Ponte Pants and A Wild Hemlock

I used to have a pair of stretch pants that looked like dress pants yet were very comfy. They were comfy even considering that they didn’t fit right. The rise on them felt all kinds of wrong and they were gaping at the waist. Yet I still wore them religiously. This past year I wanted to see if I could make a similar pair of pants.

There are a lot of pant patterns on the market which are drafted specifically for stable stretch knits. A lot of them have elastic waistband or some other kind of pull-on pant alternative. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but I really wanted my pants to have a functional zipper and an actual waistband. I wanted them to look as far away from leggings as possible. I was going for full on legging feel without the look. As in if someone was to point out that I was wearing what looked like leggings I imagined myself pulling up my sweater and saying “no! they have a zipper and a waistband! ha!”

For all those reasons this Burda pant pattern form the June issue of 2012 caught my eye. The pants are drafted specifically for stable knits like ponte and are pretty easy to put together since they have minimum pattern pieces. I’ve put off making these for a very long time! I have been sewing with Burda patterns for years before discovering indie patterns, but ever since I’ve tried indie patterns I have been a full convert. I don’t like adding seam allowances and drafting extra pattern pieces. And don’t even get me started on instructions.

Russian Burda website ,although with a lot more ads, has a huge forum where participants showing off their makes and write short reviews of the pattern. I find it quite useful and if I am making something from Burda magazine, I always check out their makes and read comments to see if there is anything I should be aware of. Well, the comments for this pattern indicated that it is a great pattern, easy to put together, and runs big. The last part did not surprise me at all. I find almost all Burda patterns run big and I end up taking them in quite a bit. Again, another point for indie designers for almost always indicating finished garment measurements.

I decided to save myself a headache and went for a size smaller right away. I painfully added seam allowances to the pattern, cut the pants out and made them. Well… They definitely looked like leggings! They were so tight, my whole bum was shown off in, what one (ahem, Shaun) may argue, a very pleasing way. May be I can get away with wearing them on the weekend with a long sweater, but I doubt I will do that. I guess those Russians do like their clothes tighter! I completely forgot about that and I should have known, I’ve grown up there after all.

Even after that I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of ponte pants. I had more ponte in my stash, so I printed pattern off again, added seam allowances to my actual size, cut the fabric and made the pants. Thankfully the pants were really easy to sew and came together in a very reasonable amount of time. This time they fit better! I could actually wear them to work. They are still tight, but in a skinny pant kind of way, not tight legging way. They passed “Shaun” test. This is the test where he honestly tells me if something is too tight and revealing to wear in public and I try my best to listen to him.

I followed the Burda instructions for the pants very loosely. Instead of trying to decipher Burda’s instructions on zipper installation, I followed Cali Faye’s tutorial on how to insert the zipper. The whole process was smooth and painless. Everything else was pretty easy.

My cheetah print Hemlock sweater is very straight forward. It is one of those patterns that you can make and wear on the same night. It is so great and so easy. There really is not much to say about it other than if you don’t have it yet, go get it. It’s free. The fabric for my Hemlock came from Cali Fabrics and it is soft and cozy. It was also easy to work with.

I have some thick navy ponte in my stash that I am thinking of making into another pair of these pants. I just want to wear this pair a couple more times before I jump into making all the ponte pants. One thing that I have already noticed with this pair of pants is that I would really like them to have front pockets. I like having a place to put my hand into when I am feeling especially awkward. And besides it will be yet another point against someone mentioning that I am wearing leggings! Ha!

Until next time,



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  1. Ha ha! Love the “Shaun test” check! Coincidentally, just this weekend as I was putting away the laundry, I came to the conclusion I should really make a pair of Amber Joggers in black ponte, since I love how my tester version in the pique knit came out.

    1. hahaha yes! I apparently had a tendency to think that some pants were okay in our early relationship, until he pointed a couple things out lol oh boy…
      I have been thinking that I need to make a few more ponte pants as well. What are Amber Joggers? I don’t think I’ve heard of them and I couldn’t find them. What am I doing wrong? lol

  2. These look fabulous! I love ponte pants, but I’m lazy and just use the Style Arc Elle pattern – no zip, just a waistband but it’s very flat and not gathered. I should enlist your Russian experience to help me – I found an amazing dress pattern on a random Russian website but couldn’t buy it…. I used google translate but still no luck. I’ll message you on IG if I can find it agai !

    1. Thank you! I was actually checking those out too! I really like that pattern too, but I was pretty set on having a zipper haha
      I can definitely help you! it will be a pleasure 🙂

  3. I have two pairs of ponte pants that i wear all the time (used a very similar Style Arc pattern, the Lily Ski Pant) and they are just the best! I added jeans-style back pockets because I felt a little exposed otherwise. Love how yours came out, They look fantastic! Cute top too. I think the Hemlock is one of my most-used patterns!

    1. I’ll check those out! I agree, I was actually thinking that I would want to add back pockets as well. That’s a great idea and good to know that they worked out for you 🙂 Thank you! I have so many Hemlocks… lol it’s just so easy to make!

  4. Ooh, ponte and leopard. I’m so down with that! Did you know that January is “Jungle January”? It’s a sewing challenge that’s in it’s… 4th? 5th? year. Perfect timing!

    1. haha yes! Me too 🙂 Oh really? I had no idea! I will make sure to check it out 🙂 I’ll also have to pull out my other animal prints and finally make something. What a great excuse!

  5. These look great! I had a pair of ponte pants that had all the details of jeans – front pockets, back pockets, waistband, belt loops – everything! I wore them to death and would love another pair.

    1. Thank you! Right? Ponte pants are the best. So comfy, yet not quite leggings 🙂 I am actually thinking of adding belt loops to them now!


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