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Sew the Knit Pants You’ll Want to Wear Everywhere

Embrace polished ease with the right fabric, fit, and details
Threads #219, Fall 2022
There’s no need to compromise on comfort or style when you sew your own ponte knit trousers. Pattern: CJ Patterns Perfect Pants Skinny Leg. Fabric: ponte knit, NancyNixRice.com.

Knit pants are versatile, easy to care for, and designed for all sizes. We love them. They answer the question of what to wear now, when many of us are seeking ways to look pulled together wherever we go—and always feel perfectly at ease. Stretch-knit pants are flexible, literally and figuratively. They take us to work, to the gym, to dinner and the theater, and comfortably across continents looking great.

It is time that sewing pants becomes a positive experience for the home sewer. Creating pants you will wear repeatedly is within reach, especially since the essential elements are few: high-quality ponte double-knit fabric, a pattern that matches your style, and a clear understanding of the styles of garment ease. I’ll explain how to assess a fabric for suitability and how to choose a pattern and pick the right size to sew. Finally, I’ll share design details—including waistline treatments and pockets—that make pants optimally comfortable, functional, and good-looking.

As a clothing designer and professional patternmaker, I have worked exclusively with Lycra-blend knits (the generic name is spandex) since they first came on the scene, and I can honestly say that today’s ponte double-knit fabric continues to be a game changer for the clothing industry, the consumer, and the home sewer. Its characteristics make it easy to fit and create pants for every body shape and size. When I was developing my own patterns for knit pants, I looked closely at high-end, ready-to-wear versions to learn what makes them so coveted. With a great ponte knit and a well-drafted pattern, you can duplicate those expensive brands’ fit and style at a fraction of the price.

The selection of patterns available to guide you will make the journey even sweeter. From skinny to wide-leg styles, there’s…

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  1. PrincessWinky | | #1

    Great article. I love the whole outfit - is there a pattern reference for the jacket?

  2. Sas66 | | #2

    Love the description of fabric content and what to avoid!

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