Last November, on a crisp San Diego morning, I was standing outside in a line of women. My friends and I were early, hoping to be first in line for a warehouse sale, so the employees were still attaching the festive sale decor to the front of the building.
The balloon arch they were constructing was beautiful, but I couldn’t stop looking at the owner’s pants; they were a high-rise, wide-leg crop pant version of my Chi-Town Chinos pattern.
If you sew, then you know ready-to-wear clothing often serves as inspiration…and nothing more, as you tend to feel inspired to make it yourself instead of buying it. The longer I looked at her pants, the more determined I was to recreate those pants.
When I got home, I quick Google search lead me to what I believe are the exact pants she was wearing:
I have dyed some white denim to create these golden yellow pants, but for my first try, I used some fabric I’d been saving for a couple of years.
I’ve had this sienna stretch twill from Indiesew since the Chi-Town Chinos were featured in the Indiesew 2016 Fall/Winter Collection (it’s the same fabric you see the samples made out of). I had been saving it for some regular Chi-Town Chinos, so when I saw the Everlane pants, I knew just what to use it for.
This pair should be considered my wearable muslin as there are definite adjustments I need to make in order for this to fit me well. I increased the rise by about .75″ too much, which resulted in some fabric pooling at my lower back, as you can see above. What I need to do to fix this is a sway back adjustment, but it’s also too high in the front, so I think lowering the rise all around will fix it.
My next adjustment will be to make the back pocket smaller. This is the angled back pocket included with the original pattern, but I printed it at 120% the regular size and added 1/2″ to the top. Next time, I will print it at 110% and add 1/2″ to the top.
My last adjustment will be to consider lowering the bottom of the slash pocket opening. I took this pair in slightly at the hips (more info on that below), but in doing so, that moved up the bottom of the pocket opening.
Okay, let’s jump in to how I adapted the original pattern and expansion pack no. 2 to make these pants! My only disclaimer here is that I’m going to tell you how I made these for my body and you’ll want to use this as a general guide for your own, making your own fitting tweaks as necessary.For reference, these are the changes I made to the size 4–depending on what size you’re making, you may need to change the exact amounts, specifically to the leg width, to keep the proportions the same.
First, I want to point out that the crotch curves of the original pattern and both expansion packs are all different. This is a big part of how they give such different fits below the hip. The original pattern is a relaxed straight leg short, expansion pack no. 1 is a fitted knee-length, and expansion pack no. 2 is a semi-relaxed trouser length. (From here on out, I will simply say “XP2” in place of “expansion pack no. 2”.)
In the illustration above, you can see the original pattern (straight leg shorts), then XP2 (semi-fitted trousers) laying on top of it. The red outline is the adjustments I made for the high-rise, wide-leg crop pants.
I traced off everything above the hip, then, using the lengthen/shorten lines, I increased the rise by 2-1/4″ (next version I will do 1.5″–remember I need to decrease the rise slightly for my own body). I used the exp. pack no. 2 front crotch curve and drew a 27.5″ inseam, adding 1.75″ in width to the XP2 inseam at the ankle, and 1.25″ in width to the outseam at the ankle, essentially drawing straight down from the hip to this point. You’ll want to keep the height/placement of the knee notches intact, so just move them over horizontally to place them back on the inseam and outseam.
Note: traditionally, in changing the rise, you would draw a new slanted line to connect the top and bottom of the front slash pocket. However, I wanted to keep the original angle of the front pocket intact, so I just continued the line on from the bottom piece. Don’t forget to match this exact angle when you adapt the rise on the front pocket bag and front pocket facing.
Again, I traced off everything above the hip, increased the rise 2-1/4″ (remember next time I will personally make this 1.5″ instead). I used the XP2 crotch curve again, but shallowed the curve by 3/8″. I drew a 27″ inseam (yes, the inseams are different, pay close attention to the notches being in the same place horizontally as they are on the XP2), adding 1-5/8″ in width to the inseam at the ankle and 1-7/8″ to the outseam, keeping knee notches intact.
With both inseams, you want them to be completely straight from the ankle to above the knee, then gently taper over to the crotch curve point.
Same for the outseams: straight from the ankle to the knee, then gently tapering over to the hip.
Some personal adjustments I made with this fabric (because it has stretch, which the pattern isn’t written for), I narrowed the hips by 3/4″ (1.5″ in the round), increased the dart width by 3/8″ total, and did a 3/8″ thin thigh adjustment to both the front and back. My next pair will be in non-stretch denim, and I don’t think I’ll have to make these same adjustments, with the exception of the larger darts–I make that adjustment to this pattern for myself no matter what.
Piece R (back pocket interfacing): widen to match the new back pocket size. (Again, I printed mine at 120% and added 1/2″ to the top, but next time will make it slightly smaller at 110-115%)
Pieces J (fly shield), I (topstitching guide), H (fly extension interfacing), E (pocket bag), G (slash pocket front facing), and F (slash pocket back facing): increase the rise to match the pant. Take note of the angle of the front slash pocket angle you decided on for the pant.
Last thing I want you to note is that depending on your shape, you may need to take in or let out the waist. There is a center back adjustment included in the pattern, so if you need to let it out, it’s really easy. If you need to take them in, you can do so at the back darts, like I do, as well as the side seams. If you adjust the waist, you will need to reflect those adjustments in the waistback facing, so you might want to wait to cut that out until you’ve tried yours on and know what adjustment you’re making.
This wasn’t a perfect first go at adapting the pattern, but it was a perfect first go at a wearable muslin. Now that I’ve worn these a ton (and they are SO COMFORTABLE), I feel confident in the adjustments I need to make to make these as perfect as possible. I’ll be reporting back in March with my golden yellow high-rise wide-legged Chi-Town Chinos 2.0!
I hope this inspires you to try your own high-rise wide-legged Chi-Town Chinos! If you make them, be sure to tag me on social media @alinadesignco!
EDIT: I finished up my yellow pair! See them here.