Tag Archives: emma one sock

Cake – Camel and Gray Pants

I need pants. Long pants, short pants, wide pants, skinny pants, work pants….so I am officially checking two pair off my SWAP in camel and grey.  These are basic but will be workhorses in my wardrobe, hence the ‘cake’.  I’ll get to some icing soon.


Both pants were drafted using my sloper with modifications.  I borrowed the leg shape and width from a pair of RTW pants that I like.  They have an invisible zipper in the back to reduce any lumpiness in front and they have no pockets, again to maintain a clean look under my ubiquitous jackets and sweaters.  The only differences between the two pair is that the camel ones have a contoured waistband at the hip, and the gray ones have a 1″ straight waistband at the waist.  I also stitched down the crease in the front of the gray ones which I think makes a nice line.

I just need to get on my soapbox for a moment and give a shout out to SLOPERS!  Heh slopers, you ROCK!  It has taken me years to come up with bodice and pant slopers that finally fit.  For the longest time I thought that you were supposed to take a published pattern and then adjust it to match the fit of your sloper. No!  I learned from my sewing instructor  last year that I can use my sloper to add ease and style lines and I’m done!  This is a major sea change in the way I think about patterns.  I don’t have that many and now don’t really need that many.  Sure I’ll buy or download a pattern to copy a detail like a collar or peplum  but I don’t use the whole pattern.

Really, how many pants patterns do you need once you have a sloper.  There is no need to bang our collective heads against the wall every time we take a new pattern out of the envelope to fit it.



These are both made from Rayon/Polyester/Lycra (RPL) which has a fabulous drape.  Emma  One Sock stocks it in a decent range of colors.  Although they are suppose to be the same fabric, the two colors are a bit different.  The camel is a bit “spongy”, thicker, and stretchier than the gray.   Stranger still is that the camel has the greatest stretch lengthwise which the grey does not so I cut the camel on the crossgrain.  They even fit a bit differently due to the slightly different stretch factor.  I’ve worn the camel three times so far and sadly it’s already starting to pill.   We’ll see how the grey fares as I’ve only worn them once.

The jury is still out on RPL.  I have some in cream which is in the middle of becoming pants, and I have several more yards of camel for a jacket and skirt but I’m not sure I’ll buy more.  I typically don’t buy polyester for environmental reasons but I was looking for something with a bit of Lycra and the price was right.  Real wool gaberdine is pricey and hard to find.


Besides jeans these are the only pants I haven’t lined.  Any lining would need to have the same stretchiness as the fashion fabric which was a tall order so I didn’t bother.  The edges were first serged then sewn together.  The waistbands were cut on the same grain as the rest of the pants.  The RPL doesn’t take too kindly to iron-on interfacing so I used two layers of horsehair interfacing stitched together and it worked out OK.

Camel Contoured Waistband: Interfacing was laid in after the waistband was sewn on.  Then the top and bottom seam allowances were catch-stitched around the interfacing to keep it in place.   I then sewed the side seams and handstitched a facing made from Bemberg lining.  The final step was topstitching the top and bottom of the waistband.  I went back in and took in the waist a bit more and made a royal mess of the topstitching and facing.  I need to find a better way to make a contoured waistband that still allows me to adjust the side seams without too much hassle.

Grey Straight Waistband:  This was much easer than the contoured band.  I used a technique I found in Pants for Real People where the interfacing is stitched to the seam allowance of the waistband before being attached to the pant.  Brilliant!  I’ve probably said it before but Pants for Real People and Jackets for Real People, both by Palmer/Pletsch are the best sewing books I have.  (Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina comes in third.)

Hems were topstitched in a rush.  I usually do a catch stitch to some interfacing but couldn’t use it on this fabric.  Note to self:  Try blind hemstitch next time.


Pretty darn close to perfect!  The only change I will make in the future is raising the back waistband up about a 1/2″.  These are about as narrow as I can get before I start to get the dreaded under-the-butt wrinkles.


  • Just because you have a swatch of a fabric in one color doesn’t mean that it will be the same in another color.  Always order a swatch if you can’t touch it in a store.
  • Maybe topstitch the waistband before sewing the side seams for ultimate adjustability?
  • Invisible zipper foot on my BabyLock is a PITA.  Use the one on my Viking which is a sure thing every time.



Tan Tank – Self-drafted

Item number one on my SWAP list – tan tank.  Check!  This is a top intended to put underneath jackets and sweater for work.  (Not with lumpy jeans.)


Fabric: Rayon/Lycra jersey from Emma One Sock.  (They have it many colors.) I made another top from this fabric last year (which was a fail) and had a just tiny bit left for the tank.

Pattern:  I copied and old cotton ribbed RTW tank and then tweaked it a bit.  You can see the shoulders are cut in. I actually made them wider than the original by an inch on each side to make it bra friendly.

I used a 4 thread overlock for the seams and bands.  I then used a long single needle straight stitch on the sewing machine to flatten the bands.  In the photo below you can see I added a 2″ wide band to the bottom which I think was easier than using Stitch Witchery and a cover stitch.


Lessons learned:

  • No need for woolly nylon in the loopers with this fabric.  That’s what I have used in the past, but it’s really not needed.
  • For the rayon/lycra, cut binding at 75% of armhole and neck openings plus 1/2″ for seam allowance.  Bottom band is cut at 100% of bottom width.
  • Rotary cutters are not so bad.

The Closet Spreadsheet: The big S.W.A.P.

The next part of my plan was to work out a 12 piece wardrobe using Nancy Nix-Rice’s strategy of two coordinating neutrals plus an accent color. For the first neutral I chose brown because I already have a lot of brown pieces in my closet. The second neutral is camel. I like a rich warm camel and it’s been hard to find. Mostly I see tan or khaki which are not the best colors for me. I finally found some RPL at Emma One Sock in a lovely shade of camel so I bought 5 yards.

RPL in “Camel” from Emma One Sock

Next I included the list of infill pieces from my spreadsheet, then added needed tops that I have also been tracking. I have also added in a few needed casual and dressy pieces.  (Both my casual and dressy wardrobes are pathetic and require a study of their own.)

Unless noted otherwise, I plan to sew everything on the list though I am not tying myself to any timelines.  No really, this will take me two years to produce.

A. Neutral 1 -Brown – (two tops and two bottoms required.) I’ve already got the following in my wardrobe so I’m all set here: Pants, Skirt, Jacket, vee neck long sleeve top, scoop neck 3/4 sleeve top, and turtleneck.

BurdaStyle 08/2012 #137

B. Neutral 2 -Camel – (two tops and two bottoms required)  I see these pieces as being quite important as they will help move me away from all that black in my closet.

  • Pencil Skirt (in stash)
  • Pants (in stash)
  • Jacket (in stash) BurdaStyle 08/2012 #137 is currently at the top of the list.
  • Caramel knit tee (for brown jacket)  (in stash)
  • Also should buy a short-waisted cashmere camel cardi which will work well with my teal slinky dress.

C. Solid Accent tops – (top and matching jacket) Probably teal, but could be turquoise, mint green, or pale pink. How to choose just one?

  • Jacket – I think if I find the right jacket fabric, the rest will fall into place.
  • Teal knit top with high vee collar (to work w teal/taupe tweed jacket)

Also loose chunky tealish/tweedy turtleneckish sweater – to buy? Learn to knit?
Note existing slinky dress in teal doesn’t work with jacket, needs sweater.

D. Matching print top and bottom – this is the tough one.

  • I’ll need to spend some time on Polyvore thinking about what a printed bottom/skirt might be. All I can think of is a loose gathered silk skirt and blouse which is not me. I prefer more shaped garments. I’m thinking of a pencil skirt and a sleeveless shell so I need to find a fabric that will work for both.  Hello Spoonflower.
  • For a top I have a jersey print with teal, brown, and camel. (in stash)
  • Shirt with camel and brown stripes; not enough for both a top and bottom. (in stash)

E. Infill pieces for work wardrobe

  • Long winter coat (in stash)
  • Jacket for red skirt -navy refashion or make (in stash)
  • Cream pants (in stash) for mint and grey boucle jackets. Might also work with the grey jacket?
  • Charcoal Grey pants for grey jacket, ponte?
  • Cream scoop neck tee for green sweater
  • Tan tank for yellow tahari jacket (in stash)
  • Loose white woven scoop tank (in stash)
  • Navy tee rayon v neck w half sleeves (in stash)
  • Blouse w/ shawl collar for navy jacket, red?  (in stash)Pale pink? (in stash)
  • Orange Scarf for blue polka dot dress – to buy

Casual wear

  • Linen jeans jacket for chinos and summerwear,  Wheat? (in stash) Red?
  • White denim jeans a la Jackie O. (in stash)
  • Colored jeans -teal?, camel?
  • A new pair of Indigo jeans.
  • Shorts

Dressy wear

  • Warm non-black sweater/top or jacket for out to dinner -sequins? Brown, green, or turquoise velvet?

I had a few pieces of icing on the list but removed them.  They were mostly one-off dresses that would be fun but just aren’t as versatile as the skirt/top combos.  This lists above total about 26 garments.  Oy!   The most important pieces are the ones for work, and of those, the infill pieces should come first.  I’m thinking that I should push through the tees and tanks first.  They’re boring, but fast and versatile.  I was going to start on the winter coat next, but it’s too late in the season.  I typically sew “in the season”, but I should consider making the coat in the summer or fall.

I think I should also work on pieces that I already have in my stash.  I have about 36 pieces and am pleased to see that 13 of them are tied to a garment listed above.

OK, now that I’ve layed this out in public, I’m going to have to print it out and pin it up on my studio wall to use as my guide.  Wish me luck!