Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pants length and Petites and Talls

Simplicity 8922 is a great pattern. It is a straight legged pant with 4 cuff variations that are separate and sewn on to the pant leg. If you look like the model on the envelope, well, perfection in hem length ensues. If you are not that five foot six inch dream woman, this divided look could easily go awry. I just made the pants you see above and have already started a second pair. 

 I made it my business to come up with a formula for getting this proportion thing done right and done easy. I had spent way too much time on this part of the last construction and had to figure out a different way. This method is easy, didn't take me long and will work just as well for those who are taller than our dream woman on the pattern envelope. 

Before we start I would like to say this method could work on any pattern. You just have to establish where your knee is and where the knee is on the pattern. For other pants patterns you can fold the front pant leg in half connecting the edge of the finished hem on a full length pair of pants with the inseam crotch point. Keep your grain line arrows straight and in line with each other. Where the fold is is where the pattern has decided your knee is. This is your frame of reference for adjusting any pant length, whether you are short or tall. You then compare the pant leg with where your knee is and make the needed adjustments. With that all said, here is how I went about dealing with the proportions between the cuff and the pant leg on Simp 8922, particularly for petites. For Talls, just go in reveres. 

The first thing you need to do is to find a pair of pants that has the perfect length that you want to also have in your new pair of pants with the cuff. Look in your closet. Try them on. Are they the perfect length you are looking for? Get out the measuring tape.

Put the pants nice and flattened out on a table.  Hold the beginning of the measuring tape right at the seam where the waistband meets the pant. THE SIDE SEAM.  Press down and hold tight. Now measure the side seam to the fold of the hem edge. You are measuring the finished length of that side seam, no seam allowances or hem insides included. Write that down. 

For this pattern, hold the front leg pattern piece against your tummy making sure the SA matches you natural waist. Have someone mark a dot on the tissue where your knee is. Done that step! Make a dime sized circle with crosshairs in it to mark your "knee circle". You want it rather obvious as it will be your reference point. 

Lay this front pant leg pattern flat on the table. I was working on my back leg so that is what you see here but it is the same. You can see the red dot and that is my "knee circle".  Fold the seam allowance, or if using a sloper like I am, the hem allowance on the pant leg to the back of the pattern. Lay it out on the table nice and flat. 

Cut out the tissue for your cuff pattern. Fold the top seam allowance and the hem edge on that to the back of the tissue as well. This is all specific to S8922. 

Lay the cuff piece up to  the pant leg piece matching the top of the cuff band SA with the edge of the pant leg hem SA. The SAs have all been folded to the back. This will give you the view of the completed pant leg as per the pattern. Now we know you are a shorter person than our model on the envelope and this will be too long. Measure that side seam, not the cut edge. What is the difference to get you to where you need to be to match your perfect side seam length that you earlier wrote down?  Whatever you need to remove, take half of that and tuck it out of the cuff band. So if you need to reduce the pant leg 4 inches total, take  two out of the cuff band with a folded tuck. Match the seams again and look at your pant leg.  It is still too long and you have 2 more inches to remove so take that from the leg to get to your total of four.

 I found, at five feet tall, just taking two inches out of the cuff and sliding it up and down the pant leg until I got my exact side seam length I wanted worked out perfectly. So, next, slide your cuff band up until you have the exact length you need for your perfect side seam measurement and judge how it looks. Use your knee circle as a reference point. If it is good, and you have the right measurement for your side seam. mark your pant leg and fold out what your don't need.  So if you slid your cuff up 2 inches to make the four inches you needed to get to your perfect length AND it looks good to you and in relationship to where your knee is, tape things in place and proceed to cut your fabric. Double check your measurements again after you have folded out the unwanted length. We'll call this technique "Tuck and Slide". You tuck out  your cuff  based on your side seam measurement and slide up or down to get the perfect length. How's that? Once you've found your magic spot, just tape the tuck into place and cut or fold out your pant leg tissue as well. Make sure you've added back seam allowances to the pant leg.  Double check everything before you cut. Measure the side seam of the pieces, add up and see if you get your perfect side seam length from the original garment.  Also, remember to do the same to the back and any facings you may decide to mock up as I did. It really only took a few minutes compared to my first effort. The magic is the side seam measurement. Also, that knee circle is a priceless reference point and I implore all pattern companies to put it on their pants patterns. It is theoretically the halfway point between your inseam crotch point and the hem edge. We know we are all built differently and knowing where the knee circle is on the pattern allows us to adjust for our own unique shape. Short from knee to hip? Remove length there until your knee circle matches your own knee and vice versa. It is a great reference tool.  In short here is our petite or tall pant leg adjustment for styled cuffs:

* Find your ideal side seam measurement for the completed garment. 

* Find your knee circle on your pant leg. 

* Fold back the hem allowances on the cuff band and the top seam allowances on the cuff band. Fold out the seam allowance on the pant leg where it meets the cuff. 

* Match up the bottom of the pant leg and top of the cuff. 

* Fold out half of the measurement needed to reduce  length on the cuff. 

* Match the cuff top to the leg bottom . Slide up the cuff until you reach your ideal side seam length. 

*Mark your pant leg and fold and out a tuck there as well. 

* Fold all your tissue back out. Tape in your tucks and cut out your pieces. Measure twice, cut once! 

HAPPY SEWING!....................Bunny

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Tale of Two Simplicities!

Hello, sewing friends! I held off posting until both the pants and the top were complete for this outfit. While I fell in love with this rayon/lyocell blend for the top, little did I feel the Autumn vibe it would give off when I bought it. I had also planned and cut the long pants and later wished they were cropped but but hey, we can't avoid the change of the seasons and I am now one new outfit ahead of the seasonal game! 

Both patterns were fun to sew but provided challenges with my efforts to make them work for my petite frame, nothing related to the pattern itself. I liked the fresh look of the wrap scarf on the top and as for the pants, we are seeing those tulip hems all over Pinterest and I was brainwashed. I will review the top first and then move on to the pants. 

Top Pattern:

This is Simplicity 9143, a top that offers a simple, plain front bodice and mandarin collar.  View A is sleeveless with a breast pocket and View B, my choice, has elbow length sleeves with a one inch hem and a small slit. View B also sports a "wrap" that is inserted into the shoulder, armscye and side seam and has very long ties. The pattern shows it simply tied in front as you would a shawl, very pretty and quite unique. Here it is tied that way:

It is very pretty but on me it was an overwhelming bit of fabric volume, at least in my opinion.  We'll fix that later! But it is lovely this way too. 

Another issue with this pattern for petites are the sleeves. The shoulders are dropped on the model so I went with that and fell it contributes to the soft look. If you click on the link and look at the sleeves they are right at elbow length. I learned many years ago this is a very bad length for me--boobs and being short does not work well with sleeves that end at boob level. But, silly me, ever the hopeful one, thought, well, that model is tall and these patterns are made for much taller women so this will come past my short little elbows. Uh, no. We'll fix that later too. No way was that staying. But again, it is a lovely sleeve if you are not five feet tall with boobage and a volume type bodice. 

Other than those two issues I did my usual. I did an FBA for a C cup. I did my usual petiting of the pattern in the upper chest area and I looked at the details. I cut the mandarin collar down by a 1/4 of an inch. I love mandarin collars but again, many years ago I realized Big Four mandarin collars were really too high on my long neck and I cut out a quarter inch from the height of this collar. It is still the same length but not as deep and it worked out just right. 

These buttons are from my dear friends inheritance and vintage wooden balls. There have fine inscribed designs on them and were just perfect for the shirt. I am just concerned about washing. We shall see on that one. 

Top Fabric:

This is a rayon/lyocell blend. It is fairly lightweight and drapes beautifully. It was my first, out of covid visit to Joanns buy. They have really upped their game with their challis offerings. It's good to see something supplanting those shiny poly faux silks. I used SF 101 in the collar and that was about it for interfacing as the CF facing was folded in and the layers made for the needed stabilization. I washed this on gentle, warm wash and hung to dry. It did not shrink at all for me.  I have found the contribution of the lyocell to the rayon to have made it far less prone to wrinkling.

I did try something that Linda Lee of the Sewing Workshop swears by and that is sewing all wovens with cotton thread only. Not sure I am on that bandwagon but I am going to give it a try for a few garments and see what I think. It does make for a prettier topstitch,  and I often use cotton thread just that way.  I am learning lots of things from all these Vlogs I have been watching lately! My next garment will have a really interesting new technique as well. 

Fit Issues:

I will just bullet point these:

*Did an FBA for a Ccup

*I "petited" the area between bust and shoulder seam as you can see in this tutorial here.

*Removed a 1/4 inch from the height of the mandarin collar.

*Here's the biggy. I found the sleeves, as mentioned, at a visually bad length for my height. However, I had them completely made, slit, hem and all before I realized this. I added a 14x9 inch rectangle that I folded in half and seamed on the ends to get a finished "add-on"  to my sleeve. The short ends would provide the slit that would line up with the already hemmed and completed slit. Here's a pic that may make it more sense and it is very photoshopped for contrast so you can see it better. 

It put the sleeve hem in a much more flattering spot and I liked the look of the long double slit. I make almost all my sleeves 3/4 length when I can. 

Things I would do if I made this again:

* For petites only, I would cut the wrap height down a little bit. By this I mean the bottom edge from where it leaves the side seam to the point where it becomes a tie. It just has a lot of volume and this reduction in height/length I think would work better for a shorter frame. 

What I did that was not in the pattern:

I  SELF-FACED my "wrap" pieces. On this pattern you will see both sides of that wrap when you tie it so keep this in mind. By facing it with the same fabric, it worked out beautifully and I think gave the wrap a better weight and drape. This is a challis, so quite lightweight. I highly recommend this move. 

I also backed each side of the collar with interfacing. This fabric is just too slithery and ravel-ly to do otherwise. I used SF101 because in my covid stash it was all I pretty much had. I block fused the fabric BEFORE cutting and also double checked the pattern before sewing. Yes, it had stretched, interfacing fused and all, and I did have to remark and re-trim . 

All the seams are serged and the side seams were serged before sewing, important, due to hemming the corners. 

I recommend mitering your corners for a "better" look. It's easy enough and there is loads out there telling you how to do it. 

I love this design but I think there is a bit much volume in it for me as shown. I was playing with the ties in my mirror and discovered that I really like to wear it like you see above. The sashes crisscross in the front, so less volume, and then wrap to the back where I tie them at center back. It gives me a bit of my shape back and yet I still have the fun of this lovely  design. It's great that you can try and wear it either way. You also can get a good view of how the sleeves worked out in this pic as well. Now for the pants!


Simplicity 8922. This is an elastic waist pull  on pant with 4 different cuff(?) variations. I chose the "tulip" cuff which consisted of a section that had curves instead of corners and they overlapped each other at the bottom of the legs. The legs go straight down, making for a very comfortable pant.Again, my challenge was the petiting of this pattern and it was trial and trial again. How long should the cuff be? Where should the pant leg end and the cuff begin? 

Since I used my sloper for the upper pant shape as it matched the width of the pattern perfectly, it was a matter of figuring out the length of the cuff but before I got into that I got into my usual inspection of the pattern details and asking myself, "do these need to be made smaller for a smaller person?" and they did. 

First, I altered the shape of the "tulip". The pants I had seen online had very pronounced tulips and these, as you can tell from the pattern, are nearly straight down. I took my hip curve and shaped them to turn in more sharply. The front and back pieces were stacked so they would have matching seams when I cut. 

Then I lined up the pieces and took an inch off the top of the tulip. I planned to sew a 3/8th in seam there. 

I sew/basted the pants together and they were too long, not to long to wear, but too long to show off the tulip detail. These needed to be shorter but I  definitely did not want a real cropped pant either. I took the seam in another inch deeper and it worked. You can see how deep they are. I suggest you baste in your stitching before you decide how the length works for you. It took quite a bit of play to get it right. 

I have started another pair of pants from this pattern, View A. I have come up with a very specific and easy way to get the right length on the pant and cuff for any height person and will publish that on Sunday, in three days. I think it will be a big help to any making these pants and to get a good proportion on them. It will work for any one super tall or super short like me and even a lot of in between. So come back Sunday for the next post and there will lots more specifics on getting these cuff proportions to look their best without the hassle I had on the first go round. 


These pants are made with a rayon/linen blend. They are rather lightweight and despite their dark demeanor really nice on a hot summer's day. They are not lined but I DID face the tulips with self fabric. I am glad I did as I think that gives the nicest finish. The pattern recommends a tiny hem for the edge of the cuff. With the right fabric I think that would be OK but in this one I think it would have cheapened things. Also, by facing the cuff, weight was added and that helps the pants to hang better and not wrinkle as much. 


This was pretty straightforward pull on pants construction, no pockets, so it went together quite quickly. Getting the cuff to pant leg ratio worked out took the most time. After that it was quickly done. I also found one other issue with the tulip cuff. Those I have seen online have the overlap of the tulip happening so the high point of the overlap is at the center of the foot. In this pattern it actually turns toward the inseam. All notches and seams matched perfectly. I made sure it overlapped and those notches were correct as well.  So the tulip effect is not very obvious when you look at these dark pants. I am planning to make them out of a khaki twill and play with the cuff to get the overlap to land at center foot.  They still look great and I think the details will show better in a lighter fabric. I highly recommend this pattern. I have been working off my sloper and all the pants have been wide leg but I really think I need to do a new pants sloper. I did this one before I lost weight  and today I faced the fact that it is a bit large and I know where it is large. I am going to make one more pair of pants with some simple adjustments and see if that will do the deed before I start the whole pants sloper thing again. Fingers crossed that I may not need to do that. You know its all about that crotch situation. 

Sorry this project took so long but I did want these two items to go together for you. Again, little did I realize how Fall Forward they would look, but they are pretty, I think, and definitely comfortable. I do have a couple of summer projects still left in me and they won't take as long as this, I hope! Depends a lot on the weather. Hubs and I are in the throws of house repairs and painting the house exterior with the two of us doing 90% of the work. It's all good and looking so different and nice. We are calling it  the Retro Ranch with vibes of Chip and Joanna!  I am excited about my next project. I will be trying  a new and different technique, as suggested by one of the Vlog gurus. 

If I am looking a little piqued here, I am. A tummy sort of thing hit me today but I was determined to get the pictures taken and this post up for you all! Tomorrow will be a better day! 

This Japanese Painted Fern is on of my favorite ever plants. It is doing well here and quite hardy. Enjoy!.................................Bunny

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