In Support of Sewing Your Own

I found this snarky rant against women’s ready to wear clothing:

I am glad to see I am not the only one wondering if some virulent form of insanity is requisite to style and make retail clothing for women these days. I confess, I chuckled at several points while reading the article.

I do not think of myself as puritanical, uptight or repressed. Just sensible. This coming week will focus on getting a pants draft and making pants. Because I sure can’t buy them. I have tried for several years and the compromises need to stop.

I found that Cracked article after Googling the question, “Why are women’s dress pants so close fitting?” I became very frustrated looking for inspiration in Google images and fitting tips and finding only the opposite. Lots of how-to’s for making your clothes as tight as possible, zero on making dress pants that would be considered normal in style and ease for a man.

Honestly, not all of us want to wear something that looks spray painted on. Even if I were as sleek as a panther, I would never wear leggings or yoga pants to work or anywhere out of my home really, out of self respect.

That is not to disparage you if you love wearing form fitting fashions; more power to you. I am speaking for myself here. I am old, lumpy and have sciatica. Tight pants that feel like they are trying to garrote my lady garden? No thanks.



I have only two pair of pants I will wear in public. That makes getting dressed for work a challenge. Like a lot of folks who sew, especially when age and gravity have had their way, I have experienced problems getting the pants I make to fit well.

I made a pair of Loes Hinse Oxford pants and they were wearable with no alterations. While they fit and as well or better than most RTW, they needed a tweak or two.

Enter Exhibit A:


I have had Butterick 3133 for a very long time. It has two things I really wanted for this next pair of pants: a flat front and tapered legs. Surprisingly, this size 12 pattern matches the waist of the Oxford size medium. That made altering the waistline and leg shape extremely easy.

The other alterations I made were to both lengthen the back crotch and back inseam. These changes were based on reading the wrinkles in the first pair I made. I want closer to a smooth trouser fit back there and found the crotch as drafted is closer to pants. Not bad, not uncomfortable, but closer fitting than I want to wear right now.

My test pair will be from some very colorful rayon challis:


I have a love of colorful prints and pants made from them but a morbid fear of looking like a clown. Fingers crossed that all my pattern alterations work and the print is cute, not lame. I have a skirt from the fabric that I wear in the summer…but pants…I have been hesitant for a long time.

These are the fabrics I purchased to make work pants from. On my monitor, the colors are off; the first is a navy and tan check and the second an ivory and navy herringbone. I also have some navy Telio viscose twill for this soft pants style.

I was inspired to frankenpatten the Loes Hinse and Butterick because of this blog post. Scroll down to the picture from Elle magazine of the designer pants. They have an extremely similar pocket to the Loes Hinse and waistband treatment to the Butterick 3133. I am sure I will make more wide leg pants, too.

(I cheated – instead of using the paper like Connie Crawford recommends to cut this, I used medical tape to keep the edges straight and a very sharp, small rotary cutter.)