Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit Pants & RTW try-no-buy-shopping

My first fitted pair of pants! I honestly feel like a magician! And lol, yes, these photos were taken in a change room. I mentioned earlier that lighting at home is pretty bad. And I was on a try-no-buy-shopping expedition to try on different fits and styles before committing sewing time and grabbed the opportunity to take photos since I happened to be wearing my newly sewed pants. (I still need to redo the pants hook for the 3rd time though, the placement is not correct. Don’t mind the sitting-all-day-wrinkles either.)

For this being my first pair of fitted pants and fly front, I’m pretty damn proud! There are of course a lot of small mistakes and drafting errors introduced into it by myself. Like I had raised the rise by 1″ but you can see the pockets are folding in on itself. And I narrowed the leg and needed to take in the waist considerably, perhaps introducing an off grain twist to the legs? They don’t quite hang as well as a perfect pair of pants would. And comparing them to the RTW trousers below, those trousers seem to have a nice cut which makes the bottom of the leg look more “finished”. (I would say the other Ralph Pink trousers I sewed and narrowed also have the same problem, where the drape at the bottom just seems a bit off).  But hey, for my first time I should be quite gentle on myself, and proud even!

The blouse is RTW, bought last month. Random find, as it is a brand name I never heard of (and I don’t like their other items in the Zalando shop), and the viscose is super quality that actually resembles silk! The shirt is also surprisingly well sewn, at least from what I can see. I love the red trim plus the abstract print which makes it wearable with dark bottoms. Normally I feel overwhelmed in monochromatic looks.

I think Anushka Rees’ advice to try on clothing styles is a great one that I should have listened to sooner. It was quite eye opening to take objective photos of different items on. For instance,  the trousers: aside from them being a size too large, I hadn’t expected a pleated front to look so good! (I would reduce the height of the wide waistband however). The maxi skirt felt so nice and swishy on, I would have almost considered buying them but looking at the photo, they are super unflattering (eye bar to protect the innocent). The drop sleeve top is not as unflattering as I thought it would have been, though the drape maybe helps. And I think that I am a Soft Gamine looking at these photos – I often feel a bit squishy / overweight in the arms, and I see a lot of roundness to my features.




My Sewing Pattern Review

Pattern Sizing:
The envelope recommended a size 12, and that’s what I cut out, and it worked fairly well except that I needed to take in the waist considerably and the hips only a little bit due to the stretch in the fabric.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, except the design changes I made (adding 1″ higher rise).

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were really good! Especially as it was my first time making fitted pants.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Some other reviewers also said that the leg is not as slim as indicated by the picture (I took them in a bit by sewing the seam allowance slightly larger in the inside legs, though I wonder if this causes the leg to twist off grain?).

Because I tried to slim the leg and needed to take in the waist so much, the front yoke of the pockets became quite small. For a beginner sewist like myself, I wonder if this causes the leg to twist off grain?… My pants don’t seem to hang perfectly, though it’s difficult to say if this is due to other errors introduced by myself 🙂

They’re quite short – I added 1.5″ in length and I still feel they were a bit short (I’m only 5’5″). They’re also maybe a bit lower rise than what’s on trend now, so I tried to raise the rise by 1″, introducing some drafting errors into it I’m sure.

Fabric Used:
Cotton sateen with stretch

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
– Raised rise 1″ (I’m a beginner, so maybe I didn’t do it properly, as you can see the pockets are “folding in” on itself a bit).
– slimmed the leg slightly sewing a larger seam allowance on the inside of each leg
– skipped the fake welt pockets

Fitting changes made (some due to the stretch in the fabric):
– took in waist 1cm x 4(each of the 4 pieces)
– took in hips 0.5 cm x 4 pieces
– “flat butt” adjustment
– thin thigh adjustment 1cm back of each leg

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Despite the challenges, I will definitely make them again! I may need to look closer at the paper pattern and check the grain. I learned a lot by making these pants, and I’m pretty proud of these being my first fitted pants!

Read more on my blog


Sewing, but not blogging

Yes, I’m still sewing, just terrible at blogging! Mainly it’s difficult to take nice photos in the dark Swedish winter in addition to the poor lighting situation we have at home. We are in desperate need of lamps! I took some quick snaps to spice up this blog post, since mediocre photos are better than none.

Successful recent makes:

  • Ralph Pink Coco Trouser. Will write a separate post about this later I hope…
  • self drafted top (I know it’s pretty hackish!) to use up a 60cm remnant I had after making the pants above.  I feel pretty unconfident with drafting my own patterns, since I don’t know what is “right” and “wrong”. I basically traced off and mashed together a shell top from Mango + a dolman sleeve maxi dress to make this.
  • I actually don’t wear these 2 together pieces… Previously I wrote about my Kibbe body type (Gamine), and it’s clear that contrasting top and bottom pieces, as well as tailoring looks best on my body. Wearing these 2 loose pieces together, I look like a Chinese grandmother XD


  • Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit Pants! The only thing left to do is the waistband, but I feel like a freaking magician after fiddling with the fit! Best of all they are FULL LENGTH!! Can’t buy anything in the stores which is full length at the moment, given the current cropped pant trend!

Wadders/WIP not blogged about:


  • yellow linen top (Burda 05/2012 #131) made of the same material as the yellow circle skirt which was also a wadder. Problem? Partly maybe because I used a fabric without body? But regardless, the cut, color, and material all combined looked soooo matronly, I tore it off my body as quickly as possible. I removed the sleeves but couldn’t bring myself to keep going on it – I might tackle it again later to deepen the neckline and finish off the back buttons…
  • white woven cotton top (using Burda10/2017 #111B as a basis) with self drafted boatneck and bell sleeves. Problem? The material is so stiff and wrinkles badly, and sits away from the body strangely. The button in back also unbuttons very easily. I have several more meters remaining of the fabric, which I intended to use for a shirtdress, but now I’m not so sure what I should do with the fabric given that it wrinkles so badly.

Sewing plans for 2019

Or at least the upcoming few months – most likely I will end up distracted and not making all of these… Plus there are more than I can make, given how slow I am – so difficult to narrow these down!

  • Planned-decided.png
  • Last year I said I wanted to repeat making patterns, to really cement the knowledge in my mind. Haven’t gotten around to it, given my slow sewing output, but at least I can do it this year!
  • Pants: with the current success with my pants, want to use the burgundy twill in my stash to make a 2nd pair! I also spotted a green linen that I had been searching awhile for… but white trousers are probably more wearable year round? But I don’t have a fabric for that yet…
  • Love the Seamwork Ruth dress which was just released. The fit of the dress on the model concerns me a bit though – so many wrinkles?! Need to find a fabric for this first anyway…
  • Pencil skirts: great palette cleansers, plus am buoyed by the success of my first pencil skirt!
  • Want a series of simple tops – sleeved (maybe will self draft based off some Burda patterns I’ve traced, since I don’t want to pay money for a new pattern). Sleeveless, but architectural – you can’t tell from the photo resolution, but I want something with some slightly unusual seaming construction. Therefore will probably need to draft my own. Wrap top – need to hunt down a pattern for this one! Or else try self drafting.
  • Cuter loungewear, like the BurdaStyle sweetheart bodice top.

I sewed pants! Simplicity 1887

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 these
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.

Simplicity 1887 peg trousers


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 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!