Friday, September 17, 2021

Tahoe Pants

The out-of-print Tahoe Pants (from the Sewing Workshop) looks like a skirt but is really pants - sort of culottes, but way more interesting. The pattern was first published in the early 2000's. I made it once from light gray linen and was not impressed. It looked great hanging in my closet but I felt huge wearing it. I doubt I ever wore it outside my house. It's long gone from the closet.

Then Linda Lee, the sewing sorcerer, wore another oldie but goodie on her regular FB live program a month or so ago. Hers was the origami skirt, similar shape but an entirely different garment. This origami skirt was made in a drapey, brightly colored rayon. And she rolled the waistline up, shortening it considerably. These two changes made all the difference in the success of the pattern!

There is a new fabric store in town, called Melanated Fabrics. Yay! Sewing buddies and I visited and I found the perfect piece of flowy rayon for the Tahoe pants. And it matches an eTee I finished a month ago.

The Fabric: I have a love-hate relationship with rayon.  It is slippery and unstable. It hates steam. Top-stitching is nearly impossible. It is not easy to wash as it holds so much more water than the other things in the wash and throws off the balance. I hope that I won't need to wash it often since it's a loose bottom piece.

The back looks pretty much like the front, mirrored.

I think recent versions of rayon are more colorfast than older ones and the colors are rich. It is less expensive than silk with some of the same qualities. It feels nice against the skin and it has beautiful flow.

The Pattern: There is a mistake I failed to notice or document on my first time with the Tahoe pants. The pocket dots are marked too low on the side seams of the pant legs. So there is a raw edge of pocket at the top when the waistband is finished. I added a patch and it is not that pretty. But it will not fray.

At 5'5" I am glad to have removed 3" in length. I also deepened the hem a bit to give it more weight. I'm happy with the finished length.

The instructions are great and it's important to follow them in the order presented. I thought I might baste the pleats before sewing side seams. This led to much confusion, but I sorted it out finally.

One leg of the pants is much more narrow than the other. Both are wide but one is about twice as wide. It is a super interesting design, I think. The Sewing Workshop produced some wonderful puzzle patterns back in the day and this is one of them. There is no zipper - the waistband is large and is snugged up by overlapping and creating a final deep pleat. 

These feel great on. Now I'm trying to figure out what exactly will look best with them. I think the top needs to be short. I've tried on some tops and determined that short and wide looks good, as does short and fitted.

I was wearing this dark green eTee (also TSW) the day I bought the fabric. I hoped it would work with this fabric. When I tried them on together, the overall shape was not right. I felt quite dumpy. So I shortened the tee and I'm now quite happy with the result.

My white Odette tee shirt looks OK with it, too, but doesn't do anything for it. Now I want to make the Origami skirt. The older TSW patterns are wonderful!


  1. Fabulous skirt, Martha! I agree with you about older TSW patterns. It seems like many of their their newer tops are based on the Eureka Top pattern block. I have several tops including the Bamboo Shirt and Japonesque Top which I’d love to make but I’ve outgrown the size range since I bought them 29-30 years ago. I’m going to contact Linda and request they reissue theses with extended sizes. I love reading your blog and keeping up with what you’re making. Kathy Zachry

  2. I agree! I recently made another Lotus Skirt and it was so much fun! I think you Tahoe Pants look great. I need to look and see if I have it. It would be a nice piece for the fall.

  3. Your Tahoe pants look wonderful, particularly in this print. I am five feet zero and have this pattern languishing because I am hesitant about length and those wide legs. I think if it really looks like a skirt, maybe I can pull off. Otherwise, I look at it and wonder why I bought it. I love the SW patterns and just finished my third Picasso pants with more to come. Now those I love!!!

  4. Are you the one who makes amulets? If so, I saw one in a photo and could never find your blog again, until now, possibly. Could you show more amulets, please?

  5. I made the Tahoe pant/skirt several years ago, in a lovely bottom-weight black linen. My God, it was heavy! And long, trippingly long. So, I chopped off the extra length, and used some of that fabric to make a placket to hide the zip I inserted. Now I can get into and out of it easily, and don't walk up the inside of the legs when I climb a staircase.