Vintage Pants: Simplicity 5409, from 1972

A couple posts back, I shared my plan to “bring sexy back” with at-waist pants.  I was intrigued by the many wonderful responses on Facebook – some of you are all for the high-waisted look, and some of you hate it!  The best thing, though, is that these days you can wear pretty much whatever you want, and still look awesome.  For me, I’m going all high-waisted from here on out, especially after doing battle yesterday with what used to be my favorite pair of modern, low-slung skinny jeans.  The squeezy-pain around my hips, and the inability to modestly sit on a curb drove me to Etsy this morning, where I snagged a pair of vintage bootcut Jordache jeans, and three 1950s pants/shorts patterns:

Little Brooklyn Vintage on Etsy
Serine23 on Etsy
Meanwhile, I have my version of Simplicity 5409, from 1972, to show you.  I got this pattern for 99 cents at Savers thrift store, and made the pants up in denim.
These are a straight-legged pant, with a big cuff on the bottom.  They’re very wide of leg, with the waist shaped by darts in back, and pleats in front.  I was annoyed to find that despite matching my measurements, the ease added to this pattern was extraordinary.  I took a whopping 6 inches out of the waist and hips, through the side seams and darts, to get the pants to fit smoothly and tightly.
I forgot my red lipstick today
What I was happy to discover is that these pants have a great Rockabilly/pinup/30’s-40’s look, and work as well with a shirt tucked in as worn out.  I’m super happy with them, and as evidenced above, have already found a few more pants patterns from the past to try out.


  • Julietslace

    July 13, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Oh God I know that squeezy-pain around my hips all too well, I've decided to completely abandon modern jeans as they've done nothing but waste my money. Make sure to update with more pants patterns! xo

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 13, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      I shall! I'm excited for these '50s patterns to arrive, especially the options for the shorts. I don't wear many shorts, but I might have to change that – I love the way Johanna ( looks in her vintage trousers and shorts. I'd like to look that way too (ha!)

  • Gillian

    July 13, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I've been a skirts girl most of my life, and I still usually wear comfy pencil skirts for all four seasons. But, sometimes you just need jeans! I absolutely hate low-rise, but I also despise the frumpy 'mom jeans' that always show up in thrift stores. I usually buy them and then cut them up to make shorts, which is very comfortable and doesn't look bad once legs are shorter. I absolutely love loose fit/boot-cut jeans. The ones you got from Etsy are to die for, and yours are so 30's! Love it. 🙂 Now I want to sew pants…definitely post more about your adventures in pants making! I think it's fascinating. 🙂


  • Unknown

    July 14, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    I have a permanent muffin-top thanks to years of low-rise jeans. I vowed a while back that I'd never buy another pair! I just hope that someday the fat will migrate back where it should be.

  • Kranberry

    July 14, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    The abundance of low-rise pants in stores is the reason why I wear the same pair of jeans until they all but fall apart – once I find a pair of decent looking high-waist jeans (ie. ones that don't look like "mom pants") I hold on to them for a good couple of years.

  • Laura Morrigan

    July 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I am glad someone else understands squeezy pain with pants. Pretty much no pants fit my shape so all pants are uncomfortable for me. Good thing I like skirts best! I haven't worn non-pyjama pants in years!

  • Anonymous

    July 19, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    FWIW, Lucky Magazine's daily e-newsletter featured high-waisted jeans the other day, so they may be cycling back into fashion. Unfortunately, most of them were skinny-legged, though there was one pair of wide-legged that had something of the same aesthetic of the lovely pair of yours in this post.

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