I was a lucky pattern tester for the Victory Patterns Esther pants! Victory Patterns released these wide-legged trousers as part of its three-piece Arima capsule collection, which also features a modular knit top/dress and oversized cardigan/robe.
The collection is modern, glamorous, and wearable, all at the same time. I don’t know how Victory finds this balance, but it’s happening!
Here’s my take on the Victory Patterns Esther pants.
I sewed the Victory Patterns Esther pants in slubby Tencel twill denim from Blackbird Fabrics. It’s lighter weight but has heavy drape that works great for the Esther pattern. The Tencel is cool to the touch and makes a “fuh-whomp” sounds when I walk quickly, mostly because of the volume of the trousers. It amuses me.
I sewed a size 6. The pants are drafted for a human 5-feet-6 to 5-feet-9; I took 2 inches out of the total length so I could wear them with flats. (I almost always hem for flats so my pants don’t drag.)
The pattern calls for an invisible zipper, but I did a lapped zipper. I prefer a lapped zipper; I like its vintage vibe. My regret is that my lapped-zipper execution could be better. The zip pull peeks out ever so slightly. Any tips/tutorials on how to avoid this problem?
I added contrasting stitching around the lapped zipper, front vertical seams, and pockets. I wanted to play up the “jeans” soul with gold topstitching.
In case you didn’t know, Esther comes with a cropped view and an optional waist sash. I think the sash works particularly well with the mega pleats and drapey fabric.
What I Love About the Victory Patterns Esther Pants
This is my first go at sewing pleats, and I super love these pleats! So dramatic! So unusual! Seriously — when was the last time you saw pleats like these? My hat tips to Victory Patterns for this bold design element.
This also is a design element that knocks me out. I love a good front pants seam, and I think seams are underused as design elements. I liked the front seams so much I adding topstitching around them and pressed them for added oomph.
The construction of these pockets is cool. The pocket bags are a single piece, non-symmetrical piece, and they’re finished with French seams. I am a sucker for a French seam.
Directions and Support
If you’ve never had the extreme pleasure of sewing a Victory Patterns pattern, get on that ASAP, m’kay? The directions are SO GOOD. They’re thorough. The illustrations are clear and well labeled. All sewn elements are broken down in thoughtful, manageable steps.
And designer Kris Boos is the best. When I started sewing my Esther pants, I gave the crotch some side eye. The crotch length seemed extra long to me, and I expressed my concern to Boos. She shortened the crotch and provided me with detailed instructions AND illustrations on how to make the crotch adjustments so I wouldn’t have to reprint the PDF!
What I’m Not Sure About
This was my first time sewing with Tencel, and while I like the fabric, I worry I chose the wrong color Tencel. From a distance, I’m concerned these pants look like hospital scrubs. It’s the light-blue-baggy-bottoms combo. I didn’t realize this until I put them on the first time. Guys, did I sew fancy scrubs?
This is a 55-page PDF pattern. It takes a while to tape/glue together. My heart sank when I realized how many pages it was, but that’s what happens when you sew a PDF pants pattern. Ya got to put on some fun TV and go to town. IMO, the Victory Patterns Esther pants are a good candidate for copy shop printing.
Even after the crotch-length adjustment, I still thought there was too much volume everywhere. In an email to pattern testers, Boos said she removed additional ease in the leg fullness in the final version (the pants you’re looking at are a test version, to clear that up). The Esther pants on the model do look more sleek than my pants.
Not My Style?
In my feedback to Boos on the pattern, I told her I didn’t understand the pattern. The original technical drawing of the pattern had legs that flared ever so slightly. But when I made the pattern, the pants where straight or even a little tapered.
I thought the Esther pants were going to be Katharine Hepburn-esque. Between the volume and straight (not flared) leg, they look more zoot suit to me. Turns out, the tech drawing the pattern testers saw was incorrect; the drawing was redrawn to reflect the pattern’s true shape.
I told Boos I needed to road test my pants, and that maybe they were too far out of my comfort zone. I didn’t think the pattern was a dud — perhaps it wasn’t a good pattern for me.
Looking at the photos now, I’m liking my Esther pants more and more. Styling them in a more formal way with heels helps a lot. I think they’d be super cute paired with a crop top. Yay, high-rise pants! Maybe I needed some time away from them to see their potential in my wardrobe.
Over to you, dear sewing friends: How would you style these pants? What have you sewn that’s been out of your comfort zone? How did you handle it? Help a girl out!
P.S. In case you missed it, here’s the previous post: Sew with the Flow: Sewing for Your Period. I’ve received great feedback on this post. Why not check it out for yourself and LMK YOUR top sewing projects for making your period more stylish and comfortable!
P.P.S. Introducing the Esther Pants Dance!