Oh, Pants. They’ve always been the problem child in my wardrobe. I buy them and they don’t fit. I sew them and they don’t fit. So I just avoid them like the scary nightmares they are and yet, what I wear most are pants. This is my story of bravery and pant-conquest!
When I taught my Double Gauze Fashions class at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in March, I really wanted my sewn samples to include a pair of pants. Double Gauze is all over the place in ready-to-wear and wide leg, flowy pants are big news right now. So, the nightmare had to be conquered and I found just the right pattern to help me be pant-courageous. And, I actually made pants that I have worn! The gray pair starred this month for one of my Me Made May days.
Indygo Junction’s Artisan Pants pattern includes sizes XS (40-1/4″ hip finished ) through 3X (54-1/4″ hip finished), so it’s really a great “every woman” style. You can also choose from a mid-rise or natural waist and the styling is perfect for light to mid-weight fabrics like cotton, linen and . . . double gauze!
I made two pairs of natural waist pants using two solid colors of Shannon Fabrics Embrace™ Double Gauze – Graphite (Medium Gray) and Cobalt (Navy Blue). Planning the pants and what would go with them was easy, but then I had to actually fit the pattern. BIG deep breath!
The pattern offers back pockets, but they didn’t seem useful for what I was making so I just left them off. I would like to try adding a side seam pocket next time, though, because I do crave pockets.
While I don’t exactly follow the Palmer/Pletsch pattern fitting method, I have learned from P/P that trying on the pattern can be a magic elixir for fit. The more I sew, the easier fitting becomes and working from my personal measurements is key. And, always remember this – our bodies are just fine, it’s the patterns that are “wrong”! Once I tried the pattern on, I found where it did not work for me and began to adjust. After adjusting, I tried the pattern on again until I was as happy as you can be with a tissue paper pant leg.
I keep a sheaf of tissue paper and washi tape near my cutting table and freely use them to “correct” the pattern until it fits. This is my finished/adjusted/corrected front pattern piece above. I know from years of wearing pants that I am curvier around the front than most designs, so I added length to the center front seam and width at the center front crotch seam.
The back crotch seam needed extra width at the center, also, but the crotch seam width was fine for me. I cut in between two sizes to get the leg width that I wanted. You can always do that if you find that the smaller size is too small and the larger size is too large. In my case, it meant I was making a 2x-1/2 and it was perfect for me. The finished/adjusted/corrected back piece is above.
Even after careful pattern fitting, my pants needed a little adjustment once they were partially sewn. The pant legs were too long and I trimmed about 3″ off at the bottom. With my additions, the front crotch seam was now too long and I trimmed about 1″ off across the front center waist. As you learned in a previous post, I keep track of all these things in my Sewing Notebook as I go. That made it easy to sew the second pair without a lot of fussing and it also makes the future of Artisan Pants bright in my Sewful Life.
Elastic waists always get the Oscars in my pant life and the waist on the Artisan Pants is definitely a top winner. It uses 2″ elastic, which seemed a little crazy, but, no – they know what they’re doing and it’s a really fabulous waist. Comfortable and stays in place!
I love the way the waist is finished so that it doesn’t look like an elastic waist. It’s zigzagged onto the waist edge first, then turned to the inside and edge-stitched along the top waist edge. The waist is finished by securing the elastic at the front, side and back seams by stitching in the ditch, and that’s it. Really, really a nice smooth, classy look!
Although, I’ve sewn elastic waists forever, I learned something new and fabulous from the Artisan Pants instructions. I wrote about in an earlier blog post.
The stitched pleats at the waistline add a beautiful bit of shaping in the front and I really love the fit and drape that results.
A machine sewn hem was highly appropriate and fast. Although a Cover Stitch Machine has not yet appeared in my Sewful Life, I think that would be a great hem for the Artisan Pants, also. A double needle hem would look great – depending on the fabric used, of course. If I ever make a slinky silk, rayon or poly pair, though, I’ll probably hand or roll hem those.
My first pair was made in the Graphite and working off my notes made the Cobalt pair fit a little better. But, I’m still thrilled with both pairs and they’ll get lots of wear if the Pacific Northwest should graciously grant us any Spring or Summer weather this year! All in all these pants are extremely comfy! They were quick and easy to sew once I had the fit figured out and there will definitely be more in my wardrobe. A lot more. Linen is next up in my Artisan Pants queue and a Black Embrace Double Gauze pair is a must have, too.
So, scary nightmare no more, future pant sewing here I come! I even have another pattern picked out to stitch up in my new pant-courageousness. So, if you have sewing fears, stand up, take your needle-sword in hand and slay the dreaded stitchy dragons. Then tell me all about it so I’ll be inspired, too!
Moment of Further Truth:
Shannon Fabrics provided the fabrics for me and Indygo Junction provided me with the pattern. But, the rest of this is all me and I only gush about things if I truly believe in them!