The saddest thing about this whole post, Dear Readers, is that I finished these pants weeks ago and have been wearing them regularly but have not had a spare moment to take a picture of them. I had the best intentions this past weekend to find an hour on Saturday afternoon–and then what with holiday shopping, two birthday parties for me, one for Frances, and two other social outings, plus groceries laundry etc.–it didn’t happen. Sunday afternoon found both Frances and I napping. But I’m determined not to be the one who always posts on Amnesty Day, so! midweek evening inside pictures with messy backgrounds it is.
The last time I bought pants for work was at least five years ago. If you haven’t yet blocked it out of your memory, at the time even nice wool pants for office work, even in pantsuits, were so low-cut as to graze the hipbone.
I’ve never, ever been a fan of the low-cut look, particularly at work, but when you don’t sew you’re at the mercy of the manufacturers, so I have a few pairs of pants like this. Then I started sewing, and made pants which reliably covered my underwear when sitting down. Then I lost weight, and none of them fit. Now the only pants I have in my wardrobe which stay up are the ones that don’t reliably cover my underwear. Yet the patterns I have–mostly from StyleArc, which only sells one size per envelope–are too big.
I did make myself another pair of Jasmines as I’d adjusted them a bunch for shorts previously. Super quick recap: Size 12, sized down, snugged in the waist, waist was raised by about 1 1/2″. Used cotton lawn scraps for the waistband facing to prevent it from bagging out (pattern is for stretch wovens).
But beyond these, I had no pants patterns that already fit. This is a problem. I hate going back to the drawing board with pants because the fitting is so finicky, but you know, I need pants!
The ones in my Burda magazines are either too casual, don’t have pockets (which I need for my insulin pump) or have large and dramatic front pleats, which I’m not a real fan of. But there are two patterns in the March 2017 Patrones that look fantastic, including this one with interesting seamlines that was a bit low-cut for me, but this seemed like a doable fix.
(They don’t appear to have a website and they certainly don’t offer individual patterns for sale, so my apologies for the lack of links in this post. You can buy individual issues through this website in different languages–but alas, not english.)
I traced them both out in the summer and they sat, languishing, in the back of the magazine. Once again The Monthly Stitch provided the kick in the butt I needed to get working on a project I’d already planned.
I was delighted to learn, while translating the instructions, that it’s meant to be made out of stretch cotton. I happened to have this stretch cotton sateen in my stash, destined to be pants and waiting for a pattern, for years.
I traced the size 44 as the best match, then measured key points to make sure it would be in the ballpark. With the multiple seamlines front and back, I figured further fitting would be a piece of cake. I raised the waist 1″ front and back, and added 2″ to the crotch curve. (Note: Patrones skips some sizing in their patterns, so this pattern for example is listed as “size 40-48,” but the pattern sheets include sizes 40, 44 and 48. You’ll need to grade between the sizing lines if you fall between.)
Pocket linings and waistband facings are a very bright floral scrap quilting cotton. I can’t have the whole thing be neutral. They just wouldn’t be my pants. But also, using a non-stretch woven for the waistband facing means that the waistband stays the original size all day.
OK, and look: these are a 44.
AND THEY FIT.
No mountains of excess ease.
I know the photos show some wrinkling at the seams but that’s a factor of a) contrast settings on the photo editing program and b) sewing each seam with a serge and with a regular sewing machine stitch to make sure they are good and strong. They are good strong seams, but they are also seams with some introduced wobbliness.
I did make some alterations:
- snugging the waist a bit.
- taking most of the 2″ I put into the crotch curve back out again–I’m thinking Patrones may be drafted for someone a bit closer to my shape, because it seemed mostly unnecessary. I figured this out after I adjusted the fit on the back princess seams so it’s now a bit too snug back there, but still wearable.
- using the back princess seams to take excess out of the thighs below the butt
- adding a 2″ cuff to the bottom because I forgot to measure and add to the inseam before cutting it out
- I took a very small amount out of the side seams–maybe 1/8″. I might put it back into the next one.
- about 1″ out of the centre back waist to keep the waistband snugger (it was gaping quite a bit), which is why it dips a bit.
Surely if Patrones can make a pattern that offers a good fit based on their body measurement size chart, other pattern companies that shall remain nameless can also do it.
The tissue has been adjusted and I’m ready to make more; a teal stretch denim is all washed up and ready to go. Next time I might raise the centre back maybe another 3/4″ but otherwise I’m happy with them. They’re comfortable, they don’t need lining, you can make them out of twill or sateen and because of the seamlines and the pocket shape they don’t look like blue jeans. They’re easy to fit because of the princess seams. The only downside is that by the end of the day they do bag out a little bit in the butt. I’m not sure if there would be a stretch fabric with good enough recovery to guarantee this not happening if you have a job where you are sitting and standing all day long, but it’s something to keep in mind.
I got a pair made, thought they were a tried and true Burdastyle pattern – but they are a bit too tight. Unfortunate combination of low stretch fabric and a bit of extra weight on me. But I think it has gotten me into the swing of thinking about trying one or two new patterns (one is another Burdastyle).
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Love your pants! Those seams in the back really help achieve a great fit. Pants are in my 2018 plans. I did try last year (2015) with a pair of wovens but they just looked so awful I scurried off to do what I’m comfortable (finally!) sewing (knit pants). BUT I am determined to make myself some nice woven pants 🙂 I’m going to start with loose fitting ones (I paid a King’s ransom for a pair of linen loose fitting pants that I love) and see how we progress from there. I have about 3 meters of cotton santeen much like yours (washed even!) that I bought for pants so once I’m feeling more confident to take on a closer fitting pair I’m tackling it!
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Pants are challenging. But loose pants are a great way to start. You can do it!