Sewing in the time of Corona! Let’s face it, nobody is really going anywhere or doing very much and we’re all living in our most comfortable clothes. Right?! Lucky for us the indie pattern designers have us covered with must-have elastic waist pants! With so many options to choose from, we thought we’d narrow down the choices and see how they compare.
Before we get started, let’s talk fabric! For most styles of elastic waist pants, you are going to want a light to medium-weight woven. Then, the choice will be if you want your pants to have some drape and movement or if you want them to have a bit more body and shape.
For a softer look, try Tencel twill, rayon crepe, or rayon challis. People often think lighter weight rayons are a bit too thin for pants, but for drapey, wide-leg pants, they are a great choice, especially for lounging around the house. A good middle ground would be a soft washed linen or linen blend that offers both body and drape. Or, for a more structured look, try a heavier linen, light denim, twill, or even a cotton shirting.
What about knits? While some elastic waist patterns are designed for knits or have the option to use knits or wovens, we are all for experimenting with using knits on specified woven patterns! Like wovens, you want to decide how much drape or structure you want for your fitted garment. For drapier, less fitted pants, choose a mid-weight rayon jersey. And for more shape or structure, try a stable cotton jersey, ponte knit, or even a cozy fleece or French terry.
Now, let’s dive into pattern options!
These customer favorite patterns both offer a great high waisted pant with minimal fuss. They feature fully elasticized waistbands and clean silhouettes, making them suitable projects for sewist of all skill levels. Their versatile styling also make them wardrobe workhorses that can be enjoyed around home or easily dressed up for work.
The key difference between these two patterns is in the different options they include. Megan Nielsen’s Opal pattern is loaded with options to mix and match for a variety of different looks—standard or paper bag elastic waist, optional drawstring, patch or inseam pockets, three length choices…the list goes on. The Free Range Slacks are a bit more minimal with just two leg options (tapered or straight) and two lengths (full or cropped)
If fully elasticized waists are a bit too casual, try these flat front options. Both patterns offer a clean, flat front while keeping the same comfort and ease with an elastic back waistband and wide-leg silhouette. They also include a few pleat details for added fit and styling.
The best part about these two patterns is the wide range of sizes and fits that they cover. Emerson includes sizes 0 to 18 and offers both high and mid-rises, while Cashmerette’s Calder includes sizes 12 to 32 with apple and pear pelvis variations to help achieve the best fit.
Want to kick the style factor up a notch?! Both one these indie patterns take elastic waist pants to the next level, with unique front pocket constructions, pieced front legs, and modern silhouettes. Each pattern has its own vibe and look others are sure to notice!
The Pietra and Arenite both come loaded with options. The Pietra includes wide and tapered leg styles and three different length options and the Arenite includes three different leg finishes (hem, knit cuff, and elastic). One key difference between the two patterns, besides the overall silhouette, is that the Closet Core pattern offers a flat front and elastic back waistband while the waistband on the Sew Liberated pattern is fully elasticized.
Say yes to joggers! A stand-out trend in RTW, these elastic waist pants have knit cuffs or elastic to finish the legs and are a more stylish and fitted choice than traditional sweatpants. Both the Hudson and Luna patterns feature this sportier silhouette and are the ultimate choice for comfort!
With extra ease and a roomier fit, the Luna Pants can be made out of woven or knit fabrics with no modifications. While the Hudson Pants pattern was designed specifically for knit fabrics, it can easily be adapted for the use of a woven (find the designer’s tips HERE).
No Frills Choice: Named’s Ninni Culottes
New to sewing pants or just want a super quick project? The Ninni Culottes are the elastic waist pants for you! This pattern gets straight to the point with very few extra options and features. Just amazing comfort all the way! Recently updated, it also includes instructions for using knits or wovens, for added versatility!
That wraps up our comparison of elastic waist indie pants patterns! Hopefully, this helped explain the different options and showed you what details to look for and how they compare. We also gathered the key details for each pattern in the table below for easy reference—designer, size, length options, etc. Happy comfort sewing!
*Chart updated 9/5/2020, the Sew House Seven Free Range Slacks printed pattern is now available in two size ranges—00 to 20 and 18 to 34.
A Note about Elastic: Be sure to use a knit elastic when it is going to be topstitched in place, like on a waistband. Knit elastics do not change their shape or width when stretched, making them the best choice for waistbands, especially for the wider widths. Save narrower braided elastics to use in casings, like at the ankle on joggers.