The Sewcialists made me do it!

Where would Sewists be without the internet? Without Pinterest, I never would have thought of printing my own polkadot pants… and without the Sewcialists on hand to enable me, I never would have found the courage to actually do it!

Thank to the internet though, I am now the proud creator of these polkadot pants:

Polka Dot Pants!

I started off by testing black and white polka dots on my fabric, to see which I like. I went with the black on dark grey because it seemed more wearabley subtle and wouldn’t show my mistakes as much! I squeeze normal acrylic paint into a yogurt pot, and printed the dots with the back end of a pencil.


There are a million and one ways to plan out how to space the dots, but I went for the simplest: My clear ruler! I did my dots every 2”, then eyeballed the ruler down 1”, and did the next next row. I started by lining up the ruler with the top of the pockets, and was pretty pleased with how consistent my spacing was with very little effort. One benefit of sewing is that we get really good at estimating small distances! Looking at the finished pants, I’m actually shocked how well the two pant legs match up.

Polka Dot Pants!

(Check out the collage behind me that my husband made for my 30th birthday! There’s a different branch for each 5 years of my life, with collaged things to remind me of what I was doing at that age… the bug and leaf at the bottom are my parents (a biologist and a botanist), and the black branch is Jamie (who only wears black). All the leaves are made from cut-up free-with-magazine-purchase records, and the tree is made with fabric, natch!) 

The pants themselves are a bit of an experiment. I’ve been using and tweaking this Style Arc Elle pant pattern for about 6 months now, and been less and less happy with the fit. I decided to go back to my first version, with just my initial crotch scooping and back rise adjustments. And lo and behold, they are a much better fit! To figure out why, I started making a collage of my past versions… and realised I’ve already made 8 pairs! Fascinatingly (for me, at least!) the pairs I like all have distinct similarities in the fabric choice, as do the less successful pairs:

Many versions of Style Arc Elle pants!

Basically, I think I stayed too far from the suggested fabrics and stretch content, and lost the snug fit as a result! I ended up adding a whole inch to front and back pattern pieces for #6 and 7, after 4 and 5 were too tight, which in retrospect was way too much! I’ve taken 6 and 7 in on the legs since the photoshoot, but they still feel baggy. Too bad I did so much topstitching and can’t properly take them in all the way to the waist! So why did my polka dot pair work better? Well, after wearing then, it’s clear that the fabric is much closer to a stretch bengaline than a stretch denim, as I thought it was when I bought it. It’s got almost 50% stretch, and don’t get baggy through the day. It’s snug without being TIGHT and showing every line underneath. Even better, I got the fabric for $3/m and bought enough to make a second pair! Of course, there are still creases and pulls in a few places, but I’ve decided that I don’t care. They are good enough, and trying to tweek them to be perfect didn’t actually make them any better in the end!

Polka Dot Pants!

Now a question for you! How do you decide where to place rear jeans pockets, and how big to make them? The pockets are my own addition to this pattern, so i just traced them off some other jeans. I tend to line up the bottom of the pockets with the bottom of the crotch curve, but I can’t decide if they would be more flattering higher, lower, bigger, smaller, or closer together! What do you think?

p.s. Oh, and for the record, I wouldn’t normally wear all black – I was just trying to me it easier for the camera to capture the dark-on-dark tones! I wore the pants to school the other day with a coral sweater and coral/red/black floral tee, and felt much more like myself!)

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