Another awesome free pattern from Peppermint Magazine! I love the look of these pants, but sewing them up was not without complications (i.e. I’ve never sewn ‘hard pants’ as I’ve been on the elastic waist everything for awhile).
Fabric: Robert Kaufman railroad stripe 100% cotton, 6oz (from fabric.com)
- Length: pattern designed for 5’7″ height. I removed 3 inches at the shorten line – I’m 5’4″
- Added belt loops
- Added back pockets (traced from a pair of jeans I like) and placed 3″ below waistband. On finished garment it’s 2.5″ below.
- Flipped the fly/zipper to the lefthand side (this took way more energy than I had intended – everything was backwards!)
Um, so these pants were not exactly a joy to sew. I should have known, as this is the first pair of ‘hard pants’ I’ve ever sewn. But in my typical self-confidence/naivety I figured I’d knock these out with no problem. And as usual, I refused to sew a toile. It feels wasteful! Also, if I were to make a ‘wearable toile’ I probably wouldn’t wear it = still wasteful. I just want to make the thing I want to make in the fabric I want it in i.e. I’m impatient and I suffer the consequences of my own actions 😛
Sizing & Waistband
The first issue I ran into was choosing my size. My waist is 30″ (but I wear size 27 pants?!) and my low hip is 37″. I sewed a straight Size C based on some reviews I had read that these pants have a lot of ease. Well, they do not have any ease in the curved, interfaced waistband. Duh! But I didn’t grasp this and figured “What difference will 3/4 of an inch make?” Well, it does make a difference! In typical fashion, I had completely finished the waistband, tried the pants on again and thought “Oh no! These look perfect but I’ll never be able to sit down!” However, using 100% cotton, even with the non-woven interface, the pants & waistband have stretch a little bit with wear. TL;DR choose the correct waist and hip sizes and grade between if necessary.
The other issues I had with the waistband were:
- Using fusible non-woven interface = too much bulk
Even with trimming the seam allowance (after you’ve sewn the seam), I still had too much bulk to use the sewing machine for the button hole. I think there are three ways you can fix this: 1) don’t use interfacing 2) only interface the outer waistband 3) don’t interface the seam allowance. Likely I’ll try option 2 next time.
- Extend the length of waistband piece 8.
I sewed the inner & outer waistband on, and then as I went to complete Step 31… I didn’t have any seam allowance to finish the edge in alignment with the zipper. I ripped back the stitches and removed both the inner & outer waistband Piece 8s. I recut longer Piece 8s (added 2 cms), ironed on the interface, and sewed them on. You can trim any extra off, once you’ve sewn the seam and you should, to avoid some of the bulk this adds.
Flipping the Fly
I’m not sure why the fly is on the righthand side. In reading reviews, before sewing these pants, I knew this was the case and took it upon myself to flip the fly so it was on the lefthand side, like all of the RTW pants that I own. I think this is a Virgo impulse, because it’s completely unnecessary to do and made sewing these take infinitely longer as I tried to follow the instructions and flip all of them in my head to attach and sew the fly. In the end, it worked out and I’ll probably do it again if I ever sew up another pair of these pants (rust orange linen, anyone?!).
Ok, my last complaint about the waistband fly situation is … sewing a curved waistband is so much work! And by this I mean, if you mess up somewhere, you have so many seams to rip back and so many pieces (at least 6) to think about aligning, etc. I would have been fine with a straight or flat waistband on these, which means you could also avoid having to sew in the ditch (Step 33) – which I also found endless annoying as I don’t have an edger foot for my machine and the before mention bulk in the waistband makes it especially challenging. A curved waistband is the same width at the bottom as the pants opening and then narrows at the top. This could provide a better fit, especially if you have an hourglass waist/figure. I don’t and it was part of the waistband sizing issue (i.e. choosing a size too small for the waist).
A Note on the Fabric
This fabric frays like crazy! Ideally, I would have sewn these pants with french seams on both side seams. Instead, I zigzag stitched the seams as I typically do, not having a serger. There was still a ton of fraying, so I used “Fray Check” on all the seams, once I finished sewing the entire garment. I love the look of this fabric, so I guess it was worth it and something to think about if I sew anything with the remnant.
In All …
I should have expected to run into some fit issues and knowledge gaps (I’ve never sewn a pants fly before!?!). The end result, these pants look exactly like I had envisioned! I’m obsessed with the railroad stripe fabric and the wide leg silhouette and fit. I can fix the waistband issues the next go around and this pattern is free! I hope that some of the issues I ran into will be helpful for someone sewing these up for the first time, but if not – at least I know what not to do next time 🙂
- Needle: 80/12
- Tension: 4-6 (depending how many layers sewing through)
- Stitch size: 2.5 (4 for basting)