S.O.S. Pants, fitting, and my love for elastic waists….

A while back, before all the craziness came to town (see this post if you want to know what I’m talking about!), I opted to test out the updated version of the S.O.S. pants by Patterns for Pirates.

I’ve actually owned this pattern for over a year, but never got around to sewing them, and the test seemed like a great opportunity to motivate myself into making a pair (or ten!). The mashup between leggings and jeans is right up my alley, and I looked forward to trying to perfect my fit.

In addition, the original version of this pattern got a fair amount of criticism in the blog-o-sphere, and I was hoping to help find a solution to some of those problems- it’s always good to be part of the solution, right?

At this point in the post, I’d love to be able to tell you in this post that I found the holy grail of sexy elastic waist pants, but, alas, I’m still struggling with the fit on my body. When it comes to pants, even stretchy ones, there are no real shortcuts- a fair amount of fitting is to be expected, unless you happen to be lucky enough to have a relatively “standard” shape (whatever that is!).

I’m not telling you all this to discourage you, but rather to help you view the project realistically. Patterns for Pirates did a lot of great work adjusting these pants so they fit the majority of bodies fairly well, and I think they’re well worth buying if you like the style (which I totally do). I’m also aware that I’m probably being extra-nitpicky- that’s the advantage (and also the curse!) of sewing your own clothes- we often expect them to fit PERFECTLY. These are totally wearable as is, and I’m enjoying them while continuing to perfect them.

The pockets are my favorite part, and something so often missing from store bought skinny pants (WHY do they go to the trouble of making FAKE front/Back pockets??).

I would also recommend consulting the following sources, as I am, to help you diagnose and remedy any “trouble spots”. These books and websites are my go-to resources for pants fitting, and I think they are equally helpful on a pair of leggings as they are for jeans, and anything in the middle.

Pants Fitting For Real People

The Complete Photo Guide for Perfect Fitting

5 out of 4 Pants Fitting Guide (online resource)

Closet Case Files Pants Fitting Guide (online resource)

Personal Fitting Experience

My personal fitting issue on these pants, which I often encounter in ready to wear as well, is a bubble on my inner thigh. It’s almost like my inner thighs don’t quite fill out the pants- which is odd, since I don’t think of them as being particularly “thin”.

When I was making the Ginger Jeans, the workshop instructor showed me how to scoop out a part of the pattern at the inner thigh from the back, helping to eliminate it, but that trick didn’t quite work on this pattern, perhaps because of all the stretch in this fabric?

It’s also worth noting that I don’t get this effect on leggings or really skinny jeans, since they are drafted with so much negative ease, but I do see it frequently on semi-fitted pants. I also found the calves to be really tight on me (maybe it’s those spinning workouts adding some muscle there), and had some wrinkling under my butt, again, not uncommon for me with a semi-fitted pant and my slightly fluffier than a pancake bottom.

Seriously, I’m sticking it out a bit here, to give it some volume, but the universe is an unfair place when my calves get beefier and my bottom stays flat!

Fabric Details

For my fabric, I used ponte from Surge Fabric Shop. Ponte is a great fabric for this pattern, but it doesn’t hide “lumps and bumps” very well- I think next time, I’d use some of the textured athletic fabric from the shop instead.

I was able to do some work fitting these before the testing period ended, and might do some more in the future. The moto-hack for these (complete with pattern pieces!) is one of my main motivations- I’d love to rock those- one can’t help but feel “cool” in moto pants (and ALL the better if those moto pants have an elastic waist, so it doesn’t bind as I sit on my imaginary motorcycle).

If you like the pattern, but don’t want to do alot of extra fitting, you might check out the “straight leg” option, which is much less fitted, and a great option for more formal office settings.

Overall, I think this was a great update, and all the testers rocked their versions (especially the distressed ones!). I’m looking forward to another opportunity to work on my personal fit, and to learn from other sewists as they do the same!

You can find the pattern HERE, on sale for a limited time. There’s even a girls version to match!

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my Instagram, where I try to document my sewing adventures in fewer words!

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  1. Stephanie on November 19, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for giving an honest review and for admitting when the fit isn’t quite there! I think anyone who has made several pairs of pants knows that you can’t expect a designer’s pattern to fit you right off the bat. You have to expect that it may take a few iterations and adjustments to get the perfect fit. I do think you are being too hard on your butt and your calves look fantastic!
    I have this pattern but did not sew it due to some bad reviews. I’m reconsidering that because they looks so comfy! And that moto hack sounds amazing 🙂

  2. Caroline on November 20, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Thank you for reviewing this pattern. I too have had it for a while but not sewn it. After having had to do alot of fitting with the peg legs, I figured I would have to do the same with this pattern. I’d love a pair of close fitting pants that aren’t quite leggings, but would probably have to do quite a few adjustments. Do you have a suggestion for a very close fitting pair of skinny pants that you had more success with?

    • Sarah on January 10, 2019 at 9:17 pm

      If you’re interested in a woven pant, the Closet Case Files Sasha pants are close fitting but more tailored. For knits, you might check out the Carita joggers. Hope that helps!

  3. Lynn Saavedra on November 21, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I just bought this pattern after much deliberation as to whether or not I would actually make them. Thanks to your review, I think I will but will not stress out too much if they’re not perfect the first time. You gave me courage!

  4. AMIE on December 4, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I made three pairs of SOS pants last year (well one was shorts), and I am honestly a little sad about the update! I have my pattern adjusted and altered to a nearly perfect fit, but I do want to make moto pants!
    I need to see if the moto pieces fit on the old pattern. That would mean less work for me!
    These are really nice on you, we are definitely our own worst critic, because I don’t see the issues!

    • Sarah on January 10, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      I really hope you’re able to make that happen, because the moto hack is awesome! and good for you for adjusting to get your custom fit- it takes patience but is usually worth the effort!

  5. Liz on January 16, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    I found your post whilst racking through all the groups, pattern reviews and google for the very same issue. I spent a great amount of time learning about pant fitting just so I could adjust and grade p4p’s pegs to my not-so-RTW-friendly bottom half of my body. I’m 5’0, a size 0 but, according to pegs I have XL calves, M waist, and XS hips. I know they virtually have zero negative ease but after some trial and error, got a pair of CL leggings made for my thick legs, even in plaid.

    So I bought the newly updated SOS, and did similar adjustments using liverpool with good amount of stretch and I wanted to cry. I had this bubble in my inner thighs and excess fabric pooling behind my knees and around my knees.

    I haven’t been sewing for that long but weirdly felt excited reading that you also had the same issue. I was like, “it’s not because I’m inexperienced!!!”

    Did you eventually find a solution to this? Any tips you can share? When i worked in corporate world I preferred skirts despite not being a skirt person because I could never find suit pants/office appropriate bottoms that fit right.

    • Sarah on January 16, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      I’m glad its not just me either- haha! I haven’t done anymore experimenting with the SOS pants specifically, but I never have that issue on the Greenstyle leggings patterns, so I was basically just planning to hack one of them at some point to make a moto legging. Sorry if that’s not much help!

      • Liz on January 23, 2019 at 8:26 am

        Aren’t greenstyle patterns made for taller/leaner figures and need a lot more work to get it to fit for petite sizes? I actually own a couple of their patterns but still in my PDF plotting box(es) in my closet! I went through your blog a bit more and stalked a few of your posts on FB to get an idea of what patterns you liked and fit without huge adjustments. I can’t find any, zero sewing bloggers out there with my figure. I think you come closest (other than my envy for your flat stomach!) I haven’t run since week 38 of my pregnancy..5 years ago, maybe one day I’ll go back BTW – Do you have any posts here or anywhere else where you mention which patterns/pattern makers fit well on shorter leaner/athletic/muscular frames? If so can you link them in your reply? If not, care to do one soon? Thanks in advance!

        • Sarah on January 23, 2019 at 9:03 pm

          Greenstyle does draft for a taller gal- 5’7″ But, I find that if I adjust the bottoms for height (much of my height is in my torso), they fit great! I don’t really have a post for this, but I think in general, GS drafts for a hourglass type athletic figure, which is what I have. 5 out of 4 drafts for more of a rectangle, and Jalie seems to split the difference. I hope that helps!

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