Tag Archives: patrones magazine

Pink Avalanche #5, in which I hate slash hip pockets

There are two things I’ve been trying for a few years now to add to my work wardrobe: yellow pants and pale pink pants. Something like these:

The yellow ones haven’t happened because I wasn’t able to find a bottom-weight fabric in a shade of yellow I like, but I finally did recently and hope to have those sewn up over the summer.

The pink ones haven’t happened because I keep buying bottom-weight pink fabric in a shade of pink I like and then trying to make them up into trousers with slash hip pockets, and then hating them. I’ve made four initial pairs; one of them is wearable, sort of, and one of them is good, and two of them are garbage.

This possibly represents an excessive dedication to pink slash-pocket work pants, but I think I can finally put it behind me. The fifth one is, I think, good.

I tried trouser patterns with slash pockets by Vogue, Burda and Patrones. And they have all sucked. Not because the patterns themselves were terrible–well, with the Vogue pattern, it was terrible also–but because slash hip pockets are the absolute worst. Two of these tries (Vogue & Patrones) were with pink fabrics that I had high hopes for; one of them (the Vogue) is an absolute wadder, and the first try of the Patrones was ok … but just ok. And that’s after a whole lot of alteration.

These pants are a second try of the Patrones, with the back modified based on my StyleArc Katherine pants (as I know it fits); two inches added to the length, waist raised an inch all around and more at the centre back, pocket shape redrawn, and a lining drafted and inserted.

There’s a tl/dr at the bottom for anyone who can’t wade through all these details. I don’t blame you, either.

My Slash Hip Pockets Journey

Storebought

The pockets always gaped. Just a little, but enough to annoy. And then of course being storebought pants, if the hips fit the waist was too loose, and if the waist fit the hips were too tight. Once I started sewing my own pants, I rarely wore them, and they were the first work pants I gave away.

But that’s ok because I could totally fix this by sewing them myself, right?

Burda

Back in the early days of my sewing journey, I downloaded a Burda pdf pattern of a high-waisted pair of pants with hip slash pockets. I had such high hopes for them–they looked great in the magazine–but on me it was an utter disaster. Everything was too big. This was before I understood that I needed to size down by one in Burda, and I’d also chosen a fabric with way too much body, so they looked like big puffy clown pants. With gaping pockets.

With the combination of poor size selection and poor fabric selection, it’s possible that I would have had more success if I tried again. But I’ve since discovered I really dislike pdf patterns, so for me, this is not an option.

I traced out and tried a pair of pink ponte pants from a recent-ish Burda, and they were ok, but the waist is too big to be really functional if I’m going to put my insulin pump in the pockets (it’s just heavy enough to pull them down just enough to not look right). Plus I kind of botched the top-stitching around the pockets. So I wear them on weekends sometimes, but that’s it.

Vogue

I first made these up in a lightweight grey wool, a few years ago, before I understood that I can’t actually make up any Vogue patterns without measuring the pattern tissue to determine the actual ease/fit. At the time, I liked them and wore them a lot, but in retrospect the fit was pretty shit. And the pockets gaped.

Last year, I tried to use the proper size to make a pair of pale pink pants, and they were still shit. This is when I learned my first important lessons about pants with hip-slash pockets:

The fit is critical. It needs to be perfect.

  • It needs to hold snugly around the waist to prevent slipping.
  • Below the waist, it needs to have some positive ease, or any pulling will open the pockets.
  • The back needs to be just right–enough positive ease for the side seam to hit the centre of the leg, but not so much positive ease as to push it forward and out.
  • You can’t take the waist in at the sides. If you do, what happens is that the pocket opening, meant to be an inch or two forward of the centre of the body, is now sitting at the centre–the pocket opening is where the pants seam should be–and the pocket opening will stick out like puppy ears.
  • But if you’ve already done the front fly, you can no longer take it in at centre front. And if you pull the excess in at the back it will make the pocket situation even worse. So if you don’t get the fit, ease, angle of the pocket opening, and sizing just right before you cut anything, before you install the pockets, and before you do up the front fly, you are well and truly screwed.

This was as far as I got with this first pair of pink pants. Dear Readers, the pocket opening sat straight up and down on my hips. They were practically a semi-circle seen straight on. I felt like I was carrying Dumbo ears around on my butt. I opened up the pants, tore out the pockets, re-drafted and recut pockets with more of an angle so they would sit on the front, and it helped, but not enough to make them salvageable. Ultimately, I discovered that for myself, if a hip slash pocket is to start at the bottom at the centre of the body and end a few inches forward at the waist, I need the back pieces to be bigger and the front pieces to be smaller, and with this Vogue pattern, the front pieces were bigger–the centre side seam ran down the leg towards the back by an inch or two. The pockets were never going to sit where they should.

At this point I abandoned this pants pattern permanently. Nothing is worth this much work for so little reward.

Patrones

After my first pants experience with them, I figured this would give me a better starting point.

And it did. I traced off the size given for my body measurements and the pattern tissue added up in hopeful ways. I made the front pattern piece 1/2″ smaller and the back 1/2″ bigger. I angled the pocket more inward so it wouldn’t sit right on the hips. I used fusible interfacing on the bias edge of the pocket opening to stop it front stretching out. And I cut it out and sewed it up in another cut of pale pink bottom-weight fabric.

And the pockets gaped.

It was better than the Vogue pants–way better, an order of magnitude better–but it still needed a lot of work. The waist fit just right. The full hips were fine. But in between was a bit of a mess. So further learning on hip slash pockets:

Round hips are a problem. I have round hips, meaning that there is a substantial difference–over 5″–between my high hip measurement and my waist, and it’s all sitting on the back. This pulls the back of the pants backward and forces the pockets open. The solution to this is extra ease in the back of the pants over the fullness of the hips–i.e., rounded darts as opposed to straight. (The sign for this was a side seam that ran perfectly perpendicular and straight down the middle of my leg from the floor to the full hip line, and then curved toward the back between the pocket opening and the waist.) So I redid the back darts, and then the line ran straight down. But the pockets still gaped. Not much. It was way better, but they did not lie flat or stay closed. I opened up the side seam a bit to provide a bit more ease through the hips, and they still gaped, but now with extra puffiness at the hips.

Anyone else would have decided that this was just not going to happen. And possibly I also should have decided that this was just not going to happen. But in fact what I did decide was that this was absolutely going to happen, so the next time Fabricland had a members’ sale, I went and bought 3m of the same pale pink suiting so I could make another pair and, if they also were messed up, one more after that.

I know, I know…

But it worked!

This final version is the Patrones pants front, with the reduction mentioned above.  But also:

  1. Traced it out again from the hips up so I could redraw the hip slash and trace out new pocket pieces that were a) deeper and b) extended to the centre front.
  2. Cut out the pants front entire, traced the pocket opening on the wrong side, staystitched narrow strips of lining selvedge and then sewed them adjacent to the pocket opening, and then cut the opening off. This prevented there ever being an unstabilized bias-cut opening at the pocket edge, so it didn’t stretch out at all.
  3. I cut out the pocket lining as if it were the yoke–all the way to the side seam and up to the waist–traced the actual pocket seam, staystitched it, then cut away the opening.
  4. Then attached it to the front pants piece, and understitched it.
  5. Then added the yoke piece; after basting, I compared it to the pattern piece I made that was the entire front so I could make sure that, assembled, it matched precisely before doing the fly and attaching it to the back.

It was a lot of work. It worked, but it took a fair bit of time.

The back pattern piece is my modified StyleArc Katherine from the full hip to the waist; from there down it’s the Patrones pattern.

I used Liberty cotton lawn scraps to line the pockets and the waistband. I find using a non-stretch woven on the inner waistband of a stretch-woven pant helps keep the waist from bagging out, so it fits better and stays in place with wear. There are bar-tacks at the pockets top and bottom about 3/4″ from the side/waist seams respectively to hold it a bit flatter.

And I do like them a lot.

And I’m never sure I’m ever going to want to put myself through this process again.

All of the pants patterns I like, make more than once and enjoy wearing have horizontal pockets of some kind. It’s time to just learn this lesson once and for all for me: no more hip slash pockets!

TL/DR

Hip slash pockets on pants are tricky.

You need just enough ease so the front and back aren’t pulling apart, and pulling open the pocket.

You need not so much ease that excess fabric is pushing the pant away from the body.

You need the side seam to run exactly down the centre of your leg, so that the pocket opening doesn’t sit right on what should be the seam line. This may mean using different pattern sizes for front and back pieces, depending on where you want that seam to sit.

The angle of the pocket opening needs to take your waist/hip difference into account. A greater waist/hip difference means a sharper angle on the pocket.

You need to reinforce the pocket opening in some way to stop it from stretching out.

The darts on the back need to take your shape into account. Fit needs to be perfect from the waist through to the bottom of the pocket opening. If the back is snugger than the front anywhere in there, it will pull back, forcing the pocket open. For me, I needed to alter a straight dart into a curved one.

Ideally the pocket pieces will run from the side seam to the fly, to help prevent that from happening–but many don’t, and even if they do, that won’t be enough to solve a gaping pocket on its own.

You cannot take the waist in at the sides if what you’ve cut turns out to be too big for you, so it is important to make sure that the waist will fit before you cut out the pieces and assemble the pockets. After that, it’s too late to change (at least, without many hours of work). Measure the waistband, measure the top of the front and back pieces and the visible pocket opening, and if you can tell it’s going to be too big–alter that first. See where the top of the hip slash will hit wrt the side seam.

And good luck. They don’t work for me, but maybe this will help someone else.

Sewing Pants in Spanish Part I: Patrones 370 Pants #3

The saddest thing about this whole post, Dear Readers, is that I finished these pants weeks ago and have been wearing them regularly but have not had a spare moment to take a picture of them. I had the best intentions this past weekend to find an hour on Saturday afternoon–and then what with holiday shopping, two birthday parties for me, one for Frances, and two other social outings, plus groceries laundry etc.–it didn’t happen. Sunday afternoon found both Frances and I napping. But I’m determined not to be the one who always posts on Amnesty Day, so! midweek evening inside pictures with messy backgrounds it is.

The last time I bought pants for work was at least five years ago. If you haven’t yet blocked it out of your memory, at the time even nice wool pants for office work, even in pantsuits, were so low-cut as to graze the hipbone.

I’ve never, ever been a fan of the low-cut look, particularly at work, but when you don’t sew you’re at the mercy of the manufacturers, so I have a few pairs of pants like this. Then I started sewing, and made pants which reliably covered my underwear when sitting down. Then I lost weight, and none of them fit. Now the only pants I have in my wardrobe which stay up are the ones that don’t reliably cover my underwear. Yet the patterns I have–mostly from StyleArc, which only sells one size per envelope–are too big.

(I did make myself another pair of Jasmines as I’d adjusted them a bunch for shorts previously, but you don’t really need to see another pair of Jasmines from me.)

(Woops, you got to see them anyway.)

This is a problem. I hate going back to the drawing board with pants because the fitting is so finicky, but you know, I need pants!

The ones in my Burda magazines are either too casual, don’t have pockets (which I need for my insulin pump) or have large and dramatic front pleats, which I’m not a real fan of. But there are two patterns in one of the Patrones issues I bought that look fantastic: one with cool pockets and interesting seamlines, and one swishy without pleats and a nice high waist. The one with cool seamlines was too low-cut for my taste, and the high-waisted one had slash pockets that I’m not really a fan of, but either seemed like doable fixes.

(They don’t appear to have a website and they certainly don’t offer individual patterns for sale, so my apologies for the lack of links in this post. You can buy individual issues through this website in different langauges–but alas, not english.)

I traced them both out in the summer and they sat, languishing, in the back of the magazine. Once again The Monthly Stitch provided the kick in the butt I needed to get working on a project I’d already planned–and this time, actually needed.

First up: cool seamlines. Which I was delighted to learn, while translating the instructions, is meant to be made out of stretch cotton. I happened to have this stretch cotton sateen in my stash, destined to be pants and waiting for a pattern, for years.

The Front

I traced the size 44 as the best match, then measured key points to make sure it would be in the ballpark. With the multiple seamlines front and back, I figured further fitting would be a piece of cake. I raised the waist 1″ front and back, and added 2″ to the crotch curve. (Note: Patrones skips some sizing in their patterns, so this pattern for example is listed as “size 40-48,” but the pattern sheets include sizes 40, 44 and 48. You’ll need to grade between the sizing lines if you fall between.)

Pocket linings and waistband facings are a very bright floral scrap quilting cotton. I can’t have the whole thing be neutral. They just wouldn’t be my pants. But also, using a non-stretch woven for the waistband facing means that the waistband stays the original size all day.

Also note the inside button in addition to the hook-and-eye closure.

OK, and look: these are a 44.

The Back. Fitting perhaps a shade too well.

AND THEY FIT.

No mountains of excess ease.

I know the photos show some wrinkling at the seams but that’s a factor of a) contrast settings on the photo editing program and b) sewing each seam with a serge and with a regular sewing machine stitch to make sure they are good and strong. They are good strong seams, but they are also seams with some introduced wobbliness.

I did make some alterations:

  1. snugging the waist a bit, where I fall between sizes.
  2. taking most of the 2″ I put into the crotch curve back out again–I’m thinking Patrones may be drafted for someone a bit closer to my shape, because it seemed mostly unnecessary. I figured this out after I adjusted the fit on the back princess seams so it’s now a bit too snug back there, but still wearable.
  3. using the back princess seams to take excess out of the thighs below the butt
  4. adding a 2″ cuff to the bottom because I forgot to measure and add to the inseam before cutting it out
  5. I took a very small amount out of the side seams–maybe 1/8″. I might put it back into the next one.
  6. about 1″ out of the centre back waist to keep the waistband snugger (it was gaping quite a bit), which is why it dips a bit.

Surely if Patrones can do it, other pattern companies that shall remain nameless can also do it.

The Side.

The tissue has been adjusted and I’m ready to make more; a teal stretch denim is all washed up and ready to go.  Next time I might raise the centre back maybe another 3/4″ but otherwise I’m happy with them. They’re comfortable, they don’t need lining, you can make them out of twill or sateen and because of the seamlines and the pocket shape they don’t look like blue jeans. They’re easy to fit because of the princess seams. The only downside is that by the end of the day they do bag out a little bit in the butt. I’m not sure if there would be a stretch fabric with good enough recovery to guarantee this not happening if you have a job where you are sitting and standing all day long, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Sizing Note

According to the Patrones sizing chart, I am just under a size 44. These pants are a size 44 as traced, with personal fit modifications and a higher rise.

Sewing in Spanish: Patrones 370 Skirt 19

The extent of my Spanish is the very small amount that penetrated through the two-foot-thick barriers I erected around my skull when Frances watched Dora as a small child. Which is to say: not much, and nothing specific to sewing.

I’m also not generally a fan of midi skirts or hi-low hems. But here we are: a hi-low midi-skirt in light yellow cotton twill, from a Spanish sewing magazine.

The only way I could get the front slit to show was by staring at it. Maybe it’s self-conscious.

And you know something? It was pretty easy. Getting the pleats pointed in the right direction was the hardest part, but arrows are fairly universal in meaning and otherwise it was just–you know–a skirt with four pieces, pleats at the waistband, side seam pockets (that you do have to draft yourself but hell, it’s just a standard pocket shape, drawn to the waistband so that it’s nice and stable). Sew the front together to the notch to make the front slit. Invisible zipper extends through the waistband. Front slit was serged and turned once to make it neat, as was the hem.

The Side. Poofy pleats and a high-low hem, and accidental pigeon-toes.

And now I have yet another yellow garment.

(It amazes me that once upon a time I thought I didn’t like or wear yellow much.)

(I mean, I have three yellow t-shirts, two yellow blouses, two yellow skirts, two yellow dresses, and a predominantly-yellow striped skirt. I wear yellow the way other people wear black. Apparently. All I need now is a pair of yellow pants, and I mean that sincerely.)

The Back. I’d already worn it to work once, hence wrinkles.

The one downside of yellow being, again, that it is always somewhat see-through, and this is no exception, even though it is fortheloveofgod COTTON TWILL. That’s like denim. See-through denim. How is that possible? But I don’t care, I love it, I’m wearing it.

Now I’m trying to fight the temptation to get a subscription. I should fight that temptation, right? I don’t need another sewing magazine subscription.