June 30, 2014

Woohoo!  Day one of the sewalong is finally here.  Today we are going to talk about what fabric is good for the Hudson pants and what notions you will need to get started.


The pattern calls for medium weight knits such as cotton lycra, french terry, ponte, and sweatshirt knit with a suggested stretch of approximately 40%.
Let’s break that down a bit.

Medium Weight :  The term medium weight is obviously up for debate, but it’s more about the feel and drape of the fabric.  Because the fit of this pant is fairly slim you don’t want something that is going to be see through at all or show underwear lines.  You want something that is going to hold some shape.  Sometimes I see weight on online fabric vendors and I feel like most medium weight fabrics are listed around 8oz – 9oz.

Stretch of Approximately 40%

note : Thanks to some awesome readers pointing this out, there are a couple of ways to measure stretch for your knits.  Depending on the math you may consider the chart below to be 75% stretch not 40%.  No matter how you do the math if it stretches according to the chart it will work great.

This is a recommended amount of stretch, but not necessarily a rule.  If you decide to go with a fabric with less stretch then you may want to go up a size.  The amount of stretch in your fabric will affect your final product.  To test the amount of stretch in a piece of fabric you can use the stretch chart on page 2 of your Hudson pant instructions.  To use the chart cut a piece of fabric that is 4″ wide.  Hold either end of the fabric tightly between your fingers.  Hold the fabric up against the black rectangle on the stretch chart.  Pull the right side of your fabric to see how far it stretches.  If it stops at the 7″ mark then it has 40% stretch.

Cotton Lycra (or Spandex) – I think that this is a really great option for the Hudson Pants.  Not only is it easy to find lots of cool prints in this blend, but it is also really versatile for warmer and cooler times of the year.  My favorite thing about this fabric is that the lycra keeps it from bagging out in the backside after wear.  I can wear these one day, then to bed, and still get away with wearing them the next day (not that I do that or anything 🙂

French Terry – I love the look of french terry.  It has a bit more texture than a cotton print and is much warmer in the colder months.  Generally, one side of the fabric is flat while the other has small fabric loops for absorption.  I think it would be very cool to use the flat side for the main pattern pieces and then use the textured side up on the waistband, pocket detail, and ankle/calf band.

Ponte – I love the look of ponte.  Depending on the blend it can look very sporty (think baseball jerseys) to very sleek.  It is usually a thicker knit with a decent amount of stretch and bright colors.

Sweatshirt knit (or fleece) – I think this is pretty self explanitory.  It is usually a cotton blend fabric that is soft and absorbant and often used to make sweats and hoodies.  One thing to make sure of when buying sweatshirt fabric is that it has some stretch to it – not all does.  Most don’t have close to 40% stretch so you may need to go up a size if you use it.

Contrasting Trim Option

One way to add some personality and style to your Hudson pants is to use a contrasting fabric for your trims such as the waistband, pocket details, and ankle / calf bands.  This can be as easy as using the back side of a textured fabric, and old tshirt, or a completely new fabric.  If you do this you will need 1/2 yard of your alloted fabric to be dedicated to your contrast fabric.  Some fun ideas include faux stretch leather, stripes, neons, or just plain black to add some contrast.


The pattern calls for the following notions –

Coordinating thread – Regular all-purpose thread is fine.

2 inch wide elastic (1 1/2 yds) – Depending on the size of your waist you may be able to get along with a little less.  The pants sit a few inches lower than your natural waist so take that into account when buying your elastic.

1/4″ wide cording (2yds) – You will want about 24″ longer than your waist so you may be able to get away with less than 2 yards.  You can also get creative with this.  You can use standard shoe laces, leather cording, or even a ribbon depending on the look you are going for.

2″ x 1″ scrap of fusible interfacing – This is to stabilize the back of the buttonholes on your waistband.  Just this little scrap will do.  As far as the weight of the interfacing, it doesn’t matter very much, but if you have the option I would match the weight of the interfacing to your fabric.

Ballpoint sewing needle – This is very important (and I know this from experience). Make sure that you use a ballpoint sewing needle in your regular sewing machine to avoid poking holes in your knit fabric.


Ok, I think that is it.  Let me know if you have any questions and I will be back tomorrow with some tips on sewing knits and the pluses and minuses of sewing with your serger vs. your sewing machine.

But until then here is the fabric that I am going to use for the sewalong – a cotton spandex from Wanderlust Fabrics (who is also providing the awesome prizes for the sewalong).  She also is carrying this black medium weight cotton spandex because she is awesome and I said that I wanted some contrasting black knit for the waistband, bands etc…  She doesn’t normally carry solids so if you are thinking about doing some black accents on your pants you might want to consider this one.

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  • Reply Andrea June 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    I could be calculating things wrong (I haven’t had coffee yet today), but if a 4-inch strip of fabric stretches to 7 inches, doesn’t that mean it has 75% stretch? Since it stretched an additional 3 inches, 3 inches is 75% of the original 4? Just wondering!

    • Reply MaciNic June 30, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Thanks Andrea & Ashley! I have the same interpretation and I’ve noticed that there seems to be some interchangeability in which % is used between different companies – it might be a UK/US/Japan distinction, like metric/imperial?
      I’m SO glad you’ve included a picture to illustrate it though or my fabric would definitely not be appropriate!!

      • Reply True Bias July 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        oh goodness. i hope i didn’t do this wrong. i used some online stretch charts to reference my stretch chart. off to do a little more research. eeks. But i think its what ashley k. said below.

        • Reply True Bias July 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

          So yes, after poking around there seems to be two different ways to do this. yikes. this is confusing. I think that I need to update the photo above. thanks guys for pointing this out. it never even crossed my mind.

          • MaciNic July 3, 2014 at 6:35 AM

            Thanks Kelli! 😉

  • Reply Ashley K. June 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    maybe it’s that, of the final 7 inches, 3 of those came from stretching which is 42% of the total?

  • Reply Heather June 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    This is exciting! I am looking forward to seeing what everybody makes. Off to pick up more elastic and cording!

  • Reply Suzanne July 1, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Blergh! Math in the morning. Ouch, my brain. I want to add that I preferred sport shoelaces instead of cording for my Hudson Pants.

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  • Reply Anne September 8, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Hi! Has anyone tried to use woven cotton like chambray or light denim on this pattern? I know it’s not stretchy but I was just wondering if it can be done with a bit of adjustment in the sizing. Jogger pants are in fashion these days. 🙂

  • Reply Island Cheri October 21, 2019 at 11:28 PM

    Is there a hack for high waisted Hudson pants?

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