Thursday, November 6, 2014

pattern review - kudzu cargos by charming doodle

Sometimes I struggle with pattern reviews on the blog.  I know I don't have any obligation to only say positive things about a pattern, but it feels kind of mean to focus on the negatives.  On the other hand, I don't want a person to buy a pattern because I gave it a glowing review when it might not have been that great of a pattern, so usually I just skip reviewing any patterns that I'm less than thrilled with.  But not anymore.  I decided that since I took the time to sew it, I'm going to write about it, good or bad!  And, from now on, my reviews will be a bit more technical and include four things:
  • General Review - My overall feeling about the pattern
  • What I like about the pattern
  • Things I would change about the pattern in the future
  • Changes I made this time

The first pattern I am reviewing with this change in mind is the Kudzu Cargos from Charming DoodleGeneral review - Overall, I like the pattern, and I would sew it again, but I would make some changes.

What I like - The design details are visually interesting.  I like that there are several options including diagonal leg seams, pleats at the knee, and cargo pockets.  These look like a well made pair of store bought pants.  Although I didn't like the order of sewing, the directions were quite easy to follow, and I believe that a confident beginner could complete this pattern without any trouble.  The rib knit waist is a nice touch and makes these pants pretty comfortable too.  The pattern includes distinctly patterned lines for each size (in addition to different colors) which I like since my printer is a relic from another age and only prints in black and white :)

Things I would do differently or didn't like - First, the size chart is off.  The pattern clearly states that the hip is the most important measurement, so I cut the size 2 based on the size chart.  Bad idea!  These pants are way too tight.  I felt bad for squeezing Mae into these for pictures.  On the thighs you can actually see where the seams are cutting in to her chub, what little she has :)  Although she must have felt that the pants were still comfortable because she wanted to wear them all day!

Secondly, and I admit this is kind of nitpicky, I wasn't a huge fan of the pattern layout.  There is no way to print only the slim leg or the regular leg option.  You really have to print the entire pattern, and I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to using my paper and toner, so I generally only print exactly what I need!

The only other critique I have is the order of the sewing steps.  The pattern doesn't instruct you to sew the back patch pockets on until after you sew the side seams and the inseam.  It would be so much easier to attach them before the side and inseams, which is what I did since I read the whole pattern before starting, thankfully!

Changes I made (no matter how small!) - I added knee patches because they are cute :)  Since I chose not to use the cargo pockets I was able to sew and topstitch the inseams like a typical pair of jeans.  I also opted to topstitch the outseam from the waist to the top of the thigh, both for durability and because I like how it looks.  I sewed the knee pleats toward each other instead of both of the seams pressed down.  I also sewed the diagonal seams on the back pocket down instead of up, because I wanted the pocket seams to match the leg seams.  And the final change (even though it's not visible) was to use 2" elastic inside the rib knit waistband because I like the finish better than a narrower elastic attached to the rib knit with a zigzag stitch like the directions call for.

Denim - Stretch Pacific Denim in Melon from
Grey Knit - Cotton jersey from Joann's


  1. Lovely pants! Where can I find a link to the pattern?

    1. The pattern doesn't seem to be available at the moment, but normally you can find it at

  2. Thank you for your honest review! I hate researching a pattern, finding only reviews that are about rainbows and butterflies, then sewing it it up to discover issues that could have been avoided - such as the small sizing in this case. I am personally very happy that there are so many pdf patterns available now, and as sewers we can help the cream of those designers rise to the top by sharing honest reviews.

  3. That's exactly what reviews should be about. I did one myself earlier in the week and was slightly hesitant about posting it. In the end I decided to just be honest. I think people appreciate that more.

    Such a shame they are too tight though, I really like the style.

    1. I loved your review. I thought it was honest without being rude, which is exactly what it should be. Besides, not everyone is going to like every pattern, so a designer has to expect that some people may post a negative review. I wish more people would post honest reviews even if they happen to be negative rather than seeing sunshine and rainbows about every single pattern :)