Perfecting pants

During my recent sewing slump, an early cold snap made me realise that I desperately needed more pants in my work wardrobe. With no inclination to sew on the horizon, or so I thought, I headed to the shops. I would never guess that buying simple work pants would be such a challenge! To begin with, I am in-between sizes – they story of my life! Pants these days also don’t seem to flatter my shape – they are high waisted, pleated, pegged or cropped – all of which = ugly on me! I also didn’t realise how much a nice pair of trousers would cost. I reluctantly coughed up $130 to purchase these very basic black pants from Witchery.

I still can’t believe I spent $130 on one item of clothing, that wasn’t footwear! I know this isn’t overly excessive, but ugg! I ain’t made of money!
With this horribly expensive memory still fresh in my mind, I set aside some time to experiment with and construct a perfect pants pattern – fitted just for me.

This is where I’m at right now and I think I’m almost there. The front of these pants is based on OOP Simplicity 3850 which is a Built By Wendy pattern. I have used this pattern three times before, here, here and here. While I like the flat front and slash pockets, I have always struggled to fit the rear of the pants with quite a bit of excess fabric pooling there.

So in addition to addressing the rear fitting issues, I also wanted to:

  • Slightly increase the rise of the pants (by about an inch) as my new comfort level is a little higher since having kids…. and maybe getting older.
  • Reduce the width of the waistband, as belts aren’t a thick as they used to be.
  • Slim the leg even further as the original pattern isn’t terribly slim by today’s standard.

To address the rear issue, the first thing I did was compare the Simplicity pattern (right) to my Burda slim pants (left), which fit well in this problem area.

As you can see, there is a major difference in the crotch curve and size.  Rather then simply reshape the curve of the Simplicity pants, and deal with the inevitable flow on effects to the back rise and overall the size of the pants, I completely re-drafted the back of the pattern based on the Burda pants curve, adding a dart to shape the pants and aligning the rise with the modified front pattern which I also re-drafted.

There is a definite improvement to the area, but still it isn’t perfect.
I’d love to achieve the fall of these lovely pants from Zara.

But I think part of the problem with my pants is the fabric choice – a heavier, stretch cotton sateen. The fabric was cheap enough to experiment with and good quality, but not drapey at all. It is a dark navy colour, which I thought would go nicely with all the orange and autumn colour blouses I have planned in my head, but really, they just remind me of nurse pants.

Anyway, the $130 Witchery pants are fitted like this in the back, so at least mine look commercial in that regard.

I think a crease ironed into the pant leg might also help them fall straight. I might experiment with that…

These trousers are definitely wearable and well made, but there is scope to improve. My next pair will be made with a more drapey fabric. I also think I can slim the leg width just a little further and I also really need to learn how to sew a welt pocket. The faux button flaps are easy, but not schmick!

Do you have any other fitting or trouser making suggestions for me?

Self drafted pants based on OOP Simplicity 3850 and Burda slim pants 02/2010
No. 111.

Pattern: free – both used before.
Fabric: Stretch cotton sateen 2 meters = $14.80
Zipper = $2.80
Buttons = $2.40
Interfacing $2
Thread from stash
Total: $20.


Kylie pinned this dress earlier this week. Love Pinterest!

I purchased the pattern that day.

Stuck and cut yesterday.

This morning, before I took Ollie to school, I stole half an hour at the machine to make this sweet dress for Adele.

Totally adorable! I imagine there will be a few of these made for winter.

I used some cheap, mystery knit that has been maturing in my stash for a few years. It’s like a knit that you would make a polo shirt with. Is that called sweater knit?? Anyway, it only cost a couple of dollars a meter at time, so I stocked up. It’s an unusual dark green and navy mix. Don’t you think the dark colour kinda makes it look a little like that robe that Fryer Tuck would wear in Robin Hood?? I might have to use a more girly colour next time!

A few of the school mums asked if I took special orders. But, I certainly do not. I’m far too selfish with my sewing time these days.

Hope you have an exciting weekend planned. I’m out tonight for a ladies night with all the kindy mums. So sad, but I can’t wait!

Liberty Violet

My first attempt at the Colette Violet pattern and I really like it.

I used Liberty called Mike, which I purchased from Shaukat. It has the a lovely mix of stripes in pink, violet, navy and white with a hint of olive.


I quite like how the stripes worked. I cut the back yoke with the stripes moving horizontally as I was running a little short on fabric. The front facing is also cut horizontally.

In total, I used 1 meter of Liberty to make this and there wasn’t much else to spare.

I purchased the buttons specifically for this shirt and they cost an appalling $1.20 each! Unfortunately they were the only suitable ones at the shop I was at and I didn’t much fancy travelling with the kids to another shop just for buttons.

I didn’t make many changes to the pattern. I slightly tapered the side seams to shape the boxy style a little more, but other than that, this is a straight size 2. I actually wore this outfit today to school and it was super comfy and easy to wear.

Pattern: Colette Violet = $20
Fabric = Liberty “Mike” $24 from Shaukat
Thread = $3
Buttons = $8.40
Interfacing = from stash
Total = $55.40 – Yikes! But I think it’s worth it.

Cracking 300 and some winners!

So, I appear to have surpassed 300 public followers (just) on Google friend connect. I know that I have other RSS feed subscribers, but I really love seeing the profiles of people that follow my blog, which is why this is so nice.

To celebrate this momentous achievement, I thought I’d share 7 things about myself that you probably don’t know. I don’t do this sort of personal stuff often. Are you interested? Well, I’m going to write it anyway.

  • My birthday is approaching and I will be turning an age which is closer to 35, than 30. I’m not too worried about getting older. I think my 30s, so far, have been far better than my 20s, but I am finding myself more worried about wrinkles. I have a new one under my left eye that I just can’t figure out. When I smile or frown it doesn’t crease, but it is there and I don’t like it. So tell me, what magical anti-wrinkle potion do you use?
  • I am one of 4 kids. I have an older sister, a younger sister and a younger brother. I also have an older half brother. I am a middle child and I AM OK!
  • To date, I have not explained my blog name. Little Betty isn’t my alter ego. It isn’t my nickname or any other pseudonym that I go by. It is *yawn* the name of my dog. Sad? Yes. Boring? Yes. When I needed a name for my first sewing business, I thought it was cute and suited the kiddy clothes market. It continued to suit the bonnet biz, but now I’m a little bored of it and thinking I should get a more mature, sewing related blog name. I just need some inspiration. Do you have a suggestion for me??
 Black Betty.
She’s a little older than this now.
She has a funny under bite, so you can always see her bottom teeth.
  • I always knew I was going to have three kids – two boys and a girl. I was very disappointed when I found out my second boy, James, was a boy. Not because he was a boy, but because he came in the wrong order. In my plans, I was supposed to have boy – girl – boy! Regardless though, I’m stoked I got the order that I did. The boys play so well together, and Adele, well she wishes she could be a boy too.
  • I’ve been with my husband for over 15 years. We got together after high school. He’s pretty cool. He fixes stuff. He builds stuff. He does stuff around the house. He’s a keeper.
  • I was a cheeky and loud kid growing up, and not too pleasant on the eye – freckles, sunburn, stringy blonde hair, bad fringe, etc. In fact, earlier this evening, my father described me as ornery child (I had to look up the definition). Apparently James is my revenge. I changed though, and grew up into a horrible teenager. In high school I was clever and performed very well academically, but I ran with the wrong crowd in a major way. I’m actually quite surprised that I turned out as normal as I did. I think my parents are too!
    That fringe! There are far worse photos – trust me!
  • I’m mostly, a self taught sewer. My textiles teacher at school sewed one of my projects for me and she still marked it, but didn’t give herself full marks. I have completed one community college sewing class, but I really don’t think it taught me anything more than I already knew. I have always been exposed to sewing and creating though. My mum used to make our clothes when we were kids. I was somewhat interested in what she did, but I don’t think anyone would have thought I’d become the obsessive sewer that I have.
 Matching outfits that my mother made for us kids.
I’m always the one pulling the goofy faces! Oh regret!

Phew! I feel so refreshed getting all that out – he he!  I’d like to take this opportunity to shout out to some of my followers who have given me blog awards recently. I’m not the best at keeping them going, but this is my attempt to share the bloggy love and show that I’m not the polished, super mum that I appear to be on this blog (please don’t ever think that!).

So, to the winners in my Seam Allowance Guide Giveaway. Drum roll please….. Congratulations to:

i have a bunch of burda magazine patterns
that would make the guide really handy. thanks for the giveaway!
I would love one of these! One of the
reasons that I don’t use traced patterns as often as I should (as well as having
to trace them) is the adding of the seam allowances. For me I might use some of
my plentiful copies of Ottobre much more with one of these gadgets!

I’d use the guide for Japanese patterns.
I’ve been putting off buying them because of the lack of seam allowances on the
patterns! I’d definitely start buying Burda patterns too.
I’ll send all of you an email shortly to confirm your details.
Hope you have a wonderful Monday!