Peppermint is an Australian quarterly magazine well known in the sewing community for a range of free patterns available for download. They engage various indie designers to create the patterns which are always of impeccable quality. The talented Emily of In the Folds has created a whole bunch of these, and one of the most popular must be the Wide-leg pants from issue 38.
Making trousers are among the more challenging projects for me because the fit can be a struggle. In my 20/21 challenge October is dedicated to sewing trousers, and I wanted in particular to focus on fit, fly zips and pockets of various kind. After trying a number of different patterns over the last couple of years I still haven’t found one that is spot on for myself, even with some modifications. Some of the trouble has to do with my changing body as I get older. This is a common issue, but still not particularly easy to wrap my head around. The thing is, I don’t feel good in trousers the way I used to.
I like high waisted trousers a lot, but I don’t think the style is an easy fit for me because I have developed a rounded tummy that easily looks pronounced in this style (and in most styles), and that makes me self-conscious. I am aware that this really is a small problem, and I don’t give it too much thought, but it is still something I have to consider. All kinds of flat front trousers are difficult to fit over a rounded tummy, and one of the main issues are gaping front pockets. After perusing #peppermintwidelegpants on Instagram with more than 1000 entries I realized that these trousers look great on all body types and sizes, so I gained the confidence to give high waisted trousers another chance.
One of the best features of this pattern is the shape of the front pockets. The lining is attached to the fly and functions as a soft “tummy stay”. As a result, the front side pockets gape less ant the front area is more flattering. The pocket opening is rounded the same way as on jeans, and that too prevents the dreaded gaping.
The general advice is to always make a toile before cutting into precious fabric to be able to adjust the size and fit. There are a number of fit issues that must be handled before cutting. For me, a typical alteration is low butt and rounded tummy. Sometimes the waist/hip ratio has to be considered, too. I had a cotton canvas with ugly washing stripes available that had similar weight to the fabric I was planning to use, a cotton twill. I was pleasantly surprised when I put them on and they fit really well right out of the “envelope” or without any alterations. Incredible! The only change I made was to go down one size for a closer fit because most cotton fabrics stretch out a bit during wear, and I worried the finished pair would grow too much. It turned out to be a good decision.
I think this was a very successful make, and the pattern is excellent in many ways. No wonder it has been such a hit in the sewing community. My favorite features are the before mentioned pocket linings and the curved and pieced waistband – this is a must for me. On the other side, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the fly construction which I found a bit confusing. My favorite method is described on Closet Core patterns where the fly facing is grown on, not a separate piece. From now on I think I’ll stick to that, it works every time. I used a zipper I had on hand which is a little longer than recommended, so the fly pattern pieces are a little on the short side. This is of course entirely on me. Interfacing the fly is helpful, and I interfaced both sides of the waistband, too. I finished the inside of the waistband with a bias tape instead of folding it under to reduce bulk. It’s easier to sew and provides a neater finish, so a win-win. The button hole was done manually because my machine wasn’t very agreeable, but it looks ok when it is buttoned.
I am considering tapering the legs to a carrot shape because we are heading into winter. Icy winds up my legs from the hem is not really something I desire, and I walk to work every day (if we are allowed to come in). I think I might have tired a bit of the cropped wide leg shape by now, but I have to think more about that. Adding back pockets is another change I’m thinking about. Next time I’ll carve out a little more from the front pocket openings, they are a bit small. Topstitching is another feature that would work brilliantly with this style, at least in cotton. Sewing them up in wool could be interesting, too, and making them longer.
That’s the beauty of making your own clothes – you can always change the parts you want, either during the process or the ones you no longer are happy with later.