Fearless February - Pants for Paddling

Fearless February has certainly provided me with an opportunity to challenge myself in that area that challenges most sewists - the dreaded pants!  I had two aborted pre-tests of two different jeans patterns (see earlier posts if you are interested in the whole saga) and then settled on doing something quick and easy.  Sometimes quick and easy is not the best way to go, but I did want something to wear fairly quickly. The original plan was that the pants would be smart casual for going to the supermarket and similar activities.  I wanted to make them out of 100% cotton drill because it is hardwearing and is cool to wear - we have very warm and very humid weather, and I find elastane mixes just too hot to wear  when it is warm.

This was the pattern I chose:

Kwiksew 3340

As I was getting quite frustrated with the Fearless February project (two pre-tests rejected), I very quickly made a pre-test out of a soft poly cotton that I didn't like and was not going to use in a garment (virtuous stash busting!).  I cut XS hips and enlarge to go around my middle - I'm sort of 6-8 hips, 10-12 waist and tummy.

Being reasonably satisfied, I proceeded to cut out the cotton drill.  I wasn't really hopeful that things would work, but I figured the only way to know was to find out.   I don't normally go for elastic waist garments because they tend to add bulk around my middle, but time was starting to be of the essence.  I also wanted to find out how to add an elastic back and how to do a fly shield, and these pants had instructions for both.  I often want to put a small amount of elastic at the back of a fitted pant, as I can go in and out around the middle - an annoying habit of my tummy!

I hit a few snags with inserting the zip and shield the KwikSew way - so I gave up and reverted to my way, and added the fly shield - pretty simple if you use your head and work out how to put it in. 

I was happy with the zip and proceeded post haste to complete the rest of the pants.  Pockets went in well, but I did think the rear looked quite large - I suppose I'm used to darts and fitted shapes.  The hips I already knew would not be too bad - I measured the  pattern and cut extra small for my size 8 hips.  It was harder to tell how the top would work out.  I thought the elastic would pull it all in - and it did.

These are the finished pants - I hem them quite short because we have very wet weather here in summer and if pants are too long they end up getting wet around the bottom.  As you can see, a bit baggy at the top - the waist had no darts and pockets well out to the sides - but the blouse covers a lot of sins.

And this is the rear view.  Again a bit saggy and baggy around the bottom, but these are elastic waist trousers. Again, a baggy blouse covers a multitude of sins. (And just look at the folds in the back of this purchased blouse - I have a small back, also a real problem to fit).

This is the front view - the trousers tend to pouch out at the side - partly because of the unshaped back and partly because the pants are in a non draping fabric, and partly because the pants are not a fitted tailored shape.
This is the back view - not a good look and seriously needs the shirt over it.  Having said that, it does show that I need to do the full range of small flat bottom type alterations.

This is the side - once again demonstrating that I need to do some serious flat bottom alterations.

So, I went to bed last  night pondering the pants problems, listening to pelting rain (I live in NSW, which is getting a lot of heavy rain troughs and strong winds) and looked forward to cleaning up the aftermath the next morning).

And, what do you know, the next day I had water to clean up - one of the rooms has a leaking roof - its going to be replaced one day, and converted to my sewing room - and, guess what, these are the most perfect, utilitarian, pants for paddling and cleaning up, and so comfortable - that I think I am now thrilled I have them!  Maybe not what I planned - but that just means another opportunity to make a pair of smart casual pants!
And here's me in my cleaning up clothes, not looking too pleased about it (no, seriously, I had just worked out how the self timer worked on the camera, and was concentrating on how to take photos - hence the serious, stern expression, quite unlike my normal self.  I also have my glasses on, which add to the scary effect - I couldnt see how to set the camera without them!  In due course it will be automatic and I will relax and smile at the camera, sans glasses or not!

So, as you can see, the pants are perfect for paddling around with puddles of water. As you can also see, I have to do sway back alterations. This camera is going to be a real boon as I will be able to photofit myself.  The pants are also no worse - in fact much better and more comfortable than store bought utilitarian pants, which always slide down.   An added plus - KwikSew's crotch seemed to be the right depth for me - so I might investigate other KwikSew pants that are more tailored and try them - even getting the crotch right is a step forward.

So, Sew Style perhaps not, Sew Useful, Yes!  And finished just when they were needed, as it so happened.

And I learnt how to put an elastic back in garments and how to do a fly shield.

I don't think I would make these again - certainly without modifications, unless they were in a soft, drapey fabric - perhaps voile for a very hot day with a soft cotton tunic/blouse.

Sarah Liz:)


  1. Now that you know about how these pants look on you, it would be interesting to see them with a couple of adjustments. But take your time because it took me months to get used to my pants adjustments and I'm about to go back to them when the weather starts to cool down again.

  2. Hello, son interesting that everyone has difficulty with pants. Thank you for your advice to take my time to get things right - time has been in short supply over the last few years, but this year I plan to keep working on solving this problem - inbetween other bits and pieces.

  3. HI, Sarah just wanted to drop by and say thanks for the encouragement during this challenge. You seem to have a good starting place with pant construction! I wish you the very best during your return to sewing. Hope you find that pattern :-)

  4. Thanks Allison and you keep up with your good work too.


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