In Honestly

buy before you try – thoughts on sewing what you like when you don’t know what you like

In my quest to sew a great pair of pants, many of you suggested trying to find a sewing pattern based on my favorite Ready-To-Wear pair. Well the problem with that was I didn’t have a favorite pair! The reason why I was trying to sew my own “ideal” pair of pants was because I had never found a decent pair in stores that met all my comfort/style demands and were still in my price range. Further more, I was hesitant to let myself buy a pair because I knew I could just make them myself. That kind of thing can be a big catch 22 when you’re a garment sewer.


Well I finally broke down during my trip to California and decided I was NOT leaving the Livermore Premium Outlets until I found a fantastic pair of RTW pants that I could buy, take home, and then replicate myself. Long story short, after trying on 10+ pairs at several different stores, I found myself in the Tommy Hilfiger outlet holding yet another pair of stretch woven cigarette pants. As soon as I pulled them on I knew there was hope! The fit wasn’t bad at all, in fact they felt pretty frackin’ awesome compared to the ones I’d been trying on before that. They were so comfortable but looked very classic and polished, and they were machine washable AND 50% off!  I bought two pairs.


Immediately I started thinking about how the last two pairs of pants I tried sewing have so much more potential now that I could see what the end of the ‘great, wearable pants’ road actually looked like. I love the cut of these because they look great worn with loafers, but are just as easily tucked into boots, which will be a necessity here in Western NY soon. I love the inseam length and the rise feels pretty good… very close to ideal for me I think. The fabric is a 4-way stretch woven cotton which gives me all the shaping I want, plus some serious all day comfort, without sacrificing any style. I wore leggings on the plane ride to California, and these new pants all the way home and I swear I couldn’t feel a difference between them. They’re pretty much a pants miracle.


I also walked out with a fantastic toggle button sweater with the singular purpose of comparing the size and shape to the Newcastle Cardigan by Thread Theory, when I finally get around to actually sewing it.


Outfit Details:
Shirt – Wrangler brand via a thrift shop
Glasses – El Ria c/0 Victory Optical
Wig – Kekeshop on Etsy (custom)
Loafers – another thrift shop find
Pants– Tommy Hilfiger Outlet
(can’t find an exact link but these are similar)
Cardigan – Tommy Hilfiger Outlet
Boots – Timberland
Belt – Wal*Mart

photos by William Waldon


So here I am in a completely non-me-made outfit, feeling slightly guilty that I didn’t make any of it myself, but feeling super ready to start sewing my own completely me-made versions!


In my case I had to buy the perfect outfit before I could try to sew my own really wearable replica. I guess that makes sense though seeing as how you can’t really sew what you like until you know what you like! And if you’re a long time reader of my blog, you know I very seldom know what I like! Haha!

Have you ever struggled with this?