It was a Big Brothers Big Sisters group sleepover at the zoo. The conversation between me and a younger mentor went like this:
Her: Haven’t seen that pant style in awhile.
Me: Yes, they were a favorite in a prior decade. They’ve been too comfy to get rid of.
Her: Um, I’m pretty sure it was more than one decade ago.
Me: I did say “a” prior decade; not “the” prior decade.
To give you the right visual, they were black stirrup pants. Super comfortable for a sleepover, but admittedly…
…they haven’t been in style for decade(s). Actually, it was the prior millennium. And, they aren’t warm. So, when I needed a pattern for some insulated warm pants, I broke down and cut the stirrup pants apart to make the pattern. Turns out it was a good choice for a pattern, because:
- It was only two pattern pieces, which made an easy-to-sew pattern.
- The fit was loose (unlike leggings or skinny pants), which accommodated the bulk of the insulated layers.
The fit came out right on the first try, except for the lower legs, which had too much taper for the thickness of the fabric layers. To fix the lower leg issue, I opened each side seam below the knee and inserted a long triangle. This worked fine.
For the fly closure, I used a strip of velcro, which was not strong enough by itself, but worked fine when I added a waistband and fastener.
(View before adding the waistband.)
Tips and notes:
- Reducing unnecessary bulk. For the fly and waistband facing side, I removed the pile from between the layers. Those spots don’t need double insulation, or bulk.
- Walking foot recommended. The lazy, impatient me didn’t use the walking foot on the sewing machine, because it is slow, and I wanted to sew this first pair up quickly. I got by, and the pants came together quickly and easily. But with these layers and pile, a walking foot would be the better way to go.
- The fabric was a surprise purchase from Joann. While shopping for something else, I spotted this at 60% off, which made it $8/yd. It appears to be an in-store only item, so I can’t provide a link to it. But if you have a Joann store nearby, go check the bargain fabric section with the color-coded discount dots.
Why insulated pants? For comfort and productivity. I’m cold all winter. Besides how miserable that is, I feel like it takes much time out of my planned day to warm up, whether by situating myself near a space heater, or having a heated throw at my desk. It slows my productivity and energy level, just getting and staying warm. I want to try designing and making some simple, practical garments that I can wear any day, every day, all day, at home, and just feel warm. The ultimate plan is to make garments I can wear wherever I go during the day–from the office to grocery shopping.
This is the first of the attempts. Not bad for $8 in materials. To be honest though, they look like simple insulated pants that don’t cost much to buy ready-to-wear. Must try harder to make them look more stylish for every day wear.
The polar vortex of last week was my inspiration to make these warm pants a priority. But as luck goes, on the day I finished the pants there was a drastic warmup. It was a 60s-70sF weekend with sun. Crocuses bloomed!
Alas, the winter temperatures have made a rude return, with 30+mph wind gusts, a windchill temp of -11F, and an icy coating on everything. The pants are doing their job of keeping me comfortable.