I made pants!


Look how happy I am to be wearing pants! 🙂

I know that’s probably wildly ambitious for a new sewer, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually build a wardrobe by sewing. In real life, I wear a lot more pants than I do skirts and dresses, especially in winter. And while I’d like to wear more skirts and dresses, the truth is that I need to be able to make pants if I’m going to move toward a self-stitched wardrobe.

Sew Convert Bella

So cute! Photo from the Sew Convert's website.

Bella jeans

Photo from the Cupcake Goddess's website.

I was definitely inspired by the Bella jeans by The Sew Convert and The Cupcake Goddess. Both of them have been sewing much longer than I have, which didn’t reassure me that I could do it, but the pants looked so flattering that I wanted to try. What really sealed the deal, though, was looking at all of the finished projects on Burda’s website. The pants seemed very versatile, and the pattern was only $4, so while I was on a Burda spree anyway (purchasing the Gail and the Madison and downloading the free JJ), I bought it.


It only took me half an hour to pick out these buttons.

After the run of dresses and the Beignet skirt, I was ready for something new but hadn’t washed the fabric for my JJ yet, so on to pants it was. Although the pattern calls for denim, I wanted something that was work-appropriate. Several of the Burda sewers had done other materials, so it seemed it would work. At JoAnn, I discovered that their denim is pricey (at least pricey for JoAnn), so I bought gray polyster from the suiting section instead. And I spent way too long in the button section but emerged with buttons I love.

I was pretty worried about making pants after seeing so many disasters on Project Runway. The Michael Kors in my head kept saying: “Watch out for Crazy Crotch.”

Michael Kors

The Michael Kors in my head.

Luckily, I discovered that pants really aren’t that difficult. At least they wouldn’t be with halfway decent directions. Unfortunately, the Bella directions are a little less than clear. Or maybe they aren’t in English. And the tiny pictures didn’t really help. But I guess that’s what I get for buying a $4 patterns. Oh, how I wish Colette Patterns had a pants line.

Cutting the fabric was no different than other projects exactly that it was fantastic to have 60″ to deal with, and it was nice (from my perspective) not to have to worry about placing anything on the fold. I was a bit confused about why I needed four each of some of the pieces instead of two each (but two each in interfacing for the same pieces), but it turned out that the self and facing were from the same pieces.

A few things about the pattern. (I didn’t make any changes except for an additional button and my usual avoidance of the blind hem, which worked fine here because my thread color completely blended in with the fabric):

  1. It’s too big. I don’t know if my measurements are just off, or if there’s too much ease, but the waist gapes on these. I’ve seen other commenters say the same thing, so you might want to go down a size if you make these.
  2. Side view

    The waist does not sit flat like it should.

  3. The front pockets are basically ornamental. They’re certainly not deep enough to keep anything in. And they’re a lot of work. And they make the pants bunch up weird when you sit.
  4. Pants

    View looking down when sitting. Dislike!

  5. The button area is just weird. I still don’t understand what the directions were telling me to do, so I made it up. It basically worked, but I ended up with this weird gap under the buttons. I sewed it up (obviously!), but now it looks a bit off.
  6. Gap

    Wacky gap under the buttons. Clearly I did something wrong.

  7. There’s a lot of top stitching on this. You can’t see it at all on mine because of the thread color, but if you use a contrasting thread color, you’d want to be pretty exact with your top stitching.

By the way, I had to do more HAND STITCHING on this. And I survived. First, I had to repair some buttonholes. I think it was the fabric, but the stitching ripped on a few of the buttonholes when I snipped them open. (I know, it doesn’t make sense to be the fabric, but it didn’t happen at all on the 12 buttonholes for the Beignet.) And then I had to hand sew all of the buttons, since there’s no way to do these kind by machine. I didn’t love it, but I survived. I was, however, definitely regretting adding an extra button to the five called for in the pattern.

More pictures on Flickr.

I just ordered denim from (shh, don’t tell my husband) on clearance for $3.99/yd, along with some cute flower buttons, so I will be trying this again. I’m going to try to make the front pockets deeper and lose the pleats if I can figure that out. I’m also going to take a page from The Sew Convert’s book and make the facing a different fabric (which should also reduce bulk). Now that I sort of know what I’m doing with the button area, I’ll try to avoid the gaping hole. While I didn’t enjoy sewing them, I will probably stick with six buttons. Oh, and I’ll probably go down a size.


7 responses to “Pants!!

  1. Your pants look great and I love the color (I’m partial to gray).

    Here I am fiddling with PJ pants and you’ve been progressing by leaps and bounds! I think you’re on to something. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see your next project!

    • Thanks! I think there’s something to be said for meticulous sewing, and I’m sure you end up with better sewed, better fitted projects. I just get bored easily and have to keep pushing ahead. 🙂

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  3. Wow! You are certainly off to a great start. Perhaps it is just the photos, or maybe the fabric, but I find that if you press each seam as you sew them, your results are so much more professional. Afterall, we do not want that “fireside touch” look to our creations. I have been sewing for many years and this is the best tip I can pass along to a newbie. Keep up the great work, Kelly. Love that Michael Kors comment. Too funny.

    • Thanks for checking out the blog! Yes, I’ve certainly been cutting corners in an effort to work quickly, and I haven’t been pressing all my seams as I go. In part, it’s because I’ve sort of been treating these as wearable muslins. I’m so eager to learn the next technique that I haven’t been sewing as carefully as I can. I think once I’m sure that sewing is for me, I will allow myself to slow down a little. And that’s certainly good advice for me.

      The other problem for me with pressing, though, is that I have two very active, very curious cats, who love to sit on the ironing board. I live in fear that they will torch themselves or will knock over the iron when I’m not looking, and as a result, I don’t like to have the iron out, and I tend to save all of my ironing for once. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!!

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