Pleated pythonic pants

Burda 7250 crabandbee.com

Readers, I present you with my first pair of pants!

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Not much about these pants happened quickly; I started them in April and it took me two muslins and a bunch more alterations to finish them in early June. It was worth it, however; as the wrinkles might suggest, they got worn constantly!

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The pattern I started with was Burda 7250, which I altered a lot.

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After my initial muslin, I thought I was going to have to make some really crazy alterations until I realized that everything fit way better when I just removed 2+ inches from the front rise of the pants and maybe 1″ from the back.

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My second muslin (not pictured) worked on slimming out the leg width and making the waistband wider to compensate for how much lower it was.

Then, I cut out my “fashion fabric”, which is probably a printed poly-cotton that I found at the Goodwill thrift store. Although it might just be completely poly. Does that exist? 100% polyester denim? It sure smelled like it when I was ironing. I had a purple cotton twill earmarked for these pants, but chickened out and used this stuff instead for my first try.

I was sewing up my questionable fabric and continuing to make small tweaks to the waistband, when I took a step back and realized the waistband looked absurd:

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The waistband included in the pattern is two rectangles that join at center back. Given that I lowered it, widened it by almost an inch and possess a fine sway-back, there was no way it could accommodate the difference between the top width and the bottom width. When I removed it, the two pieces were almost at a 90 degree angle.

Frustrated, I ignored the pants for a few weeks during Me-Made-May. I finally came to grips with the fact that I needed to draft my own curved waistband. Using a combination of a curved ruler that I happened to have inherited from a relative and the waistband from Simplicity 2451 (the pattern that keeps on giving!), I made one in an hour or so, and it wasn’t as difficult as I was anticipating.

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I also got to use an awesome button I inherited from a friend of a friend!

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And speaking of closures, this was my first time sewing a zippered fly. It was easier than I was expecting, but I had to use resources other than the pattern instructions to figure it out. The pattern also skimped out on the fly shield, so I added one myself. I didn’t do my calculations correctly, so it’s pretty close to the zipper teeth, but at least it’s there. Who wants a bare zipper against their undies? Reading other bloggers’ construction posts on Sewaholic Thurlows or the Grainline Maritime shorts made me feel like I deserved a better pattern! I finished a Grainline Moss skirt last weekend (to be blogged soon), and the fly pattern pieces are dramatically better.

Here’s the inside of the fly. It’s not beautiful, but it is functional.

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The pattern did include pockets, but I didn’t use them. I love pockets, but skipped them for two reasons; they opened at the side seam, which I thought would look bulky, and I didn’t want to have to fuss with them if I had to make post-muslin changes. I also skipped the cuffs and shortened the hemline by quite a bit. I really like pants that hit slightly above the ankle.

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These pants are highly wearable and I love the subtle python pattern! There are, however, a few things I’d do differently if I made another pair. One, use nicer fabric! Two, add pockets from another pattern, maybe like the slanted ones from my denim skirt. Three, I made the calves a little too tight and they can ride up or pull when I walk.

As I become fussier about fit, I’m clearing out a lot of my thrifted jeans and pants. Since I’m doing the Seamless Pledge and not shopping much, this means I’d better make some more pants before fall! I’ve considered making these again in a thick denim or the magenta twill I was originally planning to use. It seems like a waste to not use the pattern again after I put so much work into getting it to fit! I’ve also thought about doing Kenneth King’s jean-copying class on Craftsy as a way to generate a pants block for myself based on the lone well-fitting pair of jeans I own.

I’ll leave you with what I see when I look down in these pants:

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Pure python power! And a huge sense of accomplishment, having finished my first pair of pants.

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45 thoughts on “Pleated pythonic pants

  1. Your pants are fantastic! The fit looks perfect, and they suit your style so well! Way to go!!!! You should definitely make another pair now that you’ve got the waistband and other fit issues sorted out!

  2. Your pants look fantastic! All that work you put in really paid off! I love snake-print anything, so I think these are the coolest pants I’ve seen in a while!

  3. These look great! I thought I recognised the pattern, I made these up a few months ago and literally wore them to death. I made a version with the pockets and they have been drafted pretty well and they don’t look bulky at all, just make sure you use pocketing or a light weight cotton and they should be fine. I also noticed the front rise was very low on these- not sure why they chose to have it so low?

    1. Thanks, Jane! Good to know about the pockets. I’ll probably still use a slanted pocket instead because I really like how they look, but it’s nice to know the included ones work well in case I change my mind! As far as the rise, I actually found the opposite to be true for me! I lowered it quite a bit but didn’t need to lower the back rise much.

  4. I admire your commitment to making muslins and working on fit until you got the look you wanted. This is something I haven’t really come to terms with yet – I tend to just dive in and get started – partly lack of time, partly reckless nature 😉 Anyway it was worth the effort – they look great, especially in that print!

    1. Thank, Philippa! I actually resisted making muslins until early last year when I realized just how many projects I had to fix or give away because they fit weirdly. Live and learn, I suppose! At some point, I’d love to create slopers so I could start by comparing flat patterns to them and perhaps save some time with muslins.

  5. What great pants! I love teh fabric you’ve chosen! I’m so envious of you having the patience to make muslins – the pants turned out great and I’m sure you’ll wear them heaps!

    1. Thanks so much! I did have to learn the hard way to make muslins, but it really has helped the fit of my self-made clothes. Using thrifted sheets and cutting old muslins into small pieces has made it less fabric-intensive!

    1. Super cool! I’d love to see how yours turn out; I didn’t see too many makes of this pattern online when I did a search before I started.

      1. Oh you must look at Jolies Bobines version if you haven’t seen them, she’s got awesome frenchie floral ones that I completely covet!

  6. Nice first try! It’s so cool that the fabric changes colour depending whether you stand on the sunny side of the street or in the shadow 😉

  7. Wow, I absolutely love these! Now that I’ve got my pants block sorted, pleated slim pants are right up there on my list of things to sew (polka dots are on the cards for mine, I think 🙂 ) I know that it can be tiring spending so long working on getting a pattern right that the last thing you really feel like doing is going back for more, but I really hope you revisit it as this style looks great on you!

    1. Ooh, pleated polka-dot pants sound fantastic. Can’t wait to see those! Now that I’ve given the pattern a rest, I’m excited to pick it back up again soon.

  8. These look so great! I love your fabric choice and think the length you chose to make them looks perfect. I’ve yet to tackle trousers, or a button fly so it’s really interesting to read everyone’s thoughts on construction.

    1. Thanks Kathryn! Making the fly wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, nor was actually constructing the trousers. It really is all about the fitting!

    1. Yep, the very first! I got a little bit of practice on the muslins but didn’t do the shield or much of the top-stitching. Thanks so much!

  9. Well done Morgan, such commitment has really paid off. They look great! Love the fabric too – so fun. Can’t wait to see more pants and the moss skirt 🙂

  10. These looks so great!! Love the fabric choice too.

    If you want an easy pants pattern (the one I did for my first foray) Colette Pattern’s Clovers and really good. Those pleats look scary but I’m determined to make more pants. Well done!

    1. Pleats are totally not scary! I actually heard that the Clover pattern was hard to fit, so it’s awesome it went so well for you. And I know I already told you this, but your fluorescent pants are killer.

  11. Great job! Always a sense of accomplishment when you can get something to fit. It’s like magic. I’ve shied away from making pants since I can’t even find ones that fit in RTW. I’m thinking of trying the pleated pants from papercut patterns, which look similar to this pair you’ve made. You should check them out 🙂

    1. Thanks, Joanne! I agree with your assessment that fitting something well is like magic. I’ve seen that Papercut pattern, it looks super cute!

  12. Gorgeous as always, Morgan!! Love the edginess of the python print and you’re really mastering alterations to make clothes fit just right – I need lessons from you!

  13. Yay! I love your python pants 🙂 They totally look like your style, which is good! I feel like once we have a couple different pant styles down that the possibilities would be endless just by changing the fabric and styling. Definitely something I want to work on over the next few months 🙂

  14. I love it. I also love that you kept plugging on through a host of issues and fixed them. And yes, curved waistbands are the catchall fixer upper of so many issues. So, good on your for drafting your own.

  15. I don’t know how I missed this post, these are AMAZING!!! Goodness, well done for persevering with the fit, they look phenom xx

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