Zip Detail DIY Floral Ponte Pants

Floral Ponte Pants

My penultimate make before Christmas and today I have some comfy, stretch, zip detail floral Ponte pants to show you. Before I go any further though, I really think this blog post ought to have been called “fitting pants is a pain in the butt!”…I’ll explain why later on…But in the meantime let’s get chatting about the details…

First off, the fabric I used came from Clothspot and is a lovely sturdy Ponte knit in a subtle waterlily design in teal and olive browns. I had in mind a slim pant style with a zip at the ankle so I used my original pattern for this that I created a few years back from a RTW pair of pants that seemed to fit me ok. When I first did the pattern I made a few toiles and made several (many, many!) adjustments. 

Floral Ponte Pants
Floral Ponte Pants

On this pair of pants, I made a new design change by adapting the back of the lower leg. I noticed that some of my pants seemed to stick out at the back towards the hemline and I wanted them to hug the curve of my calf more. I decided to create a seam down the centre where I could add shape, here’s how (bear in mind that I’ve never done this adjustment before so I totally winged it so I hope it makes sense): 

  • I worked out where the back of my knee was on the pattern piece and created a horizontal seam across at this point.
  • I divided the lower leg section into two down the middle.
  • To shape the centre seam I first removed ¼”(about 6mm) grading to nothing at about 3”(7.5cm) down. Then at the bottom, I removed ½”(1.2cm) grading to nothing at about 7.5”(18cm) up the leg.
  • In order to keep the overall widths the same, I added the amounts back on at the sides (I hope this was the right thing to do!)
  • Finally, I drew my finished pieces and added seam allowances.

***note, if you have curvier calves your measurements might need to be adjusted. I literally guestimated mine.

My waistband is slightly contoured for a nicer fit and I added a single layer zip guard for a clean and less bulky look. To make the inside a bit pretty I used a toning teal-coloured thread on my overlocker and neatened the edges with the stitch length set at about 2 and a wide cutting width. It looks almost like binding around the edges which I really like.

Waistband detail of Floral Ponte Pants

Last up, I added the zips and stitched the hems. Sewing the zips in was really easy, I just folded back the seam allowances, basted the zips down each side and using a zipper foot I stitched a little way back from the folded edges. The fabric was easy to work with and it made for a really pleasant sewing experience.

Floral Ponte Pants

Floral Ponte Pants Fitting Woes

Ok, so I mentioned at the top of this post about fit woes. Well, I did have to faff a bit with these pants when I was making them but it was during the time I spent taking these photos that I realised something was off with the fit. I kept fiddling with them as the legs felt like they were twisting. It doesn’t show up on the photos but basically, the inseam keeps coming forwards toward the hems and the outseam goes backwards. The problem appears to be due to the fact that my legs rotate inwards from my hips. I vaguely remember when I first made my pants pattern that I altered the seams, but various incarnations of the pattern might have caused it to have morphed a bit over the last couple of years. I haven’t sewn any new pants from my own block for a while but I clearly need to re-do the pattern.

Floral Ponte Pants

Anyhoo…after standing and staring at my legs for ages (as you do!) I think I know what I need to do (it’s difficult to explain but I’ll try and cover it in a future post) and I’m determining to get a new, well-fitting pattern block sorted. Slim-fit pants are a wardrobe staple for me so It needs to be done to maintain my sanity 🙂

Floral Ponte Pants

Sadly, I can’t alter these pants so I’m going to have to put up with the twists and wear them anyway. But I’m a woman on a mission so I will work to get perfect fitting pants if it kills me! You can hold me to that statement 🙂

In the meantime, thanks for reading and feel free to commiserate and share your fitting woes in the comments.

See you soon!

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  1. Giedre
    December 12, 2020 / 7:21 am

    Fitting anything can be a real pain in the butt, I think 🙂 Oh that made a curious and a bit amusing read! A woman on a mission part was funny and absolutely relatable. These pants are lovely! However, you can’t unsee things that you saw, so wishing the best of success with the patern overhaul – will be looking forward for a post on that. I have not yet attempted pants myself, was dreading exactly that – the fitting, the twisting and other joys with them. Might as well harness enough courage when I see your advices on the pattern.
    And as a side note – am truly looking forward to hearing about your coat project, when you take it on!

    • diane
      December 12, 2020 / 11:00 am

      Thank you so much as always Giedre. So true…once you see something you can’t unsee it, but I’m sure I’ll wear and enjoy them. My leopard pants made from a Vogue pattern do the same and I enjoy wearing them. I will, however, sort out my own pattern block. As for my coat project, I’m still waiting for the fabric to arrive which I ordered a week ago. I have everything else except for buttons.

  2. December 12, 2020 / 2:01 pm

    I love your flowered pontes! I have several of these – RTW, pull-up – that I love. I’ve only made one pair of pants and I wasn’t wildly impressed 🙂 I am one of those strange women who can actually wear pants off the rack reasonably well. I often joke they must have been using my body for a model when they created pants blocks for commercial use because honestly 90% of pants fit me. That deflates my motivation to make them. I’m a perfect 16 (and have been since I was 16 years old – I’m now 66) or Large. Now in a more upper end pant (vanity sizing sort of price tag 🙂 ) I can go down as low as a 12 but then they can be short (I’m tall). I do have some pants patterns though just in case the mood strikes me 🙂 and I’ve taken a few workshops online and in person here in Victoria BC Canada (with Alexandra Morgan who is fabulous and I highly recommend her work on youtube and on her web site) but fitting pants is tricky. There are too many parts that must move yet look great still as well. I look forward to watching your process as always Diane 🙂

    • diane
      December 12, 2020 / 4:14 pm

      Thank you, Kathleen! Ooh, you are lucky being able to just wear RTW pants off the rack, I might be reluctant to make my own if I could do the same. To find a pair that fit me is like finding snow on Ayers Rock!
      Thanks for the Alexandra Morgan rec, I’ll be sure to check out her videos.

  3. Joan
    December 12, 2020 / 5:16 pm

    Hi Diane,
    I love your new pants: beautiful fabric and wonderful fit. The fitting seam in the lower back leg is a beautiful detail.
    As usual, your finishing of the waist, fly and ankle zips are very clean and elegant.
    The only thing I notice is the wrinkling around the knee of your right leg in several photos: I’m not sure if they are just closely fitted there? Being half-Chinese (most/many Asian women have very flat bottoms and knock-knees!), I have to do a lower leg alteration that allows more room for a bump on the inside of the knee, and also pay attention to the leg profile in slim pants and slimmer leggings.
    Interesting that you I.D. your issue as twisting at the lower leg: the inseam and outset seem to hit the center of your leg and look vertically straight, at least in the photos.

    • diane
      December 12, 2020 / 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much, Joan.
      I do see those wrinkles a little and I’m thinking it may be because I had tried to tug at the legs so the seams looked right for the photos…told you I kept faffing with And that’s also why you perceive the seams as looking ok down my legs. The little wrinkles could also be the fact that I’m a bit hypermobile in my joints and I often stand with my knees pushed back and I notice that I’m doing that in the photos with my right leg too.
      Interesting that you mention a bump on the inside of the knee…I have that! Do you just curve the seam out at that point? I’m worried that doing that will highlight my knee bump more.

      • Joan
        December 15, 2020 / 7:08 pm

        Hi Diane,
        I’ve been looking for the pant alterations book that I followed for my basic pant a long time ago, a really excellent Singer fitting series from the 80’s, I believe), but it is still in a packing box from our move, so I will keep looking so that I can snap a photo of the alteration for you. It did isolate the knee region and move it inward and redrew seam and cut lines, but I want to find that for you, with more details (after I finish wrapping and shipping holiday gifts!).

        • diane
          December 15, 2020 / 7:18 pm

          Oh, bless you, thank you, Joan. I’ve actually just ordered a remnant of Ponte knit to re-do a wearable toile as part of my pattern overhaul and I’ve been trying on some of my other pants and analysing the little problem areas. I’ll probably have a go at it between Christmas and New Year 🙂

  4. Sharon
    December 12, 2020 / 9:43 pm

    Amazing floral pants and the zip detail. Fitting pants is our own nightmare, sometimes I feel we are trying to do the undoable but it doesn’t stop us from trying and I am as guilty with pants as any person.

    • diane
      December 13, 2020 / 10:24 am

      Thank you, Sharon. Actually, you’re right, we do seem to be trying to do the undoable. Perhaps we’re too critical when in reality maybe the problems we see aren’t perhaps as noticeable.

  5. Sandra
    December 18, 2020 / 1:31 pm

    I’m not a good enough sewist for pants, but I love the top. Can you tell me the pattern?

    • diane
      December 18, 2020 / 3:56 pm

      Thanks, Sandra. Yes, pants can be tricky sometimes(perhaps try a wide-leg style for your first pair you may find them easier). Glad you like my top. It’s a Burda pattern and I blogged about it last year. The pattern number is 108 from the September 19 collection. A few weeks ago though, I altered the neckline from the original, which I decided wasn’t overly flattering on me. The sleeves are fab though!

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