When I saw that CSC were planning a Curvy Pants Month, my heart sank a little. Pants (or trousers as we tend to call them here in the UK) are my nemesis. My experience of making them is not happy. They usually end up being too small, too big, too long, or just plain unflattering, emphasizing my “apron” and short legs. Worse, most pants pattern reviews I read are about slim-fitting, hip-hugging skinny jeans or tailored trousers with flat fronts, none of which interests or suits me.
So, I emailed the CSC team and asked the question – would they please consider including some more “arty” designs in their feature – like lagenlook, or baggy pants, which just might fit me and help to hide my lumpy bits? I should be more careful what I wish for, because the answer was, “Yes, please! Will you write an article for us?” So, here I am, not with a pattern review exactly, more a chat, or show-and-tell, about my baggy pants journey.
Now, I love the lagenlook style. That is, I love to look at pictures of it and I love seeing other, braver, women wearing it. Those flouncy dresses and frilly pantaloons are so pretty! However, I’m not sure the style loves me. I don’t have the courage to wear it myself. I’m scared I will be laughed at or look like a clown. I still love the look, though, and I’ve often succumbed to temptation and bought the patterns – with the result that I have built up a collection of about 30 lagenlook patterns plus a huge mountain of linen and cotton fabrics to make them, but up til now I have only made a couple of self-drafted tunics in a very watered-down way. But…..I’d agreed to write an article on lagenlook pants…..so now what?
I got out my frilliest pantaloons patterns, mostly by Tina Givens, Verity Hope and Hys-Mode Schnittmuster and took a long look through them and promptly lost my nerve as usual. Then, I remembered I had some similar patterns in my other box, by Marcy Tilton, Hot Patterns and Style Arc. Perhaps they might be safer for me, and maybe one or two of them could be adapted to look a bit more “lagen-arty”? I decided to start with the Style Arc Ethel Designer Pants, which go up to a size 30 (61” hip). My measurements are bust 53”, waist 50”, hips 55”.
I made them in a medium weight natural linen/flax fabric in a size 26. I shortened the hems by 2 inches, and added a double-folded pleated trim to the leg bottoms for a lagenlook detail. As usual with Style Arc, the instructions were a little sparse, but these are a simple design so didn’t cause me any problems.
And what do you know? They fit, they are really comfy, they cover up my “apron” successfully and go quite well with my 2 year old self-drafted linen tunic! I give this pattern an overall 4.5 out of 5 rating. It would have been a 5 if the instructions had been more detailed, but that’s always the case with Style Arc patterns in my experience.With my confidence growing, I remembered a book all about “arty” sewing: Bold & Beautiful Easy Sew Clothes by Habibe Acikgoz.
The book includes patterns for 2 pairs of pants plus various tunics, jackets, skirts and dresses. One of the pants patterns looked ideal for my next foray into the world of lagenlook. I chose a 2 metre length of linen and cotton mix plaid from my stash and decided to make the Wide Leg Pants in a size 4 (UK equivalent 24-26), printing the pattern from the CD included with the book.I had to shorten the length by 4 inches as they appear to have been designed for a 6 foot supermodel (i.e. not me), but otherwise I made them exactly to size and as drafted. Following the book instructions was a bit frustrating as (1) size charts are in a different section to each pattern, (2) seam allowances are not referred to at all and (3) you have to flip from one section to another to find instructions for some parts, e.g. elastic insertion, ties and casings. I guessed the seam allowances to be the standard 5/8” and luckily that worked. But I got there in the end and I like them! There is no way , though, that I’d dare wear them with the ties flapping dangerously around my feet as shown in the pictures, so I tied them up at the sides.Once again they hide the bits of me that I don’t want to show, the fit is good, and they look more or less like they do in the book photos. I give this pattern a 4 out of 5 rating, deducting a point for the ridiculously long length and the confusing way the instructions are given in the book. Now that I know what to expect, I plan to try their hanky-hem tunic next (the one shown on the book cover). Readers, there is no stopping me now! Other lagenlook type patterns I am now determined to try include the following:
If you are like me–dubious about slim-fit or tailored trousers, but fancying a bit of arty-lusciousness, comfort, and you are brave enough to wear them–why not have a go at making some lagenlook pants? I’m feeling much braver now I’ve started!