Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pleated Sailor Pants

I can't get enough of sailor pants and they're even more fun when they're small. (Although this small person has grown an inch since summer).

These have a really interesting construction with the functioning front-flap button closure.

The back view is fitted with darts.

Even though I put in all the functioning placket elements, I did add a side zipper to make dressing less frustrating.

Note that this Ottobre pattern runs slim. I always have to tighten the waist (even after slimming the pattern two sizes) in Otto pants, but this pair's fit is very precise (after my usual pattern slimming). I made Sara try these on about 5 times during construction, and was amazed the fit was great with no tweaking after all.

One thing I don't like about this pattern is that it'd be foolhardy to try to get the serger into the flap area. Zigzagging isn't very neat on this fraying fabric.

Here are some photos of the construction for those of you who might make this pattern. The sewing is not difficult, but it's hard to visualize from the written instructions how it's all put together.

The first step is to cut the two slits in the front.

In the photo above is the front facing, which is cut narrower than the width of the front flap. Sew the sides of the facing to the sides of the front flap, right sides together. Fold in the sides of the pants front (this is what forms the pleat) so you get a flat piece. Stitch together the facing and pants at the top of the waist, then turn right side out. Turn under the facing seam allowance and topstitch.

Sew on the back facing and understitch.

The big flaps are each two pieces, stitched right sides and turned out. Then they are stitched as a unit right sides together with the sides of the slits closest to the side seams. Keeping the flaps laying against the pant fronts, flip the back facing to the front over the flaps and stitch right sides together at the side. When you turn the facing right side out again, you will have an enclosed seam there for the waistband, but the rest of the flap edge below that will be zigzagged.

Fold the side flaps out toward the center and add snaps. Add buttons and buttonholes to the front flap. Turn under the seam allowance for the back facing and topstitch.


I love this style with the pleats and the wide legs. If Sara likes them, I may make another pair or two.

Unpleasant poly/blend twill from Mill End Textiles.
Buttons: HomeSew.
High-rise Wide-Leg Pants: Ottobre 1-2011-22.


  1. What cool sailor trousers. I love the red stripe as the facings, and what a good fit.

  2. These are adorable! The red striped facings make them even more special. I wouldn't mind a pair of sailor pants myself.

  3. They look beautifully made and the greatest of respect to your girl for going through all those fittings! Great idea to incorporate a zip; I have sailor trousers and I have to confess the buttons drive me nuts.

    They are lovely.

  4. These are very cool. I love the striped pattern used for the facings. Adding a side zipper was a very clever addition. I wouldn't mind a pair of these for myself.

  5. These are SO ADORABLE! I love them and the facing is brilliant too!

  6. Oh these are just adorable! I too like the stripe material facing very cute! I have a pattern for some sailor jeans, haven't made it yet, but when I do I am going to remember your cute facings!

  7. What a clever design and adorable pair of pants. I just love how you used the striped fabric inside. Super cute all the way around!

  8. I also love the facings. I often wondered how these sailor pants did up. very cute indeed.

  9. These remind me of your bellbottoms! So cute! I love a great pair of baggy pants.

  10. Haha, these kind of remind me of the pleated-front pants that I spent half the summer slaving over for myself. But miniature. Very cute and stylish-- I hope she does love them!

  11. These are fantastic! They look great on her. So great, I might use some of your techniques to make a pair for myself. Love them! I was just daydreaming about my summer red trousers... How do you think these sailor pants would look in red linen on a grown lady? Maybe with blue buttons...

    Thank you so so much for all the inspiration.

  12. oh these are so amazing. . .I want a pair for myself.

  13. I am so thankful that I found this post with such great photos of how the placket works... I've been trying to work out what the instructions meant for days now when finally I thought to google. Thank you!


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