Hi, everyone! Let’s talk sewing!
Today’s project is Simplicity 1696, a slim pant/trouser pattern that comes with different pattern pieces for slim/average and curvy fit. (I think it may be out of print, but you can still find it in various places on the internet.) I’ve made this pattern once before in a gray stretch sateen, but this time, I decided to go beyond basic and use a fun print for my pants–octopi! This fabric is a quilting cotton called Mystery Food by Cotton + Steel. I’ve had some serious yardage of this from Pintuck & Purl for a long time now, and it was time to start using it. I can always sew (or buy) normal clothes, but I’m not here to only sew normal clothes. Sometimes, I just have to make the crazy stuff. It takes more courage to wear, but it’s also really fun.
So, let’s talk pants (or trousers, if you prefer)! This is a great pattern. The directions have a little worksheet for you to help you figure out if you need the slim/average or curvy back piece. I really like the teaching aspect of this pattern.
I took all my measurements and found that the curvy piece would be best. This time around I used the size 20 because my measurements have gone up a bit and because this quilting cotton is a non-stretch fabric, whereas the fabric I used last time had stretch. I really like the ease that’s included in most of the Big 4 patterns because I like my clothes a little looser-fitting, however I think I probably could have stayed with the 18 on this one. When these come out of the washer and dryer, they fit close, but they loosen up right away and can get a little baggy by the end of the day. The good news is, they are very comfortable.
Although I really like this pattern, and think it’s a great basic, there were a few parts of the directions that I had trouble with, so this is the part to skip if you’re not here for the details.
The main issue I had was with the fly. It’s not hard to put it in, but it really doesn’t overlap enough. I want the zipper to sit deeper in the fly so that it doesn’t show when it’s closed. I think next time I might study the Ginger Jeans directions (from Closet Case Patterns) to see how they did it and see if I can adapt it to this pattern. I have a really hard time going “off-book” sometimes and not using the directions given. It’s an area I can stand to grow in, so this may be a good opportunity. My zipper went in ok, but there’s stitching all over the place, which looks ugly to me. Who knows? Maybe I missed something.
I did depart from the directions in Step 20. Rather than hand-basting the fly in place, I pinned on the outside and carefully stitched over the marked seamline with a clear embroidery foot.
I also did something funky with the waistband, cutting off some excess that I needed, which I soon realized, and sewed back on. You can see it in the first zipper picture above. Haha! Sometimes I make ridiculous mistakes. I have no idea what that was about, but the crazy print camouflages a lot, so it’s ok.
I omitted the faux welt pockets on the back. Maybe someday, if I try to perfect this pattern, I’ll add real welt pockets. The fake welts just look too fake to me.
This is definitely an area I have to work on, but one great thing about this pattern is that there is a “Fine Tuning as You Sew” section that gives you an order for your fitting and different things you might need to tweak.
I took in the center back seam by 1/2″. I needed more back thigh room (at least that was my guess, judging by some of the lines in the back), so I minimized the inseam seam allowances at the top. I also sewed a deeper crotch curve in the back. Sometimes when you do that, you have to add more width at the hip, but these were roomy enough that I didn’t have to. There are still some lines radiating out from the back at the top of the thighs, but I just left them. The additional thigh room helped a little, but I’m not sure how to make them disappear completely, so for now they are good enough. Pants fitting is still not something that I have down, but I’m learning!
I like these pants a lot, but they do look a bit like pajama pants to me. It’s hard to see the darts and the pockets because everything just blends together with the print. I’d be curious to see how these look in a twill bottomweight fabric. By the way–in case you are wondering–the pockets on these pants are great. They are nice and roomy, and don’t stick out too much.
I still feel like I have a little work to do in the fitting department. I have my usual fitting quandary with these, which is that I think something is off, but I don’t know what it is or how to fix it. It might be that I need a heavier fabric or maybe something that I’m not yet aware of. Fitting in general feels a little bit like reaching around in the dark and hoping you can figure out what it is you just bumped into. Every little light that you manage to shed on it helps, though.
Overall, I’m glad I made these pants, and will be curious to see how well this fabric holds up as pants and how much I wear these. I would definitely make this pattern again in the future.
- This one is for those who are local to the North Shore of Massachusetts (or for anyone traveling here). My husband and I tried George’s of Gloucester (I guess it’s technically called George’s Coffee Shop) a little while ago, and it was great! The menu was really creative, you definitely won’t leave hungry, and the people working there seem to be happy to be there. I’m really noticing places like that these days–you can tell when the employees are happy, and it affects everyone around them in a good way.
- I just saw “Night Sky” petunias at one of my local nurseries and found them really striking. They make me think of speckled enamelware or splatter painting (or, of course, a night sky). I’m not usually a petunia fan, but these might end up in my garden this year. Clearly I’m in a speckle phase.
- I love Erica Bunker’s version of McCall’s 7330. I just bought this jumpsuit pattern, and I love how she made the waistband with elastic and used industrial snaps. So smart!
- And now it’s time for some tiny hands! Check out this tiny hands makeup tutorial. I don’t wear makeup, but this is so funny, it doesn’t even matter.