February 18, 2022
by Esi Hutchinson
Hello, it's me, Esi, again. I will be showing everyone how I made the Basics Pants today. The fitted measurements are stated on the back of the paper pattern or in the PDF instructions, check that out because first I will show you all how I changed the rise of the pants to better fit me, and hopefully fit you the way you would like them to.
Fabric: These pants can be made in lightweight or medium-weight fabrics. They have an elastic waistband so heavier weight fabrics will be quite bulky at the waist. We made several samples in linen, cotton, and linen blends and one sample in a medium-weight twill. For this sew along, I used a light-weight wool.
Notions: The Basic Pants only need thread and 1" (2.5cm) wide elastic. The elastic should be cut 1-2" shorter than your waist measurement.
Sizing: These pants are sized XS-3XL. While there is plenty of ease, you may still need some adjusting. I suggest making a muslin first to see if you need any fit adjustments before cutting you main fabric. You can also adjust the rise and the length of the pants. These pants have a high waist and will most likely sit on or close to your natural waist. Measure the existing rise of the pants in your size excluding the seam allowance (1/2" [13mm]) on the top and bottom of the rise. Include the measurement of the finished waistband which will be 1-1/4" (2.18cm) wide. Use a measuring tape to see if the rise suits you. If not, adjust for your taste.
I decided to take away 2-1/4" (5.72cm) from the front rise of the pants and kept the rise of the back of the pants the same because I realized this would fit me better. To do this, I marked a line above the lengthen and shorten line for the rise equal to one-half the amount I wished to shorten, in my case it would be 1-1/8". I made a pleat along the marked adjustment line, and taped it in place. Smooth lines to get a smooth adjustment.
The inner leg seam of the front and back pieces need to line up, however since I changed the rise of the Front piece, the Front and Back side seams will not match. I now had to change the shape of the top of the Back piece to match the front at the side seams.
I put the Front and Back pieces together matching the inside leg seams. I made a line on the Back side seam where it matched the Front at the side seam and connected it to the top of the back rise on the Back piece. You can cut or fold this top section above the line off. This is the new top of my Back piece. You can also adjust the notches to line up at this point if you need to.
It is always a good idea to make a muslin first to see how the fit will work for you. I did make a muslin to decide how I wanted to change the rise and fit of the waist and crotch. This helped a lot get the right fit for my main pair of pants.
Seam Treatments: Seams can be serged or flat-felled or faux-flat felled. Just choose what look you want. Often pants with flat-felled seams look a little more casual than pants without. It might be good to test it with a small piece of your fabric just to see how it will look.
Cutting the Pattern
I chose to use a light-weight wool, to give it a formal look and a warmer feel since it is still winter.
I didn't have enough fabric for the waistband to be cut in one piece, so I cut two long pieces the same width as the waistband, sewed them together, and cut the waistband from that piece. So my waistband has an extra center seam.
You will need to cut one waistband, two front legs, two back legs, and four pockets.
Sewing the Basics Pants
Pockets: With right sides together, sew one Pocket to Pants Front between the boxes (from top, pivoting at the corner and down to the other box on the side), matching notch 1.
Clip ⅜" (1cm) into seam allowance to boxes. Trim corner and seam allowance between boxes.
Turn pocket to the inside and press. Repeat with remaining front. You have just created the flap of the pocket.
With right sides together, sew a matching pocket piece to the curved raw edge of pocket between boxes, matching notch 2 and keeping front piece free from the stitching. You'll need to pivot at the top corner. Clip pocket seam allowance to square. Repeat with last pocket piece.
Zigzag or overlock the sides of the pocket raw edges to finish the seams. The top seam will be enclosed in the waistband and doesn't need to be finished.
Baste top edges of pockets to fronts along waist seamline to keep it all together and keep the pocket from shifting.
Turn pocket flaps down and press.
Front and Back: With right sides together, sew front and unstitched portion of pocket to Back at side seams, matching notches 1 and 3 and squares. Be sure to keep pocket and pocket flap free of stitching above the square. Press seam open.
I hadn't quite decided how I wanted to finish the edges at this point. Perhaps a faux flat-felled seam, or just pressing the seam open and over locking. So I decided to see what it would look like on a sample of fabric.
This is the faux flat-felled seam, it gives the pants more structure and can take away a bit of the drapery aspect of the fabric depending on what kind of fabric you are using. I decided not to use it and just overlock the raw edges.
Optional: On right side, you can reinforce the bottom of the pocket opening by stitching a bar tack through all thicknesses. For a bar tack I used a tiny zig-zag stitch. Test how wide and close you would like your zig-zag stitches to be on a scrap of fabric.
Stitch front to back along inner leg, matching notch 4. Press seam open.
Turn one pant leg right side out and slip into the other pant leg, so right sides are together. Stitch crotch seam, matching inner leg seams and notches 5 and 6. Stitch crotch curve again, 1/8" (3mm) from previous stitching in the seam allowance. Trim the seam allowances close to second stitching and/or overcast or serge raw edges. This reduced bulk in the crotch area. Press the remaining center front and center back seams open, clipping curves if necessary.
Turn the pants right side out. Don't fret they will look quite larger than your waist, but nothing a waistband and elastic won't fix.
Waistband: With right sides together, fold the Waistband in half, and stitch the short end. Press seam open. You don't have to finish this seam as it will be enclosed in the waistband, but if your fabric ravels easily, you might want to overcast or serge it.
With right sides together, stitch waistband to pants, matching boxes to side seams and front seams, and waistband seam to center back seam of pants. If you had to make your waistband like I did, I matched both seams in my waistband to the side seams of my pants. Then, press seam allowance toward waistband.
Press under ¼" (6mm) along raw edge of waistband.
Then, fold the waistband in half to the inside of pants so wrong sides of waistband are together and pressed-under edge slightly overlaps the waistline seam. Baste the waistband in place by hand and then stitch in the well of the seam on the right side along the waistband, leaving about 1" (2.5cm) seam open at center back waistline. You can also slip-stitch the pressed-under edge of the waistband to the waistband seam on the wrong side. That is what I chose to do instead of stitching-in-the-ditch/well. You can see the opening in the waistband for the elastic below.
Cut a length of elastic 2 inches (5cm) less than your waist measurement (if you haven't already), and thread it through the waistband from the center back opening. Overlap ends of elastic 1/2" (13mm) and stitch securely several times with a zig-zag stitch or a small box of straight stitches. Tuck elastic back into waistband and slipstitch center back opening closed. Personally, I like to stitch a seam and then stitch down the edges of the elastic to create a flat surface on waistbands. I stitch the seam several times to keep elastic secure.
Optional: You can stitch across the waistband at the center back seam several times, to keep the elastic from shifting. I chose to stitch in the well on the side seams of my waistband to keep the elastic from twisting.
Finishing: Press under ¼" (6mm) at pants hem; turn under again 1/2" (13mm) and topstitch.
You can also hand tack the pocket flaps down on the underside of the corner of the flap. Or you could add small decorative buttons here too.
The pants are finished! I like the fit and feel of these pants. They are comfortable and they look great.
In my next sew along will show you how I made the Basics Pants into Shorts.
February 14, 2024