07 February 2009

112. Pants

There are many things rattling around in my brain and one of them is pants.  I boldly declared 2009 as the Year of the Pants, or at least the year that I finish a pair of pants that fits me.  Everyone has to start somewhere and I know from 3 failed UFO pairs of pants that I should be choosier about where I start this time around!  So I am asking you experienced pants sewists out there to help me decide which pattern to start with.  Yes, I have read many pant reviews on patternreview.com but I'm overwhelmed now, and besides, I'll get a more personal recommendation from you, so thanks in advance.  :)

If I can get the right fit around the waist/ hips this first time out, I think I'll be in good shape to modify the pattern later for various style changes.  The waist & hip are the areas where my store-bought pants don't fit and end up looking kind of dumpy.  So here are the contenders:

I think the legs flare a bit much for me, and the waist is a couple inches lower than I would like.

The waistline looks like it's in the right spot, but the legs are so wide and I'm so short they could look very unflattering.  On the flip side, I understand that slimming down the legs is pretty simple to do compared to all the pant alterations that could be done.

I like the shape of this pant -- legs are not skinny and not wide.  The pants come in a size 34 so this ought to fit right off the bat, no tricky copier reductions required.  Not sure if it's the model/ pant fit as opposed to a bad pattern... I don't like the pulling at the crotch.  And the waist is just a touch low for me.

Unfortunately, I can't find a line drawing for this pattern.  It looks like a great pant, maybe perfect for this next pant attempt, but couldn't that be because the model has legs 8 feet long?  Leg looks kinda skinny for my tastes.

OK, thanks again for your thoughts -- I look forward to reading your take and learning from your expertise on this.  Also, to up the ante on making sure I persist through any fitting woes, I've agreed to a pants sew-along with Diana from A Little Home Sewn and Mary Nanna from Miss Smith at Home.  I've never taken part in a sew-along before and don't even know if I've suggested the right things, but we plan to sew our new pants in March, from selecting/ drafting the pattern March 1 to finished pants on March 31, with milestones and encouragement to blog progress along the way.  If you want to join in the fun, let me know and I'll be sure to send you the schedule!


  1. Wow... you must've just posted. Funny that we're both still up--just finishing a draft myself.

    My vote is on A+O V1051, but it has a wide contoured waistband, which had I tried on a pant before, and it drove me nuts sewing. My second vote goes to BS Nichola 9175. I have no idea what is going on with that crotch, some kind of sideways camel toe. I'm pretty sure those wrinkles are not part of the pattern, seeing as how BS members' finished pants look.

    I think, V1051 is as far below the belly button as BS9175. You can always change the shape/the cut below the knees.

    If you have swayback (like I do), you might like the wide contoured waistband. It hugs tight. But where oh where would you put a belt if you had a classy shirt tucked in? Maybe you won't need a belt. That contoured waistband has got "Look at my rock hard abs" written all over it. A belt would just ruin it.

    Well, BS9175 is more versatile. Did you see the back waistband piece? Like a pair of jeans! So maybe, my first vote goes to BS9175 afterall.

    I just had to process it. I should go to bed. Nighty night.

    (Almost forgot... I believe, Miss Smith is Mary Nana's sister.)

  2. I wish I felt confident enough to try and get a pair of pants to fit. I'll try and watch and learn from you.

  3. The pants that I ended up making for my pantsuit back in December were from an A+O Vogue pattern. (Neither of those, but they look similar in style.) They worked out pretty well overall, though I had to do quite a bit of adjusting on that wide waistband because it was gapping in the back. (Of course, that's a typical problem for me.) I've been meaning to try the Nichola pants for awhile, just haven't gotten around to it yet, so if you do end up with those let us know how it turns out. And I thought the Ellen looked a little skinny for my taste too (like I need stuff clinging to my thighs! At least not without some flare in the leg to counteract it!) Good luck!

  4. Althought I am no expert, I would hazard a guess that the reason that all the pants look so low is mostly due to 6' models, as opposed to being actually low. You are so tiny that I would guess all of the pants would rise higher than they look on the pattern.

  5. Thanks for your comment. A pants sew a long sounds exciting.

  6. My advice is to make a boring old pants sloper first. One that goes all the way up to your waist, has darts in the front and back, and a waistband - especially if that's one of your problem areas. Once that fits you can line up the sloper with any other pants pattern and see what adjustments have to be made. You could start with one like MC 4459 or try drafting your own pattern. I drafted a pants sloper using Dorothy Moore's Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking (really old) and had really good results. I use it everytime I sew a new pants pattern.

    I vote for V1051, or B 9175.

  7. Well having sweared and cussed my way through the Alice and Olivia pant I do have to say it is a great pair of pants. These pants are not difficult per se, just really time consuming. (64 steps).

    the only really well fitted pair of pants i had was the ones I made in the Palmer/Pletsch weekend fit workshop. I gave them to my sister though because I thought they were too nana-erish (was still in denial) but I learned exactly what alterations were necessary for a good fit

    When I made the A + O pants I should have compared them to my slopers from that course and I would have avoided squeezing myself in through the waist.

    we live and learn

    meantime that does not help you with your pant choice .. they all look very smart to me ..

    looking forward to what you come up with!

  8. Thank you for your comment on my blouse. I'll definitely try ballpoint needle next time I sew knits!

    Regarding pants, I like the Nichola from Burdastyle and think the wrinkles are just due to the way the model stands. Otherwise, to add more confusion to your choice what about Vogue 8537 (version B) http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V8537.htm??tab=list/skirts_pants_includes_designer&page=all. It has straight legs, the waist is high enough, the line is great...
    Sorry I'm not helping much, nonetheless I'd love to join in this sew along!

  9. i love the last pair of pants....i would never be able to make my own though because it's so daunting. good for you!

    and you are so funny! one banana...i suggest a teaspoonful of nutella with every ripe banana bite.

  10. Oooo... how exciting! I have yet to have successful pants as well. Sorry I can't be more helpful! Good luck to you and can't wait to follow your new pants adventure!

  11. you're a brave woman! I haven't even started an attempt at pants. If I were sewing all my own clothes, I'd be wearing skirts every day. Can't wait to see your progress!

  12. I actually really like making pants, although I don't make them a whole lot, because I tend to wear more skirts than anything. I have had great luck with Burda pants--both the envelope patterns and the magazine. The fit is very exact on them (does that make sense?). The other brand I've had good pants success with is Hot Patterns. I know that a lot of people don't like their instructions, nor how pricey their patterns are, but their "Jeanious Jeans" pattern is probably my favorite all time pants pattern. The leg is a bit wide for short people, but that's easy-peasy to fix. You may want to look at jeans-style pants, because with the yoke, it is a bit easier to get the right waste fit (I have problems with pants gaping in the back, and a pattern with a back yoke is easy to modify to correct that problem.) I also wouldn't worry about the rise issue--that's an easy one to fix. Also, try making your pants with a nice weight woven that has a bit of stretch, it's much more forgiving if your first few pairs don't fit quite right. My only other pants tip is that the stitching you choose to do makes a huge difference--the right top-stitch, hem depth and finishing makes all the difference.

    Of the ones you posted, I like the shape of Option 2 that best.

    I believe in you! You can make pants, no problem. It just takes some futzing to get the fit right.

  13. Pants are on my "wish to learn to sew" list! It kinda scares me but how great to have a pant sloper!@

  14. I've made several pairs of pants in my lifetime, but probably only the first pair fit properly (I was 15 years old and it was maybe the only time I was a reasonably standard body size!). I'd do what Dana suggests - make a sloper first and use that for all future pants patterns. Burda has also been recommended to me as being particularly good for pants fit. Also, I find with RTW that pants made with stretch fabric always fits me better than those made from rigid fabric - so the same should apply with making your own, right?
    Did I help?

    Good luck!

  15. I am also interesting in creating pants with a perfect fit. I was reading another's blog yesterday (cant remember the name) and she suggested looking into Threads magazine (issue 134 Jan-2008) There looks like a great article with step by step instructions and pictures on making your own and using it with future patterns. I am going to try it, but I also was looking at Simplicity 2700 pants from their Amazing fit collection. Good Luck!!

  16. That Threads article is worth finding a back issue! It will breakdown a lot of how pants work and fit. Also I'd recommend the article in Threads 139 (October/November 08) on resizing pants patterns. Basically how to fit your muslin to correct the pattern.

    And I'd love to join a pants sew-along! :)

  17. I just saw Erica B made the A+O 1059 pants recently--she seems to love them, maybe this should be your starting point?


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