V103: Plans for 1930s Sailor Pants

I’m on a navy blue kick recently.  I’ve had one of those “I MUST MAKE THIS” moments, for a pair of wide-legged, high-waisted sailor trousers, to wear on the cruise coming up in May.  Like these:

Heyday Vintage Style, UK, 70 pounds and all the way over in the UK, so not affordable for me 🙁

I suppose I’ve always liked them, but proper ones are hard to find.

These go all the way up to the waist, even a little higher.  See how flattering?
So cute, and easy to wear with a number of different tops.

By proper I mean with a waist *at the waist,* and not below, for nothing is as unflattering a cut as low-slung button-front pants (imo).

I have a pattern from Burda, bought years ago, that zips at the side and has a false placket front.  It is at the unflattering rise, but lucky me, the lower waist can be extended up to the natural waist and tailored easily with the darts at back.  Yay, darts!

I went out to buy denim and found the selection terrible and expensive, even at 25% off.  I want a nice, dark, navy blue, and 100% cotton, none of this nasty, thin, stretch stuff, so I got three yards of this not-great-but-okay stuff and spent all last night dyeing it in the washing machine, first with navy RIT, then with black RIT, when the color didn’t come out dark enough.  The fabric is still so…blue…but I think when all made up into pants will be pretty nice.  It’s not so much that 1970s-sailor-pants-blue anymore, UGH.

Original state on the left; finished color on the right.

The pattern says “easy,” but pants are The Devil, like sleeves for your legs, so wish me luck! This could end up brilliantly, or could all go horribly wrong.


  • Gracie Lee

    April 12, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I bought the Hello, Sailor! pants pattern from Hot Patterns because it most resembles my original naval uniform 13 button pants. The lines are correct and it looks like it will be very easy to raise the waist if it looks like I will need to, but I don't think I will. Good luck, can't wait to see how this turns out!

  • Mistress of Disguise

    April 12, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that hates to make pants and sleeves! lol I've always loved this style, too, I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    • Lauren R

      April 13, 2012 at 5:36 AM

      I think I've made a grand total of…4 pairs of pants in my whole sewing career? One of them was for James, so those don't count, lol

    • Lauren R

      April 13, 2012 at 5:37 AM

      Great pattern, and Lauren M makes wonderful stuff, although it kindof defeats the purpose of using the pattern I already have.

  • Cation Designs

    April 13, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    That is probably the best description of pants I've ever heard, like sleeves for your legs, and therefore equally devilish! I wish you the best of luck in your pants-making endeavours!

  • M'lady

    April 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I like those style of trousers…but they are out of my skill range (I hate doing sleeves so I'm guessing trousers will be annoying too) so I bought a pair from ebay (vivian of holloway) had to take them up about 4inches though as I'm so short.

  • Lizzardtears

    April 14, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    I have been wanting to make a pair of pants in that style forever. I keep telling myself pants aren’t that bad to make, but then I have trouble making myself do it. and finding an affordable denim in the right color is hard like you said.
    is it hard to dye things? I’ve never been brave enough to try it.
    I am sure your pants will turn out beautiful.

    • Lauren R

      April 14, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      I have to agree with you, they're not THAT bad, right? Not as hard as sleeves, I think. Dyeing is easy – with large amounts of fabric, do it in the washing machine, not in a tub or on the stove top. The color came out really consistent and the whole process wasn't messy at all, just had to run a cleaning rinse with bleach after the dye bath.

  • Lou

    May 2, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Agreed – these pants an absolute classic and I'd love to make some myself
    I've bought a couple from Toast and Margaret Howell before now but never in the colours I've wanted – looking forward to seeing the result on these.


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