Pattern Review: Wide Leg, High Waist Trousers BWOF 4-2002-122

I realized yesterday while hemming my Burda World of Fashion 4-2002-122 trousers that I am essentially sewing a Chico’s travel wardrobe. This is the part where I should say that there isn’t anything wrong with Chicos — just not my style. But, there *is* something wrong with Chicos. I am first, 15 years shy of their demographic no matter how young a model they choose. Second, I’ve always thought their clothes were better suited for cruises. What’s odd though, is I’ve had two boyfriends buy me jewelry from Chicos as gifts. I remember the last time it happened my heart sank when I saw the big  block lettered CHICOS on the box. I thought,”‘Crap. This relationship isn’t going to last. He doesn’t know me at all. What about my personal style says, ‘cruisewear’.” The earrings were just as ugly as I imagined them to be and we broke up a week later. Coincidence? I think not.

I say I’m sewing a travel wardrobe from Chicos because everything I’ve picked is loose, not tailored and easy to wear / care for. That, IMHO, is Chico’s style.  At least my stuff isn’t animal print. Don’t get me started on animal print. Which, I will say is just not my style. Animal print doesn’t personally offend my sensibilities. Except when black models are photographed in editorial fashion shoots wearing it. But, that is a Woman’s / African-American Studies paper on its own. I digress.

These are the pants unironed from my sewing machine. I did press them before cutting out and during the sewing. But, no final press. I wanted a sense of what they would look like washed in my hotel room sink, LOL.  I’ve heard the linen can stretch out. So, I took extra care with this garment. Using Sandra Betzina’s Power Sewing as a guide I

  • Interfaced the zipper side seam
  • Used twill tape in the crotch seam, sewing it twice
  • Used twill tape at the waist line
  • Interfaced the hem allowance
  • Used boning in the front, back and side seam

What I didn’t do, was interface the upper edge of the waistband and it stretched. And, it looks like another 1/2 inch more for my swayback would have been good.

So, the waist line is kind of wonky especially in the front. But, trust. I will never wear something tucked in to these. If I wasn’t sucking in for this photo, then my pants wouldn’t have fallen, and you would see that the pants sit above my waistline.

I will probably shorten these another half inch before I go to China. But, I’ll be wearing them with heels to work in the meantime. The pants are crazy wide! Power Sewing mentions that unless you are very tall you shouldn’t wear wide leg trousers. Oh, well. My driver’s license says I’m 5 ft 7 and I’m both calling that tall and sticking to that height.

I suspect because they are so wide, that my protruding seat adjustment wasn’t critical. But, it worked well for my swayback. I’ll let you know tomorrow how the pants held up at the end of the day. Hopefully, they won’t have stretched out to my ankles!

I was so motivated by the not hideousness of these, that I muslined a pair of Hello, Sailor! pants from Hot Patterns last night. They are altered and ready to cut from the good stuff. They’ll be my more tailored pants. But, more on that later 🙂


  1. Ha. They are a bit “Chicos”. But I’m sure they will be great for travelling *and* summer. They look breezy and comfy. You’re making me want a pair for myself!

    Last month’s Lucky (the Everything Under $100 issue, w/ Mila Jojovich on the cover) featured a spread on what to wear for summer travel; many of the pieces were very Chicos-esque, but they worked. You might be able to get more travel sewing inspiration from that article!

    • I just got this issue over the weekend. I’ll have to look again. I know the month before they had the chicest travel wardrobe too. Nice blazers and tiered skirts.

  2. I think these look great on you. I was totally laughing at your chicks comments. So true!!! Great job on the inner workings. I must get that book.

  3. I’m not a Chico’s fan, either, but those trousers look fantastic! And all of that extra work will totally pay off. Now just wash them in YOUR sink and see how long they take to dry… and how the pants wrinkle.

  4. Definitely Chicos(from what I see on the site). But that was the general look in the May ’10 Burda too. They just did it in bright pinks and oranges. Your colour palette is giving me a lovely breezy vibe and believe me if China feels anything like the temperatures in Singapore today, you are right on track with your wardrobe.

    • Today will be a good test run. It’s 101 w. 30 percent humidity in Baltimore. I have to be outside for about an hour this afternoon for an event! I even made myself a matching linen handkerchief!

  5. 101 w/30% humidity? Now I feel like a whiny baby for our mess up here. Love the slacks – will you be taking any dresses for China too?

  6. Those are cute on you and they will be cool and comfortable. You did a great job on the fit. But if your 5’7″ isn’t tall enough, then my 5’4″ definitely won’t work! It’s H O T-T-T-T here, so you can test them out real-world style this week.

  7. I have to say I don’t think I’d shorten them at all-linen does shrink when washed, often for several washings, and the rumpling after hand washing will also pull up some of your length. Besides, something that has such a wide leg needs as much length as possible. Unless they’re actively dragging the ground (and they don’t seem to be), I’d leave them just as they are. The hem is unlikely to droop since you interfaced it, and in fact because you put extra reinforcement into your construction I don’t think it’ll stretch out anywhere really (except the waist-meh, you live and learn, right?).

    I say the hair definitely counts in the height measurement! LOL!

  8. LOL at the Chicos comment and rolling at the animal prints comment. It’s all causing me to wonder if that’s why I don’t like animal prints – all those subliminal messages.

    As for the pants, I love the areas that you thought to reinforce them. I think this will help alot with the growth that linen has. You are really doing well with getting your travel wardrobe sewn up!

  9. Good for you for stabilizing with all that twill tape. I made a pair of linen pants a few years ago (an OOP Hot Patterns sailor pants pattern, actually) and they stretched out like the dickens. Oh, and they shrunk in length. I think they were a linen/rayon blend and the rayon shrunk.

  10. These look really nice on you — great style! Thanks for the info on the additional techniques you used, I took note of them for the future.

  11. One other idea I had before I last travelled was to find a reversible skirt pattern. I never did, but would love one. I have seen reversible skirts, but wasn’t prepared to pay the price. Have you seen any simple – as in S-I-M-P-L-E reversible patterns?

    • I haven’t. But, what I would probably make is a two layer wrap skirt. If you cut on layer a little shorter, then it will look really cute when wrapped. I speak of this because I have something similar in polyester.

  12. I think you are working those pants. And I think they don’t get into Chico’s territory unless you are wear them with a roomy top 🙂 Nice job!

  13. These will be great for travel! You might still be able to tape the upper edge to the pattern measurement to prevent the stretch. Otherwise they fit very well!

  14. They look great and will be a great addition to your travel wardrobe. You’re certainly tall enough to wear these (and let’s be honest, the styles in Power Sewing are not great either, great book, I love it, but the styles….)

  15. Also 5’7″. Other women call me tall. I say “really?” but I’ll take it.

    Right there with you on the animal print.

  16. I really like these pants on you and you will be grateful that they are loose when you get into the humidity. I’d never heard of Chicos before, but one quick look at their website showed me what you meant. I agree about the cruise wear, but I grudgingly admit that it is a great idea to make a range of clothes designed to travel. You’ll never look like a Chicos buyer because you have way more character and you won’t style your outfits like they do.

  17. Cute pants! Thanks for the tips on the linen and to not make them stretch!! I’ll be making some soon and it’s good to know for when I make them. Hehe.. I’m 5’4″ and I love wearing wide leg trousers/pants! (But I also love me some heels so I guess that puts me at 5’7″ – 8″ :))

  18. I am in the demographic for Chicos and I don’t love them either. These remind me more of Eileen Fisher with it’s natural fibers. I love washed linen. The more washed it is the softer the wrinkles. Totally cool. The pants look good on you and I don’t think that they are too wide for you. You nailed the rear end alteration as these are perfect.

  19. wow, your pants look super! I had a pair of linen pants like that years ago (basically huge 🙂 and they were so amazing on hot days. I wore them to death.
    You’ve reminded me what a good idea wide-legged linen pants are!

  20. They look great! Thanks for your post. I’m about to start a pair of wide-leg linen trousers and I’ve read that the seams can slip with linen. Stop by my blog next week and hopefully I’ll have finished some beautiful new pants with your tips! PS – I think wide legs look good on almost anyone as long as they are tapered(spelling?)from the waist – like 40’s style trousers.

  21. If you look hard enough, you can find completely contradictory advice about just about every figure variation. Wide legs are cool and comfy, go for them. Besides, 5’7″ is a good 3″ over the average US woman, and you’ll be absolutely towering over the Chinese :-).

    I do love animal prints.. on Ana Magnani. Early overdoses of Fellini have led to an enduring love for them. But I totally agree with you about animal prints on black women in fasion magezines, labeled ‘tribal’ or some such bs. No point in feeding into people’s stereotypes, sad as they are..

  22. *snicker* Marie, I had forgotten about that-I’m 5’5″ and when I visited Seoul, S. Korea I felt absolutely Amazonian! It was awesome to be tall! I went out and bought heels so I could be even taller! LOL!

    • I like many of those pieces. I might actually copy the drawstring waist cami. When you come down, I’ll take you to my linen store. I am also still considering a pair of drawstring pants. I’m concerned the ones I’m looking at now will be too heavy for China. But, they’ll be good for flying in (too much a/c on the planes).

  23. Yes the pants look terrific.

    Mostly though, I’m really grateful about your animal print pattern comments. I have found those pairings of black models and vaguely African themes to be creepy since I first came upon them as a kid. I guess it is like draping a Jewish model in bagels for a shoot.

    As for boyfriends not getting it in the gift department..most boys are not properly socialized in the gift giving department. Some men are keepers despite this lack…some of them even eventually get it.

  24. They look fabulous on you! Yes, you need height to wear the wide leg trousers and you have it. I tried it, I took pictures, and the trousers got donated. I looked like a little box, so I’m sticking to a narrower leg for the moment.

    The linen top is great, too. Even though it has a preggo vibe, you will be glad to have something loose and cool to wear that still looks put together.

  25. Can you please tell me how do I obtain a copy of this pattern? I’ve attempted to search Can you assist a newbie?

    • Unfortunately, it’s from the Summer 2007 Burda Easy Fashion. The magazine came out back in 2007 I think and is no longer readily available. You might be able to search ebay to fin it. Plus, it’s only available in German and Russian now.

    • Sorry! This is looooong out of print. You might find it on evilbay or such. But, it’s a basic shape. I would check the Big 4 before looking for this old copy.

  26. I love what you did with those pants! I recently purchased a pair of high waisted pants by MNG Mango and they looked phenomenal! I’ve decided to find a way to make a linen pair for the summer time. I’m in the market for a decent tailor that won’t charge me an arm and leg. Wish me luck! 🙂

  27. I’m an ex-pat living n New Zealand, have no idea what ‘Chicos’ might be. But I’ve been looking for a pattern for really comfortable wide legged pants – I had a pair of Thai wrap around pants that I altered, put darts in the front and elastic in the back, sewed up the sides, kept the ties as decoration, and they’re both incredibly comfortable and very pretty – have had several people ask me where they could find them! I’ll probably make more like them in a viscose fabric rather than cotton or linen, because viscose has a nice drape to it and doesn’t require much ironing.

    Just wanted to say two things – one, this pattern does look good on you (waistband aside, and possibly because you’re gorgeous anyway) and I’ll probably take some tips on designing my own pattern. And, two, animal prints are not just the bane of black ladies. I’m very WASP, and my ex used to buy me leopard print stuff I HATED because he thought I looked ‘sexy’ in it. I looked more like a hooker, judging by the reaction from other men who saw me on the street in this horrible get-up (reactions which my dense ex thought were ‘compliments’, there’s a reason he’s an ex!!) Animal print fabrics should be banned as cruelty to women, NO ONE looks good in them.

    • I could not agree with you more. I feel silly everytime I’ve tried to wear them. I do have one print that I’m going to give a last shout too. But, bleh.

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