a tale of two city pants

Did I make the jumpsuit Gillian dared me to make? I did not. Did I make pants a while ago and pair them with a new top I just finished? I did. (Did I binge-watch Elementary and now have Sherlock’s voice in my head? I did. Did I also just write a 1200-word count post? I did.)

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Fabric: 1 meter of printed viscose from Stoff & Stil.
Pattern: Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns, modified size EU38.
Techniques: Overlocking, gusset, understitching, elastic waist.

Last year I found myself getting more adventurous with both patterned fabrics and silhouettes in clothes – I think as part of a post-break-up shake-up. I wore a patterned strapless jumpsuit, and absolutely loved it! The Hudson pants by True Bias was making its rounds, and I was keen to try the city pants style too. (Is it called city pants? Ok, google says yes.) Since the Hudson pants is for knits and I had a cool viscose woven I thought would be perfect for city-like pants, I went for the Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns instead. Ugh. Sorry – my gut reaction mentioning that pattern is not a good one! I’ll go into details, but basically… the pattern irritated me. Irritates me.

I love the detail of the pocket sort of hiding in a pleat, and I think the pants look really good on their model, and I’d love to make it up in a black silk crepe I have, and I think it would make some really sleek dressy pants. I just know have a decent amount of fit issues to overcome first, which does not fill me with joy!

citypants (3)I took all these pictures practically in someones yard – it was inside the fenced area of an apartment building. Did I feel awkward? Yes. Am I really glad nobody living in the building went in or came out while I was taking pictures? Oh, really yes.

One of the most irritating things first – the pdf pattern. It has I think 1 cm seam allowance included, which I like (I’m solidly in the included seam allowance camp!), but apparently only on the pdf pattern? Does that mean the printed pattern does not include seam allowance? Huh. Anyways, They have separate files for separate size bundles, with sizes EU36 and EU38 together. You’d think that could get annoying if you wanted to grade between sizes beyond those two, but wait! You can’t grade between the two sizes given in the same file anyways! The two sizes aren’t nested you see, but offset. I can’t understand the point of doing it this way, I really can’t. I’m having a hard time keeping my irritation at bay here, and as much as I like the design I don’t like that the pattern is set up differently than what has become the standard. I don’t mind just because it’s different from what I’m used to, but because it’s different with no added benefit, but actually reduced usability!

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Ok. Deep breath. Back to the facts: I cut a straight size EU38, since my hip width indicated this size. They do have a table showing finished measurements, and I really only looked at how finished waist measurement was 0,5 cm larger than my hip width, so I figured 38 would be the right size, though I usually take a smaller size. Should have listened to my gut!

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I think the line drawing is super cute, and those were the proportions I was aiming for. Several problems with that. First, the waist is actually larger than is listed. Measuring the waistband piece I got to 100 cm (not including the seam allowance) instead of the 96,5 listed. Yeah, not a huge difference, but still. I definitely had lots of extra room pulling the pants over my hips, while according to the chart I should only have that half centimetre of wiggle room. Also, I didn’t check the finished hip measurement, which is 110 cm. That fits what I measured my pants to be (flat), but for personal preference I’m more comfortable with a less baggy fit through the hips and crotch.

Speaking of crotch, I felt like there was quite a bit of extra room there. The pleats add volume of course, but the crotch is lower than I would like. In addition, I had a bit of a hard time finding a place the pants sit comfortably, and I keep wanting to pull the front up to flatten out the extra room. I’m thinking that the pants are drafted to sit much higher than I prefer, or for a taller person.

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One thing the line drawing doesn’t show accurately, is that the gathers from the elastic is distributed throughout. I think a flatter front is much more flattering, so I would distribute the gathers more towards the back. That seems to make sense with the side seams too, they were pulling towards the front when I distributed the gathers evenly. If I go ahead and make a muslin I would lower the center front so there is more of a difference front to back. The back piece seems very roomy – especially compared to another very similar pants pattern I’ve picked up. And the side seams are shaped oddly where they meet the waist – look how they bulge out!

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Those were some random thoughts I wrote down while I was in the process of making them. After finishing, save hemming, I decided the pants were roomier than I wanted. I went ahead and shaved off a chunk along the inseam, ending up making the thighs too tight and creating a nice little prominent tent when I sat down. Ugh. At this point I was so annoyed with the pants that I didn’t want to figure out how to save them. Until a year later when I went through my UFO’s and decided it was worth a try.

I ended up adding gusset-shapes to raise the crotch point and make more room across the thighs. Haha! Look at the patchwork of pieces! Sorry for the wrinkles – the fabric does wrinkle quite easily. I made elasticized cuffs instead of just hemming. I can’t quite decide if I think these look like pajama pants or not, but so far I’ve enjoyed wearing them! (despite my griping – it’s not my most successful make, but it’s fine). I do like how the waist is done with several channels and elastic – it’s a detail that brings it all up a notch I think.

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citypants (10)Snazzy greenish yellow silk lining for the pockets!

I do really like how combined with my OAL-top (I’ll post more when I have the whole outfit together!) it totally looks like a jumpsuit. I like jumpsuits!

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Ahhh… And like this post isn’t wordy enough. The second pants I’m referring to in my punny post title is the one below. It’s from Stoff og stil, pattern number 20028, decommissioned it looks like. It is, like the Alexandria pants, a city pant with pockets partly covered by a pleat, and tapered leg. This one was drafted for a jersey fabric though, and fits much better (I’m sure the fabric is part of the reason). I started sewing these two pants at the same time, and while one sat unfinished on a shelf for a long time, this one has seen weekly wear since being finished. It was interesting to compare the shape of the pattern pieces while working on the two pants, and as with previous experiences with Stoff og stil the drafting has been quite good. I see they now have a UK website too, how exciting! I’ve grown up with their stores and catalogues, and it’s awesome to see how much more on trend they’ve managed to become the last handful of years.

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17 thoughts on “a tale of two city pants”

  1. Kudos for saving those pants, they turned out to look really nice, especially with the matching top! I like the jumpsuit-look on you. Too bad about your bad experience with Named patterns.
    I’m sewing some Hudson pants right now… :-) Not quite convinced yet that it’s my style, but at least they’re bound to be comfy. ;-)

    1. Thank you! I’ve gone on to wear these two pieces as a jumpsuit to work one very warm day, and I felt pretty cool and put together! How did your Hudson pants turn out? :)

  2. For what it’s worth I think they look great, – nice alterations but I’m hearing your frustration loud and clear! I’m about to try a similar pattern from Sew Over It as part of their pants fit course…. Wish me luck!

    1. Ooo, fun! I think it’s great to get help fitting pants… It’s probably the most challenging garment to fit! My impression from blogs around the internet is that the Sew Over It patterns are well drafted – have fun at the course!

    1. Thank you! I wish they felt as great on as they look – the knit pair is so much more comfortable in every way! I think with fit alterations it could get a lot better though. :)

  3. I had some of the same issues you encountered with the Alexandria Pegs. I do wish they nested their patterns, though lately I’ve been more inclined to trace off one size, then make the necessary alterations instead of grading between sizes. When I made these pants I took 1″ off the back rise, and 1.5″ off the front rise to have them sit lower. Anyway, I love the fake jumpsuit look! So much more practical!

    1. Lisa, I’m sort of glad to hear you had similar experiences – just because it feels like it’s not just in my head! ;) I like your solution of taking off 1″ and 1,5″ respectively, I’ll probably do that for my next version. Oh, and you make such a good point – a fake jumpsuit definitely makes it easier to go to the bathroom, for example! ;)

    1. Thank you! You’re right, two pieces are more versatile! I sort of love “fake” one-pieces that are really two. Oh, and… wow! Spectacular job on your wedding dress, it looks stunning (from the sneak peaks). I used to work at a bridal shop that carried Jenny Packham dresses, and man are those things gorgeous. When I get married I’d love a JP-inspired dress as well.

  4. Oh man, this totally counts as your dare! It looks great as a fake jumpsuit! But ugh, that pattern sounds horrible to work with! I forget who just posted a similarly negative review of Named’s pattern layout… but they had bought the paper pattern and were pissed it all had to be traced because it overlapped AND they had to add seam allowances! I’ve never tried their patterns because I’m so far from the figure they design for, but I think I’d be too annoyed with the pattern to enjoy sewing it anyway!

    1. Noooo Gillian! I’m gonna do the dare right – *one* piece! (and I’m stoked!) I did really like it as a fake jumpsuit. Oh! I forgot to link – I meant to point out a skirt and a tshirt I made that together looked like a dress! Oh well. It was this one: http://www.indigorchid.com/2014/07/27/twisted-jersey-skirt/. Gotta love multitasking garments! :) Yeah, the overlap! I can’t remember what I did – maybe I printed a sheet twice, but ugh. Just strange decisions! Like Meg said in a comment below though, it sounds like they might have changed some of the practices!

  5. Love the stiff of stil patterned pants a lot. The fit is really great. But the surprise pockets are really cool on the other pair. I get your frustration with patterns. Maybe you can start a company with the improved modifications. Cheers.

    1. Thank you! It was particularly interesting to compare the two patterns as I was working, and seeing what was the same, and what was different. It’s a science and art in itself I think, getting crotch curves and what-not *just right*! :)

  6. I think your outfit turned out really cute despite the drama that went into making it! Worth it! Did you know that many of the Named PDF patterns now come nested and layered with all the sizes in one file? You can email them with your original order number and request that they send you the new file. I know it’s probably too late for this particular pattern, but….

    1. They do? Ah! Thanks for the tip! I still do want to make those black silk trousers from this pattern, so it would be nice to work with an updated nested pattern! I had the thought I should point out that I downloaded the pattern over a year ago, and for all I knew they might have changed things in the meanwhile. The thought got lost in all the words… haha! Thanks for pointing this out Meg, and I agree, it was worth it in the end!

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