Patterning

The Making of One Eyed Cat - Part 2: the Tap Pants

Today we continue the series the Making of One Eyed Cat with the details on how to make the cutest pair of tap pants you'll ever see.  They are made of tulle and lace and oh so sweet and skimpy.

 

Photo & Styling by Jacs Saffioti| Editing by Ruby Corvette | Mask by  Pearls & Swine | HMUA & costume by me

 

This is the second pair of tap pants I have made and definitely the best!  If you want to revisit the first pair then go over to The Making of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' - Part 3.  The issues I had with the first pair was that they didn't flair as much as I wanted and they were kinda just flat.  I combated this by using a much lighter weight fabric a a brand new pattern. 

The design was a follow on from my mesh dress.  my think was, if your dress is see-through then why shouldn't your underpants be too?!  The idea of tulle tap pants was born.  The other advantage of tulle is that any embellishment you add will be that much more effective as it stands out so much more.  With this in mind I decided to add some floral lace and crystals.

Now for full disclosure.  

These are very similar to a pair of french knickers available from Cristina Aaelli.  This was not intentional as I did not know about these until after I had designed mine.  I figured as I was only making these for myself and not selling them it was OK to continue.  Mine are nowhere near as high quality or beautiful as Cristina Aaelli's, but they are basically the same design.  I highly recommend you buy something from her range as it is extremely beautiful and very reasonably priced when you take into account the high quality materials and detailed and painstaking work.  

Moving on.

 

Photo & Styling by Jacs Saffioti| Editing by Ruby Corvette | Mask by  Pearls & Swine | HMUA & costume by me | Collar by Killstar

 

Pattern drafting 

In order to get the shape I wanted I drafted a full circle culotte pattern that I altered from a  pattern I found on a blog called Petit main Sauvage.  This is a really great tutorial that is very easy to understand.  To begin the pattern I drafted a standard full circle skirt pattern using my waist measurement and my required length.  To add in the crutch of the pants you need to first measure your hip circumference, hip height, and sitting height.  Your hip height is the distance between your waist and hips and your sitting height is the distance from your waist to where your butt meets the chair while you are sitting.  

Next you measure along the centre front of the circle from the top and mark the sitting height.  The instuctions on Petit Main Sauvage is, for the front panels,  to draw a line at a right angle from this point that is 1/10 your hip circumference plus 2.5cm.  Mark the hip height on centre front and draw a curve between that point and the centre of the new line drawn at a right angle to the centre front.  Repeat this for the back panels instead drawing the line at right angles at a distance of your 2/10 hip circumference minus 3cm.  

 
 

I personally think that for pants this short that the crutch is simply too long using this method.  I shortened the  crutch by 2.5cm on both the back and front pieces but I am probably going to shorten it even more.  Add seam allowances all around before cutting out and pinning to your fabric.  As for fabric, I first tried bridal tulle but found it felt horrible against my skin and was too light.  I instead used poly stretch tulle which is the same fabric I used for my pink robe/gown.  It has a great drape to it and is comfortable.  

Sidebar: If you are unsure what paper to use to draft your pattern I have a few suggestions.  Newspapers that don't transfer ink, butchers paper, brown paper used for packing parcels, baking paper, or (like I used for this pattern) A4 printing paper.  Just sticky tape pieces together until you have a big enough piece.

sewing

Now you can sew the tap pants together.  I sewed the 2 front and back pieces together before sewing the front to the back, leaving the sides open in order to insert closures. I tried the pants on and decided they needed to be shortened.  The shortening was controlled by the gusset meaning I couldn't shorten as much in the middle of the pattern as I could on the outer section.  The closure I chose was snap tape.  Snap tape is easy to sew in and the snaps are strong but easy to open.  I sewed it in to the sides and together at the bottom.  I trimmed the hems with bias binding which was a bit difficult.  First it is nearly impossible to buy the black satin 2cm bias binding I wanted.  It seems that as soon as it comes in stock it sells out.  I ordered some online which was lost in transit so I got a refund and luckily bought some in store (and you bet I bought half the roll of it).  A couple days later my package showed up so now I have lots.

As the tulle is very light and not so easy to fold the end result is a little hit a miss.  There are sections where the folded tulle extends beyond the edge of the bias binding.  Fortunately, because the tulle is so sheer, you can't see the this  unless you look very closely.  I think that when I do this again I will first overlock (or serge) the hem before attaching the bias binding.  My thought is that this will stabilise the edge and make it easier to fold and contain within the bias binding. 

Lace applique 

The lace I bought is a very inexpensive piece from eBay.  I then cut out the lace into pieces and started placing them on the pants.  I did this with the pants on because I wanted to place the m so that they framed my crotch and butt crack.  

I hand sewed the lace on because I was able to do it at my desk at work and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to machine sew it successfully.  I first tacked the appliques in place along the centre of each one.  I then went and sewed each one along the edges of the lace.  I used regular all purpose thread but should have used embroidery floss.  The standard thread is a little dull compared to embroidery floss and doesn't look all that good close up.  This isn't really an issue for a costume though as no one will be able to see this from the stage.  

I am not entirely happy with the way the lace is sewn on.  It took me 10 days to sew all the appliques on so I did try to have them sit as smoothly on the tulle as possible but there is some puckering.  I thought of using an embroidery hoop to help with this but I was worried that it would stretch the tulle.  I might need to use an iron on adhesive or similar to attach the lace to the tulle before I sew it next time I tackle something like this.

I added a few black diamond and hematite crystals to the lace to finish it off.  I'm very happy with the way they turned out, especially the pattern.  I don't think I'll be buying another tap pants pattern.  Instead I'm going to keep altering this one to perfection.  Next week I will continue the Making of One Eyed Cat series with the the g-string.  If you missed last week, which was the start of series, click here to read it now. 

xo Margeaux

 

Photo & Styling by Jacs Saffioti| Editing by Ruby Corvette | Mask by  Pearls & Swine | HMUA & costume by me | Collar by Killstar

 

The Making of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' - Part 3: Tap Pants

Welcome to the next installment of  the Making of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.  In this post we discuss the making of the tap pants.  If you haven't read part 1 where we discuss the making of the corset or part 2 which focuses on the making of the gown you should stop immediately and go back and read them now (or later, whatever, I'm not the boss of you).  

 

Photo by KTB. MUAH & Styling by the Bombshell Burlesque Academy.

 

I fell in love with the tap pants Evie Libertine uses in her Navy Beat act.  The vintage look and the ease of removal were exactly what I wanted for my act.  I started researching tap pants and came across a surprisingly large number of patterns available on Etsy.  I went with a pattern from Mrs Depew Vintage which turned out to be a great thing because of the sew-along tutorial that is available on her blog.  This blog post is very detailed with 5 posts dedicated to the tap pants alone. 

 

The Pauline bra and tap pants pattern from Mrs Depew Vintage (https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Mrsdepew

 

The pattern is a pdf that you download and print.  This is great because you get it straight away, pay less then you do for a paper pattern, and don't pay postage.  The down side is that you have to print it out as several A4 sheets that you then have to tape together then cut out, which really isn't that big a deal.  Because it is one size though you do have to resize the pattern to fit.  This is easy though and explained in detail in one of the blog posts.  If you are wanting details on the construction of the tap pants head over to Anna Depew's blog: A Few Threads Loose

This was probably the most complicated piece I made for my costume.  The reason is that it it the most structured piece I made.  Other than resizing the pattern I made quite a few alterations.  There is a V-shaped opening at the waist in the pattern which serves as the actual opening for the tap pants (see below).  As with most vintage sewing patterns, a highish level of prior sewing knowledge is assumed and therefore there is no pattern for the placket for this opening.  Anna herself advises against using the v-shaped opening and instead advises to simply create  a new opening by drawing a straight line in the center of the v.  Doing this will add 2.5" to the waistline and reduce the complexity of the placket required.  

A section of the pattern showing the v-shaped opening  (between 6 and 7) and yoke (under 11).

I wanted  to maintain a flared shape to the pants so I opted to keep the opening as is.  Also, because I was making the pants tear away the opening was actually going to be extended the whole way through (making the piece 2 individual pieces) so the placket would be fairly simple anyway.  The plackets I made were simply 2 overlapping strips with snap tape sewn on each side.  I sewed the snap tape on to the plackets before I folded and sewed them onto the pants.  This ensured that there was no stitching visible from the outside of the placket.  

The yoke piece is drafted  slightly longer then the pants front it attaches to in order to accommodate the placket.  I found that I had to extend it a fair bit more for the plackets I used.  I did a complete toile of my altered pattern before I started cutting my final fabric, which is party satin from Lincraft.  I chose this fabric because although it is a bit heavy for something like this it was the right colour and finish.  The yoke is made from 2 pieces of the satin with the top one reinforced with a medium to heavy fusible interfacing.  I attached the lace appliques to the yoke before I sewed it onto the pants.  This meant the stitching from attaching the lace was hidden behind a second layer which acts as a facing.  Attaching the lace to the yoke before sewing it had another advantage.  Anyone who has discussed the topic with me before knows my disdain for hand sewing.  Having the yoke unattached meant I could easily machine sew the lace on then hide the mess of crisscrossing stitching behind a facing.

The other alteration I made to the pattern was in the length.  I wanted the pants to be tantalisingly short and show maybe the slightest hint of cheek.  This was obviously limited by the gusset and required the hem be slightly angled.  To add to the flirty hem line I finished them off with a rolled hem using my overlocker.  Fortunately, the white thread I had for my over locker was fine to use and blended in with the pink fabric.   And because I cut the pattern on the bias, another alteration I made, the hem ended up being a wavy "lettuce" hem.  The final touch was to add some crystals in rose, light rose, and crystal AB.

 

Photo by KTB. MUAH & Styling by the Bombshell Burlesque Academy.

 

Overall I'm fairly happy with the tap pants.  They're hella cute and come off like a dream.  I've found that leaving the bottom 2 snaps undone helps with a smooth removal and adds to the cute look of the shorts.  However, I was expecting them to flare more and give more of a circle skirt shape like in the picture.  I thought cutting them on the bias might help the shape but it didn't really make a difference.  For my next pair (for which I have started drafting the pattern for!) I am instead going to base the pattern of a half-circle culotte pattern I found.  That way they will end up looking a lot more like the drawing.  

I recommend looking at the extensive pattern range available on Mrs Depew's Vintage on Etsy and checking out the blog as well.  When it comes to using vintage patterns just be aware that having to resize them is likely and that things like plackets and facings will not be included.  It is better to have a bit of sewing and patterning knowledge before you take one of them on.

 Thanks for reading!  This post is a little more technical then my previous ones but hopefully enjoyable none the less.  Next week we will move onto part 4 which covers the  making of the triangle bra.  Also check out the bonus post to this series published on the Bombshell Burlesque Academy and Events blog.  It's all about the lessons I learnt through the making of this costume.  And while you're there check out the other posts from the inspiring teachers and students of Bombshell Burlesque!

xo Margeaux