Dear Vicki: I’m tired of knit pants. I want to make a nice pair of tailored pants out of a beautiful piece of printed cotton canvas. I have a very curvy figure – by that I mean my hips are bigger in back in proportion to my waist. So is there a pattern that you especially like for pants? And how do I solve this fitting problem? Thanks so much. – Gwen M.
Dear Gwen: I found an interesting pattern: Simplicity 8056. It has three different back pattern pieces with different crotch depths and lengths and waists. It comes with instructions to get you going. I am so excited about it that I am writing about it before I have finished my first pair. They look trim, and the shape is current. And since I’ve been walking with my fitness tracker, my shape is too different to continue with my old pants pattern. I’m very hopeful that you will get a good fit.
Dear Vicki: I am so flummoxed by just finishing the ravely edges of my seams. I don’t have a serger yet, so I know that it would do a fine job. Sometimes I zigzag at the edge, but it makes my fabric scrunch up and stretch out and look a bit ratty. My mom always said my sewing should look as nice on the inside as it does on the outside. I thought the purpose of the zigzag stitch was to edge my fabric. Why does it look so bad? Help. – Carole P.
Dear Carole: I have several ideas for you. First, use the widest zigzag stitch on your machine and sew with the edge of your fabric in the middle of the presser foot. This way every other stitch will go off the edge in mid-air. Now you will have a nice little binding stitch that won’t roll and scrunch the edge. Second, you could spray some fabric stabilizer on the edge before stitching. I really wouldn’t want to go to this trouble. Check the stitch selection on your machine and see if you have one that looks like a snake, sort of wiggly. This one is a zigzag made of straight stitches. If you sew this one near the edge, you will have a nice, flat finish, but it doesn’t actually cover the edge. Save your money for a serger; they are great. But splurge; don’t cheap out. Get one that provides lessons with an expert. It will really open up your sewing options. A serger does a lot more than just finish seams.
Please send your tips and questions to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email email@example.com.