Steps for Successful Sewing and Designing Pants by Tracy McElfresh

Pants and Jeans have always been four letter words for me! Why are pants so hard to sew? Why are some of the best seamsters so scared to take on the challenge? The actual sewing part of pants is really easy, it’s all the fit issues that make them so hard.

I learned my fit issues with pants as I made them. Fit issues are what they call it when your body differs from the pattern. After a few pair of pants I noticed the same problems with each pair. My top back of the pants would be lower than the front (full bottom adjustment), they felt like they were tight in my crotch (not enough ease) and my 26″ waist is a size 10 in traditional patterns and my 38″ hips are a 12. I researched and researched and then bought the book, Pants for Real People by Patti Palmer and Marta Pletsch. The cover looks dated but I assure you the info is all up to date.

I have great tips to get you started on your pant journey!

First, be easy on yourself as pants are tough! Start with really lose pants for you first success, PJ pants, harem pants or wrap pants. All of the dimensions are what make pants tough, you have crotch ease, length, waist circumference, hip circumference and leg circumference. This is a lot to practice to learn all at once especially if you have curves.

Another easy pant skill building tool is to start with shorts! You have less measuring and can make them quicker. Grainline is very important with pants. If you do not cut your pants out on the fabrics correct grainline you will have your pants twisting up at the legs bottoms. Shorts you will not have to deal with that. You can build that skill next.

Also try making pants out of stretch knits, it is so forgiving for fit.

Play suits and overalls are really cute. They also tend to be looser in size so you have less room for fit issues.

Start making fitted pants when you are ready. This is more advanced fit sewing but you can do it after practicing! I did but remember I started easy! These are some of my favorite pants patterns.

Another thing you can do once you get bored making pants is to replicate your favorite pairs of pants. You cut them up and make a slopper (pattern block) out of them.

Last is to start designing your own pants! So far I am failing horribly at these. You have to fail a few times before you succeed and it’s not always easy. I remind myself I have only made 1 pair so far. The pockets were to high and there is not enough crotch ease, they are fine standing up but feel terrible when sitting because the front waist rise was to high. After test wearing them a couple of times and hours of alterations I will be trying them again and making them a size larger!

Behind the scenes~

My first live demo on stage with lights and mic was a success. Here is a picture from Crafty Con 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am still sewing like crazy for Dayton’s History. Last week I made almost 9 garments. Here is the new line for the 1910 style ice cream parlor Culp’s Cafe.

Thank you for reading!

Dream it, sew it!

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh

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