Confession, pink leopard print cigarette pants, and a Vintage Pledge guest post

Today’s blog post will be in reverse order of the title. I know, it’s a teaser! 😉 But first, here’s a bit about my guest post!

If you follow my blog and you’re into sewing, then you know about Marie and Kerry‘s Vintage Pledge. This year, they jam packed all of July with guest posts from tons of bloggers, and I’m honored to say that my guest post was this weekend! I sewed up a cute ruffled eyelet blouse from a pattern from… wait for it… the 1980s!

Vintage Pledge guest post

So pop on over to Marie’s blog, to read all about my blouse! And then meet me back here, for the dirt on those crazy cigarette pants I’m wearing with the blouse, and a sewing confession at the end. 😉

Back? Okay. Those cigarette pants are another version of Butterick B5895 (you may remember them from such recent things as these orange capris). I’ve made this pattern often, tweaking it slightly many times. I’ve never gotten the calf to be quite slim enough, always changing seam lines after the fact and never transferring it back to the pattern pieces, and… I still need to do that.

Because instead, this time, I went for a really fitted leg for a change, and did do it on the pattern pieces first (well new pieces). I actually only started with a minuscule change at the upper thigh, tapering down more dramatically until my ankle. I must have twig ankles compared to my calves because that’s the hardest part to get right (and still isn’t, quite).


Fitted, these are! I used a stretch cotton sateen from Mood, and I love the fabric (hurry, pink/red is almost sold out but it comes in other colors too!). These are pretty damn tight, and I likely wouldn’t normally wear them with a cropped top, but I thought they’d be a cute pairing with my Vintage Pledge blouse, inspired by this pin. Although I’m not 100% sold on the outfit after the fact, hey, that’s why it’s fun to play with fashion.

I think they’ll be really fun to wear in cooler months with a fitted pullover belted at the waist. For the record I’m really feeling the idea of printed pants this fall/winter! So I’m on the (very difficult, I’m finding) hunt for all the best fun printed stretch bottom weights! (Like clockwork, well before the season change I’m already starting to think towards sewing plans for the upcoming cold weather.)


I did actually throw in one fitting alteration (a tip I got from a reader’s email, thank you Dori!), about the only thing I haven’t tried to get rid of more wrinkles under my (low, full) rear end. It’s from this older Iconic Patterns post. Essentially you close the back waist dart and do an adjustment that looks like the symbol of the Masons:


There’s not a whole lot of info on how to do the adjustment, and I skipped one step Dori mentioned to me via email, adding back some width to the side seams. Although my adjustment really only changed the upper hip by a little bit. That’s a bit confusing because now the back dips down slightly (this being a full butt adjustment issue I’d tackled in the past), even though the butt area didn’t change, which probably goes to show you that one change can cause issues elsewhere. I also noticed the front crotch looks a bit roomier than I recall in past pairs, but I’m not sure if that’s just awkward poses in the photos, something I did at the back making an actual difference, or just because every stretch fabric is different. But I’m certainly not fussing with that as I’ve been quite happy with the front crotch of this pattern to date. (More to file under “sewing leads to weird sentences”.)

I forgot to actually get good photos of the back because we were focused on the blouse, and it was about 95 degrees and my brain was melting out my ear. I think it’s possible this outtake below shows the wrinkles are a bit better than I’ve sometimes experienced (and you can see the waistband dipping)… but maybe, maybe not.


Yay for stretch fabrics, at any rate! I know some women wear trousers this tight that are non-stretch fabric… what, do you bend down awkwardly sideways if you have to pick something up? How do people live like that?!! But I digress.

Frankly, when I compared an adjusted back leg piece to a non-adjusted piece, there really wasn’t much difference in the shape (other than the slight upper thigh side seam), so I’m not sure this adjustment did anything at all worthwhile for me, or anything that wouldn’t require another series of adjustments to compensate.


BUT. What I’d like to do and I believe should do is sew a pair in a similar fabric, with only the leg width changes (I thought ahead and kept a fresh copy of the back leg piece before the Masonic symbol alternation, huzzah!), and see how under my butt compares. But I’ll keep the modified piece because it takes out the back dart, and I’d actually like to try to make a pair with these narrower legs in ponte knit (secret pajamas, if it works out, though I have some doubts).

Anyway, long story short, always playing and tweaking. I’ll never get rid of all the wrinkles under my butt anyway, it’s low and it needs at least some of that fabric to sit down. (If you have a low butt and experience this issue, pin out the excess fabric under your butt and then try to sit down comfortably; doesn’t really work well. Then, unpin it again and stick your hands down the back of your pants and pull your butt cheeks up—I know, but we’re all friends here—and you’ll see how the fabric nicely conforms. Asshole butt.) I’m also pretty much sick to death of one adjustment leading to a series of other adjustments to compensate.

pink-cigarette-pants2Hi, Pia!

And here’s the confession about sewing pants, for me.

Be it jeans or cigarette pants, I’ve reached a stage where I obsess to the point of utter frustration on the wrinkles everywhere… the thigh, the calf, under my butt, literally everywhere. I cannot NOT see a wrinkle, anymore, anywhere.

It happens when I sew, and then when I review all the photos I think the garment looks awful and my heart sinks. I won’t lie, it did when I looked at these photos, too. I loved the print, the different fit, but I obsessed over all the wrinkles that I thought were surely due to me poorly executing various adjustments. But once I’ve blogged about something, I must let some of it go, because I really don’t have a problem happily wearing the finished garment in real life. I never think about wrinkles under my ass at that point. Never.

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of fitting.

It’s especially easy when you blog to worry that if you don’t say something, people will think, “Tsk tsk, can’t believe how ill-fitting those look, and she’s not even saying anything about it”.

It’s easy to second guess your skills, or your finished garments.

It’s easy to convince yourself something looks terrible that most people would think looks good, if not great. And if they don’t think it looks good, you really wouldn’t care, anyway. (I know I certainly don’t get dressed in the morning for anyone else.)

I have to sometimes remind myself, blogging and sewing is supposed to be for fun, but I make my clothes for my real life. I love to sew, I love to learn. I can’t be perfect. If something that I sewed makes me happy in real life, and I’ve worked hard, and done a good job, and I’m proud to wear that item, I should be pretty damn pleased. Not endlessly chasing perfection, missing the good in the meantime.

And I am. Pretty damn pleased, that is.

I’m pretty damned pleased with these cigarette pants, and I look forward to having fun styling them in the fall!


outfit details

cigarette pants – made by me
blouse – made by me (see my Vintage Pledge guest post on it!)
shoes – Chinese Laundry
confetti lucite clamper – purchased recently on vacation in New Mexico
earrings – Desperate Beatnik


Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , , ,

Golly, 25 Comments!

  • I love this outfit – firstly, I’m obviously delighted that you have used a 1980s pattern! And you have made it suit your style so perfectly – what a fab outfit x


  • I commented earlier, your outfit is wonderful! And the …wrinkles…they look normal to me on a real body. Nevermind the stick figure models used everywhere – the clothing doesn’t touch their emaciated bodies, so no wrinkles!


  • I totally identify with your fitting and blogging struggles! Like… Completely 100% understand and have had the same exact thoughts. Your trousers look great though; cigarette pants are so hard to get right! You’re rocking them!


    • Thanks, Emileigh! I’ve worked really hard (and long) to get fit right on cigarette pants, but it doesn’t stop me from second guessing myself. 🙂


  • Love these pants! The blouse is lovely, but the pants- wow!
    I honestly didn’t notice the wrinkles until you specifically mentioned them, and I think your confession is very welcome. I don’t see, but I read a few sewing blogs, and I can definitely see how getting the fit absolutely perfect could become an obsession. Thank you for your honesty! And for not letting ‘perfect’ get in the way of ‘done’.


  • I used to sew a lot (lined wool suits, even alterations for friends’ clothing, etc.) now I pretty much knit. Uh, oh . . . you post contains a confession so I guess I’ve got to, too. Not even knitting that much. Seems my spirit has been sapped of, well, a bunch. Your posts are so inspiring to me. Now, the hard part: acting on them!!! Tall task these days Jeeessh. I need that (gentle) kick in the wrinkly ass! In the meantime, thank you so very much.


  • I adore your pants and your confession 🙂 Thank you for your vulnerability.


  • Fantastic outfit! I think you’ve achieved a fantastic fit on the pants with way fewer wrinkles than I get in ready to wear. And I love the “low seat test” you’ve established! ?


  • Fantastic blouse and pants! And, BTW, wrinkles are NORMAL!!! Unless you’re in a fashion photoshoot for clothes which we happen to see and think is normal…I love the way the pants fit you and think they look smashing!


  • Agree with the above… More personal than ready to wear… wrinkles needed to move and bend and sit and breathe. Things us real people do through out our real life days. Glamorous pants!


  • Polly Stevens August 4, 2016 at 11:13am

    Lovely post but to the point – what is the name of the gorgeous indigo blue clematis behind you?!!
    To die for!


    • I’m so sorry Polly, I don’t know the name! Happily for us, all of our clematis were planted by the previous owner of our house, but I haven’t yet identified any by name!


  • I also relate to your fitting/blogging confession. I’ve only been sewing for a few years, & I still have a lot to learn. I’ve definitely sewn garments that were perfectly wearable, & i wouldn’t have faulted the same fit in RTW, but blogging about them made me feel really anxious because I felt all this pressure to acknowledge every teeny mistake. I took a little break (well, for like eight months) from the parts of the internet that especially brought those feelings out in me, & I just tried to focus on having fun sewing, even if the outcomes were often less than perfect. I eventually learned to stop worrying so much, & I built my skills in the process!

    It is hard though. I’ve been really into bramaking recently, & I posted a photo of two bras I made to a group I am. I used the exact same pattern, same size, same fitting alterations, same fabrics (in different colors). The only difference in the two photos was the camera angle, & someone was like, “Oh, the second one is SO much better. It gives you so much more lift & support.” That’s barely even a criticism, but it still really bothered me & made me self-conscious about camera angles not doing my makes justice. & the only reason I would even care about that at all is because of blogging, which is supposed to be fun, right? Argh!


    • Yes, it can be really deflating if someone gives “constructive criticism” on something that either you think is really good, or you have acknowledged could be better, or is just plain something due to bad camera angle or lighting! I took photos of some shorts recently and they look great in person and because I didn’t think to press them ahead of time, they looked positively awful in photos. So I wouldn’t dare post them, even though I know the real item looks exactly like I wanted in person!


  • Fabulous outfit! I like your idea of a pullover with these pants for the colder months, too. I can’t help but think that a longer (tunic-y) length shirt/blouse and a fitted cinch belt would be great for when the temps drop as well. That’s a great causal 50s look that we just don’t see near enough, IMO, in today’s vintage fashion world.

    Many hugs & happy start of August wishes,
    ♥ Jessica


  • New reader here, so I’m not just kissing your ass. ?
    These pants look fabulous on you. Super hot! ❤️


  • Yes, I’ve noticed that you were a kind of perfectionnist…juste like me !! So, I completely understand your worries about how imperfect everything looks but I must tell you that NObody sees anything, that it is on the whole VERY WELL sewn, and that you should be VERY proud of yourself !!
    You know, I’ve come to the same conclusion (that is: it’s ok to be imperfect, so let’s just be happy with the efforts we make, and enjoy life) because I’ve just finished hanging wallpaper in my bedroom, with big art deco flowers and first everything seemed to be terrible, but then I told myself to relax, and just enjoy doing it and having a pleasing result.
    And i’ve made myself the promise that I will do the same each time i do something, for the rest of my life.



  • […] work. Also this is a different cropped black peasant blouse than the one I sewed and mentioned in my last blog post, by the way. Clearly, it’s the type of item I like in my summer […]


  • Hee hee hee! ‘Asshole butt’! (Sorry, I’m such a child!) Sometimes I totally despair of my full backside and quads – It’s comforting to know that someone else is struggling, but managing to create such well-fitting and lovely looking trousers!


  • First of all I really love the pants! You were actually the one inspiring me to sew some pants last year, after I sew some cigarette pants you made and the lady K loves you wore. Before that I had not worn pants in years and seeing you in them convinced me it could work with my body so thanks for that 🙂
    Second, I too don’t think the wrinkles in your pants look like a fitting issue, it’s not something that would make me look twice, but i know it’s something I’ve been obsessing about when sewing for myself. Not sure that this is the case for you, but I feel like when sewing skirts and dresses it is easier to get to this “perfect fit” stage where the garment is completely wrinkle free from top to bottom when you’re standing still, but it’s not always achievable for pants because of how they go around the body and comform to it when we sit as you said. So I guess for me my obsession with wrinkles in pants came mostly from sewing dresses, not from actual real life experience of being offended by wrinkles in pants 🙂


  • Woo, I love these pants,they look lovely on you.I love the way you carry pants and they look amazing on you.


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