Crazy Pants, Noah’s Ark Edition

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Yesterday morning a student was bicycling down our street in a t-shirt and shorts and our concerned neighbor shouted after him, “Put some layers on! Aren’t you freezing?!” To which he yelled from his fast-moving bike, “Seriously? I’M FROM CONNECTICUT!”

Well I’m from Michigan and it’s still crazy cold here in Austin, so don’t let my coatless self fool you. The sun came out for the first time in a few days and like all sun-addicted Texans I just had to spend some time in it. The things I’ll do for a photo shoot!

Since I’m talking crazy, it’s time to break out my new skinny pants.

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

I don’t quite know what’s going on here, like a Noah’s boat sort of print, full of feather eyes, snake scales and cat stripes. I kept trying to figure out the animal references while sewing it together. I hoped I wasn’t getting too psychedelic but my man kept saying THAT IS THE COOLEST FABRIC. When I tried them on to fit, he kept following from behind. Methinks that must be the best view!

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Sorry, I’m not pulling up my jacket, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.

This is a new pants draft that I worked on in the spring, specifically with crazy pants in mind. I was really craving a pair of skinny printed pants to add to my capsule wardrobe, and made another pair on a bizarre dotted print that didn’t fit as well as I liked so I went back to the drawing board. I’m addicted to trying different patternmaking methods as a learning experience, so I tried a different method than the one I used for my skinny jeans. At this point I have several great pants and jeans blocks and I’m so ecstatic about this that I innocently believe I’ll be sewing 10 pairs by the end of the winter.

Here’s the deal with stretch pants: every fabric behaves so differently. Sometimes you need a little more leg width or a little less in the crotch extension. What I like to do is start with zero ease (no negative ease) at the hips and then baste up the pants with a big stitch and slowly work my way down till the skinny is just right. And it’s really important to balance the adjustments between the inseam and the side seam. Taking in too much at the inseam throws off the balance that causes all sorts of diagonal underbum wrinkles and possibly leg twist. This is something you never see explained in patternmaking books (except the German ones): how the balance of the leg underneath the crotch affects fit.

Anyhoo, the pants. These are basically stretch skinny jeans but without traditional jeans details like a yoke and back pockets and rivets and all that. Okay, so they’re not jeans at all, but the shaping is basically the same. I also draped in a wide contour waistband, which really takes the fit up a notch! Next time I think I’ll try a tabbed fly…

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

Normally I wouldn’t be tucking in a top with these. I made these with a mid to high rise (9″ to be exact). I love this height for tops that will be untucked because it’s super comfortable, but if I wanted to tuck I’d go even higher or lower simply because I like those visual proportions better.

Crazy Pants | Cloth Habit

On a sentimental last note, I want to dedicate this post to my amazing mother-in-law. She has been through a serious health scare this week, and since she’s a believer that you gotta keep on shining no matter what, I hope my crazy brings some shining to her day!

Pattern: self drafted
Fabric: Emma One Sock
Zipper: Zipper Stop


  1. Ines says:

    I love, love your outfit!!! I say this emphatically b/c not in a million years would I have thought that all goes together but it does and it’s beautiful!

  2. Laura says:

    I was just telling my husband yesterday that Michiganders know the importance of being warm, and aren’t all crazy people wandering around without coats in the winter. 🙂

    Really nice pants, and thanks for the tip on keeping the balance on the leg fit! I’m still struggling to make a perfectly fitting pair of pants, but I think this will definitely help.

    • Amy says:

      I can’t leave the house without a coat. As soon as it dips below 70 I’m cold! But it actually hit almost freezing temps here, very rare for November, and I couldn’t believe he was going around in a t-shirt!

  3. Amanda says:

    I love the pants. They are great. I have a hard time wearing prints – I always end up in solids and stripes AND these really tempt me. But, you are KILLING me…I can’t wait to see Watson. I feel like a stalker coming here everyday this week thinking “it’s next week.” I guess it’s good to build some suspense and sense of excitement.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Amanda, I so wish I was clever at building suspense! It’s actually just been a lot of unexpected work, as patterns often are! In just a few hours you’ll see 😉

  4. Amanda says:

    These are awesome crazy pants indeed! 🙂 I like your method of basting and fitting the sides a little at a time – having made a whole grand total of three pairs of pants in my life (only one wearable LOL) I am beginning to see how the inseam/crotch/side seam relationship works, and that little adjustments at a time are always wise 🙂 How wonderful to have many working pants blocks – I can’t wait to get there too!! ^__^

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! I worked really hard on my patterns last winter in a total fit of “it’s time to conquer pants”. We all get there, so will you!

  5. Sophie says:

    Well these are some pretty phenomenal pants! And not surprised that your man is following you around like a happy puppy…that fit is soooo good. Love the print! Love the whole get-up really.

  6. sallie says:

    These pants are AMAZING! That print is just so jaw-droppingly wonderful. Definitely one of those fabrics that you could just get lost in, swirling down the rabbit hole of ever crazier and more psychedelic associations (“it’s like tree bark, but at dusk, but animal tree bark, like the forest is MADE of animals… and tire tracks…just go with me here…”) And the fit is just so spot on – that whole ‘baste, try on, adjust fit, repeat’ method of pants fitting is, in my opinion, the best. I’m pretty sure I adopted that method after hearing about it from you, and it’s proven to be one of the most helpful tips I’ve ever received about pants making.

  7. Ginger says:

    Wow, these are AWESOME! The fit is perfect, the style is great, and the fabric is amazing! I hope you’re super proud of these! Your mother-in-law is in my thoughts and prayers… hope things are better!

  8. crab&bee says:

    Your man has excellent taste in fabric! And thank you for the tip on how to lean out the leg silhouette. I’ve probably pulled too much from the outseams in my attempts, which may also lead to leg twist. You’re inspiring me to try drafting my own block!

    • Amy says:

      Oh you should, if you like drafting! Pants really aren’t that hard to draft. It’s just two pieces and a waistband. Even if the block never becomes your dream pants, you can use it to get your lengths right on other patterns. I use mine a lot for this purpose!

  9. Marion P says:

    Which specific mueller book has the instructions on removing diagonal creases under the butt? I’m stumped as I can’t remove them from my pants. Your pants fit VERY nice!!

    • Amy says:

      Hi Marion, the book is actually a drafting book on women’s pants, not a fitting book, but it shows how to make adjustments to a pattern draft without changing the balance of the leg. I wish I could describe this in words, but I’ll try! There are ways diagonal wrinkles happen:

      *If the diagonal creases run from underneath your bum to up over the hips, this often means that you don’t have enough length in the center back. It also happens if you have taken in too much at the side seams. If your side seams curve in by more than 1/2″ from the hip, it helps to move that extra above the 1/2″ into a dart or the center back or a bit of both.

      *If the diagonal creases are just under the bum, then you probably need to literally move the leg over, closer to the inseam. To do this you slash all the way through the leg below the crotch line, and move the leg towards the inseam. I’d start by moving 1/2″ and see what that does. Then redraw your inseams and side seams with new smooth curves. You need to do this in front and back by the same amount. I think I am going to write a tutorial on this, because it is a really helpful adjustment!

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