I’ve wanted a pair of red pants for years, but could never find the right fabric. Anyone who sews menswear will probably understand. It’s SO hard to find the right weight and something without stretch. Stretch is the devil in my book. So you can imagine my delight in finding a non-stretch, heavy red moleskin at Stonemountain and Daughters in Berkeley, CA. I snatched it up without a moment’s hesitation.
Now it’s time to turn it into the Fall pants of my dreams.
A little style inspiration.
My plan is to take Thread Theory’s Jedediah pattern and zhuzh it up just a bit — not that it’s a pattern that needs it. It’s been my “go to” for years, and I’d recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat.
I’ll eliminate the back yoke and patch pockets, and replace them with a darted back with welt pockets that button closed. I’ve made this change several times using the tutorial on the Thread Theory website. It just produces a slightly more tailored trouser. More my style.
I’m also going to attempt adding a French fly (an extended zipper shield that buttons into the waistband). It’s not at all necessary, but it’s a feature found on nicer men’s pants. Zippers baffle me, so this is going to take some careful planning.
Lastly, I’ll make a two piece waistband with an attached curtain, just because it’s a beautiful way to finish off a pair of pants. Unapologetic tailoring geekery!
In preparation for the different waistband the rear seam is increased to about 1.5″. I just draw a new line, no rocket science. Sharper chalk would have been nice, but you get the gist.
I tend to think of pants in 3 stages. Pockets, fly and waistband; in that order. (sewing up the legs and hemming doesn’t count). The pockets come first…..
I love using contrasting fabrics for my pocket bags. It’s a great way of adding some personality to a garment; and for some reason it just makes me happy to be wearing something that’s colorful and fun on the inside. All business on the outside, party on the inside! I found this kente cloth inspired quilting cotton at JoAnn’s, and it’s a great match to the warm red of the moleskin.
The Jedediah pattern has French seamed front slant pockets that are fun to make. The facing pieces are basted onto the pocketing and edge stitched in place. The directions call for the seam allowance of the facing to be folded back and stitched down. This works fine for thinner fabrics, but my moleskin is substantial. This would make for very bulky seams inside the pockets. Snug Hug rayon seam binding to the rescue! It adds almost no bulk when applied to the raw edges of the facings, AND it’s so much nicer than serging.
An Instagram follower wanted to see how it’s done, so here goes. Just keep in mind that presser feet vary from machine to machine, so some trial and error will be involved. FYI the ribbon is a touch over 1/2″ wide, 9/16″ to be exact.
I set a guide on my Singer 301 at the 1/2″ mark and run the binding against it. The fabric is lapped onto the binding right side up, and the edge is aligned with the outer edge of the presser foot. In this position the stitching will be catching the edge of the binding underneath. If you have an old Singer with this foot, you’re golden! If not, you’ll have to experiment until you find the right “landmarks” on your presser foot. The goal is to catch the binding underneath while preserving enough of the ribbon to fold back and cover the line of stitching. Once you’ve found the “formula” you’re in business.
Now it’s simply a matter of pressing the binding over the raw edge and stitching it down. You’ll find that the stuff presses beautifully, the edge will be very crisp. Even though Snug Hug is not bias, it can be pressed into a curve very easily. To edgestitch with the Singer foot, align the binding edge with inner edge of the wider foot. And there you have it! A beautiful finish that puts serging to shame.
Snug Hug comes in 100 yd. rolls. There’s a store in NYC that has a whole wall of the stuff! There are also sellers on Etsy that sell it in 5 and 10 yard lengths if you just want to try it out. I think once you try it, you’ll find lots of uses for it. I don’t sew with knits very often, but it’s great for stabilizing a seam that you don’t want to stretch.
A peek inside the finished front pocket.
The rear welt pockets also employ Snug Hug for the facings. I use the instructions from Roberto Cabrera’s book on Men’s Tailoring. Making them requires some attention to detail, but it’s fun “sewing origami”.
In my “slow sewing” way, I’ve also opted to bind all the leg seams. Sure, it would be so easy to serge them. But I ask myself, “what would the most beautiful pants in the world look like inside?”. I’m quite sure they wouldn’t be serged, and what’s a few more yards of Snug Hug anyway when you have a 100 yd roll.
This wraps up the pocket phase. Now on to the zipper fly.
Until next time, happy sewing!