Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vogue 8499 - Marcy Tilton pants

For a long time I have been wanting to make this Marcy Tilton pattern, except I was planning to make the skirt. Then, when I finally decided it was time to tackle the Holy Grail of Sewing – the well fitting pant – I took a second look at these cute pants with the knee darts and the horizontal pockets. Though this pattern isn't designed to be closely fitted, even loose pants can be a challenge to fit.

In this case, I read the reviews on Pattern Review and, uniformly, people said that this pattern runs really large. According to the hip measurement (and I always sew pants/skirts based on my hip measurement because I have small hips and a very large waist and it's usually easiest for me to alter the waist, but YMMV) I should be a size 16.

Most Vogue patterns indicate the bust, waist, and hip location, along with the finished garment measurement at those points. For some odd reason, that is not true of this pattern, so I measured the flat pattern. I was very surprised to find that the finished garment measured somewheres around 55" for a size 6. (I am going by memory, but it was in this range.) Given that my hips are 40", which, according to Vogue, is a size 16, I am not surprised that people have been finding these pants to be oversized.

I decided to cut out a size 6, the smallest size available, and alter the waist. The back of the pant is gathered elastic, but the front uses a curved facing. This makes sense because the pockets do not lay well if the front waist is gathered.

I said I decided to cut out a size 6. I intended to cut out a size 6. However, I cut out all the pieces as a size 6 except one – the side back. The side back I cut out in a size 12. I did not notice the error at first. I made the muslin before I realized my mistake. But the muslin fit me well, so I decided to leave it this way for the final pant, but it was an accident, and I think the size 6 on the side back would have worked too. :)

I altered the pattern by increasing the waist, the front waist facing, and also the side front, where the pocket is located. The waist shaping begins in the pocket, so both the upper and lower side front were affected. Finally, I shortened the pants by 1.5" on the "lengthen or shorten here" line – I am 5'5".

The fabric I used is a Taslan that a friend gave me. She bought the Taslan from Mizono, back when she manufactured locally. It's a 100% nylon fabric, in a khaki green color, and has a wonderful drape – and these pants need a fabric with good drape.

I sewed these on a recent sewing retreat and, even though they have extensive top-stitching (even the knee darts are topstitched), they were fairly quick to sew up. Once they were finished, I found them to be comfortable to wear and flattering. Seven women at the retreat also tried them on and they fit everyone, even though they were different sizes and shapes. The only alterations needed were in the overall length, or to take in the waist. The pants fit around the hips, and flattered, every person who tried them on.

I love these pants and will definitely be making them again. And I still want to make that skirt...


Back. I had worn these for several hours so they are a bit rumpled.

Closeup of knee darts. A little hard to see, but all seams are top-stitched, even the darts.

Using the pocket

Closeup of pockets and front waist with facing


  1. Wow, those pants look great on you! I thought that was awful looking pattern and probably would be if you used the supposed 'correct size'.
    Thanks for showing them, I may consider them now.

  2. Cute pants! Great for summer with a Tshirt!

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the sizeing issue! These turned out really well and look great on you. I've been debating this one for awhile. I have it in my stash but just haven't made it up yet. I think it's great style for Spring/Summer.

  4. Oh goody, the pants post is up! Thanks for all the details. That's such a nice outfit, the way the colors all coordinate. Boutique owners will be asking you who your stylist is.


  5. These pants look great on you. You are tempting me to try this pattern. Very nice job.

  6. Those are very attractive. I have never been tempted to sew those but now that I have seen your pair AND the comment that they flattered all who tried them on, may make me change my mind. ;-) BTW, I love that blouse you are wearing. Don't remember reading about it but assume you made it? Anyway, great outfit!

  7. Thanks, everyone. Stash, I blogged about the top on the entry before this one. You can see it here: http://communingwithfabric.blogspot.com/2010/03/sewing-workshop-now-shirt.html

  8. I've just made them in a beautiful fudge coloured linen. It was definitely a large pattern. I kept cutting it down and probably wasted a bit of my very pricey linen but the end result was a happy one. I added the detail of the 3 darts on the hem . Looks classy! Next time I'll make them 2 sizes smaller!