bell bottoms

Just for fun, I would like to make a retro pair of pants. I want a pair of
bell bottoms (with big bells!) w/ an elastic waist. I have looked at some
patterns on ebay, but they tend to be expensive especially w/ shipping. Does
anyone know of an online source of instructions how to modify a typical pant
pattern to make bells? Any suggestions from personal experience?
Thanks!
Kitty
Reply to
Kitty Bouquet
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Hehehehehe.... In my dim and distant youth (in the 70's!) I did this all the time!
OK, Method One: Take your straight leg JEANS* pattern, trace it off, and find the knee level. Cut across at this level. Slit the bottom leg piece into 4 or 5 even strips. Fan out on another sheet of paper, and draw round the curves. top and bottom. Add seam allowances to the top of the bottom section and the bottom of the leg section. You'll end up with a seam at knee level, but this was pretty common.
For the Loon variation, make the bottom section FRONT pattern piece come to a point over the knee, either pointing up or down: you'll need to make the upper leg match this. Sew with mock felled seams, so they look like jeans seams, all the way round.
Method Two: This is for all-in-one legs.
Trace as before, and just DRAW the knee level in. Cut UP TO knee level from the hem so you have 3 strips. Fold the outer two out, spreading the hem by up to 2" at each cut. Paste down on more paper, and draw in the hem... You also need to curve the leg seams at the knee so you don't get a sharp angle.
*
For true authenticity, always jeans style, not slacks! Bell bottomed slacks just looked naff! I did all this just a few years back for a play: there are some pix in the costume gallery on my web site.
Reply to
Kate Dicey
"Kate Dicey" wrote
Great advice. I appreciate your ideas. I have stored your message and will try the jeans methods w/ the knee seam. Sounds very cool. Saw the pic of a boy in a hippie costume on your site. That looked to be a pair of bells he had on.
Kitty
Reply to
Kitty Bouquet
The lad in the brown suit was bell bottoms. The purple velvet ones were loons. I made all the outfits for the play. I had to put bell vents in the hems of loads of pairs of jeans! Used curtain fabric for some of them, just as I did back in the seventies! :) The kids thought it was hilarious that I knew all this stuff first hand.
Reply to
Kate Dicey
Have you got a jeans pattern that fits? If not, the first thing to do is modify your basic pants to jeans... there's too much ease in basic pants to look right as bells, imho. Also, consider whether you really want an elastic waist... with a heavy fabric, the extra weight of fabric in the legs can cause things to slide south. In lightweight fabric, it may be ok with sturdy elastic.
Next, fold in the grainline of the front and back legs. Now fold the pattern across the grainline at the level of the crotch seam. Finally, bring the hem of the leg up to the fold you've just made, and make a crease across the leg, perpendicular to the grainline. That's the knee line of the pants, and it's important... everything below the kneeline needs to be symmetrical from side to side, or the pants will twist as you walk.
Slash from leg hem to kneeline symmetrical to the grainline. Spread the slashes an equal amount, fill in with more tissue, and true the seamlines. Spread the slashes on both front and back legs the same amount. Sew.
Also, from someone who lived through the bellbottom craze of the 70's... they look really funny as high water pants, imo. You may want to add some length to the leg. Small hems or faced hems are much easier with a leg with much flare, unless you know the actual length and cut a shaped hem.
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster
My very favorite 1971 bell bottom trousers were of the hip hugger style. Boy did those *Fit* and boy did I look good!! So, look for a low cut pattern, with no waist band. PAT, reminiscing in Virginia
Reply to
Pat in Virginia
"Kay Lancaster" wrote
More good advice. I will save this message also. I had thought of making the pants out of a lighter wt denim or twill. I was thinking of elastic for ease of sewing and comfort. However, I might use a stretch twill w/ a zip fly. Those are easy to do too.
I was in middle school during the bell bottom craze. I had a pair of bell bottom corduroy jeans that I lived it. They did look stupid when I grew too tall for them. By then the fashion had died.
Kitty
Reply to
Kitty Bouquet
Back in the *cough* early 60s, we bought seafarer's -- sailor pants -- and took off the waistband, turned over the edge and stitched it down good, then put them on inside out to pin the sides from the knee up to be skin tight then sewn. The lower leg was left to bell. Did we ever think we were hot stuff!!!
Reply to
Pogonip
"Pogonip" wrote
Wow! Cool idea and one I have not heard before. I would not even know where to buy sailor's pants.
Kitty
Reply to
Kitty Bouquet
The Sailors had the ORIGINAL bell bottom trousers! Go to an Army/Navy or Military Surplus store. If you are near a Naval Base, you might find some at a tag sale or thrift store. (This would be in USA.) PAT
Reply to
Pat in Virginia
They used to be part of the uniform - although I think the Seafarer's we got were not military issue, but permitted. The uniform term is dungarees, I think - but don't hold me to it. Anyway, they seem to be no longer in use. But I found a picture (google has some links to surplus places that still have them)
NAYY and all that.
Reply to
Pogonip
A drawstring would give you ease of sewing and comfort, and hold up the pants too.
I recall drawstring pants in the seventies, but I don't think they were bell bottomed, so I guess this isn't authentic. The pair of heavy-cotton pajama pants I bought on clearance (to wear as overpants on the bike) just after pajamas went out of fashion had a header above the drawstring; I think this made them more comfortable than pants with the elastic or string right at the edge.
I'm no authority on authentic, though -- I was too old for bell bottoms by the time they became fashionable, and I seldom followed fashion anyway. (Pay no attention to the orange polyester pantsuit behind the curtain.)
Joy Beeson
Reply to
Joy Beeson
I remember this one guy in school back in the late 60's or early 70's when Levi's 501's were in he would split the out seam up to the knee and sew in a triangle of cloth (the bottom of triangle was about 8 to 12 inches wide).
When he stood it would disapear inside. When he walked it was flashy. Cool, huh?
Reply to
A
We did the same thing when I was in highschool! Although it was the mid 90's and the jeans had to be beat up and ripped. (Grunge you know).
LOL the memories
Michelle Giordano
Reply to
Doug&Michelle
A wrote:
I've lost count of the times I've done that to jeans! Did dozenz back in the 70's and a pile more about six years ago for a play... Hehehehe... Brought back some memories! :)
Reply to
Kate Dicey
Yeah... People paying silly money for pre-ripped jeans! Ours were all ripped in action and had street cred/mountain cred/river cred/quary cred... Wherever we'd ripped them DOING STUFF cred! Artificially ripped was never the way to go. Nor was deloberately putting them where they were likely to be ripped! The rips had to be genuine accidents and were loveingly mended with whatever came in handy - usually a bit of old curtain fabric!
Indeed! I ripped one pair sliding down a 'shute' in a rock face... But they did protect my posterior on the way down! Ended up with purple curtain fabric patched on the inside so it showed through the worn bits...
Reply to
Kate Dicey
Yeah, the 60's and 70's were good. My clothes had natureual ways of getting holes in them. Sliding down rocks, slipping down dirt banks, climbing trees and swing crashes to name a few. It's a shame that todays kids need holes put in to make it look like they actually did something. But instead, there inside playing stupid games, which leaves them uncordinated and inept in driving an auto, when that time comes, there so bad the laws had to be changed around here- so many of them were killing themselves and each other when driving. I think the rule, nowadays, is they have to be 17 or 18 before they can take passengers, unless "older" passenger.
I never did wear bell bottoms, except Navy pants. But last year I was thinking about making a pair of bells out of jeans. It's a shame so many people would have flipped there lid if they saw me wearing them, if I wore them last year. In the 80's one guy I know was complaining that the fun clothes were gone. And the kids of today that wear pants that fall down when they'er running from the police- how dumb can people get? And they think those pants are cool!
Reply to
A
Kate, I think I told you that my middle daughter is a crazy mad climber. Her roommate, who is also a climber and camper, etc., was wearing the most ripped up jeans I've ever seen on a young woman the other day--all rips done by honest hard play! LOL
> Indeed! I ripped one pair sliding down a 'shute' in a rock face... But > they did protect my posterior on the way down! Ended up with purple > curtain fabric patched on the inside so it showed through the worn bits...
Reply to
Karen Maslowski
I don't even want to get started on the "I am cool, so I have to wear my pants-down-around-my-knees, and show you ALL that I wear boxer shorts" business.. It looks terrible, but more importantly they have to stop every few steps to hike them back up, so that they don't wind up around their ankles.. This also seems to go with not tying your shoes, but letting the shoelaces drag the ground a foot or more..
I had one of these young men to service my refrigerator, and he had the exaggerated "droopy drawers", and apparently was also protesting the use of underwear, as he had none on. (frankly he was an idiot, because only a total idiot would come into someone's home dressed like that to make a professional business call). I was not impressed - I called the appliance store and filed a complaint..
Let's admit it, we all rebelled as teenagers and dressed somewhat to shock/be different from the older generation.. That is healthy IMHO.... But good grief, at least keep your pants fastened up so that you don't wind up falling on your face... Find some other way to rebel..
me
On Fri, 14 Jul 2006 20:29:15 -0700, "A" wrote:
Reply to
me
Best way - caught between a rock and a hard place! ;) I never did climb much, but it was fun, and the Outdoor Ed and climbing club blokes were some of the best fun. I learned a lot of my camp cooking skills and tough sewing tricks through associating with those guys. :) Then I married one... 24 years later we are still together. I may occasionally feel like whacking him round the ear with a frying pan, but mostly it's great fun.
Proper climbing breeches in those days were still made from tight woven wool or cotton moleskin, and never showed the wear... Then Rohan brought out their stretch Striders for walking and climbing... They don't do them any more, which is a shame. Mind you, the pair Alan bought 20 odd years ago are still going strong, so maybe that's why! That and the rock monkeys all going for jazzy coloured and striped tights... I must say, I appreciate the tight... Mmm - legs! ;)
Reply to
Kate Dicey

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