Call me old-fashioned, but I still consider Memorial Day the official start of linen season.
And this year I begin the season with a special pair of linen pants, made from a pattern I drafted myself!
At Mood Fabrics in NYC, I recently found a bold linen floral print with a “closeout” tag. This fabric had a heavy drape and a relatvely coarse hand. What could I make with it? Given the weight and the drape, it seemed ideal for a pair of pants. I pre-washed and dried my linen–my normal routine before sewing–and it laundered beautifully. (Linen prints make great summer “statement” pants; check out Mood Fabrics’ online selection here.)
Only a few weeks ago, I completed a menswear patternmaking class at Fashion Institute of Technology. As a result, I had a pants pattern ready to go. It’s a classic style, with two side pockets, two back single welt pockets, and a two-piece waistband which allows for fitting at the center back seam.
Since these pants were drafted to fit me, there weren’t many changes that I had to make. I expect them to shrink a bit in the wash, so there’s a full 3″ hem that I can lengthen should I need to.
The construction of these pants was straightforward. Unlike jeans, my linen pants have no flat-felled seams. Seams allowances are 1/2″ throughout and I used my serger to clean raw edges. Since these are essentially dress pants, the only topstitching I used was to secure down the front fly facing. I added bar tacks to the top and bottom edges of my side pockets, to my fly, and to the tops of my belt loops. When I sew pants I try to copy the finish on ready-to-wear pants as much as I can — I almost never follow pattern instructions.
It’s rare that I get compliments from strangers during a photo shoot, but I got three when we were shooting these, so I consider that a very good sign! While these clearly aren’t pants to wear every day, for the right occasion they’re something special.
Linen is a wonderful natural fabric that’s a pleasure to sew with. Don’t overlook it when you’re planning your summer sewing.
See you next month!