24 July 2010

Help! Baggy pedal pushers!

Blogosphere, I am calling on your advice and guidance once more. So I'm trying to make these pedal pushers from Simplicity 4255 (from 1953 - already made the blouse, which you can see here). They look okay from the front, but the backs of the legs are a bit wrinkly and saggy.

Front view is okay...

Shame about the back!

It'd be good to make them a bit more fitted, but my derriรจre isn't exactly small so if I take the back in any more it's going to look a bit... erm... rude. More importantly I won't be able to sit down very comfortably. What do you think? Can you tell me why they've gone wrinkly?

Clown trousers!

When I first started, this seemed like it was going to be a quick project and an easy way to use up the denim left over from my Beignet skirt. I made the pattern up in Swedish tracing paper to begin with, but the leg seemed a little tight, so I cut the denim extra big. But then they ended up like clown trousers! See comedy photo above. So I stitched them smaller... and then smaller... until I had a fabric palimpsest of various lines and stitches. The pattern also called for soft pleats in the waistline, which would look great in a softer fabric (on trend, even) but in denim it was causing some ballooning, and I didn't want to end up with a pants tent, so I put in some darts for more definition. But still I can't seem to get them to look right.

The original inspiration for these was Dorothy Malone in Written on the Wind. I also love both Janice's loose fitting linen capri pants and Katikando's tighter denim ones, but mine are a kinda cross-between both at the moment and not really doing it for me.

So what do you think? Is there a secret method of making the fit look better? Or have I just been staring at them too long and they don't look so bad after all? Am I working in conflict with the pattern, trying to make what are meant to be loose pedal pushers fitted? Maybe it's the denim - should I try again with linen or chambray and leave them loose? I'm going to put this project away for a few days so I can return to it with fresh eyes - and hopefully some fresh perspectives from you, my internet friends...


  1. They look perfect from the front. I don't actually think they look bad from the back - are you thinking they'd fit more like a cigarette pant - slim all the way down, like a pair of 7/8ths skinny jeans? I am quite useless with pants, so don't have any tips on how to fit them.

    I really want to make them up too. I have some dodgy navy blue stuff in my stash I was going to try them in.

    How do they look with the blouse? I think the green will go perfectly with the denim. Can't wait to see what you decide to do!

  2. Hi, just found your blog! they look good to me, my suggestion is to wear them for a day and see how they look, sometimes I thinkwe are too critical of ourselves when trying on something new.

  3. The pattern drawing - they look roomy, don't they? Are they meant to be, do you think? Those little ties at the bottom of each trouser leg suggest roomy rather than snug. Perhaps you have taken a pattern for roomier pants and are trying to make them into cigarette pants? Hope this helps! When I die and go to heaven I will have a teeny-tiny waist like yours!

  4. Here is what is happening - your back crotch curve is lower than the patterns, and so your buttock is pushing the fabric down, causing the back leg wrinkles - does that make sense? The fit everywhere else is great!
    To resolve this you can lower the back crotch curve, maybe about 2cm, without reducing back width across the buttock. Place your front and back inleg seams of your pattern together and reshape the crotch curve more to your shape, but keep the front curve the same because it looks fine. Measuring your front and back rise might help you.
    Hope this helps - I need to do this to most trousers too!
    Look at those tiny waists in the ilustrations!

  5. I think Sherry has the cause exactly right. Check with some pant fitting books like Palmer Pletch or so and it will tell you about the lower crotch curve she mentions. When you try them on, pull the back up and you should see the wrinkles go away. But that will cause a tight crotch, hence the lowering of the curve.

  6. Fascinating! It's all down to your crotch (!). Let us know what happens, Tilly.

  7. I think they look alright, but maybe that's because everyone looks tons better in capris than I.

  8. Ah okay - that sounds quite complicated but I'll have a look at a trouser fitting reference guide and see what I can do. Thanks so much for your help!

    (Never thought I'd be discussing my back crotch curve on the internet!)

  9. One of the reasons that the pants are wrinkling is that the fit of "pedal pushers" back in the day was not as closely fitted as is currently popular. They would have been fitted closely at the waist, and evenly through the upper hip, of course, but the lower crotch area and legs would have had more than a bit of ease.

    What makes your original "clown pants" look so goofy is that the waist and hip are so huge. The legs and crotch in your clown pants picture look quite like the original image; could you imagine just gradually fitting the upper hip and waist on that, it might give you the smooth look of the original pattern...

  10. This is so fascinating! I never would have thought about crotch curve, so I'm excited to hear about your fix!

    I'm hoping to get a pair of capris in before the summer's done. Part of the reason I haven't chosen a vintage pattern is precisely what several readers have mentioned -- in my head the trouser is more fitted to the body than the pattern really is and I keep screwing it up trying to turn it into something it's not (this happened with a vintage 60s pattern). But you look very, very close :) I'm sure they'll be fabulous!

  11. Have you tried measuring your inseam (front and back) and then measuring the inseam of your pattern to make sure it's a good fit?

    There is some wrinkling along the front by the crotch area -- maybe a little bit more ease there? Also what fabric are you using -- if you want a tighter fit, maybe a fabric with some stretch in it will help? You can cut it with a little less ease and the stretch in the fabric should help it flow a bit more.

  12. Oh good, you got some great tips and suggestions! Sherry to the rescue!
    I avoid making pants mostly for the fitting issues with my tiny waist and junk-in-the-trunk. It's too hard to get anything to fit properly AND be comfortable. It looks like you're on the right track, so good luck!

  13. I have made these same capris in denim from this pattern and I left them as they were. I too felt they were much too baggy at first but then after wearing them with a blousy top they seemed to work perfectly...they are supposed to be baggy and I think yours look fine...I know I felt the same way at first and then after wearing them I think they are some of my favs! ~Emily

  14. Just jumped through to your blog via Pretty Little Pictures and am VERY impressed with what you've been making this year! I'm trying to sew more often, but an expert at starting-never-finishing items... Must do better!


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