Epic Fail

In order to keep myself humble — and prove that sewing is a skill, not a talent — allow me to present the Waste-of-two-days-and-three-yards pants:


I can’t even remember the last time I had a pair of pants that went all the way up to my belly button. I might have been in grade school. Admittedly, the pattern (McCall 3731) is older — but it only dates to the nineties and it’s a teen pattern. The silhouette here is pure seventies, right down to making me look way wider in the hip than I actually am.

While I’m on the subject, a rant — why don’t pattern companies make pants with a modern silhouette? I think I’ve tried them all. Since I know my body type isn’t off the rack, I’m fine with making adjustments to a pattern so that it will fit. However, most pattern adjustment rules say to add a half inch here or take out a half inch there. There are no instructions on how to add two inches to the back rise and remove them from the front, which is closer to the kind of adjustment I need — on pretty much every pair of pants. It is not that hard for me to find pants in stores that fit better than this.

Ok, rant over. I’ll start something else tomorrow, to wash away the bitter taste of failure.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in sewing. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Maureen Cunningham

    try JStern Designs jeans pattern. Fits just like ready to wear.

  2. And my fear of pants continues. 😉

    I think I might put a bit of thought into the skill vs talent. You make a very good point there that could be explored further.

    Shake off the pants, it’s not you, it’s the pattern. That’s a freakishly high waist, and as a short person, I am used to seeing unnaturally high waists on pants. I personally like more than 2″ between my pants and my bra…

    • I did think it was a bit high, even just looking at the pattern. Note to self: misgivings while looking at the pattern are usually a bad omen.

      As to the skill vs. talent — I think both can apply here. I’ve seen people who turn out professional quality work after a year or so of sewing. I’ve been sewing for more than 20 years and I still have epic flops. One of the things I’ve realized is that it’s because I tend to follow patterns too closely (see: ignoring misgivings, above) and I don’t challenge myself enough. Part of my blogging adventure is an attempt to change both of these bad habits.

  3. Although I WANTED low-rise pants desperately in the nineties, I don’t remember actually finding them easily until after Tyo was born (aka 2000). I would just buy baggy ones three sizes too big so they’d hang on my hips. Or cut the waistband off of my button-fly Levis.

    This is one of the things that frightens me about unknown-quantity pants patterns, especially since they so rarely have any information about the rise.

    I don’t think either skill or talent are impugned here. This is 100% pattern failure. As to alterations, I feel like I’ve had pretty good luck adding a wedge to the CB crotch seam to get a little more coverage there for Tyo, (and regretted it when I didn’t) but admittedly I haven’t made her any super-fitted pants since the first pair was outgrown so quickly.

    I hope you next project knocks it out of the park! 🙂

    • I agree with your assessment on timing for low rise pants. Looking back at my mid-90’s university pictures, my pants were waaaay higher than they needed to be. My first lower rise (which really aren’t all that low, they just felt it compared to what I had been wearing) didn’t arrive in my closet until late 2000, possibly 2001. I was wearing them when I met my husband, but they weren’t new.

    • I definitely need the wedge at the center back. I think low rise pants existed before 2000 but not in pants patterns (and they’re still a minority there). Since I do have a couple of patterns that I KNOW are low rise, I’m thinking I should start there and raise the back rise instead of trying to alter both front and back. However, for pants to fit me correctly, the back waistband has to hit higher than the front by quite a bit. It’s a tall order.

  4. My mom wears pants that go all the way to her belly button.

    This is why I’m putting her in an old folks home, yo.

  5. In all seriousness, your pants aren’t too bad! They are actually very good….of course, this is coming from someone who doesn’t know how to sew a button.

    • My standards are WAY high. I don’t want people to know I make my own clothes. Wait, that makes no sense in the context of this blog. I mean, I don’t want it to be obvious to the layperson at a casual glance that I make my own clothes. Wearing ill-fitting pants might get you sent to a home, after all.

      I’m keeping the pants (and the pattern) around as a sort of prototype — by comparing other patterns to this one, I think I can see where I will need to alter.

  6. Oh boy do I hear you on this one. Several failed attempts at pants is actually what made me give up on sewing clothes altogether. I would see patterns that had photos of normal waistlines, sitting at the hips–and make them and have them turn out just like your photo. I actually got angry and though–Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity-you all deserve to fail and go the way of the Dodo if you cannot update the fit of your pants into the current decade. I shouldn’t have to freestyle a low-rise, damnit.

    • I think it’s unfair of pattern companies to adjust their photographs the way fashion magazines do — taking in items, clipping stuff in the back, etc. How are we supposed to know the way something will fit if we can’t see the lines accurately on the model photo? Hmph.

      I use http://www.patternreview.com as a resource to check on the sizing and fit of patterns, but they are not a perfect option since some patterns only have one or two reviews (or none, in the case of vintage) and you kind of have to wing it. Sometimes I have good results from comparing new patterns to something I’ve made before.

      I WILL conquer the pants monster. It’s just a matter of time.

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