Gathering Threads

By the seat of my pants

Posted by on Feb 24 2010, in Pattern review, Sewing tips

So after my battle cry on the weekend: no more duty sewing! It’s all about me!, guess what I did last night?

Made the first of three pair of pants for my son.

By my count, the four million six hundred and twenty four thousandth pair since birth. (Well, give or take a few pairs!). Such is the lot of a sewing mom, I guess.

He’s been sprouting like some sort of a weed these past few months. I swear, I put him to bed and he’s another inch longer the next morning. So between the flood-water hems and the fact that he’s a boy who plays hard and I can only mend the knees on his pants so many times before they’re a) more mend than pants b) not fit for public viewing, I had to get cracking on something before I was forced to send the poor kid to school stark naked.

So I cracked open my trusty Ottobres and picked out a three pant patterns, tracing them off Monday evening: Pluto (Winter/08), Tarkka (Summer/08) and Kalle (Autumn/08). I know, it sounds like I’ve come down with a bad cold, but they’re great patterns and they look fashionable enough to be school wear, which is always my litmus test for sewing. I want anything my kids wear to be handmade not homemade.

The challenge came from the fact that after falling off the stash diet bandwagon with a vengeance in December at Fabricland’s 50% off sale, I’ve recovered my sanity and am re-committed to using stash for as many projects as possible.

So, after discounting the summer-short length bits, of which there are a shocking number, I’m afraid to admit, I was left with a fine black pinwale, an electric green twill and a combed twill in a dark caramel brown from which to construct the pants.

The corduroy will be easy to use; the electric green isn’t MY tastes, although it has a lovely hand but my son thinks it’s fantastic so I’ll just cross my fingers it fades in the wash; the brown twill though was a challenge because the right side is a brushed cotton, like a flannel and I had less than a metre to use.

I tried laying out all three patterns and the Kalle was the only one that even came close to fitting. I squeezed, I jigged and rejigged, I minimized my seam allowances into submission and when I was done cutting, there weren’t enough scraps left for the Tailor of Gloucester’s mice but I’d gotten it to fit.

And so here they are:




Overall, this was a very straight forward pattern and I’m pleased with the results. I used the wrong side of the fabric, which looks like a twill woven as the exterior of the pants; the inside is soft and flannel-like and will be very warm during the winter and spring. I topstitched all the pockets and seams and worked the bar tacks with a pale blue thread and I really like them, although they could have been a bit darker and not caused a problem. In fact, the only thing I think I’ll change are the knee pleats; in my next version of the Kalle pants, I’m definitely going to edge stitch them, just to control the folds better.


But like always, Ottobre patterns are a winner for me. Because it was my first time through on this pattern, I did take my time on the details, and followed the instructions without any huge variation but it was a very straight forward pattern overall. Most of the sewing time went to the ‘details’ like the topstitching and the bar tacks. Once those were completed, the pattern went together very quickly.

Difficulty: 3/10 Advanced beginner
Tracing/Prep: 30mins
Layout/Cutting: 30mins
Sewing/Pressing: 3 1/2 hours

I’ll be working on cutting out and assembling the other two pants over the next several days and post my experiences with them when I’m done.


  • ShirleyC

    Those look so professional. I need to try some of those patterns.

  • I love those. Now you have me wanting to sew more for Seth.