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May 11, 2010

Peter's Promising Pants Project w/ Pics


So I decided to dig into that cadet blue cotton twill that's been weighing on me since the day I bought it and make some pants.  Believe it or not, I originally thought I would use it to make this:

Which, as you'll recall, became this:

Doesn't that seem like years ago?  (I think blog years are like dog years; the time just races by.)  Here's a closer look:

There's nothing really wrong with this $2/yd., end-of-bolt fabric -- well, the weave is somewhat off grain I think -- or is it the weft?  (Or is that like saying the grain is off grain?  Debbie Cook, are you out there?)

I'm not over-the-moon about it, though it does remind me a little of that little blue jumpsuit Nino Castelnuovo wore in "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"-- my favorite Jacques Demy film.  (Am I losing you, peeps -- I do try to keep it on an accessible level.)

Anyway, I decided to make these pants with a new (to me) pattern, Kwik Sew 2123.

OK, now I need to rant a bit.

Who decided that it was now acceptable to spell quick with two k's?  IMO, there's no surer sign of cultural decay (as if we needed more evidence) than the invention of words like lite, de-lite, EZ, kwik, and their ilk.

Do you notice how they all carry the empty promise of speed, of something (a rich chocolate(y) dessert, say) for nothing (no calories!).  Why should anything in life be EZ and why should we be drawn to patterns that are Kwik?  What is the rush, peeps?  So you'll finish your pants on Friday instead of Wednesday; if you're in such a hurry, go to the Gap.  (Do I sound like a curmudgeon?  I'm not, really, though I'm old enuf to be one.)

And let's not even talk about the pattern artwork.  I mean, was there ever an uglier envelope?

Whatever happened to this?

or this?
or this...

or -- my personal favorite -- this?

Which man would you rather have take you to a screening of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," then maybe out for ice cream sodas and a little shoe shopping before ending the night with a friendly peck on the cheek?  I rest my case.

Here's how things stand with the pants so far:

I've cut all my fabric, and am now working on some of the pocket details:

As you can see, there's a bit of a stripe in the weave which helps keeps things lined up.  If all goes well, I'll have these done by the end of the day: after sewing vintage dresses with nothing but perforations on the pattern pieces, this seems like a breeze.  So EZ.

OK, time for more coffee and then on to my pants, kwik, kwik, kwik!

Do you have a rant you wish to share with us today?  Please do!

For your viewing pleasure...


  1. No rants for me...I just love listening to you rant. You are spot on about the lack of imagination on the envelope for your pants. I'm surprised they even sold one. BORING!!! I'm sure your pants won't be though. And as for who I would like to take me to the screening of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" vote is the man with the hat on in the Vogue pattern.

  2. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - one of my favorite movies! So sad! (In college I discovered all Foreign movies are either tragedies or farces...discuss...)
    I agree that pattern envelope illustrations suck now - a clear sign of the decline of civilization as we know it.

  3. Yeah, I hate dull pattern envelopes.

    No rants for me today. But I can't pass up the chance to talk about weave/weft/grain... I dabbled in weaving once upon a time, so at the risk of being that annoying person:

    'Weft' refers to the threads that run crosswise in the fabric, from selvedge to selvedge. 'Warp' is the lengthwise threads (and defines the 'grain'). 'Weave' is the way the two combine ('plain weave', 'twill', 'satin', etc.).

    With a printed stripe it is quite easy to have the stripe 'off-grain', where the printing didn't line up properly with the weave. But with a woven stripe (this is, right?), it's pretty impossible since the stripe is formed by the warp threads, which also define the 'grain'. It IS possible to have the weave skewed when it comes off the bolt, due to poor finishing of the fabric (so the warp and weft end up not really perpendicular to each other), but that should resolve itself when the fabric is washed.

    One other fun fact about wovens is that the fabric has a little more give in the crosswise direction because the warp is under a lot of tension during the weaving process while the weft is less so.


  4. I <3 Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I go over the moon for all the pastels with black ribbon at the beginning. and although I also <3 Catherine Denueve, I don't buy her as 16.

    The pattern envelope is definitely ugly but I don't think your pants will be. I like the striping effect.

  5. I wonder how "peeps" has become so popular. English is not my native language and I do get a bit lost when people use too much slang and "new words". Not that you do, not at all, I just wonder about the "peeps"-thing.

    And how long are those legs on your pattern envelope? Daddylonglegs?

  6. Big rant. Not getting my fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club. Two weeks and I'm still waiting! Got a great deal of 3 yards of swimwear. I feel like Veruka Salt, "but I want it now!"

    The trench coat is really klassy.

  7. "Debbie Cook, are you out there?"

    Peter, I'm always out here for you. :-)

    I see makingtime answered your questions. Good thing, too, since she (?) said it a whole lot better than I could.

    One thing to note, though. Twills are notoriously twisty, since they're woven with a diagonal pattern (for lack of a better word - see I told you). Don't fight it or you'll find the legs of your pants twisting around you backwards as you walk down the street. Or from the living room to the kitchen. Smooth the uncut fabric as best as you can and go with it. For next time, that is.

    And speaking of notorious, Kwik Sew is that for the ugliest pattern illustrations ever. But what they lack in beauty, they make up for in execution - with the best instructions you'll find in an envelope. Beauty is only skin deep, right? Don't tell Cathy I said that!

  8. Ah, la petite fille francaise in me got really excited when you mentioned The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I don't love the film, but the fashion and interiors kill me as a 60s fan.
    I'm fast learning that "easy-to-make" on old patterns generally means at least a week. Oh well, if one is going to try and do the slow movement, one may as well do it right!
    And I completely agree about pattern illustrations, even if some of the best ones have ugly covers.

  9. Huzzah on the two Ks. And on the dullness of pattern envelopes. However, I, personally, am not going to any movie screening with a bare-chested guy in shorts wearing a short-sleeved (shudder!) terry-cloth lined open jacket.

    On the other hand, I am completely taken by the gents on Simplicity 4349. That's a TIE on the fellow on the left! He's wearing formal lounging wear and a TIE! Won't someone get me a brandy, please? And light the fire?

  10. You've just touched on why I hate Kwik Sew patterns. It's the k's. Hate that. Also hate it when people tack an E on the end of words like Old. As though it suddenly throws us back in Ye Olde England. It's usually accompanied by the word Shoppe.

  11. I want to see you make those shorts with the over shirt in the last pattern. They look great for lazing by the pool. Actually, depending on the fabric, you and Cathy could fight over it.

  12. Man, oh, man! That Advance pattern guy in the stripey jacket? Ring-a-ding-DING!

    Well, since my real name starts with a K, I am particularly scornful of its casual misuse. I have only ever made one Quick Sew pattern and there was WAY too much ease!

    I can't wait to see your finished pants and hope they look much better than that badly-colored-in pair on the right. Sheesh.

  13. More of a Demoiselles de Rochefort girl myself. Jacques Perrin in his cute sailor's outfit... sigh.

    To their defence, even if the artwork is vile and the spelling inexcusable, I once used a Kwick Sew pattern for a pair of trousers with flies and pockets and all, and the instructions were so fantastically clear that I got it all first time round. And as someone who spends many an hour gazing at instructions going 'Duh?', what a godsend that was...

  14. Kwik Sew are actually my favorite brand of pattern because of their clear instruction. Their patterns make more sense than most! (I also love the fact that they're printed on real paper rather than tissue paper. I fell even more in love with that thanks to Evie. I have patterns taped back together because Little Bits has decided that they're toys.)

  15. I hate economics, but I think it's a cost-benefit analysis as to why pattern covers are no longer attractive. The patterns you show are from a time when there was a much larger contingency of sewers, hence more competition and greater ability for profit. Now, most people buy RTW so what's the benefit in spending more for decent pattern art, much less creative patterns (as nowadays seem so much a repeat of previous years)?

  16. I have trouble with the name Kwik Sew but once got off my high horse bought one, tried it and found it had nice drafting and came together just fine. I don't care for the pattern illustrations and have to slow down and look at the tech drawings instead.

    Foreign films are a blast and I went through an Akira Kurasawa phase for a while. Quite a force of nature.

    Today's rant? I have to take my car to the shop - need I say more?

  17. Yeah, slang, text-speak, and other random gibberish that people use to communicate now irks me too. Who knew that we were slowly declining back to cave-man speech? ;-) That being said, you'll love the Kwik Sew patterns, they are awesome and easy to assemble. They have straightforward steps, good drafting, and are good wardrobe basics. :-) And you have to love the paper instead of tissue they are printed on! They are my favorite pattern company by far.

  18. I love Kwik Sew patterns! They're printed on paper, have smaller seam allowances and great directions; and everyone I've tried has come out great.
    I do NOT love the "K" thing though. Replacing or adding letters to words just annoys me; two e's instead of one or h's put after a's... for no reason!!! It also annoys me when your nieces change their names because the name you've called them all their life just isn't "them" anymore.

    Here's another rant for you... stating the obvious! Last night I noticed a little highlighted section on the wrapper on our toilet paper that said "Flushable"! Really now? Has anyone ever accidentally brought home Non-flushable toilet paper? Is it really worth pointing this out as a special feature? Does this company really think they're going to sell more toilet paper because theirs is advertised as flushable?

  19. mom2five -- That is HYSTERICAL! I love finding stuff like that. That reminds me of the section on the back of pattern envelopes that tell you what notions you'll need: "Thread". Duh.

  20. Peter you are sewing fast. Those trousers are goning to be great undoubtably.
    Same as Anne Lo English is not my native language either and I don't quite understand your peeps.
    Thanks for mentioning Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.

  21. I can't wait to see the pants. I think they're going to look great. I don't like the K's in KwikSew either... and if I may add a rant, I hate "wonky" (in reference to purposefully crooked quilt blocks) and "easy peasy". Please don't ever say "easy peasy". Or EZ PZ.

  22. Rants? There are so many to choose from.
    1. Intentional misspelling of words. The worst I saw was a fried chicken place named Kountry Khicken. Isn’t that hideous? I’m not sorry they went out of business!
    2. Using apostrophes to indicate a plural. It is amazing how many supposedly professional publications and signs do this.
    3. The proliferation of “frequent shopper” cards. I can’t fit all of the stupid things in my wallet!
    4. Outsourcing jobs to India. If I have to S-P-E-L-L O-U-T every word I say, or constantly ask the call center person to repeat himself, I get mad. I don’t mind outsourcing if the person does a job at least as well as the person they replaced, and can speak clearly in English.
    5. Websites that play music when I enter. Worse… Sites that do this, and don’t give me a way to turn off the music.
    6. People who drive and talk on a cell phone. No one can give an appropriate level of attention to traffic and hold a meaningful phone conversation. No one. Not even you. The next time you are nearly cut off or someone drifts out of their lane, have a look – they are almost certainly on the phone.
    7. Texting and driving.

    For a pretty sewing pattern picture, check out Batik Butik. The pictures look like a happy tropical scene, and not just generic people wearing clothes.

    I agree that Kwik Sew’s pictures are sterile. However, I’ve only sewn one of their patterns, and it was well-designed with great instructions.

  23. We were on a movie musicals kick a few years ago so we rented La Parapluies and MADE OUR SEVEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WATCH IT! yes, I am a horrible parent!

    Stetch 'n' Sew are the winners of the ugly pattern envelope contest! (of course, I've trained myself to look at the line drawings because you never know what photo trickery (clothes pins to make dresses more fitted etc...) has been used in the photo. The Vogue wrap dress that is so be-loved has a horrid drawing and I never would have bought it if I hadn't read the positive reviews!

  24. My recent rant? Pre-smocked fabric intended for sundresses like this:

    I get it- you sew one seam and suddenly you have a dress that would have cost you $14 at Forever 21. Sure, it's pretty, and sure, smocking can be tedious, but I really don't like the idea of fabric that prescribes the project for you. What else could one possibly make out of this fabric except for a one-seam sundress? An ugly one-seam peasant skirt with a smocked yoke? Takes all the creativity out of making your own dress and all the possibility out of fabric. Boo for single purpose fabric!

  25. Gee, now I feel silly for spouting the virtue of knits being quick to sew yesterday... :-) The pants are looking great, though.

  26. oh, kwik...and donut...and cigaret....feh!!!

    love Les Parapluies, though. (or should that be tho'...?)

  27. @ Saint Pudalia--as someone who almost always nearly forgets to buy thread, I really appreciate the fact that patterns remind me to buy thread!


  28. I hate apostrophes for plurals, too. Imagine my surprise when I found one on the bottle of bubble bath we bought for Evie!

  29. I hate the lazy spellings. I hate txt msgs. My kids know not to send them. I won't even buy an album that uses letters or numbers for words (2 U? Really?). I sound curmudgeonly, too. And I cherish my old patterns with nicer illustrations. Is anyone else irked by the fact that new patterns have the notches turned IN instead of OUT? Really? Why would you want to put a cut in your seam allowance, and risk a catastrophic fabric failure due to fraying or something in the future?

    Rant over.

  30. I am so with you all on the misspellings to catch your attention. One that bothered me was a restaurant Steakountry - now doesn't that look weird? I also hate wonky, easy peasy, some of the others mentioned. Also, have any of you noticed all vintage Simplicity patterns had "EZ", "Simple to Make", etc., when some are anything but easy.

  31. Land sakes alive, I'm glad I gave you all an outlet -- you needed it!

    Maybe I'll try to call you something other than "peeps." I'm not even sure where I picked that up, if truth be told. Probably one of those nasty old blogs....

  32. When you wrote - Do I sound like a curmudgeon? I'm not, really, though I'm old enuf to be one,

    I thought, at least he didn't write - though I'm old enuf 2B 1.

    And that's my rant. Text message spelling.

  33. Oh, you darling man. WHAT INDEED happened to that! What happened to style?

  34. Also, the Blogger comment verification word just was: colikey

    As in, co-LIKEY! Me RIKEY!

    Sorry. Wine.

  35. WOW - I'm totally impressed with the way you have managed to line up the stripes in the pockets! That looks really good.

    At least here in Europe matching stripes are a sure sign of a home-made garment - rtw-stuff never matches. Is it similar in the US?

  36. I think your style is wonderful. I wish I could focus long enough on one project to make some amazing clothes. My sense of style seemed to die with my original spirit in the manufacturing plant. I used to experiment with fabrics and patterns ect...
    Well, time will tell. You inspire me! Keep up the good work!!


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