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 😉 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 🙂
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 😉 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…