In 1850, the American feminist Amelia Bloomer egged women to ditch skirts and wear loose trousers. Her message went largely unheard. Sixty years later, in 1911, Paul Poiret showed Turkish trousers in his collection. Again, the silhouette was not a hit. In the 1920s, pants experienced a brief stint of popularity when women wore them as beach and loungewear, but it wasn’t until the mid 1960s when pants would finally achieve staying power in a woman’s closet. It was 1964 and ultra modern, French fashion designer Andre Courreges sent day and evening pantsuits down the runway. With long, narrow legs and hems that curved into slits in the front and dropped below the heel in the back, they were an immediate success. Three years later, Yves Saint Laurent revealed an iconic look – the velvet smoking suit, a feminine version of a man’s business suit. When he followed up with the culotte skirt in 1968 and the safari suit in 1969, it was evident that pants were an established garment for women. From then on, pants of all styles and lengths have come in and out of the spotlight. No longer considered peregrine, they are a staple of the modern woman’s wardrobe.
In my eight years of sewing, I have steered clear of pants. I’ve made a couple, but I simply liked making dresses. A girly-girl I guess? Then, one day, I said to myself, “I want to make pants.” I’m the type of person who makes sudden about faces. After more than 10 years of drinking 5+ Diet Cokes a day, I stopped cold turkey and haven’t had one sip of soda since.
So I’ve been in the Land-O-Pants for the last month or so. It’s been a long time since I dealt with crotch curves, front and back rises and balancing leg openings. To jog my memory, I even enrolled in a Kathy Ruddy’s Craftsy class, One Pattern Many Looks.
I made one muslin, which you saw yesterday, and this is the second one. Perfect? No. Wearable? Yes. As I’ve been building my core set of patterns this year (skirt, pant, blouse, dress and jacket), I’ve realized that it usually take 3 samples before arriving at a “perfect” fit. Case in point was Cora Gwendolyn. Remember attempt number 1 and attempt number 2? It wasn’t until numero 3 that I hit a home run and Marce sent virtual margheritas to celebrate.
With that said, numero 3 is cut and ready to be sewn. I fixed the wonky (read: not straight) side seams and am researching ways to finish the slit at the leg opening. I originally left the inseam open 3” up from the hem, but it “winged” out, so I made a slit opening at the center back panel. I’m still not happen with it. It’s not clean. Anyone have suggestions?
Construction details? Made with the finest (and very expensive) silk pique from Mood Fabrics, these pants were drafted from Cora Gwendolyn’s pattern – Simplicity 7456. It features slit pockets and tummy tuck pocket bags, which I’ll discuss more about in a follow up post (really cool detail I love!). The waistband is 1 ¼” wide and stabilized with horsehair. As written above, the leg opening features a slit at the back so that I can pull my leg through. All interior seams were finished with a serger. The zipper was inserted into the center back seam and extends to the top of the waistband (a RTW technique I like). The top is the same top I drafted and made for my Gabriola skirt, but I lengthened it and increased the sweep. Pretty simple sewing wise.
If you thought the silk pique was divine, wait until you see the fabric for the next version. Orange lace! Don’t you worry, it will be lined with cotton. There will be no hoo-hahs exposed on this blog. At least not mine.