Anatomy of a Pair Of Flares


FIRST OF ALL, here we are on August 31st and I haven’t written anything at all for CoBloWriMo.  I do have my valid excuses: my internet went out, then my parents went on vacation so I had to run the farm myself and had very little TIME, then classes at the university started and the internet went out again.  Oh well.  I told myself I wouldn’t beat myself up if I wasn’t able to post as much as I would have liked, and I’m still going to try to use the prompts for post inspiration.

I do have a post for you today though!  While I was in Europe a little vintage store called Crimson and Clover opened back in Arkansas.  Last weekend they had a sale and I went to check it out and I was delighted.  Not only do they have a whole lot of beautiful dresses they also have a great selection of vintage menswear.  I tried on a few dresses but I’m not feeling particularly femme right now, so I ended up with a beautiful pair of 70’s flares, (pictured above with a Finnish shirt from Vintage Code) some 60’s trousers, and a couple of beautiful neckties.

As some people who know me may know, I’ve been trying for uhh, a couple of years to draft a pattern for the perfect pair of flares, but all my toiles have been unsatisfactory.  Now that I have such a beautiful extant example in my possession I thought I might poke around to see what I could learn from them, and share some pictures here.

IMG_9812The built-in belt seems to be the solution to my worst fit problem, keeping the high waist up without actually digging into my body.  It’s only in the front, attaching at (not in) the side seams with x-shaped stitching.  I adore the wide belt loops, they look funky and I imagine would be a lot less fiddly to sew than standard narrow loops.

IMG_9818detail of top-stitching and eyelets, along with a bar tack reinforcing the corner of the front pockets.  The pockets have a weird welt-type thing going on, I’ll have to take some time to figure out exactly how it works.

IMG_9821The fly is stitched down with pick-stitching that is barely visible on the right side of the garment.

IMG_9822 I love the closure.  Besides the belt and zipper, there’s also an interior button-and-tab arrangement set slightly lower than the actual waistband, working like a waist stay and helping keep the pants up.  The waistband is faced with a small strip of the cotton muslin (also used for the pockets) and then a wider strip of something that reminds me of petersham but is much thinner and softer, with two bands of decorative (or if they have a function I don’t know what it is) stitching.  IMG_9834In one place the stitching holding the waistband facing down was coming loose and I was able to peek in at the interfacing inside the waistband.  It’s sew-in, not fusible, and looks like a strip of very lightweight buckram.  No wonder the waistband stays so smooth and beautiful when being worn.

IMG_9825IMG_9826more cotton muslin used to face the fly and as a sort of reinforcement/facing? in the front of the crotch seam.  The fly has another bar tack at the bottom of the zipper.

IMG_9833Nice spacious back pockets! The back seam has been taken in at some point, as seen by the extra wide seam allowances with a crease (and some stray bits of thread!) where the previous seam-line was, and some rather messy work stitching the waistband facing back down at center back.  Part of why I love wearing vintage clothes is the little pieces of evidence like this that they were worn and loved by somebody before me.I’m kind of thinking that these flares were made handmade by a tailor or professional seamstress rather than manufactured, due to the sew-in interfacing, the details, the hand-sewn hem, etc.  so I find it interesting that this alteration had to be done (by a different sewer, as evidenced by the different colored thread and difference in work quality) in the first place.  Maybe I’m actually the third owner.

IMG_9838(here’s a closer look at the alteration) Speaking of crotch seams and seam allowances, the seam allowances on these flares are pressed open in the crotch seam and lie absolutely beautifully.  Almost all of the raw edges in the garments are finished with a narrow overlock stitch.

IMG_9841The legs are relatively straight with little actual flare but the effect when being worn is perfect.  This means that the hem can simply be a wide fold-up hem without any sort of puckering.  It’s hand-stitched.  I’ll probably be taking the stitching out though as I need to hem the pants about an inch shorter.

So yeah, I think I found a lot of construction details that will help alleviate the problems that I’ve been running into with my self-made flares, as well as add some 70’s authenticity.


(am I the only one who finds it funny that I’m dressed all in vintage posing in front of my record player but the outline of my iphone is clearly visible in my pocket 😛 )

Soundtrack: Al Stewart- Past, Present, and Future


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