Fugly Pants and Circus Pants: A Cautionary Tale of Online Fabric Shopping
May 5th, 2010 | Link

White linen pants

Once upon a time I found some white handkerchief linen at Discount Fabrics, and I thought it would be perfect for a pair of drawstring pants I wanted to make from one of my Japanese sewing books (One Day Winter Sewing, 2008). So I bought it, and I made them, and they turned out pretty well and they’re super comfortable, but of course white handkerchief linen is kind of sheer, and the resulting pants can’t really be worn outside the house in sunlight without violating decency laws (even in San Francisco). So the white pants became pajama pants, and I went looking for some different fabric to remake them from.

Fabric.com was having a flannel sale and a seersucker sale, so I thought I would pick up some flannel and make a pair of cool weather pajama pants, and some seersucker for summer. And herein lies my cautionary tale. I saw a cheerful and cute flannel that looked like little chrysanthemums on an aqua background, so I bought it–neglecting to first check the scale of the photograph and the actual size of the flower motifs. So when I received the fabric, I discovered that those cute quarter-sized-looking flowers were actually huge:

Flannel pants with huge floral pattern

I like to call these “fugly pants” because they in no way match my style, and between the size of the flowers and the rigidity of the flannel they look huge. Ugh. But they are comfortable, and even though E. winces every time I put them on I have been wearing them to sleep in.

The seersucker was another story. The scale is what I expected from the photo, but the colors are brighter, and with the striped pattern… well, I call these “circus pants”:

Brightly striped seersucker pants

The seersucker is cool but not quite as comfortable as I would have thought – the puckers are kind of stiff and scratchy. I’m hopeful that a few washes will take care of that, and take some of the stiffness out of the flannel.

So I now have several pairs of pajama pants, but still nothing I’d want to wear outside the house. But I have some black linen/rayon blend fabric with some textural interest that has lovely drape, doesn’t wrinkle as badly as the pure handkerchief linen, is cool and light, and is neither sheer nor fugly. So I might be revisiting this pattern one more time. On the bright side it takes very little time to put these together–there are just two front pieces and two back pieces; the waistband is folded over and has buttonholes for the drawstring. On the other hand, maybe I should use the linen/rayon blend for a pattern with a bit more shaping…


  • Jane says:

    Ok, these aren’t nearly as fugly or clowny as I thought they would be! The white ones are my fave though…

  • Shannon says:

    Yeah, my coworker said, “They’re not that bad. They just look like sheets.” Which is not much of an improvement over fugly, but enh. They’re comfortable.

  • Jane says:

    I want the Fuglies to have a cream background and be a pillow.

  • Heather M says:

    This is really funny. I laughed out loud.

    I made a pair of really cool navy linen pants recently from a Japanese-ispired Vogue pattern which I frequently take out for walks to customer meetings. Bought the fabric at the discount store on Mission/17th.

    We really to get together….

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My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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