Saturday, 8 March 2014

Burda 7841: I made my dad some pants!

Well, I wasn't the one to plan this project.  My parents were at the Pendleton wool factory in Oregon state at some point because I had a cousin working there.  My dad, not long retired, picked out some wool and figured it would be "easy" to sew himself a pair of pants.  He was an aeroplane engineer and I guess he figured drafting and sewing by a pattern were the same, right?

So a month with nothing to do on my hands seemed like a good time to save him from this misconception and sew his pants.  He had already chosen the size.  I compared the pattern with his most recent pants (made by his tailor in Taiwan in 1998 for 1000$, he said.  Hm...not sure I'll compare.)  Anyway it looked like the crotch depth on his favourite pants was about 3" deeper than the more modern pattern but I warned my Dad of it and told him I wasn't going to make any changes.  After the tragic fitting of my Thurlows and my Peter and the Wolf pants (they are going to be lounge pants - no way to shrink them), I wasn't feeling up to pattern modifications.

The wool is an interesting pale blue and grey loose weave.  It didn't cause me too many problems although it was sometimes difficult to remove stitches because they sink deeply into the fabric.  For mostly my own entertainment I used an old scrap of my mother's flower fabric for the pockets but to save my dad's sanity I put the bright colour to the inside. I was making these at the same time as I made a pair of Grainline Maritime shorts, and it was strange how many different ways there are to put a fly together.  I think the Thurlow way made more sense than any of the others but I don't have my pattern anymore, and I was also wary of diverging from what Burda wanted me to do.  A few times the pattern seemed confusing but it was usually my reading of it, plus the general situational irritation of sewing at my parents house.  However at one point I was supposed to sew together 4 layers at the fly, and with the thick wool that wasn't happening.  I made do...



I think I now understand why it's so amazing to have your own sewing space!  I was switching between two sewing machines, in two rooms, with the iron in a third room, my cutting space the dining room floor (and that floor was also my sewing table...my back will never be the same.)  These pants took me nearly the entire month to make and it felt like they would never get done.  It was a huge difference from the calm environment I had in New Zealand where I commandeered the entire dining room, with two walls of windows and direct overhead lamps, to be my sewing room.  At the end the sewing machine bobbin became a thread snarling monster and I stopped trying to neaten up a few loose edges, but the pants were done by then.  This lack of machine-control was also annoying.  The Necchi downstairs didn't have any zipper feet, but it had the only semi-functional buttonholer.  (Until it turned to the dark side.)  The machine upstairs had a broken bobbin winder and I couldn't learn how to thread the stupid machine.  So I had to keep ferrying between the two and getting my mother to thread the sewing machine...sigh.

In the end the pants are done!  They are a little more modern than my 83-year old dad is used to but he professes to like them. 

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