#SewMyStyle2019: Chi-Town Chinos
I have been wearing stretch pants in some shape or form for a loooooong time, people. I can’t remember the last time I had a pair of jeans that weren’t stretch denim, and even my versions (one & two) of the fan favorite Lander Pants are made in stretch twill. In short, I have diligently avoided non-stretch bottom weights for several years. I just assumed that there’s no way I’d be comfortable in rigid pants while living life after taking some blog photos in my backyard.
Luckily, I was scheduled to be a team host for the Sew My Style April theme of trousers, which finally led me to making my first pair of non-stretch pants, the Chi-Town Chinos, by Alina Design Co. And hallelujah, I’ve seen the light! I really, really love these pants and can’t wait to show you more.
I had certainly been aware of the Chi-Town Chinos for quite some time before they were on the Sew My Style schedule—they are another crowd favorite and a classic chino pant (or skirt or shorts). But again, not designed for stretch wovens, I had all but written them off as something I would most likely never make. For this project I didn’t even want to spend much money on materials, convinced that I probably wouldn’t wear them much once they were finished!
After Alina’s wide leg version peaked my interest, I decided to dive in with a pair of cropped, wide leg chinos in some off-white brushed twill passed down to me from my mom’s sewing stash. I liked the idea of a white pant but never liked the way true white looks on me, so this twill was perfect for getting the idea of white but in a shade that played nice with my skin tone. Its also a good weight so there’s no worry of anything showing through.
As I’ve detailed in a couple other pants posts (like my Ginger Jeans post), fitting pants, especially in the crotch area, is usually pretty tricky for me. So I was shocked when I had to change virtually nothing on my baste fit of my chinos. Granted, I’m not entirely sure on how I should fit non-stretch pants because I haven’t worn them in so long, but over all I’m quite happy with how these turned out. I’ve got some wrinkles in the front around my tummy but honestly, I’m ok with that. I’ve given birth three times (including a c-section), so like, things just ain’t gonna be perfectly smooth. I also think some folds and wrinkles in the front just come with the territory when sewing close fitting, non-stretch pants. I gave these the smallest scoop in the front crotch curve and shortened the length as usual, but other than that the fit was great.
My only tip for future makers of the Chi-Town Chinos: make note of the waistband—or lack thereof. When I was measuring the pattern pieces and deciding what adjustments to make, I chose not to add any length to the rise, assuming that the pattern would have a high enough rise on my short self, like most pants do. What I did not pay attention to was the fact that the Chi-Town Chinos doesn’t have a separate waistband like a pair of jeans would. Basically, the rise that you see on the pattern piece is pretty much what you’re going to end up with. If I had realized this beforehand I would’ve lengthened for a high rise look. They’re not low rise by any means, but after wearing high rise pants for the last several months, the mid rise feels a little foreign! Of course, this woopsy is totally on me, and now that I know how the pants are designed I’ll definitely adjust for a higher rise next time. So good lesson here—never assume you know how a new pattern comes together!
I am just thrilled to have these pants for Spring and Summer. I’m not much of a shorts person (especially knee length shorts!) and usually I’m so miserable during the Summer while wearing my regular skinny jeans. But now that I’ve realized how much more comfortable and breezy wide leg crops are in warmer temps, I am so ready to make them my warm weather uniform. I even wore these to the park with my kids this week and I was so much cooler—which translated to being more comfortable and in turn, more eager to play with my little ones instead of sitting on a bench in discomfort.
These chinos taught me that once again, even if I don’t think I’m going to like a pattern/fabric/style on me, its usually worth a try—it might even be a fantastic surprise!
Thanks for reading along!