Yacht Pants

I have dubbed these pants my “yacht pants”. Or maybe I could call them “country club pants” or “all inclusive resort pants”. For some reason they seem like the kind of thing women wear in these settings. Unfortunately, these are not places that I frequent. I’m not saying it’s unfortunate that I’m not going to these places; it’s unfortunate that these pants don’t fit well into my lifestyle and wardrobe because that means I won’t get much use out of them.

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When I bought this beautiful cotton-linen blend fabric off the remnant table, I had it in my mind that it would make the perfect pair of summery pants. My workplace isn’t air conditioned, so I was trying to figure out what I could wear that would be professional looking and light. For me at least, these pants are not it. I think I just might not have the kind of life that off-white pants fit into. I’m not super sad about that. I still love this fabric though, so I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make something that I would wear more with it. I think now that a jacket or skirt would have been a better choice for my wardrobe and lifestyle. Perhaps I could re-purpose this project into a skirt still. What do you think?

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Design/Pattern: Simplicity 1808, view C (Wanna know something funny? I bought this pattern because I wanted to make the jacket, but soon I’ll have made everything in this set of patterns except the jacket.)

Materials: off-white cotton linen blend, medium weight

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Techniques:

  • finished seam allowances with a zig-zag stitch before I started construction; this was a great idea as I felt like I flew through the construction with this step out of the way
  • pleats
  • partial elastic waistband

Alterations/Changes: These are loose-fitting pants so I didn’t have to do much fitting, but there were a few changes that I made to help the fit.

  • petite adjustment so that the waistband didn’t sit too high (folded pattern piece horizontally above crotch curve to shorten)
  • straightened the line between the waist and hips so that there was less volume across my hips, which aren’t as curvy as the pattern

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While these pants probably won’t see much wear, I am glad I made them. Every time I make something that doesn’t fit into my wardrobe I get a better idea of my personal style strengths. Right now light colored, loose fitting pants don’t work. In the future I will know that, as much as I might like this look on someone else, it just isn’t my style. And that’s okay.

Summer Shorts

What do you normally gravitate towards wearing in the summer–shorts, skirts or dresses? Dresses, as you probably guessed, are my preferred summer garment. However, I really felt that I needed at least one more pair of shorts in my wardrobe this summer, and I’m really pleased with the new pair I made. They have deep pockets, a cute tie, and are made of breathable cotton. And they are navy blue, which is fast becoming my go-to summer neutral.

I have to admit that I was just a little nervous to make a pair of elastic-waist shorts. In my mind there was a distinct possibility that they would look too matronly or too much like pajamas. I am happy that I was proven wrong, although if I make them again I will probably take some fullness out of the back thigh area. I think this would be a better proportion for my height. Since I’m so happy with the shorts that I am hoping to use the pattern again to make the pants, possibly in something wonderfully flowy and soft like some cotton gauze or even a knit.

Design/Pattern: Simplicity 1808, view D

Materials: navy blue textured cotton, elastic, interfacing & matching thread

Techniques:

  • pleats
  • waistband casing
  • serged seam allowances
  • under-stitched waistband facing
  • top-stitched pocket edges & hem

Alterations/Changes:

  • I made a size 10 to fit my waist measurement, but used the size 8 lines for the crotch/inseam.
  • I shortened the rise at the center front seam about one inch by folding the pattern piece perpendicular to the center front and tapering to the side seams so that the side seam length didn’t change. I determined before cutting out my fabric that this alteration would be necessary after I measured the crotch seam of a pair of ready-to-wear shorts that fit me well and comparing that measurement to my pattern pieces.
  • I used one length of one inch wide elastic instead of two lengths of quarter inch wide elastic in the waistband. It’s just what I had on hand. I don’t have an opinion on whether it turned or better or worse this way.

Although I find these shorts very comfortable, attractive and practical, I think they only earn a B grade. I think the leg/thigh silhouette needs to be a little sleeker to fit me best. I can also only wear shirt tucked into the shorts because of the front tie. I like the tie, but it limits the shorts’ versatility. Finally, Simplicity is responsible for one aspect of the lower grade because one of the pattern tissues sheets didn’t have all the printing. It only had the pattern piece outlines and markings, but they weren’t numbered and didn’t show which markings went with which size. I had to do a bit of guess work to get the shorts put together. All in all, they are a summer piece that I’ll get a lot of wear out of, especially with the scorcher we’re having.

Clover pants

I finished my Clover pants. I am really pleased overall with these pants. They are definitely the most wearable pair of real, non-pajama pants that I’ve ever made. I have a little fine-tuning to do with the fitting, but this pair is still pretty good. Before I talk about that, let’s talk about everything I loved about working with this pattern.

The illustrations in the directions are so clear and easy to understand. I had no trouble whatsoever understanding exactly what I should do each step of the way. I also love that the directions are a little booklet. It was so easy to keep track of where I was at. Beyond the directions, the pattern itself was drafted so well. I didn’t feel like I had to second guess which size to cut out since there wasn’t two or three inches of ease built into the pattern. I felt really at ease the entire time I was using this pattern because there was nothing mysterious about it.

I cut two sizes based on my measurements. I cut a 6 for the hip measurement and a 10 for the waist measurement. I ended up taking in the waist a bit, but the 6 fit well in the hips. There are two main fitting areas that need a little tweaking in the back thighs (see above) and in the front rise (see below). I think I need to do a slight swayback adjustment to fix the back. To fix the front, I need to shorten the front rise by about three quarters of an inch so that fabric doesn’t pool  where my hips bend.

The other wonderful thing about this pattern is that I already have in mind a few variations. First, I’d make a corduroy pair with front pockets, a front fly, and back patch pockets. I would probably slim these down a bit more as well since the fabric is sturdier than the RPL suiting I used here. Second, I’d like a pair made of cotton sateen. I would probably make few changes though. I also want a velveteen pair, a wool pair, a denim pair… Okay, I basically want a closet filled with pants based on this pattern.

I have to give out two grades for this project. First, I have to give the Clover pattern itself an A+. It was easy to sew and very straightforward. It also looks great and is very stylish. Second, I am giving myself an A- for construction. I know I have pretty high expectations for my sewing skills, so I need to perfect the fit and do a better job with the zipper before I give myself an A+ too. I’m sure that this wardrobe staple will get a ton of wear and I think that deserves a high grade.