Tag Archives: sloper

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.



Polo Anyone?

I wouldn’t go out of my way to search out a Polo-style shirt but I was swayed by these great colors, MY colors.

For this teal one I convinced my LH that teal is not his color and he surrendered it to the sewing studio without much fuss. Coincidentally teal IS one if my colors.  No really.  A total coincidence.  Really.


I removed the sleeves and filleted the shirt opening it up at the sides and shoulders with only the collar holding everything together. I then recut the shoulders, armholes and sides using my trusty SLOPER! Yeah sloper!  Instead of side darts I eased in about an inch of fabric at the side seams at the bust which lent itself to a subtle  hi-low hemline. I can see in the photos though that I should have made the “dart” larger as I see some drag lines at the bust.  I kept the original hem and added flattering side slits. I also recut the sleeves maintaining their original hem as well.

So now I have a sassy little tunic I can wear as a beach coverup or with leggings.


I picked up the turquoise Izod shirt at the Salvation Army for a few dollars knowing that it would get a make-over. It was 80’s vintage, wide shouldered and loose, with puffy sleeves.

Photobombing by Waffles

I removed the sleeves and took in the sides. I used fold-over elastic on the armholes and stitched it to the inside of the garment. This type of binding is a first for me and I don’t think it’s quite right. There’s really no need for elastic here but the FOE color was a good match so time for experimentation! The armholes are now a little too snug which means I must have stretched the elastic during installation. The shoulder slope is off too.  I keep walking around yanking my shirt down so too snug in the bust. Considering that I only paid $2.50 and its second hand, I’m calling this one a fail and It’s going back to Salvation Army. Eew!  It’s not woth my time to unpick.  I am calling it a learning experience.


  • In some knits you can’t ignore or reduce the bust “darts”.  This is very firm stable knit that deserved a bit more shaping and ease.
  • Fold over elastic is too bulky for cotton knit pique.
  • Don’t stretch the fold over elastic or binding at the armholes. I don’t need ease here.
  • Slopers are awesome!
  • Learn how to SMILE for the camera!

Let’s start at the very beginning…

Just checking in. I made item #4 of my SWAP a few weeks ago but it’s pretty basic so not worth a photo shoot. It’s a navy vee neck tee in a super soft cotton/Lycra from Emma One Sock. This top is a further development of my tee pattern. I followed a tutorial from the ASG website to make the binding for the vee neckline which was well worth the time to watch. (They have free online tutorials for members.)

I decided to create a bodice block before moving on to item #5 of my SWAP. It’s a silk blouse but I couldn’t find what I wanted in a pattern so I decided to draft one. IF, big IF, I get the block right then it will make modifying future patterns much easier. It will also help me to draft my own pattern for the blouse.

I started Friday night by draping the bodice on my custom dress form, and then spent some time this weekend drafting and true-ing. I have no training in draping so I’m just winging it! I’ve got Helen Armstrong’s book Patternmaking for Fashion Design to keep me in line but it doesn’t include any draping so this process is going to take a little time. The photos show my second pass at the first muslin. It’s looking pretty good in the front, but the back still needs some tweaking. Once that’s all set I’ll move on to the sleeves.


Note the drag lines on the back under the arms and across the waist. I think I just need to lower the armholes a tiny bit, and maybe do a 1/2″ sway-back adjustment. There is plenty of room side to side so I know the waist is not too tight.


Any ideas for adjusting the back?