Posted in Sewing

Brown Linen Pants, continued

February 27, 2015 - 6:00 am

I decided to sew up the new pants with “Byron,” my Singer 401a from about 1957, which was named after Lord Byron. I have lots to say about Byron and the Luddites, but that’s not how this machine got its name. When I started collecting vintage machines I decided they would need names, decided the theme would be women in STEM, and my first one was a Singer Rocketeer I named “Ada,” for Ada Lovelace. This machine was the model immediately prior to the Rocketeer I named “Ada,” so naming it “Byron” seemed appropriate, since Byron was Ada’s estranged dad, and this machine looks frumpy and old next to it’s sleek and racy daughter.


That’s “Margaret” in the background, which is a Morse Apollo from the early 70s. Morse named the machine in honor of the moon missions, so it only seemed fitting to name the machine after Margaret Hamilton.  I don’t know why sewing machines from the 50’s to 70’s had names inspired by spaceships, but hey. Who am I to argue?

So, pants! Last post I had gotten through all the cutting and prep, and was ready to start sewing. 

First up was putting the pockets together: 


Here they both are laid out after sewing: 


Except, uhm, there’s a problem. That is two right pockets. I need a right and a left. That’s why the seam ripper is out. This is better: 


Next I needed to transfer marks from the pattern sheets to the cut pieces:


I also write the piece names on each piece. This shouldn’t be necessary, but it really helps me not be stupid and connect the wrong pieces. It also makes it much more clear which is the right and which is the wrong face for fabrics like this one that are hard to distinguish. I honestly chose one face arbitrarily as the face since I couldn’t see a difference, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they looked different under some lights and from some angles. It’s prudent to make sure all pieces are cut with tops facing the same way on the piece, and keep track of inside and outside. This is proof against tears the first time I wear them outdoors in bright sun, which is where different nap and finish tend to show up most blatantly. 

Once the pieces were marked the next task was fixing the edges. I find this easier to do right off the batt before anything is sewn: 


You can see the little zig-zag stitches on the edge in that shot. If you look closely the machine is taking three stitches to the left and then three back to the right as it moves the fabric forward. I find this does a nicer job finishing the edges than a plain zig-zag, which tends to crumple the edge a bit.

I will also note that I hate this part. When I start sewing on a pattern I want to get started with the construction seams right away! but I’ve learned enough patience to zip around the edges. Again it saves me from tears later when trying to zig-zag an edge during finishing that’s tucked deep in a seam, or worse, having the garments start unravelling while I’m wearing it. 

Next I sewed the crotch seam and back darts on the back pieces: 


And then topstitched the back seam, to give it extra strength. I’ve had back seams pop open twice. Not a fun experience!


Next I marked the front pieces: 


Pinned up the pleats on the flutter/gauntlets:


Attached the pockets: 



Next up is inserting the zipper. I used Gertie’s write-up from Coats and Clark. I think I’ll end here for today and write up the zipper in the next post.


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