Vogue Patterns 9690: trousers wowsers

The pattern is Vogue 9690, MISSES PANTS, undated but clearly 1970’s, described as straight-legged with some pocket and pleat options. 

I would usually stay far, far away from both pleated and high-waisted (technically these are not high-waisted though, they sit at the natural waist, but appear high to my I-was-a-teenager-in-the-90’s sensibilities), but I recently saw Annie Hall for the first time (as part of my Continued Pop-Cultural Education. I turned to my husband and said, “I see style references to Annie Hall all the time. I should probably understand them.”) and so we watched it and I loved it and was struck by one clothing moment where we see Annie singing in a club and I really couldn’t tell at first if she was wearing very full-legged pants, or a long skirt with a belted waist, and I was like Ohhhhhhhh, THAT is what pleated high-waisted pants are supposed to do! 

So then I busted out Vogue 9690. 

I love this pattern art. The women look not just stylish —a quality surprising often absent from pattern art— they look sexy. Which, like, is a vibe I pretty much never get from pattern art. And I like it. More sexy pattern art, please. 

I particularly like View A lady, with her open buttons. Reminds me of a line I can’t remember from All The King’s Men, (the book [Robert Penn Warren, 1946] not the movie, although I should probably put that movie on my Continued Education list too) that went something like, “She walked in, wearing a very mannish suit with some very un-mannish business going on underneath.” 

Which, there: that’s probably the most superficial thing anyone’s ever paraphrased from All The King’s Men. But it’s a neat reminder, that using menswear styling to highlight ones female attributes is a trick that’s been around for a long time. 

I made View C, the pompadour lady in the middle there, which is the only version with pockets. 

The tiny flap pocket in View A is fake! It’s just a flap! There’s no pocket under there! It’s a lie!

So drapey. Ooh lala. 

This copy of the pattern is a size smaller than I needed, the picture below shows how I graded up. Which was super easy. I drew a line on the pattern and wrote right on there how much to slide the pattern over or down, and the result was an added two inches total at the waist and two inches total in the crotch length. 

The pattern turned out to have about an inch of ease from the tops of the pants into the waistband in addition to the shaping provided by the pleats and the back darts. This is too much for me: makes the waist nip in uncomfortably tight. I think Vogue patterns might be proportioned (no matter what the size) for a small bust, even smaller waist, and medium hip. But not exactly a pear shape, more of a fashion body. 

I had these pants completely done before I figured this out though, and didn’t feel like recutting the waistband. So, if you care to notice, you can see that the belt loops are not symmetrical: I took the waistband off and used the front tab overlap to let out the waist another inch. 

Why does it have both an underlap tab and an overlap tab anyway? That’s just silly. So now mine only has the underlap. 

I used some grey silk for the pocket. It rolls out a little, but it feels so nice. 

I’ve never really understood the purpose of back welt pockets on trousers —I mean, I’m not going to put my keys back there, that would be all lumpy and terrible looking— but here below I can see it! Welt pockets are there to explain the horizontal pull that naturally happens! Aha! 

See? Those aren’t welts, but it would look a whole lot cooler if they were.

These pants took about 12 hours to complete including taking the waistband off and letting out the ease and putting it back on, but they felt like they took foreverrrrrrr. Like at least twice that. I looked back at my notes and saw that I’d broken this project up into 11 different sewing sessions. So, no wonder it felt like forever: I kept putting it down and picking it up again. Tedious! 

The fabric is from a yard sale, I think the lady selling had a home business. Lots of terrible 80’s men’s vest patterns! 

My only complaint with Vogue 9690 is the pockets. They are shallow. All I’m ever going to put in my pants pockets is my hands, and they don’t fit. Boooooo to that. 

Otherwise it’s a Sew It. These pants are great. Who knew pleated and belted was a thing I could be into. Not me for sure. 


22 thoughts on “Vogue Patterns 9690: trousers wowsers

  1. Oh I am in heaven. These pants are divine. And Annie Hall styling is TDF. And also: PAAAAAANNNNTTTTS! Hooray. Also snaps for the striped belt. Tres chic – your child will be making pastry in no time.


  2. Thanks for the tips on grading up on your pattern. These look VERY comfy. Wonder how they would fit a body with a bit (ok, more that a bit?) of mommy tummy. Pleats generally emphasize that. Still…you look great in them. LOVE the roominess and may just have to give it a try to see. Definitely a keeper.


    1. Fear of tummy is exactly why I’ve been afraid of pleated pants my entire life, even before becoming a parent, and to be honest there will probably be days where I don’t wear these, or at least I don’t wear them with my shirt tucked in. They are very comfy, with a great range of motion, and look nice and polished, but yeah, pleats are tricky.
      I think a rounded tummy was more accepted in past decades than now? Sometimes I see fashion images from the 50’s/60’s whe the posture and clothing and undergarments appear to be actually creating a tiny, but visible, rounded belly on purpose, below a nipped in waist on a young slim model.
      I would be seriously surprised to see fashion swing back around to Fetility Goddess, like, ever, but I also never thought I’d wear pleated front pants on purpose and here we are, surprise surprise.


  3. Ahhhh I want this pattern now!! Menswear-inspired garments are among my favorites right now, and I love what you’ve done with this pattern. So chic!! Shame about the miniature pockets, but at least you have miniature SILK pockets! :-)


  4. Well, its got to be said – that’s one fine backside you have there and these pants show it off very nicely – see, not so creepy! I’m about to be designing some wide legged pants from my block and I’m noticing this pant of yours has quite shallow pleats? To be honest I wonder if they might look better combined as one? If one were to go down this route, perhaps the fullness might be added to the pattern in the centre front of leg more than the sides? I’m just curious as to how that would effect the balance of the wide leg and hoping that it might stop the side from caving in (draping) at the side but leave it more supported and full at the mid front leg.
    Clear as mud? I also don’t get under and over flaps – the under always wants to peak out regardless of the craftily applied generous seam allowance!


    1. Well thanks, I am flattered, and not creeped out.
      The pleats are very shallow, definitely. And they open toward the center, which I think makes them more fluffy and visible. I was taught to pattern as though the wearer would be standing in a wind tunnel: all pleats (shirt sleeves, pants, skirts) open away from the center, aerodynamically. So these shallow, center-oriented pleats are an interesting design choice.
      I didn’t compare the patterns, but I’m guessing View A and B, which have only one pleat, are the exact same amount of fullness as View C but combined into one.
      I think the best thing to keep the side of a leg from caving in is to make the outseam is straight starting at the hip, so there’s absolutely no curve inward through the thigh or at the knee to encourage draping? That and fabric choice, my fabric here is pretty fluid, it would be a whole different look in denim. Maybe that’s not exactly the question? It would be interesting to play with putting the grain and the fullness at different places on the leg. You know selvage jeans? Where the outseam is the selvage of the denim, so ALL the shaping (of an often narrow leg) has to be on the inseam?


      1. Definitely food for thought, I have 2 quite different fabrics I’ll probably work with. One is a linen denim like fabric and the other a wool flannel. Will let you know how I go! Thanks for the thorough response, when I blog, I’ll quote you ;)


  5. I love these so much I’d want to steal them. You chose a great fabric, they are incredibly flattering, and they look comfortable. And the envelope art is exceptionally good. Absolute winner.


  6. Just the other day I reached for a Fair Isle tank top – to be worn Annie style with bags (trousers that is) and braces – and realised we all need a bit of 1970s sometimes. Voluminous is back too in trouser terms, and jackets. Nice work.


    1. Such a minimal detail to break up such a great expanse! Hahahahhaahcry.
      But yeah, you’re totally right, welts are for that too.
      The fly on these is nuts! There’s no separate inderlapping fly piece, and I used a metal zipper, and it’s long af, so there’s nothing between my waist and the cold cold metal. It’s quite the occasional surprise. Next time I’ll definitely add a fly piece.


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