So I’ve been sitting on this pattern for a couple of months now – Katie sent these to me as a surprise spring gift. An awesome surprise, I might add. Who doesn’t love getting surprise patterns in the mail, amirite!
Anyway, my immediate first thought was to make these up in a light polka dotted denim. Doesn’t that sound like it would be amazingly cute?! Unfortunately, I couldn’t source the right fabric – this pattern calls for fabric with a little bit of stretch, and I couldn’t find any sort of stretch bottomweight that also included polka dots (I know there are lighter-weight fabrics out there, but in my experience, their thinness requires either 1. Commando or 2. Thongs, neither of which I’m comfortable with rocking. TMI? Whatever.). I remembered this polka dot DIY post from Portia and I figured, hey, I’ll just get light denim and make my own polka dots, yeah?
But, you know, I was seduced by all the pretty dark denim at Mood Fabrics. OH WELL. This stuff is from Theory and it is amazeballs. Nice and dark, robust without being super heavy, and just the right amount of stretch.
Btw, you’ve probably figured out that I did eventually end up with polka dot bottoms – in the form of shorts. Hey, it works!
Anyway, let’s talk about these pants!
This is the Peter & the Wolf pants from Papercut Patterns. The way these pants are cut is really unique – in addition to side and inseams, there are seams straight down the middle of the front and back legs, as well as some interesting pocket/yoke action and the cutest little scalloped hems. As you can see here, they definitely do emphasize the hips, but that’s what I like about them!
I cut a size XS, although in retrospect, I really should have gone down another size to the XXS. I had to do a LOT of alterations to get these to fit the way I like, and I made some easily-avoidable mistakes along the way. Pretty much EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM could have been eliminated if I had made a muslin first. Why didn’t I make a muslin first? I dunno, I guess I was feeling ~cocky with how good those Rite of Spring shorts fit me straight out of the package.
So, LESSON 1: Make a muslin. ALWAYS MAKE A MUSLIN.
Here is why this is so important, why I keep knocking this into your heads and why I should listen to my own damn advice:
- I tried these on right before I put in the zipper, and the sizing was MUCH too big through the waist and the legs. Normally, that’s not toooo bad of an issue because one can just take in the side seams (I do this all the time, u guise), but the way the pockets are placed means there isn’t a lot of side seam to take in before you start cutting into pocket territory. I couldn’t pull from the center seams because I’d already done all that topstitching and I’m ssssooooo laaaazzzzyyyy. I sat and thought about it for an evening, and ultimately decided to remove the majority of the excess from the BACK of the pants, rather than equally distributed between the front and the back. It worked, and my pockets are still there – yay! – and you can’t tell too much that the front is bigger than the back (unless you’re really studying where that side seam hits), except one glaring error…
- The front scallops now ride toward the inside of my ankles, instead of being centered in the middle of my leg :( Believe me, I tried really hard to fix this, but ultimately it’s just a matter of physics… the front is twisting, since it’s wider than the back. It’s not too terrible since they both pull about the same amount, so it looks intentional. But you and I, we know the real truth.
- The crotch curve was wrong for my shape and it looked like I was hiding packets of ketchup down the front of my pants at the crotch. WOOF. Please don’t take this to mean the crotch curve was bad across the board – I just mean it didn’t work for my specific shape (obviously it’s good for some people – look at the model on the envelope!). We all have different crotch curve shapes (how many more times can I say the word “crotch” here?) and mine is apparently a pretty pronounced J – something I learned when I was sewing the Colette Clovers. Fortunately, redrawing a curve is super easy – even on mostly-assembled pants, I mean, you’re basically just creating a new seamline – and that eliminated most of my issues in that one area. If this sounds confusing and slightly terrifying, it’s not! There is TONS of information on Google, as well as in various pants-fitting books.
- I also should have slightly shortened the crotch depth. Not even by much – just a little pinch of fabric (you can see where it’s puffing out a little. STOP STARING.). Unfortunately, I can’t fix this now as it’s something that needs to be adjusted to the flat pattern before cutting. #1 reason why you should make a muslin first. Womp womp.
I know this sounds like a lot of issues, but I just want to stress that all of them could have been EASILY solved if I’d just made a damn muslin first! ARGHGHHGHGH.
Well, at least I remembered to shorten the inseam before cutting my fabric; the original inseam is over 29″ and I needed something much shorter, plus I wanted them to be cropped. I love the length!
My yoke seams don’t perfectly match up due to all the side seam that I had to cut off, but at least I preserved the pockets!
I subbed out the invisible zipper for a lapped zipper. I really think an invisible zipper would look best, but I was concerned that I would have trouble with the bulk of the denim+invisible zipper. A lapped zipper doesn’t look terrible, although I wouldn’t necessarily say it looks great, either.
Look how good the butt fits, though! I should also point out here that I widened the waistband so it would cover my navel – this was easy, instead of cutting 1 waistband and folding it in half, I cut two and sewed them together at the top. Next time, I will opt for a curved waistband instead (this one is straight), as I find the straight doesn’t hug my curves as well. Just a personal preference!
Personal fitting woes aside, these are REALLY cute. I love all the topstitching, it really highlights the cool yoke and pocket detailing.
For sitting through this giant long post, here are some pictures of me swatting away the skeeters.
In all seriousness, though! I know this post sounded like a big Debbie Downer review, but I do really love these pants! Slim-fit, stretch pants like these can require a bit of tweaking to get the fit right (remember the everyone’s personal saga with the Colette Clovers?), but it’s worth it in the end, as you can crank these out over and over once the fitting adjustments are done. Which is what I plan on doing – wool cigarette pants for winter, please! Hey, maybe I’ll even find some dotty fabric ;)
PS – My top is McCall’s 4488, an old make from last year.