Good morning, kittens! I recently decided to take on a sewing challenge that has long eluded me, one of the last great frontiers of making my own clothes. Y’all, I sewed pants.
Admittedly, they are jersey trousers with a partial elastic waist and tons of ease. Still. While I’ve dabbled with making pants in the past, these are the first pair to get past the muslin stage and actually be worn in public. After giving up on so many other patterns because I liked my ready-to-wear pairs more, this feels like a momentous victory.
The pattern I used for these trousers is #122B, Printed Jersey Pants, from the August 2018 issue of Burdastyle, available as a PDF here. They are seamed jersey trousers with a flat front, slash pockets, and elasticized back waist. I absolutely loved how chic these looked in an abstract print, despite essentially being an elevated pair of track pants. The fabric I chose was a gorgeous Black and Purple Printed Stretch Cotton Jersey from Mood Fabrics, which has the perfect weight and stretch for a pair of trousers. Plus, the geometric paintbrush print is totally divine and has a similar abstract aesthetic to the pair from the magazine.
After sewing these pants up, I belatedly realized there wasn’t a single top in my closet that paired well with them. Earlier this year, I did an exhaustive wardrobe purge and haven’t replaced some of the basics I let go. To remedy those vacancies, I ordered a few plain shirtings from Mood, including this White Cotton Swiss Dot. Then, I used a self-drafted pattern to make a dolman-sleeve popover shirt, complete with a half-placket and stand collar. It’s still a basic white blouse, but not so buttoned-up as a traditional collared shirt. The Swiss Dot fabric washed up beautifully, turning into one of the softest, lightest weight fabrics I’ve worked with in awhile. The blouse is truly a joy to wear, especially in the muggy heat that lingers down here in Texas.
Sewing the pants was an adventure, as the curved seams and partial elastic waist made the assembly process feel like magic. I love when a pile of fabric still doesn’t look like a garment, then you do one final step and suddenly–Tada!–pants appear. Until the back waistband was finished off, I was deeply skeptical that these would be wearable, after all. They are a little wider than expected, and I will probably go down a whole size when I make them again, but they are very comfortable and dress up like a dream.
To construct the pants, I used my serger for all the seams and a simple lightning bolt stitch for the hems. You absolutely do not need an overlocker or serger to sew with knits–I often just use my sewing machine, specifically for more fiddly patterns–but it does produce a cleaner finish. If you’re new to knits, this would actually be a fantastic first knit fabric to choose. It has tons of stretch, making it suitable for most knit patterns, but the recovery is also excellent. It won’t bag out while you sew, or slip around and stretch while you cut it out. It made sewing these pants utterly hassle-free.
Sewing up the blouse was straightforward, if only because I’ve sewn a mind-boggling number of button-up blouses and dresses, over the past few years. There is nothing I love more in sewing than constructing a button band or collar. For the placket on this shirt, I mimicked the one-piece method on the Closet Case Files Kalle Shirt, which gives a nice, clean finish. The placket and stand collar are lightly interfaced, narrow hems finish the sleeves and bottom hem, and there is a split at the side seams to allow for a front tuck and greater ease of movement. For buttons, I used vintage clear 1/2″ buttons from my stash. (Antique stores are my favorite source for buttons!)
This whole outfit feels like wardrobe cheating. Knit pants should not look this chic, but with a collared blouse and heels, they are modern, just a bit dressy, and crazy comfortable. Add in that the blouse is soft enough to be a pajama top and the whole ensemble brings the “secret pajamas” trope to new heights. I do think I’ll sew the pants again, in a smaller size. Wouldn’t a leopard print jersey pair with a black sweater be fabulous? Or even a solid color version with piping to accent the curved seams? Yep, there will definitely be more of these, this fall.