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What I Made: Jasper Lee

jasper_lee (4 of 10)

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.

jasper_lee (5 of 10)jasper_lee (10 of 10) BW

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?

jasper_lee (1 of 10)jasper_lee (3 of 10)

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.

jasper_lee (7 of 10)jasper_lee (8 of 10)jasper_lee (6 of 10)


  1. Reply

    Lauren Digby

    Your whole outfit looks so effortlessly graceful and chic. I love it!

  2. Reply


    They are amazing! Love the whole look of your photoshoot!

  3. Reply

    Cirque Du Bebe

    Love your work Maddie! Those pants are an exceptional fit. I’ve been steering clear of pants for the same reasons but slowly I’m warming to the idea. Can’t wait for the orange lace version!

  4. Reply

    Blogless Anna

    Wow! I love this outfit. I’m still to overcome my fear of pants. All in good time hey?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes, all in time! Keep at it.

  5. Reply

    Heather Lou

    They look pretty close to perfection to me dawg. I want a pair (about 4 sizes bigger, BUT STILL!) The fit is flawless. I would be nervous to wear silk on the bottom though – I would pour tea on them within SECONDS.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I’m a big spiller too. Somehow, evidence of my meals end up on my clothing. Luckily, I have a washer/dryer in my new place. No more laundromat!

  6. Reply


    sending another pitcher of drinks, this ensemble is awesome. (as are the balloons.) and those tummy tuck pockets are intriguing–interested to hear of they actually, ahem, support le tummy?

  7. Reply


    Love! Cannot wait to hear more details.

  8. Reply

    Victoria Beppler

    These are dreamy and I can’t wait to see version three! Amazing as always.

  9. Reply


    Those are gorgeous! That trouser shape is divine on your frame. Well done dear, and looking forward to seeing the lace that comes next!

  10. Reply


    Beautiful fabric, beautiful pants, and beautiful you! I heard Kathy Ruddy talk at Sew Expo this year. She demonstrated her method for tummy tuck pocket bags. I’m furious if she gave the same lesson in her Craftsy class.

    • Reply


      That should say curious! Not furious! hahahahaha!

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Love those kinds of pocket bags. Ever tried them with powernet. It’s genius

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          I’d only use power net if my fabric had a stretch to it.

          • Natasha Estrada

            Then you’re missing the point of the tummy tuck. 🙂 The powernet acts like a mini spanx panel. I’m fond of putting a panel of powernet across the front of a skirt. It works I promise.

  11. Reply


    Looks like you got a great fit! I have heard of that craftsy class also. Did you like it? Love your photos great outfit in your beautiful new studio!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Overall, I liked the class. Not earth shattering like Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress, but informative. I suggest it if you need a refresher on pants.

  12. Reply


    Those are some classy-looking pants! I think the textured fabric was a very cool choice. I would have thought the pocket bags added bulk, but it doesn’t look like it in your photos. I’m interested in reading your construction post.

    Oh, and I once made a similarly abrupt decision to quit gummy candy and I’m proud to say I haven’t relapsed, either.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I liked the textured fabric, but I have to admit that after a day of wearing, the pants stretched out a lot. The fabric was the culprit – cotton brocade. I love this fabric and its texture. I use it a lot and will use it again and again, so I’m thinking of stabilization options. I might underline them with a cotton or the like. Thoughts?

      • Reply


        I’ve never sewn with brocade before, but underlining it sounds like a great idea to me! I’ve become a big fan of that technique.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          If I give it a whirl, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  13. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    I gave up diet coke 3 weeks ago. I miss it in an abstract way. I tried it again last night and it doesn’t taste like anything.

    Did you try doing the slit with a miter corner so it’s balances. Also cut the SA wider at the slit just like for a sleeve vent. The extra fabric should stop it from curling up. I’d make the SA at the slit as wide as the hem allowance. I’m kinda of into slightly flaring the leg so the splits not so stressed

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Tell me more; I’m not following. Like a welt pocket? Claire Schaeffer suggests sewing a box instead of a point for a slit. Is that what you’re talking about?

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Where are you putting your slits. In the seam or in the middle of the fabric? Send me a pic if you have the chance

  14. Reply

    Latrice Smith

    These pants are shaping up nicely, I can’t wait to see the final version because these look pretty great. The fabric is gorgeous. I have a drafted a pattern that has a slit, but it’s not right, curious what you come up with.

    Oh btw, I finished my project and finally posted the final makes. You should visit my neck of the woods and check it out.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thanks for sharing your final project. I’ll head on over to see what you put together.

  15. Reply

    Beth – Sew DIY

    I love the pants and the top!! Beautiful fabrics and designs. Your pattern drafting has me thinking that I really need to develop some basic patterns and get back to my unfinished craftsy classes.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Do it! No more UFO’S!

  16. Reply

    Laura A

    Pattern scissors cloth has a tutorial on how to do side splits in pants. It may give you some ideas. Your pants look great !

  17. Reply

    Jennifer, Workroom Social

    So chic! And I love that you paired the pants with the swimming ladies. 😉

  18. Reply

    Meg Stively

    I love it all! I am still too intimidated for pants, so I enrolled in a class to have someone help me get over my fear, ha. Love your fabric choices!

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