Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I've Been Pantsed

Today's project should have been quick and easy: the first of a series of sample pants for an article proposal I'm putting together. The article will feature multiple pairs of pants, each uniquely embellished with embroidery. The operative phrase here is 'should have been'. The reality was a little different.

Let me explain that I love making pants. I really love making pants. Once you have you have a pattern or set of alterations that fit, pants almost make themselves. Unfortunately that lesser known ancient pant god, Bracchaeos, was not smiling on me today.

My goal was to use an embroidery design of mine from the Cutting Edge design set.  You might have seen these designs before because I use this set often. It's versatile and adaptable to all kinds of clothing.

Here's a picture that was published in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. No false modesty here - I love the designs and I love the vest.

Today I had another vision for these designs; using them to tart up the side seam of a pair of pants.

Because my goal was to produce pants that didn't resemble clown pants (or emphasize my, shall we say, low center of gravity), I wanted a color combination that would be less bold than the one on the vest. A quick search of my internal resource center unearthed a woven cotton with a little lycra in a quiet beige. The cotton/lycra meant the pants could be close fitting. 

My closest fitting pants pattern has a seam down the front of the pants, offering an additional design opportunity. I decided to put a stripe of a coordinating fabric in that front seam.

I spent quite a bit of time auditioning fabrics for the stripe. I tried an animal print, a stripe set on a bias, some wonderful men's wear fabrics.... on and on.  I sent pictures of my auditions to a few select friends seeking input on what fabric to use.

I thought I was so clever, coming up with this idea of using the embroidery and the stripe. I made the pants and took pictures.

The pictures made me humble. The stripe looked terrible.

You don't have to tell me. I know. The pants don't look good.  Here are a few of the captions I came up with for the picture.  Feel free to add your captions below.

"Surrender your wallet and valuables. We're putting you in cell 3."


"Where's the striped shirt to go with those convict pants?"


"The black and white forest shirt, found in the temperate regions of Kazakhstand, is known for sending out root tendrils that navigate the length of the pants to sink into the earth, eventually rendering the wearer immobile and planted."

I have memories of a movie usher selling cigarettes and I'm pretty sure he wore pants with a stripe down the front but so far I haven't located any pictures of the guy.  Does the phrase 'Call for Phillip Morris' ring a bell?

No matter how I sliced it I wasn't going to wear these pants in public.

So I removed the stripe. It took less than an hour. That was an hour well spent. I was right about the embroidery, though.

Now, if it were as easy to get the wrinkles out of my neck!

In case you're interested, here's a closeup of the embroidery: