Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vogue 7881 - in pursuit of perfect pants

I seem to be forever looking for the perfect pants pattern. This pair is so close to right for my body that I must admit to looking for a new body now.

And this is a pretty darned good pair of pants. I just finished a pants fitting class with Pam Howard about a week ago - hence the darned good fit.

Vogue 7881 is a Claire Schaeffer design: contour waistband (oh, so comfortable), straight legged silhouette, and the option of darts in the front and back. For this first pair, I was able to ease the pants into the waistband without the darts, though now that I look at the pix, I see the easing.

Isn't that always the case? I see the problem areas.

Pam helped adapt a size 16 to my shape. I needed less fabric near my buttocks and more at the top of the back waistband. And a little more room in the crotch.

This first real pair from the muslin/pattern is made from a baby whale cotton corduroy, interlined with rayon Bemberg ambiance.

I added a little more room to the hips (through the side seams) and I took 4 inches out of the pants hem on each leg - that is, an inch is tapered out of each vertical seam. Maybe I'm foolin' myself, but it looks pretty straight-legged to me.

Yep, pretty close.
Before, when it really was straight-legged, it looked too generous for the pants silhouette now in style. I think that happens when your hips are a little - ahem - fluffy.

I recommend this pants pattern even if you cannot take a fitting class from Pam. The instructions are so very interesting - Claire's approach to couture finishing. I loved inserting the zipper (and I got to do it twice*) as well as applying the waistband facing by hand.

And these pants are wonderfully comfortable.

*Somehow I managed to forget my tried-and-true approach to inserting a zipper that is too long:

  • If the top of the zipper is at the neck where you would have to fold the zipper teeth down over themselves, then cut from the bottom. That is, keep the zipper stop at the top of the zipper. 
  • If, as is the case here, the excess zipper tape easily disappears into a piece above it (here, the waistband), then cut off the excess at the top, and keep the zipper stop at the bottom.

I found out the hard way, cutting off the zipper tape at the bottom without sealing it off. The first time I tried them on for fit, the zipper pull came right off, of course.


  1. Your pants look great! In the first picture you look like Helen Mirren.

  2. Wow - what an excellent fit! I'm about to launch into pants making, so it's good to see some that fit so well. I know it's going to be a journey to get to the perfect fit!

  3. You have a very nice looking pant. Congrats! Pants have to be the most difficult garment to fit. I've been working on mine on and off for two months.

  4. A very nice fit. I can see why so many like this pattern. It's in my stash, but I've never pulled it out--not yet, anyway.

  5. Excellent! I like pull on pants because I'm lazy, but maybe these could be transformed?

  6. A great fit, Martha! I can see you making lots of pairs.

  7. Yep, that's a pretty darn awesome fit. And now you've got it, you can transfer it over to different styles :)