Polka Dot Fancypants
Dontcha just love it when you spend months looking for a specific dream fabric, then give up your search in angst, only to discover exactly what you’re looking for when you really truly aren’t looking? I mean, gah, finding good fabric can be just as difficult as finding a suitable romantic partner. Although the fabric search is usually a bit more fun 😉
When I originally got my hands on this “Peter & The Wolf Pants” pattern by Papercut Patterns, I immediately wanted to make them up in something polka-dotty. Problem is, this particular pattern calls for fabric with a bit of stretch, and I just could NOT find a suitable stretch bottom-weight that also had polka dots. Believe me, I tried. I tried for months and I finally gave up.
Of course, a couple weeks later I ended up with a wad of swatches picked by Mood Fabrics, one of which was my dream fabric! Gray stretch suiting with flocked polka dots! What more could this girl ask for? I immediately snapped up two yards for myself from the store and set my sights on a future pair of pants.
While the actual sewing part of this project went very smoothly – I just used my standard needle, thread, stitch length, and serged all my raw edges (although that’s more for inner aesthetics than anything else; this stuff really doesn’t fray much!) – pressing was a whole ‘nother beast. Call me a spoiled brat who only works with natural fibers, but when I put my iron on my fabric – I expect immediate results. Being polyester, this fabric had a mind of its own when it came time to press my seams. And by “mind of it’s own,” I mean it just sat there and stared at me.
I solved the majority of my pressing woes by top stitching everything I could feasibly get my needle in—the center front and back leg seams, the cool yokes and pockets (aren’t those pockets SO COOL?! I made the pocket bags with rayon lining, so it feels totally luxe in there now ;)), the waistband and the hems. While I normally don’t think suit pants (or, er, pants made from suiting fabric) look good with a lot of top stitching—I think it looks a little too sporty—it doesn’t show up very much on this fabric. What it does do, though, is give the same effect as a good solid pressing. Works for me!
My favorite part of these pants are the cute scalloped hems! This was also the hardest part to sew, because I realized I could not only rely on top stitching to give me a sharp crease. I sewed facings to the hems (the facings are included in the pattern), and understitched the facings before flipping them to the inside and topstitching. I find understitching to be very helpful on fabrics that don’t want to press, as it helps the fabric roll to the inside. To press the hems for that nice sharp crease (or, as sharp as I’m gonna get with poly), I used a silk organza press cloth and steamed the heck outta each leg on my sleeve board, then clapped the edge down with my clapper until it was cool.
I’m so happy that I finally found the perfect fabric for this pattern! While this type of suiting fabric might be a little too cutesy for a very corporate office environment, it’s still fairly dressy with the added fun of polka dots. FLOCKED polka dots, may I remind you. How can you go wrong with that?! Editor’s note: Lauren got her fabric from Mood NYC; I checked and there’s still some available. Call 212-730-5003 and ask for the wool department. Or, take a look at all the wool and Lycra suitings we have online at MoodFabrics.com.