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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I got to use a few vintage buttons on both the pants and the shorts.
I used whatever invisible zippers I had around. The zipper on these is on the left side.
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.
The adjustments I made to this pattern made the finished product feel WONDERFUL.
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).
I know that’s the picture you were all waiting for. 😉 Have a great weekend.