Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Not to Sew Bengaline

I learned a lesson about stretch.  If a fabric is stable in one direction and stretchy in the other, the stretch really should always go around the body.  I confirmed that fact.
Let me re-state that:  if you want lots of weird wrinkling in your lap, or even a camel toe, then by all means, arrange the stretch north - south.  I selected a photo with shadows discreetly hiding the issue, but I trust your imagination will suffice.

Oh alright, here is a better image:
Did I tell you about my cheerleading hobby?
That is the only reason I can imagine why my Bengaline pants did not turn out well.  I sewed 3 more pairs of pants using the same rayon-poly-lycra gabardine (RPL) I'd used before, and they all turned out well.
I sewed all three pants in one day!

I did not spend all day sewing, either!

And these are the first navy blue pants I've had in years.  

I have added these pants to my pool of garments for the SWAP 2012.   Now that I have seven pairs of pants from this Style Arc pattern (the Linda pant), I'd say it has been worth the purchase.

The big lesson learned is to sew multiples when I find accessible fabric in colors I like.  The RPL may not be a very fashion-forward choice, but it makes my life easy and that counts for a lot.

Regarding the bengaline, thank you, in advance, for your sympathy.
And that was my special Australian fabric, too!

I'll wear them; with a long tunic, but I will wear them.



37 comments:

  1. Too bad about the stretch bengaline! Yes, I often have to cut garments cross grain because, for some reason, that's the stretchy direction. Weird.

    Anyway, your pants look great and you gave me a good giggle. :)

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  2. Oh no - well, at least you got some other pants to make up for the one whooops! They look fabulous :)

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  3. hahahahaha really funny! Sorry for the time invested....!

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  4. i love the shirt you have on in the first pic!

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  5. I feel your pain in regards to the stretch. The first thing I ever tried to sew was a one way stretch. I cut according to how I wanted the stripes (vertical) only to find that I really should have cut the other way. Never bothered to finish the top as I was almost dress length with the stretch! A good lesson learned. Shame about the bengaline. Your other pairs look great though.

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    1. So making the mistake helps us remember better, right?
      :-D

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  6. I LAUGHED when I saw your cheerleading picture. Excellent.

    That stinks about the fabric, but like you said they'll be wearable with tunics, lesson learned... I tend to learn lessons that way, too..

    And definitely, definitely I'm a fan of sewing the same useful garment several times in a row in fabric that works for you. I do that too, it's a great way to build a wardrobe...

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    1. yes, each pair of pants went faster, it was great!

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  7. What a bummer! At least you can still see the humour in it all. The cheerleader picture made me laugh.
    Thanks for pointing out the error. It's the sort of thing I would definitely do without thinking, so it helps to have you point it out.

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    1. yeah, I bet I have done it before and wore it without much thought. Blogging has made me more observant!

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  8. I can't say that this has happened to me (yet, I'm sure my day is coming!), but I am sorry they didn't turn out as you had hoped. However, it looks like you still have several pairs of really nice pants to wear, so there's at least an up side! :-)

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  9. Sorry about the pants and your special fabric, but I enjoyed your post. It will help me always remember to think about stretch. I'll just remember the cheerleader. :-)

    Sue

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    1. By the way, I love the blue top in the first picture!

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    2. Thanks Sue, I sewed that top in February 2010.
      And the fabric came from A Fabric Place in Baltimore. I wish all knits were this sturdy, but you never know.

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  10. I like ALL your pants. Is RPL similar (or maybe the same as) ponte? Where do you buy yours? Do you ever have problems with pilling? These are definitely going to be go-to pants in your closet. Well done!

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    1. Martha, RPL is a woven, with some lycra in it to add stretch. Ponte is a knit.
      This is the first RPL I've bought in a long time and I got it from EmmaOneSock, hoping that you get what you pay for.
      The only ponte I ever bought was cheap and it pilled and I never tried it again.

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  11. I made some of these and they were too big. I took 20cm off the width and they are still too big. I think you might find that they will feel like they are falling down as they day goes on just as mine do and I have the stretch going the right way. One day I will alter the pattern as I really like the style of these.

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  13. Oh no, not the bengaline ! But wow, you have been prolific, look at how many you have made.

    i really like you in the Navy, do you like it?

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    1. thank you Nat, I noticed the same thing about the Navy. It's funny how photographs reveal things not seen in the mirror, isn't it?

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  14. Wow, your pants look great! and three in one sewing session? That has got to feel good. I will totally back you up on avoiding turning the fabric so the stretch is vertical. I made my zebra stripe pants like that, and they just ended up being too weird to keep in my wardrobe. Never again!

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  15. Never mind Robyn - all the others look great. And as you said they will look great with a tunic.
    When you get lemons.....

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  16. You made me laugh out loud with that one... I'll remember that tip forever now!

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  17. Bummer about #1, but at least you have three other great pairs!

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  18. Great pants, dispite the bengaline issues. It makes me want to get this pattern. How do you deal with no pockets? I know it is smoother without them, but I have an issue with no place for my lunch money.

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    1. I wear a lightweight cross-body bag that leaves my hands free. But really, I should up my game and start sewing pockets!

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  19. Respecting grain direction is a must even for wovens, so it's out of the question to do it in knits :-)..

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  20. The pants definitely look terrific on you. Is navy coming back in style? It suddenly seems new and interesting to me too. Fabrics with the stretch along the length always confuse me. I thought it was the lengthwise threads that were the longest and firmest in a normal commercial textile weaving machine (that is why vertical grain line is so important when cutting out a garment). So how can they string up the machines with super long stretchy fibers and weave decent fabric?

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  21. you know Audrey, I got the navy just because I figured the color would mix and match with solids. I have no idea whether it's coming back, but I think it will look good with Pantone tangerine!

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  22. Oh my! I loved this post. You are awesome.
    liZ

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  23. Oh, what a pity the first pair did not work out as you had hoped :) but seven pairs overall? that is a winning pattern in anyone's book! The three others pictured here look absolutely terrific!
    And thank you so much for your congratulations

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  24. Sewing three pants in one day boggles my imagination!

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  25. Your projects are always inspirational - I did order a little Bengaline from Fabric.com just to give this fabric and pattern a try. I am so glad I read your post. But doesn't Bengaline have a subtle rib texture? If that's true (!), wouldn't it look strange to have the stretch run around the body?

    Thanks for sharing your less-than-perfect projects ;) This post is really helpful!

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    1. The subtle rib texture is not really visible - you have to get up close and scratch with your fingernail to get a feel for it.

      Good luck!

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