And there you have it!

New Frankie ShortsNew Frankie Shorts

New Frankie Shorts

Frankie as shorts.  Easy peasy and ready for summer’s last gasp.

There was, natch, one little problem that I only realized *after* I had cut my altered pattern from a suiting remnant. Instead of taking 1/2″ out of the back crotch length as a wedge, I took it out across the entire back. That mistake, of course, shortened the side seam as well as the center back seam.

Those side seams have to match, as I well know! Fortunately I had enough of the remnant to cut another back after I fixed the problem.

One more pair from some other scrap and I’ll be done with shorts for this summer.

End of Summer Blues

While not exactly sitting idle, I’ve been in something of a creative funk lately. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything, and the summer heat hasn’t helped any. Vanessa has been fun, but I’m stalled out on her, too.

The good news is that I need some new shorts to finish the warm weather.  I had not planned to sew any warm-weather clothing, but when I pulled my drawer open the other day I found it sorely lacking!  That has piqued my interest and inspired me to clear the bits and pieces off the cutting table.

I’m still loving my Frankenstein (aka Frankie) pants, and I’ve had plenty of opportunity to analyze the fit as I’ve been wearing my three pairs almost non-stop this summer.

One thing I noticed was that they didn’t come up to level in the front, thanks to the ice cream storage facility just below my waist.  In back, they sagged a bit and the front tried to borrow from there to cover things.  I definitely still enjoy the elastic back and haven’t missed the back yoke eliminated from Frankie #3.  I have missed the back pockets, so I may want to install some on future efforts.

Today I got the pattern out and turned it into shorts.

Frankie Shorts pattern

I made some more tummy room at center front and reshaped the flat front waistband to accommodate fullness there.  Next to redistribute the crotch length, I shortened the vertical length of the back by 1/2″ and added an inch to the crotch tip.  I added 1/8″ to the front tip.  This gives me a bit more than the 27 1/2″ I need for total crotch length.

I made the inseam 4.5″, which seems to be about right for fairly modest around-the-house shorts.

There are a couple of remnants laying around that I can cut these from.  At the end of the season I hope to have a couple new pairs to put away for next year.



Ta Daa!

Tara & Frankie

I’m totally sold on the Tara Tank Dress and don’t get me started on the Frankies. This is a perfect summer outfit!

At this point I’m scrambling to finish a dress version of the Tara Tank before Saturday. You can see a couple of bodice photos over on Instagram.  I expect I’ll start putting some of my in-progress photos over there as Flickr! has become a colossal pain lately and I’m weary of referencing the photos in blog posts the way I’ve been doing.


I said it.

After 18 years she’s tired of it.  I don’t think I’ll stop entirely, but nowadays there are easier ways to share my sewing.

Instagram may be my next wave

or not.

Meet Frankie!

For summer I wanted to sew some cropped pants that would be comfy and modest for anything from pulling weeds to grocery shopping.

I loved the flat front of my Vogue 8929s, the pockets of TSW’s West End pants, the legs and fit of McCall’s 6082, the back yoke of Simplicity 3796, and the back pockets off any old pair o’ jeans! How’s that for a list? Naturally there was no precise pattern for this, so I decided to create a mash-up of some of my favorite patterns’ bits and pieces.  You know, Frankenstein-style.

Frankie Plan

I started by tracing my old McCall’s 6082 cropped pants, then applied the West End pockets to the front.  Next I cut off the back yoke and found a jeans pocket with pressing templates already cut out.  Using some of my Craftsy fabric, I set to work!

Front Frankie #1 Back

The only thing I didn’t work out for this pair was the flat front.  Now that a test has been conducted, I know which way to go from here!  ;-)

Dazed and confused

I feel as if I’ve been away in a foreign country, in one of those places where there’s no internet or cell service and nothing is familiar.  Like a crazy dream where you awake unsure of exactly what’s real and what isn’t.

muslin #5Yes,  I’ve been making pants muslins.  This one is number 5 of 6 at this point.

I must be out of my mind.

Of course I blame it on the expo.  I signed up for Cynthia Guffey’s class on pants fitting, and all was lost.

Cynthia said that pants patterns were drafted for pear shaped women with b*tts  and thighs.  Ohhhh!  That’s why my apple shape and stick legs are so difficult to fit.  There’s way too much fabric down where there’s not much of me.

Once home from expo, I started working through Cynthia’s Pants Fitting Workbook.  She has you measure everything up, down, and around.  I even made a flexible curve model of my lower body to apply to the pattern.  (In the end I didn’t use that, but I have it if I want it.)

After you get a good set of measurements, she shows you how to apply them to your pattern.  Slavishly following instructions, I had pretty good success with my first muslin.  Correcting the lengths and tilt of the waistline helped immensely.

Of course not every step worked perfectly for me.  The book had me add to the crotch length at the inseam end of the crotch curve, leaving me with a lot of fabric down there.  The last thing I needed was *more* crumpled fabric in that area.  Ugh.

The crotch model didn’t help me either, because I couldn’t get a good sense (from any of my sources) of how to use it.  There’s no good reference point to place on a pattern and trace ’round.  Anywhere I put it had me removing large, irregularly shaped chunks of the pattern tissue with no clue about the excess.

So I ditched the instructions for adding crotch length and using the flexible curve, and went off on my own.

Searching for another way to add crotch length led me to Professor Pincushion’s Pants Crotch Length Pattern Alteration video.

That worked with the pants original curve.

Worked Very Well.

It did seem counterintuitive.  It would seem that simply increasing the crotch depth would arrive at the same end point, but I found this method to be much better for me.  It kept all the carefully charted circumferences from the CG workbook where they belonged.

While I was working through that, I discovered that the shape of my legs affects the hang of the pants.  I’m, um, a trifle bow-legged it seems.  Fabric can’t hang down smoothly from the hips when it’s catching on the backs or sides of your legs.  In the photo, see how I’ve got one side pinned up to make the grain line straight?  That’s a problem.

I found help with that in an Oregon State extension service publication.  Page 9.  I’m doing the opposite–pinning up the too-long side–because that’s easier than slashing your muslin.  I also tried #2 on this page, which seems to simply widen the leg to accommodate curvature.  (Now it makes sense that trouser and culotte styles hang properly for me.)

One other thing made a huge–make that HUGE–difference: I straightened the center back seam. Peering into a mirror over my shoulder, I was amazed when I noticed the pants hanging straight when the back zipper was opened.  How to accomplish that on the flat pattern?  Measure how far it’s open and straighten the center back seam half that much!

Considering that the center back seam is simply a big dart that deposits fabric at the end where there isn’t much of me,  it makes perfect sense.

I’m plugging on.  I actually made a test pair of pants today from the only piece of sacrificial fabric in my stash.  They are wearable, but I still have a couple of tweaks to try.

I don’t believe I’ll ever get perfectly happy, and I don’t think I really care!