Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Testing the Calyer Pants

Perhaps those of you who are about my age will remember the flowy rayon palazzo pants that were popular in the mid-90s.  I had a pair, bought, I think, at Pier One Imports.  I used to wear them with a white or gray v-neck t-shirt and my $97.52 suede Birkenstock Boston clogs.  (Why do I remember how much they cost?  Because I talked my parents into giving me half the money for my birthday and my father was appalled at how much I was planning to spend on a pair of shoes and didn't let me forget it for years.  I'm no longer a Birkenstock kind of girl, so I don't really remember why I wanted them so badly.)
These pants have a slimmer leg, but the same lovely liquid drape and coolness against my skin, as those palazzo pants.  Wearing them for the first time, I was transported back 20 years and I could swear I heard Blind Melon playing somewhere.

These are the Calyer Pants from French Navy, which I pattern tested back in January.  They're not a palazzo pant at all, and in a sturdier fabric they will look quite different.  They pants have pockets, cool offset side seams and an elasticated back waist.  There are two views: pleated-front and flat-front.  I opted for the flat front.

My hips are 45-46" these days, so I was technically out of the size range, which tops out at a 44" hip.  I made the XXL and added 1/4" to all vertical seams.

As far as fitting modifications, I lengthened the pants 2" for my 5'8" self.  The tapered shape of the pant leg means it's not easy to shorten these pants after sewing them; you need to take it into account when cutting your pattern.  I also shortened the front rise by 1", which is a pretty standard pant modification for me.

If I make these again, I'd like to scoop out the back crotch curve, maybe 3/4".  I do also have a few of those pesky back leg wrinkles that always plague me, though they aren't bad at all in these pants.  And actually, out of the envelope, these are the best-fitting pants I've made.

The Calyer Pants are also quite a quick sew, with a nice clean waistband finish at the end.  The pattern specifies drapey woven or stretch knits.  I'm thinking that this pattern plus stretch french terry would equal some seriously cozy lounge pants.You could also easily get a jogger look by putting elastic in the hems.

This fabric is a rayon challis from the stash, originally from Fabric Mart.  It's really difficult to photograph.  Up close, the print is pretty psychedelic, but from far away it's much more muted and just reads sort of a dull mauve color.

I think these pants probably fall into the category of Man Repellant, at least for my husband.  And they're not my usual silhouette, either.  But I was pleasantly surprised at how they looked on me, and it was quite a confidence boost.  Buying ready-to-wear pants has been such a nightmare since I gained weight, that I just assumed that I no longer have a good body for pants that aren't jeans.

I think they will get a good bit of wear when the weather warms up.  I usually wear skirts when it gets hot, so it will be nice to have a pair of lightweight pants in the mix. And in these photos, I've styled them here for summer, although it's quite gray and brown (and still chilly) around here.  

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Comfy! I feel like the 90s were mostly Man Repellant clothes. Remember hammer pants? Or rayon tunics with big shoulders over leggings? Or Umbra athletic shorts? (Everyone I knew had a pair, but I couldn't afford one. I got a pair of not-very-well fitting Guess jeans from a friend during junior high and I wore them all.the.time despite the poor fit because they were the only piece of designer clothing I'd ever seen, much less worn). Oh, the 90s. They were a great decade for rayon in general. I'm remembering several fab rayon dresses I had then. And pants, come to think.

    Doc Martens were really big when I was in high school; it is funny to me that they've made such a comeback in the past couple of years. Another clothing item I could never afford!

  2. Blind Melon. Oh man that takes me straight back! The pants look nice :)

  3. I think that was my favorite part of the 90s - girl punk and man repellant fashion! These must feel SO NICE to wear!

  4. Yours turned out so great!


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