Cloudy Polly and the drama pants

I found myself with a hankering to replace my dissatisfying black pants during May. I found them at the thrift store a few years ago, and never loved them even after slimming the leg and cropping the hem but never hated them enough to stop wearing them when jeans wouldn’t do.

And, I’d always meant to use my altered-beyond-recognition Burda 7250 pants pattern, and the perfect fabric (or so I thought…) fell into my hands at Our Fabric Stash recently – black linen-rayon with a nice light-to-middle weight and drape. | pleated pants and Polly top


These were also the pants I used on my waistband finish tutorial. I love how they turned out, but they were giving me grief from the moment I finished the tutorial. Part of it was the unpredictable fabric – there’s quite a bit of stretch I hadn’t anticipated when I’d bought it, and the waistband was dramatically wider. I usually baste the outer waistband to the pants, staystitching the top, to make sure there are no surprises. I felt overly confident using a pattern I’d worked with before and stitched/understitched my outer and inner waistbands together. Taking apart and altering a finished waistband is the pits. And though it’s much better, the problem wasn’t completely solved by taking excess out of the waistband; the fabric grows quite a bit during the day. | pleated pants and Polly top


The silver lining to all this unpcking was that in doing so, I realized I’d only basted the outseams together! I’m glad I caught them before a tearaway pants moment occurred.

Oh, and I put in single-welt pockets in the back and forgot to take pics of them! I referred to Melanie’s wonderful tutorial again. I slip-stitched the welts closed as I never use back pockets for anything other than breaking up an expanse of rump. | pleated pants and Polly top

I love these pants (in spite of? because of?) the struggles and I’m not done with this pattern by a long shot.


I also made another BHL Polly top! I scored this fantastic cloud-printed quilting cotton at – where else – Our Fabric Stash. One of my good friends, Jen, is getting interested in sewing garments, and we chose the Polly top as her first project. Of course, I had to be companionable and sew one up, too. | BHL Polly tops


This time around, I ditched the cap sleeves I’d made as part of my tiger costume. I revisited the fit, and concluded that I needed more length through the upper chest. I added 1/2″ to the pattern. I did a square shoulder adjustment as before, but added 3/8″ on the outside rather than subtracting it from the inside. Jen shortened her straps a bit after trying it on. I think this picture is a pretty good indication of how long I must be through the chest. | pleated pants and Polly top

It’s much more comfortable than my other version, but some pesky wrinkles crept in next to the armpits. (The wrinkles at the bottom were from wearing this top two days in a row.) It’s not too tight anywhere – any wrinkle-readers out there know what might have caused them? | pleated pants and Polly top

And I think it’s really time I started making swayback adjustments. I’ve been fighting this one for a long time. Any favorite tutorials out there? Or maybe I’ll just keep my back curved forward for now… | pleated pants and Polly top


60 thoughts on “Cloudy Polly and the drama pants

  1. Oh I love your cloudy Polly, so chic! I’ve used a tutorial in the colette sewing handbook for sway back, there’s plenty out there….. As for your other wrinkles I’ve no idea! Love the outfit regardless!

  2. The cloud print is so great. Did you have to add a seam? I can’t help you out with the wrinkles or the sway back.. a bit hopeless like that 😦

    1. Thanks, Kirsty! I didn’t add any extra seams beyond what was in the pattern, but the fabric had short repeat so I tried to place it in a spot that made sense. I’m still toying with the idea of cropping the tank almost to wear the repeat happens, but may wait to try that on my next Polly!

  3. A thoroughly awesome combo right there! At first I wasn’t sure which one you made, which one you bought because they both look so pro. And you’ve got me thinking I should really sew some sensible pants one of these days, yours look like the perfect ratio of comfort and style.

    1. Thanks, girl! One thing I’ll say is that sensible pants can easily veer towards frumpy, so it’s really nice to be in control of the fit and design. I say go for it!

  4. I also love the cloud print, it definitely adds dimension! About the under arm wrinkles, do you think you need to shave off half a centimetre from the lower front armscye? Maybe that would help? I’m not really sure, that’s just a guess.

    1. Hrm, it’s pretty comfortable as-is (and I’ve had my share of tight-armed tanks!) but it does look like it might be extending too far into the armpit. Interesting thought!

  5. Your cloudy Polly is amazing! Honestly, I haven’t loved that pattern – until I saw this one! The whole outfit looks great.

    I can’t help with the wrinkles either, sadly. I’m terrible at reading wrinkles! For me, it’s a lot easier to fix my fitting issues in tissue-fitting. Somehow it’s easier for me to see what needs to happen with the stiffer paper, rather than the drapier fabric.

    1. Very interesting – I’m irrationally afraid of tissue-fitting; maybe the paper seems fragile to me! I do like the idea of fixing fit issues before even making a muslin, though.

  6. this whole outfit is great! love the pants, and the polly top is the cutest one i’ve yet seen!

    i have two guesses about the wrinkling, only because i’ve worked on the fit of the tiny pocket tank recently… either the angle of the strap is off or the bust shaping isn’t in the right place. or perhaps a combination of the two. i would shift the strap around to see if you can find a position that reduces the wrinkles, and/or determine where the bust shaping is. i assume it’s somehow integrated into the inset panel?

    1. I thought you might have some ideas! I worked on the strap angle last time and didn’t have any wrinkles. Maybe adding in extra length through the chest moved the bust shaping – although normally, making that adjustment makes everything fit better. The shaping does indeed happen in the inset panel. Hmm…

  7. I’m following these comments because I have no idea bout the wrinkles. The top and pants both look great though!

      1. Good luck fellow sway-backers! This tutorial makes the most sense to me of others I’ve seen so I’m looking forward to trying it.

  8. I love your outfit! The cloudy top is gorgeous! That fabric and pattern are a perfect match. The pants look great in spite of all the difficulties. Very classy!

  9. I love the cloud fabric, looks fab. It would be interesting to know what is causing the wrinkles as I tend to get them in the same place. I’ve often wondered if it’s just a matter of doing a FBA to correct? I haven’t actually attempted it yet though!

    1. I wonder! I am pretty small-busted, so that wouldn’t have been my first guess, but it’s possible that adjusting the length has caused a similar situation? It is a bit difficult to tell where the bust point is on this pattern.

  10. The cloud fabric with contrast white looks amazing in this pattern. And, those pants. I really need to make a pair to fill a similar gap in my own closet. Fabulous outfit.

  11. Love this top. I’m always looking for good tank top patterns, and this one looks great! Also, that cloud fabric is pretty awesome 🙂

  12. It means you need a bust dart. Pinch out a dart with your fingers and it will disappear. The front of the body is longer than the side, so all the extra fabric wrinkles up.

  13. It must be wonderful to be able to make good fitting & flattering trousers – these look perfect! I love your polly top too – that cloud fabric is so cool!

    1. I can’t lie, it’s pretty great 🙂 It feels easy now, but when I think back on how many versions it took to get me to this point…

  14. Growing fabric is strange. I can’t see if your trousers have belt loops, but I must remember to put them on stretchy stuff! despite the hassle! they look great and it is a good job at the end of the day. Imagine wearing basted pants :)) The cloud fabric was such a lucky find, and it’s so nice that one of your friends has started to be interested in sewing clothes. My only IRL crafty friend moved away recently and I cried like a baby! I will probably be asking even more advice on my blog now.

    1. It is strange! I work with sturdier fabrics so frequently that I was taken by surprise. I left the belt loops off on these; I may add them because I like how they look visually, but I dislike the feeling of wearing a belt. I’m sorry to hear your crafty friend moved! Nothing can replace that companionship, I know, but I’ll look forward to more discussion on your blog.

  15. Oh my gosh! Your cloud fabric is awesome!!!! You used it perfectly as well! Great pants too. I have the same problem with choosing fabrics sometimes. They don’t behave the way I anticipated. Oh the learning curve…

  16. I’m crushing hard on your polly top! It seems like a wonderful template for a semi fitting singlet style top in a woven. And I love that you can whack in a print. Looking lovely, lady! 🙂

  17. Let me just start off by saying that all your outfit posts give me major shoe envy!!
    Love these pants so SO much – even with all your adjustments and sewing woes – this pattern is just perfect to me! And this cloudy polly top is so sweet! I’m also very long through the chest, so I feel ya! Love the print placement with this top – looks so fun! And I think those armpit wrinkles could just be caused by…. using your arms?

    1. Aw, thanks! I’m really smitten with this pattern, too – I’m wondering if I could pull it off in some sort of print? And, I’ve never really heard someone else say they were long in the chest and was feeling like somewhat of an aberration! I used to think I was all torso, and now I know I’m just all chest. But not bust!

      You know, you might be on to something there – I used an unusually crisp but thin cotton. I’ll just stop using my arms; I’ll be like those people who don’t smile to prevent wrinkles!

  18. This is really cool!!! Re: the wrinkles, is it comfortable in that area or does it feel too tight? My first thought would be that you need a little additional width in the upper chest. My second thought is that the bust shaping is not in the right place. It looks like it wants to ride up a little because there’s not quite enough room around your high bust. But it’s hard to tell from photos!

    1. It’s all pretty loose, so I was confused when I saw those wrinkles! I have a hunch that you’re right about the position of the bust shaping. I’m going to try it on again today and see if I notice anything new.

  19. I’m still working on the fit of my Polly, but I think I’m almost there! I love this one on you! Such an awesome print!

  20. Aren’t pants so finicky!? My previous make, a silk pique, and my most recent make, a lace, fit so differently despite that fact that I used the same pattern. Surprisingly, I like the lace version better. The cotton underlining stabilizes them so they don’t stretch out during the day. I’m honestly thinking about underlining all my pants in something super lightweight to help with the natural stretching that happens throughout the day.

    1. Glad it’s not just me! I’ve never sewn with silk pique but it just sounds like a fabric that could play a mean trick on someone 🙂 Please share if you try your underlining experiment!

  21. I was never sure about the design of the Polly top but I love your version with the cloud print. It’s the perfect match of pattern and fabric.

  22. That quilting cotton is so gorgeous in that Polly top!! I want it in a floaty voile or soft rayon as a dress real bad. Oh and rayon linen sounds totally divine, I’ve never come across that yet, I want some o’ that too.

  23. What a score on your My Fabric Stash find. I find notions there but looking for fabric overwhelms me.

  24. I think sway back is often a misnomer for needmorewidthatthehipsinback. Yeah, I agree it’s common. I think calling it a sway back often over complicates it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s