Do you ever have those projects that you really want to tackle and so you spend hours upon hours reading blogs, books, and watching videos to learn said skill, and then *still* shy away from *actually* tackling said project?
This is me with pants.
I have wanted to make my own real pants forever, but after I tried once and failed miserably, I found myself too scared to try again.
Last Christmas, a quilt shop by me closed down and they had 4 yards of gorgeous blue designer denim for $3 a yard. Even though I already had a ton of pants patterns, I knew I needed hand holding, so I asked for ideas in the Capsule Wardrobe Sew Along group. A number of people suggested I try the Alina Sewing + Design Co. Chi-Town Chinos, so into my shopping cart it went.
I printed out the pattern.
And I *still* didn’t sew them.
When Katy McKinley asked for bloggers to join the Sew Americana 2017 tour, I decided this would be just the motivation I needed to get these darn pants sewn!
And you know what? They weren’t even that hard! If you are on the fence about making pants, it’s time to climb down from that fence! YOU CAN MAKE PANTS!
After finishing up the pants, I got to work on making a Hallå Stardust Tank. After completing them, I had a sudden realization that my shirt looked rather Soviet-esque. A quick Google search confirmed that a red star on a white background was indeed, a Soviet flag. Gaa!
Husband: “You cannot post this top.”
What to do, what to do??! After stressing out just a little (I only had scraps of white cotton lycra left, and I didn’t want to wear a red top), I considered re-making it in a striped gray and red fabric, or remaking it in white ribbing and adding red stripes.
I then channeled Tim Gunn and I realized I could appliqué a white and blue star to it!
And the result? I absolutely love it – way more than just the single red star!
So, a little more about these patterns…
Alina Sewing + Design Co. Chi-Town Chinos
The Chi-Town Chinos (pronounced “shy town”) are available in two views – a skirt and a pair of shorts. There are also two expansion packs available to turn them into full and knee length pants. I figured I would start with shorts and then move to the full pants once I was happy with the fit.
I measured exactly into a size 8. Since I’m tall, I probably should have lengthened them a little, but I didn’t. The pattern walks you through the steps for fitting, including instructions for quickly making a muslin (i.e., test version). After my test fit, I decided to increase the darts and remove the back extension, cinch it in a little more at the top of the back seam, and also bring in the side seams about a quarter inch. There are probably more correct ways of making these adjustments, but this worked for me!
In terms of construction, I made a couple of mods. For the pockets, I followed a technique I learned in the Oliver+S Sketchbook Shirt and Itch to Stitch Anza Dress. I started by folding the top of the pocket down (right sides together), stitching the side seams together, clipping, turning, pressing, then top stitching. This technique forces the remaining side seams to turn under. For the lower edges, I basted the seam allowance and then used my basting line as the fold guides.
For the pocket flaps, I used a technique that I also learned in the Anza Dress. I cut the lining slightly narrower than the outside fabric and then stretched it to fit as I sewed it together. This helps to ensure the lining doesn’t peek out. Next time though, I would make the entire pocket flap a little wider as I struggled to get it to fully cover the top of the pocket.
As the layers of denim started piling up, I had trouble getting some of the top stitching to behave. I borrowed my husband’s mallet and hammered those suckers. This helped a lot, though in the end I gave up adding bartacks to the tops of my belt loops. My Bernina is amazing, but going over 10+ layers of denim was more than it could handle!
And I love these buttons! I’m not sure where I got them – either Mood or G-Street Fabrics at least 5 years ago! They’re really solid – I’m realizing why it’s worth getting quality buttons!
Hallå Patterns Stardust Tank
I just knew the Stardust Tank by Hallå Patterns would be the perfect partner to my blue shorts. This was my second time making a Hallå star shirt. I made the kids star shirt last year and it was a challenge then and still a challenge now. It’s one of those things you need to practice a lot to get any good at. Of course, leaving this top til the last minute was not a good idea, so my points don’t look very good at all. In the end I decided it would be good enough!
The tank comes in 4 different styles – solid, with a color blocked stripe, with three stripes, and with the star. I muslined mine in a drapey jersey and the fit was perfect (I used size 0 at the bust and graded to a 4 at the hip). My final was in a heavy weight cotton lycra and is a little on the tight side. So, always keep in mind that your fabric may affect fit a little. The instructions include tips to avoid the straps getting all puckered… clearly I need more practice in that area! There’s also a youtube video tutorial for the star!
(progression of a photoshoot!)
To make the additional star appliques, I marked the new stars on the original pattern piece and then copied them onto freezer paper. I ironed that onto my scraps of blue and white cotton lycra and cut them out. I then used quilt basting spray to tack the pieces into place on my tank and used my walking foot with edge stitch guide and a straight stitch to sew in place. Hopefully it holds up in the wash!
Do you want to make your own star tank? Incredibly, this pattern is FREE when you join the Hallå Patterns Facebook Group! (
edit: pattern is currently unavailable while the Halla site is restructured fixed!).
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Our Amazing “Sew Americana” Tour Lineup:
Monday, June 26: Wild & Wanderful | Handmade Boy | The Wholesome Mama | Marvelous Auntie M | Sew and Tell Project
Tuesday, June 27: EYMM | Middle River Studio | SewSophieLynn | Phat Quarters | Call Ajaire
Wednesday, June 28: Simple Life Pattern Company | Sewing By Ti | Auschick Sews | Nu Me Nu You | Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen
Thursday, June 29: Adventures with Bubba and Bug | Musings of a Seamstress | Elli and Nels | Spindle and Seams | Stylin’ Stacy
Friday, June 30: Very Blissful | Stitching and Making | Wild & Wanderful | On Wednesdays We Sew | Fairytale B&T
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