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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Trousers, Tencel and Troubles - McCall's 6568 again.


Well, I might be smiling in this picture, but I think it is because I am relieved that I have finished these trousers.

Of course, with trousers, there is always a back story.  I planned to make a more tailored pant out of a piece of Tencel that I had in the stash.  The Tencel had been prewashed, but I think my technique of hot water dipping did not agree with it, and there were dye runs here and there.  Plus a flaw one end of the fabric that I found after I washed the fabric, so I could not return it.  Careful cutting eliminated most of the problem areas, and the style of pant also works with an imperfect sort of dye - a little reminiscent of how denim also fades.

I picked a more tailored trouser pattern that suggested Tencel as a fabric.  I  did a muslin and the trouser looked awful on me.  Then I did a muslin of another pant, and that looked awful too.  By now, I was thoroughly fed up.  I wanted the Tencel out of the stash, so I thumbed through my patterns and decided to make another version of McCalls 6568.


I had previously made this up before, with no real problems.  So I thought it would be a straightforward job to make them again.  I omit the drawstring and the buttonholes from the pockets, as I didn't want buttoning pockets.  The pants are extraordinarily long in the leg, and I removed about 3 inches.

Only I hadn't sewn with Tencel before.  Like other cellulose based fabrics, it was slippery.  This made features such as the patch pockets a little tricky to press and topstitch. They took ages. But they sort of turned out all right.  For some reason, the back pockets wanted to droop - not the front ones, which are actually bigger. So I just secured them with a button. Which looks okay - and the front pockets are still unbuttoned, which means I can easily use them. 




 I had the same problem with trying to make the waistband casing - try as I might, it would not co-operate, and came out far too wide for the patterns suggested 1 inch (2 cm) elastic.  So I threaded a wider elastic through (that's why you stash all sorts of widths of elastic).  As it so happens, because of the extra drape of this fabric and I suspect it is a slightly looser weave than the cotton pants I had previously made, this was a good thing because the crotch was a little lower.  A wider band sort of pulled everything back in place. Also, it looks better - if an elastic waist pant can ever be said to look good uncovered.  And as Tencel is a bit slippery, the wider elastic will hold the pants up better. 

Because the fabric frays a lot, I turned the casing under to finish. And added a bit of ribbon so I can quickly tell front from back when dressing.



Even though I shortened the leg length, I found that because the fabric was very drape-ey, I needed to stitch a deeper hem. Which I think suits this fabric. 

My pictures are as usual up to my standard poor practice :)  ...






Now, as you know, I am wanting to change my style.  These pants are not at all my new style, but seem to be remarkably like my old Pollyanna Practical style. Once again, they are another pair of house pants, not the smart, casual look that I want to move too.  And floppy fabrics like this do not suit me at all.  I think the denim look also looks dated and old lady.

Crisper fabrics work for me - here is my first version of this pant:



Having said that, I did want to get the Tencel out of the stash.  And I had not sewn with it before and had no idea how it handled or what it would do. I have a bit more in the stash, and will have to be careful what I make with it.

So, overall, I have learnt to sew Tencel and am familiar now with it's feel and handle.  I have worked out that this sort of casual style is not me.  And I have got the flawed fabric out of my stash.

And I am well up with my goal of sewing for 30 minutes a day for the month of September.

Before I go, I just want to thank you for your comments on my last blog post. As you know, I usually reply to everyone, but this week I worked all week catching up with accounts that did not get done when the roof was replaced.  Plus my husband is a little unwell after his mishap.  And as far as my posts on style are concerned, for those of you who are interested, they will come, but it may take me a few weeks.  I have lots on my plate still in real life - it certainly has been one of those years.  I have  a fence repair to sort out long distance now -my Adelaide cottage had an old fence that did not make it through the last storm.  Unfortunately, the cottage has been declared heritage, so I have to deal with council red tape and nonsense - real time wasting stuff.  And I really must sort out my new car before my 22 year old one unceremoniously decides for me.

I'd rather spend all day sewing...

All for now, 

Sarah Liz

24 comments:

  1. I had to smile when reading about your car. My husband had a sixteen year old car he did not want to give up. I put my foot down and said to buy a new car. We did and driving his to the dealer to trade it in, it died! Don't wait too long! Your pants still look nice on you, even if you don't like the fabric! Great job!

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  2. The pants look great. I loathe working with slippery fabrics -- they take such care that although I know I will get a pretty result, the fun is somehow taken out of it.

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    1. Thank you Anne - yes, slippery fabrics are hard work, and when one is busy with life, can be quite stressful - one just wants quick and easy sewing.

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  3. You may not like the fabric but working with it is all part of our journey of experiment and experience. At least that is ticked off as done now. And although you may not like the trousers, they look ideal for casual wearing around the house at the very least. Comfort all the way! And I sympathise with all that is going on at home. I know the feeling well right now.

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    1. Thank you - and yes, these will make great Sunday pants, and after the day evening pants. I agree, it's good for us to stretch our sewing skills by using techniques and fabrics that are new to us.

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  4. I know this doesn't fit your new style, but actually they are rather useful trousers. They look good to, maybe even better with a colourful fitted top.

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    1. Thank you Louise - I agree, they will be useful, especially when our humidity starts.

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  5. Whew, SarahLiz! You're a Busy Bee this week. I know the feeling. House stuff can keep you going, can't it? Well I think those tencel pants were quite worth the effort. They look very nice on you, and can be dressed up or down. I think it would be so much fun to go shopping together to try things on for style. But alas, we are continents away! The white pants outfit is lovely!

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    1. Thank you Andrea. Yes, a busy week, and this one, but life will settle. I agree, it would be nice to find kindred spirits to go shopping with. Some decent shops would help too - in rather short supply in my part of the world. At least I can get fabric :)

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  6. I certainly wouldn't have been able to tell that the pants were such trouble to sew. They came out very beautiful. It's always a great feeling to getting an old fabric out of the stash. I agree with Louise - a colourful top would go well with them.

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    1. Thank you. I guess that is always the case with sewing isn't it - the finished result always looks as though it was easily done, but like most things in life, skill was used!

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  7. My hats off to you for seeing this task through, I would have probably waded it up and thrown in the trash can. Really love your white pants. You have alot going on in your life, all will work out, just aggravating.

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    1. Thank you Diane - I have trained myself to persevere, otherwise everything would be wadded!

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  8. You did a good job on the Tencel pants, but I agree with you that they are not up to your "new style", although without a top tucked in to show the elastic they will look better I think, although I know you did that to show the elastic-waist results. A tunic top will go better with them in daily life, I think. Not being a Debbie-downer, but just supporting you in your effort to be honest about your feelings in regard to your wardrobe. The white pants are very smart and look fantastic on you!

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    1. Thank you Randi - and no, I can tell you are not being a Debbie-downer. Yes, I will wear a skimming top over these, and then they will be fine - and very comfortable to wear. And I can always try again to make something for whatever my new style turns out to be.

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  9. You did a good job on the Tencel pants, but I agree with you that they are not up to your "new style", although without a top tucked in to show the elastic they will look better I think, although I know you did that to show the elastic-waist results. A tunic top will go better with them in daily life, I think. Not being a Debbie-downer, but just supporting you in your effort to be honest about your feelings in regard to your wardrobe. The white pants are very smart and look fantastic on you!

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  10. Sorry to hear about your non-sewing troubles. Life does get in the way of sewing, doesn't it? I had experience with council red tape before so I can empathize. I think you are right that the crisper version of the pants look better than the tencel ones. I too find that crisper fabrics and more structured pattern shapes work better for my lower body as well. Something that you may want to try next time you make something drapey with patch pockets: fuse lightweight interfacing on the packets first. It doesn't really change the hand of the pockets much but make them much easier to sew.

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    1. Thank you Love Nicky - yes, straighter body shapes do really need crisper fabrics. And red tape nowadays seems to be in every walk of life sometimes - very tedious!

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  11. I have never sewed Tencel. But your pants look nice on you.
    Funny about your car.. I finally got a new one, mine was 15 yrs old.. and was a wonderful car.. Some times I still regret getting rid of my car.. It never gave me any trouble.. Hope all your house troubles settle soon.. It has been a rough year , hasn't it?

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    1. Thank you Judy - Tencel, like rayon, is very slippery. Yes, I am a bit ambiguous about a new car, I have to admit. And the year has been a little tedious, but then I find that is often the case with life!

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  12. You've had a rough time. The pants look good, wearable, and you've practiced with a new fabric and reduced your stash. Score! I do prefer the crisper fabric.

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    1. Thanks Anne - yes, I agree, a win on many fronts :)

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  13. First off..... I do like your new pants. The pockets really 'make' them and they look like they would be comfortable to wear. You have really been on a learning curve this month trying new things and that is quite admirable as even that is outside one's comfort zone. "Life". I really do wish 'life' issues would just sort of stop and let us ladies keep on sewing without these distractions. I know that is a preposterous statement, but one I am truly feeling right now too. Hope your husband gets well soon and all your other 'life stuff' settles down. :)

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    1. Thank you Lisa - yes, learning curves do tend to occur in sewing, quite regularly. I had sort of worked out you were having another batch of life - I hope things settle down for you soon.

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