When I sew with a new pattern for the very first time, I like to have a realistic plan for sewing, especially since the first time always takes the longest. I wanted to briefly share with you a rough outline for dividing up this process into nice chunks that can easily be fit into an evening or an afternoon. For those of you who are participating in the Luna Pantsalong, hopefully this will give you a road map for what to expect if you are making these pants for the first time!
The first thing I want to point out about the estimated times above is that I have tried to make them generous but realistic. Do I really think it will take you an hour to cut fabric or a half hour to take your body measurements? No. But it might, so keep that in mind! And it might also take you longer. Life happens, right?
You might also notice that the actual cutting and sewing doesn’t happen until the very end (and is only the last three items on the outline). I’ve done this because the things that happen before the sewing are not only really important, but can also be fairly time-consuming. Making a muslin, tracing a pattern, or taking extra time to check your body measurements can be tedious, I agree, but one thing I have discovered, over many, many years of sewing for myself, is that investing some time up front on a pattern saves you time in the long run (unless you are really lucky…which I am usually not).
I’ve talked about this before in my post “Making Clothing for me, lessons learned,” so feel free to check out that post if this concept is new to you, but the takeaway lesson — and something I’ve tried to emphasize in all of my sewing patterns — is that it’s terribly frustrating to whip up a pattern super-quick only to discover that you’ve wasted your time and fabric on something that doesn’t fit.
On the plus side, once you’ve figured out what size (and adjustments) work best for you, it becomes incredibly fast and easy to whip up multiple versions of a pattern! It currently takes me a half hour to cut out a pair of Lunas, and then about 2 hours to sew them together (notice that is a total of 2.5 hours rather than the generous 5 hours for cutting and sewing estimated above). That’s when the payoff happens, and it’s the part that is obviously the most fun for me. This is also when I begin to feel comfortable hacking and customizing a pattern.
Finally, I’d like to point out that the time for purchasing or choosing a fabric isn’t listed, simply because this really varies depending on if you already have fabric on hand, or if you have to go out and purchase something. But there are other steps that can be done simultaneously, such as taping and tracing your pattern while you’re washing and drying your fabric!
This week and next, to continue the Pantsalong, I’ll use this outline as a guide for my posts. I’m going to be taking my time working through this because I don’t want anyone (including me) to feel rushed, so feel free to work along at your own pace.
Want to participate in the Luna Pantsalong and sew your own pair? Join us! Post a photo of your pants, either in progress or finished, to your blog, Flickr, or social media platform of your choice, and either link back to my blog or use the tag #lunapantsalong! Still need the pattern? You can find it right here in my shop.