I know, I know... what am I doing releasing this summer pattern when most of the world is gearing up for fall and winter? Well, as fun as this pant is in the cotton Ikat print seen here by Me & You Ikats (I purchased mine from Bolt Fabric Boutique), this pattern (The Nehalem Pant & Skirt) works as an all season garment depending on what fabric is used and how you wear it. More on that later. Warning by the way, this is going to be a very long post as I have lots of pictures and info to share as well as some of the pattern testers photos at the very bottom so don't forget to scroll all the way down. I will add that the top in this photo is made from New Look pattern #6459. I cropped it a bit.
About a year and a half ago, I set out to make a pair of Thai fisherman's pants for myself in a drapey (is that a word?) denim fabric. The traditional pants are a one-size-fits-all flat pant with no curve to the rise. They are a very wide pant that is meant to be folded and tied with a tall waistband that starts at the hip and folds down over the waist tie while the crotch hangs low. For the Nehalem, I added a back vertical seam with a little shape, also some shaping in the crotch, graded them for different sizes and added pockets - oh and added a skirt version.
I wasn't sure that I could pull off this look (I'm self conscious about my short legs and thought that a low crotch might accentuate that). I have since decided that I don't care if I pull off the look or not - I love wearing them. I will also tell you that I get more compliments on every single pair of Nehalem pants or skirt that I have made than any other garment I have sewn for myself. I wore a pair two days ago on my way to deliver patterns. I decided to stop at a couple clothing shops for fun and I had compliments from four different people and one shop owner who wanted to know where I got them because she wanted to carry them in her shop (the pants not the pattern). It's not a look that is for everyone and that is why I'm only offering it as a pdf downloadable pattern at the moment. Not that all patterns are for everyone but this one... well... I hate to say, even I was on the fence about it at first. Like most patterns, it really matters what fabric you use for your garment. Be aware that if you sew them up in a cotton printed quilting fabric, they may look a bit like pajamas. The consolation is that even if you find that you aren't comfortable in public wearing them, they are so comfortable and make great lounge pants. I think denim tencel, sandwashed silk, linen and nice quality rayon are among some of the fabrics that make for a high end, dressy pant. Cotton Ikat, yarn dyed striped cotton or light weight denim make for a nice casual pant. The same goes for the skirt version.
Here are some inspiration photos. I put this together after I had made the pattern but it's just to show that this look is out there.
I had a great time watching Katharine (the photographer Katharine T. Jacobs) and model Nicola do their thing at the photoshoot. Here I am adjusting the pants. There were so many great fun shots, I couldn't decide which ones to use.
This is the Telio denim Tencel version that can be dressy (as seen above) or casual (as seen below). I'm not sure if this is the exact fabric but it's close however, I bought mine from Fabric Depot. I just love the look and feel of denim Tencel. It drapes like a rayon but more textured in look and it's not as thin and flimsy as most rayon challis. Its shine gives it a dressy look but the denim allows for the casual potential.
Pant version #2 with waistband option #2 in a very light weight denim. I have more photos of the pant below however, I think it's time I mention the skirt. The skirt ties in the same manner (there is a how-to-tie guide further down in this post).
Here is the long version of the skirt in a light to mid-weight denim in a light wash.
And the short version of the skirt in a cotton linen (I believe). I've forgotten as I bought it a while back. Before I leave you with more photos, I thought I would show you how to tie the Nehalem.
It's difficult to see in this back view but there are vertical seam lines at the side back to add interest and the pockets are stitched into those seams as well.
PATTERN TESTER PROTO-TYPES
I actually called for pattern tester volunteers for this pattern. It was my first time working this way and I have to say it was great! I can't thank these ladies enough for all of their help. I loved connecting with other sewists as well. Not only did they help me sort out all sorts of errors and help with the fit, but they gave me great suggestions as far as sewing and even movies to watch - thank you, thank you, THANK YOU ALL!!! One thing I will say about this process is that the volunteers get insight into my insecurities during the process. I almost always panic before I release a pattern and start questioning it's worth - you know how it is when you look at something for too long. I probably scared most of them in the beginning as I kept apologizing and thanking them for volunteering to sew something they will probably never wear (I'm not the best salesperson). Anyhow, I am also thanking them for putting up with me and my neurosis.
Without further adieu, here are some photos from the pattern testers during the process. Keep in mind that minor changes were made to the rise and the pocket size during this process.
Hila of the blogspot Saturday Night Stitch in her striped linen version. She said that her husband also likes them and she plans to make him a pair. Hila found another cool way to tie her pants. She made version #1 and is wearing them lower on her hips with the waistband up (doubled waistband option #1).
And here is Hila again with them at her waist and the waistband turned down.
Next we have Kristin in a floral rayon pant version #1 with the waistband folded down and at the waist (doubled waistband option #1).
I love this green color on Katie. She made version #3 skirt (doubled waistband option #1). She added a bit of length as she is tall.
Michelle of the Instagram handle @prettypenny7 in her denim with printed pockets version #1 of the pants. She also made waistband option #1). She likes to wear them lower on her hips.
Here is Kim of the I.G. handle @kim.dreamstitch in pant version #1, waistband option #1.
Here is Carolyn of the Instagram handle @caros_time. She made up the long pants version #2 and waistband option #2 (the single layer, longer folded down version). Her pants were a little long in the rise (I've adjusted the rise and the grade just a bit since). Very pretty in this flowy linen fabric.
Sarah is a soon to be shop owner. Her I.G. handle is @lakesmakerie. Here is her friend wearing pant version #1, waistband option #1.
And here is Sarah again wearing them herself.