Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m celebrating by rocking my first successful SWAP pattern—AND THEY’RE PANTS!
I’ve had so many fails with my multiple attempts at several pieces in this capsule wardrobe that I was so happy when something finally just worked! Who would’ve thought the first pattern to actually come to a fruition would be PANTS!
I chose New Look 6399 for the pants because they remind me of a pair of RTW white cotton jersey pants I love to lounge in. But because those are white, I only really get to use them in the spring and summer (and sparingly because I inevitably spill something on them immediately each time I do wear them—I’m just stain-prone!).
Sizing with the “Big 4” commercial patterns is always a bit of a crap shoot for me. Remember my joggers that I was able to size down 4″ from my given hip measurement?
N6399 lists all kinds of wovens but also jerseys and matte jerseys as recommended fabrics. I had a very stretchy camel/sand colored micro suede knit that I’m pretty sure I bought from an orphan fabric store, where fabric is sold by the pound. (I also scored some of it in a bluvender colorway and intend to make a shirt out of it.) For some reason I only had the pattern smaller range of sizes, so despite not being anywhere near the size 16 measurements of waist 30″ and hips 40″ (I’m 37″ and 44″, respectively) that’s the size I sewed up.
So apparently I can now safely use a hip measurement of 40″ for both Simplicity and New Look patterns…at least in knit fabric.
Let’s talk about this fabric. The drape is crazy liquidy and the hand is so incredibly soft. I couldn’t stop petting it! It was a bit challenging to sew though. I’m not sure if I needed a smaller or thicker needle but the size 80/12 ballpoint had a difficult time passing through sometimes. On my serger I used 90/14 ballpoints and they worked pretty okay through multiple layers. It was worth the struggle for what feels like super luxe stretchy lounge pants.
But because these were pants, of course they didn’t fit straight out of the gate. I’m short waisted and I think also have a short crotch (I don’t know the technical term for it) since I’ve had too much crotch room in the last few pants I’ve made. This means I have to bring my pants all the way up to my boobs in order to avoid a droopy crotch/MC Hammer pants.
I don’t know exactly how to fix this, but in this instance I started by dropping the waist band down 2.5 inches all the way around. This started a battle of increments that required removing the basted waistband FOUR separate times before I finally got them almost perfect. I say almost because they’re still pretty high-waisted when I just wanted them at my belly button but after a while done was better than perfect.
The final outcome was: 1.5″ removed all the way around tapering to only 1.125″ at center back. I could still use another inch or so removed from the crotch directly at center front, but that can’t be solved by moving the waistband down and that’s all I felt confident enough to do.
And because I’m only 5’3″ (with shoes on, so in these pictures I’m a half-inch shorter), the hems were also a bit of a nightmare. There are side slits on View A of the pants (or I could have opted for ties instead with View B), but it was easier to serge those closed and figure out the hem without complicating it more with how long the slit opening should be AFTER I figured out the length I needed. I ended up taking about 1.5″ out of the length by giving myself a deep 1.25″ hem and cutting off the additional half inch. It was less than I thought I would need. Apparently all of my height/length is in my legs.
I learned a neat trick from one of my sewing groups that I put into use here. When inserting elastic into a waistband from a side seam like this instructs you to, sew a buttonhole or satin stitch around the opening. This keeps the hole open but you won’t have to deal with the seam allowance peeking out! Because I know I’m going to need to shorten the waist elastic eventually, this way I can take out the existing elastic without ripping open the waistband (again)!
It would have been a much more successful trick if I had remembered to do this BEFORE I was about to finally serge the waistband on. I really didn’t want to have to reattach the waistband for a fifth time. So I simply removed the basting from that one area, and machine tacked around the opening. Again, done was better than perfect at this point.
We took these photos in our living room just before I started cooking dinner (and immediately after filming our V-day episode of Beerocrats TV—in which I succeeded in wearing a me made top!). Everything was going swimmingly…until I accidentally knocked the spoon out of the chili and it landed right on my pants! Did I mention I’m stain-prone? I attacked the greasy stain with Zout immediately and the pants are fine.
Till next time anyway! They will be getting a lot of wear, that’s for sure!
Such great drape!
One down, eight to go!
Final thoughts: while the pants are great and I really do love them, I am on the lookout for a slimmer leg. I think because I’m short and squat, pants that are straight down from the hip like this look more like wide leg pants on me. If you have any recommendations for casual pull-on pants with a slimmer leg, please let me know!
Pattern: New Look 6399 View A
Fabric: micro suede knit in camel/sand color
Modifications: dropped waistband 1.5″ all around tapering to only 1.125″ at center back, closed slits in side seams at hem, omitted waist tie
Notes for next time: figure out crotch curve and pinch out an extra inch in center front.