If you’ve read my other blog entries, you know I love pattern hacking and mashing. But I have to tell you - this may be my absolute favorite hack to date! Ever since the Paperbag skirt pattern came out a few years ago, I’ve had been thinking about the potential of this hack as the Sitting Pretty pants are one of my go to patterns every year when I refresh my wardrobe with a few new pieces. Ellie & Mac does already have a Paperbag pants pattern, but it’s for knits and I really wanted to sew up a pair in woven….plus I love the way the Sitting Pretty pants fit. So this month I finally sat down to figure out how to hack my TNT Sitting Pretty pants pattern to have a fun and very emphasized paper bag waist. Here is how they came out – I LOVE THEM!!
If you like this look, here are my step by step instructions for making your own woven Paperbag pants using the Sitting Pretty pattern – I’ve even done all of the math for you. Before you get started, though, it’s important to note that to get the look I achieved in my version, I sized up by ~1.5 sizes because I wanted a baggier look. Depending on the ease and intended fit of the pattern, I usually sew up either a medium or a large (so I measure somewhere in between), but for this version, I sized up to XL.
First, take the original waistband piece and add a total of five inches to the height.
Then use this revised waistband pattern piece to cut our your two waistbands.
We are now going to add some interfacing so that the top of the waistband has some structure and will stand up on its own instead of flop over. Cut out two pieces of fusible light or medium weight interfacing that are each the length of each waistband piece and are four inches tall. Fuse the interfacing to the middle of each piece. Tip – you can fold your waistband piece in half to mark the middle.
Now (not pictured), lay your two waistband pieces right sides together and sew up the short sides to make your waistband. You will now be working with one circular piece. Make sure you use the pattern’s stated 3/8“ seam allowance. Small differences in seam allowances really do matter with woven patterns!
Before we move to the next steps, fold your waistband in half, wrong sides together, with your two raw edges lined up. Your raw edges should be on the bottom and your folded edge should be on the top for the next piece. And you should be able to now feel that interfacing in the folded bit which is what’s going to make your waistband stand up nicely.
So here is where the math and the measuring come in to play, but I have done all of it for you! We are going to draw a series of lines along the band to guide your stitching of the elastic casing. You can either use washable fabric markers for this, or if you are like me and all your fabric markers dried up, you can use a regular marker and then just be sure when you attach the band to the pants that this marked side is your WRONG SIDE. Here we go!
First, draw a line 3/8” above the raw bottom edge of the band. This marks where your band will attach to your pants. Then, measure up one inch and draw another line. This second line will be the bottom of your elastic casing. The location of your next line will be determined by the width of your elastic and personal preference. I used two-inch elastic and I don’t like my elastic to be too snug in the case, so I added a full 3/8” to my two inch elastic, so my next line is drawn 2 3/8” above the bottom elastic casing line. Even using two-inch elastic, I still have a nice amount of room above my casing for the paperbag waist look.
Here are two pictures to help – my waistband with all my lines drawn and also an illustration of the measurements I used.
Now you are ready to stitch your casing. Stitch over your bottom and top elastic casing lines, but remember to leave a two inch gap in the bottom stitching line so that you can insert your elastic. You can fully stitch your top casing line. Note - My personal preference is to assemble my waistband, insert my elastic, and then attach it to the pants, but if you prefer to attach the band to the pants before inserting your elastic, you can do this; however, remember to leave a two inch gap when attaching the band so that you can get to that elastic casing.
After completing your stitch lines, follow the instructions in the original pants pattern to insert your elastic and then close the opening in the casing.
Here is my completed waistband:
And that’s the end of the hack! Assemble your pants per pattern instructions and attach the waistband following that original bottom line you drew which represents the stitching line/3/8” seam allowance for this.
Tada – Woven Paperbag Pants!
Thanks for hanging in there on the instructions and I hope you enjoyed this hack! If you use it, I would love to see you share your version in the Facebook group. I am literally obsessed with these pants! My affiliate links are included in the text above if I’ve inspired you to try this hack or pick up any of the great patterns I mentioned in my post.
(Written By: Andrea Mulford)