When I departed from the norm I did so with quite an extreme shape: low crotch, very voluminous harem pants. I have since expanded my repertoire to a couple of other styles, but I still like them a lot.

Here they are, an Issey Miyake design, no less.

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An online friend kindly gifted me the now OOP pattern, and I made quite a few pairs, both for winter and summer. They turned out to be very tricky regarding fabric choices. I found out quickly that knits tend to look cheap. You need a woven, drapey enough not to be too bulky, and preferably something that does not crush too much, because of the bulk in the crotch area. A big ask, but I did succeed with several pairs, some with very thin cotton, almost a voile but a tad less sheer, and also in a Korean high tech knit/woven. I wore those pants enthusiastically, frequently and almost nothing but, as far as pants were concerned, for more than a year.

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As I said, I still wear them now quite happily, but I have moved on with my sewing. The extreme harem look is all very well, and where I live harem pants are fairly common, but the look is too distinctive to wear exclusively. What finally gave me the push to look for a new pattern was a trip to Brazil, where I expected to do a lot of walking in very hot weather. What does that have to do with anything, I hear you ask. Well, the answer is simple, if a bit embarrassing: abrasion. The main advantage of pants over skirts in summer is that they protect your inner thighs. Low crotch pants don’t do that.

I was looking for a pants style that would, when I discovered the Tina Givens patterns and I thought I would give her Phoebe pants a try.

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Of course all of Tina Givens pants have a low crotch as well, but this is much easier to fix than with the Issey Miyake pants. I eliminated it by adding length at the leg hem and taking off an equal amount at the waist. This moves the crotch upwards. The Phoebe pants have an inset panel all along the side, which gives you a nice vertical line breaking up the expanse of fabric. And pleats and a cuff at the ankle, which I also like. I don’t do the pockets because I don’t want the bulk, but lots of people prefer to put up with bulk in favour of pockets. Lucky when can sew and please ourselves!

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This was my first try.

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A bit too loose in the hips when seen with a tank top, too wide in the leg, makes me look short and squat. Of course, with a Lagenlook top all that becomes irrelevant, thank goodness. I no longer need to try to look slim, tall and leggy.

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I still decided that I liked my Phoebe pants fairly fitted through the hips, with just enough ease for comfort, so that is how I made the black pair below. The actual shape of the crotch curve is a definite non-issue with these, as it is then same front and back. Tina suggests to fold your fabric so you have 4 layers and cut all 4 pattern pieces at once. What could be simpler? Of course it is it is true that, when you eliminate the low crotch, the fit could be not as good as a pair with a proper crotch curve, depending on your shape. Not a problem for me, as they fit pretty well, and in any case, no one will ever see this area under a Lagenlook top. I do make the back higher than the front, to accommodate the aforementioned generous rear end of mine. However, if you are a purist, you could transfer the crotch curve from a pattern that fits you well to the Phoebe. Yay for frankenpatterns!

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I have posted the first two pics before when discussing the Fave Top, and you probably didn’t even notice the pants, which is how it should be. The pants are the supporting cast, not the focus when you are a pear shape. The last photo is the pants worn with the Zelda dress, sans ruffle and with short sleeves and bodice part taken from the Tessuti Eva dress.

And below is my latest variation, with horizontal pin stripes. Hard to see those in the photo unless you click it to enlarge. I have eliminated the side panel because I did not want to have the stripes go the other way, and making them go the same way as in the main part of the pants would have given me a headache trying to match them all exactly. Normally having the inset with the stripes going the other way would not be such a bad idea, but I had already played with the direction of the stripes with the top, and more would have been too much. I also wanted to make these pants more tapered to the ankle instead of gathered into a cuff.

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Not sure the top is right in this combo. Too much volume perhaps at the sides, too long? I always find it hard not to use up all the fabric I’ve got, but at least it’s easier to cut a bit off than to join it on. We shall see after I have worn it once or twice.

Another possible interesting variation is the detail on these Oska pants. This would not be too hard to do with the Phoebe pattern as a starting point.

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It looks like you cut the hem longer at the outer side seam than the inside seam, then take out the extra with the tuck. Bless Oska for a photo with stripes, they make it so much easier to work out how it is done.

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