achievement unlocked: black denim vogue 1411 pants

i made pants! real pants! (mostly.)


& the photos are kind of awful. jared took them & he did not tell me that we were having an aggressive dappled sunlight issue.

these are vogue 1411, which was released last fall. the thing that makes them special is that they have all this cool seaming. the technical drawing makes them almost look like colorblocked athletic pants, & i guess you could probably make them that way if you wanted. i just wanted regular pants. as i mentioned in my last post, i bought some cool-looking ponte de roma but was reluctant to dive right into it, so these are a wearable muslin made out of some black stretch denim that had been languishing in my stash.

i cut according to my measurements, which put me between sizes F & G at the waist (these are by sandra betzina, who employs her own unique sizing system in her patterns) & between sizes E & F at the hips. so i did my best to trace off my pattern pieces accordingly & grade from waist to hip. i also added three inches of length at the hem because the few reviews i read online said the skinny-leg version of this pattern runs a little short. this inspired jared to make up a little rhyme: “to your hem add inches three/so your pants are not capri.”

size-wise, i think the finished product is probably a little too big at the waist & a little too snug in the legs. so when i do the ponte de roma version, i think i might just cut a straight size F.

as far as construction, it was all surprisingly straightforward, given how many pattern pieces there are (six for each leg). they fit together kind of like a puzzle, & there are some subtly curved seams that required a bit of easing. it’s important to a) cut your fabric with the grain line going the right way, & b) label your pieces after you cut them out. the grain lines are not always intuitive because of the curving seams, & it’s not really obvious which pieces goes where if you’re trying to put the pieces together unlabeled.

hey, here’s a rear view on the pants!


you have to be careful while sewing to make sure you don’t get any puckers where you’re easing two pattern pieces together. pinning & pressing are key.

the pattern calls for topstitching on either side of a seam with a twin needle. my first twin needle instantly broke when it hit an intersection of two seam lines & couldn’t cope with the denim pile-up there. the only other twin needle i had was way too narrow. (the pattern calls for 3 centimeters.) so…i just topstitched along each side individually with a single needle. i considered using contrasting thread but couldn’t settle on a color. any color you use on black pants is going to make a statement, so i just went with black. which means you pretty much can’t see my topstitching at all. oh well.

the thing that makes me feel weirdest about these pants is that…they have an elastic waist. yeah, they’re basically jeggings. it’s funny because i was just railing against the evils of elastic waist pants that are worn outside the house (i am all for them on pajama pants) like maybe a month ago. but the reality is that i never wear untucked shirts so no one really needs to know.

worth noting: the required notions tell you to buy 1.5″ elastic for the waistband. but the waistband fabric is only two inches wide when folded over, & if you sew that with the suggested 5/8″ seam allowance, obviously your 1.5″ elastic is not going to fit in the channel. the actual written instructions inside the envelope call for 1″ elastic. i bought my notions before i read the instructions. *sad trombone* so i cut my elastic down. i could have also used a narrower seam allowance on the waistband, but it was already sewn before i realized the problem.

so i stitched these up last night & put them on &…possibly they are jared’s #1 favorite thing i have ever sewn. he kept going on & on about how great my legs looked, & trust when i say he doesn’t just go around saying stuff like that all the time. these are a skinnier silhouette than i usually wear, because i have never liked how i look in RTW skinny jeans. (i prefer straight leg.) but i agree that these look really good. i think the diagonal seams on the legs create really flattering lines.


they even look good from the side, which is usually not my favorite angle for myself!

there are a few little tweaks i plan to make next time. i could use a slightly higher rise in the back & slightly deeper scoop in the front crotch. but ultimately, these are very wearable pants right out of the envelope (for me).

&! this is a good pattern for plus sizes. i’m usually way in the upper range of pants sizes at regular retail stores, but i’m kind of in the middle of the pack for the size range on these pants.

unfortunately, they do not have pockets! i drafted some angled patch pockets for the front, lined with some weird pink & white chevron print i got in a stash box. they are functional–i can carry my keys & fitbit & ipod now, which is crucial because summer is nearly here & i won’t have a hoodie with me all the time. they do kind of screw up the sleek look of the upper portion of the pants. jared was like, “… … …,” when i asked what he thought. i might try side seam pockets next time.

but whatevs, i am just so stoked to have actual outside-the-house pants in my self-sewn wardrobe! i wear jeans & tees pretty much everyday & it’s been bumming me out to have to rely on RTW jeans. i will definitely make this pattern again & hopefully many more other pants patterns in the future!



Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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