Pattern Review: Vogue 1051, Or The Search for the Perfect Pant

So, as may have been obvious, I have recently been ooooh-ing and ahhhhh-ing over the Burda Style Magazine pants patterns.  I would really really love to be able to make the perfect pant.  I have never been able to find pants that fit.  Too long or too short.  If they fit my thigh then the waistband falls down to my hips.  Anything else won’t fit over my knees.  Sitting down could cause permanent mental scarring for those behind me.  Belts are a necessity and a staple in the wardrobe.  I can pull many of my pants on and off without undoing the buttons or zippers.  So, pants are a problem.  

On the other hand, I feel really uncomfortable with my legs uncovered, so while skirts and dresses could be a solution, I just don’t really wear them often.  I think this started with the skating – I wasn’t comfortable walking around showing off all of my bruising.  Then I got sick and gained a lot of weight, so I wanted my legs covered then as well.  Also, many of my college labs required clothing with good coverage, and it developed into me just being uncomfortable in anything other than pants.  So, really, finding a pants pattern that fits well and looks good would be far more useful to me than many of the other things I could make.  It’s fun to plan cute party dresses and pretty coats, but in terms of making something I would get a lot of use from, pants are a priority.  My first step in this journey: Vogue 1051.

Vogue 1051.
This was one of my first Vogue pattern acquisitions when I started on my pattern stashing.  I liked the style of these pants, and thought they might make a good first attempt at a pants pattern.  Since I had never made pants before, my first attempt is more of a “wearable muslin” – I used $2/yard polyester from JoAnn, but I did line them because the fabric was both rough and shear.  I left off the pockets, because I didn’t want to spend the time on the fiddly bits to find that the fit was poor.  Overall though, I really like the outcome.  Here are my pants:

My first pants!

And here is the official pattern review:

Pattern Description: Slightly flair legged pants with contour waistband, fly front, and welt pockets, with optional turned cuffs.

Pattern Sizing: (4-6-8-10) and (12-14-16-18).  I made a size 16 without any major size adjustments.  I picked a size 16 based on my hip measurements, and, despite the pattern telling me that the 18 would be the correct size for my waist, I used a 16 everywhere and it was still too large (mostly due to my swayback I suspect).

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, I think so.  I did not attempt the welt pockets, mostly because this was my first attempt at pants, the fabric was cheap and not worth the effort, and I was hoping to have these ready to wear to an event if they turned out well enough (which they did).  I did use the fly front instructions, and I thought that turned out rather well though.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I think so.  I did not use the best fabric and I left off the welt pockets, but the overall shape was very similar to the pattern envelope.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  This is the best “straight from the envelope” pattern I have ever used.  I didn’t make any fit/sizing changes and these pants look much better than most RTW pants I have tried on.  I really like the waistband – the wider band seemed to fit me fairly well.  I even like the turned cuffs – not something I usually like, but thought they looked pretty good on this pattern.  I had no issues with wrinkles or pulling around the crotch either.  Things I didn’t like: I had gaping issues in the back, which I didn’t realize until after the waistband was fully sew on, so I took a wedge/dart in the center back of the waistband.  This isn’t the most elegant solution, but since these were basically a “wearable muslin” I wasn’t feeling the energy to undo the entire band to fix the pattern at the side seams.  I like the overall shape of the pants – they sit a bit higher on me than the model, but I like that.  The fit nicely through the thigh, but aren’t as fitted in the knee as the model in the picture.  I think this is mostly due to my overdeveloped/muscular/protruding thighs so I would probably taper future pants in more at the knee.  I am 5’7″ and the pants as are were a perfect length for flats (which I mostly wear) but would need extra length if they were to be worn with heels.

Fabric used: Cheap polyester with poly lining from JoAnns.  Didn’t want to use my nice fabric for a first run through with the pants.  It has no stretch, and doesn’t breathe, so is a little uncomfortable to wear for long periods (especially while sitting), but this is definitely a fabric issue, not a pattern issue.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did not make the welt pockets, because, as mentioned, I didn’t think it was worth the effort for a first time run through.  Since the fabric was a little too see-through, and I wanted to wear the pants for a one time event, I did line the pants, which isn’t called for in the instructions, but isn’t too difficult to figure out (it helped to look at some of my RTW pants that are now too large to figure out where the lining should be attached).

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will probably sew this pattern again.  I am on a quest to find a perfect pants pattern, and this was my first try.  I want to make several of my other patterns to find the best style and fit for me, but I did like these pants and would like to make them up in better fabric with the welt pocket detail in the future.  I probably won’t get to it for a while, but if/when I do I will try to provide an update.  I would recommend this pattern – I had a great fit right out of the envelope, and I think the style could be quite flattering on many people.  The instructions are pretty straightforward, so this could be a great first pants pattern, especially if you leave off the welts and focus on the fit of the pants without worry about the pocket details.

Conclusion: I really really like this pattern!  It is not quite TNT territory yet, but it is in contention and is definitely one of my favorite patterns that I have tried so far.  I even got a compliment while wearing these pants (from someone who didn’t know I made them), despite the fact that they are made from cheap-looking fabric.  I love that I can wear them without a belt, and plan to make these again with the necessary pattern tweaks in the future.

Here are some more pictures:

Side view – you can see my fairly extreme swayback and protruding thighs.

The back – the wrinkles are caused by sitting, poor fabric, and the wedge I took out of the center back waistband.  The pants looked really good in the back before I took the wedge, but fit better in the waist after.  With a long-ish shirt you can’t see the wrinkles anyway, and it helped me figure out how to fix the pattern for future attempts.

A close-up of the cuff detail.
Overall, I am pleased with these pants, but I think I can do better.  I may try some of the other fly front tutorials available online, and I want to test out some of my other pants patterns in my quest for the perfect pants.  Here are the patterns I really want to try out in the near future:

Another Vogue – this one has belt loops, regular pockets, and a center back seam in the waistband.

The other Alice + Olivia pattern – Vogue 2907.

I also want to try these pants, which have pockets, fly front, but no waistband:

Vogue 1143 – Who am I kidding, I want the whole thing.

Then there are all of the Burda patterns I want to try:

BS 04-2011-104 – this is similar to the Vogue, but with a smaller waistband and belt loops.

BS 04-2011-120 – Not sure about these, but I saw a version on another blog and it looked worthy of trying them out.

BS 04-2011-131 – Love these!

BS 06-2011-110 – Want to try these for a more casual “jeans” style pants.
I also want to obtain and try the Jalie jeans and trouser patterns, but what with the Canadian postal strike, now is probably not the best time to order those patterns.  I guess I will just have to test out some of these other pants in the mean time….

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