Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Aviator Pants by Winter Wear Patterns - Pattern Revolution Tryout Review

I've got really exciting news that I am still pinching myself about - I was just selected to be a contributor for Pattern Revolution! I submitted the application last month, and found out right after we'd gone away on vacation that I was one of the finalists who'd gotten a callback. For our callback, we had to pick one of the patterns from Winter Wear Designs, sew it up, and write a sample review. Here's what I submitted:

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Hi, I’m Rachel from Handcrafted by RED, and I was so excited to have the chance to review the Aviator Pants by Winter Wear Designs! The Aviator Pants are a knit cargo pant with lots of included options and a great size range (18m - 14), and their versatility makes them a great staple for your pattern stash. I sew primarily for my 5 year old daughter and 2.5 year old son, so any pattern that can be used for both of them automatically goes to the top of my “must buy” list. Although this pattern was part of last summer’s Bundle Up sale for boys, it can certainly be used for girls, too. Even my dresses-and-leggings-preferring girly girl really liked the pair I sewed up for her.
There is no shortage of options here, especially when it comes to fun details! The Aviator Pants pattern also includes:
·         Three (yes, 3!) pockets – front slash pockets, back welt pockets, and side cargo pockets
·         Cuffed hems and triangle cutouts on the lower legs – great for showcasing a special or bold print (or using a precious fabric sparingly)
·         Knit yoga-style waistband for optimal comfort (and recommended measurements for elastic lengths should you choose to add it, as I did)
·         A cutting line on the pattern pieces to make shorts
·         Substantial rise that is lower in the front and higher in the back, and provides good rear coverage (even for diapers in the smallest sizes - my little guy was wearing disposables in the size 3 pants that I sewed for him, and the back rise was plenty)
·         Great comfy fit that is roomy without being sloppy
·         Guidelines for selecting a size based on waist, hip, and outseam measurements
·         Printing guide to let you know which of the 16 pattern pages you need to print, based on size and short/pant option desired
·         Pattern layout diagram to aid with pattern assembly
·         Well-written, well-organized tutorial that is easy to follow and understand, with clear photos to accompany tutorial steps (Suzanne, the designer behind Winter Wear Designs, is a professional photographer, so it should be no surprise that the photographs that accompany the tutorial are crisp and clear – they illustrate the tutorial beautifully, and really zoom in on areas that can be tricky.)

The dimensions for the rectangular pattern pieces, such as the waistband, pant cuffs, and cargo pockets, are listed as a measurements in the pattern, and I appreciated that Suzanne re-printed those cutting charts on the actual pattern pieces. The Aviator Pants sew up easily and fairly quickly; I spent a bit of time on the topstitching and basting the join for the triangles to help it line up on the sides. Nobody naps here anymore (well, except for my husband ;) ) so I rarely get to finish a garment in one, uninterrupted sew – I’d say each of these took between 1-2 hours from start to finish, though.
With all of the options, they’re a great intermediate pattern and a great way to try out some new techniques. If you’re more of a beginner, leave off the pockets and the contrast triangles, and just sew up a basic pair with the cuffs and the waistband. They’ll be super cute, and still perfect for play!
One thing I would have liked to see in this pattern was a lengthen/shorten line on the pattern pieces to aid with blending sizes or adding a little length to make pants without cuffs. My kids seem to be perpetually between sizes so I’m always doing a little adjusting here or there to help things fit well. My little guy measured between a 2 and a 3 here, so I decided to make the 3s for him. He has a little room to grow, as I expected, but the fit was good overall. My daughter’s measurements put her in the size 4, but she needed some extra length to accommodate her height. I added length just above the triangle cutouts, and it worked well for her.
I like to let my kids select some of the options when I’m sewing for them, and they both opted for the triangle cutouts and slash pockets. Neither of them wanted cargo pockets or welt pockets this time (my son said, “No squares or rectangles, only triangles!"), which was a bit of a bummer for me. The instructions included for both are really well-written, and can easily be translated to other projects (if you’d like to add welt pockets to a jacket pattern, for example). Suzanne even includes a link to a video tutorial for welt pockets for those of us who learn well with a bit of audio visual instruction.

Mr. Triangles-Only picked his all-time favorite car fabric as the contrast print, and I paired it with a blue stretch French terry. We both loved the finished pants – they’re soft and comfy, fit well, and have cars on them. What else could he need? Oh, and the slash pockets were the perfect size for his little hands, too.
I adore patterns that lend themselves well to upcycling, and the Aviator Pants fit the bill there, too. Miss P’s pants were actually made from a pair of Old Navy lounge pants that haven’t seen their way out of my dresser in years. Since the pattern pieces are cut separately for each leg (and joined at the side seam) it’s easy to repurpose existing pant legs, especially for the smaller sizes. I also re-used the waistband and drawstring from the lounge pants by just cutting the waistband to the measurements specified in the pattern and creating a new back seam before attaching it to the pants.

I used a sweet floral interlock for the contrast, and used it for the cuffs, too. Miss P really loved the pants and left them on after we took pics – she was headed to ballet class and they were perfect for layering over her leotard. Her only complaint? Apparently I tied the waistband too tight. ;)
This was the first (and second) time I’ve sewn the Aviator Pants, but it won’t be my last for sure. They’d be super cute with a tuxedo stripe down the side seam for my little guy, or with ruffle fabric in the triangle cutouts for my girl. With so many possibilities, the hardest part will be picking the fabrics! :)

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