Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For Whom the Bell Tolls...

Next Fall promises to be an exciting time for fashion trends. There were lots of great new looks....particularly in terms of pant silhouettes. I love skinny jeans but frankly they've been with us for over a decade. It's time for something different and Fall trends really deliver when it comes to offering a variety of shapes.

One of those new looks: bell bottom pants---is something we haven't seen in quite awhile. First introduced at the onset of the Carnaby Street Mod era with pants where the hemlines flared out like trumpets over the ankles, it became a signature look of the 1970's with an assortment of flared styles ranging from sexy calypso pants to elegant palazzos. For this project, you will need to pull out your basic pant sloper. Don't have one? You can find it HERE.

You should first decide on the look you'd like to achieve. This tutorial gives you the basics. From there you're invited to make changes and do your own thing!

Before we get started, lay the doll next to the pant sloper and mark where you want to introduce the flare. All the area above this line will be fitted to the hips or legs but flared below. I've marked my sloper at the top of the hips as well as just above the knees because I will be making bell bottoms which will flare out from either of these two points.

1. Decide how much flare you want and mark to one side of the pant leg. Whatever amount of flare you put here, you will need to add to the other side as well as to each side of the back sloper.
2.. Using a compass, I place the needle where I want to introduce the flare and stretch it so that the pencil touches the hemline on the front pant sloper. My mark will create a 45 degree angle from the leg---or a half circle around the ankles when the leg is completed.
3. I draw a curved line to the mark I just made. The end of your line will be above that mark.
4. Draw a line from the side of the pant to the end point of the curve.
5. Repeat on the other side.
6. Remember to add the identical amount of flare to each side.
7. Add seam allowance to create the pattern.
8. Apply steps 2-6 (using the same amount of flare) to the back pant sloper.
9. Add seam allowance. You can add a waistband or fold and stitch down the fabric at the waist.

A variation of the above draft, the flare is 90 degree angle from the pant leg, (a half circle at the end of the pant leg) or a full circle around the ankles in the completed garment.

The procedure is identical to the classic bell bottoms, however I've simply started my flare further down.

There are two ways to make this look, depending on the effect (and the fabric) you want. By maintaining the darts in your pattern (left), the pants will hug the hips and flare out under the hip line. On the right, we've pivoted the fullness of the darts out and into the legs. The hipline is less fitted. However, it is a look best suited for knits and soft or silky fabrics.

Palazzos with darts.

 The draft is identical to that of the classic bell, with the exception of my introducing the flare at the top of the hips instead of the knees.

The end result will hug the doll's hips then flare to the hemline. With this method we can also control how much flare we want which is important if you want a conservative silhouette. But for a full flare, we can make a dartless palazzo pant.

1. Again start with the basic pant sloper. Trace the sloper onto paper. Make a vertical line down from the apex of the waist dart to the hemline.
2. Cut along that line. Fold and tape shut the dart. Trace onto another sheet of paper.
3. Repeat steps 1-2 on the back sloper.
 4. Measure the width of each pant leg at the hem. Note the difference then divide this number in half.For example, my front pant pattern measurs 2.5 inches. The back sloper measures 3.5 inches. That means there is a one inch difference between the front and the back. You will add that measurement to the smaller pattern (the front in this case). My front sloper now measures 3 inches at the hemline.
5. You will deduct that measurement from the wider pattern (the back in my case). My back pant pattern now measures 3-inches as well.

If all of this is really too much for you there is a super simple way to get your girls in bells. It's a look borrowed from the college kids of the 1970's.
 1. Start out with a pair of ready-made Barbie pants.
2. With your compass, measure where you'd like to insert a wedge.
3. With the compass set at the angle of choice, mark a center point and make a full circle.
4. Cut a wedge as full or narrow as you'd like and hem.
4b. Open the side seam of the pants to the desired height.
5. Sew or glue into the seams. You can stop there....or...
6. Add a second wedge to the other side of the pants.
Voila. Instant bells!!!

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  1. Very nice looks. I especially love the variation in the sizes of the bells!

    1. Thank you, Phyllis. I wore bell bottoms when I was young. Much later on, they looked so ridiculous, I could no longer appreciate them. Once I saw them in Versace's last Couture show, suddenly, they looked really good again. And I must admit I really like how the doll versions turned out.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Allenoel. I had so much such success with these, it almost makes me want to try on a pair myself! LOL!!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Vanessa. Happy to know you enjoyed this post.

  4. Marvelous tutorial for such a variation of the classic bell or flared pant geared to the miniscule body. I adore the "Trumpet Bells" in the way the fabric pattern follows and wraps itself around the leg with such a flow. It has a very supple look as well. This is one of the best ever and it all culminates into "The Palazzos" in fiery colors of red and purples. Once again,the purple colors follow the flow of the pant's seam and the doll's leg which terminates into that wonderful surprise of flaring, shocking red cape wrapped around the doll's body, hugging itself around the pants. Truly amazing. Thanks so much for that. Olimpia

    1. You know, Olimpia, this style pants really lends itself to south of the border fancy! I nearly made all of them in hot, Caribbean colored fabrics, but I also wanted to show a "big city" version. Since we haven't seen this style of pant in such a long time, I imagine it makes them just that much more exciting.

  5. Great Tutorial! I love the fashions you created for the girls, I was catching up with my blog reading and I saw this gem of a post!
    Thanks April!

    1. Thank you, Billa. I had such a good time putting this together and was really happy with the results. Stay tuned, I'll be putting up a tutorial on the slip dress next!!!

  6. Hello from Spain: I really like your creations. Fabulous pants campaign. Nice photos. Your sew very well. Keep in touch

  7. Thank you, Marta, for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. See you soon.


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