One thing I love about sewing, among the plethora of things I love, is that it is a constant process of learning new skills and refining old ones. New materials pose all kinds of challenges, from learning to handle slippery fabrics, to testing thread tension, stitches – and learning to go back and forth between machines. Although New Look 6718 is hardly my first trousers pattern, it feels as though this was the beginning of quite a lot of adventures in learning and developing new techniques and revealing weaknesses in my current sewing practices. For one thing I worked on a range of tasks between the first of this make, and the second, and I feel I came so far between them that they were an excellent snapshot of my skills at each point in time.
This pattern – despite being more modern than what I tend to make now, had the perfect length rise for me. I had a suspicion from the illustrations on the front it would be rather long, and I also loved the wide legs and the narrow waistband. But as pants can still be quite a difficult item to fit, when I was working on the first pair – made from a secondhand wool blend, I of course churned through a few muslins. In fact with this pattern I broke my record of most muslins made for a pattern! This ended up being quite helpful, as I discovered that to get the fit I wanted I would need to do a peculiar grading I hadn’t done before. In at the waist, out at the hips, then back in at the legs! I also worked out that this pattern was rather short on me, so I ended up adding about 2″ to the leg length from the lower cut and lengthen line. Even then I could have gone a smidge longer.
However, before cutting into the final fabric I determined the need to add pockets to the pants. The one and only time I can do without pockets on trousers is when I am wearing them to dance class, so for trousers I wanted to wear out and about the lack of them wasn’t acceptable. However, as I churned through several muslins with differing pockets I began to wonder how on earth I was going to solve this problem. Side seam pockets were unappealing to me, welt-pockets were proving difficult to draft, and I couldn’t find a better example of a pocket to fall back on! Whilst doing some research, I discovered Kim Dave on Youtube. Not only was her channel full of incredible tutorials that were extremely beginner friendly for novice pattern drafters like me, she had a tutorial for drafting the perfect pocket for these pants: a slash pocket!
The final changes I made to this pattern, apart from the drafting of my own pockets, was to lengthen the crotch curve using my favourite Butterick 9779 pattern and then to move the zip to the centre back. I also lengthened the zipper, as I find this makes it easier for me to get in and out of pants where I need to size down for the hips. However, having completed the pants, I was left dissatisfied with the obvious nature of the zipper. So, after working on some other trouser patterns between this first and second make – which was of a secondhand black fabric, from a lovely online seller – I decided to up my game and learn how to sew invisible zippers. I had heard that these not only gave a much more professional finish, it was also meant to be somewhat easier and less time consuming to sew than a standard lapped zipper. Which I have grown less fond of over time. And since I already had the invisible zipper foot, and was able to source a whole batch of secondhand invisisble zippers, I had no excuse.
Once again, Youtube delivered in the form of the Made to Sew channel and their tutorial for stitching invisible zippers. Like Kim Dave’s channel, Made to Sew contains immense amounts of useful information for sewists. Their tutorial is quite involved and covers inserting an invisible zipper even if you don’t have access to an invisible zipper foot, so it’s quite helpful. And as a person who is largely self-taught and who has relied heavily on Youtube videos in order to learn new skills, I cannot recommend making use of channels like Kim Dave and Made to Sew enough. They are how I have gotten to where I am, and will continue to inspire me and help me develop my skills!
Pattern: New Look 6718
Views Made: View 3
Alterations Made: Graded from a 14 in the waist, to a 16 in the hips, to a 14 in the legs. Added 2” to the length of the legs, and used the elongated crotch curve of Butterick 9779 to extend the crotch curve. I also moved the zipper to the centre back and used a longer zipper.
Pros: Very simple pattern with good rise, narrow waistband so no risk of folding and creasing, pattern allows for lengthening and shortening in multiple areas, a good pattern for hacking.
Cons: Legs are strangely short for this kind of pattern, and legs are somewhat dramatic in terms of how wide they are.
Would I make it again: At this point no, if only because I am satisfied with the two I already have.
Would I recommend it for beginners: I would if it’s not your first pants pattern. Although in saying that, this pattern is straightforward enough that I would recommend it if you’re interested in making pants and have at least some fitting experience.