pants so I know I don’t have to worry about fit. (Except for this weeks weight gain).

I now serge the waist and the hem, and also the left side where I will put the invisible zipper.
I have never read the directions on how to put a zipper in but this is how I do it. I think they tell you to iron the zipper but I don’t do that. Note that the zipper is upside down.
I like to leave part of the serged edge showing. The Bernina zipper foot #35 is amazing.

I usually have the needle one click to the left. You want to stitch about as close as you can to the teeth. You also need to fold the side of the teeth so they get up in that part of the foot.

So I stitch along until I get to the place I marked. Both sides of the pants need to be marked at the same spot. Stitch the other side from the bottom up starting at the same length.

Then it looks like this

but after you iron it, it looks like this:


Serge the right side of the leg if you haven’t already , then I get my #4 zipper foot to start the seam on the zipper side. You have to start stitching at the bottom stitch from where you stitched the zipper.

I just stitch a couple inches and my small #4 zipper foot can get to that spot. Otherwise you’ll have a hole in your side seam.

Then serge from hem to the lower part of zipper as high as you can go. I iron my seams and I iron well. 😌

Then iron the serged part of the waistband down.

You are going to create your casing for the 1/4″ elastic now. Don’t measure your elastic, just cut it huge.

Of course I use #10D foot . I have folded the waist down by 3/8″.

Shimmy that safety pin in and bring it out the other side.

Now you can try your pants on and adjust the elastic to where you need it to be. You can either straight stitch on the ends, or use stitch #25 to tack it in place.We are almost finished!

Cropped linen pants- part 1

I don’t really have a pattern for these pants. I used a pair of cropped Eileen Fisher pants that I’ve had for several years plus I found a old pattern that had a pair of elastic encased pants and I merged the two. The one thing I don’t want is a pair of linen pants that look like pajama bottoms. So no huge elastic in my pants. Had to make adjustments there.

I’ve done some research on fitting lately and discovered a few things about my body. I don’t need major adjustments but the biggest thing I learned is that I have a ‘backward tilted hip’.

This means a regular pattern will have way too much fabric in the abdomen area that I need to get rid of. Of all the jeans I have made, I never realized I had an issue, now I know they fit perfect because they were low-rise jeans. So to get rid of this excess fabric I slashed the pattern piece twice and brought the piece down by one inch. It looks like this:

Looks rather extreme but the fit is good on me.

I carry my weight in my lower hip or upper thigh, not sure what it is. I thought adding to the hip area would fix this but I discovered it didn’t. Then I tried this method and it was perfect. This is the back piece.

I also curved the waist to about the hip to eliminate all the fabric intended for elastic gathered pants. Plus I added 2 darts to the back. This gives a more fitted look so you don’t look like you have a elastic encased bag on your body. I don’t think we want that.

I will also put in an invisible zipper to the side. A couple reasons. I don’t want my linen pants looking like pajamas and because it’s fun. It is.

Ok, how simple is this? To make these pants takes 2 pattern pieces.

I cut my fabric on the floor. I can’t seem to stop this. I use Kai dressmaker shears to cut. They are like 11 inches long and I love them.

I like to cut my fabric the night before I sew. So it’s all ready to go, usually on a Saturday morning when I have all day to sew. My favorite day.