2017 FO-10 : My first pants (SoB-2)

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

These are pictures of me wearing a perfectly ordinary blue work shirt and olive green pants — ordinary except for the fact that I made them! I believe that’s referred to as leveling up. Thank you, Summer of Basics.

The shirt, of course, is my Archer (my first button-up, and first SoB finish), and the pants (my first pants) are my second SoB finish. They’re nearly as simple as a pair of pants can be — just elastic-waist pull-up pants — but they make me so proud. Mostly because of how much detail I put into them, and how nicely sewn they are, owing to my new serger. (Er, my year-old serger that I finally learned how to use, which has completely changed my life.) I started with the Tessuti Robbie Pant that some of you recommended on my side-pocket pants post. I looked at a bunch of similar patterns, and assumed I’d wind up basically drafting my own, but started with this one because I thought the leg shape looked the most like what I was after. So the four pieces of the pant legs are essentially Robbie, with just some tweaks — a little lower front crotch, a little width out of the thigh, lengthened a few inches and sewn with a wider hem. Then I made up my own pockets, changed the waistband (both the width and how it’s sewn), and top-stitched the hell out of them.

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

My biggest concern was how the fabric would work for this, since it’s a fairly heavy canvas. With a thinner fabric, in an elastic-waist scenario, volume isn’t quite so much of a concern, but here I was trying to balance a nice, loose, wide-leg silhouette with not having too much heavy fabric gathered around my waist. These are the size small (I’m about an 8-10 on bottom in store-bought clothes, for reference) and they’re still a tiny bit big, even with my tweaks. I have a long waist, essentially no hips and a flat rear-end, so I tend to wind up with too much fabric pooling around my butt and the sides of my hips, no matter what kind of pants they are. I did pretty good on these for a first go, but on the next pair I’ll redraw the outer leg line, and also change the rise in the back — the line where the upper edge of the pant meets the waistband is too high for my liking. But regardless, I love these and can’t wait to draft the next pair.

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

The fabric came from Elizabeth Suzann’s recent garage sale. It’s slightly more olive than army, so I have to be a little careful what I put with it, but it’s really nice stuff. I got a bolt of unknown yardage for $100 — a lifetime supply, basically. If I underestimate it at 30 yards (knowing it’s probably more like 50), that makes it about $3/yard at the most. Unless I never make anything else out of it, in which case the fabric for these pants cost me $100!

There’s also a secret happy detail to them: I reused the 2″ elastic that came out of my ancient, beloved, threadbare pink pajama pants I recently had to say goodbye to. So they’re still with me! ;)

Pattern: Robbie Pant by Tessuti (modified)
Fabric: Unknown canvas remnant
Cost: $8.00 pattern + ~$4.00 fabric + reuse elastic = $12.00

p.s. These photos were taken by my husband in his painting studio. For those of you who’ve asked about his work before, note that we recently updated his website


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49 thoughts on “2017 FO-10 : My first pants (SoB-2)

  1. Great job on the pants. I envy you having a serger, although I’ve played with my Bernina and have finally worked out how to do an overcast seam that’s pretty close to a serged finish. My own SoB came to a crashing halt this month when I had emergency gallbladder surgery. Still, I completed Sonya Philips’s Pants #1 (Essex, navy) and Dress #1 (Merchant and Mills washed linen, teal) and I’m more than halfway through knitting an aran jumper of my own design (Quince’s Lark, in “Frost”). BTW, I have the flat butt problem too, and at age 60 it’s not going to change!

    • I also have a Bernina and would be interested to know how you do the overcast “serger finish”. Thanks!

      • I have a 20-year-old basic Bernina–no bells and whistles. I set the machine for zigzag with the stitch width at “5”, the longest. I keep the stitch length at 2 1/2, the length I use for most sewing. Then I feed the edge of the fabric so that it lines up with the centre of the presser foot. I’ll post a pic of a finished (and washed) seam on my Instagram page at chez_lizzie, in case that helps.

        • Thanks for this guidance! I’m working on getting this down on my regular (very simple Singer) sewing machine too. Still need practice. Also, wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery. Great work getting through the projects you did despite it!

  2. Fabulous! You did it, all three of your basics are really great, you should be so proud. With all the tweeks you made to your pants, did you make a muslin pair first? So impressed

    • I went around and around about it. For one thing, I was short on time, trying to make the SoB deadline — even while reminding myself it’s not like I’m eligible for prizes! But it was my goal I had set for myself, and I really like achieving goals, so wanted to do it. And I also knew no muslin was going to tell me how this fabric would work, so the only thing to do was do it in the real fabric. (Also, I initially wanted them to have even more elaborate cargo pockets, and it would be a whole lot of time spent on pockets if the fit wound up being no good with the canvas.) There’s also the fact that I have SO MUCH of it, and it was so cheap, so it really only made sense to just go ahead do it, with a compromise on the pockets. All of that said, I wanted them to be right. At one point, I tossed the fabric aside and picked up the striped duck I also intend to make these pants out of, and thought maybe I’d do those first, see how I liked them, and then see what adjustments I might make. But these were the pants I had in my head for SoB, so I decided to just go for it. I didn’t have much to lose!

  3. I love this! I would happily wear this outfit any day and every day. I’ve never sewn pants before, but now that I have become so picky about fit I may have to or else go naked! Thanks for providing so much inspiration and courage in this space. Looking forward to seeing your finished sweater soon!

  4. Brilliant! Especially the bit where you re-used your elastic from your PJs. Thanks for sharing Bob’s work too as I was going to ask about the studio space. I took a peak and am drawn to the “Quarters Off” piece. It is intriguing to see how your penchant for grids and geometric structures in knitting comes into play in his work too.

    My photography has always been about emphasizing negative space, aka “voids” and it is funny how my husband, who is not an artist, but a historian, researches gaps and “voids” in historic archives. Somehow we ended up interested in the same thing, but across completely different mediums ;)

    • My degree and early career was in graphic design, so I’m a big ol’ grid devotee. And his work has been all about the grid going back decades. It is funny.

      • It is wonderful to see his work, Karen. Thanks for the link. I am going to follow him on Instagram so I can see more.

        My work is all about the grid, too. Even when I was painting landscapes, the grid was scored under or over them. Now, the new pieces are grid-based while also paying tribute to women and crafting. After all, the grid is the base for most textile and crafting work. I think it was the Marches tht pushed me in this more personal direction. More on that once I get my website back up. Someday. Sigh….so bad at the tech stuff….

  5. I’m impressed. How in the world did you know to do all those mods to get what you wanted? You have a real talent for seeing the details.

    • I was really just winging it based on what I know about what I don’t like about every pair of pants I’ve ever made. Happily, it worked out, because these are so simple. But I really want to read up and practice up on pants-fitting skills.

  6. These pants are GREAT! The proportions are perfect. Totally my vibe right now too – elastic waist for the win. I had a pair I made with pink linen I basically didn’t take off when I was in France. I am also dealing with my jealousy about this beautiful fabric; I honestly thought “I should just fly to Nashville the next time she has a sample sale” because it’s basically impossible to source a lot of the fabrics she gets (I’ve tried!) Canvas is almost impossible to find in great weights and colours and this one looks super special and will likely be put to good use over the years.

    ps. Can’t wait to finally hang out next week!

    • I’m obsessed with your whole France wardrobe. (I have trouble commenting on your blog, or you would have heard that from me sooner.) And yes, this fabric is pretty great. I have it this color and very dark charcoal grey. Will happily bring you some next week! And having made and stood in these clothes, I feel much less terrified of that now!

  7. Great job! So bummed I missed out on this make-along. Everyone’s projects are so inspiring. I hope you host it again next summer!

  8. Nice work! Can you share a bit about your waist technique? Did you just feed the 2″ elastic into a casing? Or use a method that serges a long edge of elastic to the cloth band? Looks great with your perfect fit and length of button-up, whose hard won cuffs will never be seen again. Ha!

  9. pants look gorgeous! when you don’t see the elastic waistband you wouldn’t think that it is with an elastic waistband, so really super I think! love the big pockets and combined with the Archer a really nice and compfy outfit! well done!

  10. Love your pants. They are very similar to some that I made, shorts and 3/4 pants. Love me some elastic pants. I used Butterick see & sew B6348

  11. Years ago I sewed for a woman who hand dyed silk and rayon and made the most simple garments. I always like elastic but her technique made it even smoother- a flat front (no elastic in front waist)
    Crazy fast video that shows it https://youtu.be/oU0d-Uw6xKQ

  12. Yay, you did it! I really like the proportions you have going on these pants. The wide elastic, pant length, pockets, it all works together very well. Amazing first pants!

  13. Excellent! Love the front pockets. Will be putting some just like them on my next pair of Pants no. 1 from Sonya Philip. That shirt is exactly right. You know, I never thought about just using the collar band and not the collar. Hmm.

  14. I think you are a genius for buying a bolt in that colour — it is SO difficult to purchase drab olive in bottom weights. I wanted it to be the neutral in my sewn wardrobe, then set off to buy some and could find it no where. It’s crazy, given how common a colour it is in ready-made clothes. Can I ask how wide your pant legs are at the bottom? They look perfect to me for that lenfth.

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  16. That outfit feels like it’s a natural extension of you. Nice work. Let me know if you sell off any of that fabric – hah!

  17. I think the pants and shirt look great and very well made. I would like to know how you did the waistband because it looks better than most elastic waists I’ve seen.

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