Having a basic pant pattern is really priceless in my book. Just under a year ago, one of the first pieces of clothing I ever sewed was PJ pants from a pattern I drafted myself. I took a pair of pants, traced them, and *snap* had myself a PJ pant pattern. In the last year, I’ve been able to refine that pattern by actually taking a pair of pants I love, cutting them up in a front piece and back piece and retracing a pattern that way. This latter method has resulted in some of the best pairs of pants ever for my hubby. Over the summer he busted through the crotch seam of this 10+ year old REI hiking pants. I took the opportunity to take the pants apart so I could draft a really nice pattern. This post isn’t about how to draft a pattern as there are 100s of examples already on the internet. Instead, I wanted to point out some awesome fabric and some design features that can be made.
I have literally made these pants out of every odd type of fabric you could imagine. I’ve done the tradition fleece and flannel with absolutely no edits to the pattern. I’ve also sewn typical hiking pants and *tada* soft shell fleece snow pants as well!! If you shop at the chain fabric stores, you may be asking yourself…I haven’t seen hiking pant fabric and I’ve definitely not seen soft shell fabric…and you would be right.
For hiking pants, the fabric of choice is called Supplex. Supplex is a tightly woven 100% nylon fabric usually with a DWR finish that allows it to repel water. Supplex is an awesome summer fabric, because is wicks and breathes really well. If you have ever purchased hiking pants, all the major brands (TNF, Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, REI, etc.) use a similar material like supplex for their rugged hiking pants. I was able to buy my DWR Supplex through Seattle Fabrics. I’ve purchased similar fabrics from other online outdoor fabric retailers, but I like Seattle Fabric the best: rich colors, less shiny finish, and isn’t as noisy of fabric either. For Ryan’s pants, I did a basic encased elastic waistband. These pants will be absolutely great for hiking this summer.
The other pair of pants I made was for winter hiking. The fabric, Polartec® Power Shield®!! This fabric is wind and water-resistant, because of the outer shell, but also warm and breathable, because of the soft fleece lining! This fabric is also used by some of the major outdoor outfitters to make soft shell jackets and pants for high exertion outdoor activities.
I totally made pants with this fabric!! Admittedly, because of how awesome (and pricey) the fabric, I seriously sat there for like 5 minutes with the rotary cutter in my hand before I had the courage to start cutting the fabric. Whew, I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time until I was able to finish the pants, put them on, and realize what a wonderful success my experiment had been! Again, I bought this awesome fabric from Seattle Fabrics: http://www.seattlefabrics.com/outerwear.html#Polartec%AE%20Power%20Shield2.
Now this section is for the hikers and backpackers…pant waistbands under a heavy backpack hip belt has been the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Who wants to wear a belt under a backpack hip belt to have the backpack cause your pants and your belt to dig into and rub your skin? I’ve even tried wearing pants sans belt, but still get chafed to death. Insert solution here…I took super stretchy swimsuit-like fabric and created a yoga waistband that now sits comfortably under my backpack hip belt. Because the fabric is silky and smooth, there will be no chafing! The specific fabric was Seattle Fabric’s Italian Nylon Lycra precut into ¼ Yard Trim Package.
I got my inspiration from Arc’teryx’s Emoji Women’s Pants. Frankly, I think this is the best idea ever and plan on making all my hiking pants with this comfortable waistband!! Question my insanity all you want, but having a good pair of pants with a good waistband can make or break a backpacking trip in seconds. You don’t want to be bleeding day one, because your hip belt has decided to attack! The pants even look good (a little yogic) for my husband as well.
So here’s to a pant pattern that will literally be the pattern I go to for PJ pants, hiking pants, snow pants, yoga pants, and so on. This is definitely a TRIED AND TRUE (TNT) pattern!