I've been on a quest for a comfortable, stylish and somewhat simple to sew pair of pants. I have made the Arden pants by Helen's Closet a couple of times now (here and here), and I love them. But they are very casual pants and I would love to make myself a pair of "dressier" pants.
I searched through the Seamwork pattern library and found the Channing. I liked the flat front waistband and the comfy elasticated back. I wasn't sure about the pleats (I really don't need volume added to my tummy area), but I downloaded the pattern and decided to give them a try.
They aren't too bad, but definitely not a big success. The fabric I used is a cotton sateen which a bit of stretch and it is quite stiff. What I feared about the pleats and amplified by the lack of drape in the fabric and there is A LOT of extra volume at my tummy which isn't too obvious when I'm standing, but it looks really bad when I'm sitting.
Other than the pleats and the extra fabric on the front, the fit is quite good. The side seams are straight, the length is good (I added 1 inch at the shorten/lengthen line) and the waistband is very comfortable. The waistband does sit a little high though - my preference is for my waistbands to sit about two inches below my natural waist.
The fit on the back is the best I've achieved so far in my sewing journey. The pants fall straight down from my bum and there are no drag lines or folds anywhere. The fabric is really busy and I know it's difficult to see, but trust me, the back looks really good!
These pants did teach me a few things about the types of pants or details to look for and which to avoid for me:
- I have to avoid pleats on the front - I was listening to a style podcast recently and they said pleats can be used to add volume to an area that needs it. For example, if someone is an inverted triangle (biggest measurement is the upper body), they can use pleats to visually add volume to their lower half and therefore achieve balance. Well - I'm a rectangle with apple tendencies so I definitely don't need the added volume around my middle.
- I like straight legs on me.
- I prefer mid-rise pants - the waist should sit a couple of inches below my natural waist.
- The waistband on these pants is a tiny bit too narrow (1" elastic is used on the back). I much prefer a 2 inch waistband, but at a minimum, it should be 1.5 ".
- Cotton sateen is a pleasure to sew!