The Day Has Come: Sewing Pants

The name of this blog suggests what is evident, that I sew everything. That is, I WANT to sew everything. But when time is limited I sew what I believe has a chance of being successful with little time and input. When I have a little more sewing time I try to take on time intensive projects.  So, pants…..

pants only

Pant sewing has not been a priority for a long time since my so-called “mature” figure became harder to fit. It was even harder given my penchant to suspend reality and identify with pattern envelope photographs of young, thin people.  So pant making got ignored.

Now I’m cornered.  Since I haven’t purchased RTW since January 2010 and don’t intend to, the pants I bought before that auspicious date have lasted until now.  But clothes don’t last forever (read about the suddenly depleted pant closet here), and this day had to come.  I ‘m making pants.

I’ve sewn pants before and know how to fit them. That is, fit them on the person who was me a very long time ago.  Today, comparing my own measurements to the pattern, and cutting out according to that, resulted in a very bad looking pair which had no correlation to how it was pictured. The legs were too loose and not even close to the beautifully close fit as shown on the envelope.  However, let’s soldier on…..


This Vogue/DKNY pattern was chosen because of the slim fit and because it is a DKNY. Yep, I’m a design snob.  It has lovely pocket details near the front waistband and a great detail on the back. Too bad, since I’m a tunic gal and will never show my waistband in public, ever. Still, this is my chosen pattern.

The recommended fabric has stretch, so I pulled out this printed cotton sateen from le stash. I think it goes along with the printed pant trend.

I must reiterate that there’s an abundance of information by people who are truly experts at pant making & fitting. Magazines, online classes, event classes provide a wealth of expertise to the sewer. It’s not the sewing; it’s the fitting which takes time and knowledge, except if you’re one of those fortunate seamstresses who fit into the pattern straight out of the envelope. Oh, how I hate you.

I started with the rise (I would use the word “crotch” but am terrified of the search engines).  I measured the front and back rise on one of the old RTW pants that fit me well. I compared them to the pattern and cut out the appropriate size at the rise. At the side seams, the pattern was cut out much larger since it would be easier to take in at the sides.  So, here’s a hint until I find a better one: fit the crotch (there I said it) first. Baste it’s seam, then pin the side seams and try on.

The pretty waistband details are so wasted on me.  It has three pieces which makes a good fit easier. Two pieces on the back waistband with a shaped center back seam, which itself has a tab (not seen in this picture); and one piece in front.IMG_1292

Hint: It was really easy to sew the shaped center back evenly by making and using cardboard templates! A write up coming soon!

WB Template

Another Hint: Sewing the waistband/pant seam can also be modified thus: attach the waistband pieces to the pants pieces before sewing the side seams. Since there is a side zipper, a basting (not permanent sewing) of the zipper is essential while fitting the sides. This gives you more leeway and opportunity to create a good fit.

I like how this pair turned out and I think a good degree of success was achieved. The only fitting issue remaining is an under-fanny slack. But that’s just me. Yes, I did consult pant-fitting “literature” and will have to address said slack in the next pant sewing session.

Note to self: move zipper to the back for the next version of this pant.

Another note to self: I have read all pant fitting literature. The only remaining thing to do now is order Sandra Betzina’s online pants class from Craftsy.

Readers, thanks for visiting and hope you enjoyed reading this. Let me have some input. No, I did not upload a full picture of myself — you do NOT want to see me having a bad hair day and no make-up. Though, I love my navy suede Liz Claiborne pumps which are hidden in the grass.


13 thoughts on “The Day Has Come: Sewing Pants

    1. Hey, Charlene! Good to see your comment. I have read Joyce Murphy’s articles and such over the years, and also in the previous issue of Threads where she addresses the under-fanny slack. Will have to see about taking her complete course.


  1. Samina, I love this! First, thank you for the fun read. I’m counting this as my “doing something sewing related” for today the 6th day of National Sewing Month. So far I’m 6 for 6. You might want to sign up for the Craftsy class with Kenneth King on making perfect fitting jeans. I have only done the overview and a lesson or two, but the approach is to start with pants whose fit is as perfect as they can be with RTW and make a pattern from them. I understand decent fit is all about the crotch curve. Connie Crawford emphasizes that and others “in the know” swear by Burda pants patterns because of the European approach to crotch curve. I have high hopes of someday understanding and applying all the information about the “crotchel” area!


  2. These pants look great Samina! Love your fabric choice too, very bold. I STILL have not finished my burda pants which I began last year. Let us know how you are finding the Craftsy trouser fitting course.


    1. Thanks! Will post some of my thoughts after taking the Craftsy and other courses. Are you having fit issues with your Burda pants, or is it just boring for you to sew pants? Just curious to know. You do such a good job of sewing everything.


      1. It was more of a “i don’t know how to sew this” problem. For instance, welt pockets and fly front. The instructions in the Burda pattern really seemed to be lacking and I have never sewn either of these things before.


  3. Your journey has been a fun read and your pants look great and so fun. May I say that a back zipper has been my preference for many years and am confident you will enjoy getting it out of the way which offers a nice balance to both hips. Currently working on my jeans pattern tweaking after a Jennifer Sterns Jeans Class. I’m anxious to have jeans from a no stretch denim. Yes, the old fashion kind. Look forward to enjoying your progress.


  4. Hi there, Janith! Yep, it seemed like a long journey — just to make a piece of clothing. But we sewers don’t do anything half-assed, do we? (Oops, used a bad term for a “family” blog?)
    Would LOVE to know how your jeans turned out. I was thinking the same thing about non-stretch denim. Do you think non-stretch fabric for pants is the real test of fit? 😀 At this point, I need to replenish my pants supply so I need to use whatever will give me a decent look. Then, I’ll visit the non-stretch fabric.
    Thanks for the comment. Love hearing from my buddies………..


  5. Yep, day of reckoning, indeed.
    Thanks for the comment; I’m keeping an eye on your fabric stock to see if there’s any “must-have” pant worthy stuff.


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