So, trousers…


So, my challenge this year was to master making trousers! Well, I’ve made a start at any rate; the mastering could take a little longer… I selected two patterns that I thought would flatter (and let’s be honest), looked fairly simple: Colette’s Clover and Simplicity’s 1699. I’ve since become unsure of the former, sensing that it might be a little too fitted for my shape (although I guess that depends on the choice of fabric?), so the latter it was for my first attempt.

The hardest part was selecting a fabric I liked. I wanted these to be for work so I needed something pretty smart. Most of the pinstripes in wool (leg-lengthening for all us shorties) just seemed too thick. A couple of you suggested something with a little stretch to alleviate fitting problems. I didn’t quite manage that, but I came close with this thinner, light-weight wool (Leon’s in Chorlton) which is a charcoal grey with a blue grid-like design. I wasn’t sure about the horizontal stripes in it, worried they might exaggerate my hips if it pulled even slightly, but it was the only one I really liked.

And do you know, the making part wasn’t too bad at all? The style is a straight legged style with a side zip closing. I cut a UK size 10, which usually works well for skirts (sometimes smaller for knits). Can you see where this is going already? The main body of the trousers came together really easily, just like a skirt in fact. Sewing the inner side seams (ie the crotch area) was new, but I back stitched to reinforce, as directed, and it looked just fine.

I was even really good and paused overnight, before attempting to insert the zip. New year’s resolutions to slow down and all that πŸ˜‰ By this stage however I could foresee a problem: they were looking mighty small! The zip was a bit trickier to insert than in a skirt, as there wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre without catching the other side up in my stitching. I used a centred zip, following my ‘Sew Step by Step’ (Alison Smith) method (that I used here, for my butterfly cushions). This wasn’t as neat, but just about passable. Definitely an area to work on for next time!

The waist area of the trousers was finished with ’twill tape’, but as I had no idea what this was (some form of bias binding?), I simply used a length of grosgrain ribbon I had which matched the colour of the fabric really well. Sadly, as I guessed, they came up pretty small. I can get them on and the shape is surprisingly flattering (phew!) on both my legs and bum, but they’re just not fastening up! Maybe it’s just being too cruel to yourself attempting to fit trousers for the very first time in January? I’ve left them unhemmed for now. I figured I’d try to get them on again in a month or so, when I’m back to my fighting weight after the Christmas feasting. It’s kind of frustrating as the fabric’s lovely and they’re so close to fitting, but despite this I do feel proud that I’ve even attempted them, so there’s that πŸ™‚


All in all, I’d really recommend this trouser pattern if you’re a first time trouser-maker too. I should imagine it’s a pretty flattering shape on most figures. Annoying as it was that this pattern came free with a sewing magazine after I’d already bought it, now it seems like fate πŸ˜‰ If these still don’t fit when I’ve lost the Christmas bloat, then I can cut the next size up out of my second copy. A silver lining in every cloud and all that…


28 thoughts on “So, trousers…

  1. What a shame they don’t fit, they look lovely. You could always try removing the grosgrain and inserting a ‘V’ shaped piece of fabric at the back waist. I’ve done this before when altering favourite trousers for people and it looks fine and at least makes them wearable after all that hard work:)

  2. I’ve just cut out the Colette Clover pattern, so I’m not far behind you! The fabric is lovely and well worth adjusting if needs be. I really like the ribbon detail too!

  3. They look fab for a first attempt. How about for your next pair do the fly and the back seam, then whizz up the side seam with long basting stitches on the machine to see if they fit. And add a bit extra to the seam allowance in case they done.
    I’ve just bought mccalls 6361 which has loads of fitting tips in the instructions but not made them yet. πŸ˜€

  4. You have at least made a start and these are looking very good. Twill Tape is a cotton tape that I use for my waistbands, 1/4″ wide but the gross grain ribbon does exactly the same thing, stablises the waist. Don’t be too rash in going up a size, if the fit is good on the legs and bum you might just need to add a bit more to the waist and this will show if you use Thimerlina’s suggestion.

  5. Sometimes it is easier to sew the side seams last (and make an extra large seam allowance so you can take them in or out before finishing). I just learned this recently from a Craftsy Pattern Fitting Techniques course. I am working on pant fitting now too. I have two pairs of jeans on my sewing table We shall see how I do after watching that Craftsy course! I love your fabric though and the ribbon was a very clever idea!

    • I thought I’d attempt one of them. Even though they don’t fit I’m still pretty pleased with them. And the lovely blogosphere hasn’t let me down, I’ve got lots of ideas for how to get closer next time πŸ™‚

  6. What a shame about the fit, as they sure look lovely and nicely made. But hey, they could be a good incentive for a healthy January perhaps, not that you’d need to worry being a size 10!

    By the way, I have the fabric from your banner! I fell in love with the print completely, and it’s so nice to see it here, too πŸ˜€ I made a memo board with it so far, and have cut the remnant ready to be made into some camera lens cases πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you! Indeed I’m about to go to the gym…
      I made a blouse out of my banner fabric, it was lovely to work with. I still have some remnants, so when I’m next in a stash diet I might have to do something with it πŸ™‚

  7. Well done for doing what you said!! It is a shame it doesn’t fir but at least you have made it once so you know the steps now for next time. It all may be a case of Christmas eating, I feel lately as if i’m carrying another half Vasiliki with the existing one haha!! And I also have your banner fabric, I made a cushion with it!!

  8. Pingback: Baby steps in embroidery | navybluethreads

  9. Pingback: Trousers: close but no cigar! | navybluethreads

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