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