As a pre-teen, I would cut out images from fashion magazines and create new outfits in a notebook. I made sure they were complete looks; shoes, accessories, you name it. Glowing, I would brag about how I could make better outfits than the fashion editors did.
Fashion evolved into painting, then into graphic design, which brings me to where I am now- garment sewing. Sewing allowed me to tap into my pre-teen excitement and start to play paper dolls, but this time IRL.
I wouldn’t call myself a fashion designer, but having “studied” fashion (looked at it, surrounded myself with it, felt it, etc) I think that I have an eye for some things, specifically structure and form.
I talked briefly about self-drafting a dress this summer (ICYMI, you can read about it here!). I told myself I was not going to journey into “designer”, but I would lie if I didn’t find it thrilling when my creative brain CLICKED.
I have been sewing with mostly cotton poplin this season. It is crisp, and easy to sew. It is also the perfect companion to structure and form. Oh…and pants exploration, so I gathered my White Cotton Poplin to make pants that had volume and drape- like a skirt…but pants….equally inspired by structure and juxtapositions of sporty details on classic styles- I decided to self-draft myself.
Insane? A bit.
Where would I start? I have never done this before! What if I mess up? What if this is stupid? At a
certain many points, I felt defeated in my lack of knowledge. I have sewn a lot, but rarely starting from nothing.
I brainstormed with basics: a front and back crotch curve that fit me. A preferred rise measurement and inseam length. And lots of fabric.
Luckily, I had a crotch curve that I had created from multiple pattern modifications that I used as a template for most of my pants- so I started there. I sketched on my preferred rise (plus about 1” extra, just in case), and this is where I absolutely took a risk: I guessed at the width of each of my pant panels and drew a side seam.
When I say “sketched” and “drew” I am referring to taking my chalk pencil and drawing directly onto the white poplin.
Like many artists- the first line is the hardest. The amount of time I spent avoiding that first chalk line was hours wasted…if I had just taken the risk to go for it…
Cutting out the fabric made it real. But it took the scariest bit away. From there, my pattern knowledge kicked in and I was able to sew up the seams, add a waistband, and cut my elastic cording to a length that I guessed. Thank you to friends who helped me work through random construction details, like my double toggles and attaching the cording to my pants!
The journey to “here”, to my skirt-pants. Culottes. Cropped palazzos. Whatever you want to call them. The journey was very short in comparison to how much I stalled.
Gosh. I wish I had more to tell you but my word count is up. Here are my self-drafted, rationale-defying skirt-pants in a white cotton poplin.