Sewing for my husband - a pair of comfy pants

My husband had a birthday while we were on our trip out west and my good intentions to make him a new pair of comfy pants for his birthday present fell by the wayside with the mammoth task of finishing the 'Road to Oklahoma' quilt.  Now that we're home and things are settling down, his comfy pants needed to be the first project on the sewing queue.
There's not much of a 'surprise factor' when one has to ask about fabric choices, but good thing I did because I'd chosen a lighter-weight flannel and he wanted a heavier weight, almost fleece-like blue houndstooth flannel fabric.  Picked up both fabric and 'It's so Easy' Simplicity A2116 to use as a basic pattern in Wal-Mart while shopping together a few weeks before his birthday.  Yep, no surprise factor this year.
Not to worry, my husband had a nice birthday celebration while we were in Nebraska visiting his brother and his wife.  We traveled there after leaving Oklahoma.  The pleasant birthday day was spent mostly at the Omaha Zoo.....
....ranked #1 Zoo in the World by TripAdvisor.   What I liked about this zoo is that you were able to get up-close-and-personal with many of the animals walking among their 'natural' habitat(s).
Though the silver-backed gorilla looks none too happy this day.  Later, Tom's brother grilled organic sirloin steaks after he'd taken us for a boat ride on their beautiful lake at sunset with both guys trawling for walleye.  Fish did not bite, but oh what fun!  Nebraska is a beautiful state.
And before I get back to sewing, can I say how much Tom enjoyed Omaha's Strategic Air & Space Museum.  He served many years in the Air Force in the Strategic Air Command division and this was a real treat for him.
It even had the console from his early 1980s days in the missile projects.  Doesn't this look low-tech for today?!
Okay, back to sewing..... luckily Tom has a Chaps rtw pair of comfy pants he loves, so I was able to use that to help tweak this pattern to give him the pants he wanted.  I first made a mock-up pair straight from the pattern, using the fabric he'd chosen, sans pocket, sewing long easy-to-rip-out basting stitches.  After seeing the adjustments I needed to make, or rather unmake as I'd raised the back and I didn't need to.... all the stitches were ripped out to begin again.   And why in the world are comfy pants patterns always so wide-legged?!  He wanted more of a narrow leg and after taking measurements from the Chaps rtw pair I found a diagram with a little explanation at Sew Mama Sew: How to Alter Your Pants Pattern that helped me determine to take a little off from the inside leg, with more coming off the outside leg to equal my overall measurement.  It was hard to actually use his rtw pants as a 'pattern' because he still wants to wear them.
Sewed/serged everything back together with a 5/8" seam allowance.  He wanted in-seam pockets.  The pattern has no pockets.... period.  So I traced the pockets from the rtw pair and then analyzed and analyzed how to put them in.  Even referred to my THREADS book, but they show the sewing machine insertion, and I wanted to use my serger.  So I put them in part-way using the THREADS instruction, then finished them with my serger to mimic the rtw pair.  Each pocket top is top-stitched and bar tacked.
This is my first in-seam pocket application.  I am happy.  Here you can also see that I used 1 1/2" elastic instead of the 1" elastic the pattern called for.  1"?  Really?  How wimpy that would look, particularly for a man.  The extra 1/2" of elastic did not seem to make a difference to the pants top, and I made no pattern alteration for that.  I cut the elastic 36", sewed ends together with no overlap, quarter marked and zig-zagged elastic to fabric, then turned down and zig-zagged pulling everything taut as I sewed each time.
Oh, and this little piece of fabric was fun to turn into....
...the tag to mark the back!  My husband has a great sense of humor and I thought this suited him.  Oh, let's see, I also twin-needled top-stitched a 1" hem.  Trying to jot all my notes down here for the next time(s) I will be making him comfy pants.... 
....because he's already asked for 3 more..... just like these.  Now that I've got the pattern figured out, those should move along a lot faster!  And what a nice feeling to sew something special for my husband, that he likes and will wear.
Next up - finish a top that's been patiently waiting to be sewn together since last season - NEWLOOK 6735, out of a soft charcoal gray knit....
....then back to Make a Garment a Month plans.... a charity quilt for the Alabama children's home is due mid-December.... finish a linen window treatment for our sliding glass doors..... make Roman shades for the hearth-room windows..... not to mention Thanksgiving is a mere 16 days away?.... Christmas?!

Wishing everyone a wonderful day!


  1. I love the way you jump into a project (inseam pockets you've never done before and don't have a pattern showing you how?!) and work at it until it comes out so perfectly! I could m-a-y-b-e figure out and do what you did but I'm sure it would require a lot of talking to myself and using my seam ripper frequently to start with (along with a few not-so-good worlds) and then perhaps a glass of wine to finish it off. ;o}

    P.S. What an ambitious list of "To-Dos" you have!

    1. It was interesting the 'pressure' I put myself under with these 'simple' pants because I wanted them to turn out superiorly well for my husband - if that makes sense. Even now I find myself asking him if he 'really' likes them or if he's just wearing them because he loves me. He keeps saying he 'really' likes them....! :)

  2. Such a lovely custom-made present for your hubby, and the good thing is that you now have the tried and tested pattern to sew another one anytime! I need to remember to put a handmade tag onto clothes I sew for my daughter because sometimes it's difficult to tell front from back :) Thanks for the link to pants alteration, it's going to come in handy as my son wants me to "taper" his school uniform pants. He's starting upper secondary in January and instead of shorts, the boys get to wear long pants and the trend is to have the pants tapered, but the ready made uniform pants are old fashioned straight legs :)

    1. You've got that right Erin!! As I spent an inordinate amount of time on these 'simple' pants, knowing a 'T-N-T' pattern would be the outcome was great motivation to keep at it! Tapered pants look so much better than the wide-straight leg - your son will look handsome as he moves along in his education. Usually I put a snippet of a pretty piece of ribbon to mark the back of my daughter's clothes, but last year I bought some pretty pink tags that say "Made with Mom's Love'. You can see one here in a purse I made for my oldest: http://pieceworktreasures.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-purse-and-bag-for-jenn.html

  3. All commercial patterns seem to have big, baggy, legs, I really don't know why. Congrats on the pocket - you must get a book on basic patternmaking so that you can see how all these sorts of things work. I'm afraid I do not put myself under pressure making things for DH - he just says I do enough for him in any case, and he would rather I spend the time I have for sewing on making things for me. One day I will, but for now I will please him by sewing all the things I have needed for a long time first :). I can understand how you feel about Tom's comments :)

    1. You have such a sweet husband Sarah Liz! Yes, continue to please him by making all those beautiful things for yourself so we others around the globe will continue to be inspired and motivated!!! A chain reaction in a nice way, no?! :) I do think I am ready for a basic patternmaking book now. Great idea! Hmmm, Christmas is near, think that will go on the list!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a note.~Lisa