You know how every so often a project comes along that goes together so smoothly and is so enjoyable to sew that you’re a bit sad when it’s done and can’t wait to make another? Yeah…. this wasn’t one of those.
My pants were originally inspired by these wide-leg floral pants by Diane Von Furstenberg. I really liked the combination of the floral print and wide leg style (please note that my pants are suspiciously not wide leg). So, I set out on a quest to find some floral print fabric with a darker background color that would be appropriate for fall/winter, as well as spring/summer. I found this beautiful satin fabric at Lincraft and fell in love with the colors and the print.
My initial plan was to use Simplicity 8299. I’ve had this pattern for a while, but just hadn’t used it yet. I liked that it had pockets, but was unsure about the elastic waist. In the end, I decided that the elastic waist will give the pants a more casual look, but I could also dress them up if I wanted. I had some doubts about the combination of the satin fabric and gathered waistband, but in my exuberance to get started, I quickly put those doubts aside.
The pattern was extremely easy to sew, and I kept doing fit tests throughout the project. It seemed that my fears about fabric thickness and drape had been all for nothing. That is, until I put the elastic in the casing. Instead of flowing from the waist and gracing my hips, the fabric bunched around my abdomen, instantly adding about 20lbs. Yikes!!
In horror, I stared at the awkward puffy pants and tried to find a solution. What if I took out the elastic and added some darts, or pleats, or… or… nothing was working. After a brief period of wanting to chuck the whole project, I unpicked every seam and searched for another pattern that I could make with what I had. Luckily, the legs were quite wide. So, I had a lot to work with.
I came across Burda 12/2016 #126, and after a quick evaluation of fabric needed, I decided to move forward. I bought the online PDF, which meant I had to print and then tile the pattern together. With so few pattern pieces this was easiest part of the project.
These pants also went together easily, but required quite a few alterations. As I was cutting out my recommended size, I could tell the pants were going to be a bit big, so I took ¼” off of every seam before sewing. After I sewed up the legs, they looked very bulky. And, surprise! They weren’t draping quite how I would have liked (anyone else noticing a theme here?). I took the leg seams in up to 2” in some spots, which altered the look of the pants from a straight leg to more of a skinny leg. Finally, the fabric and I could agree on a style.
Now is when the real fun started. I picked up an invisible zipper, and when I got it home, noticed the zipper pull was frozen in its top position. I returned this zipper, only to find that all invisible zippers in this brand were frozen. So, I bought the only other brand of invisible zipper in the store. I installed the zipper, tried on the pants, pulled up the zipper… and well, it broke. Great.
My only remaining zipper options were a regular old zipper or a metal zipper. At this point, I decided that if the zipper wasn’t going to be invisible, it was going to be a design feature. I picked up a metal jeans zipper and sewed it in as an exposed zipper. Turns out, the exposed zipper is one of my favorite parts of the pants…go figure.
Despite all the construction woes, I think these pants were worth it. I really do love them. And did I mention how comfortable they are? Thank you, 2% spandex in the fabric! I’ve been wanting to add some non-jean pants options to my wardrobe, and I’d say these fit the bill.
Looking ahead at my winter sewing plans, there are definitely more pants in my future. I have some beautiful green wool that is just asking to be made into vintage-y wide-leg trousers. After my experience with these pants, would it be weird to use a Velcro closure? Just kidding…sort of.
Until next time,