In an earlier post, I shared my plans to make a pair of Luna Pants — my most recent pattern release — with a flat-front waistband, rather than gathered all around as the pattern directs. Well, I’ve tried it. They look pretty nice on the hanger, don’t you think? Especially because you’re probably already mesmerized by the awesome Anna Maria Horner Helios print in those deep moody colors. And yes, the fabric is a flowy rayon challis, which I purchased from Fabricworm (one of my blog sponsors).
What you don’t see on the hanger, however, is that they are a lot less awesome when worn, due to what I’m lovingly referring to as “the jodhpur effect.” Exhibit A:
Ok wait now, that doesn’t look so bad? Esp with those cute black booties. Try again, Rae. Exhibit B:
Hmmm, still not terrible. Are you sure this was an experiment that went horribly awry? Exhibit C:
AH GAH MAKE IT STOP. THE HIPS!!! THE HIPS!!!!
OK, so I’m kidding. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great. Here’s my assessment of what’s happening: usually, the excess fabric stored in the gathers of the pants (the ease) is distributed evenly around the body. I added that ease to the pattern for a reason, so it would look relaxed and so the pants would be comfortable. But when you make the front of the pants flat, all of the ease gets shoved to the back of the pants, and it’s too much ease in one area. The sides flare out behind the pockets and you get a bad case of Spare Hips. No good.
Anyway, I’ll show how I did it, for those of you who are interested. I started by drawing a line on my front facing pattern piece half-way between the notch and the side seam edge (red line, above). I then cut the facings as usual (shown at bottom) but cut a piece of interfacing using the red line instead of going the full width of the facing (shown at top). Then I fused the partial interfacing to the front facing,
and sewed them into the pants as the pattern directs. The idea here being that the flat portion would just be a portion of the front pant (because the front pant is wider than my front waist, I didn’t want it to wrap around to my back).
The next step when you make the pants is to press the waistband up and understitch it, which I’m not sure many people know how to do, so let me show you that step. To understitch, you press the seam allowances and the facings upward, away from the pants, and sew through all of the layers together 1/8″ away from the seam (so you’re sewing the facing to the seam allowances, which helps keep the facing inside the pants). You can also trim the seam allowance at this point to remove bulk, which you can see in this photo as well.
The next step is to press the facing back inside the pant and stitch it down. Instead of stitching all the way around, I left just the interfaced portion open to create a casing around just the back and front sides for the elastic, and then threaded the elastic through (I didn’t know how much so I just started with a little more than my half waist measurement).
Then I stitched the elastic down at one side, tightened it until it fit nicely, and stitched the other end down. I had quite a bit of extra elastic (below), which I then trimmed off.
The last step was to stitch down the lower edge of the front waistband. You can see the understitching along the top edge of the facing in the close-up below.
Finished, back view:
Finished, front view:
Looks pretty good.
Just doesn’t look as great when I wear it.
Anyway (and if you’re still reading at this point, wow, go YOU, if you were here I would make you a banana sundae!), I don’t think a flat front waist is completely impossible. I think with some fiddling I might be able to get this right. But I think it involves actually removing some of the ease from the pattern instead of pushing it all to the back, or even moving the side seam forward so that the pockets fall directly under the ends of the flat front, if that makes sense. If you made it to the bitter end, thanks for reading, and let me know if you try it, OK??
By the way, the Luna Pants Pattern can be found in my shop. It looks fantastic without a flat front, if I do say so myself.