I know, they can seem a bit – how do I put this mildly – daunting? Overwhelming? Worthy of ignoring or skipping? As a curvy sewer who is also tall, pants scare me. But, I’ve made them before. Sure, I had a little less hip and a lot less momma tummy when I did it, but I loved the result. They fit perfectly. They were wide-legged, and I wish I had a photo of them. Sure, I messed up on the zipper, but I was 23 and still learning how to sew. I wore them proudly to work (with a shirt that covered the zipper) and no one knew I’d made them.
When I saw that there was an opportunity to pattern test a pants pattern that went up to size XXL, I jumped on it. Palazzo pants, for those who are not initiated, hang from the hips and flare out, with wide legs. I was selected for E-Beth Designs pool of pattern testers, and in exchange for giving notes on what worked and didn’t work with the pattern as it was created, I was given the Parisian Palazzo Pants pattern to test.
I was a little nervous, as the hips were 51″ on the pattern, and my hips fluctuate between 50″ and 53″ depending upon the day. Yup, it’s frustrating, but I’ve learned to work with it! I had a great green silk-linen blend that I’d picked up at a thrift store that I wanted to use on the finished version of the pants, but before I cut into it, I wanted to be sure that the pants pattern would fit me. So, I found this less than savory plaid fabric that I had gotten in a mixed fabric lot from ShopGoodwill.com. I kept thinking, “Gee, this plaid is so ugly… I don’t mind cutting up as much of it as necessary to get the fit right.”
So I cut up the plaid. I didn’t bother to try to match seams, because you know… I was just doing it for fit. I didn’t even check to see what thread was on my machine! Like a mad woman, I sewed through the middle of the night.
Oh, I didn’t mention that I’m a middle of the night sewer? Yes, well sometimes, you see, I get terrible insomnia and I stay up all night sewing. This was one such night. My husband was asleep. My teenage boy was asleep. Even the baby was asleep. There was no one to behold that which had become the giant awesome plaid pants.
Somehow, I managed to match the plaid (I don’t know how that happened). I wasn’t trying. I was stunned. I put the pants on. I checked the fit. They were a bit tight on the sides, and the rise seemed a bit low – but I figured I’d be wearing them (because at this point I decided the plaid pants must certainly be worn, curvy woman or not, to make manifest the true glory that was the plaid pants) with a fitted shirt since they were loose. I went back to my machine, and hemmed the legs. Bam! I was done.
And everyone was still asleep. I tried doing the selfie in the mirror thing. I captured the picture of them on the couch. But these were begging to be photographed. FINALLY, my son woke up for school. I shoved the camera in his hands and led him outside, half awake.
I had my Valentino birthday shoes on, and I was ready to go. Click, click, click, and the fit pictures were done, and I sent them to Elizabeth. I was really happy with the fit, but made a note that when I’d make them again in the green fabric, just for my own comfort’s sake, I’d make them slightly longer in the rise and add a little bit to the hips.
Once the pattern was released, still so excited about my pants, I posted some of my pictures on Facebook. A lot of people liked them, but it only took one person, one comment, to burst my pants bubble. I’d been calling them my happy pants, and then bam:
“No woman should wear that much plaid.”
I felt crushed. This came from a very dear friend, and it was couched in “You’re very talented…” My happy pants had suddenly caused me to feel a very real sting. They’ve been sitting in the closet ever since. I still really love them… I just worry about being judged for wearing them.
I had this experience with my plaid pants in mind when I went to begin the green version, the “real” version. I had noted that the fabric was really lightweight, so I decided that I would line them. I added 2 inches to the pants in the hips and an inch to the rise to make them come a little higher up on me. Then, I cut the same adjustments out of the lining. The very first thing I managed to do was sew the lining shorts (I didn’t want the lining to go all the way to the ground because I liked the idea of them looking wispy) in the wrong spots… so that somehow I’d managed to make both legs into one big tube. Don’t ask me how I did it. These became the pants… the Green Pants of Seam Ripping.
Once I got the lining squared away, I was ready to work on the pockets. I had this bright idea that I would use some leftover white lace fabric I had on the pockets. I love the way it looks now, but I don’t even know what I did there either. I managed to somehow get it all uneven… and yup… had to rip out the seam. Gah! Arg! So then… finally, I got the pants made… except… the waistband topstitching was all wonky AND I trimmed the seam allowance on one of the legs too close to the stitching and it tore out.
As you can see, this was all human error! It’s because I kept thinking, “This is an easy pattern. I made it once before. I can breeze through this!” In the end I put the pants on time out. They sat, next to my sewing machine, while I made three shirts, a purple sweater dress, and several things for my daughter and son.
Finally, I pulled them out and looked at them. I had to fix the spot I clipped into the waistband somehow (there’s a little hole in the fabric there). I mended it with some fusible interfacing and another piece of fabric behind it. You can barely notice the problem. At least, that’s what I tell myself. I decided not to rip out the waistband as I’ll have it covered with the waistband of my shirt anyway. I love the lace pockets though, they’re a really nice detail. I fixed the seam, and hemmed the pants. And bam, they were done.
Sometimes, you just really need to take a break from a certain garment before frustration causes you to try to “power through” it and you damage it. I learned a lot of things from making the pants. When making them, I strongly recommend making at least a quick muslin to check for the fit. The plaid pants surprised me because they had a lot of ease built in. I probably should have only added one inch to my green version, but I wanted to be sure that when I sit they would still be comfortable and wouldn’t tear, since they’re made of a much thinner woven fabric. They are loose and I should probably fix that. They also do a weird thing around my crotch that the other pair didn’t do. I am honestly not sure how to fix that. I think it might be the fabric since the thread did weird things while I was sewing it.
I really liked the plaid pair and I don’t know how I managed to work them so well. I really do not like this pair. I think that if I were to make them again, I wouldn’t adjust the width at all from the original pattern. I also wouldn’t use this fabric again. I think this fabric is going to be relegated to the land of purse interiors or something else. I may even harvest these for fabric for another project. Anyway, these were the Green Pants of Seam Ripping, and frankly, while the pattern was really easy to use, and I really liked my quick and dirty fitting pair, this pair gave me nothing but headaches!
And seriously, if anyone knows how to fix that awful thing going on with the crotch, I’m open to suggestions! I like the idea of dressing these up or down…