I made a new pair of trousers yesterday, and they sort of represent a Venn diagram of everything I’m into wearing right now: black & ecru, linen, good pockets, a little quirky detailing and a comfy mid-rise faced waistline.
My target was an approximation of these lovely Paloma Wool pants and I used the Republique du Chiffon Diego trouser pattern as a base. I have had this pattern a while but it was seeing Jasika’s amazing printed pair that showed me the potential of making them in a more breezy fabric than the denim they’re photographed in.
I’m really happy with the basic draft of the pattern and just had to make minor tweaks as I went: I cut a straight 42 and took in the back waist darts and lower leg a bit, that’s all. I added 3/4″ to the rise when cutting because I knew I wanted to try adding a waistline facing instead of the contoured waistband in the pattern, much like my beloved M7445 trousers which are just so damn comfortable.
Converting any waistbanded pattern to a faced waistline is really pretty simple – you just need to trace off 2-3″ deep facing pieces from the front and back main pieces, sew to the top raw seam and anchor into place along the vertical seamlines. I always sew twill tape into the top seam to make sure they don’t bag out. I think this pattern is supposed to have a side seam zip but I moved it to the centre-back, and I also extended the pocket bags into the front seam to act like a stay; little tweaks I make based on preferences I’ve picked up along the way.
I also decided to add hem splits inspired by the Paloma Wool pair and my other favourite trousers, the Trend TPC12. To make these I cut a little rectangular facing piece which I sewed a narrow channel up the middle of, then carefully snipped into it, turned the facing to the inside and topstitched. Perhaps a bit of a silly choice given we’re tumbling rapidly towards autumnal weather, but I do like how they turned out.
I got the fabric a while ago as part of a treat-myself haul from Stonemountain & Daughter; it seems to be out of stock but they have the reverse colourway. It’s 100% linen and I gave it a hot pre-wash to get all the shrinkage out. It’s a little loosely woven but hopefully they will hold up to wear and not sag out too much. I had fun (really!) fussy-cutting to get nice pattern placement and mirroring; even the pocket facings match and I like how the back darts create a V shape in the striped sections.
In retrospect I might make the waistline a tiny bit higher if I was to sew these waistbandless again, though next time I might try using the waistband and cute pointed belt loop detail per the pattern. Hopefully I’ll be able to wear these a bit before truly chilly autumn weather kicks in.
A really quick one, because this was such a fast and simple sew: a Cielo top from Closet Case Files’ Rome pattern collection. As I realised after Me-Made May, I don’t have a whole lot of tops that aren’t t-shirts and I thought this would be a nice entry level dip into woven tops being essentially a fancy boxy tee. Girl’s gotta have something to wear with all her trousers huh?
This is View A with the cuffs simply left off the sleeves. I nearly used the dramatic pleated sleeves of View B but thought it would take it a bit into ‘fancy’ territory and make it less everyday-wearable, although I would like the make that view in a less bold/luxe fabric. There are also options for a bound or faced neckline and I opted for the facing this time.
I didn’t toile but based my fit assessment on the finished garment measurements and used the handy C/D bust cup pattern piece which is included with the pattern along with the standard B cup option. The fit turned out really nice; I love the length and shoulder point, I’ll probably just take a little narrow back adjustment next time and lower the bust darts a touch.
I’ve had this cheerful royal blue silk crepe de chine in my stash for a while, from The Fabric Store. The colour is about as bright as I’ll go but I love how it looks with my tan Utility Trousers. I think it was a great fabric match for this pattern and I used French seams throughout – even the armsyces which is always a bit harrowing but was worth it in the end. All in all a great little make and I’ll definitely be using this pattern again soon.
(Note: both pattern and fabric were gifts, with no expectation of blog promotion.)
My first pair of Trend TPC12 trousers are one of my most worn and loved garments. They get pulled out several times a week, and unfortunately the rather cheap cotton I used to make them is already starting to pill around the thighs and seamlines. So I invested in a sturdier fabric to make a second pair, but mixed up the colour and design a bit too.
The fabric is rather delicious Kaufman Kobe Twill in Cinnamon which I bought from Sister Mintaka – I had a bit of a spree and bought some tencel twill and Atelier brunette viscose at the same time. It’s a pretty ideal bottom weight and well suited to this pattern: light enough to deal with the bulky seam allowance parts around the fly but enough crispness to hold the vents in place. (Full disclosure – I made another pair before these in a much thicker denim/drill and made an absolute mess of them, despite this being a recommended fabric for the pattern – nope, you can’t do a triple-layered concealed button fly in something that thick!).
Despite being the second/third time sewing this pattern up I still struggled with construction! It’s all totally fine until the fly, which has so many layers and bits to line up and press/stitch the right way that it’s so easy to get really confused, especially with the aforementioned terrible instructions. I really fudged bits of this and had to add strategic hand-stitches here and there to keep things together and looking neat. But from the outside at least they look passable and feel secure.
I am proud however of hacking in some sleek side panel pockets because bizarrely for a pattern which calls itself ‘utility’ pants these have none as designed and I do miss them in my beloved black pair. I forewent the purely ornamental leg flap and instead extended the side panel piece by approx 10″ at hip level. This simply gets concertinaed back on itself to form a pocket, the edges of which get sandwiched into the front and side seams. Easy and effective.
Here’s how that works in detail: 1. On the paper pattern, slice horizontally across the side front panel at mid-hip length and add in a panel twice the depth you want the pocket. Mark notches at the tops and bottoms of the added section. 2. When you come to sew, fold up the pocket extension so notches match again. Press into place, and topstitch along the top of the fold if you like (I didn’t). Baste down at the sides. 3. Sandwich into the centre front and side back seams when they get sewn up.
I’m pleased with these – the colour makes them a bit less of a workhorse than the classic black pair, and this 100% cotton does need an iron every time I wear them. But they do match my Ottowin sandals ever so nicely, and the iPhone-depth pockets are a definite bonus.
Heyo! A bit more holiday spam, by way of talking about the two swimsuits I made pre-trip, both using the Opian Pilatus pattern.
I made the one on the right here first as a wearable toile, as I suspected having seen several completed Pilatuses that I’d want to make some fitting and stylistic changes to the pattern. This fabric is a jazzy swim lycra I got as a big cheap remnant from the Manchester Abakhan last time I was up there.
The alterations I made are roughly diagrammed here:
So slimming down the front bodice: swooping the neckline lower, making the straps slimmer by about half, and making the tie area skinnier. I also made the back skimpier – following the slimmer straps from the front, taking the scooped neck lower and raising the scoop beneath too. Conversely, I gave the bottoms much more coverage. I raised the waistline by about two inches and cut the leg openings at the largest size to make them lower cut. I also graded between waist and hip size.
Then I felt all good cutting into my main fabric, a Liberty swim lycra which I bought from Liberty itself although they don’t seem to have it in stock any more: The Fabric Store and Guthrie & Ghani stock some prints. The top is self lined (pretty important as you’ll see the rear on the ties) and the bottoms are lined in some black swim lycra I had lying around. The Liberty fabric is lovely quality as you’d expect: quite firm stretch so it fits a little tighter than the first set I made but in quite a nice secure way!
The pattern was great to work with generally. A nice 11 page PDF that assembled easily, with brief but helpful and well-illustrated instructions. And both suits got a great workout on holiday!
These suits were so comfortable for swimming and lounging in and both fabrics seemed to hold up really well. In fact the only thing I’d change is I think I overdid the coverage on the bottoms and they’d look more balanced if they were cut more like the original design. I felt overdressed on a beach full of Italians in very small two-pieces! But having this suit might even encourage me to hit the local pool a bit more too…
I’ve just got back from a lovely holiday in southern Italy. It was hot, beachy and full of pasta and aperitivos which is quite ideal. I was also really pleased to find I packed a nearly 100% handmade holiday wardrobe without even trying – a lot of which are old makes stretching back to 2015 or so (including the top I’m also wearing here), but these are the only thing I made specifically for the trip: a pair of Closet Case Patterns’ new Pietra Shorts.
Heather kindly sent me the Rome Collection on its release, and while I like all the garments, it was obviously the trousers that drew me in first. I actually made these shorts after making two pairs of the pants version which I am yet to wear or photograph (as it’s been too warm!) so I could apply some learnings about fit and so forth which made these a very fast pre-hol sew.
I made a size 10 blended to 12 at the hip and additionally did full butt and thigh adjustments as I did when I made the pants. Interestingly though, the shorts have a lot more ease at the hip compared to the slim-leg trouser view: this can be seen in the useful finished garment measurement table but I neglected to check the different measurements between the views, so while my pants fit snugly these are actually a bit loose and I took in the side seams about 3/4″ on each side during construction to compensate.
They are still comfortably loose in fit when worn but I do have to do some serious wriggling to get them on and off! Heather suggests if you need to grade up more than two sizes between waist and hip you would probably want to put in a side seam invisible zip for ease of dressing, and I think I will do this in any future pairs – it will stop causing strain on the waistline too so probably help them hold their shape longer. I think for any fellow pears you’d probably want to consider doing the same.
A lot of people have been curious about the back view of this pattern as the back waistline is elasticated (the front is flat and elegantly finished with a facing). I’m pleasantly surprised that the backside view doesn’t look too bunched or unflattering, even in this fabric I used which is the upper limit of weight you’d probably want to use: it’s leftovers from the lightweight crisp New Craft House denim I used for my Yanta Overalls. Heather said she drafted the back waistline a little lower than is traditional in order to hug the small of the back, and while it felt a bit uncomfortable to me at first and I was tempted to increase the back rise (this is a common big butt adjustment to make, too) I do see the benefit as the topstitched elastic does indeed sit smoothly against the back, especially with a blousy half-tucked top kinda vibe.
These were a delight to wear in their namesake country, though I did obviously get them quite grubby scrabbling around on the rocks! I’ll share my pants versions as soon as it’s cool enough to wear them; I don’t think it’ll be the last time I pick up this pattern.
Just a quick one to say I have posted about my new Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls over at the New Craft House blog, as part of their new fabric ambassador program. Pop over there to have a read of how I found this pattern, modifications I made and how I found their white denim fabric to use (spoiler: it’s all good)…