I had a FABULOUS phone conversation with Trudy Hanson of Hotpatterns and received my "lightbulb moment". Can we just say I feel real dumb! ROFL It was so simple... but sometimes the simplest things JUST.DON'T.CLICK. LOL
Okay... here's how it works:
#8 on the instructions:
"Join the fabric layer of the front panel lining to the pants front"
First, you need to reinforce the stitching lines (the one that looks like a dart). Then mark a 5/8" seam allowance on the front panel lining piece. If the right side of the piece is facing up, your seam allowance should be on the left side.
"sew along the outer stitch line on the pants"
You sew this part right sides together. THIS is where I went wrong.
"Carefully slash the pants fronts open, about 1/8" inside the stitchline"
"Press the seam allowances towards the center front"
Step 5: Voila!!!
"This is what it should look like"
I should have these made up by this weekend!