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Great Pants – Repeat and Improve

Pants that fit and function well for work and play are always on topic at Fit for Art. This week, though, is special because we have recorded a podcast with Sewcialists entitled “Speaking of Derrières”  which is available for any and every sewer to listen to.  It focuses on the Eureka! Pants fitting system with its core pattern and variations that can yield an entire wardrobe of interestingly styled, great fitting pants.

This post will feature a new pair of black pants I am making, using a pattern for Eureka’s that includes a number of Glamour Details.   I made a pair 2 years ago and you can see me wearing them in the featured image with my friend Mary Beth who hosted me when I taught pants to the Colorado ASDP group in 2019. I have enjoyed wearing them so much I decided to make another pair, with a few improvements.

Testing the pocket on the old pants.

Planning New Pants

The original pair, made from soft blue chambray, have been wonderful summer pants to wear with short and cropped tops.  They have the wide legs, Hollywood waistband, curved cuff and hip pocket found in the Glamour Details pattern.  While the pattern was ready and waiting to be repeated, I wanted better pockets.  The cute little hip pockets on the blue pair were not very useful for my regular activities.

Carrie’s recent interest and blog about all manner of pants pockets encouraged me to dream a bit about my perfect pants pockets.  For travel, I really need safe, secure pockets, preferably sized to hold my passport when I am in France, but they also need to be sleek, almost invisible.  Good thing I am making the pants in black poly/cotton poplin.  I ruled out the interesting pleated pockets Carrie had made, too visible.  I considered a simple patch pocket straddling the side seam at thigh level with a pocket flap, but that seemed bulky and visible as well.  I finally decided to make a zippered patch pocket, closed on all 4 sides.  These pants will also include my favorite fingertip pockets, which I just cannot live without, for my tissue and cough drops.

Laying out the pants including the pocket and cuff.

Focus on Pockets

For the finished 7” long and 6 1/4” wide pocket, I made a pattern and cut fabric 7½” wide by 9½” long.  This includes the seam allowance around the entire pocket and the seam allowances for the zipper to be inserted.  Draw a line 2” down into the top of the pocket and label it the zipper insertion line.

Pocket that has been cut in two pieces for zipper insertion.

To construct the pockets, draft your pattern and cut out the number of pockets you want to have on the pants.  (I have planned for one on each leg.)  Cut the pocket along the zipper insertion line. Clean finish all around each section of each pocket. I used invisible zippers to keep the pocket very minimal.  (It was a bit of a challenge because my zippers were very long and had to be shortened.)

Zipper placed on the top section, mirror image.

Place the zipper on the upper section of the pocket and stitch in place.  Leave ¾ to 1” open and zipper free at each end.  Place the other side of the zipper on the lower pocket, aligning the zipper stop and the pocket openings.  Be careful not to twist the zipper.  I chose to insert the zippers so the pockets are mirror images so the zipper pull will open on the front side of each leg.

Place the zipper on the lower pocket.

Press the zipper so the pocket is smooth.  Stitch each end of the pocket opening closed carefully using the zipper foot of the sewing machine.

One end stitched closed.

Set the machine to a zig zag stitch and stitch a line perpendicular to the zipper teeth to shorten the loose end of the zipper.  Reverse stitch several times to anchor the zipper teeth.  Trim away the extra zipper.  Then stitch each zipper tab to each seam allowance to anchor the zipper thoroughly.  Cut the zipper tab away from the seam allowances to minimize the bulk when finishing the pocket.

Press the seam allowance under all around the pocket and determine its placement before stitching it in place.  I used my blue pants to determine where I wanted the pockets to be positioned, at thigh level, straddling the side seam.

Alter the Construction  Steps to Fit the Pockets

The finished pockets ready to place.

When I construct the pants, I will use Carrie’s excellent technique of sewing the side seams and placing the pockets first.  It makes it so much easier to place these pockets and stitch them neatly on a flat pants leg.

Keep an eye on the Facebook and Instagram posts to see these pants when they are completed later this week.

Listen and Learn about Sewing Pants

Don’t forget to check out Rae’s podcast; also look for a Sewcialist podcast featuring our colleague Sarah Veblen which was recorded a few weeks ago for the  group’s monthly focus on pants.  Get 15% off when you choose the Digital version of the Eureka! Pants that Fit Pattern using the code ALLBUTTSWELCOME,  through May 31.

Sign up for my OSQE Virtual Class in July, Finding Pants Heaven.  Register early and order the swatch kit so you can really feel the fabrics that make great pants.

Remember, doing the fitting work to establish your Eureka! Pants pattern will allow you to dream up all sorts of new pockets and design features that will work for your daily activities.

Happy Sewing, RAE


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