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friends don’t let friends sew sausage pants

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Well this is one of those sewing projects that includes a lot of wins, but one laughable epic fail. This is my first time attempting a pair of pants with a fly-front zipper and that all went pretty smoothly much to my surprise. Kwik Sew 3540 is quickly going to become a favorite go-to pants pattern with a few slight adjustments. …most of which revolve around the fact that this version is not a pair of pants, but is in fact a strangulating skin-tight casing that transformed my legs into stuffed sausages.

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I mean seriously. It’s BAD. I’ve been scrawny my whole life (Stick Stickly is actually my real father) so I really can’t understand how this is even possible, considering the sizing should be right based on my waist/hip measurements. I spent a good part of the afternoon laughing at myself as I tried to sit down or walk up stairs. I think my feet turned purple at one point from lack of circulation.

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It’s hard for me to even evaluate what other fitting adjustments I might need to make because I can barely pull the pants up high enough to wear properly. Luckily they don’t look too bad everywhere else. …maybe.

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The good news is I had a really successful, first time ever, fly-front zipper insertion! It could use some improvement on the inside where I had to cut off part of the zipper and wasn’t sure where/how to serge things, but I’m still really proud of my first try. Even though I’ve had a knowledge of sewing for most of my life, I’ve only seriously tried garment sewing since January of 2011 when the Colette Handbook Sew-along was announced. It’s taken me this long to work up the nerve to attempt a fly front! …I’m a late bloomer. It’s been said.

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Since the pattern is drafted specifically for stretch wovens, I used a cheap stretch poly-blend from Jo-Ann’s as a muslin. I sewed a straight size XS and didn’t want to attempt any adjustments until I could see how they fit initially.  All in all I’m really happy with this pattern so far, but I’m eager to make them less sausage inducing in the legs. I have practically zero experience sewing fitted trousers so I’ll welcome any tips or suggestions you might have for me on where I should make adjustments.

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The waist feels comfortably loose but the hips are on the brink of unflattering-ly snug territory, and I’m about to Hulk out of the legs at any moment. I’ve got weird pulling across the front which distorts the pockets, and CLEARLY the legs need to be a full size bigger if not made wider on top of that. I prefer the look of a straight leg on myself, but not this “ultra skinny” “jeggings” mania that’s so popular right now.

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I’m seriously considering the pants fitting class on Craftsy because I really want to start sewing all of my own pants, and I think it would be worth the money to be able to spot weird fitting issues and actually know what’s causing it. Plus, you know, it would be nice to sew pants that I can sit down in, and don’t squish my knee caps up into my thighs when I walk.

HALP!

xo
Rochelle

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73
  • HennaMackoin

    First time well done! :D Just an idea, but maybe you could add some more space to the crotch to the backside and take some off from the front? :D That way I think it would fit your body better, you should try it! :D I am going trough the same problem, only rare trousers fit my body since I have so long legs and no curves so it’s difficult to find fitting trousers…maybe I too should try to sew trousers for myself after a long time?

  • Sky

    :)) I like your title. Apart from the ripples and your lack of circulation :) I really like the construction and the colour-combination. Maybe you have a friend who is a size smaller?

  • symondezyn

    Sausage pants!! NEW FAVOURITE TERM! LOL!!
    Your fly closure looks fantastic, btw – I’ve only tried it once, myself, on a very un-cooperative poly faux linen *cries* so the results were let’s just say…. less than optimal LOL. Yours is masterful, though!

    As for fit, I can say I learned a lot from the Craftsy pants fitting class, but the only drawback is that some of the alterations I need are not viable on most pants patterns because the one used in the class is a princess seamed pattern. So in many ways I feel like I went back to square one when I attempted a muslin in a regular pants pattern. It’s a mystery, to say the least, trying to get a good fit.

    I think all learning is good, but when it comes to fit, I sometimes feel that the more I learn the less I know, and the more confused I become!! LOL

  • jaclynmariet

    I’m sorry about your pants fail. I can see that when you get them right, they’ll be really cute on you! And I love the olive green fabric. I have a pair of pants in that color and a pencil skirt and I loooove them.

    Also, can I just say how much I love your shirt? So much.That orange plaid-ish pattern is awesome. I’ve been finding all your shirts so inspiring lately; I really need to just get some fabric and get busy.

  • J

    I’m not sure if anyone has said this yet, but the pattern says for STRETCH fabrics. I can’t tell for sure but the fabric you used looks like some heavy twill or something, with no stretch. That could be the source of all your troubles.

    • Rochelle

      I wrote in my post that the pattern is drafted specifically for stretch wovens, which is why I picked a stretch polyester blend instead of cotton muslin when making these ;)

  • Ronda Bowen

    They are going to be super cute when you get the leg fit right. You did a great job with the fly-front. Those aren’t easy!

  • Kathleen

    Rochelle, I am laughing myself silly over your sausage pants post. You are so funny, and so brave to try something new. I have never sewn pants, but I have made some of the dopiest mistakes making 1880’s era costumes. I so appreciate your post, and your blog, and your wonderful sense of humor. Keep working on those sausage pants. I’m sure you’ll fix all the kinks.

  • Carla

    Ya know what. Congrats. Congrats for your fly front zipper, and congrats on showing off these poor sausage pants. I’d probably just chucked them in a WIP pile and never spoke of them again. Despite the sad setbacks, that color is fantastic! I wish you so much luck on the next pair!

    (now I’m singing ‘write to me, Stick Stickly PO BOX 563 New York City, New York State 10108!’ And I wanted to thank you for that xD )

  • Deb

    Oh. My. Word. I admire your bravery for wearing them (along with a great sense of humor) for photos. I work at a university, and I think I have seen variations of these pants walking around campus, on purpose, and proudly doing so! College students will wear all sorts of stuff with great confidence, no matter if it works or not. But I’m giving you an A+ and gold stars for effort, no matter how they turned out!

  • SeamstressErin

    Congrats on your first fly! And great job staying positive on your accomplishments despite a final frustration.

    Others have already beat me to a bunch of great fitting advice – but I will add that I suggest cutting off the legs of these pants so that you can more easily see where the fitting issues are through the rest of the pants. Since you’re clearly not going to be able to wear them as finished, at least you can get better information out of them with no legs!

    Instead of cutting the legs totally off, you can also cut a long vertical slit in the fabric at the points that they pull the most tight. You can then see how much the slit pulls open to determine how much width you need to add to the leg pattern to make it fit.

  • Lisette

    Too funny! I made shorts that were similarly tight. They were very cute and pin-up style, but you know, being able to sit down is kind of important too.

  • Lynne

    Oh, my goodness, you are so funny!! I love that you can see the funny side of these, and your fly zip looks brilliant. I have only made one pair of trousers, and they were the Sewaholic Thurlows. I followed the sew a long on Lauren from Lladybird’s blog, and there’s a great tutorial on fly zips in it. I can also second the recommendation for Pants For Real People. Good luck with your trouser quest!

    • Rochelle New

      Well it’s hard to take yourself seriously in pants as tight as these haha! I’ll have to look into that Sewaholic pattern next. I hear great things about it, and it would be great to follow along with Lauren’s posts for extra help.

  • Naan

    Rochelle you are so refreshing! Can’t believe I have only now found your blog. I like the humorous way you handle your creativity and your willingness to learn from the mistakes. I look forward to you making better pants (I am sure you will figure it out eventually – no advice from me unfortunately). Awesome blog!

  • Denise Wood

    The title of this post made my day. Like, really. I’ve been doing apparel sewing for many years and still avoid making pants! I may break down and try making a pair using Colette’s Clover Pattern. Maybe. Maybe after I lose 5 lbs.

  • Seam Ripper Joe and his Sewing Machine

    You did a great job Rochelle for your first pair. Congratulations on the zipper. It took a good 3 makes on KWIK Sew 3267 with adjustments until I got the fit exactly where I wanted it. I now have a great base pattern for shorts and pants. You have to love those KWIK Sew Patterns, to me they’re the most user friendly ; )

    • Rochelle New

      Thanks so much, Joe! I do really like this Kwik Sew pattern because the fly-front instructions were great. Obviously my first attempt needs A LOT of work (I’d be feeling lucky if I got it down in just 3 makes), but it will be worth trying again :)

  • Lynn

    LOL. I love your title, “friends don’t let friends sew sausage pants”. I’m afraid I don’t have any specific suggestions other than just keep futzing with it until they come out right, which is what I did with my favorite pants pattern. I made so many changes to it I ended up cutting completely new pattern pieces out of Swedish tracing paper. (awesome stuff by the way)

    Oh, and great job on the fly. I have fallen in love with the old-fashioned side zipper myself and someday I hope to learn how to sew one right.

    • Rochelle New

      I really love side zippers too, but I find it tricky to get nice front pockets with that technique. I wanted to try a fly just to see if I could do it, but lapped zips will always be my favorite :)

  • Heather Lou

    I don’t think it’s hopeless! These are weirdly small. I think you need to go up a size and grade to the xs at the waist. You may still need to let out ease at the thigh. You’re also getting some weird folds under you butt – you can get rid of those by pinching out the access, transferring the markings to your pattern and then lengthening at the ankle. The back crotch curve looks okay but I think the front crotch curve is too long, which is why you’re getting all that excess at the front. You’ll have to shorten that curve, and maybe flatten it out a smidge. Pants for Real People is a great reference tome!

  • sallie

    Lol!! I tend to be a fan of skinny jeans – but there is definitely such a thing as TOO skinny!! Haha!! But, hey, it was your first time sewing this type of trouser, so CONGRATS! I’d definitely fix the legs to where you want them before tackling the other issues – since it seems some of the wrinkling through the hips and crotch might be caused by the fact that the jeans are getting caught around the legs. Then I’d try working on the crotch issues. The rise looks a bit off to me. Honestly, I think the key to finding a great fitting pair of pants is finding one whose crotch curve suits your figure. It’s easy to switch up the leg style, but not so easy to futz with the crotch. Maybe try a few more patterns…? Good luck!! I swear, pants sewing does NOT have to be so bad!!

    • Rochelle New

      I think you’re right, I have to widen the legs before anything or I’ll never really know what fits poorly and what doesn’t. I have some other patterns in the pipeline too. Maybe someday I’ll be able to sew jeans that rival yours ;) ;) …hey I can dream.

  • Lady Stitcher

    Argh, hard luck on the ol’ sausage legs but these are definitely a well-made pair of trousers! I’ve never tried trousers but have a loose-fit pattern on the to-do list, and your post has actually encouraged me to bump them up – the only way to learn is by trying, right? :) It would definitely be a great sewing skill to make good fitted pants (the jeans I’m relying on as my pants option are very, very worn – it’s really only a matter of time before some indecent exposure). Thanks for sharing this post, and it’s very helpful to read all of the fit suggestions you’re getting.
    Looking forward to seeing Round 2 :)

    • Rochelle New

      Haha thanks! A well made sausage casing is better than a poorly made one I suppose ;) I think wide leg trousers are an excellent place to start since you don’t get nearly as many fitting problems. Find a pattern with a side zipper and no bells or whistles and I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!

  • Vicki Halliday

    These are a fab first go! Glad you found all the silver linings in this try. If it was me, I’d let out every seam as much as poss to see what difference that made before checking the pattern against measurements/existing garments/cutting the next size. After that, check the side seam – that ought to be a straight line & perpendicular to the floor – it can show where you need a little more width, front or back. I defo think this pattern is worth the work.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post, believe it or not, you’ve inspired me to try trouser making! I guess it’s your “no fail is really a fail” attitude. I think I even like this pattern! In the queue…

    PS Hilarious post title!!

    • Rochelle New

      Aww thanks! Yeah I don’t believe in failure, only bumps in the road lol. You should really try to sew a pair of trousers! You can do it :)

  • joanneclarkson

    How could I even notice crotch, fly, pockets etc when there is SUCH a gorgeous sewing room to admire and envy. What a beautiful, inspiring place you have created.

    • Rochelle New

      Thanks! The rest of my living situation is less than glamorous since I’ve been living with my family trying to save up money for my own house. Moving out of the tiny spare room and taking over the living room just happened recently and so far I love it! It’s keeping me sane for now ;)

  • Annika

    I’m really sorry that these don’t find, but I must say I had a lot of fun reading your post. Especially the purple feet and the “I’m about to Hulk out of the legs” made me smile. Thanks for an excellent read…

  • Philippa

    There’s a lot of potential in these – I’m really impressed it’s your first try. I can’t help with fit (sorry) as I am too scared to try making trousers myself, other than pyjamas!!

    • Rochelle New

      I think so too. I don’t want to give up on them quite yet. You should really try sewing a pair of trousers! They’re not that hard when you find a nice looser fit ;)

  • Melli

    I can recommend the book “pants for any body”. But pants are new territory for me also ;)

    I really like your sewing room, you have a fireplace :0

    • Rochelle New

      That book is now on my list after several recommendations, thanks!

      p.s. my sewing room is actually my living room that I’ve commandeered. I’ve been staying with my family trying to save up money for a house. It’s not ideal, but offering up the living room for my creative endeavors was a nice gesture from my mom :)

  • Tädi Maimu

    The back sewms to be too tight, since it’s pulling the side seam back atvthe top. Back and front crotch curves are very very wrong. And the legs too tight.

    Also the pockets are way too deep for a lady. Only mens pocket bags are cut so deep. I have had success with many pants, but then again I use mostly Burda patterns.

    • Rochelle New

      Oh good eyes with the pockets. You’re right, I didn’t think of that. Thank you for all your suggestions, I’m looking at Burda patterns now!

      • Tädi Maimu

        Ouh dear, sorry for all the typos. It’s real early on my side of the world.
        Also, something called Ultimate Trousers has been making a lot of appearances. It’s real basic straight slim leg pant, and so far it has fitted all the makers.

  • Patricia

    In my experience Burda pants are well drafted with a good crotch depth and overall good design. When you cut out the pieces they all fit together like they should and the instructions are good. Perhaps check out some of their patterns.

  • Kate R.

    Okay, Rochelle, let me give it to you straight. It’s not just the legs. I know one seldom sees a pair of well-fitting pants, but it can be done with the right pattern (this one isn’t). Look at the crotch area–the lines pulling on each side–that means the rise is not quite right, and the crotch seam is poorly drafted. In a general way, I think European patterns for pants are much better than others. I have a pair of straight black pants bought in Marks & Spencer many years ago that no longer fit my aging frame, but I treasure them as “magic pants” –off the rack and perfectly fitted through crotch and bum. Maybe try on a wider range of retail pants until you find a brand that seems to suit your body, so you have some comparison measurements to make. And definitely focus on the crotch seam. And, I really don’t want to rain on your parade, but the fly is perfect only up to about an inch from the waistband, where it pulls crooked. Just an old lady trying to help…I’ve had maybe 6 or 7 pair of pants in my 68 years that were both flattering and comfortable. Best wishes in your noble quest! Kate in Oregon

    • Rochelle New

      Thanks for all your suggestions, Kate. You’re totally right, these pants need a lot of help! My fly looks great when the pants are laying flat, it only pulls funny at the top when I have them on which means things are too tight in the back (or because the rise is not quite right like you mentioned). I’ve tried on SO many pairs of store bought pants and have never found a “magic pair”. Hopefully in the future I can make my own :)

  • Colesworth

    I took the other pants class on craftsy (Kathy Ruddy) and it gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve still only made one pair, but i’ve since bought 3 other patterns, so I need to get working on pants again….

  • gingermakes

    Oh man, that stinks! Do you have a pair of skinny jeans that fit you pretty well? If so, I would measure them and compare the measurements to the pattern just to give you an idea of what changes to make before you start tinkering with the pattern. Kenneth King’s Jean-ius class is good for showing you how to copy a pair of jeans that you already have, although it’s a pretty slow process.

    • Rochelle New

      I have the worst luck with skinny jeans which is why I tend to wear straights or really wide legs. I’ve looked at that class with Kenneth (I love him as a teacher!) but I’m not sure if I’m ready to do any drafting again after realizing how much I don’t really care for it. If I had a favorite pair already it would totally be worth it, but right now I’d like to get better at fitting. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • gingermakes

        Ahh, just re-read your post– I didn’t realize these weren’t supposed to be skinny jeans! The description of the pattern says that they’re “very close fitting”, but the ones we’re seeing modeled on the pattern envelope aren’t really… sneaky! I wonder if you’d have better luck with Simplicity 1696? I’ve seen some really cute pants show up online from that pattern, and they’re much closer to the classic straight leg look. Good luck on the next try!

        • Rochelle New

          Lol yeah the pattern cover is misleading! Maybe that’s why the pattern is discontinued? Haha! That Simplicity one looks promising, I’ll add it to my list. Thanks, Lady! :)

  • Evie

    Oh wow!! I’m glad I got to see someones test run before I tried this pattern out. I don’t have super thick legs, but they’re pretty muscular, and there is NO WAY IN HELL I could even get something that shape over my ankles, let alone my quads! Sheesh. I’ll have to do some major measuring before cutting a pair out myself. Your fly looks great, though! And I love the color combo you have working here! (love the rug, too, btw). :)

    • Rochelle New

      I think if you picked a stretchier woven they wouldn’t be so bad, but I don’t really like to sew with super stretchy stuff. I think the pattern model is wearing a woven with way more spandex than mine since hers don’t look offensively tight like mine lol, and her legs look average sized. I guess I should have done some more measuring initially!

  • Jennifer

    I’ve never sewn pants and I’m sure I’d make a huge mess of them. I don’t think yours are so bad, though! I think they fit nicely in some places, just too narrow in the thighs, really. I’m sure you’ll get it right. My problem is usually too-billowy pant legs, my legs are the only skinny part of me. :)

    • Rochelle New

      Pants really aren’t so bad depending on what type you’re trying to sew. Fitted pants? Yeah clearly I’ve made a mess of that! haha! I’ll definitely try again. You should try sometime :)

  • onejolie

    First, thank you for blogging non-perfection! It’s nice to know even the experts have bad fits! Clearly this is not the pattern for you :) Or me. I hulk out of most pants thanks to strong thighs, I’m terrified of what I’d look like in these!!

    Second, I’m scared to do a real pants fly, too!! My mom does them… I stick to skirts with invisible zippers… Your’s looks great!!

    Third, I adore your blog. You always make me smile!

    • Rochelle New

      The reason I like to sew menswear inspired button-up shirts is because fitting isn’t much an issue – loose fit and no darts lol! I’m no expert in the fitting department, as clearly shown above. Hopefully round two will be better. Fly zippers really aren’t that bad if you have clear instructions. The Kwik Sew ones were pretty good actually! You should sit down with your mom and have her walk you through it :)

      • onejolie

        I need a sewcation to get home and spend a week learning from my mom! I want a serger, but I’m fairly certain I should learn from someone how to use it…
        You do yourself a disservice on the shirt description. They do fit you well, and you are amazing at choosing fabric and color combinations!
        Where do you get your snaps? They’re so pretty.

        • Rochelle New

          I will say I taught myself how to use a serger and because of that I only know one function! Granted, it’s enough to get things done, but I pretty much have no clue what it can do otherwise. It’s a good idea to learn in person from someone who can help. Thank you for the compliment about my shirts :) I do really enjoy making them. I got my snaps from a company called Snap Source. They make the Snap Setter tool that I really like so I just get everything from them. The website is very outdated but my order went through no problem.

  • Jessica Cangiano

    Tee-hee-hee :D You always have the most smile inducingly fun post titles, dear Rochelle – they never go unnoticed or appreciated by me.

    That’s me with soooo many pants, too. The universe did not bless me with slender gams, so avoid skinny pants and even a lot of medium width ones 99% of the time, opting for vintage style wide legged ones, if pants are on the agenda for the day. You’re very fortunate to great legs though that suit skinny styles especially well – if you want to see sausages, try to get me in a pair like that. Scary, I promise you! ;P

    ♥ Jessica

    • Rochelle New

      Aww thanks, Jess. You look amazing in vintage style wide-legs so you’re really not missing out in the skinny jeans department ;)

  • stgilbert

    Oh, I’m so sorry, but I can’t help but laughing! You are so fun, Rochelle! Congratulations on your fly front zip – it looks great. Boo on the sausage pants! I don’t have any tips, sadly, as I sew pants from 2 patterns only: Vogue 2128 (wide, drawstring) and vintage Butterick 2507 (cigarette style) and the only alterations I’ve had to make are to deepen the darts, especially in the back.

    I’m eager to follow along on your pants making adventure!

    • Rochelle New

      Yeah I’m starting to miss my wide leg Miss Fisher trousers already!!! This is going to be quite the adventure indeed lol.

  • Lili

    I took the Craftsy class you linked to and it was so bad I gave it back. You might have better luck with the One Pattern, May Looks class with Kathy Ruddy, which I found helpful. And funny.

    • Rochelle New

      Aww man that’s a bummer!! Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to see if Kenneth D. King has any pants classes because I took one of his other Craftsy courses and loved it. He’s amazing.

  • novaisawesomeful

    Welcome to every pair of pants I own!

    • Rochelle New

      This is why I’ve been wearing the same pair of jeans for like five years now lol. No pants ever fit me well, which is why I’m attempting to sew my own!

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A Blog By Rochelle New

I'm a fabric wizard and wielder of needles with a passion for quilt industry cottons, bygone eras, and natural things.

i.e. I mostly do nerd things like pretend I'm a wizard, collect moldy books, and spend too much time picking up acorns in the woods, all with my spirit animal (a dog named Lucille), my personal photographer (a man named William), and a few literal fat cats in tow.

Making magic and messes in the backwoods of New York.

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