So I started out with a dull grey suit... You want to make sure that the collar still looks good enough for you to want to wear, as well as the sleeve cuffs... Generally, the whole suit still needs to be in pretty good condition.
1. Dyeing (optional)
The first thing I did was dye the whole thing and I was lucky that it came out really great. If a garment is sewn with polyester thread, the fabric itself might take the dye really well, but all the seams stay in the old color... It is hard to predict how a dyeing-job comes out, especially with fabric blends, which is why I dyed first to know if all the rest of the work will be worth it... In this case, even the buttons took on the dye a little bit and I didn't even have to replace those!
2. Trying it on as is
Uhm ja. This isn't only to make a fool of myself. Though I really had fun with it... But there is an actual point to this step ;-)
You have to make sure that the suit you are starting out with meets certain requirements.I used a belt to raise the pants up to my waist and tucked the jacket in to get a general overview:
- It needs to be generally too big. Of course you can work with inserts, but then my tutorial won't help you much...
- Pant legs and crotch should be long/low enough even if you pull the pants up to your waist
- Pant legs should be wide enough at your thighs
- sleeves need to be long enough even if you raise the shoulder point up to where it belongs on you.
3. Mark basic outline with Safety pins:
As you see in the picture, I used safety pins to mark
- Point where jacket and pants will meet
- width for bodice
- shoulder point
- width for waistband
- approximate place for bottom armhole point
In the very flattering picture above I am noting how much fabric I can take off around the hip, and I am noticing that it actually isn't very much...
In this even more flattering picture I am checking out the behind to notice that the back pockets should definitely be closer together for these pants to look decent on me. I have made the mistake to take pants in almost only by that back seam once, which brought the pockets together too close. That looks ridiculous too... So be sure to go a middle way!
4. Take it apart
This is quite fun, because you will learn a lot about how a garment is made! Be careful not to take apart too much. Detach the waistband, but keep the zipper attached. Take the sleeves off (and shoulder pads out):
Here's a closeup of the detached waistband. I almost went too far and had to re-hand-stitch parts of it. If I had known, I could have kept it attached all the way to the belt loops, which would have saved me some work.
5. Take in the waist-band:
Choose a place where it is easy to take in. I suggest you don't do it on the side seams. It will cause extra bulge where we least want it. Look at the belt-loop situation. I wanted to keep mine intact and decided to take out the width right between them, on each side on the back of the pant. Make sure you work symmetrically. Unfold the waistband and sew straight down on it. Then cut back the seam allowances if necessary, iron the seams open and fold the waist band again.
6. Take pants in at back seam:
As elaborated above, make sure you take in the right amount at that back seam. You don't want the pockets to end up too close together, or your butt will look cross-eyed :-)
Yet if you leave them too far apart, the pants will be unflattering from the back, making your behind look wider. If you don't have much room in the hip area, be careful to meet the original seam line again as soon as possible. In my case though, I pretty much took in an even amount all the way down to the crotch point.
Make sure you try the pants on after this step and hold them up as high as they will be in the end. It is not a big deal to open this seam again and do it over. It is a crucial seam and needs to be right. When you have it the way you want it, cut back the seam allowances, finish the edges and iron them apart.
7. Re-attach the back of the waistband to the pants:
Make sure you include all the belt loops in this step. Go past the side seams on the pant legs, leaving open only the bit in the front as pictured above.
Put the pants on AGAIN... Only continue if you are happy with the fit.
8. Making the front pleats:
Now turn around and see how much fabric you have left over to make pleats. You can make one or two or three, depending.
Play around with pins, placing the pleats where they look best. I thought it might look best to make the first pleat exactly in the elongation of the crease, but it actually didn't look so great. In the picture below, you see that on the right, but I went with the pleats placed as they are on the left...
Make them symmetrical, sew them to the waistband and you are done!
9. Adjust pant-leg length
I put on the kind of shoe that I think I'll be wearing most with this overall in the end, and the length was perfect. If yours isn't, you'll have to re-hem the legs, which is a quick and easy issue.
Admire your perfectly fitted pants in the mirror...
At this point, I wasn't even sure I wanted to continue with the overall project, as the pants turned out so great by themselves. But I did, and HERE is the post about how I fitted the bodice and put it all together.
Best to all of you!