Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Peppermint Wide Leg Pants

Ok, so I never thought I'd wear a pair of wide leg pants. Maybe if I were taller or thinner or younger or hipper, but I was very much convinced they weren't a good match for my body or personality.

Then a couple months ago my family did a marathon shopping trip to celebrate all our grown children's birthdays. I don't buy clothes, I make them, but in the interest of research I decided I better try on some things out of my comfort zone and maybe expand my horizons a little.  I picked up these yellow pants at Madewell, just because I thought it would be funny to try them on.

I took this photo in the dressing room and texted it to my daughter in the next dressing room because I was afraid to walk out in public. The pants were so wide! So yellow!!!  But oh so comfortable. (And a little bit too big, because since I sew all my clothes I don't know my size, haha!) In the end I left the dressing room and faced the ridicule of my family and even a stranger in the store. Yes, they all laughed, but I convinced my daughter to try on a pair and although we walked out of the store empty handed we were both intrigued.

I kept thinking about the yellow pants. Maybe even dreaming about them. I looked at patterns and thought about how dumb it would be to expend any money or energy on a pair of pants that I would never wear. Then I saw the free Peppermint Wide Leg Pants pattern. Did I say free? And there's no shortage of fabric at my house, so with a couple days' effort I could have a free pair of pants. Although I did end up having to buy a zipper -- but still, almost free pants!

For reference, my hips are 40" and I cut a size D which is for 39" hips. I have no idea how I came to that decision, but I ended up taking the hips in by 1.5" in my muslin (an old sheet with absolutely no stretch) and by another 1.5" in the final pants which have the tiniest bit of stretch. I wanted a really snug fit between the waist and hips. 

The Peppermint Wide Leg Pants are drafted for someone 5'7" tall. I'm 5'6" with a long torso and short legs. I shortened the pants 1" between waist and hip so the bottom of the waistband sits at my waist, and I shortened them by another 1" at the hem. They are longer than capri length but cropped enough that it doesn't look like my pants shrank in the wash. I hope.

The proportions of the Madewell pants were all wrong on me. I needed a narrower wide leg. After some experimenting with my muslin I decreased the hem circumference from 26 inches to 22.5 inches. Some of that was taken up along the sideseam when I took in the hips, and the rest was taken from the inseam. I basically made a new inseam parallel to the old one from hem to knee, then curved it up to the original crotch point. 

I also went off-pattern with the pockets. I wanted secret pockets, just big enough to hold my phone. With my muslin pinned skin-tight around my body, I slid my phone underneath, nestled it in the hollow between my abdomen and hip bone, and drew a line around it. I used that line to draft the pockets in the perfect size, shape and position. It didn't occur to me that my hand is bigger than my phone, so if I put money or ID in a pocket I may have to take my pants off to get it out. Haha, lesson learned! 

One more note on this pattern, the fly has instructions for a left-hand opening. I did it backward on purpose since I prefer it this way.

Now that my pants are done, I love them! I may wear them every day for the rest of the summer. And my daughter who also tried on the Madewell pants? She has the Peppermint Wide Leg Pants pattern cut out and ready to go and I shipped some of my extra denim to her.


  1. love you project, I definitely need to sew a pair of this pants

  2. They look great on you, very hip! Thanks for the instructions on narrowing the leg, and the nifty pocket - think I’ll give these a go.

  3. I love your pants, yours are amongst my favourites on insta.


Puzzle-Piece Pattern

“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art I’m c...