Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hiking pants

I've finished my new hiking pants!
And I likey.  These feel so so comfortable, almost good enough to sleep in, and they also feel quite tough and practical, to withstand the demands of being out in the bush.  And pretty soon they are going to be put to the test, so we'll see how they go...
They are made from khaki rip-stop cotton, pre-washed twice to shrink and soften it up as much as possible.  I've learnt from past experience that this stuff is real hardwearing because it is very densely woven, which is fab.  You want that for hiking pants.  But its a good idea to toss it in the machine for a couple of heavy duty hot cycles before you go blunting your good dressmaking scissors and sewing machine needles on it.
I used a pattern from Burdastyle magazine issue 10/2010, pants 110.  Previously I have made up the shorts version of this pattern, so I knew already they fit well and were very comfortable to wear.  And I really like the streamlined style at the top of the pants, with no waistband and no bulky darts or pleats at the front.
My version of these pants have a few minor variations to the pattern, as follows:
Firstly, I cut the pants legs to be perfectly straight rather than tapered in to the ankle.  This was made super easy for me to do with this fabric, as it is self-marked in a grid pattern, so from mid-thigh level I just cut straight down to the ankle, following the lines on the fabric.  Easy peasy.  I also left off the ankle bands and simply hemmed the bottom edges.  Oh and I added about 10cm to the leg length, and am very glad I did.  Would have been ankle freezers if I had not, methinks...
Secondly, the pattern only had four pockets; two slanted side hip pockets and two welt pockets on the back, which are pretty small and in practise hardly ever get used for anything.  How many ladies out there actually put anything in those little back welt pockets?  Hmmm?  I'm betting no one...  Situated right on your bottom cheeks as they are, putting stuff in those pockets makes for a lumpy bumpy funny-looking rear view, as any lady knows, so really they are a purely decorative thing... so I added two roomy cargo pockets on the outside leg, details here.
Lastly, I used snaps for the closure in lieu of buttons, as these just seem sturdier and more practical for when you're out in the bush.  Snaps are not going to come flying off and get lost in a sand dune, and need re-sewing on out in the middle of nowhere.

Pants; Burdastyle magazine 10-2010-111 with a few minor variations, khaki cotton
Top; top "a" from "Unique Clothes Any Way You Like" by Natsuko Hiraiwa, white cotton, details here
Shoes; Country Road
Backpack; souvenir from Santa Fe

Pattern Description:
Flat fronted, mid-rise trousers with faced waist, fly front, slanted hip pockets, back single welt pockets, underlap with button for internal closure, outer tab with button for another waist closure.
Pattern Sizing:
34-42, I made a size 36 at the waist, tapering out to a 38 at the hips.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
In essence, although I made a few variations.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.  I had previously made the shorts version of this pattern, and the instructions are pretty much the same, so it was a second go at it.  When I made the shorts I found the instructions for the waist facing attachment to be quite confusing, but I had it all worked out by this time!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the unbulky streamlined top of the pants, and the loose comfortable look and feel of them.  It's a pretty straightforward pair of pants, goes together well, the pattern works, and they fit me like a dream.  I wanted a pair of cargo pants, and I think this pattern adapted really well to give me that look that I wanted.
The magazine version has the legs gathered into an ankle band, making the legs kind of "bloomer-y"; I didn't really like this and omitted this feature from my version.
Fabric Used:
Rip-stop cotton
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added about 10cm in length to the legs and also cut them to be straight from mid-thigh level down to the ankle, rather than slightly tapered as in the pattern.  Also, as mentioned above, I left the lower legs loose and un-gathered and omitted the ankle band.
I added big cargo pockets with flaps on the outside leg seam.  So now they have six pockets!
I used snaps in lieu of buttons.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I need another pair of loose comfortable casual pants I would definitely use this one again!  I love these pants.  And yes, I do recommend this one to others.
Love my new pants!  They are so comfortable and I think they make a reasonably cute pair of cargoes.  I'm putting them to the test out bush soon, so I'm hoping they will stand up well to a few days of hard knocks.


  1. After reading your posts, I seem to always think, "I want to make that." This is no exception, except of course, I'd have to make it about 10 sizes bigger.

  2. Groovy pants Carolyn. I hit REI on my travels and actually BOUGHT hiking pants! :-)

  3. I like the pants *and* the top! It sounds like you've got a nice trip coming up. :)

  4. These are incredibly smart and stylish hiking pants. I would never have guessed these trousers would look so good from that bloomer style technical drawing.
    Your snaps and the shaped underlay look perfect. Do you have a snap press or are you hammering these in with impeccable precision and no fabric marking?

  5. Your pants look fantastic. I love the comfort of cotton ripstop. I made a Vogue skirt out of it, and it is one of my favorites.

  6. Great pants. Love the pockets.

  7. Those pants look stylish & comfortable. Well done, again!

  8. These pants look fabulous and so well finished. I have been wanting to try sewing pants but the front zipper kinda intimidates me.

  9. These look very comfortable...I have a similar pair in which the legs roll up to make a pair of capris.

  10. Hi again Carolyn. I think I forgot to answer you about the tree on my blog. I believe it is a Kiawe. There are many growing along the coast here.

  11. Thank you ladies!
    kbenco, actually I just line up with the hammer and let fly.... what IS a snap press anyway!?

  12. Very nicely done. I love the white top too.

  13. I'm in awe. I've tried on several occasions to make outdoorsy clothes, and they've all kind of failed. Yours look great!

  14. These look great! I'm jealous of your opportunity to use them - I used to hike quite a bit and backpack some. and will again when goose is older ... Hope you get some nice cool fall weather to use them for real.

  15. Can you tell me what pattern this is from? I have looked all over Burda for the trousers #110 and cant find them.