What a hiatus that was! There was lots of drama at work, a visit from my sister and a few birthday and leaving parties! I did manage to finish these red trousers in time to enter Karen‘s Made Up Initiative and fired off the following photo, having quickly snapped a few on a Friday in my back garden before heading to work. Blogging them was a different matter, mainly because I wanted to be quite thorough with my review and boy, did I make some adjustments! Time to get stuck in, although I should probably warn you, this is a long one and the photos aren’t the best. Take for example, my best Cousin Itt impression, worn here with the Sewaholic Belcarra 2.0.
There’s something a little odd going on with where the left pocket bag is attached, making my thigh look lumpier than I think it normally does.
You can see it a little more in this next photo, halfway down my thigh.
Sliiiightly different hands-on-hips pose.
Trying to put your hands in your pockets and take photos with your remote = fists. Try to ignore the knuckles. The sun kept peeking in and out of the clouds, hence the variable colour of this polyester suiting.
hands out, that’s better. I’m reasonably happy with the fit of the front crotch.
The appearance of the fit in the back depends on whether I’ve just hiked them up at the waist (as in this photo) — apparently creating a slight wedgie with some unfortunate clinging — or if I’ve worn them for a little while and they sit more loosely.
Again with those fists! On the whole, I really like how my first pair of proper trousers came out!
The fabric is some polyester suiting I picked up from Fabricland (Bristol) for £3.99/metre, and for the pocket lining used some of the Hawaiian fabric I had left over from my BHL Flora Dress from Hawaii Fabric Mart (Hawaii) for around £3/metre.
Sizing and cutting
This pattern is from Simplicity’s Amazing Fit collection (around 30 patterns from what I can find) which work by not just taking into account your measurements but also your shape at these measurements. For the trousers, this works by taking your waist and hip measurements, but also measuring your back crotch length: from your the back of your natural waistline to the centre of your crotch (ooh-err!). The idea is you might have a small waist and hips but a larger bottom, or vice versa. Based on my measurements*, I was broadly somewhere between a size 12 and 16, and “curvy”. However, looking at the finished measurements, as I wanted quite a fitted pair of pants, I decided to trace and cut a size 12 “curvy” in some curtain lining fabric.
* Waist: 68.5 cm | Hip: 98 cm | Back crotch length: 39 cm
Fitting and alterations
After sewing a muslin, as is often the case for me (even with ready-to-wear clothing), the fit on my derriere wasn’t too bad but there was way too much room around my waist. The legs were quite roomy too. Since the pattern envelope appears to show a more fitted trouser, and it was also what I was looking for, I adjusted here as well. In summary, I took the pieces in at both the inner and outer leg seams, the back crotch above the triple notches, and the waistband along the sides and centre back seam.
I spent an AGE trying to adjust the pocket and pocket facing pieces to account for the changes in the hips and had a bash but describing that is both difficult and probably not very useful as I think in the end, it made very little difference.
After all of these adjustments, I really hoped once I’d sewn the fashion fabric, they would just fit straight away. Sadly, they were still too big 😦 which I suspect was due to the difference in the muslin fabric (curtain lining) and the polyester fashion fabric. Either that, or in the space of a week, I’d lost weight, which I very much doubted.
So, I then had to make adjustments to the finished fabric. Sadly, I didn’t make a note of all the changes, but making some attempt to compare the finished trousers with the original pattern pieces, the trousers I actually made were more like a size 10, and perhaps more akin to “average”.
Moral of the story? It’s worth spending some time thinking about the style of fit you want, the type of fabric, and the actual finished garment sizes (which, I had actually considered, it just turned out to be largely redundant).
If I were to make these again, depending on the type of fabric — e.g. I am considering making them in a floral stretch cotton — I think I will just have to measure the pattern pieces themselves.
Finally, I shaved 4mm off the bottom of the pockets, grading toward the edges, so they didn’t come so far down the front of my thigh.
The pattern instructions were fairly comprehensive. Initially, I struggled a little with creating the fly front zip as visualising the process and finished result wasn’t easy. So I turned to this tutorial on Cotton Creek Sewing which helped me imagine the finished result and actually confirmed I was doing all the right things anyway. Phew! The numerous pockets and pocket facings confused me to begin with. Don’t you wish all pattern instructions referred to the pattern piece numbers as well as the name? I ended up having to write the corresponding numbers next to the names in this part of the instructions.
I’d read Winnie’s review of these trousers on Scruffy Badger Time and knew that catching the waistband facing by stitching in the ditch might not be in line with the facing’s finished edge. I really wanted to turn the edge of the waistband under and hand sew but the thickness of the fabric would’ve made this area very bulky so I opted to finish the bottom edge of the waistband facing with bias binding, as per the pattern instructions, and got the same result as Winnie. I don’t mind this too much and thanks to the flecks in the fabric, the stitching is less noticeable.
The bar tack at the bottom of the fly isn’t the best. I had to unpick it as I’d caught the underlap and this second one wasn’t so straight.
The faux welts turned out OK in the end, considering how bloomin’ unwieldy they were with fabric this thick, and I don’t think they look too close together on the outside. I also took my time with the hook and bar closures, being my first and getting these wrong could really affect how professional the final result looks. I’m happy with them.
In terms of hemming, I overlocked the bottom edge and then tried to decide how I wanted the finished result to look. Since I wasn’t 100% sure and quite fancied a turn-up look, I opted to just fold these over. With all the adjustments, the bottom goes for a bit of walk. Something else to work on in future.
Finally, here’s a little shot of the pocket lining which you barely catch a glimpse of because of the pocket facings.
Overall, I’m very happy with the finished result. I think there are still some fitting issues that I need to understand more and improve upon. But definitely a very wearable pair of trousers that I will likely make again.
I’ve been a little naughty and since these trousers, I’ve already sewn up a tartan By Hand London Kim Dress with a half-circle skirt. Naughty because I need to stop sewing at a speed faster than I can blog! I’ve had the week off work so a few days ago, I made a muslin of the Sewaholic Minoru Jacket and with the rest of the weekend I shall be trying to work my way through the real deal. As well as trying to read all the books building up on my bedside table! And now the sun has made an appearance so might try and photograph my other makes. No rest for the wicked, eh?
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased all items mentioned myself. All views expressed are my own.