Archive for the ‘Pants’ Category

White Wide-Legged Pants

October 18th, 2020 No comments

I know, it’s October, and totally the wrong season for white pants. But what’s a season, anyway, in our Covid world?

I’ve made these pants — Vogue 8499 — many times in the past, and always mis-remember how hugely over-sized they are. This time, at least, I sized down to the smallest in the envelope — which has absolutely nothing to do with the size chart Vogue provides. If I want to keep making them, it’s probably time I just re-drafted the whole thing so that it actually fits me.

Read more…

Categories: 2020, Covid, Pants Tags:

Sewaholic 1302: Tofino Pants

November 23rd, 2013 4 comments

Sewaholic patterns are aimed at the pear-shaped woman, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t use Tasia’s innovative patterns, too. I fell in love with the Tofino Pants at first glimpse:  The side panel!  The piping!  That bow!  Now I’m madly churning them out.  This was my first pair.


JoAnn’s flannel offerings are among the worst anywhere, any time, but every now and then there’s a gem of a bolt stuck among the thin, badly printed, awful designs in the pj horror section: This was one of those.  It’s a tiny herringbone check, in a color (and design) an adult could love. Defying the JoAnn odds, it’s also thick and beautifully napped. Score!

swtoft(I know: low light, rumple-riffic, but hey, people — this is flannel, and I’m a sewist, not a photographer!)

I made some changes to the pattern. The legs are drafted to be quite long, and my own are quite short, so I lopped off  3.5 inches. (If you do this, make sure that you remember to shorten the side panel, too!) I cut a size 8; at my correct inseam length, only 2 packages of commercial piping were needed.  And I removed the fake fly, because what?   No need for a fly here, faux or otherwise.


(Flash this time; an improvement? Hard to say!)

I left the waist band placement as drafted, even though I was pretty sure that it was going to fall lower on my hips than I prefer. (Let’s just say that I’m not really trend-forward, opn any front!)  That turned out to be true; these pants ride at the point where my usual PJ pants fall once I’ve rolled them down.

It turns out I don’t like this in the finished garment; that makes no sense at all, but there you are. The front is lower than the back, but not as angled as this image makes it seem.  That makes for a nice fit. The drop is not as much as it appears to be in my photo — the tilt of the hanger is exaggerating the tip toward the front.


The piping really makes the pants. I used jumbo piping, because I wanted it to stand out without getting lost in all that soft flannel.  To make sure that it went in evenly, I did something I rarely do:  I not only pinned it in place, but then basted it with a large zigzag stitch to ensure that it didn’t slip when assembling the layers. This took only  a few minutes extra, and was well worth the expenditure of time.

The legs are super-wide. That’s a nice feature, and this width is probably perfect on a longer-limbed woman.  I’ll take them in for my next pair, though, as this is too much fabric on my smallish frame. You can see in the photos that the proportions aren’t particularly pleasing to the eye when the legs are this short — but the width does make for very cozy wearing!


I added pockets to the side panels. I hemmed the top of each pocket  by attaching grosgrain ribbon to the right side of the fabric, then adding a row of zigzag stitches to finish the enclosed raw edges.  Then I folded the pocket hem over and stitched the grosgrain along the opposite edge to make the pocket hem.


Then I sewed the bottom of the pocket, right side to right side, onto the leg panel, and folded it up so that the pocket sides aligned with the seams of each side panel.  The pocket is automatically finished when the side seams are sewn.


The grosgrain acts as a kind of gentle interfacing to better define the pocket edge (so it doesn’t cling to the flannel) and to support the upper pocket so that it doesn’t sag.  The edges of the pocket will wear better, too, because of this small bit of reinforcement.

In the end, I decided against the bow. Although I love it, it would just be a pain in every day life, especially since I wear my flannels with long overshirts.   And I cut another corner:  The instructions call for encasing the elastic in a fully-enclosed waistband.  I just folded the waistband over, matched the edges, and stitched it to the pants.

A diaper pin makes the perfect threader for wide elastic!


Tasia’s method is better because it gives a nice, clean, look to the inside of the pants. Also, my method results in some seam allowance bulk that “poufs” the pants out slightly just below the waistband.  I don’t care about this, personally, so I went for the quiick-and-dirty solution, but almost everyone who makes these pants will probably feel differently . . .

Sewaholic patterns have consistently clear directions, are drafted beautifully, and are stunningly beautifully done .  The level of professionalism, where professionalism is defined as “precision, care, and skill” is awe-inspiring.  Few companies (and none of the Big Four) come close to this kind of quality.

Speaking of which, I was floored to see that Tasia had included a pattern piece for the necessary bias strips for those who want to make their own piping.  Whoo-hoo!  I can’t stand drawing long lines on fabric, nor rotary cutters, so this is real incentive to make my own piping sometime  in the future.

Oh, and that bow?  There’s a pattern piece for that, too. None of this “go buy wide ribbon” stuff.  Your contrast bow can match your piping perfectly, if you’re so inclined.

Feet I used for this project:

Seam allowance foot with IDT, for non-piped seams (posed for photo purposes only — the pin should be parallel to the foot, not cock-eyed like this, and, anyway, they get removed just before the foot would strike them);


cording foot for installing the piping;


edge stitch foot, for “stitching in the ditch” where the waistband attaches to the pants:


and standard multi-purpose zig-zag foot, which I forgot to photograph.

For the crotch seam, I used a triple stitch, which adds strength and some elasticity to the area where seams show the greatest stress:

thosthThat’s it!

Categories: Pants Tags:

Vogue 8499 – Mom Jeans Version

August 17th, 2011 8 comments

A couple of years ago I cut out these pants and sewed them mostly together at the home of my in-laws.  (This version is the one on the right in the image below.)  Then I came home and, well, put the unfinished project in a safe place.

Thanks to a bunch of re-organization that’s going on right now at Chez Noile, I re-discovered them, and have attached the waist band facing and finished them off.

Since first cutting these out, I’ve vowed to wear clothing that fits my body, rather than shapeless things that just overwhelm me, so this isn’t something I’d  necessarily either be sewing or wearing now.  For one thing, they’ve got something of a granny tush, thanks to the elastic back waist:

These are the smallest size in the envelope (8).   I’m theoretically supposed to wear a Vogue 12.  Riiiiight.  They billow all over, and definitely have a granny tush, along with an over-all “mom jeans” look when made in denim!   So beware:  This pattern runs large, very large.  It’s designed to be roomy.

Also, note the length — they’re just to the ankle on short old me (5 feet, 2 inches), but they don’t look cropped at all on the pattern photo, do they?  That’s because Vogue put them on tippy-toe dummies to make them look elongated, and to change your perception of the proportions.  Thought they’re long on me, they’d be quite cropped on a tall woman, and noticably short on a woman of medium height.

However, I recently  made a one-day round-trip drive to Brooklyn (on a weekday!  baaad idea!)  and spent more than two full hours travelling ten blocks in lower Manhattan on my way home.  Sitting interminably, and virtually immobile, in my little car, I was delighted that I was wearing clown pants with a granny tush.  I couldn’t have been more comfortable.  So there’s a time and a place for pants like these, and that was it.

The front pockets are fun, and this garment’s best feature:

The elastic back waist does make for the fastest rest stops ever.  No muss, no fuss, no bother.  That is, of course, if you’re not gridlocked in lower Manhattan.  These are super-comfortable pants, and nice and airy when the weather is over 90 degrees, and even when the fabric is a light, but firm, denim.

If I ever make them again, I’ll take in the legs as well as the tush; there’s just a lot more fabric there than is really needed, certainly for style, but even for comfort.  This is the third time I’ve made these pants, but I’m so over this kind of fit .  .  .  it’s time to celebrate my shape, not hide it.  In size 8, these fit me, but this is not a flattering look!


Vibram “Barefoot” Mary Janes!

How to Carry a Baguette (Or Two) In Your Skirt

Vogue 8499 – The Skirt, In Black

PR Mini-Wardrobe Contest: Vogue 8499

Vogue 8499 – Marcy Tilton Pants

Categories: Pants Tags:

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

July 22nd, 2011 No comments

My wardrobe plan includes three pair of leggings, all made from cjpatterns‘ BaseWear One pattern.  I cut the black pair just as the pattern was drafted; the cut is very, very skinny, and these are true leggings.   It’s tempting to think that “leggings are leggings”, but these are very nicely shaped, and I’ll probably use this pattern again and again.  Here’s the artsy cjpatterns envelope sketch:

I made the black ones exactly according to the pattern, and they are true leggings:  they fit like slightly loose tights.  I wanted the medium blue ones to be less narrow, so I cut them  about 1.75 inches wider on each side (legs only), thinking that they would be closer to pants-width than to leggings-width.

Naturally, I failed to check my math, or to consider that the medium blue fabric has less stretch than the black;  I ended up with another pair of leggings, not quite as slim as the first ones, but still too slim to wear without tush coverage.There’s even less stretch in the dark blue  knit, so I reduced those seam allowances by an additional 1/4 inch, which worked perfectly, but made them, also, much closer to leggings than to slim pants.

(The image is foreshortened, but you get the idea.  The shoes are Merrell “Barefoot” Pure Glove Mary Janes.)

The pattern is very simple,  and I made only three alterations:  Length, of course, because I’m short (I took some from the thigh, and some from the calf, to keep the proportions right), and I also lowered the waist line in front slightly, to fit my body better.  I also removed the casing allowance from the waist.

Jonson instructs stitchers to use one-inch elastic and make a casing; I don’t like casings in stretch fabrics, so I simply attached the elastic to the right side of the fabric, turned it, and stitched it vertically at center front, back, and sides to hold it in place.  I used one-inch elastic in the black pair, but wide elastic on the medium blue, as I usually prefer it, and treated it the same way.  I did the same thing on the dark blue pair, using inch-and-a-half elastic, but stitched along the lower edge of the elastic to hold it in place.

In my wardrobe scheme, these are really meant mostly as underpinnings for cooler days or evenings, so there’s not much chance I’ll post a picture of them actually on me you only get to see the lower legs here.  At least not one showing the tush area.  They’d be fine in exercise class, but probably attract too much of the wrong kind of attention anywhere else.

7/23/2011: Updated to add images, because I realized I had a couple of decent (non-tush) photos!


Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson Basewear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up


Categories: Christine Jonson, Pants Tags:

Vogue 8712: Move over, sweats, there’s a new kid in town!

February 14th, 2011 4 comments

After seeing Sham’s Vogue 8712 pants, I knew I had to have a pair!  They looked perfect for a week in the desert — my least favorite environment ever — and I figured that they were simple enough that I could whip them up fast before a sudden, unexpected, trip to the Sonoran desert of our own west.  (It’s winter in our deserts now, so shorts were not on the agenda.)  Front view:

Like Shams, I eliminated the zipper.  A zipper front fly on knit pants?  It boggles the mind.  Not to mention that it’s completely unnecessary for fit. Back view:

Vogue said that I should cut a size 14, so, naturally, I cut a 10.  It fit perfectly out of the envelope — although I did shorten the legs by three-eighths of an inch.  (Don’t ask.)  These pants are just past ankle-length on me; I’m five foot two inches tall.

I made these out of a ponte I bought from Kashi at Metro.  This was the first time I’d gone near a fabric like this in a long, long time, but, under Sham’s tutelage, I figured  I should give it a shot.  This is NOT the synthetic knit of yore!  The fabric was a dream to sew,  and even dreamier to wear.

My next version will be in a cotton knit, for actual summer here on the east coast.  These pants offer all the comfort of sweatpants, but without the slob factor, and they come out of a suitcase as if they’ve just been pressed.  They whip up very quickly, and they have pockets!   I’m planning to live in these every day.

By the way, see the shoes?

They’re Rockports, and machine-washable.  The liners come out and rinse and dry quickly.  I pack these as a second pair of shoes when I’ll be in warm weather.  They’re great as “slippers”, too, if you’ve been walking in more substantial shoes all day.

On a trip like this one, when I went from 16 degrees to 75, I wear my Keen sandals with wool socks to get through the snow (works a treat!), and then wear these or my Keens, sans socks, for the serious walking once at the warm-weather destination.  Although I didn’t happen to wear them on this trip, these little flats would have been fine for any day I’d wanted less clunky foot gear, and they’re great with skirts and dresses, too.  I love having them along as an option.

Categories: Pants Tags:

Reality Check

September 11th, 2010 10 comments

A lot of people have asked me to post a picture wearing my clown pants, so here it is.  I was fooling around when Mr. Noile was taking my picture, and when I saw the result, I realized that my pose was the complete antithesis of the photo on the pattern envelope.

First, one top is tucked in and one isn’t; one top has sleeves, and the other doesn’t;  one set of arms is tossed outward, one is folded inward; one set of  feet are together and one isn’t; one model is 5”9″, one is (*cough) shorter; one coif — well, we’re not going to get personal here.  Here are the two images, side by side, for the full effect:

Reality check!  Professional model versus the amateur who just got back from a picnic.   Can you tell the difference??  (Hint: the amateur is wearing water-safe Keens, whilst the professional has on a very cool pair of spectator shoes.  Happy to help!)

It’s just possible that these pants weren’t meant to be worn with a common tee shirt, or to a picnic full of Linux users.  Whatever.  They’re the most comfortable thing I’ve worn for alfresco dining in 75 degree weather in a long time.

I’m posting a couple of views of just the pants (modeled, that is, by the amateur) below, so that you can see them without distraction.

I’ve just noticed for the first time that the pants in the pattern photo don’t curve across the top of the foot — the hem is straight across.  On the other hand, you can barely make out the curve in the photo above because the hem is caught on the elastic pull tabs on the sandals.  Reality bites!

Also, I’ve just learned that white fabric is transparent, no matter how opaque it looks off a body.  Photos are so educational!

Here’s the back:

Didn’t get a good shot here with skin showing, but hey, this isn’t MPB and you won’t catch me encroaching on Peter’s turf (or his calendar plans.  You can thank me later.)

You can barely tell in the photo above, but the hem comes midway up my heel; exactly where I wanted it.

If you recall from my previous post, I trimmed quite a bit off the waist on these pants.  I think the next pair is going to get a fair bit chopped off the sides and legs, too.  I left a little more ease in the hips and legs than I probably should have for this pair; that was deliberate, as these have no give at all, and I really didn’t want fabric plastered to my body in summer heat.  I could shave another half inch off each side seam without losing the effect.  (“Ya think?” said Mr. Noile, with another of those eye rolls.  Hmmm.)

The tall amongst us should note that the proportions would be nicer with long legs, but these pants are so much fun, and so wonderful to wear, that shorties like me shouldn’t be discouraged.  Equal rights for all — that’s what makes this country great!

Previously:  Vogue 1116 – The Clown Pants!

Categories: Pants Tags:

Vogue 1116 – The Clown Pants!

September 8th, 2010 7 comments

Yes, the andreakatzobjects AKO atrocities!  And I love, love, love them!

Remember how I was vowing, in my very last post, about how I was never going to make anything geometric again, blah, blah, blah?  Well, I forgot about Vogue 1116.  In my defense, though, I just want to point out that this geometry has nothing to do with the rounded parts of my body.  This is a whole different matter.

I did NOT make the insane bow.  I have no problem running all around town in wacky pants, but even I am not eccentric enough to sew a huge decorative sash to the back of a pair of pants I may actually want to wear while sitting.

Because I no longer trust Vogue’s sizing chart, I used a size 12 pattern, although my waist is theoretically an inch-and-a-half too large for size 12.  I had a feeling that I’d be drowning in size 14 legs, so there was no way I was going there.

I did add 1.5 cm to the front waist, and reduced the back waist measurement by .5, since I was nervous about ease.  As a result, my initial fitting meant that my size 12 was 1 cm larger than Vogue’s.*  I didn’t really need that 1 cm, but the pants fit better because of the front/back alteration.  In the end, though, I had to make them smaller.  See the asterisked note below.

Majorly wrinkly; I know.   (Just like Vogue’s!)  I love crushed cotton and linen, though.  No complaints here.  Good thing, too, since every time they’re folded, they wrinkle anew.

The real challenge here was altering the length.  Not surprisingly, there’s no provision on the pattern tissue for an alteration anywhere but in the crotch.  After pin-fitting the pieces (fun, fun, fun — if you try it, you’ll see why!), I eyeballed the trickiest bits — the fronts and sides — metaphorically closed my eyes, and drew a straight line right above where the leg “boxes” begin.  Then I shortened the pants by 4 cm, which turned out to be perfect.

You probably think that the wildest thing about these pants is the sculptural affect on the legs.  But you’d be wrong!  The wackiest thing is the hem — the pant legs are hemmed straight across the back and side, but they’re curved — and faced!! — across the front.  Strange, indeed.  You can’t really see it in Vogue’s photo, but the curve follows the top of my foot very nicely.  It’s one of those wonderful touches no one will notice, but the maker knows is there.

The facing and hems didn’t match up perfectly; I’m guessing that’s my fault, not Vogue’s, and a result of my shortening the pattern.  But when I make these again, I won’t bother with the facing at all; I’ll trim the pant legs and face them with bias binding, turn it under and topstitch.   I think the facing’s just a lot of bother for no good reason.

The pants are meant to be lined, but that’s not happening in my lifetime.  Instead, I used the enclosed facing pieces (yes!  no drafting for me!) to face the waist.  I carefully used a cotton/poly as close to my skin tone as I could find, forgetting completely that I only had white interfacing on hand.  Oh well; the fabric’s opaque enough that it really wasn’t an issue.

Here’s a view of the back:

These pants were so much fun to make!  There you are, sewing along, making what looks like a perfectly normal pant leg.  Then you pivot, pivot again, and once more and bam! suddenly there’s a three-dimensional something under your needle! It just doesn’t get better than this.

The fabric is a new IKEA duvet rescued from the AS-IS bin.  I wanted something white and crisp, but not just ordinary sheeting, so this mondo-seersucker fit the bill perfectly.  And how much do I love having designer pants from IKEA’s cast-offs?  A bunch, folks, a bunch!

Tip for wearing:  The sculptural effect in the legs morphs when wearing the pants.  The legs become shape-shifters.  Although this is a rather cool effect, and probably part of the designer’s overall scheme, it’s not necessarily desirable when actually wearing the pants.  I ended up tacking the lower front of the jutting triangle to the pants legs on both sides.  This preserved the geometry, but made the pants far more wearable.

* This gets confusing:  After I wore the pants, I ended up taking in the waist another 6 cm, or about 2.4 inches.  This is a woven, non-stretch fabric, and the “ease” gapped badly when I was actually moving around.  This final alteration made my version of these pants over two inches narrower in the waist than the Vogue size 12 version. According to Vogue, I’m a perfect size 14 in the waist, so this is another score for Vogue’s ridiculous size chart.  Way to go, Vogue:  Mystery sizing — that’ll keep the home-sewing market strong!

Update:  A few more photos and observations at Reality Check

Categories: Pants Tags:

Cuffing Travel/Trekking Pants

April 20th, 2010 2 comments

Every pair of travel/trekking pants I own has a bunch of features I really like, but no one pair has every feature I like.  The particular pair I’m posting about here are nearly perfect, but the legs are much wider than I prefer for most uses.  Most such pants have tabs, snaps, or some other way to cinch in the legs, but this pair doesn’t.  That’s because they have side seam zippers so that the legs can be easily pulled over hiking boots:

That’s a great feature, but on me, these legs are waaaaay too wide.  I needed some way to rein in that yardage!

There was no way to find fabric that was exactly like the one used for the pants,  so I bought a half-dozen buttons and sewed two small loops made of 1/8th-of-an-inch elastic.  I sewed two buttons just close enough to hold the elastic loop next to the pant leg.  Then I sewed a third button on each leg far enough away so that stretching the elastic to reach it made the pant leg as small as I wanted.

Then I sewed each elastic loop permanently around the far left button.  The free loop slips over the button to the near right when the pants are being worn with the legs wide, keeping the elastic from flopping.  The far button is used to hold the loop in place when the pant legs are cinched:

A pleat is automatically formed under the buttons, and voilà, no more balloon-legs.  Or ticks crawling above your socks.  Much better.

Categories: Pants, Tips Tags:

PR Mini-Wardrobe Contest: Vogue 8499

May 17th, 2008 No comments

First piece finished! I originally made a muslin of these Marcy Tilton pants from a linen-like fabric. This version, for this month’s Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe Contest, is made from a black cotton blend sateen fabric with just a little stretch. The “stretch” was pretty irrelevant to this particular pattern, but it adds nice wearability to the pants.

These pants are just as much fun to wear as the first pair, but they look very different. The linen version has a flowing weight, and a casual, crumpled look. The black sateen is crisper, and these pants look almost tailored, even though the legs are so over-sized. I love the effect — these are pants I never think about while I’m wearing them. They just feel like a part of me.

Many reviewers have commented the sizing on this pattern is huge. It is! Be careful when you cut — you may need as many as four sizes smaller (I did!). Once you’ve got the right size, though, these pants are great — the flat front keeps them trim looking, and, even though the back waist is elasticized, shaping in the rear keeps the seat from bagging or looking puffy. In real life; this photo isn’t exactly proving my point, so I’m asking you to take it on faith. There’s the ease you’d expect from an elastic waist, but the seat fits mine pretty closely:

When I run elastic through a waistband, I like to make it adjustable and replaceable. Normally, I add buttonholes to each end of the elastic, but this time I sewed a bit of woven trim to each end, and will make the buttonholes in it. I’m waiting for the return of my Pfaff to do the buttonholes, but here’s what the tabs look like:

Not only does this look a little nicer, but it’s also a bit more comfortable to wear.

These were sewn on a Fashion Mate 237 that I bought several years ago, but hadn’t used since then. The fabric for the next item on my mini-wardrobe storyboard isn’t as forgiving as this one was, though, and I’m going to have to address some issues on the Fashion Mate before I start on it. Yikes! We’re already more than halfway through May!

Categories: Pants Tags:

Vogue 8499 – Marcy Tilton Pants

April 27th, 2008 4 comments

This pattern is turning out to be one of my all-time favorites. This time I made the pants.

I love, love, love them! Yesterday was cold and rainy, and after running a few errands I retired to the sewing room and whipped them up. Mine are made of the same quirky linen blend I used for the skirt, and it turned out to be a great choice. It’s heavy enough so that the pants hold their shape, but it also flows very pleasingly.

(Apologies for the horrible wrinkles on the great pants. I made them, I wore them, I abused them. If you look at this fabric, it creases. I should have ironed them again before the photos, but I did not hesitate when the photographer was free. So the good news is that the pictures are on a real body. The bad news is that the fabric’s a disaster.) Side view:

The pattern directions were very clear, and construction is very simple. There’s a lot of topstitching, which takes some time, but nothing complex to deal with. However, be forewarned that the sizing is more than a little strange. Theoretically, I should have cut a size 14 (I wear an 8 or 10 in RTW, unless it’s really expensive RTW, in which case it’s a 4 or 6). BilllieJean’s review on Pattern Review confirmed my suspicion that these would run large: I cut a size 8, hedging my bet by cutting the crotch seam as a 10, and it was perfect. They’re still plenty big and flow-y, but that’s clearly the point.

The pants are also peculiarly long. I’m only 5’2″, so it could be argued that anything seems long to me, but I made View B (the cropped pants) and the length is right where I think it should be for View C (the long version). I may add one inch next time, but these are pretty good just as they are. I deliberately chose not to alter the pant leg length. There are wonderful darts that shape each leg, probably bracketing the knees on people of average height. Without a proper alteration, the top dart hits just at the top of my knee, instead of both bracketing it symetrically, with one dart well above, and one well below. I chose to view the darts as a structural detail rather than an accommodation to a joint; I think they look fine on me right where they fell.

I made one change: The waistband is flat in front (nice!), with a casing for elastic in back. I sewed two flat buttons to the inside of the front waistband, and made reinforced buttonholes in the elastic that I ran through the casing. This not only allows for some future adjustability, but also will let me replace worn elastic easily later. This is a simple trick I especially like for anything I wear when traveling.

This version was meant to be a muslin, but it’s turned out to be very wearable. Eventually, I think I’ll have to make them out out of my namesake fabric; they’d be spectacular in silk noil.

Categories: Pants Tags: