Cigarette Pants X 4: Jalie 4018, Renée Ponte Pants

Oh. Hello. To get through this fall, I have made something I never thought you’d hear me say: Ponte Pants.

My friend Carly claims I told her I don’t sew with ponte. That’s not exactly true as a broad brush rule, but I really didn’t mess much with it. When Jalie asked for testers of their Renee Ponte Pants back in December 2019, I knew I had to BECAUSE IT’S MY NAME (sans the accent). Also, turns out they named them with me in mind? I was hesitant to claim this, because who wants to be Al Gore talking about being the inspiration for the movie “Love Story” and get called out by the author?

Olive Pair, front

Turns out I LOVE ME A PONTE PANT. Here’s why…. They hug my waist and hips but are kind of straight below the thigh. The ponte is warm and cozy for fall and winter. They are also flexible so I can curl up in them, but also put on nice shoes and feel dressed. They come up nice and high, so are very smoothing. I sewed a size DD which matched my hip / lower thigh measurements.

Charcoal, front

Alterations:

This is the fun part! When I first tested these pants, I made no changes. The drag lines at the front were egregious, bordering on disrespectful as you’ll see below. Thankfully, I knew from Debbie Cooke’s ten year old blog post that a knock knee adjustment was what I was looking for to address my full inner thighs.

Here’s a photo of me from the Cashmerette Ipswich swim photoshoot. My knees don’t even touch, just my thighs. To me, they don’t turn inward. I just have full inner thighs (I always have at any size). Now, I don’t have knock knees necessarily, but I hav very full inner thighs that touch down to the knees. Because my thighs touch, they draw up fabric at my inseam, creating these folds and pulls.

If I’m going to show my legs, it’s going to be in the best photo of them ever taken!
2019 Original tester version

A knock knee adjustment definitively works for me. I used the method from the Singer Guide to Perfect Fit to adjust, and you can see the before and after for yourself. Singer says you can adjust between 1/2″ and 1.5″. I ultimately made 1.5″ total on my pairs after trying just 1″ on a muslin.

Black 2020 pair

My black pair from 2020 was one of the four pontes I bought from Spandex House in NY a few months ago. These are mostly rayon content and closer to the stretch asked for in the Jalie Renee. For my muslin (which I can no longer find photos of), I used a ponte with more stretch. While softer, the waistband was practically at my bra underwire. With the correct stretch fabric, they sit at the right place at my waist. I also added 1″ to the pant leg as I don’t care for cropped pants on me.

Charcoal Pair

I also made a small, like 1/2″ swayback adjustment in my four new pairs in addition to shortening the front crotch length a hair at 1/4″. Finally, I used 2″ elastic instead of 1.5″ and shortened the elastic 4″ for a snugger waist fit.

Olive pair

My olive and navy pairs sewed up super quick and now I have a real wardrobe of pants for the fall!

Oh what an actual joy to open my closet and have pants to wear. I swear I haven’t had more than two pairs of pants at any given time in ten years.

Black, front

Fabric: Except the first black pair which was in my stash, I bought my mostly rayon ponte from Spandex House in NY (am linking to the swatch cards, you probably need to call to order). This has almost the same make up as the well loved and raved about Robert Kauffman Arietta ponte. I would have happily purchased the latter, but I couldn’t find all the colors I wanted from one store when I was looking.

Charcoal rear / side view

I’d like to try a wider leg ponte pant next fall. I’m looking at the Style Arc Sailor Sue. I love the slight flair and pull on nature. Plus, I read with wide leg pants, my knock knee alteration isn’t as needed. And because they are a little more flowy, I’d def try them in red, royal blue and yellow.

Despite my blog name, I avoid sewing pants. These made me feel like a pants ninja!

21 comments

  1. Love a good ponte pant myself. But have never thought of making them. The fit is great – i never made a connection using a knock kneed adjustment in this way. Thanks!!!!!

  2. Ten-year old post … wow! (Actually, it’s 12 hahaha!) I’ve been following your ponte pants on IG and am happy to see them all here in this post. They look great and I’m super jealous. I haven’t sewn a stitch in months and months. I also wondered if Jalie named this pattern for you and I’m glad to learn it’s true. Al Gore invented the internet AND was the inspo for Love Story? Who knew? 🙂

    • Debbie! You are the queen! I wouled have had no idea if I hadn’t read that post all those years ago. I remember when I read about Gore and the Love Story inspo in college and just cackled. But, it was a good reminder for me to check my facts before I spout off. I had zero interst in sewing the first few months into this pandemic. Sewing for what world? Where was I going? Even now my new pants feel “too nice” to wear around the house. But, at least I’m now in sweatpants when I do need to go out. A big thank you to documenting what you did back in the day. You’ve helped a whole generation of sewists.

  3. I love a good ponte pant, and I am planning several pairs to replace worn ones in my wardrobe. These look great, and once they are fitted they sew up in no time. I was reorganizing my to sew fabric for fall fabrics and found 5 yards of black ponte that I forgot I bought. I had seen a posting from Trudy of Hot Patterns about how to get 3 pairs of pants out of 5 yards, which I expect it’s why I bought that much. I have a tnt pattern, similar to yours, I only buy ponte without polyester which seems to encourage pilling.

    • I didn’t know about the polyester and pilling until I asked on Insta for ponte sources. The black I got is a hair shiny, so I don’t love that. But overall I’m just happy to have things I can wear! Three pairs our of five yards is brilliant. I’ll have to go back and look for that post. I guess I’m the last one on the ponte pants train!

  4. You had a bit of a pant fitting journey (don’t we all?) but it looks like you have achieved the perfect pair of ponte pants! Looking forward to more colors and the variations!

  5. These pants look fabulous! I have a pile of ponte hanging around — may need to break it out and try this pattern. Thanks for sharing your fitting process. Aside: I knew about Al Gore “inventing” the Internet, but inspo for “Love Story,” too? You are a fountain of wisdom. And THANKS for getting Debbie to resurface! Her posts are a treasure and it’s good to know that she is still here, even if not sewing.

    • I feel like the Love Story story just wasn’t told enough, lol! I read about it back in college. Debbie’s post are a treasure! She’s an OG Auntie of the sewing community.

  6. These look so great and the fit is amazing! I really like the colors too – they provide a lot of great options. I was never really that interested by the idea of ponte pants, but quarantine life has changed a great many things about the types of clothes I thought I wanted to wear. I might have to explore the idea of ponte pants for my winter wardrobe sewing…

    • Hahaha! Yes! Ponte pants to me didn’t make sense? But, now that I’m home, structured feels strange. And running quick errands in sweatclothes never appealed to me. These are the happy medium.

  7. I think a knock knee adjustment is about the only thing I haven’t tried but I will for my next foray into pants fitting – this has worked wonders for your pants

  8. “The drag lines at the front were egregious, bordering on disrespectful”. Ah, Miss Celie, you are a girl after my own heart (and full thighs!).

  9. Formerly ponte-avoident sewer here, too, but it turns out that my ponte pants are the first things I reach for now. Nancy Karpen has it right in her comment above about polyester content; when I finally fell, the first pontes I bought pilled like mad. Buying ponte with rayon/nylon/spandex is a lot more satisfying.

    I’m loving your waist-alteration tips; it wouldn’t have occurred to me that there might be a huge difference in how the waist rises depending on the amount of stretch. That will be really useful when I make up my own Renees!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s