** Disclosure: This post contains Blank Slate Patterns affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own!
Melissa of Melly Sews and Blank Slate Patterns just released the new W Pants pattern as part of the Pattern Anthology Alphabet Collection, and I had the opportunity to be one of her super-secret pattern testers back in June!
I decided to make a pair of fancy pants for J. The kid just keeps getting longer, which means he constantly needs pants. I should even be able to let enough length out of these pants to make them last through the winter.
I made sure to consult with J on the fabric choice, to increase the chances that he would wear them. He thought jeans were a good idea, and was excited at the prospect of blue cars on the yoke of his pants. And it worked because he didn’t object to putting them on and then wore them all day long!
The W Pants are slim-fit pants with full-length, cropped and shorts options. The pattern also includes all kinds of options for bells and whistles, like proper front slash pockets, a functioning zip fly, and zippered welt pockets. I went for all of them.
J was particularly impressed with the zippered welt pockets. He thought it was pretty darned cool that he could zip a toy into his pocket and it wouldn’t fall out! He was probably least impressed with the front zip fly. He kept examining it and telling me that I messed up because the zippers were supposed to be on the pockets.
I, however, was pretty psyched by the zip fly since it was my first-ever functioning fly. And it was easy! True, there are a lot of steps to installing a zip fly, but Melissa’s instructions were really clear, and the whole thing went together smoothly. And (gasp!) I didn’t have to rip and redo anything!
Since I was pattern testing, I made very few modifications to the pattern. The main changes I made were with seam finishing. J is hard on his pants and tends to rip seams. With that in mind, I reinforced almost every seam in these pants and flat felled the seams that were flat-fellable. Namely, the back crotch seam, the inseams and the outseams. Hopefully those super-seams will hold up to an active 4-year-old!
Long story short: Love these pants. Great pattern, lots of details, and I would highly recommend it. I may have to take a stab at a girly pair for N now!
Fit: These fit J almost perfectly. I did narrow the waist a bit from the pattern measurements since J is pretty darn skinny. For reference, his waist measurement is 17″ so I always have to make the waist smaller than recommended. But because these fit my skinny kid so well, I suspect that they might be a bit snug on a bigger kid. Pay close attention to the measurements, and maybe even make a quick and dirty version without all the extras before spending the hours that it will take to finish the full version.
Fabric: The main is a nice, medium weight denim from the Michael Levine online shop, www.lowpricefabric.com. For the accents, I used remnants from my awesome cars Echino fabric that I picked up at Sarah’s Fabrics in Lawrence, Kansas. The bulk of the Echino cars was used for J’s Clean Slate Car Shorts.
Modifications: I try to keep my modifications to a minimum when I’m testing a pattern so that I can give the designer accurate feedback on how the pattern fits. I will, however, adjust a couple of the final measurements — waist and inseam — to fit the kid I’m sewing for. In this case, I used the waistband elastic instructions for sizes 6-8 and ran the elastic 3/4 of the way around the waist rather than the back only, as the pattern instructs. I had to take so much width out of the waist to fit my skinny boy that I knew it would look funny to take it all out of the back.
I also modified the seam finishes throughout. J is hard on his pants and tends to rip the seams on his handmade pants. To combat that, I reinforced every seam and then flat felled the inseams, outseams and back crotch seam to strengthen them and give them a really nice finish.
Physical pattern: This is a PDF, which is not my favorite, but Melissa did a nice job with this PDF. The pattern includes options for pants, shorts and capris, so the file is a monster (55 pages)! But she included bookmarks in the PDF and detailed instructions on which pages to print for each option, which makes it much easier to work with.
- Lots of options. The full version with all the bells and whistles (zipper welt pockets, functioning fly, etc) is an intermediate pattern, particularly if you flat fell the seams like I chose to do. However, if you want a quicker, easier sew, you can easily eliminate some of these options and they’d go together much faster.
- Really nice silhouette. I like that these pants are slimmer through the legs than the Clean Slate Pants. They’re not quite “skinny,” but are definitely “slim.” I really liked how they looked.
- The back yoke is a nice place to feature a small amount of special fabric.
- For people with a fear of zippers and zip flies (like me), this pattern is great! Melissa does a great job of walking you through everything and you end up with a professional-looking finished product.
- The zipper welt pockets are a neat detail and one that you rarely see. They’re a really cool feature, and J loves that he can zip up his pockets so that stuff doesn’t fall out.
- These pants take a long time if you want the full version with all the options. From fabric cutting to finishing, I spent a solid 6+ hours working on these pants. Granted, I was taking detailed notes to give feedback, but even so, they still took a long time. That’s not the fault of the pattern, but do be aware that if you want all the cool aspects, you’re going to be sewing for a while.
Overall grade: A. This is a well-drafted pattern with tons of options and a great finished product. Definitely worth the $7.95.