Variations on a Theme: Simplicity 3688

by Frances on June 17, 2013 · 12 comments

in 1940s,Pants / Trousers,Pattern Sizing,Vintage Sewing

Pants and I don’t get along particularly well.  If they fit over my hips and rear, they gape terribly at the waist, and pants that fit at the waist won’t go up over my thighs.  Evidently, the only solution is to sew my own!

I’ve seen lots of rave reviews of the wide-legged pants pattern in Simplicity 3688, and since I picked the pattern up for a song at one of those lovely pattern sales.  I made up the first iteration (my “Wearable Muslin!”) out of some sort of olive green mystery synthetic that  I picked up at Goodwill for about $5.  This pattern has a fair amount of ease, and I ended up mostly cutting out a size 14, but tapering in to a size 10 at the waist.  I feel like the back darts pull a little bit (maybe I need to make them shorter?) but otherwise the fit is perfection!

I made a second iteration in a black cotton twill, which had a lot more body than the first fabric I used.  I also ended up adding about three inches to the length, because although I don’t think of myself as a particularly tall person (I’m 5’6″!) I was only able to put a very narrow hem in my muslin without making them too short.  This time, I was actually able to put in the folded hem that the pattern calls for!  They look a bit rumpled in the photo because I had been sitting all day, but I think that I (mostly) like them.

The third iteration of the pattern is another wearable muslin–I wanted to see if I could transform the pattern into some sort of wearable summer shorts.  These are made of some sort of cotton canvas with a tiny floral print that I found at Goodwill.  Unfortunately, the high waist + white shorts + tiny print makes me feel like I’m wearing boxer shorts!

I also somehow manage to construct the shorts completely catty-wompus… The zipper somehow ended up on the RIGHT side, and the button is all backward.  Fortunately, these are just grubby work shorts and I’ll be making a few more pairs in nicer fabric for actual wear.

I’m currently working on one more pair of shorts in a stretch cotton sateen.  The first zipper I put in broke (!!!!) so I need to replace it and hem the shorts still…. But that’s part of a bigger project, so I’ll share that once a few more of the pieces are done!

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A recent college graduate, Frances is pursuing a career in music (preferably opera) while nursing a strong passion for sparkles, sewing, and all things vintage.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbilicious June 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

They look great!


Leigh Ann June 17, 2013 at 11:40 am

Very nice! I have the same problem with pants: if they fit my hips, they’re HUGE in the waist. I haven’t had the courage to try making any myself yet, though. Someday I will. Yours look very nicely done.


Veronica Lewis June 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Lovely Job! You look great in them. You have inspired me to sew my own, love the wide legs…Thanks for sharing.


PerlenDiva June 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I love how your pants turned out, especially the black ones. And maybe you can try dying the shorts to make them feel/look less boxer shortsy?
And now I’m off to add this pattern to my wishlist ;-)


Sean MacKenzie June 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I’ve thought about making that pattern into shorts, too! I like that you left the inseam a little longer than most shorts are.

The Fictionista


Laurel June 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

They look really flattering – Love all your outfits too!


EmSewCrazy June 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Wow, I’m impressed! What a great job!


ohthatlily June 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

The pants and shorts looks like they fit great. Well done!


mariebayarea June 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm

These are all terrific. That’s a cute print on your shorts.


Ange June 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I love the drape on the first pair, I think for a muslin, they came out the best (in my opinion!) Though, the shorts are also great.

I have issues with trousers too, and enjoy more my own made ones now, though I’m making a few variations on my best fit patterns – some work better than others.

Also *cough* I put my zippers on the right hand side too… but I think I prefer it that way!


Isis June 21, 2013 at 5:50 am

I haven’t worn trousers for years, just because they never fit, so Iknow your pain. I think you have made a great work!


rockabillykitten June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm

These look great! I have tried to make these pants 3 times and every single time they come out horridly for different reasons. But I keep trying to work on them because they are just do darn cute!


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