Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pants Schmants

Big fat failure.  

I  hate making pants.

To be fair, though, these trousers were a ufo from almost two years ago.  Early on in my sewing adventures I decided to have a go at making pants.  I used Simplicity 2700, a trouser pattern from the Amazing Fit collection. Being a total novice, I was completely undaunted by the idea of fitting trousers.   I remember thinking I should cut a size larger- that way I wouldn't have any issues with being too snug in the hip and thigh.  I figured I could then just spend some time taking them in at all the right places.  Fit issues solved, right?

Yikes! Posted only for the good of the group.

Anyway, that's not how it worked out.   When I started these, however many months ago, I pretty much finished everything except the waistband.  They were hanging in my closet unfinished because I mistakenly thought I still had to do the fly.  I didn't realize that I had actually already sewn the fly, just not the waistband.   My two-year-ago-sewing-self didn't do a half-bad job on the fly.  Not necessarily good, but not horrible.  They are made from very lightweight denim- no stretch.

 Let's compare to my favorite pair of jeans.   I think it's interesting to see the two side by side.   I know that the main reason the trousers on the right don't work is the size.  I went up a size and I shouldn't have.  Also, the fact that they are trousers is a factor.   The fit is different than a normal pair of jeans.  Trousers are less fitted through the upper thigh and hip.   They hang from the bum while jeans conform a little more.  I don't like my jeans to be super tight.  Also, my favorite pair of jeans has an awesome knee dart and triangle shape insert below.  I'd love to be able to come up with a pattern for that.  Have you ever seen anything like that in a commercial trouser pattern before?  Also, why is the fly reversed? 

There may be too many differences for true comparison, but here are a few observations on Simplicity 2700 anyhow; rise is too high (combined with the larger size means the crotch hangs too low), something is off with the crotch depth (don't ask me about crotch length, I have no clue) and the waistband is perfect for a Lego person.  On the plus side, I feel like these would work well in a  heavy, drape-y wool.  Something with a bit of stretch.  I like the double dart included in the "curvy" version.  I think the darts help with the fit above the bum, though I'm not particularly happy with the rear view.

Oh well.  Moving on. Every sewing experience is just that, I guess- a little more experience.


  1. I've tired to makes pants three times this year and each has been awful, so I feel ya here. I'll keep trying though!

  2. Trousers are a nightmare to sew but every time you try you learn something new. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I've done 4 of 5 pair and none is perfect. Not giving up though!

  3. I hear you. Throusers are evil... A while ago I decided that it's not worth it. I've sewn a few pants in my life but overall I'd rather spend the money. I buy them mostly from H&M anyway. They wear out but the selfmade did, too. Now shorts are a different story, but as for long legged pants, I don't want to bother. I just don't understand the fitting and it'S giving me headaches just thinking about it, so I rather stop.

  4. Lego person! haha!

    There must be something about RTW jeans fabric that just molds to your butt because I just can't seem to replicate that effect with pants I make myself.

    That knee dart is pretty cool. I've never seen one before.

  5. Trousers are fiendishly difficult to fit. As RTW trousers are beyond awful on me (5-6 hours of alterations), and I have to wear trousers to work, for me it was worth working very hard to fit a TNT pattern. It took about 12 months and 12 pairs of trousers, and I still baste the side seams on every pair I make, as the fabric properties change the fit. (I admit to a strongly trouser resistant figure,your fitting would be much less troublesome)
    If you can be bothered, there are some very long and detailed forum discussions at Stitcher's Guild about how to do this - I think there are plenty on Pattern Review too.

  6. Boo, I just lost my comment. Here it goes again:

    I love this: Being a total novice, I was completely undaunted by the idea of ... That's the story of my life! But I sort of miss that utter abandon of being a beginner.

    Good for you for finishing. I bet if you're ever up for it again you'd know exactly what you needed for a successful pair -- and you could trace your fave! (I recommend it, especially the legs, so hard to replicate in a pattern)

  7. I feel your pain. I've done three tries at the Lisette portfolio pants and none were any good... Crotch too high, Crotch too low, Too Short too tight...
    I cut a pair of GAP jeans I had up and put them against my newly altered pattern... I couldn't work out why the thigh area was bigger on my pattern so I just cut to the jeans with a bit of Seam allowance... The crotch is fine but the top part of the leg is a disaster area. I'm determined to get a TnT out of all this weeks work. I need to frankenpattern them together and make another one! *DEEP Breath*
    I totally get the pants blues! x

  8. Pants are frustrating. Although from the photo I would not call these a total fail. I would probably proudly wear any pants that looked that good--probably with pride.
    The weird thing about pants is that fitting the hips and fitting the crotch area seem to require totally different methods and yet a change to one affects the other area in rather unpredictable ways. Worst, too big pants cannot be cut down because then the crotch is way too low. Then there is the fabric issue, which always seems to kick me in the butt (or panty line.)

    The only pattern I have seen with knee darts was an Ottobre pattern for boys, but I don't see why you couldn't add on.e in (and then add more length back to the bottom).

  9. ooh, awesome fail. seriously. we should have a fail week.

  10. Sigrid that's a good point. Pants are so frustrating to fit because changes to one area affect the other areas. And it seems people spend a long time perfecting a pattern. I guess once you have a perfect pattern you don't want your body to change shape!

    Thanks for the kind words, people. Nice to know I'm not alone in my frustration.

  11. I think the rear view is good for a trouser style. But, unfortunately, you're right about the front crotch being too long. :( I hate pants! But I do wish I had a reliable pattern for some because one needs to wear pants *occasionally* when it's too damn cold.

  12. Pants are so hard! It's hard for me to find a pant that fits correctly retail, much less getting a correct fit from a made-by-me pair. Also, I think sewing makes you even more picky from knowing so much about the way clothing should fit.

  13. Oh dear, I'm so sad these are a fail (although the thought of trousers for a Lego person did make me laugh!)
    But don't give up! Each new garment is a learning experience and you will master it. If you have a well defined waist, then try basting and taking the next pair in at the side seams as well as the centre back seam, and trying it on like this before you add your waistband. A shaped waistband makes for a better fit for a small waisted person too, making the waist band a curved shape, like a smile. Sorry I'm not explaining myself very well....
    Also to consider, if you have a yoke or a waistband on a skirt pattern that fits you really well, you can try substituting this on your next pair of trousers.

  14. Your fail trousers look better than the best-fitting ready-to-wear trousers I've been able to find. I'm totally going to make a pair of trousers next--I just keep telling myself it will all work out somehow.

  15. Hi Lisa, I really like the front view, actually. I can see why you don´t like the back, but I have no idea how to fix it... I plan to make pants too, so this is very helpful to me!