Blue Pants for Spring 2012 6PAC

originally published 3/21/12



Photos have been greatly lightened to show details.




I know that pull on pants have a bad reputation.  Anyone who has a big difference between hip and waist measurements ends up with gobs and gobs of fabric around their waist.  A true pull on pant needs the waist measurement and the hip measurement to be the same.  That’s because you have to pull the waist up and over your hips.  Even if you are like me and have only a few inches difference, you still end up with some bulk at the waist.  For me this is not really critical.  First off, as I just wrote, I have only about 6 inches difference. Secondly, I seldom, very seldom, hardly ever, almost never wear my tops inside my pants. That means you very seldom, hardly ever, almost never see my pants from mid-hip to waist. So as long as my pants aren’t terribly bulky, pull-on pants aren’t a problem IMO.


In fact, I rather like pull-on pants.  Many of my summer shorts are of the pull-on style.  I also love the Loes Hinse European pant with it’s elastic waist and zipper front. I’m using my JSM pattern as a sloper.  I didn’t trace and make a whole new pattern. Nope, I placed tracing tissue over the upper portion of the JSM front and back pattern. I’ve aligned the bottom of my tissue with the Hip line. Oh I forgot, one of the advantages of using the JSM pattern is all the  locations are designated.  You don’t have to worry about finding your knee location.  It’s marked on the pant leg.  When you make your first pair, you correct the pattern so these lines fall where they should.  So now, I have this nice horizontal line across both front and back at the hip line.  I use repositionable tape to secure my tissue paper; draw the sides and centers and then add the necessary width for the casing.  After I cut my fabric. I separated the tissues for the casing from the basic pattern pieces.  I labeled, folded and stored them in their very own pocket folder for future use.  Anytime I want to make a pull-on pant, all I need to do is whip out the tissues, unfold (and maybe press) align with the horizontal hip, side and center lines; secure again with repositionable tape…; and cut my next pair of pants.




I spent most of my time on the pockets. I wanted the pockets to smoothly curve.  I was pretty sure this 100% cotton would cooperate.  I’ve had it in my stash for a while, waiting for the right time.  I knew I wanted a pair of pants; a nice pair of pants, not a muslin.  That means I knew I would not use this fabric until I was sure of the pattern.  My JSM pattern has the zipper fly already attached to the pattern.  I just folded it out of the way during cutting.  Because this is a pull on pant, there were no darts to sew. No zipper, no darts; I spent most of my time making sure those pockets were great.  These were really fast to sew. You know, you need a pattern like this. Need pants? Boom. Got Pants.



To my surprise, I was able to hem these pants before finishing. Yeah, it kind of surprised me.  I normally stitch pockets, darts, zipper, then side seam, inseams and crotch before basting on the waistband.  After the waistband, I work on the hems, fitting and when all is said and done, the button and buttonhole or other waistband closure.  But because I’ve made this pattern at least 50 times, I knew the hem marking was perfect.  I had the legs sewn together and said “Well why not hem them now?” The why yes, is because I have the least amount of fabric to control both under the SM foot and on the table.  It was so wonderfully easy (especially with my HV Ruby’s blind hem stitch.)  In just the last couple of pant muslins, I’ve started edge stitching the top edge of the waistband.  At first I edge-stitched because I knew I’d be ripping open and restitching the waistband several times.  I thought it would just be easier and maybe faster if I always knew where the top of the waistband was supposed to be.  To my surprise this extra stitching made a huge impact on the final appearance of the garment.  It adds a crispness, a professional touch I haven’t seen in my pants before.  It takes 2-3 minutes extra, but I’m convinced it is well worth while.  So yes, I edge stitched the center of the casing and, pressed carefully into place. Then I permanently stitched the casing to the inside of the pant leaving about 6″ open in the center back.  I threaded a length of 1″ elastic (the length being my current waist minus 5 inches) through the casing; overlapped it 1/2″; and then pulled sharpley several times until the fabric was fairly evenly distributed.  Then using Ruby’s basting stitch, I closed the back casing.


I’ve tweaked the fitting once. I was so proud to have hemmed those pants. Only to have to unhem them first thing.  Somehow I’ve gotten this pattern far too long.  I had to hem the pants 2.5″ and they might still be a little long.  Usually, cotton slowly shrinks on me, so I do like to start with the hems almost but not quit dusting the floor. There are still some folds on the leg just above ankle which I hope will go away in a wash or two. I shortened the waistband elastic 3″.  The waist had felt too loose and the pants looked like they were drooping.   I also took in the seams 1/8″ from waist to hip and 1/4″ from hip to hem. There is still lengthwise wrinkles over the thigh which indicates too much ease. But trousers usually do have a little too much ease. The pants are much darker in person.  I lightened the pictures so you can see the great fit and details.  These are the navy blue pants I need to complete my Spring 2012 6PAC sewing.