I recently finished making pants for the first time, and it was an emotional rollercoaster. I went from the verge of tears (okay, actually cried a little) to pure bliss in a matter of minutes. The True Bias Lander Pants (made in this Big Sur Canvas from Robert Kaufman) took me about a week to finish. The pattern is amazing, comes with great instructions and has a sew-along that felt like Kelli herself was holding my hand the whole time. Despite all this, I felt exhausted by the end of the week. I became emotionally drained from the highs and lows of pant-making.
Before making the pants, I read the sew-along twice, and my mom and I talked seriously about the task I was about to take on. Although I felt mentally and physically prepared, no one warned me about the emotional toil. Below, I have laid out the four phases of pant-making, an emotional roadmap to sewing perfectly fitting pants.
Phase One: Excitement
Prior to starting the pants, I was blissfully ignorant of the gravity of the task ahead. I only thought about the final product, not the process. I looked at almost every picture of Lander pants on the internet, contemplated whether to make them in ivory or unbleached canvas, interrogated a customer who already made them and daydreamed about people stopping me on the street because my pants were so perfect.
Phase Two: Confidence
This phase started while I was halfway through day three of the sew-along. I thought, “wow this is a breeze, and they said pants were hard.” This was before any fittings. I went quickly through each step, only needed the seam ripper once or twice. At the peak of this phase, I decided that I would make myself a pair in blue by the end of the week.
Phase Three: Frustration
Unfortunately, this was the longest phase for me. It included the side seams and waistband. In other words, this is the fitting phase. I must have tried on my pants fifty times during this phase. The darts needed to be widened, the hips let out, then taken back in, then let out again and so on. DO NOT FORGET TO PRESS AFTER EACH ADJUSTMENT. The darkest moment in my pant-making experience was around 3 pm one afternoon after I had spent what felt like days fitting the pants. While ripping the seams, I made a small hole. A mix of hunger from not eating lunch and disappointment washed over me as Bonnie rectified the situation (having a seamstress on hand while making your first pair of pants is really helpful during this phase).
Phase Four: Pure Joy
After countless readjustments that words cannot describe, I made pants that fit perfectly!!! When I first put on the finished pants, I stood in front of the mirror for a long time smiling at myself. It’s a good thing no one walked in to see me slowly looking at myself from every angle with a giant grin on my face. There was a moment where I questioned my sanity, but who cares: I just made pants! Not just pants, but the pants that excitement-phase-me had envisioned!
Now that I have made a pair of pants, I get what all the fuss is about. It is a pretty serious endeavor. Although I will not make another pair anytime soon, I learned a ton from the process and feel ready to take on my next sewing challenge. What have you learned from hard sewing challenges? Am I missing an emotional phase?