A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Corduroy disappointment

Fall arrived rather suddenly here, and with it the realization that Gabriel is in dire need of pants.  Like, he only has one casual pair that actually fits (in addition to some high-waters and a pair way too big in the waist), and one weather-appropriate pair for church.  While outlining "dream sewing" plans during our vacation, I mentally reserved some stashed pinwale corduroy for him.  I really like this fabric.  The piles are a deep purpley-brown, but the vertical threads (warp, I think?) are white, and they combine to make the wrong side of the fabric a lighter shade, which works well if you want to reverse the fabric for accent purposes.

When I managed to carve out a couple hours' precious sewing time a few evenings in September, these pants (Basic Pocket Pants from Growing Up Sew Liberated) in this fabric were at the top of the list.  I was so excited to try them on him when he woke up the morning after I completed them ... and then I was unbelievably frustrated at the way they fit.

It is partly my own fault.  I sewed three pairs of these  pants in flannel last winter as pj bottoms for my daughters and my niece.  At the time, I noted that the rise is way too short ... but I only noted it mentally and never wrote it down.  The paper in my mental notepad is flimsy and prone to flying away at the slightest cross-breeze of a new thought ... I didn't even remember that I had sewn the pattern at all until I was nearly done with these!  Lesson learned - always mark up your patterns!

In any case, the finished rise on the 3T is only 15.75".  Which is really crazy short - my research (which consists mostly of measuring RTW pants and sewing patterns) indicates that a 3T should have more like a 17.5+" rise.   Interestingly, I found the rise on my Sew Liberated Skinny Jeans also unwearably short.

This works ok when Gabriel is standing, but the minute he curves his booty (i.e. by kneeling to play with his cars, sitting down to inspect a bug, flinging his body over the armrest of the couch or any of the other 100 contortions a 2.5-year-old is wont to make in a 5 minute period), the pants slide down, showing a good 4" of diaper.

If you look closely in the following picture, you can see on his left side just how far down the waistband has slipped.  From the back, it's all diaper.

I was doggedly determined to make the pants work because of G's aforementioned dearth of pants. and my dearth of sewing time.  Thanks to the pattern's somewhat unusual waistband construction, it was not terribly difficult to squeeze 2" more rise out of the pants.  As drafted, you only cut one waistband piece, which you sew to the wrong side of the pants, and then turn it to the right side and stitch it down there.  I unpicked it, cut a second waistband piece to attach to the first, and then stitched the bottom of the new piece to the top of the pants.  I also tightened the elastic (it now has about 1.5" of negative ease). But the pants still migrate downwards. This photo was taken right after he stood up, before he'd had a chance to pull his pants up in back.

Upon further inspection, I think the trouble lies in the back crotch curve - it's not curved enough and creates a basically flat bottom.   You can really see how flat the rear area is in the following photos.

The back also needs to be a bit higher in general. I think adding a back yoke to the existing pants might really make them work, but then I'd have to draft new waistband pieces.  It feels like more work than I want it to be, so I think I'm just done with this pattern.  I think I will revert to my Oliver+S Sunny Day pants for the next pair, or maybe just buy their Sandbox Pants pattern, which has the casual vibe I was going for.  It's a bummer about this pattern, but I need to move on.


  1. I had the same experience with this pattern - the fit is just bad. But I love that pocket detail, so at one point, I modified the Sketchbook shorts (which always fit Joe just exactly right) to have that detail. It really sucks in this case because that fabric is totally lovely! Sorry!!!! One good thing about my blog is that I can go back and read my notes, because I am terrible about actually marking up patterns.

  2. What a shame because the way you've used the reverse as an accent is really lovely. Good job you didn't decide to make a batch of 3 pairs up at a time I suppose.

  3. Yes, this pattern made me frustrated and at first I thought it was my fault and I traced it wrong or something. At least you are thinking of fixing it. I made those in flannel as pajama pants for Emma years ago and I just let it go. Did not want to deal with it at all.
    Love the fabric though!!

  4. Oh Masha I had the very same thing with this pattern. When L was in nappies I made her some and had to adjust the pattern piece for a longer rise and try again. Whenever she sat down the waistband shot down her bottom! I do however love the look of the finished product and yours look so good on him.

    1. Thanks, Katy - it is good to know I am not alone!!

  5. The pants look great if only your boy could just stand still and not do what any reasonable 2 1/2 year old would do. it is a bummer about the fit :( Sewing time and sewing supplies are precious and I know I would have been super upset if it was me. I trust patterns get thoroughly tested. Hm... Maybe not. Great fabric by the way.

  6. How frustrating.
    Sewing time is so limited with babies, you need things to work!


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