Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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Day 4 – Sewing the Side Seams (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

Edited-2 This Sunday evening a glass of wine and some good ol’ Bill Cosby will accompany us while we sew our side seams.  This is my favorite of Cosby’s records and I just found  the entire thing, well recorded, as a play list on YouTube for you to listen to!  Woot woot! (My record is getting pretty scratchy so the YouTube version actually sounds much better).

Have your shorts or pants been coming along well so far?  Have you been able to keep up with the sewing or are you reading along so you’re ready to sew after the sew along is finished? I hope you are finding the photos and instructions clear!  If you are confused with any of the steps so far, just leave a comment and I will do my best to elaborate on them :).

Now, lets get ready to sew our side seams – a pretty easy and satisfying set of steps!  First of all, we’ll pin our Pant Fronts to our Pant Backs with right sides together along the side seam (the edge with the gradual curve). Edited-1 Then we can sew and press open the entire seam. Edited-3 Do you have your binding ready?  If not, here is my post on making binding from a vintage handkerchief to help you out, or you can simply use the store bought variation.  You’d be surprised how little fabric it takes to make a good sized piece of binding so you could always root through your scraps and use any 10″X10″ piece of thin woven material (make it easy on yourself and choose something that maintains a crease well!).  If you make extra wide binding like I did, then you will need four 10″X10″ squares worth of binding for the side seams (leaving you with a few extra small pieces that you could use later on for the zipper shield). Edited-4 Now we will pin the binding to one of the side seams (you can start with either the front or the back).  Place the narrower edge of the binding on the side you will sew so that the wider edge extends under, sandwiching the seam allowance and reaching farther towards the stitching than the narrower top piece.  This will give you a bit of lee-way when you sew to ensure that you catch the bottom layer of the binding. Edited-5 Edited-6 We can now sew the first edge of the selvage and repeat this process for the second edge (and also for the second leg.  Ta-da, beautifully bound seams!  Won’t these look impressive and colourful when the wearer is putting on his shorts? Edited-8 Edited-9 After admiring our bound seams for a while (and giving them a final press to flatten out the binding), we can take a few steps to strengthen the front pocket area. You can sort of see the finished side seam and the strengthening stitches below but we will zoom in for a closer look in a second. Edited-10 The strengthening stitches include a bar tack near the top and at the bottom of each front pocket as well as edge stitching down the side seam until 1″ below the pocket: Edited-11 Edited-12 To make the bar tacks, you can either use a very tight zig-zag (like a button hole stitch), or do what I did here and stitch for 3/8″ using a straight stitch and then reverse and stitch again…and again…and again.   I’ve placed my bar tacks 5/8″ from the waist at the top of the pocket and just below where the bottom of the pocket meets the side seam.  That way the pocket won’t split open or bag out when it is constantly under pressure from being filled with hands and change and keys. Edited-14Edited-13 I have edge-stitched, catching the back seam allowance, 1/8″ from the side seam along the back of the pants until 1″ below the pocket.  I then back-tacked for a long ways and reversed and sewed several times to echo the look of the pocket bar tacks. Edited-15 There!  That wasn’t so bad!  Now, I wonder if you will be tempted to bind EVERYTHING the way I am?  It’s so simple and yet so effective (and a great way to use up scraps!).  Do you like to make your own binding or do you tend to use store bought?  Have you ever used one of those neat little binding tools that fold the fabric for you as you iron?  I’ve never had a chance to try one but, since my binding never seems to turn out completely uniform, I certainly am intrigued.  See you next Thursday when we sew the inseams! Edited-17


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Guest Posts: Katie’s Back Pockets

Today we have another guest post treat – this time from Katie, the author of the blog, The Creative Counselor.  She is the test sewer who made this version of the Jedediah Pants.  She used a gorgeous recycled hemp and organic cotton blend and widened the legs to create a totally different style of pants than our slim fit originals – I love how well these pants display the versatility of a well fitting pants pattern – all you have to do is adjust the width or length of the legs to create endless varieties and styles!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor's recycled hemp and organic cotton pants.  She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor’s recycled hemp and organic cotton pants. She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Here is what Katie has prepared for us – super strong pockets with absolutely no raw edges – I love it!:

Hello Thread Theory readers!  I’m Katie and I blog about my sewing and crafty creations over at the Creative Counselor.

I was one of the lucky three ladies who got to be pattern testers for the Jedediah Pants, and got my greedy little hands on the pattern before the rest of the world.  I know you will all soon come to love this pattern as much as I do, if you don’t already!

One of my favorite things about the Jedediah pattern is the beautiful seam finishes that Morgan has included throughout the pattern.  When starting my pants, I told my husband that this would likely be the only pair of pants that he owned with actual flat-felled and bound seams on every single seam.  And I was right!

While constructing my Jedediah Pants, I decided that I wanted the back pockets to have a similarly beautiful finish that enclosed all of the raw edges.  With that in mind, I examined some of our nicer RTW jeans and puzzled out how to finish the back patch pockets so that all of the raw edges were enclosed and the whole pocket looked neat and tidy.

If you’d like to include a similar finish on your back pockets, here’s how you can do it:

1.  Attach bias binding to the top edge of your back pocket piece, following the instructions included in the pattern.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to bind the top edge of the back pocket piece, you can serge or sew a zig zag on this edge, or turn the top edge down ¼” (wrong sides together) and press.  Personally, I like the bound edge here — those small hidden details make a pair of handmade pants special and truly unique.

Jedediah Photo 1

2.  Fold the top pocket edge along the marked fold line right sides together.  Do not press this edge at this point.  Pin it down and stitch the fold down vertically ⅝” in from each side (also per the pattern instructions).

Jedediah Photo 2

3.  Here, the pattern instructions will tell you to trim your seam allowance to ¼”, meaning that you will trim off about ⅜”.  Do trim your seam allowance to ¼” but rather than stopping where your stitching stopped, trim off that ⅜” all the way around your pocket piece.

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4.  Flip your top edge over so that the wrong sides are now together, and use a point turner  or a chopstick to push out the corners, making them nice and pointy.  Press the top edge of your pocket.

5.  Carefully fold in the other edges of your pocket piece (remember, your allowance has now been reduced to ¼”) and press them.  Be very deliberate here so that all edges are crisp and the point at the bottom is nice and clean-looking.

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6.  Stitch down the folded top edge of your pocket.

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7.  Position the pocket on the back pants/shorts piece and pin in place.

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8.  Topstitch the pocket down using a ⅜” allowance.

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9.  Once the pocket is attached to the shorts, you’re going to sew a second parallel line of stitching by edgestitching around the very edge of the pocket piece.  This ensures that the raw edges of your fabric are neatly enclosed between these two seams.

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You could, of course, do this edgestitching first, but I find that it is far easier to control the stitching and get a really nice-looking edge stitch if the pocket is already secured with the inner row of stitching.

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10.  Strengthen the top edge of the pocket either by stitching triangles in each top corner, or by placing a bar tack in each corner.

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You’re done, and ready to continue on with your shorts!  Take a moment to sit back and admire the prettily-finished back pockets.

Thanks so much for having me Morgan!  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished shorts!


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Day 3 – Sewing the Back Pockets and Yoke (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

Edited-19 Today’s a big day (we’re sewing both the back patch pockets on and the yoke) so we’ve got some blueberry and lavender water and a snack to keep us going as well as Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” to sing along to as we work.  Don’t worry, none of this process is too difficult – we’ll take it step by step!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMq-8ObJhZg

Katie of The Creative Counselor, the skilled sewist who created this version of the Jedediah Pants, has kindly shared with us an alternative way of sewing the back patch pockets which results in absolutely no raw edges and a very strong pocket – both things that I want in a pocket, that’s for sure!  To see her guest post explaining how to use the Jedediah Pants patch pocket to do this, click here.

To create the version I’ve included in the Jedediah Pants instructions, simply follow along here!  With our stitching templates handy, we will first transfer the pocket stitching design.

Edited-17 We’ll do this by placing layering both pockets together (wrong sides together) and putting the template on top.   Choose one of the mountain-shaped stitch lines (I picked the highest) and place pins at the highest and lowest points of the line. Edited-18 Now flip over the three layers and place pins in through the other direction exactly where the first three pins extend from.  Pull off the stitch template and replace the three pins you pulled off with it. Edited-20 Pull apart the two pocket pieces, leaving a set of pins in each piece.  On the right side of each pocket, I’ve transferred the top highest stitching line using chalk and a ruler to ‘connect the dots’ between each pin.Edited-21 Edited-22

With only the top stitching line transferred, I like to sew along this line and then use the markings on my sewing machine bed to measure the distance to the next line.  You could simply mark the next two lines with chalk as well but I find it is trickier to make really straight topstitching when I am trying to follow a line instead of watching the measurement on my sewing machine and it’s relation to the presser foot.  You choose!  Either way, each stitching line is about 3/8″ apart.

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After creating the decorative top-stitching, we are ready to start sewing the pocket.  To begin this process, I’ve used two scraps of binding to finish the top edge of the pocket.  I’ve placed the wider side of the binding on the bottom and the narrower side on the top and then sandwiched the pocket piece in-between the two.  I’ve stitched, catching all three layers.

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To create the top corners of the pocket, we must fold along the notched fold line so that right sides are together and then stitch, using a 5/8″ seam allowance from the folded edge down to the edge of the binding.  Next, I’ve trimmed along this stitched line so that the seam allowance is 1/4″ wide:

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Once both pocket corners are trimmed, turn out the corners using something pointy (a knitting needle is good for this!)  and press under the rest of the pocket edges at 5/8″ seam allowance to match the edge created by the sewn corners.  Once done, you will have something that resembles a pocket front!

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All that we have to do to finish the back patch pockets is stitch along the top edge of the pockets, 1/2″ from the top and then place them on the pant Back pieces.  Here is how I ensure that the pockets are level and in the correct place (nothing worse than lopsided back pockets!):  First I pin them on using the markings that we made when we cut out the fabric to line things up.

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Here is a closer look:

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Then I lay the the pant Backs with right sides together and fold back the fabric to see if the pockets are sitting directly on top of each other.  If they aren’t, I adjust the pins and check again.

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Once accurately pinned, we can top-stitch the pocket in place.  I like to create a triangle of stitching at the top corner of each pocket for added strength.  I do this by beginning stitching 1/2″ from the top of the pocket, stitching on an angle to the top of the pocket, over to the edge of the pocket (1/4″ away) and then down the side, continuing to the other top corner and reversing the triangle process.  Here is a close up so you can better understand what I’m talking about (ignore the yoke above the pocket, we’re doing that next!):

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Phew!  We’re done the patch pockets!  Take a breather and then we’re on to the flat-felled back yoke (I told you it was a bit of a long day!).

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I’ve started the back yoke by pinning the Yoke piece to the top edge of the pants Back with WRONG sides together.  The widest part of the yoke is towards the center of the pants (where the sharply curved seat seam is).

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Now, lets stitch this seam at 5/8″ and then grade the pant seam to 1/4″.  Be quite precise in this grading as it makes the next steps easier…and be sure to leave the yoke seam at a full 5/8″!

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Next, we press the seam open – this will help to create a crisp and straight flat fell seam.

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Now, we press the seam towards the yoke:

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And then we fold the 5/8″ seam down so that the raw edge meets the raw edge of the 1/4″ seam in the centre.  This is a bit fiddly – careful not to burn your fingers!

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Next, we flip the whole package over so the seam allowance is sitting on top of the pants Back (not on the yoke) and the raw edges are hidden.  I’ve pinned it carefully in place so my ironing doesn’t get uncreased as I move the pants to the sewing machine.

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Lastly, we edge stitch along the folded edge to create the flat fell seam – doesn’t it look nice?  And it’s super strong!

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The back pockets are done, the yoke is done and our snacks are done…and tomorrow is an easier day during which we sew the side seams!

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Day 2 – Sewing the Slash Pockets (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

Now that our fabric is all cut out, today we will be sewing the first step – the slash front pockets!  Today I’ve got a massive glass of cucumber water to keep me hydrated while I stand over the steamy ironing board and The Best of Van Morrison playing away in the back ground.  Here’s my fave (my mom’s song!):

To sew the slash front pockets, first of all, we need to attach the two separate facing pieces to each pocket lining.  Pocket Facing #1 will become the visible front of the pant when the pocket is complete and Pocket Facing #2 will be the inside edge of the actual pocket so that a person viewing the pants from behind won’t see the pocket lining fabric poking out.

I’ve prepared the facings by ironing the seam allowance (5/8″) under to make a finished edge.  Do this to the straight edge of Pocket Facing #1 (the large piece) and the longest edge of Pocket Facing #2 (the small piece).

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To attach the facings to the pocket lining, I laid the pocket lining right side up and pinned the pocket facings to it (also with right sides up).  I lined up  the raw edges with the raw edges of the lining and pinned it all in place.

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I’ve basted along the raw edges (within the 5/8″ seam allowance) and edge stitched along the folded edge of the facings.

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Now it’s time to attach the pockets to the front of the pants! To do this, I’ve placed the Pant Fronts right sides up and the pocket lining right side down.  I’ve pinned and sewn along the angled edge (that will form the edge of the pocket).

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Here is a close up of the angled edge.  All the other stitching you can see in this photo is the basting and edge stitching that was used to attache the facings.  The stitching we just did is along the left hand side of the photo.  I’ve graded the pocket seam to make it less bulky in the end, but if you prefer, you could serge this seam or even bind it so that you have no raw edges when you’ve finished your pants.

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Now that our pocket seams are graded or otherwise finished, we will under-stitch along this seam so that the pocket linings and facings don’t roll to the outside when the pants are being worn.  To do this, I’ve stitched through the pocket lining/facings and both seam allowances but NOT the pants front.  I’ve lifted up the pocket lining/facing in the photo below so that you can see the seam allowances hiding underneath…but in real life, of course, I would stitch close to the seam with all of the fabric flat on the bed of the sewing machine.

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Like so 🙂

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And another view of me under-stitching (this term used to mystify me when I was a novice sewist so I’m being extra thorough so that anyone who’s found themselves confused by written instructions explaining under-stitching need no longer be confused!):

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Once we’ve finished under-stitching we can press the pocket seam with right sides together.

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And this is how the finished, under-stitched pocket edge will look from the inside:

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After a quick water break…

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We are ready to finish the bottom edge of the pocket by sewing a french seam.  I’ve gotten my bearings before starting the process by folding the pocket lining with right sides together along the notched fold line.  When folded, Pocket Facing #1 lines up with the side seam as you can see from both the right side and the wrong side in the photo below:

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Next I’ve flipped the pocket lining in the opposite direction along the crease I just made and folded the pocket lining with wrong sides together.  In that position, the bottom of the pocket lining (the bottom edge in the photo below that includes both the pocket lining and the bottom of Pocket Facing #1) is ready to be pinned and then sewn using a 1/2″ seam allowance (visible on the left in the photo below).  The pocket pictured on the right in the photo below is attempting to show you the next step:  I’ve trimmed this 1/2″ seam allowance to 1/8″…super tiny!

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Now I’ve turned my pocket right side out so that right sides are together and I’ve pressed it all flat.  Then I’ve enclosed the raw 1/8″ seam allowance by stitching along this edge again, this time using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  And the french seam is done!

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The french seamed slash pocket is complete!  Sewing day #1…check!  If you have any questions, just leave a comment and we can all work together to help each other out 🙂

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Guest Sew-Along Post: How to Save Fabric When Cutting Out the Jedediah Pants

Meg, of Made By Meg was one of the test sewers for our Jedediah Pants pattern.  She was the sewer who produced this spectacular pair of denim pants (with musical themed pocket linings!):

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Not only is she a thorough and enthusiastic test sewer for us, she has also agreed to write a guest blog post to show you how she improved upon our cutting layouts…and saved a bunch of fabric!  Thank you, Meg, for taking the time to do this!  Without further ado, here is Meg’s very helpful tutorial to save you fabric when cutting out your pants or shorts for the sew-along!:

It’s no secret that I don’t always follow the rules, and this holds true for the Jedediah Pants
Testing the pattern for the fabulous Thread Theory, I made sure to follow most of the instructions: I carefully flat felled my seams, cut with the grain, and even followed the exquisite directions to french seam the pockets – and I was glad I did! But there was one area where I differed from protocol: the cutting layout. When I got the A-OK from Thread Theory, I figured I’d share it with you! So, here is an alternate suggestion for a cutting layout:

A bit of background: While it is usually wise to follow pattern instructions (ask me how I know!), cutting layout is one area where you can sometimes take a bit of liberty. For one, manufacturers often have to do a one-size-fits-all approach to the cutting layout, and your smaller or larger pattern pieces may work in a few different ways than suggested. On the user side, you may have to make adjustments for different fabric widths, a directional print, or even need to make do with just barely enough fabric. This is where it may be a good idea to experiment with a few different layouts before cutting.

The Jedediah layout: For the Jedediah Pants, the cutting layout places one pant leg above the other, with the waistband running vertically next to the pant leg (illustration below). While this works great to make sure that the pattern pieces in any size will fit on your fabric, it takes up a lot of yardage (3 yards at least)! Furthermore, if your fabric has a one-way print such as pinstripes, a one-way print such as a plaid, or even a 2-way stretch, a vertically cut waistband will not face the same way as the rest of your pants.

Cutting Layout

The modifications: To save fabric and make sure my waistband stretched in the same direction as the rest of the pants (I used a fabric with 5-10% stretch), I rearranged my pattern pieces, squeezing them on to under 2 yards of fabric! Here’s what the new layout looks like, based on how I cut K’s pants (left) and what that line drawing might look like (right):

LayoutMod

In order to make the waistband modification, I cut the the waistband along the fold of the fabric. As shown above (bottom right-hand corner), half the waistband is placed along the folded edge of the fabric. When the fabric is cut and unfolded, you’ll have a full-size waistband facing the same direction as the rest of your pants! Now my waistband will better match the rest of the pants.

You might call me a slacker, but I just love little sewing shortcuts that save me some fabric space!

meg2


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Day 1 – Cutting out Your Fabric (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

Thanks so much for joining me for the Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along.  I’m so excited, after all this preparation and after seeing how enthusiastic people have been about the pants pattern, to finally start sewing with you!  We will be doing a progress post on Thursdays to Sundays for two weeks (so that you finish your shorts while the weather is still warm!) and will be concluding with a parade of your finished shorts and pants photos on Thursday, August 29th.  If we are going too fast (or too slow) for you, don’t worry!  The posts will remain as links on our Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along page for you to refer to whenever you would like and we would be more than happy to receive photos of your finished project  (and show them off on our blog!) any time that you finish the sewing process…or can convince your wearer to model them!

Today we will be cutting out the pattern pieces from our fabric.  If you haven’t already assembled your pattern pieces or determined the size you will use, refer to these past posts for some tips and tutorials.  Before cutting out your fabric, be sure to wash and dry the material (using the same temperature and settings as you will be using when washing the finished shorts).  Iron your material and lay it out, folded in half with right sides together and the finished selvages lined up.  I like to pin the selvages together so that I don’t have to worry about the fabric shifting and cutting the pieces out off grain while I cut through two layers.

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Gather together your paper pattern pieces, your scissors or cutting blade and mat and of course some good music and a refreshing drink.

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To beat the heat today I’ve poured myself an ice cold orange juice with a sprig of mint and I’ve got the amazing Joan Armatrading, “Get in the Sun” blasting on my record player…awesome 🙂

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Now that we have everything gathered together and we’re pleasantly refreshed and focused, lets discuss what method we’re going to use to cut out our pattern pieces!  I’ll show you two options that I regularly use and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Option #1 is to trace your pieces and transfer markings using chalk (or any sort of marking device – a pencil works nicely if your fabric isn’t too dark).  Option #2 is to pin your pieces to the fabric and cut around them while the paper is still attached.  I often transfer my markings using pins if I am choosing to use this method but you could also use chalk just for the markings.

Either way I decide to approach cutting out my fabric, I first lay out the pattern pieces on my folded fabric.  Here they are (pictured below) laid out according to the diagram in the Jedediah Pants instruction booklet but feel free to save fabric by experimenting with different layouts.  We were a little generous in our estimates in the instruction booklet because we hate the thought of someone coming home with 10cm too little fabric!

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I have set the pocket lining piece aside to be cut out of my pocketing material and will also cut interfacing pieces for the waistband and zipper shield after cutting them out of self fabric.

To make sure that the pieces are being placed on-grain (very important with long pant legs especially, as if they are off grain they may end up twisting like a spiral around the wearer’s leg!) I measure from either end of the grain line to the fabric fold or selvage (whichever is closest to the pattern piece) like so:

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Once I am happy with the placement I cover the pattern piece with all manner of solid objects (much more fun and certainly cheaper than buying pattern weights!) so that it will not shift while I am tracing.

To trace the pieces I use one of my favorite sewing tools, the spectacular Clover chalk pen.  Oona has perfectly described how handy and indispensable these little tools are over on her blog.  Check it out if you have any doubts – she echoes my thoughts and amazement exactly.

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To even further prevent possible fabric shifting (can you tell I really hate twisty pant legs?) I like to pin around the outside of the pattern through both layers of fabric so that the only thing I have to worry about while tracing is creating a smooth line.

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Once I’ve traced the entire outline and the markings, I set the paper pattern piece aside.  In the photo below you can see how I transfer notches using chalk.  To transfer the two notches at the top of the fly facing I simply drew a line outwards (away from the pattern piece) exactly where the notch was on the paper pattern.  When the paper pattern was removed I extended the chalk line down into the pattern piece for 1/2″.  That way I don’t have to cut into the paper pattern at each notch or awkwardly fold up the paper to draw the little notch line.

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I also wrote a big, clear “X” at the zipper placement dot by sticking a pin up through the fabric and the pattern piece, removing the paper pattern piece and then lining up the chalk “X” so that it’s center is where the pin is coming up through the layers.  Then I removed the pin and Voila my zipper dot is marked!

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Make sure to transfer all notches and markings to the other side of the folded fabric too so that you will have them when you cut out and separate the two pant legs (and other pattern pieces).  I tend to forget this step and it is frustrating and time consuming to have to line up the paper pattern piece with the unmarked fabric piece to transfer the markings when I am in the middle of sewing the garment.

Now, if you were using Option #1, simply cut along the chalk outline through both layers of fabric.  There is no need to cut the notches (and it is best not to if you  are planning to follow along with the sew-along and use flat fell seams – the whole seam allowance is needed to make these).

If you are cutting out your pattern using Option #2, line up your grain lines using the measuring trick already mentioned and then pin the pattern pieces down through both layers of fabric.  Since the fabric I am using is a mid-weight Denim with a grippy texture, I didn’t need to use very many pins.  Also, the stiffness of the pattern paper (since it was printed and taped together from a PDF) makes it sit nice and flat without the crinkles and folds I find tissue paper to be prone to.

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And then I cut out my pattern pieces, carefully avoiding the paper pattern (since I love my nice sharp new scissors so much and would hate to dull them on pins and paper!).

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When I’m choosing to pin rather than use chalk, I often like to stick to pins to transfer my markings as well.  This is the process I mentioned when I discussed transferring the zipper placement dot during Option #1, this time used to transfer all markings, including the pocket placement dots.

I stick a pin down through the center of the dot that corresponds to the size I am using, through the paper and both layers of fabric.

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I then turn the piece over so I can see the tips of all the pins sticking up.

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I place a pin going in the opposite direction exactly where I had stuck in the first set of pins.

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I then pull away the paper pattern from the fabric, like so:

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This removes the first set of pins I placed so I pick them out of the paper and stick them back in through both fabric layers.

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Then I pull apart the fabric layers so a set of pins stays with each layer, the head staying on the wrong side of the fabric and the sharp tips on the right side.

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I leave the pins in as I sew and use them as ‘markers’ when I reach the step I need them for in the sewing process.  I know this process of pinning instead of marking seems long repetitive but I actually find it very fast and easy as my pins are already on hand and I don’t have to refresh my markings as I often have to with chalk (as they wear off when the fabric is handled).  I also like how the pins serve as a quick reminder as to which is the wrong and right side of the fabric.

As for the pros and cons of Option #1 and Option #2 – here is my analysis:

Option #1: Chalk

Pros: Chalk (when using the Clover tool) is extremely precise and, since the fabric is not lifted very often from the tracing surface, does not lead to the fabric shifting.  It is easy to cut exactly on the inside of the chalk mark so that the fabric piece does not end up slightly bigger than the paper pattern piece.  Chalk is a fast and easy way to mark notches.

Cons:  My chalk tends to rub off quickly and I often don’t notice this is the case until the marking is completely gone (this can get awkward if I am about to insert a zipper and no longer have a zipper placement notch!  Chalk also adds a little extra time because tracing tends to take me a bit longer than pinning.

Option #2: Pinning

Pros:  Since I already have pins on hand (all the time) I don’t have to rummage around for my chalk…which I always seem to lose 😛  It is very fast and I often like to leave my pieces pinned to the pattern pieces so it saves time later on in the sewing process too because I don’t have to examine the stray pieces of fabric trying to figure out which piece they are and which is the right and wrong side.

Cons:  It is less accurate because the fabric can shift slightly when being pinned and also later when cutting (with not chalk outline to ensure I cut correctly despite shifting).  The fabric pieces could potentially end up slightly bigger than the paper piece…especially if I’m very anxious not to cut paper with my new scissors!

Now that we’ve analyzed these two cutting out processes, choose the one you like best to cut out your fabric pieces from your self fabric and don’t forget to cut out the necessary interfacing and pocket lining using the same process.

You will need:

Self

  • 2 Front (shorts length or pants length depending on which variation you’ve chosen)
  • 2 Back (shorts length or pants length depending on which variation you’ve chosen)
  • 2 Pocket Facing 1
  • 2 Pocket Facing 2
  • 2 Back Pocket
  • 2 Back Yoke
  • 1 Waistband
  • 2 Zipper Shield
  • 3 Belt Loops

Interfacing

  • 1 Waistband
  • 1 Zipper Shield

Pocketing (strong, thin cotton or cotton blends)

  • 2 Pocket Lining

Now we’ve finished cutting out our fabric, we have a nice tidy pile of pieces ready to use when we start sewing tomorrow – wahoo!

Edited-39


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Tutorial: Grading between sizes for the Jedediah Pants

Yesterday Eadaoin posed the following question in our comments:

“Since this is a sew along :) , I have a question for you… My hubby has a waist of 39.7″-> size 40 but a seat of 42.5″ -> size 36. With the slash pockets, I can’t grade-in the hips or can I? What would you suggest! … Thanks”

I thought this was a good question because, with the Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along beginning tomorrow, I am sure quite a few people are considering ways to create the perfect custom size!  Evidence of this is Elena of Elena Knits‘ recent post on adding width to the thighs and knees in order to better suit her athletic partner.

In order to help Eadaoin and others with any grading they might choose to do, I’ve illustrated how I would approach grading from a size 40 waist to a size 36 seat.  What do you think of my approach?  Do you know of any better way to do this?  Click on the images to see them full size.  The red lines indicate where you should draw new lines using a curved ruler (or eyeballing a smooth curve).  After drawing these lines you can cut out the pattern using the size 40 waistband, the graded lines and then the size 36 legs.

Front and Pocket-01

Back and Yoke-01

I HIGHLY recommend doing a mock up of the pants if you choose to grade between sizes (or before you start to sew your fashion fabric regardless of if you have adjusted the pattern or not as you may find out that you would like to make some adjustments based on your mock-up!).  There are a few potential issues that could be created by grading the pants.  Here are some that I anticipate if your grading is quite extreme and a few suggestions on how to solve them:

1. The front pockets could gape a little too much: If you mock-up the pattern after doing your grading you will see if this is the case.  You can remove the excess fabric by creating a deeper seam allowance for the front of the pants at the waist seam and the side seam (flattening the front of the pants onto the pocket lining and facings).

2. The seat seam might not fit as well as it will the way the pattern was originally drafted: Grading between two sizes will change the curve of the seat seam.  If you are worried about opening the can of worms that adjusting a pant seat seam can be (ug!) then consider leaving the seat seam as is and only doing minimal grading along the side seams.  I know this isn’t the correct way to approach things but it is far less intimidating if this is your first time adjusting the fit of a pattern!  Only do this if you are grading up or down ONE size (meaning you only need a small adjustment).  If you DO need to grade the seat seam, try to keep the shape and length of the new curve as similar as possible to the old curve.

3. The thigh area might become too baggy or too tight:  To fix this, you will simply need to extend your grading down the leg further so that the shift between sizes is more gradual.  At the tight or baggy point, make sure to keep your graded line closest to the larger or smaller size accordingly.

If all of this has got you a little overwhelmed, consider buying a cheaper pants fabric and just sewing them up in the closest waistband size for the sew-along – even if they’re not perfect, they will be a good start and will likely fit as well as RTW pants do.  From that point on you will feel comfortable with the sewing process and more familiar with the pattern so you will be ready to begin your custom fit adjustments for the next pair!  Basically, what I am suggesting is – don’t freak yourself out and just let the sew-along pants be your wearable mock-up!

 

I hope this helps everyone prepare for the big day tomorrow!  I will post the first sew-along post in the morning so that you have all day to make time to cut out your fabric.

By the way, check out Andrea of Four Square Walls‘ not one but TWO pairs of Jedediah Shorts – they look wonderful!  I love the tobacco colored twill she’s used for her second pair!

Jedediah Pants Thread Theory 7