In this Year of the Pants, it's important to be very specific about what kind of pants I'm going to be making.
tl;dr: I'm making the best dang hiking pants I've ever owned.
But first: let's back up a minute, and talk about the exact moment I decided to jump into sewing.
It's the winter of 2014/2015, and I've just started skiing. I've taken three lessons and though I'm obsessed with the sport, I've fallen on my butt enough times so far that it's time to invest in a pair of ski pants. They're not cheap, but I was done with a soggy bottom. So off I go to my local outdoor gear store to spend some money.
Y'all. I'm a size 14/16 in women's clothing. The average woman-shaped human in the United States is a size 16-18. But I could not - I repeat: could not - find a pair of pants that fit me. Most popular brands capped out at size 12 or 14, and even the one or two that made a size 16 either couldn't get past my hips or barely fit in the hips and gaped at the waist. Shopping online wasn't an option, because I needed pants immediately, and I didn't want to have to deal with the inevitable back and forth required for exchanging sizes.
That was the moment when I realized that if I couldn't buy the pants I needed, I was just going to have to make them.
Now, let's be real: making ski pants is an undertaking. It requires several layers of different fabrics, the fabrics are carefully engineered (DWR, N66, and other 3-letter acronyms), and the sewing requires some specialized techniques (waterproof zippers, anyone?).
Which boils down to: I'm not going to make a pair of ski pants (this year). Fortunately for this project, the problem I faced with ski pants isn't unique to winter apparel!
In addition to skiing, I also really enjoy hiking. Hiking pants are a lot like ski pants, in that they require unrestricted movement, pockets that actually fit things (I'll save that soap box for another post), and still need to be water and abrasion resistant (sitting on a wet log can also result in a soggy bottom). And sadly, hiking pants are equally hard to find in my size.
But! They can be made with only one layer of one or two fabrics, don't require special techniques, and can be sewn up in a day.
Plus, the number of hikers in the United States is more than three times the number of skiers. So there's more of a market.
In summary: I'm making a fantastic pair of hiking pants.