After sewing (90% of) a button up shirt with so many STEPS, and nightwear, I wanted to sew something simple, that I could wear out of the house. A pair of loose elastic waist trousers should be easy right? And in a nice drapey viscose twill? Hahahaaha!! Yes, I am a naive, newbie sewist!
Inspired by these pants (love the pockets!)
and strugglesewsastraightseam’s Simplicity 1887 pants I decided I wanted a pair of loose pants – maybe even a crop top?! (Even though I’m most self conscious about my stomach – but I still like the idea of sewing it one spring day.) I wanted proper instructions (in English and not Swedish) and flip flopped between ordering Simplicity pattern 1887 from the US (a $15 shipping fee, since the UK store was out of stock) and Named Peg pants.
I read reviews that the Named patterns didn’t have very good instructions and that they were sized for taller people, but the Simplicity pants would need narrowing in the leg. The deciding factor was the flat front waistband on the Simplicity patterns, which I figured would be more flattering, and less like joggers. Plus I liked other people’s shorts sewn with this pattern.
This was the pants project that just wouldn’t end. The pattern itself is fairly easy with mostly good instructions (except how they did the waistband – I invented my own method of finishing it), but cutting and sewing viscose I was swearing fairly often, especially with the number of fitting adjustments I made. Our house is covered in rayon fray! And ripping black thread from black fabric is not fun…
A lot of reviewers said they went down 1 or 2 sizes, but one reviewer didn’t size down and made her recommended size (12) and since my recommended size was also around size 12 (12 waist, 10-12 hip) I made 10 waist, and I think 12 hip (unfortunately didn’t mark down which size I cut!). I think I made a size 12 hip with the thought that I would take them in if necessary, which I didn’t need to do.
I took in the width of the legs from the hip down as many other reviewers did. I referenced the width of leg from a Burdastyle pattern I had borrowed from the library.
Fitting, design changes & construction notes
After struggling through sewing everything except the outer sides and hem (managed to sew the pocket upside, then two right legs by mistake) I saw how unflattering and horrible they were (no pics of that, sorry)! I had fit them as I went, but with the pants pinned higher than where they would sit with the elastic installed. The crotch was super baggy, halfway to my knees, the top of my underwear showed, and I looked like I was wearing a diaper. I couldn’t make the waistband smaller as I wouldn’t be able to get them over my hips!
But then I remembered strugglesewsastraightseam installed an invisible zip! With the pants sitting at my natural waist they looked much more flattering. Unpicked the waistband, I took a wedge out of the rear waistband (7 cm total taken out) and top of the back of the pants, as well as narrowed the inner back of each thigh to compensate for my skinny thighs as RTW pants are always too baggy under my butt (took a triangle from each leg 4 cm wide at the top, tapering 15 cm down the leg). After taking all that apart and resewing it, I realized I didn’t understand how Simplicity instructions wanted me to finish off the waist seam in a nice way – it just looked like a mess of unfinished seams that I was supposed to just leave like that?! – so I ripped the waistband completely off AGAIN and invented my own way of finishing by sewing the outer waistband to the top of the pants, and turning under the inner waistband, topstitching in the ditch. Why not?
I ordered black twill viscose all the way from the US, from fabric.com. I do think the material has amazing drape – they’re a summer weight twill, almost look like wool or high end pants. I actually got complimented on my pants at work! (And got to brag that I made them myself!) I hung the pants before hemming and despite that, the pants seemed to have stretched a tiny bit with wear – the knees are a little bagged out but in the loose fit they aren’t so noticeable. And I needed to take in the waist again after wearing, so there’s a bit of excessive fabric gathering at the rear waist, so next time I’d take in even more.
Now, pics! I tried to lighten up the detail photos since black is pretty hard to photograph. The pants do look a bit unflattering at certain angles, especially the back, but I think the next time I sew them I could try to adjust this. I still love these pants somehow! From the side/angle view I love how slim they make me look 🙂
I learned a lot from sewing these pants. Fitting, interfacing, the importance of matching notches, installing a zip, sewing with viscose, thread tracing marks, baste fitting. I was nervous about the idea of a zip before, but when I needed to do it to get a better fit, it wasn’t a big deal anymore – it’s just a necessary step to get what I want. The zip is far from perfect (or invisible) since I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, and that doesn’t bother me too much, although I do kind of want to hunt one down now. Not so easy since I’m using a vintage Husqvarna machine.
But I loooove these pants! I made pants for crying out loud! The feeling of being able to make exactly what you envision is so empowering!