Once upon a time, when I was over 335 lbs, I had a favorite pair of 4x batik rayon pants. The colors were subdued enough to work with my (then) very somber wardrobe of blacks, greys, and dark colors that I thought helped me blend into the background. (Which, honestly, is kind of hard to do when you’re that huge. But I did my best.) I loved them because even subdued, the colors were rich and in places even bright. ish. I got them from Junonia, and they weren’t cheap.
Here is a photo of me in those pants in 2006:
I loved those pants so much that when the inner thighs wore thin and tore I bought two more pairs. And I wore THEM until the inner thighs tore. My plan had always been to somehow cannibalize and mend them so I could have at least one pair of functional pants.
Then life intervened, and I eventually lost the excess weight and the pants lay quietly, forgotten, in a box of fabric. Which I opened about a month ago. And a lightbulb went off. I have taken up contra dancing.
Which means I now like twirly skirts. Which require a lot of fabric. Which isn’t cheap.
Soooo I took those pants and unpicked all the inner seams, leaving the outer seams intact. (The outer seams were securely stitched with Serger overlock, and rayon frays badly, so why undo a perfectly good seam?)
I patched the inner thighs with fabric from the pockets. I turned the legs upside down, made a wedge-shaped pattern that used the old hems as the new waistband, and the widest part including the old crotch for the new hem. I cut 6 wedges out of the repaired leg pieces, and added narrower contrasting wedges from a “blemished” rayon sarong I found on Amazon for $8.95 (it was the best price for rayon yardage I could find anywhere - I looked, and I couldn’t even find what was supposed to be wrong with that sarong).
I fed the appropriate length of “no roll” elastic through the waistband, secured it, and wore the finished product this weekend at a dance. And only a tiny segment of one of my new seams frayed after wearing hard and washing, so I guess I did a good job on that, too. (Combination of zigzag and straight stitch.)
Photo by Zoë Madonna
So how is cool is that? I once again get to wear my favorite rayon batik pants while celebrating the fact that they no longer fit!
UPDATE: If you've got 5 minutes, you HAVE to watch this infectiously fun video of the same contra dance from last year (I’m not in it. But the band and the setting and most of the dancers are the same, and the production values are phenomenal.) Check out the overhead shots of people twirling!
With music like that, how can you NOT want to join in??? LOL
If you want to find out more and try contra dancing, see my previous blog, where there are links
or a team we now have for contra, square, and folk dancing.