I’ll start with the tl;dr — the pants are super fun to make and wear.
I planned on skipping this pattern, even though it caught my eye on its release. I think pleated-front pants are, in general, a mistake — thus, the palazzo style I went for with my #catpants. (Also excellent party pants for the record.)
Then, I discovered this was That’s Sew Monica’s pick for #sewyourview, and I was in. I’m so glad I gave these a try! Okay, first, the positives:
- The silhouette is fun, in a cool, “I-don’t-care-about-fascist-figure-flattery-I-do-what-I-want-who-needs-a-torso-anyway” kind of way.
- The pattern is enjoyable to sew up and everything comes together smoothly. Maybe I’m just getting better, but I also think that the instructions were solid and the pattern pieces well-drafted.
- The pockets are spot-on perfect! I’m not super obsessed with pockets, but I’m in love with these. They hit at just the right height and the pocket bag is a perfect length. It’s so natural to have my hands in these pockets, and they are ideally sized to hold my phone without creating weird lumps and bumps. Having added some ill-advised pockets to garments through the years, I can appreciate an uber-functional pocket when I find one!
- The zip fly deserves a call-out for being easy to install. I botched the last zip fly I tried (in this romper), but this one was a total breeze. Of course, I did also watch Brittany J Jones’s Sew with Me video and found it helpful. That said, this zip inserted beautifully on the first try.
Another plus? The fabric. I love this fabric! I struggled for years (I’m realizing this only retrospectively) to match patterns to the right fabric. I was always trying to retrofit something to work with a fabric I had in the stash that wasn’t really the best fit, or vice versa. Because I’m so damned cheap, I rarely ever bought fabric specifically to go with a pattern. I bought fabric that was on super sale, then stashed it for some unknown use later. Buying fabric for specific patterns has made such a big difference in my end results, and these pants are a case in point.
The fabric is a cotton/linen twill by Milly, purchased from Cali Fabrics. (I placed a big order and am really, really happy with the quality!) It’s suitable as a bottom-weight, but has a bit of a soft hand that works well with the pleats. And it’s just super rad! It has a splash of neon yellow, but is still a bit of a wild neutral. Since I opted for the sash instead of the carriers, I used a full two yards to make these. Both pattern and fabric are working overtime here!
Okay, onto construction notes:
- I stitched up my usual size 10 and these fit. Barely. Yikes! I’m not surprised, based on the finished garment waist measurements, but it’s a close fit. Just something to keep in mind — these might run a tiny bit small. On the other hand, there are eight pleats with which you can tweak the fit at the waist, so don’t sweat it too much. (That was my plan — let out or take in as needed, and hope that they relax a bit with wearing. Seems to be working.)
- I actually cut a 10 at the waist and graded down to a 6 at the hip and through the leg. That part definitely worked for me to keep the look relaxed but not Hammer-pant-esque.
- Just a warning: if you suffer from Concave Butt Syndrome (known colloquially as Flatass), these pants will not do you any favors. You may or may not care. I don’t. But these definitely flatter women with curves in back!
- There was one direction for the zip fly that called for inserting the zipper stop at the large circle. I couldn’t find that large circle to save my life. Am I blind? What is going on? Either way, there’s a healthy margin of error since there’s a bar and hook at the top anyway. Don’t spend too much time worrying about this if you have Selective Large Circle Blindness as well.
- I eschewed all top-stitching (called for on the pockets and pleats) since my machine needs maintenance before it’ll do a non-gnarly top-stitch, and it won’t show up in this print anyway.
- I took the hem up an additional 1-1.5″ than drafted. I wanted them to look intentionally cropped, but just barely. As drafted, you have a bit of room to play with the hem length. (I’m about 5’6″, for what it’s worth.)
Also, the marking on this pattern is key. I hate marking. I was taught to mark with snips and pins, and sometimes it creates a real headache. I decided to whip out my Crayola Washable Marker and just transfer markings that way and it was SO MUCH FUN! It was easy to mark (on the wrong side of the fabric), and equally easy to find my markings later. I also feel like it’s not 100% accurate, but pretty good, since I don’t end up transferring from pin to pin to pin. I’m going to get more creative with my markings in the future in the hopes of enjoying the process and being more accurate. Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long it is before I accidentally ruin a garment with “creative” marking?
Alright, time to wind this up! Love the pants, love the fabric, love the process — total win. I wore these the day after I finished them, and can’t wait to wear them again. Total summer staple!
Welcome to the closet, my Pleated Party Pants!