How Do They Make Those Pants?

OK, Hands up those of you who shop at Coldwater Creek. Many of my clients swear by these “Holly” pants but from time to time they just don’t fit as tight as they should.

I thought maybe you would like to see what is on the inside that makes them so comfortable.

They are lined, a nice touch, so let’s pull the lining to the outside so everything is exposed. This particular pair of pants was supposed to be just like the others my client ordered but they were huge in the waist. Right away can you see the length of the stitches holding the waistband together? It must be at least a 4.5 to 5.0 in length and see the jagged path on the right hand side…wait till you see why it veered off.

First the center back seams (knit fabric and lining) are thread basted after pinning out the excess. Yes, I know this will throw the back darts off into a tizzy leaning into the center back but it was the best place to alter as the side seams were happy where they were.

We need to remove 1.75 inches from each side totaling 3.5 inches in total…can you spell mislabeled in the factory? Before I rip everything apart I take note of that all importance “sewing sequence” that guides me back to reality. Even though the knit pants are serged unto elastic, the lining is simply thrown on at the last minute and stitched with that long basting stitch to join it all together.

The lining darts are pressed opposite to the fabric darts…did we talk about fabric darts? Remember that bump in the stitching? Guess what caused it?


Of the six darts in these pants 2 of them were flipped and stitch incorrectly and caused the final stitching to jump because the lining dart and fabric dart were stacked. Even industrial machines can’t sew through that much bulk without wobbling a little. Of course on the outside of the pants the buyer will never think to look at weird bumps and it got past the quality control person in Guatemala.

So now my job is to make all this right before sealing up the pants.

Here is one of the corrected darts ready to serge. You can see the elastic is only stitched on one edge, the other edge is just flipped down and secured in the side seam.

The elastic is one inch wide and a very soft knit.

So here’s a breakdown of how to make these pants:

1. Find a rayon/poly/spandex knit you like, cut out slim fitting pattern.

2. Add some front and back darts to knit and polyester lining.

3. Attach some knit elastic to the waistband by serging. The elastic is the same circumference as the pants, not smaller, so they stretch together when sliding over the hips.

4. Match lining top edge to elastic and stitch RST just below the serging making sure all the darts are in the right direction and lining darts are flipped the opposite direction.

5. Turn everything right side out and hem the pants legs. I stitched in the ditch on front and back and side seams to keep everything flat for about 1 inch.

Now you have saved yourself $80 and the heartache of altering some badly made pants from a foreign country.

This week with Fall approaching the prospect of our 20 year old half dying Ash tree dropping enough leaves to fill 18 big garbage bags we opted to have it taken out. Here are some shots of before and after. Yes, they needed a cherry picker truck to get high enough to chop off the top branches and then later when they wrapped a rope around the trunk to load it on the truck. The final shot is the massive shredder that ground all the branches into sawdust.

Two more brides dropped off their dresses this week so there is no rest for this wicked girl! My poor husband asked me “why is it so hard for women to buy a wedding dress that fits?” Does anyone know the answer?

This entry was posted in challenges and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How Do They Make Those Pants?

  1. Jen in Oz says:

    Not sure about over there, but I was horrified a couple of years ago when my sister was bridal shopping and was told in at least one shop that the *average* size for brides was size 10. She was probably somewhere between a 12 & 14 and they said she should just hang a dress on the hanger around her neck to get an idea of what it would look like on her in order to purchase. Yes, really.
    No wonder you can’t buy a dress that fits!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Jen…what a horrible way to buy dresses! Here in most shops I hear they mainly stock small sizes but going to larger chains such as David’s Bridal they will have larger sizes to try on. My clients, even the small ones, still seem to be awestruck by their reflection in the mirror and forget to check that things are not always great below the neckline. This season I have be overwhelmed with dresses so darn tight that the bride cannot sit down. Classy girls are trying to emphasize their “big booty” like they are members of a gang from “the hood”. To me, they have already hooked their man and there is no need to broadcast or highlight that one feature for the rest of the guests. Last year it was huge push up bust pads attached to the inside of the bodice so they could have a “waterfall” of breasts. Maybe Pippa Middleton at her sister Katherine’s wedding to Prince William started all this butt promotion…who knows.

  2. theresa says:

    Oh, that is ugly work on the guts of those pants! I’ve never been in CC but used to get their catalogs. I hope they don’t charge a lot for those pants. I’ll head over on the link after I finish. BTW, they were mentioned in “Overdressed”. I have seen a number of items bought by other folks there. What poor quality is all I have to say.
    As to getting wedding dresses that fit, I’ve never understood why bridal shops don’t stock a full range of sizes in their gowns. I’m guessing the average American these days is around a 12 to 14. Seems to me when you go shopping for anything, the sizes 12, 14 and 16 are always gone and you’re left with the very large or the very small. Sales seem to almost be comprised of size 4,6 and sometimes 8.

  3. Leslie says:

    Why can’t people buy dresses in the size that fits them? Because the bridal shops make so much money on alterations that they convince the bride that they need a larger size. They tell them they can only get the size that fits the largest part of the body, and that’s what they order. What these brides don’t argue is that if the dress takes months to come in, because it’s being specially made for them, then they can make it to fit their body at the same time. It’s as simple as sending in all the right measurements. But alas, the bridal shop would lose money, as there would be no need for alterations unless the bride gains or loses weight.

  4. Linda Galla says:

    I’d like to know what kind of elastic they use in their Holly pants. All the elastic I find in fabric stores has a much harder stretch – the Holly pants elastic seems like a soft stretch. Searching for soft stretch elastic on line only yields baby elastic – 1/2″ at the widest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s