Pants pants evolution

So my blue sandwashed silk is going to turn into pants. I’m basing the pants on the Simplicity 7513 pants, but I feel this pattern needs some tweaking to justify the fabric.

There are three things I want to do to the pattern:

  • 1. Add a side seam
  • 2. Add a fly front
  • 3. Add a separate waistband

And possibly (4) take the pattern in at the waist.

The original pattern is what is known as “one seam pants” — I’m not sure why, since there are in fact 2 seams in the pants; a crotch seam and an inseam. Adding a side seam (1) will mean that the grainline of the fabric will run down each leg rather than running down the side of the pants. This will give a better drape to the pants, and it also will allow me to add some pockets in the side seam. My original version of these pants is seriously missing pockets.

(2) I think just looks nicer, and is a prerequisite if I want to nip them in at the waist.

Adding a separate waistband will also improve the hang of the fabric, and it can be interfaced.

The first task, then, is to add a side seam. This is conceptually quite simple; all I need to do is slash the pattern down the middle and then add seam allowances:

split pants seam

The problem is where, exactly, to add that seam. The back pieces of a pair of pants are typically bigger than the front (because that is the way that human bodies are shaped), so I obviously can’t just mark the midpoint of the waist. I solicited some suggestions, and the one that most appealed to me was to hang a plumb line from the place that I’d like the seam to be at the waistline and mark where it hit at the ankle. This is a two person job, though, since I needed to be in the pants.

Well, I did that, but I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t see what was going on around my ankles unless I stood in the shower stall, and when I did that, I wasn’t standing up straight. I ended up with chalk marks but very little confidence.

So then I took a similar pattern from my stash, Simplicity 7229. Same pattern company, and an almost identical pattern, save for the side seam, but to my surprise, different crotch curve. I laid the one pattern on top of the other and matched the fronts at the waist and at the ankle, and then marked in the side seam. I then did the same for the backs. At the top of the pattern, the marks were not only in the same spot, they were also in the same spot as my earlier chalk marks with the plumb line method. At the ankle, the marks were about 2″ apart, with my chalk mark midway between them. So I marked at the midpoint.

I figured this counted as “measure twice, cut once”, so now I have a side seam. I slashed the pattern, and then added seam allowances.

More later, on fly fronts and pockets and waistbands …

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