Here are the first two-fifths of my Pattern Review mini wardrobe – a mini-mini wardrobe, I guess you could call it. Or, you know, an outfit.
Hey, look, it’s pants!
Well, technically. I mean, they’re the easiest pants ever. No waistband, fly, zipper, buttons… just a foldover elastic waist. But they’ve got two legs, so I guess they qualify.
The pattern is the Tori Crop Pant from StyleArc. It’s a very easy pattern, so it seemed like a good way to dip my toe in the water of pantsmaking. I did actually make a muslin, but they fit pretty well right out of the box. Well, okay, here’s the deal: I don’t know that I’m the kind of person who’s willing to make a million muslins to eliminate all errant wrinkles and achieve the totally perfect fit. I think my goal here is to make pants that fit me as well as my best-fitting RTW pants. I’m just not a fit-fiddler, and I know that. I should probably have made a knock-knee adjustment, messed with the crotch a bunch, added more room in the bottom area… But all I did was give my thighs a tiny bit more room by adding a smidge to the inseam (I should have added more, though), and lowered the center front by 3/4 inch, tapering to nothing at the sides. Next time (cause I’m totally making these again) I’ll lower the whole waistline a little and give myself a bit more room in the thighs/butt, but these are totally wearable. Pants!
Some notes on the pattern: with StyleArc you have to choose the size when you order based on your measurements, and these are the size 10. StyleArc patterns are pretty minimal, like what you’d see in RTW manufacturing supposedly, so the pattern paper is substantial and the pattern markings are good, but the instructions are extremely brief. I actually could make no sense of the instructions for the leg vents, but I just constructed them how I thought they should work and it turned out fine. I’m not totally sold on the leg openings anyway – I maybe should have just sewn them up for a more current skinny-leg look. I can see myself playing with the hem finish on future versions (cuffed? smaller vents?). I do miss having pockets, though. I’m playing with the idea of adding some front pockets and a false fly to the next (regular denim) version, to create the illusion that they’re real pants and not just glorified leggings.
The yellowness of them has kind of grown on me, and I’m glad I went for it and used this fabric for pants. It’s a “bull denim” (which is apparently a dyed denim without variegation) with a lot of stretch. I wish it was just slightly heavier, but this pattern needs all that stretch to get them on over the hips without making them too gathered and poufy at the waist. As it is, they’re a bit of a wiggle to get on, but it works.
The first thing I put together to go with these pants turned out to be kind of perfect with them. The pattern is McCall’s 6513, a Palmer/Pletsch pattern I picked up last winter just cause I liked it. When I went digging through the stash for fabrics that went with yellow, I uncovered this very stretchy, thin, (probably) rayon-lycra knit that I found in the bargain bin at a local store right after I started sewing clothes, and put it away when I realised that I in no way had the skill to work with something this fiddly at that point. Now that I know so much more about sewing knits, I knew that it would need a pattern like this with a draped collar and sleeves so I wouldn’t have to do any neckline/armhole finishing. The doubled front from the crossover style was also great for this thin fabric.
Palmer/Pletsch patterns have tons of extra instructions and lines on the pattern pieces for fitting purposes – on the one hand, it’s somewhat useful, but on the other, it makes for rather confusing pattern marking. I sorted it out, but I’m not used to having so many random lines and dots on my pattern pieces! I did avail myself of the swayback adjustment line, but I did not use their bust adjustment lines. Instead I made a Slapdash Sewist style SBA by pinching out about an inch along the neckline of both front pieces, which I feel is more appropriate for a crossover v-neckline than the traditional cut-lines-from-bust-point-and-overlap method. I cut my usual size 10-top-to-12-bottom and made no other adjustments for size.
I liked the idea of the ruched sleeves, but I found that the elastic didn’t gather them as much as I wanted, and in no way brought them up to be 3/4 length as pictured. I could have unpicked the elastic, shortened the sleeves, and resewn the ruching with shorter elastic, but there was no unpicking elastic from this fabric without ripping it (ask how I know that), so I just cut off the sleeves right above the elastic, narrowed them a little, and hemmed. The elbow length sleeves are more appropriate for this mini wardrobe anyway. Overall this top is very long, but I didn’t shorten it at all – I like long tops and it’s great to cover up the top of the not-real-pants pants.
I do like this style a lot, and I think this top will get a lot of wear with other, non-yellow pants as well. I’ll likely make another one of these at some point – it’s great for all that thin squirrelly knit fabric I buy cause it’s pretty but hate to work with. Next time I may slash and spread the one side to create more side gathers that extend further down the side.
So, so far so good with the mini wardrobe. I have finished the jacket (except for the hardware – have to buy d-rings tomorrow), but I’m getting nervous about being able to finish shorts and a blouse in a week… Well, always onwards!