We have such a special gift for you today! Asmita shares his Cannes pants, designed as palazzo pants. Its beautiful red fabric is combined with a hand-embroidered border. Simply beautiful, Asmita!
When the Cannes pants pattern first came out, I remember thinking these would be the perfect palazzo pants. Palazzo pants, at least in the Indian context, are those worn under kurtas, usually made of lightweight fabric, and often have an elastic waistband. Liesl and several other members of the Circle of Advisors styled them very differently, but I couldn't get the “Indian” version out of my mind. Lately, I've preferred pants with a non-elastic waist, and what drew me to these were both their high waist and puffy bottom and, last but not least, their good deep pockets.
Sizing and Alterations: I fall between sizes 10 and 12 (my measurements are: h 41″, w 32″). At the hips, the Canes have an ease of 5″ (for these sizes). However, I wanted something that would skim my thighs so I would need less ease in that area. The reason is that since I mainly planned to wear it under a kurta, you can't have too much fabric on the thighs. Most kurtas worn with a palazzo are at least knee-length; having too much material in the stuff area (like ease would have given me) wouldn't have given me the look I was going for.
The second part I had to change was the length. I'm 5'5″ and usually have to shorten all Liesl+Co models by at least 2-3″ to get an inseam that hits just below my ankles. However, in this case, I wanted my pants to be a bit shorter, just above the knee. I watched what Erica (another board member had done) with her Cannes. Based on this, I took off 2″ at the Lengthen and Shorten line, then another 3″ at the bottom hem. I did this by redrawing a new (curved) line 3 inches from the bottom line. For reference, my hem is raised 1.5″ (but I'll talk more about that when I talk about how I attached the edging.)
Finally, in addition to interfacing my entire waistband, I also added interfacing to the part of the pocket that is attached to the side seam. I'm glad I did this because of the type of fabric I used (hand woven cotton, very lightweight). This added much-needed “weight” to hold the pockets.
I completely skipped the belt loops and waistband, partly because I didn't have enough fabric and couldn't use them under a kurta.
Attaching the border: My fabric is not a border print, but I was quite attached to the idea of a border for my Cannes pants. A few years ago I bought this beautiful hand-embroidered ‘border' in Jaipur. She was in my stash, too pretty and too precious to be used until I knew I had found the right project for her.
A word about “edging”: such edgings are regularly sold in fabric stores. They are used to embellish necklines, sleeves and sometimes hemlines. Usually these are sold as strips of fabric with an embroidered panel. Like this one, it's not hard to find hand-embroidered ones sold by the meter.
To attach the edging I did the following.
1. Folded and sewn ½” from the hem of the pants.
2. Fold it over an extra 1″ and baste it with yarn of a different color (white) to hold the hem.
3. I opened the crotch side seam from below so I could insert my edging (measuring about 2″ wide).
4. Sew the bottom edge to this folded (and basted) leg hem.
5. Hand sew the top border (I didn't want to do this by machine as I didn't want any creases.)
6. Insert the (short) ends of the edging into the open inside seam and close the side seam as if the edging and the fabric were one.
7. Finally, hand sew the folded hem of the leg (halfway between the bottom edge and the top edge of the edging).
The suggested hem for the pants would have covered almost the full width of the hem. I didn't because the edging fabric tends to be quite heavy with its embroidery and mirror work. I was afraid that the bottom of the pants would stick out too much with another layer of fabric and lose its “swirling” effect.
Choice of fabric: Summer is when pretty border prints hit the market, and my original idea was to make them with a border print or embroidered Shiffli fabric. As things unfolded, I fell in love with the southern cotton woven dots and knew I wanted to make Cannes pants with it. To achieve the border print effect, I attached a border at the hem. Another point regarding the fabric: you may notice some creases at the back of the hip. This fabric is a loose weave and tends to stretch considerably with use, and I didn't want it to sag over time. Although it looks like it could be done with some ease, it is very comfortable and I now have to wait for it to soften and “grow out” a bit.
Sewing experience: For about a year, I have been following the “top-down center out” method (#tdco) which @ithacamaven has proposed. For this model also, I followed the same method. I cut out a size 10 for my muslin, and from the alterations I can tell I'm somewhere between size 10 and 12, as I had expected. The sewing itself was as pleasant an experience as it tends to be with all Liesl+Co designs. Two things in particular seemed a lot easier this time around: tying the zipper and ribbing the pockets. This is my third or fourth pant in the last two years, and it's true that practice improves technique and the overall sewing experience!
How I style it: I'm happy that by sewing the pattern for the Cannes pants, I was able to make the pants I had imagined. My big decision, in terms of sewing, was whether to attach a separate border. Would the pants hang differently without the trim? “Most certainly, I would say. The border gives it a more festive and, dare I say, an “ethnic” touch, and with it, the chances of me wearing them as simple pants are almost nil. Also, was it worth spending all your time and energy on making pants that have a cut you can't see under a kurta? I've worn a lot of ill-fitting pants under a kurta and I'll finally be happy to have one that fits so well. I love the fitted waist and the pockets, and call them what you want: palazzos or pants; I never see the need to buy ready-to-wear again!