Retro-chic . . . maybe

A month or so ago someone told me about Our Social Fabric, a company that collects unwanted fabric and notions and opens up shop a few hours, a couple of days a month. Most fabrics sell for a dollar or two a yard. I picked up quite a few pieces of fabric, including a bit of crisp cotton chintz and an old Vogue pattern — number 2938. I was particularly taken with the “paperbag” waist on the pants. I’ve seen that waist recently in a magazine and have tried it on my own for a couple of pairs of pants, but I can’t say the results were stellar. I thought I would start with a pair of shorts as a sort of wearable toile, and if the results were good, move on to pants.


I thought the cotton would work well with the pattern.


There are a few problems. It turns out the cotton is very crisp. So much so that, despite the light weight, it doesn’t drape like I expected. I had to take in the hips, of course, but it’s hard to know how much when there are front pleats. This fabric kind of bunches at the hips. The real problem is with my vision. I keep “seeing” those horrible jeans of a few decades back — they had front pleats and tapered down into narrow ankles. They were hideous, but the style for gawd knows how long. I haven’t worn front pleats since then. I can’t “see” what these shorts look like because of the interior image of those hideous jeans.

IMG_0988 IMG_0990

So, what do these things look like? Retro-chic? Or just plain old-fashioned? The pattern package gives the date as 1992, which didn’t seem that long ago to me until I started counting. My lord, something 23 years old is beyond old-fashioned isn’t it? That’s old enough for retro, right? Gotta be.

So, I don’t know whether I should try long pants or not. I think I’d have to alter the legs. Not have them taper, but stay wide. And use a fabric more drapey than the cotton? Like maybe this wool?


I’m thinking ahead to winter. And I bought that wool, along with two other pieces of fine drapey wool at the same sale.

This is a real problem with being old enough to have gone around all the fashion cycles a few times. I thought I would never wear front-pleated pants again. Ever. But I like drapey looks. So, what do you think? Should I go ahead and try pants, or forget about it? I hate using a pattern only once, but at least there’s a cool wrap skirt pattern also in the package that I’m going to try.


8 thoughts on “Retro-chic . . . maybe”

  1. I’m in the boat…I’ve just made pleated trousers for the first time in 20 years but that same image that you have in your head is in mine too! However, your shorts do not look like you found them after 20 years in an old suitcase, they are fresh and flattering. The deep waistband keeps them fitted not baggy. Nice!


    1. Thank you Ruth. It’s hard to get rid of that internal image. I think I’ll wear these shorts as much as possible for the next month and then decide whether to go for pants or not.


  2. I’m with sewtruth. They look very modern.
    I think you should go for the pants, but the wide version you were talking about.
    You also affirmed th eneed to look out for old /retro/vintage patterns more. Sometimes you just find a little gem like this!


    1. I’m not convinced yet to go for the pants Marjolein, but I’m definitely thinking about it. In the meantime, I’m going straight for the wrap skirt pattern in the same envelope. We’ll see how that one looks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice pattern and experiment Felicia.

    Paper bag waist pants do look best on women with large bottoms and small waists. This is not so much a fashion thing as a shape thing.

    You have quite a flat bottom, not much waist and slim legs. I would suggest you choose a more fitted style of pants, without a waist band, and maybe consider cropped styles to show of your beautiful ankles. Having said that I might try these “shorts” quite a lot shorter, finishing at thigh level, and see what that does.


    1. Lol, Kate, I’m not cutting these shorts shorter. Maybe if I were 19 ….. I appreciate your feedback. I’m not sure I like them on me yet either. Not rushing to make a pair of long pants. But the paper bag waist is such a cute style!

      Liked by 1 person

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