Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Saga of the Troupe Boys' Pants

Originally, the troupe boys were wearing the gold metallic lattice print on black stretch velvet pants. The pattern was one of Simplicity's, I *think* it was the 'pirate family' costume from a few years back (I can't find it on the website). The pants were loose fitting pull-on pants sized from XS to XL. We needed 2 smalls, two mediums and two larges, cropped a bit to go into boots.

It wasn't too hard; we got them made up fairly early on. But in the costume check on Wednesday the verdict from everyone after seeing them onstage was that they were way too glittery (that fabric did look amazing onstage...I've been inspired to see about doing something for church, which I'll talk about some other day). So, the decision was that we'd just make six more pairs of pants from the doe suede we used for the chorus boys.

But, someone had gone through and 'cleaned up' all the accumulated scraps and clutter and thrown away the original pattern tracings. So I started again, tracing the patterns. Midway through tracing the first one, I asked if the boys could turn the pants inside out. Ok, the metallic would be rough and uncomfortable, but at two days before the show opens, with no patterns...well, would it work? Turns out two or three others had suggested it, too, and since the pants were serged the seam allowances wouldn't show much. They wore cummerbunds that would cover the reverse on the waistband; the decision was made: they can wear them inside out.

However, the directors wanted the character Louis to wear the glittery pants, so that night I traced off a size small pattern and brought home fabric to make him a pair of pants from the glittery stuff (I was remaking that mesh vest on that assignment, too; they told me if I could just cut them out someone else would make them). Because Mr H wanted the pants a little snugger, I was going to see if I could trim the legs down a bit (I ended up just using one of my own pants patterns, but that's not really germane...what's important was that I had a small pants pattern tracing). After I traced the pattern, I couldn't find the envelope that the master pattern was to be returned to so one of the other ladies said she'd take it and file it in her box until she could put it away.

Well, I finished the vest and had time to do the pants to the waistband, so when I went in Thursday I handed that off to one of the ladies to finish. When I got back from choir, I found that the ladies were french seaming the Troupe pants; apparently the little seam allowance stuck out enough to be noticeable and, well, they wanted the pants to fit a little closer anyway.

So I sat at a borrowed machine and helped enclose the seams. The kids did two performances Friday (one for a school assembly), and on Saturday I got a call to bring in my cutting mats when The Actor came in...one of the boys was apparently allergic to the gold stuff on the pants and his legs were chafed and bleeding from the inside-out pants. So, we were just going to have to make new pants.

So we changed our plans to see the show on Saturday, and I went in with cutting mats and serger. And found that the lady who had the patterns had had a death in the family and wouldn't be in.

So I got to freehand grade the small pattern I had up for the mediums and the larges. I was guessing. Normally I'd've done that with my reference books out, or at least another pattern to see where the grading was done, but I had none of that. So, I eyeballed it and hoped it'd work.

The first pants to be cut were for the young man with the bleeding legs; as soon as we cut those I turned my rotary cutter over to another mom to cut the other five and I went to my serger. By the time I got those pants put together and handed over to someone with a conventional machine to put the casing and elastic in, she'd cut more, so I just serged pants most all night (we did get that first pair done in time for our suffering Trouper to wear the new ones from the beginning). After the show started, it was just the two of us, since the other moms were watching the performance (hey, their kids were seniors). The two of us ducked into the balcony to watch the opening number and then went back to work.

We had the pants finished by intermission; a couple of the boys went to the trouble of changing in a hurry, glad to have something more comfortable to wear.



  1. Wow. That is a saga! Good for you for sticking with it and getting the job done.

  2. A saga indeed. I'd have been mean and suggested the allergic boy wear tights or leggings underneath, lol. You have certainly put in alot of work on these costumes!

  3. Well, we did think about suggesting something under it, but in all honesty that metallic print is quite rough, and those guys are dancing their little hearts out in this production, so, well, since we *could* do it, ultimately, we did.

    And I'm being a bum and staying home tonight while a crew works gluing the sequins and such that have fallen off the costumes in the first 4 performances back on for the next 4....yeah, I feel a little guilty, but I don't feel very good today and I thought I probably should stay home and make sure The Actor works on his homework ;)