I live and die in my black Summer pants from The Ark Clothing Company. They have just the right balance of stretch and fit. They make my legs look slimmer, and I just feel fabulous in them. They’re flat on my tummy and all the way round my hips, so no bulk from zippers, button tabs, and no cutting waistbands.
They’re made of a lightweight fabric, just perfect for Spring and Summer. Even Autumn. But Winter? Not so much. They’re also just a little too short, and a smidgen too tight on my calves to look good over my new black leather knee-high boots.
So, I decided to sew myself another pair in a slightly heavier fabric. First thing to do was buy something cheap so I could make up a muslin. I bought some stretch Bengaline (65% poly/32% rayon/3% spandex) at Spotlight in brown for $10.95 a metre. With their sale and my Spotlight card, the price went down considerably, somewhere around $8 a metre, I think.
After cutting out my pattern pieces on that “cheap and nasty” interfacing I bought at Clegs, I proceeded to make up my muslin in the Bengaline, hoping that it would look good, and that I’d end up with a pair of pants I could actually wear.
I cut the leg a little wider from just above the knee down to the ankle, adding about 1/2″ to the pattern piece. Hopefully, this would improve the ease with which I could pull the pants on over my knee-highs.
Now, what I ended up with is a very wearable pair of pants. I wore them to death. I kept meaning to take pictures of them, and have someone take a photo of me wearing them, but somehow, the time of day when that thought would enter my brain was mostly when I was taking them off to put my pyjamas on, and get into bed. So, unfortunately, I don’t have any images of when the pants were nice and new. To make matters worse, eventually, and much to my annoyance, I had to wash them, and to my dismay, what came out of the machine was anything but a wearable pair of pants. The fabric had faded, and when I pressed the pants, …well, you can see how “lovely” the pocket looks after pressing. Not so nice! Even so, I could have lived with all that, but the part I just can’t dismiss is that they shrank! Now, they’re just as short on my leg as my black pair, which means that I can’t wear them with boots, defeating the whole intention!
I learned a few lessons with this pair of pants, which is very valuable.
- If I think I might be able to wear the muslin as a garment, then I really ought to wash the fabric before cutting. I didn’t realize just how well this pair of pants would turn out. I thought they’d end up in the scrap heap. Shame. I could have worn them for a bit longer.
- See how the cotton I used is very visible? I think I”ll try harder to get a colour that is more camouflaged. Or at least, is a nice colour if I want a contrast.
- After wearing and washing, my pocket ended up a little stretched, and didn’t sit flat any more. So, next time, I’ll make the pockets fit a little better by slightly stretching the top of the pocket when placing it on the pant back.
Overall, I’m actually really happy with how this project turned out. I now have a pattern that will work easily for a pair of slim pants, and, by adding the extra 1/2″ to the calf, I can make a pair of nice boot-leg pants. I reckon this pattern I drafted will get plenty of use. I can see myself making at least a couple more pairs of pants like these in the not-so-distant future!