I never thought I would actually be saying this – but I made myself a pair of leopard skinnies. Wheee!
Grey leopard is a neutral… right?!
I’m trying to get more into wearing pants that aren’t, well, denim. As much as I love my I+W jeans (so much, in fact, that I went out and bought myself a second pair a couple of weeks ago. I’m bordering on “collector” at this point, eep), sometimes I find myself gazing jealously at the girls in their wacky print leggings and purple skinny jeans. NO FAIR, I WANT TO JOIN THAT PARTY. So when I saw this leopard print stretch twill at the Mood Fabrics site, I knew I’d found the perfect piece for a lil’ toe-dipping.
This twill is pretty awesome, honestly. It’s got a nice stretch, but it’s hefty enough so you don’t see panty lines (a must with pants this tight… and I don’t wear thongs. TMI? Oh well. Maybe you need magical undie-covering fabric too!). The lycra content keeps the seam allowances from shedding too much – which is good, cos this pattern had me going crazy over the fitting, 1″ seam allowances and everything. Not a good time to start unraveling!
Since the twill is a brushed cotton, it’s even a little bit fuzzy. Love it!
For my pattern, I used McCall 6440. This pattern is… ok. The fitting was a pain in the ASS, pardon the pun, mostly because the pattern has way too much ease. I’ve actually made these up one time before (but it’s ~top secret~ so you can’t see those quite yet… oops I’ve said too much already ;)), so I knew kinda sorta what I was getting into. The main issue with sewing something out of stretch fabric is that every fabric has a different stretch factor (well, maybe not *every* fabric, but there are certainly enough differences to keep one guessing!), so you generally end up doing some tweaking to get the pieces to look right, in addition to going down a size or two to make up for the negative ease.
These are a size 6, with some additional tapering taken out at the legs and the waistband. FWIW, the body size for a 6 is supposed to have a 23″ waist. While I can assure you that I do not have a waist that small, I did have to take an extra inch out of the waistband to get it to fit. See what I mean about excessive ease? Measure those pattern pieces, folks! Don’t trust the lies of McCall.
I know, this pattern is super duper similar to the Clover pants from Colette, which is another pattern I have. I ended up with this one because I’ve never really gotten those Clovers to fit right, despite all my tweaking a couple of years ago. I wanted to try a new pattern, and I liked that this is a Palmer/Pletsch – I love their fitting books Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People, so I was banking that I’d love the pattern, too! And I guess I kind of did, minus that ease thing. For one, the crotch curve is pretty much perfect for me – something of a Holy Grail among pants sewists. That Clover pattern, not so much :) (but maybe it’ll be perfect for you!). I also liked how high the waist is, the seam down the back of the legs (that you can’t see because it’s ~camouflaged~ by the leopard, ooh, see what I did there?), and the leg options included with the pattern. Spoiler alert – I went for the straight leg, but maybe I’ll experiment more in the future! Baby steps for now, starting with this outta control print. Oh yeah, and just an advance warning – these were exactly the right length for me, and I’m 5’2″! Tall ladies, beware!
Speaking of how high the waist is – see what I mean!? I don’t think this is supposed to reach *quite* as high as it does on my petite frame, but the waistband just covers my belly button. Which means, obviously, I’m gonna be Bettie Pagin’ the shit out of these with heels and a crop top come spring, yaaay!
Whenever I post a photo of myself wearing something with a ridiculously high waist, someone always inevitably comes out of the woodwork to tell me that my outfit isn’t flattering. So, here I am, brushing the dirt off my shoulder in advance because la la la I don’t care!
Like I said, I had to adjust the leg seams to get everything as fitted as it is. Not to say the leg width of this pattern is bad – it’s just more straight than what I wanted for these pants. I wanted to be able to tuck them into boots! Since the pattern is drafted with 1″ seam allowances on all side/leg seams, this made things a tiny bit difficult once it came time to start poking myself with pins – those seam allowances get bulky when you’re sewing something like twill!
What I ended up doing was just focusing on one leg – pinning, basting, fitting, and then stitching the final line once I got to the desired tightness. To mirror the second leg, rather than taking measurements or repinning, this is what I did- I learned this trick at my stint with Muna!:
First, I stacked my legs on top of one another and pinned along the seam lines, making sure they matched on the opposite side.
Then, with the adjusted leg on top, I pinned along the new stitching line I had created.
When you flip the fabric over, you can see the pinned original seam line and the new seam line marked by a second row of pins. Make sense?
From there, I just connected the pin lines with a my handy marking tool, which gave me a new stitching line. Super easy, and now both legs exactly mirror each other!
These pants are finished with serged seam allowances and an invisible zipper. Speaking of which – I learned a slightly different way to insert an invisible zip, also courtesy of Muna. Anyone interested in a tutorial? It’s not OMGSODIFFERENT, but there are a couple of tweaks that make insertion practically flawless.
One thing that made me irrationally happy was that the fabric is lightweight enough so I could face my waistband with self-fabric, instead of trying to find a matching cotton. As much as I like contrasty facings, I also like matchy-matchy!
Not sure what I was thinking when this photo snapped, but it looks like a roar so we’ll leave it at that.
Finally, we have a winner Andi Satterlund knitting patterns giveaway! Before I drop that bomb, I just gotta say… that was by far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a giveaway. Who woulda thunk I’d have so many knitters who follow this blog and love Andi as much as I do? :) Thanks y’all – I appreciate every single one of you! Wish I could give you all patterns, too, but unfortunately I’m not that rich… yet :)
Anyway, without further ado – who’s the lucky number today?
Yay, congratulations, Alexandra! Expect an email from me with how to collect your prize – I can’t wait to see how your sweaters turn out :)