NOTE: This review is part of my entry for PR's 2013 Mini Wardrobe Contest. Voting starts on Friday, October 4th. Please click here to cast your vote.
UPDATE FOR 2013 MINI WARDROBE CONTEST:
As part of my entry for PR's 2013 Mini Wardrobe Contest, I sewed a pair of flat front, Hollywood waist pants using $8 per yard black rayon/poly/lycra crepe from Mood Fabrics. I used the Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern that the pattern's designer, Sarah Veblen, helped me fit. The pants I made feature a flat front, undetectable elasticized waist, a back invisible zipper, and a 15 inch hem circumference. I set the permanent creases using my steam iron and a Rajah Press Cloth. I love the perfect fit and the budget friendly $12 total price. Yes, you can be "cheap and chic."
For more details, please see my original review below:
<INTRO TO ORIGINAL REVIEW: These Ultra Suede pants use my brand new TNT, the Fit for Art Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern, which the pattern's designer Sarah Veblen recently helped me fit through her Online Fitting Help. It's a joy to sew and wear pants that fit me so well. Thank you, Sarah, for a great pants pattern.
PHOTOS AT A GLANCE:
Eureka Pant In Silky Sensuede:
Front, Side, Back Views
Finished Eureka Pant in RPL Crepe:
Front, Side, Back Views
Early Muslin From Online Fitting Help:
Final Muslin from Online Fitting Help:
Introduction: When PR's Pantone Colors Contest was announced, I instantly knew I'd use my two favorite jewel tone colors, a bright kelly green Pantone calls Emerald and a deep royal blue called Monaco Blue. I decided to pair an ingeniously designed, high necked crossover top I'd been eager to try, Lekala 4042, with my brand new pants TNT, the Eureka Pant from Fit For Art that Sarah Veblen had recently helped me fit using her Online Fitting Help service.
To show the Lekala top to best advantage. I selected Nautical Dots a high energy blue and green rayon/lycra knit with eye popping striped dots on a black backgound.
I have a pear shaped figure, so all my pants are black. But since black isn't a Pantone Spring 2013 color, I had to ventured out into uncharted territory. I settled for what I felt was the best color alternative -- Monaco Blue. I searched every website for a good blue pants fabric, but nothing seemed right. And then serendipity struck. While going through my stash looking for something else, I stumbled upon a half forgotten fabric, Silky Sensuede, a lightweight Ultra Suede clone in the perfect shade of Monaco blue. And that was it -- my outfit was set, and I was on my way.
Pattern Description: Eureka! Pants that Fit have a contemporary tapered silhouette in 8 sizes.
Follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions (a detailed, 20 page, illustrated booklet) to fit your crotch and hips, personalize dart placement, and shape the legs. You choose the waist height and finish the pants with a back zipper and your choice of facing, waistband or elastic waist. Create flattering and comfortable pants that fit you well at work, home, and play.
Appropriate for any bottom-weight woven pant fabric; fabric with some stretch will require adjustments.
Pattern Sizing: Sizes are based on your measurements in inches at the abdomen and hip line. A more detailed size chart which includes the finished garment measurements can be found on the last page of the direction booklet.
The pattern comes in three size editions. The first version includes sizes XXS-L, the second includes sizes L-3XL, the third includes all sizes, XXS-3XL. The pattern also includes 3 back choices in each size to accommodate a variety of derrieres and crotch depths.
I used the size XS with Back Size 1, the back designed for flatter derrieres. Interestingly, this was the exact size combination I was directed to use by the detailed size measurements chart in the direction booklet.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. My pants basically look like the schematic drawing on pattern envelope even though I increased the hem circumference by an inch or so and substituted an invisible elasticized waist (Hollywood waist) for the facing alternative described in the pattern booklet.
Fabric Used: I used Silky Sensuede in a color called Sapphire Blue. Ordinarily this fabric sells for at least $40 per yard, and it sometimes goes for twice that price. But my fabric was a terrific bargain. I bought it almost five years ago from fabric.com and paid less than $14 a yard with free shipping. Why oh why didn't I buy a bolt of it?
Silky Sensuede is a nonwoven, engineered suede that's very similar to genuine Ultra Suede Light. Unfortunately, Silky Sensuede is not an ideal fabric for pants making because it falls away from the body and is slightly stiff. As you can see in the photos above there's some "pull" across the upper front, even though the fit is good. According to Palmer/Pletsch's Pants for Real People, "every fabric will fit differently. If you want bullet proof fit, use wool crepe. It molds to the body."
In contrast, the pants I made using my identical TNT pattern but with black RPL crepe drape the upper front without any pulling.
Like Ultra Suede Light, Silky Sensuede is extremely easy to sew. I used a size 80 universal needle and my sewing machine's walking foot. The only tricky aspect was sewing the waist fitting darts, which have a tendency to stick out at the end point on Ultra Suede pants and skirts. But I followed the instructions in the Palmer/Pletsch book, Sewing Ultrasuede, and my darts turned out perfectly.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The challenge in pants making isn't the sewing -- it's the fitting. Fortunately, the Eureka pant pattern comes with a detailed 20 page booklet that not only tells you how to sew your pants, it teaches you how to fit them, as well.
The fitting method relies on the Horizontal Balance Line (HBL), which is a key fitting tool and is conveniently printed right on the pattern. When the HBL is straight, you know you're on the right track to getting a perfect fit, especially at the rear end, which most of us agree is the toughest part of the anatomy to fit.
Sarah Veblen's Online Fitting Help to the Rescue: There's no getting around it, pants fitting isn't easy, and achieving a perfect fit (especially if, like me, you have a less than perfect figure) takes some work. For this reason, back in February I decided to take a triple pronged approach.
Last year, I'd had great results from Sarah Veblen's online bodice and sleve fitting class right here on PR. I also owned Sarah's fabulous fitting book, Perfect Fitting, and even had an unopened copy of the Eureka pants pattern. Unfortunately, back in February, Sarah hadn't yet started her Pants Fitting on PR, but she was offering her Online Fitting Help through her website.
I signed up for a two-round session at $40, and four $40 sessions later, I had the pants of my dreams. But I don't want to trivialize the amount of work that was involved. I spent many hours fitting and sewing my pant's muslin. It also took considerable time to photograph each version properly and to frame my questions to Sarah so I could get the answers I needed for the next step. But Sarah's emails were exceptionally clear and detailed. I also used Sarah's Perfect Fitting book, which has a small but valuable pants fitting section, as well as the Eureka pattern instruction booklet. Each day, I made steady progress, and after a couple of weeks, I got a great fit
Since I completed my TNT pants pattern, Sarah has introduced her Pants Fitting Workshop with Sarah here on PR. The class which starts on May 1st (and never expires) includes five hours of videotapes, PDF downloads, a message board and chats, as well as two rounds of the same type of personalized fitting help I received. I think the class is a great opportunity for those of us who want fitting help but can't travel to special pants fitting seminars. And if you need more guidance, you can always sign up for Sarah's Online Fitting Help.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is a great basic pants pattern. Important features of this pattern include: three backs per size to accommodate a variety of derrierre depths; clearly marked Horizontal Balance Lines; and a 20 page booklet with fitting guidance. But the key benefit is that this pattern coordinates with Sarah's Perfect Fitting book, her online Pants Fitting workshop on PR and her Online Fitting Help. Together, they're an unbeatable combination.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made dozens of alterations with Sarah Veblen's guidance. But if I listed them all, it would put you to sleep.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I've already sewn half a dozen versions of the Eureka pant, and I plan to sew at least half a dozen more.
If you'd like some extra help in fitting your pants, I highly recommend that you consider Sarah Veblen's Eureka pant pattern along with her books and online classes.
Conclusion: We all know that when you work with a TNT pattern that fits, sewing is a pleasure and a breeze. Thanks to the Eureka pants pattern and Sarah Veblen, I now have a great fitting TNT pants pattern, and you can have one, too.