Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Pants Stay

Today I mostly worked on getting the 2-11 pants completed up to the waistband installation. That will come tomorrow. Today I worked on the stay and I will show you what I did. If you have Sandra Betzina's More Power Sewing book, it is in there as well. 

First I had to make my pattern. These pants have slanted side pockets. The stay will consist of the side/pocket and a lining piece extending to the end of the fly. It was simply a matter of copying my pattern across the top of the pant front. The I measured down the length of the side/pocket piece and that determined the length of the stay at the side seam. I drew and cut a line from there to the end of the fly extension.It will definitely curve upwards when you do this. Cut out your pattern. Next, draw and cut a line from the waistline down the center of the dart and on grain.Leave a tiny bit of paper still connected to make a hinge. Tape it shut on the back and cut out your stay from lining or any other thin firm fabric. If you are looking to get a little help holding your tummy in, you can cut this on the cross grain. That will put the "width" on the length and therefore with less give. I just cut mine on the straight of grain.
Have handy some twill tape or selvedge (what I used) to stay the bias edge of the pocket. Pin your stay and your pant front and your tape/selvedge along the pocket seam and stitch. Grade and trim. Understitch the lining, favoring the seam toward the lining. Turn it all to the wrong side and press. With the tape/selvedge in there, there should be no stretch on this bias pocket edge. This is now when you will want to do your topstitching on the pocket edge if that was your plan. 
Next, place your pant front pattern right side up on the table. Lay your pocket piece on it to match the pattern. Now lay your pant front on top. Pin the pocket to the bias edge. Pin at the waistline and at the bottom of the pocket at the side seam. Put a ham underneath this area, simulating your own body curves. Remove all but the top and bottom pins and let the pocket bag slide where it wants to. Once it is in position, pin it back to the bias edge. This helps keep the pocket from gaping. If need be cut any now excess fabric from the edges. Carefully bring the pieces to the sewing machine and machine baste the two pieces together  (This basting will stay in until the pants are completed and ready for wear) along the bias edge. Remove the pins. Now flip the pant front over so it is wrong side up.
Smooth everything out. Don't force things here but get it smooth. You will very likely have some fabric extending beyond the fly. Carefully pin the edge of the side/pocket to the stay, where you see serging in the picture. Now carefully lift that up and bring it to the machine. The pant front is free and hanging to the left in the photo below. You are going to stitch along the serging to secure the pocket/side to the stay so that it will be flat.Go all the way around. You are making a pocket bag here.

Once the pocket bag is all stitched in, place the pant front wrong side up and lay the stay and pocket across. Smooth everything out. You will very likely have excess fabric now. Don't force this issue. Just get it smooth.If it is done right you will have a dimple of fabric in the pant front below the stay as you can see here. 
The bubble you see at the pocket edge is the height of the dart pushing against the stay. At the fly edge the fabric just needs a good press. Trim any excess in the fly area and baste across the waist and down the fly. You can see that the stay is not pulling the side seams (as many have feared) and there is an appropriate dimple from the end of the dart creating the space it is supposed to.
Now you are all ready to put your fly in. 

What does this all do? It helps keep the pocket bias edge from gaping. It helps the pants fall from the waist a little more "cleanly" if that makes sense. And, it may even make your tummy feel a little flattened.

When I initially started this I serged the bottom of the stay. I then saw that it created a small ridge and I decided to pink the edge instead. All of this process will be hidden behind the lining....tomorrow will  be waistband and lining and we should be done! That is after I get my new eyeglasses!....Bunny


1 comment:

  1. You've got me (almost) convinced to go back to putting pockets in pants. The stay would really do the trick for keeping the pocket closed. What worries me, to some extent, is all those extra layers of fabric. Can't wait to see your finished pants.

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