Linen-cotton Carolyn pants (2018 FO-20)

Non-pj Carolyn pants (2018 FO-20)

When I sewed my striped Carolyn pajama pants last month, I noted — and many of you chimed in — that they are surprisingly polished and 100% street-worthy, so I vowed at the time to try them in an equally street-worthy fabric. I still fully intend to make the navy-and-black piped linen pair, but these jumped ahead in the queue, and here’s why. Ever since relying so heavily on my black linen pants while traveling this past year+, and after seeing Martha’s natural linen pair on her recent trip, I got it in my head that I wanted to make myself a pair of Carolyns in natural linen — but I also didn’t want to buy fabric. Then when I was compiling and sorting my stash for the (ongoing) sewing room cleanup, I discovered just the thing.

Last summer, when ordering the fabric for my button-up, I had also bought two lengths of a linen-cotton blend that I assumed would be sort of a light shirting weight. I’d never unwrapped it or washed it; just added the tidy, ribbon-tied bundle to the stash. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was heavier than I thought. And after a wash, I was convinced it would work for these pants. Once I realized they’d be just the thing for a certain photo shoot last week, I somehow whipped them out one night in a fugue state. And then Hannah snapped this photo of me actually grinning at a camera. (I know.)

So what do I think of the pants? Here’s the thing: They have a lot of structure in terms of the pockets and the faux fly, and no part of that wants to gather really, once you install the elastic. (True of the pj-weight ones; even more so with a heavier fabric like this.) So what happens is the gathers collect in the little space between the pockets and the fly, almost like pleats. And in this light-colored fabric, that can wind up looking a little awkward in the crotch. In this photo, I’m conveniently striking a pose that counteracts the issue. It’s not terrible or a deal-breaker, but it does make them a Like rather than a Love. Still, it won’t deter me from making the navy pair!

Pattern: Carolyn Pajamas, view A (size 12, no mods, 2″ hem)
Fabric: Half Linen Solids from Miss Matatabi


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19 thoughts on “Linen-cotton Carolyn pants (2018 FO-20)

  1. Thank you for the description. Have admired the pjs as potential pants for a while. Have found that reducing gather fullness with a discreet dart either side of CB & CF can make an elastic waist more flattering. Definitely possible with a fly front.

  2. Your thoughts on this pattern/fabric combo are so helpful! I’ve been thinking lately of the need to make some linen pants for myself, and I just cut up some brussels washer linen/rayon for an unrelated project and I think it would be absolutely divine for linen pajamas that double as out-of-the-house pants! It was kind of stiff off the bolt but as soon as I took it out of the dryer it had gotten so soft and fluffy, but still very presentable-looking.

    • I have a flat butt, so I actually prefer more fullness in the front and less in the back, lest I get that diaper butt look if you know what I mean. It’s such a delicate balance!

  3. Perhaps you could get the front as flat as you like, pin the side seam location, and stitch the elastic down on each side. Yes, it modifies the pj fit a bit, but keeps the front styled the way you like best.

  4. Why not eliminate the faux front stitching altogether? Wouldn’t that help with the fullness in that location?

  5. Hi Karen, love the simple and chic outfit! My sugestion is to very thoroughly trim and layer your seam allowances, grading them so that the bulk is distributed across a diagonal. And also trim not just horizontally but upwards towards any vertical seams. If this still isn’t working, you could try keeping the front flat and inserting elastic in the back waistband only

    • The pattern does have the waistband seam allowance graded and then hidden inside the band. I don’t like having the seam allowance in with the elastic, so I do it differently, and do wind up with a bit more heft as a result, but it’s not an issue with any of my other pants. And again, not a majorly big deal here — was just something worth mentioning in the case of this light fabric and non-pj intentions. Otherwise, a total non-issue.

  6. hi Karen, I have a request – there’s no make your own basics pants post. I’m looking for a pattern where I can apply your elastic waist band process. While I love your Carolyn pants, I’m hoping for a pattern that has more tapered legs lol

    • It’s just a method for the step of attaching the band to the pant or skirt, so you can pretty much use it to attach the band on any elastic-waist pattern that has a separate waistband piece. The two I’ve used it on recently are the Tessuti Robbie Pant and these Closet Case Carolyn pj pants.

  7. I know exactly what you mean and I HATE THAT. I feel like I always have problems with pants bunching in some way in the front…,
    These look lovely though – you’ll just have to walk around w your hands in your pockets 😂😂😂

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