Pants 101

It’s been about a year since I started to get serious about sewing my wardrobe.  One of the first patterns I tried were jeans which were mostly a fail with a lot of learning along the way.  This spring, I’ve been tackling pants again with a lot more success.


These chinos were made from some olive linen bought years ago using this pattern which I modified with back welt pockets instead of patch.

Similarly, these shorts are essentially the pants shortened, with the same modifications and an even closer fit.  The fabric was a scant yard found at the thrift store plus some printed scraps for the pockets and inner waistband.  It’s thrilling to turn a $2 piece of fabric into something wearable.

Next: cords.  Brown cords are my holy grail.  Basically, I’ve been on the hunt for good brown cords since high school.  I think i’ve had two perfect pairs in my life: one found when I was 16 in a thrift store in what is now my hometown, one found in another thrift shop in Venlo, Holland.  Sewing seems the perfect opportunity to acquire the brown cords of my dreams.


This pair is completely wearable but since it was only my second attempt at adapting a pattern from an RTW pair, I’m not completely satisfied with the fit.  Whether it’s the lack of spandex or my cut wasn’t completely aligned with the grain, whatever the case, the pattern needed more adjusting than I expected.

When I got more aggressive with sizing adjustments, I was much happier with the results.  Even with another all cotton fabric found in my mom’s stash – lucky me!  Turns out great jeans are still possible without an ounce of spandex.

Here’s a close-up that captures the print:


When I put them on this morning, along with my linen v neck and woven linen button-up and nearly all-wool bra, I was happy to know that my sewing has gradually reduced the amount of synthetics in my life.

Second life

Why didn’t I think of this before?

After patching half a dozen knees, I finally came up with a better remedy: replace the pants entirely at the knee.  Here you can see that the new piece of corduroy has a different wale count.  Let’s see how long these knees last.

Waistbands and Flies

Pants are my jam right now.  I’m feeling much less intimidated by all that funny stuff around the zippers.  So much that I’ve ventured to experiment a little: change the pockets from patch to welt, adjust the placement of the fly facing, try a variety of pant closures.


The cords are drafted from a RTW pair of jeans (which I used for these shorts last summer) and the material was salvaged from my mom’s sewing closet – 2 yards spandex free!  

The navy pair are in fact shorts.  My second try at this Pauline Alice pattern with a few minor size adjustments and a couple pocket swaps.  The material was a score at a thrift store.  Some heavier cotton twill that was barely a yard.