Monthly Archives: October 2015

Pants, Pants, Pants

Four pants made from the Barb pattern. Three are knit, the blue lower left pair is woven linen

Four pants made from the Barb pattern. Three are knit, the blue lower left pair is woven linen

Winters are cold in Ohio, pants are a necessity. Pants are easy to make but tricky to make fitted pants well. The fullness of pantaloons, bloomers and Turkish pants means very little fitting is necessary. These pants are just two or three pattern pieces; a waistband and leg, or a waistband, a front leg and back leg.

A collection of shorts made from the Barb pant pattern

A collection of shorts made from the Barb pant pattern

A simple pair of  fitted pants also uses just three pattern pieces; a front leg, a back leg and a waistband. But, because fitted pants sit closer to the body with much less fullness (or none at all!) , it’s harder to coax those three pieces into the right shape.

It took me a long time to find a pants pattern that fit me comfortably. I like the crotch from the Style Arc Barb pants. These are simple, three piece, elastic waist, pull-on pants. Once I found The Crotch, I used to to make several pairs of simple, pull on pants and shorts. The pattern worked well for knit shorts and knit and woven pants.

But these pants have a wide leg. I want to use black silk suiting to make a pair with narrower legs. I decided to use McCalls to help me slim down the leg. I laid the front and back legs of the McCalls pattern over my shorts pattern, matching the crotch line and, most important, the grainline.

 

Combining the Barb crotch and McCalls leg

Combining the Barb crotch and McCalls leg

I traced the McCall pattern from the bottom up the leg, and the shorts from the waist down to the leg, and blended the two where they met.

I used some poly-lycra stretch twill from a Fabric Mart clearance to make my first pair of test pants. If I ruined them I wouldn’t be out a lot of money, and if they turned out Ok, they’d be wearable.  They didn’t take long to whip up on the serger, and fit nicely. But, the leg was still too wide for the pants I had planned.

I put the pants on inside out, and marked where I wanted to take in at the side seams. I used the serger to sew the new seam and cut off the excess. I saved the trimmings, and used them to guide me in trimming down the paper pattern.

I still didn’t like the results, and decided to take the inseams a little. Again, I used the serger to sew and trim, and saved the trimmings to guide me in trimming the paper pattern.

My new pants pattern

My new pants pattern

Now, I had a pattern that I was almost sure would work. But my test pair was stretchy, and the stretchiness could be hiding something. Digging through my stash produced a 3 yard cut of woven, non-stretch poly suiting for the budget busting price of just $1.80 yd.

Again, with the serger, it was quick and easy to whip up sample pants. They do feel a bit more snug than the stretch pair. I think I’m ready to use the silk suiting.

 

 

 

 

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