Should You Sew the Pippa Pants?

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Have you been thinking about sewing your own clothes but are having trouble getting started?

Maybe you want to sew comfortable knit pants but haven’t worked with knits before.

Regardless of your sewing ability, I invite you to read about my experience with the ladies Pippa Pants to help you decide if this is a pattern for you.

Modeling pair of knit pants, front view with shirt untucked

What You Need to Know About the Pippa Pants

What are the Pippa Pants?

The Pippa Pants are a comfortable stretch pants pattern by Rebecca Page. One great thing about them is the ability to dress them up or down.

Depending on the fabric selection and styling, you can have one pair that is for date night and another pair that is for exercise or lounging around the house.

They are also described as maternity-friendly.

Is it a PDF or paper pattern?

The Pippa Pants is a PDF pattern.

Very detailed directions are included on how to print the pattern and how to print only the size(s) that you need.

My waist was a medium and my hips were large. So I needed to print more than one size. The directions on how to do this were helpful.

If taping the papers of a PDF pattern together is not your favorite thing, check out Elizabeth’s video on a fast way to do it:

What sizes are included?

I made the ladies Pippa Pants. The size range is XXS-5XL but there are other Pippa patterns, too which can make them a go-to pant pattern for your family. You could even sew matching pants!

Are there multiple options or different versions included in the pattern?

In the ladies Pippa Pants there are several options:

  • Full length or 3/4 length
  • Regular or wide pant legs
  • Flat waistband or folded over with ties and ruching at the side

What verison of the ladies Pippa Pants did you make?

Through the entire process, I made 3 pairs of the ladies Pippa Pant. All three had the flat waistband.

The first two pairs I made were practice pants, also called a muslin or toile (pronounced twall). They both had a full length, regular width leg.

The final pair was a 3/4 length, wide width leg.

The three pairs I made required only 2 pattern pieces.

How many pattern pieces are there?

There are a total of 4 pattern pieces. This is one reason, this pattern was easy to work with.

The pant pattern was one piece and the flat waistband was another. The folded waistband was the third pattern piece and the tie was the fourth.

Depending on the waistband, you wouldn’t need more than 3 pattern pieces to make one pair of pants.

What fabric is recommended?

The ladies Pippa Pants is suitable for stretch knit fabric only. It clearly states not to use a woven fabric.

If you’ve never worked with knits don’t give up on this pattern yet.

Within the pattern instructions, a medium weight was recommended in order to get the best results and fit. The knits suggested were:

  • sweater knits
  • medium weight jersey
  • stretch fleece
  • stretch French terry

There is also information and guidance in the pattern about selecting a knit that has the required stretchability (at least 50% stretch) and the recovery needed for the pant.

Note: I had never worked with knits before sewing the ladies Pippa Pants. I had a lot of questions and learned A LOT about knits during all parts of making the pants.

In fact, I learned so much I wrote A Beginner’s Guide to Knit Fabric.

How much fabric does it take?

The width of the fabric and the length of the pant affects the amount needed.

  • 45 inch/115cm wide fabric
    • Ladies XXS – XXL
      • Full length – 1 1/2 yards
      • 3/4 length – 1 1/4 yards
    • Ladies XXL – 5L
      • Full length – 3 yards
      • 3/4 length – 2 1/2 yards
  • 60 inch/150 cm wide fabric
    • Ladies XXS – XXL
      • Full length – 1 1/4 yards
      • 3/4 length – 1 yard
    • Ladies XXL – 5L
      • Full length – 2 1/2 yards
      • 3/4 length – 2 yards

What fabric did you use and where did you get it?

To search for knit fabric, I went to Fabric Mart Fabrics. They have an easy way to look for and filter fabric.

On a desktop computer, the menu across the top of their site alphabetizes the fabric. This makes it easy to search for a specific fabric.

Once you select a type of fabric, there is an excellent filtering tool along the left-hand side of the screen, that allows you to specify the weight and stretch of the fabric among other things.

This filtering tool was very helpful when looking for the knit fabric for the ladies Pippa Pants.

Using the search features, I selected two Ponte knits.

While Ponte was not a knit suggested by the pattern, both were classified as light to medium weight and neutral colors. At the time, I didn’t think I wanted anything too bright and colorful for pants. ( Boy, was I wrong!)

  • Black – 50% stretch selvage to selvage; 40% along the selvage (a 4-way stretch) – on sale for $3.99 a yard
  • Heathered Charcoal – 50% selvage to selvage; 10% stretch along the selvage (a 4-way stretch) – $12.99 a yard

The black was for the toile, or practice pant. The heathered charcoal was going to be my “good” fabric.

The toile made out of the black Ponte ended up being REALLY tight. (See the explanation under the question about fit.) I didn’t want to use the heathered charcoal until I figured out why.

Searching my limited stash of yardage, I found a colorful knit I received in one of Fabric Mart Fabrics mystery fabric bundles several months ago.

I don’t know what kind of knit it is but I had 6 yards of it. The stretch was more than 50% and the recovery was good. Thankfully, there was enough fabric to make another toile and a final pair.

Modeling knit pants, front view with shirt tucked in.

What other supplies or notions are needed?

You’ll want thread to match the fabric.

If you make the folded waistband, you’ll need a 2 x 2-inch square scrap of iron-on interfacing or stabilizer.

Optional supplies are:

  • 1-inch elastic for the flat waistband ( I didn’t use any.)
  • Ribbon, shoe string, or cording for the ties on the folded over waistband

What is the difficulty level?

The pants are designed from beginner upwards.

Many pictures are included with the instructions for those at the beginner level.

There is also a one page of instructions for the intermediate to advanced level sewist. No pictures are included on this page.

You’re able to print only what you need from the PDF.

What sewing tools are needed?

To make the ladies Pippa Pants, you need a sewing machine, pins or clips, scissors and/or a rotary cutter, and a cutting mat.

Is special equipment required?

  • Because you’re sewing knit fabric you will need:
    • A ball point needle for your machine.
    • If you use pins, make sure they are ball point pins.
  • You can sew the Pippa Pants with a regular sewing machine. A serger/overlocker is optional but not required.
  • A walking foot is helpful when sewing with knits because it evenly feeds the layers of fabric through the machine at the same time. It keeps the fabric from being stretched out as it’s sewn.
    • You can sew knits without a walking foot, but the sewing experience will be more enjoyable if you use one.
  • If you need to grade between different size pattern pieces, a ruler with a curve to it can be helpful.
  • Tracing paper and wheel are optional. I used these tools to trace the pattern on the fabric. Because I was making the toile and wasn’t sure if I would end up with regular or wide leg pants, I decided to trace the pattern lines instead of printing out multiple copies of the pattern and cutting them.
Trace the pattern on fabric with tracing paper and wheel
The tracing paper is placed between the pant pattern piece and fabric. I used yellow tracing paper to trace around the flat waistband pattern piece. You can see the outline on the right side of the red tracing wheel.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes. There are very few pattern pieces and construction is straight forward so your attention can be focused on learning and working with knits.

I only made the flat waistband, but I read through the directions for the folded waistband with ties. The instructions, along with the pictures for each step, made sense and I can see what needs to be done.

If I decide to make this waistband in the future, I’d be able to do it.

What sewing skills do I need?

You need to know how to layout patterns on fabric and use a sewing machine.

Knowledge of the zig-zag stitch or another stretch stitch is necessary.

  • Refer to your sewing machine manual for information on sewing with knits.
  • You may need to adjust stitch length, width, and maybe even tension.

If you’re making the folded over waistband with ties, you will need to make buttonholes.

There is a page in the pattern that provides tips for sewing with knit fabrics on a regular sewing machine. It includes some of the items I mentioned in previous answers as well as some suggestions on finishing seams.

Was it difficult to make?

The ladies Pippa Pants were not difficult to make.

However, there was definitely a learning curve for working with knits.

Because the construction was easy to do, this is a great pattern to make if you’re using knits for the first time.

What did you do to make sure it fit correctly?

  1. Read the fitting notes included with the pattern
  2. Used the measurement charts to determine the size of the pattern to use
  3. Make a toile (or two)
  4. Troubleshoot fitting issues

Read the Fitting Notes: There is one entire page with notes on getting the right fit. I went back to this page multiple times.

Determined the Size to Make: In the pattern, there is a size chart for your body measurements and another chart for finished garment measurement.

For the ladies Pippa Pants, you need your waist and hip measurements.

  • The waist measurement is at the narrowest part of your torso. Bend at the waist and where the crease appears is where you measure.
  • The hip measurement is at the widest part of your hips.
  • If your waist and hip measurements are different sizes, you need to grade between the waist and hips on the pattern piece. This means you need to draw a smooth curved line between the waist and hip points.
  • My waist was a medium and my hips were a large, using a ruler I had picked up at a garage sale, I graded between the two points with a red pen.
Grade the pattern between sizes with a ruler that has a curve.

Make a Toile: The pattern suggests using an inexpensive fabric to make a muslin (also called a toile) to check the fit of the garment on your body especially in the crotch area.

The first toile, or practice garment, I made was so tight the stitches pulled across my tummy and there were lines in the crotch area. This was with the black Ponte fabric.

Troubleshoot the fit:

  • I checked the finished garment measurements (they were correct),
  • Rechecked my body measurements and pattern size (those were right, too)
  • Checked the lines I traced to cut out the pattern (that was where I messed up).

I had graded from the medium waist to the large hip. However, when I graded and traced the pattern lines, I went from the large hip to the medium regular width leg. There was enough difference between the medium and large leg that caused the pull of fabric across the crotch.

This discovery, though, didn’t solve the pulled stitches across the tummy.

I double-checked to make sure the 50% stretch was going horizontally across the hips when I cut the fabric. It was.

I looked at where I had graded the pattern between the waist and hips and saw I had done it closer to the hip. So, I regraded starting the adjustment an inch or so from the waist. This gave a little more fabric across the tummy.

Not willing to cut into the heathered fabric until I figured out the fitting issue, I searched through my limited stash of yardage and discovered the colorful knit fabric from a mystery bag I had purchased several months ago from Fabric Mart Fabrics.

It was 6 yards and had more than 50% stretch both horizontally and vertically. It also had a lighter more summery feel and drape than the Ponte.

This would be enough to make another toile. Unfortunately, because it was part of a mystery bag, I don’t know exactly what type of knit it is.

With the newly graded pattern, I laid it out and traced it on the fabric making sure to trace the large regular pant leg.

After sewing the waistband on, I tried on my second toile.

  • The pulling across the tummy was gone.
  • The lines were no longer in the crotch area but the legs were tighter than I liked.
  • I had sewn the waistband on wrong and the seam allowance was on the outside!

I started on my third pair. Thank goodness I had enough yardage of the colorful blue fabric.

Cutting it the same as the 2nd toile but with the wide pant leg, the fit was perfect.

I had cut the full-length pant, but when playing around with the length, I decided I liked the 3/4 length better.

Modeling knit pants, view form back with shirt tucked in

What tips or suggestions do you have for making the ladies Pippa Pants?

  • Read all the instructions in the pattern before you start.
  • Rereading is beneficial, too. After gathering all the materials and supplies, I had several questions that I found answers to when I reread. Either I missed the information the first time or just forgot what I had read.
  • Use the measurement charts
  • Circle your body measurements on the size chart.
  • Unless you know a lot about knits, select one of the four knits that are recommended in the pattern with the necessary stretchability and recovery.
  • Make the muslin/toile.
  • Use the same or similar type of fabric for the toile to mimic the fit of the garment so you can check and alter how the pattern fits your body.
  • Don’t give up on troubleshooting the fitting.
  • If you get frustrated take a break.
  • Ask for help. You can contact me or search for answers and ask questions in the Rebecca Page FB Sewing group.

Would you recommend this pattern?

Yes. This is an uncomplicated pattern that is easy to follow and doesn’t take long to make. Because of this, it’s a perfect one to try your hand at sewing knits.

Would you make it again?

Definitely.

After making the first toile, I wasn’t sure the pant pattern was for me. The fit was too tight and I felt like a sausage in it.

After searching the Rebecca Page FB Sewing Group for answers to some of my questions about working with knits and the fit, I was able to think through the changes I needed to make on the next pair.

I love how the third pair fits! So, I definitely want to make more and play around with the waistbands, length, and different types of knits.

Modeling knit pants, view from the front with shirt tucked in

Do you have other questions?

I tried to anticipate any questions you might have about the ladies Pippa Pants. If there’s something you’re wondering about that I didn’t answer, make sure to put it in the comments below or email me directly.

A Review

The Pippa Pants pattern is the first clothing pattern where I’ve worked with knits. I chose the flat waistband and wide leg option, so there were only 2 pattern pieces. The simplicity of the sewing directions allowed me to focus on learning how to work with knit fabric. Without the suggestion in the directions to sew a muslin first and the provided tips for fitting, I would have been disappointed with my pants. Thank goodness, I followed the suggestion! By making a practice pair with inexpensive knit, I was able to work out the issues with fit and in the end sew a pair of Pippa Pants out of my good fabric that fits comfortably and I feel good in. This pattern definitely helped me to experiment with learning and sewing knit fabric.

Review by Nicki Hibbits, Rebecca Page Brand Ambassador, April 2020

Just so you know: I was a Rebecca Page Brand Ambassador from March 2020 – August 2021. The above review was written by me in April 2020 for Rebecca Page.

As a RP Brand Ambassador, it was my responsibility to:

  • choose and sew one pattern every month for ten out of twelve months
  • write an honest review
  • send in pictures of my final garment
  • share my make in the Rebecca Page FB Sewing Group.

In return, I received the pattern at no charge and a credit to be used for future patterns.

Whether you’re new to sewing or have been sewing for a while, hopefully, my experience with making the ladies Pippa Pants will help you decide if this is a pattern for you.

Let’s Connect

My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at nicki@theruffledpurse.com and we can work together to get it figured out!

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2 Comments

  1. Love the Pippa Pant…..or rather I hope to love it as it looks amazing. Is the waist to hip length 9″? I am a junior petite and have a 7″ waist to hip length. Pants patterns are a challenge, but with only one leg piece and no pockets, this looks like a real possibility. I have no experience with knits, but have been sewing wovens for over 40 years. This looks like a great beginner pattern. I appreciate all the insights and advice you have provided. Thanks so much.

    1. Linda, the pattern pieces I printed out have the lines for SML. The front waist to hip length is between 6-7″ and the back is between 8.5 and 9.5″. Since you haven’t sewn with knits, definitely stick with the types of knits that are recommended in the pattern. I hope that helps. Good Luck!

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