Monday 11 August 2014

Pants, pants, pants, pants.....

Catching up a bit here by dropping no less than four pair of pants on the blog in one hit!

First up, three more pairs of navy (read: hard to photograph) school pants for P.
These first ones are the tried and true Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo pants.
I did all the edgestitching and topstitching, but since it's all navy, it's subtle. Nothing like those Team Australia (Oh, don't get me started on Tony again) pants that P's friend is wearing.
For a bit of something extra, I'm loving these iron-on faux rivets from Jimmy's buttons. They really look the business, but no complaints about scratchy metal bits on the inside.
Not only are there no scratchy bits, but the insides of these pants are so lovely to touch...
The fabric is a moleskin, which is undoubtedly meant to have this soft, brushed face on the outside. I talked it through with P and he definitely wanted the softness on the inside, and the more standard issue navy drill side on the outside. These super snuggly pants are his own little school uniform secret!

For the record, these are size 5, with about 3/4" length added at the bottom hem and the cargo pockets left off. No other mods and they fit perfectly.

The second pair of school pants is another pair of Sandbox pants in some more of the thick terry knit. I saved myself some trouble by not trying to flat fell every seam. The side seams are finished together and edge and topstitched and only the crotch seam is flat felled. So they look pretty much identical to the first pair but took half the time.

...and I used the genius suggestion from my blog commenter Rootaberger to use "one of those little plastic things that hold the string. You know, the ones you push down to loosen or tighten".

Well, I don't know if they have a name either (I'd guess at toggles) but I happened to have two on hand. I put one onto the original sandbox pants, and that definitely helps, but with these pants I went one step further: The elastic waistband on these ones goes all the way around and is fixed in length. The ties are stitched onto the elastic near the buttonhole outlets and thus are purely for decoration.

To make the navy pants production line a bit more interesting I busted out a new pattern for my third pair of pants:

These are the Figgy Banyan pants and it was my first ever time sewing a real zip fly. You know I took another photo of the pants as above, but slightly from the right, which hid that sticky out zip pull perfectly but was just a touch out of focus.
A close up from a better angle makes it look alright...

I found the pattern instructions were somewhat lacking when it came to the zipper insertion. I think there is a Figgy's photo tutorial and I know there are plenty of other tutorials on sewing blogs as to how to do this step well. But, when I'm using a pattern for the first time I like to follow just the pattern, as given in the package that I bought. It may seem perverse, but I feel like that should be sufficient.

Just checked: there is a Figgy's tutorial, but it doesn't address the main problem I had, which was quite where exactly to line up the zipper so that it's not completely exposed. The first time I sewed it on it was 100% visible. I unpicked it and chose some arbitrary distance to set it back and it is well covered by the fly flap, except that I chose a zip with a hefty pull, so that part does stick out a bit.

There was also no mention made of shortening the zipper. I'm sure mine was the recommended length but I had to trim a considerable amount off or it would have dangled down inside the pants a long way. Now I would have no concerns doing this again, but if it's your first time and you're a bit more timid and less slapdash, you may want to check out Cindy's awesome tutorial.

Anyway, there it is, and it works! I managed to sew the curve of the fly shield the wrong way so it's curved where it attaches to the pants and right angled at the free edge where it should be curved. Oops. Oh, and I got completely bamboozled with how the waistband attached. The pattern may not be to blame there as it was getting late at night and I was starting to do things the autopilot (Oliver + S) way.

Once I'd finished, and P was wearing them I was itching to make another pair straight away. Partly to correct my mistakes, but also cause they are such a great pair of trousers. I love the slightly jodhpur-esque shape and they look really trendy on. I have some green denim that I think will be awesome for this pattern.
These pants were the last cut out of the 3m of navy drill that I bought when P started school. From that I've made 2 pair of shorts and 3 pair of trousers!
Then, on to she-who-will-never-wear-pants. The only time I can convince A to wear pants is when we're taking the bikes down to the BMX track. She is of the opinion that princesses and ballerinas wear dresses all the time, except when they're working laps of the pump track!

But as you can see her pants are getting too short. Not surprising as they're over a year old now. The one pair of pants that do still fit her really well, are completely unsuited to mucking around in the dirt, and those are her Moschino knock off trousers.

My challenge was to make another pair of those pants, that were suitable for outside play, but princess-y enough to perhaps get worn...

The pants are a lengthened version of the Oliver + S Sketchbook shorts. The size is only 18-24 months but fits my 3.5 year old perfectly. I guess they're roomy shorts, and probably in that size there's some nappy room which is not needed anymore. My Moschino pants had a very straight leg and I tapered these ones slightly and kept the cuff, as a result they've ended up looking a lot like another pair of Banyans!

The princess appeal came via some metallic silver topstitching on the back pockets
Edit: Forgot to mention. The Sketchbook pattern does not have back pockets. These are size 4 pockets from the After School pants pattern.

...and some more iron on faux rivets, but this time, with diamantes (can't believe I just typed diamantes on my blog, ugh the things we do huh)

I doubled the metallic thread and the sewing machine coped fine with the straight stitches, but the decorative stitch did skip a bit. I probably needed to loosen off the needle thread tension as the metallic thread does seem very grab-by.
I'm happy with these pants for so many reasons. It was a small remnant of high quality denim that was just enough for this length and no more. I didn't need to draft a new pattern size. They were dirt cheap to make and I think they look pretty cool.
She's happy with them for those moments when a girl just has to wear pants, no buts about it.
P.S that blue top is the Oliver + S 2+2 Blouse and is one of the first bits of knit (merino jersey) sewing I did!


  1. oh. my. word. Shelley, you rock! Four pairs of pants? What an amazing amount of productivity and work went into this blog post. Especially conquering the zipper fly - my worst fear. I'm so super impressed, and am glad the kids love their new digs. I think the fabric reversal of having the soft side in was a great call:)

    1. Thanks Lucinda. The zipper fly is not half as much trouble as you expect it might be but maybe find another pattern for a first time! :)

  2. Awesome bottom making!

    Love the Cargoes, my Twins have a pair that get washed and dried by the fire each night. They even iron them if I am taking a bit long.

    What you did with the Sandbox is brilliant. I only made these the once and the casing got shredded by the ties, I will definitely be 'complimenting' you!

    The Banyan looks so groovy, love what you did with them but the zipper instructions just don't flow, the zipper is far to close, like a skirt zipper. Stick to Cindy's method.

    Your Sketchbook jeans look awesome. They are pretty roomy, Hugo still wears the 12 with a zip fly. I really like the pocket embroidery.

    Now, if this post doesn't load I am going to very annoyed, I do not type quickly!

    1. Maybe I have a rude word filter on my comments loading and you typed "bottom" too many times!
      no, wait a minute... if I had a rude word filter then half my own posts wouldn't load...
      Thanks for taking the trouble to comment (over and over).
      Sandbox with 360degree elastic is the way to go. Especially for kids who can't tie bows yet. (I'm sure we all knew how to do that at a much younger age than the kids of today Sheesh)

  3. All these pants are fabulous, and I especially like the jeans with Princess-friendly touches. (I recently found myself buying a pair of those diamante light-up sneakers, which can also be filed under "things I never thought I would do before having a girl child").
    The Banyan ones are very stylish. I'm not sure if it would translate to a kids' pattern, but there is an excellent fly zipper tutorial for the Moss Mini skirt that might be useful - I used it when making a skirt and it completely helped me over my zip-fly aversion.

    1. Thanks Suzy. Those sneakers sound pretty "special". :)
      Thanks also for another fly zip tutorial.

  4. Amazing, as usual! Especially impressed by those topstitched pockets - how do you do that?? And the diamante detail is a very subtle one. I was in a fabric shop today asking for iron-on jewels - kind of embarrassing (in my defence, they are intended for a dress-up, not an actual item of clothing).

    1. Did you find iron-on jewels? Jimmy's Buttons had these ones and a few other fancy ones, but mostly more the stud/rivet looking type things.
      The stitching on the front pockets is one of the very few fancy stitches my basic Janome can do. It looks a bit like rose thorns on a stem. The back pockets I drew freehand with an erasable pencil then just stitched over the top of my drawing.

  5. What a great round up of pants! And I agree with you about the instructions- I want it all there, in a clear order, instead of having to find extra details online.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Should I ever write a pattern it may as well come with a leather bound set of instructions in two volumes. For me it's all about the wording.

  6. Awesome work. Well done, there something immensely satisfying in sewing pants.

    1. I agree, and you got me started on the touches like rivets and topstitching. It's making them look like shop bought ones that makes it so rewarding. So thanks!

  7. So many fab pairs of pants! They all look great! I've been thinking about making a pair of knit Sandbox and seeing how great your's turned out has made me decide to definitely give it a go.:) Thanks for the shout out re: the zip fly tutorial. I actually looked my own tutorial up to use for the pink ruffle had been a long time since I sewed one and didn't want to flub

    1. Oh those pink shorts are fantastic (I'm behind in my blog surfing, but they didn't escape my notice!).
      The sandbox in knit makes perfect sense. They're like an old favourite pair of wide leg track pants.

  8. Sandbox pants in sweatshirt knit! Genius!! And I love your trimmed down tapered Sketchbooks - so cute! I must make some of those for Maggie's preschool days this autumn!

    1. Thanks Inder, the fully elasticised Sandbox knit pants are a big hit!

  9. These look awesome!
    My boy also needs to wear navy pants to school, but I can't imagine sewing so many at a row :)
    Yet, I definitely need to sew him O+S Cargoes - I have a pair already cut that it's begging to be finished.

    1. Thanks Ana Sofia. It's always a fine line between the convenience of leaving the overlocker and sewing machine threaded with the same colour and boring myself to tears! Hopefully I'm done with school uniforms until next year.


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