The Free Range Slacks Part 2: Purposeful Potential

My new Free Range Slacks in our Black Essex Speckle Linen.

Purposeful Projects

January is Purposeful Projects Month here at The Confident Stitch, meaning that we’ve spent the start of 2021 exploring the many different ways a sewing project can be categorized as purposeful. 

A purposeful project can, as the name suggests, serve a purpose like the chemotherapy beanie and headband kits we assembled for this year’s Martin Luther King Day service project. It can also describe a project that is well-prepared and well-planned for in the way the Plan to Quilt, Quilt to Plan book outlines, or, it can be a project that is executed in an organized, calming space.

To some degree, I have been true to the theme this month. I created a rough outline of all the Confident Stitch monthly themes for 2021, cleaned my sewing room, matched the fabrics in my stash to the patterns in my stash, and wrote down the matches on the back of an envelope. The purposeful planning the rest of the team and I have done this month has made me feel calm about 2021. 


But, my vow to adhere to the theme fell apart when, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon some unexpected free sewing time and energy. How quickly I fell back on my old slapdash, and, sadly, un-purposeful ways! I didn’t slow down to make sure I had everything I needed, I hadn’t yet cleaned my sewing room, and I couldn’t find the garment-making plan I wrote on the back of an envelope. So, I resorted to my old standby: What can I make the fastest?

I found a couple of yards of prewashed Essex Speckle Yarn Dyed Linen in Black that we’d featured in our Winter Cool Tones Swatch Service, I grabbed the Sew House Seven Free Range Slacks pattern from Bonnie’s shelf, and I went home to sew!

The speckles in this fabric are so gorgeous!
The speckles in this fabric are so gorgeous!

*(We carry this awesome fabric in several other colorways!)

Bonnie made me a pair of Free Range Slacks out of a lightweight Manchester voile a few months ago, and I LOVE them, but they turned out a little short and a little baggy in the back. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to make an improved pair in a more winter-appropriate fabric. 

Pleasing Improvements

I pulled the pattern pieces out of the envelope and was glad to see I had added four inches to the length. My legs are crazy-long, so I added two inches to the length in two different spots by slashing and spreading the pattern pieces. I then took the time to further alter the pattern by pinching out approximately ¾” from the back leg pattern. For my flat derriere, I follow the instructions in the Palmer/Pletsch Pants for Real People book to make a vertical fold along the back leg pattern piece from the waist down to the bottom hem. The tuck removes fabric from the posterior, making pants fit me better. I patted myself on the back for slowing down and making the alteration. 

Still a little baggy, but an improvement!
Still a little baggy, but an improvement!

The Long and Short of It

That was the end of my back-patting for this project. Although I needed more than the four inches of length I had added, I didn’t spend the time to add another inch of pattern tissue to the bottom hem of the pants. Bonnie had written {Add 1”} at the bottom of each leg piece, and I trusted myself to add the inch while cutting out the fabric. Of course, as I was cutting out the first leg piece, I sliced right across the bottom of the tissue, disregarding the note from Bonnie. I went ahead and cut out the rest of the pieces too short as well. 

It was time to start sewing my super fast project! I peered inside the pattern envelope and realized it didn’t contain the instructions. I could wait a couple of days to get the instructions from the shop, OR I could just grab my existing pair of Free Range Slacks and use them as a guide. Of course, in a fit of hubris, I chose the latter. Suffice it to say, the project did not go as smoothly as it would have had I just taken the time to go get the instructions. My seam ripper got a workout!

Intentional Reflections

I love my pants, but sewing them would have been much more pleasurable if I had slowed down and acted purposefully. What’s more, if I had taken the time to lengthen the tissue, the pants would actually be long enough!

The lesson here, I suppose, is that purposefulness is an ongoing effort. Intention is hard work and something that consistently needs to be implemented – all the more reason to put your time and energy towards those projects (and things) you find meaningful.

A Special Guest!

Learn how you can be more purposeful in your sewing life by checking out our Purposeful Projects Playlist on YouTube, and by joining me on Facebook Live this Saturday, January 30th, at 9:30 AM Mountain Time! I’ll be live-streaming a Virtual Shopping appointment with the wonderful Paulette Erato of the Petite Font blog.

In preparation for our appointment, I’ve asked her to assemble a list of all the fabric, patterns, and notions that she’s hoping to find. I may not always be purposeful myself, but I’m certainly happy to aid others on their purposeful journey! (It must be the teacher in me.)

See you soon!

Essex Speckle

Free Range Slacks

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