Time and time again I find myself coming back to my tried and true patterns. I have a few of those and usually they are very basic, sloper kind of patterns. They either fit really well off the bat, required minimum modifications or I simply spent a lot of time and effort fitting them to my body. In the end, I think it is a shame not to use these patterns for all their potential. So this is where my imagination comes in and I hack the hell out the patterns modifying them into whatever I can think of!
The Hampshire Trousers pattern by Cali Faye Collection was no exception. The original pattern fit me well right out of the “envelope”, or should I say e-file, and required minimum modifications. I promptly made it into a couple pairs of trousers that I absolutely love. I wasn’t planning on hacking the pattern, but after seeing a number of wide legged pants on Pinterest I had an urge to have a pair for myself. I had an idea of how I wanted my pants to look – I wanted them wide, but not super wide, have a fitted back and have pleats at the front. So after sleeping on it for a few nights, I finally got an idea of how I can make my pants out of a pattern that already fits me!
I am going to go into detail of how I altered the pattern, so if you are interested, read on, and if not, feel free to scroll down for more actual pant pictures and project details.
First off, I apologize for the quality of pictures. I am not a computer wizard and can not draw my tutorials electronically yet, so I do it the old fashioned way with a marker, ruler and my camera phone. This time however the pictures turned out not so great and it was too late in the night to re-take them. I do think they still convey the point quite well.
And secondly, a disclaimer, I am not a pattern drafter and I half the time I have no idea what I am doing. These steps seemed logical to me and that’s how I went with it. If anyone knows of a proper way to do this hack or has suggestions, please let me know!
Here is what the front and back pattern pieces look like right off the bat. Because the pants have a wide leg, I needed to make sure they are long enough. I didn’t want to look like a clown with pants that are not quite long enough. So I added 1″ to the length (the red line)
This step is all about math! Bear with me.
Next I decided on how wide I wanted my pants to be at the hem. I took my tape measure and eyeballed about 12″ width of a folded pant leg. It seemed just right to me. So the circumference of the pants at the bottom should be 24″. That does not include seam allowances though. There is a total of 4 seam allowances (2 of front leg and 2 on back). With seam allowances being 3/8″ on the rest of the pattern, the total seam allowance is 1 1/2 “.
All of that makes for a total width at the bottom of the pants (both front, back leg and seam allowances) – 25 1/2″
Next I measured my current width. I don’t remember what the actual number is, but I believe it was around 17 1/2″.
To figure out how much I needed to add to each pant leg, I did the following:
25 1/2″ – 17 1/2″ = 8″
8″/4 = 2″
So I needed to add 2″ to each side of both Front and Back Leg.
First I worked on my Back leg because it is easier and more straight forward. I measured out 2″ from each side seam on the new red hem line. Then I drew new side seams with the help of my ruler and a French curve. See the red lines on the Back pant. It looks so wide and pretty already!
I will mention a part of the next step here since the picture below shows it.
Next I turned my attention to the Front leg. I drew in the missing side pocket and divided the waist seam in half – the red mark. This is where I wanted my pleat to be.
Working on the Front leg now, I needed to deal with the pleat first, before widening the leg. I drew a straight line parallel to the grain line through my red mark on the front waist seam. The line went all the way through the full length of the pant. In reality, I believe it was a little skewed to the side. So don’t be alarmed if your line seems off, as long as it is parallel to the grain line you should be okay.
This step was fun! I just cut the pattern completely apart through my red line
Next, I created a pleat! I taped a piece of paper to one side of the pant leg. Measured out 3″ and drew a new line on the taped piece of paper (make sure it is wide enough!). The line was parallel to my cut line. From there, I taped the other half of the pant to the paper right on the line.
Why 3″? Well, I played with the tape measure and a pleat of 1 1/2″ seemed most appealing to me. The pleat is the fabric folded over on itself twice, so the total pleat is 3″. But feel free to go as wide as you want!
Almost there! from step 2 I calculated that I needed to add 2″ to each side of my Front leg, for a total of 4″. But I have already added 3″ by adding my pleat, so I was only missing 1″. That’s 1/2″ per side.
Just like in step 3, I measured 1/2″ from each side of the Front pant leg and drew a new pant side seam with a ruler and a French curve.
Voila! The wide leg with a pleat hack is done! I proceeded as per instructions after that. The rest of the pattern pieces fit well, since I haven’t changed anything with the pocket or on the waist. The only thing I had to decide was which way I wanted my pleat to fold. I decided to fold it towards the pocket, but I think the other way would also look interesting. Even a box pleat would look really cool!
I’ve only added one extra step to the construction process – I sewed 1 1/2 inches down in my pleat so that it lies a flat right on my tummy.
Another thing I should mention though, is that my seat curve was misbehaving a bit after I finished the pants. I am not sure why and possibly it was due to my fabric choice, but I ended up scooping my seat out by about 1/2″! It is not a difficult adjustment though, I just went in 1/4″ increments in scooping the seat until I was happy with the fit of the pants. If you too have to do it, remember that you have to trim your seam allowances right away otherwise you wouldn’t see the difference in the fit since the extra fabric will still be there.
Ok, now onto the finished pants!
I used rayon polyester crepe blend I got from a local FabricLand for the pants. The fabric was not too heavy, but very opaque and had a really nice drape. I thought it was perfect for the project. It does have a bit of a stretch in it though, so that’s why I wondered if the pants gave me trouble in my seat curve area. But it could have been due to the fact that I changed the way I needed them to fit me – looser rather than tighter (if that makes sense).
The pants came together really fast. I didn’t have any issues with the construction at all. I skipped all the topstitching since I wanted more of a elegant trouser look instead.
Here is the view from the back. I am very happy with the fit, although after wearing them for a day I think I could scoop the back seat out another 1/4″.
I have never worn wide legged trousers before and I never thought I would want to. I have always been a skinny pant kind of gal, but I guess tastes change and I am very excited for all the possibilities and style adventures these changes bring. I am already thinking of what other pants I could make out of this pattern. I am seeing white linen summer pant… but something about white and me essentially being a toddler and spilling everything on myself scares me off. May be gray or navy? I definitely want more of these in my life.
P.S. If you have any questions or notice any errors in the hacking tutorial please let me know! 🙂