Pattern Review ~ Britches & Bloomers

on September 17 | in Products, Sewing Inspiration | by | with 10 Comments

From Beth: Mary dabbles in a variety of craft and art activities; a short perusal of Mary’s blog, Confessions of a Craft Addict, shows she truly loves to sew! Be sure to check out Mary’s blog and introduction, then enjoy her pattern review of the popular Britches & Bloomers pattern below. Mary used some Damask from the Manzanita fabric collection by Joel Dewberry for these cute pants, with contrasting Brown Dots.
Pattern
Jackie Clark’s Britches & Bloomers Pattern
Description
“Easy-to-stitch pants for little boys & girls,” according to the pattern package. A slightly tapered-leg pant with either a contrasting ruffle or cuff and either hip or side pockets.

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Girl’s pants by Mary, Confessions of a Craft Addict

Materials
While the package doesn’t specify what types of fabric to use, the photographs on the package all show Britches & Bloomers made from woven cotton fabric. You also could use flannel with good results, as well as twill and lightweight denim. And how about a nice fine whale corduroy?The pattern calls for 1/2 yard of fabric for sizes newborn through 1T or 2/3 yard for sizes 2T-4T, plus an additional 1/4 yard in a contrasting fabric (ruffle or cuff and pocket plus pocket lining). You’ll also need a package of 3/8″ elastic and, of course, thread.
Overall Design 4 stars
This is a great basic pair of pants for little kids and has been my go-to pants pattern since I first bought it. I especially like that the pants are basically two pieces (outside of the accent pieces), which makes stitching them up a breeze. My only complaint about the design relates to the rise of this pattern: it’s huge. Even when my daughter was in diapers, I found it was more than generous in accommodating her baby belly and Pampers. The pattern pieces also make a large jump in length between the 1T and 2T sizes. The lack of a size chart means you either have to guess at what size will fit your child or measure the pattern pieces and your child to determine which size to use — which isn’t always easy for those with toddlers who’d rather run away than stand still while Mom measures their inseam.

 

Written Instructions 5 stars
The pattern instructions are easy to follow for all levels of sewists, giving beginners enough guidance to create a nice, wearable garment without going into so much detail that the more advanced find them tedious. There are illustrations for pattern layout, pocket sewing and placement and even attaching the ruffle or cuff. I did get a little confused the first time I stitched on a cuff instead of a ruffle but that could easily be my ADHD self skipping through too quickly, which I have a rather bad habit of doing.
Diagrams / Images 5 stars
Color photographs on the outside of the pattern package show different variations of the Bloomers & Britches and are definitely helpful in visualizing how to put together the pants in multiple ways. The instructions include several drawings to help you along, from pattern layout (although that diagram shows the pocket cut from the same fabric, instead of a contrasting one) to attaching the ruffle or cuff and even using a safety pin as a bodkin for the elastic (unnecessary for me but could be helpful to someone who’s never done it before).

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Cutting out a leg.

Pattern Pieces 4 stars
There’s only one sheet of heavy brown tissue paper with all the pattern pieces. The pocket is divided into two sizes (one for the smaller pants sizes and one for the larger). Pants are grouped into baby and toddler sizes, and the lines are easy to see for cutting. I prefer to trace my pattern pieces on Pattern Ease and it was easy to follow the lines for tracing my pattern piece.

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The pieces all cut out, ready to sew.

Overall Level of Difficulty Beginner
This is a great pants pattern for a beginner and provides a nice starting point for a more advanced sewist who can see the potential for more creative embellishments.
Modifications + Tips
The pattern calls for very little topstitching but it’s something I add to the front and rear seams and above the ruffle. I just find that topstitching those areas makes for a more polished garment — and topstitching the front and rear seams (especially after serging) gives a little added strength to an area that needs a boost for active little kids.I find that I do a couple of things to help with the over-generous rise each time I sew these pants. One is to trim a little bit from the waist area. Because the waist is a straight edge (no dips or curves like on some more fitted pants), it’s easy to use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim away the excess. I also prefer to use 3/4″ elastic instead of 3/8″ elastic, although I likely would stick to the smaller size on the infant sizes of this pattern.

If you enjoy serging in the round, you’ll love serging in the elastic of these pants. And if not, give it a try! It really makes these pants come together even faster and is a great way to keep the waistband even without shifting or twisting elastic. Alternatively, I have sewn in the elastic with great results: just pin the circle of elastic to the waist and stretch it as you sew before folding it over to make the waistband.

Because the ruffle instructions call for such a narrow (1/8″) hem, I often take one of two approaches.
1. Add a rolled hem on my serger.
2. Cut double the width of the ruffle and fold it in half so both raw edges are gathered and stitched to the them of the pants.

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Topstitching above the ruffle.

I’ve also made these pants without a ruffle or cuff and find that the 2T length is perfect for my daughter to wear that way. The pants are just as cute with two pockets as one — or without any pockets at all!

Fabric Recommendations
I like using a heavier-weight cotton fabric for these pants since bottoms typically get a bit more wear, especially as kids get more mobile. But a lightweight woven fabric works just as well and makes a nice warmer weather piece. Don’t be afraid to try lightweight denim, cotton twill or even corduroy for an even more versatile garment that could be worn in colder months. I’m planning to try these in flannel for loungewear this fall.
Conclusion
I really love sewing these pants! They’re easy to cut out and assemble, and sew up quickly (which is always a plus in my book, since much of my sewing is done during nap times or before my daughter wakes up in the morning). The fabric requirements are also minimal. And there’s just so much potential for embellishing these, from using contrasting fabrics for ruffles/cuffs/pockets to adding trims and even making bigger cargo-style pockets.

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Girl’s pants by Mary, Confessions of a Craft Addict

[tags]sewing pattern review, Britches & Bloomers pattern review, pants pattern review, Jackie Clark pattern, Jackie Clark Britches & Bloomers pattern, Jackie Clark pants pattern review[/tags]

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10 Responses to Pattern Review ~ Britches & Bloomers

  1. Southern Mom says:

    Thank you so much for this review! I’ve been tossing back and forth about this pattern, and after reading your review I will definitely buy it!

    How do you think it will work on the minkee-type fabric? Also, I don’t have a serger (I wish I did!), I typically just do a french seam – do you see that being a problem with this pattern? Thank you so much in advance for your help! It is great to be able to ask this question to someone who has experience with this pattern!

  2. Kat says:

    Thanks for the great review, Mary! It looks like a great basic pant pattern that would be fun to add on to!

  3. sheree says:

    Great review!! Love the fabrics you chose for the set–it is gorgeous, and so is your little one. :)

  4. Samantha says:

    Thanks for a great review! The added info is really helpful.

  5. Kristin says:

    The outfit is amazing and the review is excellent! (And the little girl is completely adorable too!) Thank you so much!

    I’m totally with you on top-stitching. That little extra can make a big difference.

  6. Mary says:

    Love these pants! They really are a lot of fun to sew. I know the pictures (and my review) don’t really reflect it, but the pants are unisex. Just make the boys’ style with a cuff instead of a ruffle. It really is amazing how the fabric choice changes up the look.

    The top I made is self drafted but really just a simple jumper that’s shortened to top length (and probably a little too short, to be honest).

  7. katie says:

    Those are adorable! Did I miss it…where can I find the pattern for that cute top?

  8. Camille says:

    So cute! I wish I could make these- every time I see the pattern I want to make some. I The only problem being that neither of my boys would look very good in that adorable outfit! Love the idea of the pattern review!

  9. Angela says:

    I JUST finished making my first pair of these for my daughter as PJ bottoms — they were so easy I’m ready to make more!!! Thanks for the pattern review!

  10. Mrs.Pear says:

    I LOVE this pattern! It is so hard to find cute capris, and with so many of the girls dresses now being so short and my daughter being so tall and slim, I am eager to get my hands on this pattern! Plus you make it sound SO easy!

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