MonkeyBoots IronMan Jim

sock monkey

I’m going to start this post with the good news.  My grandson had told his mom on several occasions that he wished he had a sock monkey.  As it so happened, I had 1 pair of sock monkey socks in my craft trunk so made it for him.  For the record, I don’t like making sock monkeys.  The sock fabric is too stretchy to be fun to work with, and heaven help you if you need to take a seam out.  That being said, Jack thought he was the nuts (a little monkey humor there). It was all I could do to keep Jack away from the monkey while I was sewing and then while we waited for the little boy to come and get him.

Well, the almost-five-year-old boy LOVED the monkey!  Way more than I could have hoped for.  So much that he gave him 3 names, just like the boy has 3 names.  The monkey’s name is MonkeyBoots IronMan Jim.  Quite the monkier for a little simian, don’t you think?  I liked the humor in making this monkey a vest with another monkey (Julius Junior) on it.

On to other sewing adventures….

I took both my courage and my scissors in hand and cut out the pattern pieces for my pants.

pattern pieces cut out
I spent several hours yesterday sewing.  Lessons learned or remembered quickly:

  • The handwoven definitely frays more than commercial fabric, so needed some type of seam treatment.
  • French seams are tedious and time consuming, not something I was willing to do on these pants.
  • Zigzag stitching was ok, but looked pretty ugly.
  • Overlock stitch looked better than zigzag, but was better still when I sewed both raw edges together rather than doing them individually.
  • I will not sew for money.  Just like I won’t knit for money.  I’ll do it as gifts or for myself, but that’s all.  It’s not one of my favorite activities and I’m not interested in investing the kind of time and attention it needs to have a  professional-looking finished product inside & out.  Don’t think I could get my money back on that kind of time commitment, either.

Ok, so this morning I sewed on the waistband, made the ties, and then could try the pants on for the first time. Lessons learned the hard way:

  • Although I’ve never done it and doubt that I’ll start now, it makes a lot of sense to make the pattern out of muslin (or similar) first so you have an idea of fit and can make adjustments as needed.
  • Before getting this far, stop and think. Do I own anything similar I can lay on the bed so I can compare shapes and sizes?
  • Don’t believe either the measurements or the pictures on the pattern.

When I sewed that vest from my handwoven fabric I made a size medium.  It’s really too small.  You can fudge a bit with a vest, but I sure didn’t want to make that mistake again with the pants.  Plus my actual body measurements were what the pattern called large, so I made the pants large.  Big mistake.

pants, front view

They are SO big that it’s way too much fabric bunched up at my waist, and it sticks out very unattractively in both front and back.  Only at this point did I realize I had been wearing a pair of drawstring waist cotton shorts, so I laid them on the bed to compare sizes.

comparing shorts & pants waistlines

Those pants are A LOT bigger.

So I went back to the pattern and looked at the photo on the front again.

pants patternI realize that model’s probably an extra small, but there’s NO WAY that her pants fit the way mine are cut.  Even if I’d made a medium instead of the large, the legs of my pants are WAY wider than hers, and the drawstring is gathered only slightly at her waist, too.  False advertising!

Now I know I could remove the waistband, take out the side seam pockets, re-cut the fabric, and re-sew.  However I also know that taking out the waistband and the pockets will cause lots of fraying.  While I have enough fabric to cut a whole new waistband, that’s not true for the pockets, and in reality, even it it were true, I know myself well enough to know I wouldn’t do it, and even if I did, I’d end up hating the pants for what they put me through and never wearing them anyway.

So I pinned in some pleats on one side.  Would I like that better?

side view with pleats

It’s better, but is it enough better to make them wearable?  Here’s a view of the side without the pinned in pleats.side view without pleatsI do know this…I’m not going to make a decision and implement it in time to wear these pants for the show I’ve got this weekend.  I’m also not going to blindly use the top pattern for my planned top; I may not use it at all.

I’m fed up.  I’m tired from lack of sleep.  I’m going to put away the sewing machine, put everything else in a bag or bin, and watch some mindless TV for a while.


9 comments to MonkeyBoots IronMan Jim

  • […] to start, I had to spend many evenings very carefully taking apart those horrid failed pants. Then I got myself some 830 Pellon to use for making my pattern from the pants I really like. Cut […]

  • […] with her time, very encouraging, very rational. She has encouraged me every step of the way with my pants fail. One of her appropriate thoughts (my paraphrase) is, “Hey, it’s just fabric. If in the […]

  • Peg Cherre

    Alma – Yes, I could do all that, but really don’t want to. If I went through it all I’d probably find other things to hate about the pants and never wear them.

    Amanda – I hadn’t quite considered that. I had thought that if I want to make any other handwoven fabric for garments, that I’m best off to take them to a professional to sew.

    Theresa – Yeah, I don’t sample when I weave and I don’t make mock ups when I sew. The lack of sampling doesn’t usually cause me a problem, and as far as sewing, when I used to do it all the time I didn’t have this kind of issue. You are correct that the pockets don’t need to be of the handwoven fabric. And this pattern just has elastic at the back half and ties in the front half, but that waistband is indeed narrow.

    Amanda & Theresa – Am I willing to spend the $$ to go to a tailor? I don’t know. I have to just sit on this for a while.

  • Great sock monkey and so glad it was well received by both dog and grandson! 😉
    Oh heavens Peg, you didn’t do a muslin of the pattern? Well Amanda has a great idea ( pay the expert for advice though whether you like it or not. Someone’s time has worth.) although myself I would take the waist band off and if those are side seam pockets why do they need to be the bulkier hand woven fabric anyway? A light cotton voile would work in a complimentary color. Some other things that might help when cutting the bulk down. A wider waist band and elastic, at least an inch. You could also do elastic only on the back half leaving the front smooth and pleated. Talk with the professional about these options
    and good luck. If I was closer I would pop over and lend a hand.

  • Amanda

    Here’s what I propose: take them to an actual tailor. Have them tell you what they’d do/if they can be altered to fit you. Depending on their proposal, either pay them to do it or offer them a fee for their consultation or simply say thanks but no thanks if they offer an unsatisfactory response.

    You tried. Really hard. Time to ask a pro.

  • Alma

    I just re-read what I wrote. It should read Chunky Pants Monkey Man Tom – – it was NOT a comment on the width of the pants!!!

  • Alma

    By the way, Chunky Pants, Monkey Man Tom is quite cute! Glad his little man loves him!!

  • Alma

    Mindless TV is a good choice!

    I haven’t attempted anything like this in years – gave up sewing garments long ago. Now, how to fix them? How do they fit in the crotch? The legs are long enough that you might just be able to cut off the waistband, make some darts/pleats, attach a new waistband, and go on, if the crotch is low enough. I’m disconcerted about the width of the legs, though, too.

    The fabric is so pretty that it would be a shame to waste it!

    Best of luck thinking about this!!

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