Dancing · Sewing

My Dance Pantaloons

Okay you’re going to need to bear with me for this one. I was not intending to do a tutorial or walkthrough but since some people have asked I am going to show you a little. Warning some really badly drawn paint drawings! 😛 Oh and also I am going to assume that you are already well acquainted with your sewing machine.

Now first lets talk fabric. I have made 3 pairs of pantaloons since Sunday so I am definitely an expert now. Haha no just kidding. But I do have a little experience with fabrics now. Firstly I looked at the Chiffon at the store, and it was  LOVELY but oh so see through so I gave that a skip. For my first pants I chose Viscose which I really like. It’s not stretchy which makes working with it a lot easier. And I chose some satin for the top band. For my second pair I made them out of a cotton knit. This material is much more breathable which I like for dance practice since I am probably going to be wearing them longer than if I was in a performance. It was a little stretchy which makes them harder to work with but even as a 2 meter pair there is enough material to cover any little mistakes. The third pair that I made were out of a polycotton weave and these were not good. The material is just too stiff and it doesn’t flow nicely. It’s almost as if they are permanently ballooned out.

I had to wash my material first as the shop told me that viscose is likely to shrink and they had not pre shrunk it. Finding a place to hang up 4 meters of material is not easy!! Luckily I have a very handy husband who made me a make shift washing line.

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Now once your material is all dry the first step is to lay the material down, on a table if you have a big enough table or on the floor. You only need 2 meters of space because you are going to fold it so that the right sides are facing. In case you don’t know, right sides refer to the pretty side of the material that you are going to want to be facing outside eventually. But you can’t call it the outside part because sometimes like now you are going to want it to be facing inside.
Then you cut along the fold so that you now have two 2 meter pieces lying on top of one another.

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Badly drawn folded material.

Then this can be a little tricky. You need to measure yourself. You need to sit down and measure your crotch and your hip (where you want the pants to sit) to floor. You will also need to add a seam allowance to the numbers on the top. ( mine are 6 inches and 8 inches) and quite a but more to the bottom number so that you have space to fold and put in elastic on the top. So your crotch and butt measurements go on the top. and the hip goes on the bottom. Remember these aren’t super fitting pants so maybe give it a little more if you are worried.  Once you have measured then you can make a little mark at these points.

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sorry i dont know why i did this part in inches

 

Then you draw a U shaped curve connecting the two. The butt curve can be a little more square and the crotch curve a little more curvy. But as we keep saying, these aren’t fitting pants so you won’t notice too much. Then you cut these out. You’re cutting through both pieces of material. If you are worried that you will shift the bottom piece you can always pin them together before you cut them.

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Now you have cut the material. Remove any pins you may have put in. Now separate the two pieces so that you have two pant legs. Fold these in half again with the right sides facing. (No cutting this time!) Pin along the inseam and sew together. Marked in orange below. I sewed a straight stitch first and then went back over with a zig zag stitch to stop fraying.

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Okay this next part is easy but it is conceptually a little tricky if you have not done it before. You have your two pants legs sewn up on the inseam. You must take the one and turn in inside out, or right side facing out. Put the right side facing out one into the wrong side facing out. This means that you will be seeing the wrong side on the outside, and the two pieces have right sides facing each other again.  Now match up the seams that you have sewn in the middle again. And pin them together. You want to pin from the middle out. You will also sew two lines from the middle out. This is because if the top pieces don’t match exactly that wont be seen once you have folded the top to put elastic in. Where as the crotch will look weird if the seams don’t meet in the middle.

 

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Now you can briefly turn your pants right side out and put them on and send pics to all your friends saying, “Look how much weight I’ve lost!” Haha. Just kidding I didn’t do that … just kidding I did.

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Okay so I have assumed that you know how to fold the tops and bottoms to make a tube and how to sew them up and thread the elastic through. How ever there is a little trick when it comes to sewing up the waist band if you want a slit. At this point I got my amazingly mathematically brained husband to help me. We measured exactly how much would need to hang because I didn’t want to be showing tooo much skin. Now the fact that they are often called slits is a bit confusing because they are not actually cut. They are actually just part of the waist band that the elastic is not threaded  through. I realised this after looking at a bunch of the pants if you follow the pattern of the material at the top it actually droops down the sides.

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So you can see by the yellow when I sewed it up I sewed to long channels and two short ones with four gaps for the elastic to go through. You want to sew the side droops up anyway because otherwise the raw edges of the material is going to show. Also if you do this and then decide you don’t actually want the droopy sides then you can just thread it through. My sides had 45cm of droopy material. To measure this I laid my pants down and measured 22.5 cm in from the fold / side and put in a pin. Both front and back of the material so you are putting in 4 pins. This will show you where your gap must start. Then you fold your material and make the tube big enough for your elastic and sew it up.

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this is cm now.

Then they will look like this. Okay PLEASE pretend that you can’t see my underwear K thanks.

 

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Okay now more fiddling. Here I went to the mirror and moved the gaps along the elastic until they were in the places that I wanted them. I did lots of exaggerated hip circles and figure of 8 so that I would be sure that I didn’t flash any part of me that I didn’t want to. Then my husband kindly sewed the pants to the elastic(on me!) at the points where I had placed them so that  they wouldn’t move. Fast forward through lots of pin stabbing and expletives.

Now for the satin band. Unfortunately I can’t help you that much with this because this was all my husband’s genius.  I cut a band the size I wanted with enough to fold it in like bias binding. So i folded it in half and ironed it. then I opened it and folded the edged in to touch at the middle. Then fold in half again so that it is in quarters and iron. Then you get your husband to calculate how much the pants need to stretch in order to match the band. 😦 Like I said I don’t know how you help you. You need to be a maths person. Some tips; we started by pinning the middle of the band to the middle front of the pants. And then also the tube is sewn closed over the exposed elastic sides but not onto the elastic so it can still stretch.  Maybe I’ll ask him to make a guest post on how he calculated where I was to sew it.

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And that is it. Sorry that this post is sooooo long. Also these pants are very easy to make if you don’t do the side gap.

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