If my Onyx Shirt felt like a sewing victory, then this project made me feel even more triumphant. This is my first time sewing a pair of pants that are suitable for wearing outside the house.
These are the Fast and Fabulous Tailored Track Pants from Hot Patterns. This project was an experiment in a lot of ways. It was not only my first serious attempt at pants-fitting but the tapered, cropped leg, elastic waistband, and relaxed fit are out of the norm for me in terms of style. When I first finished the pants, I was kind of disappointed—they felt a bit bulky and the legs seemed like an awkward length. But a trip through the washer and dryer improved the fit. (I did pretreat the fabric, but only sent it through the washer and dryer once. It’s a linen/rayon blend so I suspected that another turn in the dryer would result in a bit more shrinkage.) I’m pretty happy with them now and even wore them to a second new faculty orientation I had to attend at the university’s main campus–paired, of course, with a nicer shirt and nicer shoes than shown here.
The fabric I used is a medium-weight linen-rayon blend that I bought last year from JoAnn Fabrics. The fabric is probably a little heavier than is ideal for this pattern, and I did have some issues with bulk at the waist seam, especially near the pockets. I would manage the bulk differently on my next version, but I’d probably also use something a touch lighter. I actually have a lighter-weight linen-cotton blend that I’ve earmarked for a second version of this pattern, but I don’t imagine I’ll actually make them until next spring or summer.
Fitting this pattern was actually pretty easy, which makes me think that Hot Patterns pants might just be a good fit for my body. I started with a size 24, made a muslin, and ended up removing a 1.5-2” wedge from the center front and adding about 3/8” to the back inseam. With just those two changes, I feel like I ended up with a pretty respectable fit.
Once I got to the point of finishing the pants, I did end up shortening the legs by 2”. I was surprised that the legs seemed too long since I’m 5’7”. After a bit of research, I think the reason I needed to shorten the length was because I intended to wear these pants with flats. The fashion advice of the internet suggests that if I was going to wear these pants with heels (as pictured on the pattern envelope), the legs would have been a perfect length. Women’s clothing is weird and complicated.
My one quibble with this pair of pants comes from my own poor choice of elastic. The pattern calls for 5/8” elastic, which I couldn’t find in the store. I didn’t want to have to order elastic online, so I used ½” elastic instead. The problem is that the channels for the elastic are wide enough to allow the elastic to easily twist and flip. The problem is made worse by the fact that the waistband design only allows for one point where you can invisibly secure the elastic (at the center back). The elastic in the top channel is most prone to twisting and it’s pretty annoying—all the more annoying since it’s a problem I feel like I should have been able to foresee and prevent. Oh well. Next time I’ll be patient and order the right size elastic.
I like the detail of the cuffs on these pants, although you can’t really see them in these pictures thanks to the impossibility of photographing black. If I make these again, I think I might add some pockets to the back just to further distance their look from pajama pants. By far, my favorite detail on these pants is the multi-channel waistband, which makes them particularly comfortable. I have an 11” difference between my waist measurement and my high hip measurement, so the slope between those two points of my body is pretty extreme. It seems like the multiple pieces of elastic conform better to the shape of my body so that the waistband stays in place throughout wear. I think this is the first time I’ve not had to fight with a migrating waistband. Hallelujah.