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White Pants

In the heat of the summer, nothing makes you look cooler than white pants.  I save my ankle length white Eureka! Pants that Fit for the hottest days.

My white Eureka! Pants and a Tabula Rasa Tee
My white Eureka! Pants and a Tabula Rasa Tee

Even though they are lined, they look and feel cool.  But beware, white fabric requires special attention in the planning and sewing stages so you finish with successful garments.

Even if white fabric is sturdy and seems opaque, the shadow of undergarments can show through.  Likewise, pockets, zipper applications and waist finishes can show through white pants that are not carefully constructed.  Just look around you this summer and you will see many examples of white pants that could have used an extra layer of fabric!

When you are choosing white fabric for pants, unroll the fabric from the bolt and drape it in front of your body.  It is preferable if you can do this in front of a mirror, or get a friend to help you do the drape test outside with the sun shining.  Check for show through.  Or, you can drape the fabric over your arm and hand to see if they are visible through the fabric.  If the fabric has some show through, plan to line or underline the pants, but choose your lining thoughtfully.

Here are the two fabrics I used, batiste and cotton faille, and then the opaque combination.
At the top are the two fabrics I used, batiste and cotton faille, and then the opaque combination.


Cool pants for hot days are best if lined in cotton or poly/cotton.  For very opaque fabrics that just need a bit more coverage, choose a batiste.  To beef up lighter weight fabrics, choose a broadcloth.  If your base fabric has some stretch, find a lining that also has some stretch.

Silky linings also add a layer of opacity, but the pants are warmer in the wearing.  The “coolest” silky lining is silk habbati and it is washable.

Once you choose your materials, decide if you want to line or underline the pants.  Lining drops a second layer of fabric inside the pants and is a good choice if your fabric is close to opaque.  Just follow the directions in the Eureka! Pants that Fit direction booklet to construct and insert the lining.

White pants, white batiste lining, interfaced facings and the lint roller!
White pants, white batiste lining, interfaced facings and the lint roller!


If enough shadows show through your fabric and you think the seams will show, then underline each piece before constructing the pants.  Next month’s pants post will talk more about underlining, which involves basting each pant piece to its respective underlining piece.  It is an especially good technique if you are working with eyelet or other perforated fabrics that are wonderful for summer.

Before you begin cutting and sewing, consider these few tips for successful white pants sewing:

  • Pre-wash all your fabrics. White pants stay whiter longer if they are washed rather than dry cleaned.
  • Clean your cutting and sewing spaces before you begin. I wipe down the sewing and cutting tables and machines with a damp cloth and allow them to try before I begin.  I also vacuum and use a sticky roller to remove any lint or threads from the ironing board cover.
  • Keep the sticky roller handy to roll off any threads or lint from the pants sections during construction.
  • Keep your hands clean while you work and avoid wearing makeup.


If you are a long time reader of Threads Magazine, you can read more about sewing with white fabric in my article in issue 106, or read the highlights which are reprinted in the Threads Sewing Guide (an excellent resource book for any garment sewer). Use these tips to make great white pants, or any other white garments you want to add to your summer wardrobe.

Do you have suggestions for successful summer sewing or sewing with white fabric?  We would love to hear them.  If you have trouble  finding nice white batiste these days, contact us directly.  Out of desperation, we ordered an entire bolt and we would be happy to share some with you

Happy Sewing, RAE

1 thought on “White Pants

  1. You are right, nothing says summer like white pants. I wear them with so many of my tops that I actually like to have 4 bottoms in white from casual to nicer. Jeans, capris, cargos, nicer slacks and a long casual straight skirt. Oh, that is 5! White gets dirty so easy that I rarely get more than one wearing before it has to be laundered which is why I like more than one.
    I have to say that I am too lazy to line tho, much as I should. I wear nude colored undies and try to make pockets out of nude color lining to reduce show through. I am retired but if I still was in an office I would definitely line work slacks. Thanks Rae.

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