I’m not going to lie. This was a slap dash, poorly thought out project. I just suddenly, desperately needed a pair of leather skinnies with feature zippers and I thought I could whip them together using a bit of cheap, novelty fabric.
I freestyled an existing trouser pattern into a slimmer design. However, I realised along the way that the fabric (faux stretch leather) needed to be very close fitting in order to minimise the sight of ugly wrinkles and creases. I should have started with a leggings pattern, not a pants pattern. I had to narrow the legs further as I went, by inches at a time. It was never going to bode well.
The irony of the matter is also that this faux stretch leather is only slightly stretchy, and in one direction only. It’s like wearing skinny jeans in non-stretch denim. There’s not a lot of give when I bend and stretch. I’m pretty sure I’m going to rip the crotch seam next time I wear them, but I’ll still happily wear them until I do.
The three feature zippers are non functional. I installed them as per this tutorial, however I covered the backs of mine with a soft fabric, rather than add pocket bags.
In any case, it was a fun make. I needed a frivolous sew after I spent so many hours on my coat, and these pants suited the purpose well. And besides, everyone needs the occasional wadder to keep things real!
I made this Daisy Chain top specifically to go with Miss Three’s fairy shorts. I salvaged my last little bits of fairy fabric and paired it with a little bit of white linen.
I bound the hem with self made binding in a floral that co-ordinates with the fairy fabric. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match perfectly. I didn’t have any suitable white binding on hand or enough fairy fabric, or any confidence that I would like the look of a top with fairies on it anyway. For the back placket, I made use of what buttons I already had on hand (quite boring but in the perfect subtle shade of pearl blush).
I’m not usually a fan of novelty fabric (heaven knows why I purchased the fairy cotton in the first place). My plan was to simply get those fairy faces out of my stash. It has, however, turned out to be one of the sweetest things that I’ve made for this child. I catch myself admiring her each and every time she twirls by.
I’m going to call these my cropped leather pants. I could just as easily have called them long shorts. I toyed with the idea of gaucho, but they don’t really fit that definition either. Gaucho pants should really be high waisted and with a bit more of a flare in the leg, as would be seen on the Argentinian horsemen from which the term is taken. These pants sit on my hips, which is where I like them right now.
The leather I used is a type of composition leather called Perfection Fused leather. It is a very thin, uniformly processed layer of cowhide on a rayon backing. It’s a beautiful weight and drape for many garments, although I wouldn’t consider it suitable for coat making. It will never compare to a buttery lambskin or genuine cowhide, but I’m impressed with it nonetheless.
Perfection fused leather looks convincingly like leather, but without the imperfections, and it comes with a price tag of only $15 per yard. It’s the perfect, low-risk ‘real’ leather to have a go with if you’ve never sewn with leather before. It’s a dream to sew, but you do need to be careful when pressing (or when you are pressing an adjoining fabric like pocket lining). This type of processed leather does not tolerate heat at all. The leather layer is very thin and it comes off easily if you iron it.
For these pants, I used V8909. You’ve seen it many times before. My modifications were as follows:
- I ditched the yoke
- shortened the crotch seam
- added side pockets instead of inseam pockets
- drafted a separate waistband instead of folding the top over to form the encasement
- added a single back patch pocket
- cropped the legs
- I also widened the legs. Have a look at the modified pattern pieces below. To achieve the wide leg look, I simply redrew both the inner and side seam lines straight, in line with the grainline.
Other patterns you could use to make shorts like this are:
Carolyn Pyjamas (shorts) by Closet Case Files: I’ve only recently finished sewing a pair but the fit of the pants is fabulous, and totally worthy of outside pants. They sit on the hip, fit the bum nicely, include a faux fly (like my leather ones), and have some great shaped side pockets.
The Robbie Pant by Tessuti Fabrics: These pants appear to be higher waisted, but they have some neat side patch pockets that would look fantastic in leather. You could easily make the pants a little shorter.
Cropped pants look great with a lot of different style tops, including my short, white pinafore and my Lou Box tunic top. They would also look great paired with a chunky knit and layered over dark tights and long boots in Winter.
I just can’t stop with this Cynthia Rowley pattern, Simplicity 1366. It is seriously the most perfect blank canvas. My other makes of this pattern are here, here, here, and here.
For this version, I made the following changes:
- dropped the shoulder seam by a further inch
- added an extra inch to the neckline side of the shoulder seam
- dropped the bottom of the armscye by about 1.5″
- added a feature zip to a shoulder seam
- made some wide bias binding for the neckline, folded it over, stretched it slightly and attached it like I would a knit neck band
- lengthened the arms to extra, extra long. I wanted to roll these sleeves up.
- lengthened the back bodice piece but kept the front piece short. I added extensions to the bottom of each side seam so I could hem little slits in each side.
Here is the top photographed untucked and with the sleeves left long to help you get a better visual of the modifications I made and how these relate to the top’s actual shape. I won’t be wearing it this way in real life, but I needed the length in those arms to create the bulky, rolled up look you see in the earlier photos. I paired the top with my favourite leather skirt.
I’ve made this pattern before. It’s a vintage one, Style 3304. Last time, I modified it to a short version (long story!) in some fun Marc Jacobs fabric. This time, I was dreaming of white.
The pattern itself is simple enough to make, but not particularly well fitting without a few adjustments. I learnt this from my last make. The changes I made this time were:
– adding elastic in casing in the top back of the bodice for a better fit
– lengthening the bodice by 0.5″
– widening the legs towards the bottom by about 2″ and adding elastic to the hems
– I also converted the straps to adjustable
– you’ll notice I didn’t bother serging the edge of the facing. I used fusible interfacing on my facing (I always do, even though instructions rarely say to). The ponte doesn’t fray, but would be even less likely to do so once fused with facing, so to reduce bulk (and a possible seam line being seen) through my lightweight fabric, I chose not to finish the edge.
The fabric I used was a very lightweight ponte knit from Fabric.com. It is the same fabric I used for my Kanerva hack a while back. It shrinks a LOT after washing so I gave it a thoroughly mean pre-treatment before sewing. But it is a beautifully soft, creamy white and it is a truly lovely fabric to wear.
I’m pretty happy with my slouchy new jumpsuit. As always, I love the pockets, and it is just so comfortable that I suspect I will be dressing it down for the school run way more than I will be glamming it up.
Now this was the top I’d originally intended to wear with my culottes, before I was seduced by the novelty factor. If you look closely, you can see the back buttons match those on my waistband. This time, I’ve glamorised the old culottes a little with some sky high heels and a cropped Kanerva by Named.
I really like the Kanerva top. My first one was made in a lovely Liberty of London from Tessuti. It fits well enough but I was keen to try it in a fabric with more stretch. I chose a lightweight ponte knit for this version, purchased online from Fabric.com.
Ponte knit is so comfortable and practical to wear and it suits the Kanerva perfectly. The cropped version is a great length for me as it is short, but doesn’t really show any tummy if you wear a high waist pant (bear in mind that I am 5″10 so the cropped version will come down longer on some). I made a few small changes to the pattern again this time. I started with a size 40, then:
- lengthened the arms by 3cm
- took about 2cm off the front neckline and shoulder seams
- dropped the back neckline by 1cm
- narrowed the waist a little by taking 1cm off each side seam
- I also removed the front waist dart and increased the bust dart ever so slightly
- I cheated with the back. The buttons are just for show. I overlapped the back edges to keep the centre back where it should be, and created two seams (one false) on each side. I then sewed the buttons straight down the middle without buttonholes.