Pattern Placement: a cautionary tale

Once upon a time in a land called Boston there lived a young maiden who dreamed of ikat pants.


I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my great sources of inspiration are the people around me. And Tall Sarah, who we introduced you to Monday, is no exception. After beholding her gorgeous blue ensemble I wanted one for my own. As fate would have it Sarah (Shop Sarah) just got in this lovely cotton/linen blend ikat. Inspired by Tall Sarah and this image I set forth to make ikat pants.

Tall Sarah and Katy

blue inspiration

Image via visual optimism

Conquering pants has been on my to do list for a while. I admit the whole crotch region intimidates me, so much can go wrong; camel toe, butt cleavage, the horrors! I used burdastyle 122 trousers from the January 2013 issue as my base pattern because it seemed like a nice basic fitted pant. When I compared the crotch shape to a pair of sacrificed jeans they seemed pretty similar. In the end my major adjustments occurred on the side seams where I took off an inch from both front and back pieces. Talk about good for the ego! Laney marked welt pocket placement on my muslin as they weren’t included in the pattern. You’ve got a good friend when they don’t blink at being asked to draw on your butt. And I used yet another burdastyle pants pattern, straight trousers 11/2012, as a guide for the front pockets.

Ikat trousers

With these fit and detail adjustments in place I boldly went forth to cut my fashion fabric. With a large print like this one I knew pattern placement would be important. I thought the ikats should be centered on the legs with the first one starting just below the fullest part of my thigh. I’m not sure why, but I reasoned this would draw attention away from the fullest part of my hips. Then zip zip zip wrrr wrrr wrrr, I constructed my pants. Everything was going incredibly well. I tried them on before attaching the waist band and they fit! Hurrah! Much rejoicing! And then I turned to inspect my bum…Shitake mushrooms!!!


In all the effort I took to place those ikats just so down the center of my leg I failed to notice the ikat bullseye I created on my bum!! But check out that pattern matching. Laney astutely pointed out that it resembles a baboon butt. Yep, now all you see is baboon butt.

And if that isn’t enough delight for one day check out the front, a big old ikat uterus complete with fallopian tubes. Lord Almighty!


So what is the moral of this story? Perhaps never ignore your rump or maybe large ikat prints are meant for dresses?


Pattern Burdastyle 122 trousers from the January 2013 issue

2 1/2 yards ikat cotton/linen blend

1/4 yard interfacing

7” metal zipper

Hook and eye

Navy thread


Necklace, Nordstrom

Chambray button up, J Crew

Saddle shoes, primark

Lip, MAC Candy Yum Yum lipstick, MAC Shock Value Pro longwear lip pencil, MAC Prep + Prime Lip