Friday, June 5, 2009


I've been quiet this week because I've been busy working on my new pants, making minute adjustments and painstakingly picking out seams stitch by stitch. The crazy Hammer pants I made last weekend fit perfectly by the time I finished with them, and I confidently took them apart and used them as my pattern to cut out my real trousers. Somehow, through the mysterious alchemy of sewing, my butt grew enormous and the pattern pieces shrunk to miniscule proportions in the week between making the prototype and putting together the real thing. By the time I have a chance to sew in the evening, I only have the brainpower and stamina for about an hour's work before my eyes cross and fingers fumble, so fitting these dudes has been an epic journey taken in very small steps.

Anyway, tonight the stars aligned and the planets were true in their courses and the pants fit. Fit! Perfectly. I've been in my pajamas since 8 p.m, so you don't get an action shot tonight, but maybe this weekend when they're finished I'll show 'em off. For now, here they are on a hanger.

See that? Right there? Oh, yeah, (almost) matched stripes! That takes planning -- trust me (thanks, Mom!).

Fitting trousers is fidgety work -- you let out a seam by 1/8 of an inch, and by some miracle of calculus that 1/8 inch is transformed into way more roominess, but it's not enough, so you let out another seam 1/8 of an inch, over and over, until the magical point where you step into the trousers and they slide up and over your hips and you know they're just right.

Despite the apparent tedium, I've quite enjoyed messing with these trousers. There's almost nothing as satisfying as sewing a long, straight seam -- opening up the machine and letting it go as fast as it can, eating up the inches of fabric in seconds, the needle chattering away -- and trousers have the best seams. The sound of my machine clattering down a seam is so soothing, and takes me back 20 years to my grandparents' farm, when the same machine was turning out works of apparel art under my paternal grandmother's hands. And I look down at my fingers feeding the fabric through, and I see my mother's and her mother's hands instead of my own. Sewing is one of those activities where you tap into a rich line of human history; slicing through fine wool with a sharp pair of Gingher dressmaker's shears is something tailors and dressmakers have been doing for centuries, and it's what makes cutting out my pattern pieces one of my favorite parts of sewing. That, and the feeling of satisfaction when I slip into a pair of perfectly fitted trousers.


  1. You are a complete and total genius!!!! Those look awesome, can't wait to see the pictures.

  2. Beautiful writing -- thanks for sharing! (Oh, and the trousers are nice, too...)


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