Oprah Wears Pants

I’ve been a little quiet over here the last three weeks because I’ve been sweating it out over some freaking tuxedo pants. I wanted to try something slimmer cut and less roomy than what I normally make. The first pattern I tried were hiddy. There were angry wrinkles all over my backside. I made six muslins of the pants with every single adjustment you could imagine. These are from (I think)  the November 2008 Burda.

I had photos from every angle and finally just gave up on them and moved on to another pair with wider legs.  Preview below (these are from the November 2010 Burda, #129):

The thing is, I was hating myself in the slim pants because I just look so bottom heavy. And, it’s not in my head. My legs looked like tree trunks. I’m well aware of the fact that this is where I carry my weight, but I don’t need to draw attention to it and I don’t need anyone confirming it. I was all ready to just stop working on pants and move on to another dress. But, I had an epiphany.

Oprah wears pants.

Yes, Oprah. Oprah, it appears, is larger than I am. She has access to stylists, personal tailors and designers at her finger tips. And, yet. She wears pants. Pants, that IMHO aren’t necessarily flattering.

So, if Oprah wears pants, so can I. I want tuxedo pants and tuxedo pants I shall have!

Photos by the weekend I hope. I just need help getting them hemmed and hand stitch down the lining along the zipper. Oh, how I wish I had more of this purple Bemberg for what I hope will be a matching tuxedo jacket. It looks awesome against the black!


  1. Absolutely, go for it. And isn’t it true that you would never be so critical of a friend as you are of yourself. So enjoy a slimmer pant and enjoy being a girl. Just like those Dove commercials we come in all varieties.

  2. these look amazing! Can’t wait to see them on you. I’m sure you look better than you think. We’re always our own worst critics.

  3. Ack, I am right there with you! I also carry all my weight in my legs. I *hate* that the current fashion is all about showing off your legs— just draws attention to my dwarf thighs and chunky ankles. But, something snapped for me this year too and I’m also working on slimmer pants (BS 08-2010-123 and BS 03-2010-109). I was going to give up on mine too but DH said go for it. Can’t wait to see how yours come out!

  4. I am so diggin’ that purple bemberg. Bonafide! And you wear what you like and I’m sure the pants will look great. I’ve also notice that with slimmer pants, there has to be an even correlation between the thigh, through the knee and over the calf. If the thigh is too tight, it totally magnifies the area. So if you carry your weight through the thigh, the cut will have to be more even through those other areas even though you wanted a slimmer fit. Does that make sense?

  5. I wear pants with 47in hips and 39in waist. My problem was always finding something that fitted my hips and the waist didn’t gap. I think trouser are the best look for pants on my. I even wear denim trousers, and jeans with a flare or boot cut that balance everything. So you can wear pants, they just have to be right cut for your body type.

  6. I also carry my weight in my hips and thighs, though in my humble opinion, you don’t have that much weight to carry! You have a teeny-tiny waist. To die for really. Maybe having a such a small waist makes your hips/thighs seem bigger in comparison. Maybe they are actually completely normal sized. That’s how it looks to me anyhow!

    I am sure your tuxedo pants will be great. I think, to make traditional men’s fashion look sexy on a woman, the woman has to be womanly with womanly curves. Otherwise, you are just in man-drag! You have a fantastic figure and I think your curves will make tuxedo pants work all the better.

    Hmm, this is getting to be a long comment, but I think I will go on here. I’ve noticed that high waisted flared or full trousers seem to be coming back at the high end. When I look at the jeans and trousers of this sort on line, I am often taken aback by the back shots of the models. To me, they just don’t look nice. They don’t have any bottom to fill out the trousers! They look sort of sunken and shrivelled. (I won’t provide any links because I don’t want to poke fun at the real young women modelling these things. But I don’t think it would be hard to find.) Anyway, these sort of pants definitely require a full bottom in the shape of an upside down heart to look fab, in my opinion. So take heart, I think fashion is coming around to meet you!

  7. Good to see you on here again! I say go for it. I’m dying to see how your finished pants turn out. 🙂

  8. Those are some gorgeous pants — love the lining and love the pockets!!!

    I can’t wait to see how beautiful you look in your pants. And jacket. Wow.

  9. I have been sewing for other people for over 20 years now and NOT ONE person has walked into my room without complaints about one part or another of their body. We are all more aware of our own perceived flaws. Wear trousers/pants. And enjoy them. No-one else is concerned about the size of your butt. I’m sure they will look fabulous (anything that well made should!)

  10. I forgot to say that I love the pants. One thing I’ve tried recently is a pair of high waisted pants with a back zip. It’s a good look for those of us with hips and butts and smaller waists. There is pattern in the December 2010 (I think) BWOF that has no side seam. THe seams appear to be down the back of the leg and on the inside. I’m going to try it when the weather cools down.

  11. LOL!!! You are not big at all; anywhere! I think you worked too hard on the pants and has caused you to see things that are’nt there!!! 🙂 The pants are gorgeous!

  12. I think you have a great body! However, I’m bigger in the thighs and butt myself, so I totally understand the self-conscious feeling of wearing something that highlights this. Lately, my challenge has been to wear things that actually show off my thick thighs. It’s uncomfortable when I first leave the apartment, but by the end of the day I find myself liking my body more. As women in a society that saturates us with images of anorexic (as well as tall, white, young and blonde) female bodies, it’s difficult for us to love our bodies and feel beautiful in them just the way they are. I still think it’s important for us to try!

  13. Pants aren’t my most flattering look either. What I don’t understand is why you’d want to emulate Oprah for a look that doesn’t suit her.

    I’m a firm believer in sticking to the shapes that work.

    Good luck.

    • It’s not that I want to emulate Oprah. I was trying to be polite. She’s overweight. And, she still wears pants because they work for her and she likes them. So, I shouldn;t feel funny wearing pants because I’m uncomfortable with my body. If Oprah can wear pants, so can I. When I said they were ‘unflattering’ I guess I could have just said, “Oprah is fat and she still wears pants”.

      • I understood it was a joke, but I personally think that people should refrain from wearing things that they suspect are unflattering.

  14. Go for it! Everyone has issues with pants. I made 20+ muslins and went through 6 patterns before identifying the alterations I need. Pants can and will look good on you. Just remember you have an athletic body. You’re not going to look like some anoxeric model or a Mid-Western farmers wife. You have your own beauty.

  15. Everybody can wear everything, it’s just a matter of wearing something that suits you.. And Oprah of all people could afford the best stylists. I see absolutely nothing wrong with a short round woman in pants myself.

    I’m a bit worried though when I hear about the 6 previous muslins. One of the really useful things I learned from Sandra Betzina was that most bodies have just a couple things that need tweaks. If you’re timid and don’t do the tweak assertively enough (or do it grossly too much), you end up tweaking something else, and then something else. Her take on it was that if you reach more than 3 tweaks, you should do what you did here, go back and start all over.
    She taught a pants class where she stood at the door and told each student as they came in ‘you only listen when I talk about —‘. And damn if we didn’t all end up with much better fitting pants afterwards!
    I’d say you should ONLY adjust for big thighs and butt, not that you’re that big but you’re certainly better defined there than the average German :-). All you need to do is add 1/2″ to 1″ to the crotch curve, front and back, not necessarily the same (your thighs look about the same as mine, so 1/2″ in front, your butt a bit more so maybe 1″ in back). Then you taper that down to the regular inseam about 8″ lower (in other words, you’re adding small wedges). Then you may need to use a size smaller than your hip measurement would suggest, but not always. This gives you the room you need only where you need it, in the crotch, and you end up fine, because you’re really quite standard otherwise.

    I have found the Singer series book ‘perfect fit’ to be quite useful also. They have pictures of actual bodies showing what is meant by ‘slightly sloping shoulders’ or ‘very sloping shoulders’ and so on for most anything you can think of. Very easy then to realize you do not have really huge thighs or whatever :-). And they show you a really quick and easy small adjustment, and also the more formal one which you should do if you’re the extreme case, the latter being the only one normally found in other fitting books. Worth its weight in gold.
    Anyway, can’t wait to see the finished tuxedo pants, they’re fab :-).

    • I strongly disagree that everyone can wear everything and look good. For example, if you have fat, waggly arms you probably should wear sleeves. Those guides on dressing for your shape often make good suggestions.

      Now if you’re the kind of person who truly doesn’t give a damn, is completely unselfconscious, then you can wear anything you like.

  16. I agree with Karin-I think that you have such a small waist that you probably feel your thighs look bigger than they really are. FWIW-I think your thighs look exactly the correct size for a woman of your build and general shape, and I am unendingly jealous of that tiny waist and quite frankly adorable butt (says the old grandma lady that hasn’t had a butt in 15 years or curvy thighs either)! So show off your butt and wear those pants like you mean it!

  17. I’m surprised you didn’t post sooner. It seems there are always such good suggestions from your readers and they may have saved you a couple of muslins and frustration. You are definitely one who must love a challenge. The pants so far look beautiful!

  18. Have a look at the pants I made recently. They are from the Burda magazine with a modification to the leg length. They are slim line on the legs, but have pockets and side pleats which add comfort and surprisingly are more slimming. The trousers you made look great BTW.

  19. I’m confused. Did you add a waistband to the 2010 version or is the photograph of the 2009 pattern? Because when I checked the successful wider version, I don’t see a waistband. Looking to copy you, so my motives are pure…

    • Yes. I added a waistband to the 2010 version. I wanted more satin details since I would not have a stripe down the side.

      Sent from my iPod

  20. I love what you have so far and can’t wait to see them on you! I absolutely love the satin stylings you’ve added here. I envy women like you who have nice curves! As long as your slacks are fitted nicely, I don’t see a problem. You know what they say…”we are our own WORST critics!” and that is so very true! I bet you’ll look nice…REALLY!

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