Perfecting the Pencil Pant: The Odyssey Continues…

Call me a woman on a mission, obsessed…or maybe, just plain crazy.  After sewing 5 pairs of pants from the same pencil pants pattern, I guess you can say I’m determined to master the art of the perfect pencil pant.

I’m after a slim silhouette with a side zip and tapered legs – all in an elegant material with a wee bit of stretch.  This is me (in my dreams):

satin pencil pantsThe first pair I made came out well (take a look here), but the higher waist band wasn’t all that comfortable so I decided to alter the pattern.  Pairs #2 and #3 were less successful since I opted for fabrics without stretch and ended up with pants that I couldn’t sit down in.  Those pants have since gone to the Goodwill Gods (or to aliens who stand around all day.)

With Pair #4, I dropped down the waist and had much better success with the fit, but some not-so-attractive waist-band gaping (take a look here.)

So in addition to taking off and redoing the waistband on Pair #4, I decided to modify the pattern further for yet another pair.  In Pair #5 (made in a stretch satin fabric) I dropped down the the waist and removed the waist-band entirely.  I tried on Pair #5 every step of the way and was delighted with the fit as I worked.  However, after I finished sewing the final seam on the no-waistband “waistband”, the result was not only waist gaping but waist RUFFLING!  I would have taken a picture, but was so horrified that I reached for the seam ripper instead of the camera.

Trust me when I say that my pants looked like this…

ruffled paper bag pants

 

After some hefty taking in on the front and back seams, the problem appears to be fixed.  I’m happy to present Pair #5 in two views:

new satin pants

new satin pants side view

Of course, the test will come this week after I’ve sat in these pants for a performance.  The beauty of stretch fabric is that it gives.  The downfall is that it gives.  If I stand up and my pants fall off…well, that won’t be good.

Stay tuned!

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6 Comments

Filed under illustration, Influences, marker and ink illustration, materials, motivation, Tool Box

6 responses to “Perfecting the Pencil Pant: The Odyssey Continues…

  1. Wow Joana , they look great !

    • Thanks, Deborah! A lot of blood (pricked fingers;-), sweat and tears (ok, not really) went into those pants. But that hasn’t deterred me from undertaking another sewing project. However, the next one will probably be a dress. 🙂

      Ciao – Joana

      On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 3:11 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  2. Well, looks good…..I never knew these were called pencil pants! I actually have a pair that were given to me. They have never really fit. My current strategy is to just not zip them up all the way.

    • Hi Helen,

      I’ve also heard these pants called “cigarette” pants. Long and slim is the idea. Since I don’t like the added bulk of belts, and I like to wear jacket type tops which are not tucked in, the clean waist profile is really nice. Harder said than done, obviously!

      I like your “coping” strategy, by the way;-)

      XOX – Joana

      On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 7:12 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  3. Can you put something non-stretchy in the waistband? Or in the place where there is no waistband! I think that’s the way they are often made (says she who hasn’t worn these things for 20 years…) Second thought: You might try altering the curve in the crotch to get a better fit. I have no clue how to do that. 🙂

    You are one courageous seamstress. Being willing to try and try again is definitely the way to do it.

    • Hi Pam,

      I think sewing in something non-stretchy is probably a good way to go, but I’m also thinking I should ask one of the ballet seamstresses for advice. Since they sew with stretchy material all the time, I bet they’d have some good tips.

      I did actually alter the curve in the front and back seam quite a bit. The frustrating thing was that the fit was perfect up until I sewed that finishing seam along the (non) waistband. But you can’t exactly wear a pair of pants with a ragged unfinished waist, now can you? 😉

      After my pants extravaganza I think it’s time to move on to a more loose-fitting, flow-y garment. Maybe a dress?

      🙂 Joana

      On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 1:10 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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