Pants for the Dance
Right now, I am in a bit of a huff. All I want is a pair of nice flared pants that I could use for my upcoming Tribal classes, and so far I’m having very little luck finding something that I like, of a decent quality, and that fits me. I do have a few pairs, and all of them have plenty of pros and some cons that have made them not good enough for me to stick with them. I do love nearly every pair of them, though, they are very comfortable for the most part, and if I could just get all the pros and put together the ideal product, I would.
My first yoga pants for class where obtained through eBay, from this seller; the fabric is nice and thick without being too warm, they fit really well, but they’ve shortened substantially in the wash, even though I’ve always washed them in the delicates cycle; I’ve got 3 pairs and they’ve served me well, but they are a touch too thick for the summer, and the shortness makes them annoying; the oldest pair has also developed a hole in the fabric and the waist has stretched to the point that I had to remove around 10cms on each side, so I’m tempted to sacrifice that one and unpick the seams to use as a starting point for a pattern, as the fit is really good. Sadly, for some reason these also have a disturbing tendency to disappear in the wash.
Pros: good fabric, good cut. Cons: straight leg, too short, expensive shipping that only works well if ordering 2-3 pairs.
Then I ordered palazzo pants from another ebay seller who is no longer selling them. I ordered a teal and a red pair, in theory both in cotton, from the same manufacturer and the exact same size. The teal arrived and it works nicely, but the fabric piles easily. The red is much smaller, from a synthetic fabric, and insists on running under my belly instead of across. The teal I can use occasionally but it’s looking quite ratty because of all the piling, the red will probably be saved as something to wear under a costume at the last minute, or to sell onto someone else.
Pros: colour, nice sizing on the teal pair. Cons: ugly and unsuitable fabric on the red, piling on the cotton pair, unreliable sizes and manufacturer; wouldn’t buy again if I could.
Not much luck from the US, I thought, so let’s look at something more ethnic. How about some thai fisherman’s palazzos? the kind that wrap around! Found a nice pair in Aubergine, from The Asian Connection, another ebay seller. Pants arrived promptly, fabric was sturdy but not very soft, and required sewing on the sides as they were opening WAY too much despite the fact that I had left the suggested 4″ extra on each side. And the fabric starts bleeding colour even with sweat. The fit is also very loose (expect that from this type of pants) and for extreme curves it does become loose and sit strange, for instance with a higher back than front. They also run quite short on me unless I pull them down under my belly, and we all know how lovely that looks.
Pros: lovely colour, sturdy fabric. Cons: dye bleed, scratchy fabric, fit. They’re great for the summer days but I won’t be using them for class again in a hurry.
Then we come to the cheap and cheerful chinese Melodia clones that I mention here, of which I’ve had to buy the ultra-long version. I’ve worn the black trousers three times, they fit comfortably and great, the shape is one I like, but the seam at the back started giving way and it’s not just the stitches, the fabric itself is not too happy about it.
Pros: cut, fit. Cons: flimsy fabric if you’re stretching it (and being a plus size, you will), and not so sturdy seams
Finally, come the Jazz pants I got from Brighton Orient , which come in two thickness grades. The thicker grade covers a multitude of sins better, but it’s too thick for the summer. The thinner side is comfortable but got a mysterious hole on the front of the thigh for no apparent reason within 3 wears -with a wash in between each wear. I *could* have snagged them under my desk, it’s perfectly possible. They are also a teensy bit on the tight side for me. And while they flare a bit, they don’t flare enough.
Pros: lovely fabric, feel sturdy and aren’t falling appart. Cons: sizing, would be nicer to have them in a different cut or colour
So, where am I now? Fed up, last Monday I decided to lift the pattern off a pair of jeans.The result are a pair of capris in cheap black jersey waiting to be overlocked before I decide what sort of bottom I want to give them. I’ve also emailed a couple of fabric places to see if I can get decent thicker fabric to use. If I get a reasonable answer (that is, if they don’t expect me to buy a 50m roll of supplex or meryl lycra from each colour I want ) I might have to get some samples from them, then some fabric lengths, and put my pattern to the test. My general idea right now is to try to develop a suitable basic pattern for the top part (hips and thighs) that I can then extend, flare, add flounces or whatever, to have different styles available quickly. And will probably require a couple of experiments first, with these and maybe a couple more patterns, combining the ones that I like.
You’d think that with a lot of plus sizes preferring stretchy clothing, there would be a big market for these; certainly leggings seem to be quite popular, so why is nobody trying to move into the market and make some? Oh well, their loss. Or it will be if I can make reasonable substitutes.