If it wasn’t for sewing, I might actually be cool. You know — follow the trends, browse style magazines to see what’s new and exciting for each season, and shop around to find the best versions of those looks. But I sew. So I do what I want. And what I want right now, is a pair of massive wide-legged cat pants (or #catpants, as I prefer).
I can’t explain it. I know it starts with McCall’s 7726 (which looks like a great pattern, but I haven’t tried it), featuring some pleated, paperbag waisted palazzo pants. SO MUCH WANT. I had instant palazzo fever. But I’m not about that pleated-front pants life. Nope! I wanted the palazzo pants from the early/mid-nineties. The kind with an elastic waist. The kind that came in rayon ditzy prints and you’d wear with super-clunky shoes and a baby tee. The kind that made me feel SO SOPHISTICATED in seventh grade. Plus, I wanted to use this cat rayon that I had a ton of, and I wasn’t sure they would hold up well to a zipper and fitted waist. So it was time to search for a new pattern.
I was surprised at how many patterns are out there for basic-as-hell drawstring palazzo pants. It’s kind of disturbing, folks. Are there really that many people searching for mostly unflattering and largely outmoded pants? (Yes? Okay, makes sense then.) I settled on New Look 6271, because they looked like they’d be the easiest to add a paperbag waist to.
I used the Super Easy Paper Bag Waist Skirt Tutorial from create/enjoy, and it worked like a charm. It makes me want to add a paperbag waist to All The Things. Instead of cutting the casing pattern piece as-is, I cut it 7.25″ high, allowing for chunky 1.5″ elastic and 1.25″ of paper baggage at the top. I also added a sash to the look, echoing the McCall’s version that first caught my eye.
As you would imagine, these are ridiculously fast and easy to construct. I did make sure to get out my serger for the first time in months in order to make sure the rayon wouldn’t get destroyed after a few washes. Even with that added step, these were a breeze from cutting to finishing. The longest part was getting the hem length right. Much to my mom’s chagrin, I prefer my pants to rest approximately a centimeter above “dragging along the ground like a filthy heathen.” It took a number of try-ons and treks to the mirror squeezed in during naptimes to nail the tricky barely-off-the-ground-but-not-actually-going-to-trip-on-them length.
Dudes, I’m super happy with these. They recall the palazzo pants of my middle school years beautifully, with added dorkiness thanks to the Urkel-esqe high waist and novelty print skeptical-looking cats. (Seriously, these cats do not look friendly. Do not engage. Do not make eye contact.) And they’re so comfy! You know you’re living that casual life when the last four garments you’ve sewn could also work as pajamas.
That said, I think they’re pretty chic, and I love being able to wear silhouettes that aren’t easy to track down in the store. I imagine other people eyeing my pants, thinking, “Where on earth did she get those amazing skeptical cat palazzos? What is her secret?!” Which I’m sure does not actually happen, but makes the whole scenario no less enjoyable.
All in all, I highly recommend embracing your inner dork and making whatever you dream of. Welcome to the closet, my already beloved #catpants!