Tag Archives: pants

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Summer sewing is in full (albeit slow) swing, and these pants are one of the most recent projects I finished.  I really like the look of sailor pants.  I actually have a pair of wool 13-button sailor pants that I love from an Army Navy store, but sadly they don’t fit right now.  I have noticed that I’m drawn to that style, though, so I decided to make some of my own.  First, I tried the Persephone Shorts by Anna Allen.  The pattern and instructions are excellent, but I really, really didn’t like the look of the shorts on me, even though I think they look great on other people.  Rather than fiddling with the fit to try to get something I might like, I moved on to Simplicity 8391.  The Persephone Pants are actually based on sailor pants from the 1920’s-1940’s, whereas Simplicity 8391 is more of a cute take on the idea of sailor pants.  I have to say, though, that I really, really like these.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

First I made the shorts version (View D) to get an idea of the fit.  I made them up quickly without worrying much about interior perfection or getting things just right.  These were my wearable muslin.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Cute, right?

My measurements put me in between two sizes, so I traced that out and sewed them up in some leftover Tinted Denim by Cloud9 Fabrics that I got long ago at Pintuck & Purl.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I am finding that in most, if not all, Big 4 pants, I need to do a full seat adjustment and possibly even lengthen the back crotch point.  I didn’t do any of that for the shorts, and while they came out cute, they aren’t super comfortable on me, and I have already given them away.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Aside from giving me wedgies, sitting was really uncomfortable and I wanted a lot more ease, so I decided to try again and just sort of guess at the amount of adjustment to make and hope for the best.

For version two, I made the pants (View C) from Delaware Grass Green 10 oz. cotton canvas from Big Duck Canvas that I had originally bought to make into Persephone Pants.  This was my first time ordering from Big Duck Canvas.  The price was good and so was the quality of the fabric.  Interestingly, when I washed these, they faded a fair amount.  They also softened a lot as I’m sure they had some sizing on them while on the bolt.  They remind me of one of my favorite pairs of pants from years ago, so I loved how the fabric came out of the wash, but keep the fading in mind if you give this fabric a try at some point.  I have also noticed this sort of fading when I bought duck canvas from Joann’s, so maybe it’s just something that happens with this fabric?

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

As far as adjustments, I really wanted some comfy pants, so I decided to go big or go home with the fitting.  I retraced the pattern half a size larger, and then did a 1.5″ full seat adjustment, as well as adding 1.5″ of length to the back crotch point.  I used The Perfect Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library series to figure out how to do this.  I’m always a little confused about which adjustments to do and how in the world to know what I need in each case.  It helps that I sew a lot of Big 4 patterns and can use a lot of similar adjustments on those, but what about when I sew a pattern from another company?  Isn’t there some way to measure the flat pattern and know if I will need to adjust things?  I still need to finish reading Pants Fitting:  The Crotch and Pants Fitting:  The Crotch Part 2 from the Winmichele blog and do the exercises she mentions because I think that will answer those questions for me.  I understand how to measure the back of a shirt pattern to see if I need a broad back adjustment, but I still don’t fully have pants figured out, even after making a number of different types.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Back to these pants.  When hemming, I took 2″ off the length of the pants.  I think if I had left the size the same as the shorts, the pants would have fit closer and been higher on my waist, and then maybe that 2″ would have been too much, but with the adjustments I made, they sit just below my navel and taking 2″ off looked better to me than just hemming them at the normal hem allowance (for reference, I’m 5′ 8.5″ tall and I don’t usually make length adjustments).  I had to stretch the fabric as I hemmed so that everything was nice and flat.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I got to use a few vintage buttons on both the pants and the shorts.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I used whatever invisible zippers I had around.  The zipper on these is on the left side.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

One other thing I changed was on the inside of the waistband.  I covered the inside edge of the waistband with bias tape, which made catching the waistband SO MUCH EASIER when stitching in the ditch from the outside.  I do have to be careful when zipping and unzipping because the bias-covered edge likes to get in the way a little bit, but it’s not too bad.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

The adjustments I made to this pattern made the finished product feel WONDERFUL.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

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Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I’m really thinking hard to analyze how I want to feel in my clothes during each season, and so far what I have come up with for summer is loose and breezy, which means no tight clothes (except things like bathing suits), lots of breathable cotton and linen wovens, and plenty of elastic waists.  Even without an elastic waist, I love these pants for summer.  They’re nice and loose, and I would definitely consider trying to lengthen them to full length and make them in linen or some other great fabric.  I think I have worn them almost every day this week (don’t worry–they’re going in the wash after today).

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I know that’s the picture you were all waiting for.  😉 Have a great weekend.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Yayyyy, fleecy pants!  My batch of sewing projects is now at the sewing phase, which makes me very happy.  Today I want to share my version of Burda Style 6471, View A (with a few modifications).  I made these in recycled Polartec Thermal Pro denim look in a color called Aspen (green).  This fabric was a gift from my wonderful husband and came from Mill Yardage.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

I got this pattern in my stocking the Christmas before last, but have been waiting for just the right fabric.  My goal was to find a fabric that would look good as everyday wear while feeling like secret pajamas.  I was hoping this fabric would do that, but after making these, they are more of a really nice spin on sweat pants.  It turns out, I’m ok with that.  I’ve still worn them out of the house, but I definitely feel like I’m wearing sweat pants when I do.

Let’s talk details.

Constructing the Pattern

The only pattern alteration I made was to grade up one size from the largest size.  I did this by looking at how much t the largest one or two sizes increased by and doing the same to create a larger size.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

I chose to make View A of this pattern because I wanted the longer length, but I left off the square side pockets and the drawstring.  This pattern was supposed to have a flat front to the waistband with an elastic back, but I made a few choices based on my fabric that caused me to change the waistband.  You are supposed to interface the front of the waistband.  I felt nervous using a fusible, because I didn’t want to iron this fabric and melt it.  I did find a few discussions in the Pattern Review forums where people mentioned ways to fuse interfacing on fleece.  Many other people said they skipped interfacing altogether.  I did have some sew-in interfacing, but I got nervous that if I used it, the back waistband might not have enough give/length to fit over my hips when taking the pants on and off since they are a pull-on style (the fly is a faux fly and the waistband is continuous with no closure).  Usually I try to trust the pattern, but laziness was also a bit of a factor, so I skipped interfacing the front of the waistband.

When I finished the pants, which were a very quick sew, they fit pretty well.  As I write this, I’m just now realizing what a big deal it is that the crotch curve fit me so well the first time around.  That doesn’t always happen!  Anyway, I wore them around for a bit, and realized that the waistband definitely got looser with wear.  This fabric has a small amount of stretch and no recovery.  I could see that I needed to tighten up the back waistband elastic, so I did.  Then I wore them some more.  Then they got loose.  I could see my options were to go back and redo the waistband with interfacing, maybe even adding the drawstring, or to make the waistband a fully elasticated one.  Since I could tell that these were definitely in the sweat pants camp, and I didn’t have to try to make them everyday pants anymore, I opted to elasticate the whole waistband.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

This is when I realized one other thing.  These are fairly low-rise pants.  They’re not super low, but they’re low enough that when you bend over or crouch down, you should make sure your backside is covered.  The rise is consistent with the picture on the pattern.  If I ever make these again, making the rise a little higher would be a good idea.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Lastly, for anyone who is trying to sew fleece like this, here are the specific settings I used on my sewing machine.  I did not use a serger.

  • regular zigzag stitch
  • 2.5 stitch width
  • 1.0 stitch length
  • 1 presser foot pressure (lightest)
  • 4 tension (standard tension; I didn’t change it from my normal setting)
  • 90/14 stretch needle
  • walking foot
  • Gütermann all purpose polyester thread in the needle and wooly/bulky nylon in the bobbin

When sewing knits, I always test out my stitches on a piece of scrap fabric and then stretch it as much as possible to see if the thread breaks.  If it does, I test some more until I get a stitch that doesn’t break when stretched parallel and perpendicular to my stitch line.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

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Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

Final Thoughts

I often expect every sewing project to be THE BEST and most wonderful garment, and I cut them much less slack than I do store-bought/thrifted clothes.  I think that’s not a good way to continue on.  This garment isn’t the best, most wonderful garment I have ever made, but I still really love it.  I think it’s because the fleece is so cozy.  The pattern is good, the sewing is not bad, and the fabric feels great.  The fit is pretty good, if a bit low.  I think that I will get a lot of wear out of these pants, even if they weren’t what I first envisioned.

Burda Style 6471 Joggers in Recycled Polartec Thermal Pro

This Could Be a Fail…Simplicity 8841 Pants

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This Could Be a Fail…Simplicity 8841 Pants

It’s turned cold here, and I’m hurriedly trying to finish the projects I cut out while it was still warmish.  I just finished the pants in today’s post and a top.  Next up is a jacket.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

What do I say about these pants?  I’m not really sure.  I can’t decide if I like them or if they are a big fail.  I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  The pattern is good, but the alterations I made to it may not have been.

For this project, I decided to try using my measurements to alter the flat pattern before cutting out my pants.  I have a few Big 4 pant or short patterns that I have made multiples of, and each time, I tweak them just a little bit more to get closer and closer to what I want.  I was hoping to skip right to the “what I want” part of things by doing it this way.  If I could just figure out the right shape, I could use it on all future pairs of pants.  Well…I may have adjusted a bit too fiercely.

Pattern and Fabric

My pattern is Simplicity 8841, View C, but with the patch pockets and no belt or belt loops.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

I chose to make it in a cotton twill fabric that is probably on the light side of midweight from Joann Fabrics.  This pattern is one for pull on pants, and View C is supposed to be the longer length and have a slim leg.  My measurements put me at a 20 waist and right between a 20 and 22 for my hip.  Since this was a pull on pant (i.e. elastic waist, no zipper or buttons), I got nervous about the hip being too small, and I wanted the pants to be comfortable when I sat, so I made a straight 22.

Flat Pattern Alterations

I used the book Sewing Pants That Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library.  I like these books a lot.  The pictures and illustrations are very clear and easy to understand, plus you can easily find these books used for a low price online or in thrift stores.

I measured myself, which is something books always recommend that you do with a sewing buddy if possible, because it’s hard to measure yourself.  Perhaps to my detriment, I tried on my own anyway, taking into account the fact that the pants are supposed to sit an inch below the natural waist.

It seemed like I was going to need more crotch length, with most of that length in the back.

On the front pattern piece I added a small wedge and a little at the thigh to get the right length.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

On the back, I added a wedge and length to the back crotch point.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

First Impressions

My first thoughts when I tried these on was that they felt great, but looked bad.  All that extra fabric is super comfortable, but some of it had to go!

Fitting Changes After Initial Construction

First up, choosing to make a 22 instead of a 20 was overkill.  I should have made the straight 20.  The 22 was definitely too big, even for someone like me who likes a lot of ease.  In the end, I shaved off 1/8″ from the crotch seam and inseams, and 1/4″ off both side seams, and the pants are still a bit too big.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

After that, I took 1″ off the top of the pants, and then 1.75″ more off the front, tapering to nothing at the side seams, because they were just too high-waisted for what they were supposed to be.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

I think I should go back into my flat pattern and remove the wedge adjustment I made to the front.  I was trying to add length however I could, but that wedge adjustment is actually used for a full abdomen, and although my stomach is fuller than it used to be, this doesn’t seem to be the correct adjustment for me.  Even after what I shaved off, it is still too baggy in the front.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

I’d also really like my pants to feel slightly higher in the back than the front.  I don’t know if I’m the only one on that, but it just feels more comfortable to me.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

Conclusions

Rather than achieving my goal of skipping right to the end of fitting, I think I made more problems.  I think I’ve learned a few things:  I shouldn’t do a wedge adjustment in the front, I SHOULD do a wedge adjustment in the back, and adding length at the back crotch point was probably a good idea (not sure if the front crotch point length was helpful or harmful).  Maybe I should have traced off the crotch curves from the Ginger or Morgan jeans, both from Closet Case Patterns.  Those patterns fit me pretty well from the beginning.  Maybe the lesson here is to be a bit more patient with the fitting process and to just keep trying.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

After all the tweaks I did, I still felt the pants were shorter than I wanted and wider at the bottom.  They don’t look tapered to me.  However, I think I’m done for now.  These just aren’t warm enough for the cold weather.  I think they’ll have to wait until spring to get more wear.  I can always do more evaluation then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Pants! Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I’m finally done sewing sweatshirts, and now I’m on to pants!  I always crave color after the winter months, and it’s been pretty gray this spring, so I’m happy to have made a pair of pink pants.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

(Picture-taking is always more fun—and sillier—when my husband is my photographer.)

My goal in making these was to have a somewhat casual alternative to jeans in a color that I liked.  I wanted the fit to be on the relaxed side and the fabric to be one that would look generally casual to create pants that look like a good pair of worn-in chinos.  My choice:  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

This is the third time I have sewn this pattern now, so I want to talk about the pros and cons of it.  (You can see my gray pair or pants here and my octopus print pair here.)

Pros

I love the construction order provided.  Much like the well-loved Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns, you sew the front and back separately and then baste everything together so that you can fine-tune your fit.  There are also larger seam allowances provided in key places to help in that process, should you need extra room.

These pants have wonderful, huge front pockets.  Every time I put my hands in, I’m reminded how great they are.

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I love the look of the bias binding inside the pockets and finishing the inside of the waistband.  If this waistband finish is too bulky for your liking, they also give instructions for making a narrow hem.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Cons

The main cons to this pattern are in the zipper area.  The zipper is (in my opinion) not set in deeply enough, which means that it sometimes peeks out.  I did manage to remedy that in this pair of pants by lining up the left edge of the zipper tape with the center seam, and positioning the top stop of the zipper 3/4″ below the raw edge.

To me, the zipper seems slightly off-center.  It’s not too evident in the picture below, but I notice it.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

The zipper opens opposite of most pants–right over left rather than left over right.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I’m not a fan of the faux welt pockets.  I just skip them.  I want real welt pockets or nothing.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Potential Errors

I added 5/8″ to the end of my left front waistband piece (piece #15) so that it would actually be longer than the left front (it is supposed to be 5/8″ longer).

Fitting

I used the curvy back pieces (there are curvy and standard/average back options).  I always end up with some excess fabric in the back.  This may be so I can sit or maybe I should try the other back piece.  After basting everything together, I saw all the drag lines, started thinking about how I should work on those, and then decided that the pants were good enough as they were.  I made the decision that I wasn’t going to overfit—it was more important to me to finish.  I do have a pair that is one size smaller than my current measurements, and it fits well and has fewer drag lines, so while I like the ease, you may prefer to size down one size if you make these.

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Materials

Pattern:  Simplicity 1696 from Joann Fabrics;  it doesn’t look like this pattern is available on Simplicity’s site anymore, but you can probably find it on Etsy

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Just making sure I’m not stepping in any rabbit poop.  Looks like we have some wild rabbits around here!

Fabric:  Cloud9 Tinted Denim in Heather from Pintuck & Purl—I really love this fabric and have used it in several projects; homemade bias tape made of leftover quilting cotton from Fancy Tiger Crafts; old sheets (used as pocket lining)

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Interfacing (Pellon fusible midweight) and thread (Gütermann) from Joann Fabrics

Final Thoughts

Mixed.  I feel the greatest love for the pockets, construction, and fabric I used, while feeling really annoyed about the zipper area.  I love this particular pair of pants, but if I make this style again (and can fight off laziness and my desire for speed) I might consider trying Burda 7447 (also out of print—check for it on Etsy) or the Chi-Town Chinos from Alina Design Co.  Despite my ambivalence toward the pattern, I’m so happy to have a new pair of pants in my wardrobe that is bright, cheery, comfortable, and that is a nice alternative to wearing jeans every day.  I really like these.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

It’s finally spring!  I’m so ready for it, but before I start digging into spring projects, I have some winter garments to talk about on the blog.  One of those garments is a pair of Jutland Pants for me in yellow corduroy.

The Jutland Pants are a men’s pants pattern by Thread Theory.  I’ve made a few pairs for my husband (here and here), but they also miraculously fit me (see my first pair and my cutoffs).  And, like any good pair of boyfriend jeans, they are loose and comfy.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

This time around, I had to trace a new size, but I was in the middle of two sizes, so I tried to trace right in between the size lines on the pattern sheet.  I’m always afraid of making things too small, so I tend to err on the side of bigger rather than smaller.  With this iteration of the Jutland Pants, I think I went just a little too big.  The pants, which are SO comfortable, are also super loose, and definitely a bit bigger than they should be.  You can kind of see below that there is a bit extra in the waistband.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

When I first put them on, the waistband really stood away from my body at the back, so I put in a few darts after they were otherwise finished.  I tried to line up the waistband darts I was creating with the darts that were already in the back.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I transferred the darts to my pattern piece for the future.  I also came to an important conclusion:  if I’m going to keep making this pattern for myself, it’s time to get serious about making it actually fit me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

As far as this pair goes, I love them.  I recognize that they don’t look great on me, but they do feel great.  I’m so ready for pants with wider legs.  All that being said, however, I plan to make the next pair a bit smaller and do some real work on the pattern to make it fit me just right.  I’m even researching possible ways to make the waistband adjustable for weight gain or loss (seriously–why is that not standard on all pants?).

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Here are some details:

I got my pattern and fabric from Pintuck & Purl.  The corduroy (a Christmas present) is a Robert Kaufman corduroy, and the octopus fabric I used for the waistband and pockets is an old Cotton + Steel quilting cotton print.  Other supplies, like bias binding, thread, and interfacing came from Joann Fabrics.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I mainly followed the directions, with the addition of the darts and an extra bar tack at the bottom of the fly.  One weird thing about this pattern is that it creates a small fold at the bottom of the fly, rather than a smooth surface.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Am I missing something?  It never bothers me when I’m wearing it, but it always leaves me nonplussed when I think about it.

I used faux flat-fell and zigzag stitching on the seam allowances inside to finish my seams, so they aren’t very pretty, but it was quick.  There is provision in the pattern for nice, flat-felled seams if you want them, though.  In order to do that, you should follow the construction order in the pattern.  In future, though, (if I remember), I plan to skip that and construct the front and then the back, like the Ginger Jeans, so I can fit from the side seams before finalizing everything.

Those are my current thoughts on this pattern.  I think my great love for it comes from its comfort and the straight leg shape.  Hopefully I can get it to really work for me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

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Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

Hm…Well, this was an experiment.  I thought about calling this post, “A Lot of Dorky Pictures and some Weird, Weird Pants”, but that got pushed out by a more practical title.  Picture-taking is hard and I had a lot of pretty crazy facial expressions that you’ll have to take my word on.  😀

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I will tell you that the jury is still out on these pants…I just can’t decide how I feel about them.

Over the summer, I made View C of Simplicity 1887, a pair of sparkly linen shorts, which I love.  I have wanted to make the pants ever since I got this pattern.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

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Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Despite the fact that I could have made these out of a drapey denim-like chambray living in my stash, I decided to take a chance on something much less practical–crushed stretch velvet.  Because, why not?  I saw the velvet at Joann Fabrics, it was close to Christmas, and I knew I could whip these up pretty quickly if I could find a bit of time.  And then I would have fancy pants for Christmas Eve!  I always want to make something fun for church on Christmas Eve, but I rarely do.

So I bought the velvet (well, technically it’s Stretch Panne Velour Knit Fabric).  It’s a polyester/spandex blend:  90%/10%.  I loved the color and in the winter I’m all about fun textures.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finally managed to find a bit of time and I whipped these up.  I’m not the fastest sewist, but when you don’t have to finish any seams (and since this is a knit, you don’t), sewing goes a lot more quickly.  It also helps when you’ve made the pattern in some form before.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I made one mistake and one change.  My mistake was in not being careful when lining up the front and back waistband.  The side seam edges need to match up so that when you fold the waistband in half to baste the bottom edges together, they will match up easily.  I tried to fudge this, but then I paid for it going forward.  The one small change I made was to use 1 3/8″ wide elastic in the back waistband instead of two lengths of 3/4″ elastic and two casings.  I don’t remember why I did this–probably it was based on what I had on hand, but it turned out ok.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

When I finished these, I just wasn’t sure what to think.  They are so comfortable, although the smooth wrong side of the fabric is a little on the colder side.  Luckily, these pants are pretty roomy, so you can definitely fit some long underwear underneath if necessary.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

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Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finished them before Christmas Eve, so I threw them on with a sweater and blazer for church, but I definitely felt like the ’80’s called and wanted their clothes back.  I didn’t want to make a snap decision, though, so I wore them again with a different top and it was better, but still not quite there.  I really love the soft texture and the color, though, so I’m going to reserve judgement and keep trying these pants.  If I finally decide I don’t love them, they will make some pretty great lounge pants.  The pattern itself is definitely worth trying again in another fabric–a midweight Tencel twill would be great, actually!  The flat front waistband with elastic back, the big pockets, and the relaxed fit are real winners.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

No matter what I end up deciding, I’m really glad I tried making these fun, weird pants.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants…in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants…in Octopus fabric

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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.

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

Fitting

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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!

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

Final Thoughts

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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.

Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

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Simplicity 1696 Slim Pants...in Octopus fabric

Recommendations

  • 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.

Simplicity 1696…The Continuing Quest to Conquer the Fear of Sewing Pants

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Simplicity 1696…The Continuing Quest to Conquer the Fear of Sewing Pants

Today is another project from my 2017 Make Nine list–Simplicity 1696, a pair of chino-type pants.

Simplicity 1696

As I was choosing my projects for the year, I wanted to make sure I had a few pants (or trousers for my non-American friends out there) on my list because I realized that I still fear making them and therefore I avoid them.  It’s not the construction that I fear.  It’s fitting.  Here’s the problem with fitting…you might know something isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean you know the cause of the issue.  How can you fix a problem if you don’t even know what the problem is?  But when I look back at my experience making button up shirts, which I have come to love, I realize that you can’t figure out your common fitting issues if you never make the garment in the first place.

So, this year pants are on the list.

Simplicity 1696

I’ve had this particular pattern for a long time, but I’ve never made it before now.

Simplicity 1696

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Simplicity 1696

It’s one of the Amazing Fit series, so it sounded like it had a lot of extra fitting tips inside, and it definitely delivered.  Before beginning, it directs you to take certain measurements to determine which back piece you will use–slim, average, or curvy.  Once I measured myself, I chose curvy.  There are some great tips for fitting as you go as well as extra-wide seam allowances in key places.  The pattern has directions for adding faux welt pockets to the back, but after trying them out, I thought they looked fake, so I took them off again.  Otherwise, I did everything as instructed.  The only fitting I did was to take the inseams in by 1/8″.

Simplicity 1696

That being said, I think there is excess fabric in the back, and I don’t know what to do about that.  MY FITTING FEARS HAVE COME TO PASS!  AHHHH!!!!

OK, so it’s not quite as scary as I thought.  😉

You can see it better in the picture below.

Simplicity 1696

The fabric I used for these pants is a cotton/spandex sateen from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It’s a little on the light side, although it is a bottomweight.  So, here is my question for you, readers:  do you think all the back wrinkles are due to fabric choice or something else?  The feel of these pants is perfection.  They are comfortable and not too tight.  But the look of the back leaves something to be desired.  Should I have gone with the average back?  Is it something else entirely?  The few shorts I have made before have generally needed more length in the back crotch seam rather than less, but maybe these are different?  I’m not sure.

Simplicity 1696

After trying them on, I decided not to worry too much about it.  Hopefully I’ll run across the answer at some point (maybe one of you will have it), but since these feel so comfortable, I decided not to let my fitting questions stop me from finishing the project.

Simplicity 1696

So, final analysis?  This is a great pattern, which I highly recommend.  For myself, I may not have figured the pattern out to perfection, but I now have one more pair of pants under my belt (haha), and I’m a little bit less afraid.

Recommendations

  • Anyone who has been reading the blog for awhile will know that I love fabric from Cotton + Steel (the tiger shirt I’m wearing in the photos above is made with Cotton + Steel fabric), so it was a lot of fun to hear about the inception of the design group as well as the personal story of Melody Miller, one of the founding designers.  If you want to listen, you can check out this podcast episode from Modern Sewciety and/or this one from the Crafty Planner podcast.  If you are new to podcasts, you can find out how to listen to them by scrolling to the bottom of the second link.
  • My husband and I have very different taste in books, but every once in awhile he comes across one that, while it may not be my typical genre, he is sure that I will like.  He’s a good judge of these things, so that’s what caused me to dip my toe into a little sci-fi recently with the audiobook version of Starwars:  Bloodline–New Republic…and it was so good.
  • If you are north of Boston, whether in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, or southern Maine and are looking for a good place to eat, I highly recommend The Farm Bar & Grille for delicious, casual food.  Good for a date, good for a family outing.  I’ve only tried the Massachusetts branch, but I’d be willing to bet the New Hampshire and Maine ones are good too.
  • I think this particular bad lip read video is appropriate since I just recommended a Star Wars book…(And if your kids are standing by while you watch it, Luke says “pitchy” at the end, not the word that rhymes with pitchy that we tell our kids not to say.  😉   )

Thread Theory Jutland Pants for Pattern Review’s Menswear Contest

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants for Pattern Review’s Menswear Contest

Have you ever admired the complexity or ingenuity in a piece of clothing in a store?  I certainly do when I look at workwear and outdoor clothing.  There’s so much thought that goes into each piece, not to mention interesting design lines and cool fabric.  That always seemed like a fairly unachievable level of sewing, until the first time I made the Thread Theory Jutland Pants.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

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Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

After sewing my first pair (Variation 2) toward the beginning of this year, I began planning another in better fabric.  I knew it would be awhile before I started, but I wanted to make these again.  In July, I found just the right fabric at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, a cotton brown/green English canvas that was a lovely 61″ wide.  It was heavy, but nice.  Once my husband approved the color, I bought the fabric, but still wasn’t ready to cut into it.

And then, like so many projects that get left in the dust when we chase after the new, it became a “someday” project.  The fabric sat in my stash all summer until one day, as I was reading Thread Theory’s blog, I saw that Pattern Review was running a Menswear contest with a tempting prize–a gift card to Thread Theory’s online shop.  This was it.  It was time to make the pants.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

Having made that first version, I had a pretty good idea of what tweaks I needed to make on this version, and there were only a few.  He asked me to raise the side cargo pockets, raise the knee patches, and lengthen the belt loops–all doable.

In addition to the three yards of the canvas that I bought, I used 1.25 yards of Cotton + Steel’s cotton lawn solid in Fedora for the waistband facing, pockets, and the insides of the top of the cargo pocket flaps.  Other than that, there was some midweight interfacing, bias binding, Gutterman polyester thread for construction and Gutterman topstitching thread.  I used a jeans button for the front, a jeans zipper, and Velcro that was sticky on the back for the cargo pockets.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

Hem reinforcement detail

As far as materials go, I loved the canvas.  That turned out to be a great choice.  It’s heavy and nice, but not so heavy my machine couldn’t handle it (although I have ordered a “Hump Jumper” since making these in order to prevent skipped stitches when going over multiple layers of fabric for the next time I make something like this).  The lawn feels great, but was too light for the waistband facing, I think.  Before fully trimming my zipper, I managed to create a hole in the facing where the zipper teeth rubbed on it.  😦  I’ll try a quilting cotton next time, at least for the waistband facing (but honestly, I’ll probably use a quilting cotton for all those little bits).  The interfacing, jeans button, bias tape, and zipper were fine, as was the construction thread, which I really like.  I’m done with Gutterman topstitching thread, however.  After making two pairs of pants with it (these and my olive green pair), I just don’t like it.  I get a lot of “thread nests” on the underside of my garments, despite using a jeans needle and making sure my tension and presser foot pressure were appropriate.  Maggie at Pintuck & Purl has given me a few other kinds of topstitching thread to try out (a rainbow one and Coats brand), so we’ll see how those go on future projects.  The jeans needle I used was a good choice, and the only time I had trouble with it was when I applied my Velcro.  I think it was because the back of the Velcro was sticky, and it gummed up my needle.  There were a lot of skipped stitches there, so I think I’ll try some without the adhesive next time.  Live and learn, right?

Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Brown/Green English Canvas

After making this pattern twice, I have to say I still really love it.  It is definitely a more complex pattern than most of the others that I make, as each step is often composed of several smaller steps, and there are a few points that had me scratching my head a bit, even the second time around.  Luckily I wrote myself notes, so this time was much easier than my first attempt.  I also had to remind myself not to question the directions or think I knew better.  The one time I tried to go “off book” and do things my own way, I managed to sew the fly shut!  Ha!  It’s a good reminder to be humble and follow the directions.  When I make these pants, I feel really proud of myself because they just look so good!  I also think all the details and possibilities of this pattern keep it interesting, even though I’m not sewing for myself.  😉

On that front, though….I realized that this size fits me!  I think one style I aspire to in the fall and winter is a girl version of outdoorsy and rugged, so I would love a pair of pants like this in my wardrobe, especially flannel-lined, which is an option with this pattern.  What if I could make the flannel lining REMOVABLE?!  We’ll see what happens with that!  I did spend several hours on Wednesday wearing the pants around so I could see if they truly were comfortable on me.  I think the outlook is positive!  To that end, I bought up the last of the grey English canvas at Pintuck & Purl last time I was there…

As far as the contest goes, voting runs from the 18th-24th.  If you’ve been a Pattern Review member for at least 90 days, you can vote, and I’d love your vote if you think my project deserves it.  You can vote in the contest here.  You can also read my review of the pattern if you want more/different information than I’ve got here.  Fingers crossed!

And thanks to my husband for posing for pictures.  That’s not something he likes doing, plus it was really cold that day, so I appreciate it.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that he gets a new pair of bespoke pants for Christmas out of the deal.  😉

Update:  Thanks for your votes, everyone!  I didn’t win the contest, but I had the second highest number of votes.  So, no gift card for me, although my husband definitely won since he finally got his pants!  Congratulations to the winner, who made an amazing blazer for her husband.

Recommendations

  • The WAWAK Sewing catalogue!  I saw on Instagram that @peterlappin had ordered one, so I got one myself and, I have to say, it’s pretty awesome.  I even placed my first order for the previously mentioned “Hump Jumper” (Isn’t that the weirdest name?), jeans buttons, and Zipper Ease for stuck zippers.  They have some cool stuff at great prices.
  • I really like sewing round-ups where bloggers highlight new patterns and cool sewing projects on the web.  My two current favorites are from Closet Case Files and Helen’s Closet.  If you have other favorites, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
  • Simplicity 1538.  This has really become my favorite button up shirt pattern, as evidenced by my first try from a vintage sheet, tiger shirt, and flannel shirt.  It’s similar to the Grainline Archer in style.  On Wednesday I cut out my fourth version of this shirt.  I love it.
  • Droste Dutch process cocoa powder.  I had some left from a few recipes, so I made hot chocolate with it (plus sugar, milk, salt, and heavy cream), and it was AMAZING.

Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

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Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

Today’s project has been a long time in the  making.  And the inspiration for it comes totally and completely from an amazing seamstress on the other side of the world:  meggipeg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ever since I saw her version of a pair of Balmain jeans made from the Jamie jeans pattern by Named, I wanted my own.  But, like a lot of projects that I knew were going to take some work, I had to psych myself up.  I didn’t own the Jamie Jeans pattern and, like most indie patterns, it wasn’t cheap.  I kept thinking about it, and almost committed to buying the pattern before realizing that with just a little more work, I could use a pattern that I already had.  And then came the perfect impetus to get going on making my dream a reality:  I had signed up for a class.  And not just any class, but a choose-your-own-sewing-adventure kind of class where you pick what you want to work on.  The time was now.

Class Projects!

All my class projects ready to go!

I had verbally signed up for Lauren Taylor’s (a.k.a. Lladybird’s) Sewing Master Class at Pintuck & Purl way back in May, when I first heard about it.  I love seeing all the things that Lauren sews, and I knew it would be a great opportunity to work on some projects that I found intimidating.  So, along with a few other projects, I came up with my pants scheme.  It was time to finally make some super-cool pants a la meggipeg and Balmain of my own.

However…I didn’t love the idea of figuring out how to fit a new jeans pattern, especially when I also had so many other project supplies to buy, and that’s when I realized:  I could use the Ginger Jeans pattern.  All I needed to do beyond what I was already going to do was change the front pocket and add front leg seams.  I don’t hack patterns much.  But this seemed worth the time investment.  In addition to the aforementioned changes, I drew up some parallelograms for the sides of the front legs and divided up the back pocket.

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

Adding a seam to the front leg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Changing the front pocket shape.

I had plans to add zippers to the front of my jeans as well, similar to Papercut Patterns’ Starboard Jeans, but these didn’t make it into the final pants (because I forgot to put them in before doing the pockets).  Oh, well!  I also contemplated zippers at the bottom of the jeans, but decided against those before beginning.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ooops!  I forgot the zippers!

I didn’t get a lot done on these in the class, because this was the third of my several projects (not all of which will show up on the blog–sorry), but preparing for the class forced me to make the necessary pattern changes beforehand.  It got me going on the pants and I managed to cut out the pattern and get started during class.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Just in case you’re wondering about supplies, I’d love to share.  Here’s where everything came from:

Ginger Jeans Hack

I love this vintage sheet as pocket material!

I did one or two things differently on the construction side of these than on my first pair of Ginger Jeans.  This time around, I interfaced my waistband (good idea!) and used true topstitching thread (so-so).  I do think I’ll interface the waistband in the future, but I might try a different alternative for the topstitching thread.  Maybe I’ll use upholstery or button/craft thread, or maybe I just need a bigger needle and different tension on my machine.  I had a lot of thread nests with the topstitching thread and it just wasn’t my favorite overall.

Time for less talk and more pictures, right?

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

The pants themselves?  I LOVE them!!!!!  So far I’ve worn them about five days out of the last two weeks.  Yep!  I hope I’m not the only one that calculates how many people I’ll see more than once in a week so I can rewear outfits!  But even if I am–oh, well!

I love these pants so much.  The ease is great, the fit is great, the stretch is great, and the fabric is great.  It was definitely worth the effort to make these.  Thanks for the idea, meggipeg!  I hope you take my emulation of you as a compliment.  I’m always impressed with your style.

Ginger Jeans Hack

I even made a flannel shirt to go with it!  Stay tuned for more details on that…

Recommendations

  • I really love these Carhartt’s socks.  This isn’t an affiliate link or anything (I don’t do those currently.), just some socks I like.  I like the colors, and they keep my feet warm without making them sweaty, which means I can wear my Converse All-Stars or moccasin booties without getting numb toes when the weather is cold.
  • Robert Kaufman fabric.  I love Robert Kaufman fabric (in fact, I have some of their Mammoth Plaid that I just made into the flannel shirt of my dreams).  The fabric is moderately priced and great quality–and they have so many options.
  • The Imagine Gnats online shop.  I have a really hard time getting myself to buy fabric online, always preferring to see it in person first, but I have to recommend this shop.  The customer service is great and so is the curated fabric selection.  I’ve probably ordered twice from here and I have to give owner Rachel Gander props for the extra little sticker and piece of candy she put in my orders and for ending what has felt like an age-long search for the perfect olive green stretch twill.
  • And because candy corn is one of my favorite fall treats, here is a video that shows how candy corn is made: