|What could possibly be difficult about harem pants, right? Well, this pattern very nearly did my head in.|
The way Issey Miyake constructs these harem pants, you might as well be working on a rocket ship. Or a rubics cube. Maybe this will be easy for people with a good grip on 3D geometry, but my brain doesn't do that sort of thing. Even after I had already made a muslin and figured out how to put the pattern pieces together, by the time I got around to making the real version a couple of weeks later, it was a head scratching and copious frowning marathon all over again. If you lose the instructions, you may as well throw away the pattern and save yourself a lot of grief. For those who contemplate these pants, hang onto the instructions for dear life, mark all the circles and notches, and my special tip, whatever you do, mark the roll line and the centre front and back with thread.
That said, the pants are a quick and simple sew from a technical point is view, provided you don't go in for the nonsense with the double welt pockets. This style of pant looks a lot better with a long tunic over the top, so nobody will see them anyway. If you must have pockets, do yourself a favour and make patch ones.
The pattern is quite old and the number has been reused by Vogue, so the pattern photo showing above is of another pattern. It is difficult to see the style lines clearly in the photo because the pants are black, so have a look at the 'More info provided' link just below the pattern picture to see the drawing. Vogue had three pattern pieces (not counting the pockets), front and side, back and other side and waistband. But I am willing to bet that originally front, back and sides were only one giant pattern piece, almost 2m long and 1.5m wide. Since I liked the idea of not having the extra seam, I joined both pattern pieces where the separate pieces would have been sewn together. You need to drop the seam allowances, but it works just fine.
Once you have your one enourmous piece of cut out fabric, or have sewn the two pieces Vogue planned for you together, you find your CF and CB lines, your roll line, say a few prayers to the sewing gods, take a deep breath and somehow wrestle the enormous piece into a semblance of pants. Finishing off the leg hems makes more sense after that. Doing the leg hems first like Vogue wants in the instructions requires a bigger leap of faith than I am prepared to do, but I suppose it will work.
The harem style with the very dropped crotch is not for everyone, but I have worn these pants a lot, as I find them supremely comfortable and I enjoy the look. I used a very light crinkle cotton with a barely noticeable bamboo-like stripe, which emphasises the unusual construction. The fabric is a touch sheer, but with pants that is not the problem it would be with a skirt, especially not with a long top, and I happen to think that the low crotch demands a long tunic for balance anyway. This one is almost to the knee. The tunic is another Lily dress, shortened. I do like the ensemble, it reminds me a bit of a salwar kameez, but without the shawl and with a cowl.