After my fellow editor Michelle highlighted Simplicity’s new “Pattern Hacking” line in her curvy pattern round-up in April, my interest was piqued. What exactly did they mean by pattern hacking? I associate pattern hacking with making changes to a pattern that go above and beyond what’s described in the instructions or on the pattern pieces. How would a pattern hacking pattern work? It seemed like a bit of an oxymoron to me.
A Simplicity sale at Joann and our own Pattern Hacking Month gave me the perfect opportunity to indulge my curiosity. Always on the hunt for the perfect pant, I opted to try Simplicity 8378, an elastic-waist knit pant pattern with wide and narrow leg options.
In the instructions, Simplicity says “Make your patterns work for you! With a bit of creative pattern hacking, you can create fresh new looks every time. We supply you with the basic tools to unlock endless possibilities. Each pattern piece provided is completely customizable, no matter your style or sewing level.”
Pattern name: Simplicity 8378
As you can see from the pattern cover, Simplicity has technical drawings for several “hacks” for each pant type. For the slim leg pant, there is the option to crop the pants, add side slits or insert elastic for jogger-style pants. For the wide leg pant, options for angled or high/low hems are pictured.
When I saw the technical drawings, I assumed that Simplicity would provide just the basic pattern, as well as some narrative instructions on these “hacks” (like “cut at an angle from the inseam to the outer leg, 8″ up from the hem” or something to that effect). However, when I opened the pattern, I found that the pattern pieces themselves have markings for these “hacks” already drawn onto the tissue, and separate pieces for some of the “hacks,” like the curved high/low leg!
To me, this is not pattern hacking, but merely a pattern with multiple “views,” no different from a traditional Simplicity or Big 4 pattern. The only other difference of note was that the pattern included a third pattern sheet with no pattern pieces, but covered in a 1×1″ grid. I guess this is meant for future hacks?
Size range: XXS-XXL; up to a 41.5″ waist and a 50″ hip, which is equivalent to Simplicity’s size 26.
What size did you make? I opted for the narrow leg pant and cut a size XL. My measurements put me in between sizes L and XL, so I went with the bigger one to be safe.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? I have 36″ waist and 46″ hip, and am generally pear-ish shaped. I’m 5’7.5″
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take? I wasn’t planning on making any adjustments, but in the end, after trying them on, I decided to shorten the pants by 1.5″ at the hem because they were just too long (I’m decently tall, but my height is not in my legs!). I probably could have shortened them even more, as they’re a big saggy at the bottom. I also felt the plain hem pants turned out a little bit boring and overly slouchy, so I added the elastic in the bottom hem, which was one of the “hacks.” I left off the in-seam pockets because I loathe in-seam pockets.
What fabric did you use? I used a charcoal grey rayon ponte, figuring it would make a good wardrobe staple. In retrospect, I think my choice of grey contributed to my feeling that the pants turned out too slouchy. Grey just reads “sweatpants.”
What was the construction process like? The construction process was very straightforward. It’s a dead simple pattern, but even if you chose one of the “hacks,” none of them significantly complicate the construction and would add only minimal extra sewing time.
Did the instructions make sense to you? I found the instructions to be interesting. I don’t sew a ton of Simplicity patterns, but I have sewn a few in my day. It seems that Simplicity has adopted a more casual, conversational tone for this pattern’s instructions (maybe in response to the indie pattern companies?). Lots of typos and grammatical errors, though, as well as some awkward wording. It felt a little bit like they were trying too hard to be cutesy.
The instructions were pretty straightforward, though. As with most Big 4 patterns with multiple “views,” the instructions jump back and forth between views. Additionally, the “hack” instructions are sprinkled throughout.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape? I think the fit is fine. They’re a little bit big for me, but, as I mentioned, my measurements had me smack in between two sizes. Sizing up to XL made them a bit slouchier than the versions on the pattern cover. They were also a bit long, so I had to shorten them. Otherwise, they’re a pretty solid, basic pant. No weird crotch issues, a nice high rise.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make? I might make them again, although I think I would try out the wide leg version and I might size down to the size L.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up? These pants are so straightforward to sew that I didn’t consult any additional resources. The pattern is basically the simplest pant pattern you could imagine – just front and back leg pieces, not even a separate waistband piece- so they would be a perfectly good beginner pants pattern. However, if you need extra support, I would recommend checking out our Curvy Pants Month posts, particularly the Pantsmaking Resources: Fitting and Construction post.
Pattern Rating (1 is the lowest score, 5 the highest)
Size Range: 4 The range is ok, but could be much more generous, especially in light of how simple the pattern is. Why not have these patterns go all the way up to through the plus sizes, Simplicity?
Instructions: 4.5 The instructions are perfectly adequate and include directions on a handful of minor “hacks” to the basic pattern.
Construction Process: 4.5 No problems with construction on this simple pattern.
Final Fit: 4.5 Pretty much as expected, a good basic knit pant!
Overall Rating: Hmmm… as a solid, basic knit pant pattern, I’ll give this a 4.5. However, I would give this a lower rating for the “pattern hacking” concept. I don’t really feel that this pattern is any different from a traditional pattern with multiple options/views. Maybe I’m being harsh, but I don’t think the way its been done requires the requisite creativity that I associate with pattern hacking.