Black Pants in Embossed Knit

Y’all, I’ve made some pants.


Big deal, right? I’ll bet you make pants all the time. You’re a wizard at crotch curves and the fish-eye dart and all the pants making things. Yeah. Well, in all the almost 7 years I’ve been blogging (!!!) I think I’ve made one pair of pants and one pair of knee-length crops. Oh and a pair of shorts or two. I’m not scared of them per say, it’s just that I’m more interested in making things that I can’t afford to buy or can’t find to fit me very well. Pants I can readily find in stores at prices I’m willing to pay, so unless it’s a unique design or some sort of suit coordinate, you probably won’t find me stitching any up.

These happened to be a unique design. Also they have loads of topstitching.


The pattern is Vogue 1378, part of the Donna Karan designer collection. You can see nothing of significance in the envelope picture, but the line drawing revealed some really cool construction lines, fun vented hemline, and miles of topstitching. I had to give them a try, but first I had to find the perfect fabric. I read the description for this black floral ponte de roma on Mood Fabric’s website and was intrigued. After my swatch came in the mail I knew instantly what I was going to do with it.


You probably thought they were just plain black, right? In normal lighting conditions the embossed floral motif is subtly noticeable. This fabric is really soft and has a slight sheen to it. Most of the construction of these pants are unfinished lapped seams, so the fact that my fabric didn’t fray or curl in the slightest made it perfect for the design.


There was quite a bit of thread switching going on while I was working on these. First I would stitch them together with black thread to get the placement right, then I would go back with heavy duty gray thread to do the 2 rows of topstitching. It was very much like a puzzle – I had to stitch together two pieces, topstitch, trim the excess away, rethread back to black, figure out where the next piece went, get it positioned, and repeat the process again.


Before cutting out the fabric I made a muslin out of an ugly stretch woven from my stash. It revealed that the pattern was super long, really tight from the knees down, and really tight at the hips. I decided I wanted to leave the bottom of these unhemmed, so I trimmed away the hem allowance as well as another inch in length. I also took an inch of length out around the knee area in a process that is too convoluted to describe. Then I added 3″ to the bottom leg width, tapering to nothing right above the knees. I added 2″ to the width of the hips and lengthened the top of the pants 1/2″.


A sharp scissors and a steady hand is a must if you are thinking of making these up.


The waistband is a simple fold over elastic one. The instructions want you to cut the elastic to your waist measurement plus 3″, which I totally ignored. I can’t have my pants falling down while I’m chasing my kids around!


I had a lot of fun making these. After the muslin and the altering of the pattern was completed, the actual sewing went quickly. This design is pretty unique, but I just might make it up again if ever I run across another perfect fabric.



  • Mary Beth
    March 19, 2015

    I’ve eyed the ponte roma fabric and the pants pattern, and this is the perfect combo of the two. Great job on that top stitching!

    • Amanda S.
      March 19, 2015

      Thank you Mary Beth! You should definitely get some – I don’t think it will last long and it’s pretty unique.

  • Sewcial Warrior
    March 19, 2015

    I love the topstitched seam lines- so unusual. Looks great

  • sallie
    March 19, 2015

    Great pairing of fabric and pattern! This is definitely an interesting pattern – so many cool style lines highlighted by all that topstitching! Great job!

  • Cennetta
    March 19, 2015

    Great pants! I love this whole outfit.

    • Amanda S.
      March 19, 2015

      Thank you Cennetta! I actually made the top too, years and years ago.

  • Fiona
    March 19, 2015

    Wow these are so unique! Lovely topstitching and great fit!

  • Amy
    March 19, 2015

    Wonderful! It’s hard to believe you don’t sew more pants – these are great!

  • Al
    March 20, 2015

    What now? You didn’t hem them at all? Or did you stitch the edge? I love the look..don’t know if I’d want to get into it myself. I made myself pants and shorts YEARS ago, though.

    • Amanda S.
      March 20, 2015

      No, no hem at all. I toyed with the idea of finishing the hems like the vents – with a facing – but even that is left unfinished along the edge. The fabric doesn’t roll or fray, so I left it alone. Thanks for your comment!

  • Lori
    March 22, 2015

    I love your pants and how much the topstitching pops. I made a pair for myself but wasn’t brave enough to use contrasting thread! Fabulous job.

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    March 24, 2015

    I’ve always loved this pattern but been a little terrified of it! These look fantastic and you have done some amazing sewing.

    • Amanda S.
      March 27, 2015

      Thanks Lizzy! Make yourself a muslin and then dive it. It’s really not that hard, but the original pattern has a few quirks.