Category Archives: Trousers

Magical McCall 7445

You know it’s a true love sewing project when a) I peel myself out of bed a little early on a school day to photograph them in the semi-dark for the old bloggo and b) I want to wear them so much, I do so even on a highly weather-inappropriate day. It’s close to freezing here in London and here I am, flashing a bit of ankle in my snazzy new pants.


These are the wide-leg cropped pants (yes, more!) from McCall 7445, which I got – and is still currently – half off at Minerva Crafts. This is a design by Melissa Watson for the Palmer-Pletsch line, and I actually discovered the pattern via Melissa’s Instragram feed showing her own versions of the pattern. Look at her silk velvet pair in action – swoon! I made view B, which has an exposed front zip and a waist facing instead of a waistband.

Fun fact time – Melissa is Pati Palmer’s daughter, and in case you didn’t know Palmer-Pletsch are known for being the goddesses of fitting. They’ve written several books on the subject and pioneered the tissue-fitting system. An unexpected bonus of this pattern is that the instructions have thorough guidance on how to tissue-fit the pants and make common alterations – flat/full butt adjustments, sway back, crotch curve adjustments, that sort of thing. The pants also have a one-inch seam allowance on the side seams for easier fitting. I assume all of the Palmer-Pletsch line patterns have the same?


As it happens, the size 14 was basically perfect on me out of the packet – or they look pretty good to me, anyway – so I didn’t need to use any of the enclosed advice. After basting at the given one-inch I ended up shaving about an extra half-inch or so off the waistline but that’s it in terms of adjustments. My measurements are actually a little over a Big 4 size 14, but they come up typically large, and I was also using a fabric with a slight stretch, a fine needlecord from Croft Mill, which meant I wanted to get them nice and snug. I also took one inch off the length.

They came together super fast, a few hours on Sunday evening. Turns out exposed zip flies are the easiest ever! It sounds gushy but I just love every detail of this design. It’s pretty rare I make a pattern exactly as designed without fiddling around with it, but these really are the one. It makes sense I guess since Melissa seems like a super stylish lady from her Instagram feed… alright, now I’m definitely gushing.


Internal details (excuse the fluff, needlecord loves it!): I love the squared-off pockets, which I lined with leftover silk from my Helmi dress, and the sleek self-faced waistline. I’m gonna make another pair of these pretty fast in some olive green heavy crepe I’ve got in my stash, perhaps with a concealed size zip.

And they’re a second tick off the 2017makenine list, hurrah. Yay for pants that make me want to dance!

Sewing Around the World: Schnittchen Mary trousers

Schnittchen Mary trousers

Today’s my turn to share my contribution to Schnittchen Patterns’ Sewing Around the World campaign: a blog tour of 12 sewists in 12 cities making 12 Schnittchen patterns. You can see the other bloggers and their projects, along with my project and a short interview with me, on the Schnittchen blog.

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Schnittchen Mary trousers width=

I picked the Mary trousers, one of the new Summer 2016 patterns, a wide leg cropped pant with a gathered front, back darts and side and back pockets.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

We were given a store and budget to pick fabric, and I chose Rough Cut Arrows double gauze from The Village Haberdashery. It’s the first double gauze I’ve used that’s not made by Nani Iro: this one feels a little more substantial and stable so I think it was a very good match for summer pants. They’ll certainly never be crisp and tailored, but I like the slightly rumpled look and it’s sooo comfortable.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

Schnittchen Mary trousers

I sewed the pattern exactly as designed, except for moving the invisible zip fastening to the side seam instead of centre back. It’s the first Schnittchen pattern I’ve made and I was impressed by the fit, pattern packaging and instructions.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

I had to take a little wedge out of the straight waistband to fit my back but otherwise the fit was good right off. You can’t tell because the print camouflages them, but the back pocket shape is a bit more interesting than usual and the double darts give a good fit.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

We’re going through a heatwave in London right now so it’s too muggy to wear any sort of trouser (I changed back into shorts after the photos), but that won’t last forever!

Schnittchen Mary trousers

In the interest of whipping through sharing some other recent projects, here’s a closeup of the top too because I love it lots. It’s a modified (half-buttoned) vintage New Look 6250 in self-striped cotton voile from organiccotton.biz, one of my new favourite online stores. This is 100% heatwave-approved and has been seeing heavy rotation lately.

Guise Louise

Papercut Guise

Despite already having a TNT pattern for this type of pegged trouser shape (Burda 7017), I bought the Papercut Guise pattern just to see if I’d prefer it. For one reason or another (bad fabric, ruined from over-washing, poor construction) all my 7017s are pretty much out of action these days, so a new pair is definitely needed. I was also intrigued to see how the elasticated back waist of Guise was made and if it had any benefit over a fixed waistband. I made up this wearable toile in cheap poly crepe to test what I thought of it.

Papercut Guise

I don’t hate these or anything, there are just a few fit and style issues that mean I don’t like them as much as the 7017 pattern overall. Size wise I cut a straight S going by the finished measurements. They do fit well but I feel like I’d want to make a series of minor tweaks to make them more like the 7017s. For example the rise falls a bit between mid and high; I think I’d like it an inch higher. Then the waist would be too big so I’d need to take it in… so I’m thinking I should probably just stick with 7017 next time, ha ha.

Papercut Guise

Back view – the elasticated band looks pretty bad when it’s visible (I couldn’t even bear to put up the photo!) so I’d feel like I need to to cover it. Which for me sort of defeats the purpose of high waisted mannish pants as I like to tuck in and show my waist.

Papercut Guise

They’re quite a demanding sew as well for casual pants: there’s thirteen pieces, several of which need to be cut in interfacing too, so the cutting and fusing took an entire unpleasant evening. In the end I wimped out of sewing the welt pockets and belt loops in this non-pressable poly which made it much faster. Anyway, the instructions are good and I followed the given fly directions with a good result. I really like the fit in the legs and the release tucks at the hip.

Papercut Guise

Another styling option where you can see the rise doesn’t hit at my smallest point so isn’t the most flattering. Soooo, I’m sort of of the fence about this pattern and probably won’t be too likely to make it up again. There are a lot of cute Guises out there – Lizzy, Sonja, and Julie – so I think it’s just a case of it not being right for my shape and style. Back to the 7017s for my definitive autumn trousers!

Anima times two

Well hello. Bit of an unintended break there. I was sick for a week (sinusitis turns every little cold into a bed-bound week of hell), then had a trip away with work.

award

Two quite lovely sewing-related things have happened since I last posted – as well as some real sewing, below. First, I had an email (and a tweet from Jen!) to let me know that my lil’ space here has been nominated for a Bloglovin’ 2015 Award. I don’t know if the nominations were reader-voted or internally decided, but either way I can’t help but be extremely flattered and a bit proud. I know awards are always subjective and ultimately don’t mean much, but it’s a lovely boost to be recognised by a platform I use every day. If you’d like to see the other nominees and cast a vote, you can do so here.

Secondly, on that work trip we all had to give a short talk on what we’re passionate about. Guess what I picked, ha ha. Some of my colleagues already knew I sew what I wear nearly every day but some didn’t, and I had such a lovely reaction of admiration and support… plus about ten commission requests and the idea that I should start a ‘sewing for my colleagues’ blog series – we’ll see about that! Anyway it was really nice to share a big part of who I am and get a warm reception, and to find a few more sewing fans to have stitchy conversations with. (Hello if you’re reading!)

Anima pants

Right, on to some actual sewing. So I recently bought the Papercut Anima pants pattern as a PDF. I know, it’s pretty similar to the True Bias Hudsons and I try to reuse patterns rather than buy similar ones, but what made me buy Anima in particular was the faux fly front, which I’d never been able to wrap my head around how to construct.

Anima pants

They’re a quick and simple sew, a gentle single session type of project. The PDF was a manageable printout at around 25 pages and went together easily. I generally sew an S in Papercut but cut the M for these because I’m larger around the hips and wanted them loose. I think the S would’ve given me a closer fit more like the pattern photos – good to know I can just print it off again to try the smaller size sometime.

Anima pants

I sewed them per the instructions with no fit adjustments, except omitting the cuffs and just hemming the legs – I liked the ankle length finish and was hoping to go for a sort of soft tailoring look rather than full-on sweatpant. I’ve just rolled up the cuff a bit here for a peek of the slightly contrast inside.

French terry

The fabric’s a mega lovely French terry kindly sent to me by the newly opened UK arm of online knit fabric specialists Girl Charlee. I’d ordered from the U.S. Girl Charlee site before so was really pleased to see they moved to our shores too – no worries of getting stung by high postage and customs charges. Founder Mark Creasy let me pick a couple of fabrics to try, and this is the modal blend French terry . Ummm, I love this fabric. It’s insanely soft and has beautiful drape. I think it definitely helps these pants to look a cut above sportswear or loungewear – I had the Anima in mind when I ordered it and it was definitely perfect for this project. It comes in Sandalwood brown as well as this Deep Forest shade and it’s just £6.95/m. i’ll definitely be getting some more come the colder weather.

Anima pants

Given the loose fit I reckoned they would work as is in a woven fabric, so I cut a second pair pretty quickly in this gorgeous viscose I got in Chester’s Abakhan store.

Anima pants

I’ve been living in these since I finished them to be honest. They seem to go with all my plain tops (this is another Aster hack in linen) and are so comfortable – great for cycling and nice and light and breezy. I didn’t need to make any fit changes to make them work in a woven. Perhaps if you picked a snugger size you’d want to size up one to make sure they drape well.

Anima pants

I omitted the topstitching and drawstring this time for a smoother waistband. I’d love to try hacking around to make a flat-front waistband sometime too. Nice to have another TNT everyday pattern in the stash!

Black n blue 7017s, and how to fix a broken zip fly

Burda 7017 pants

From multi-camisoles to multi-pants: well, I needed something to wear with them, right? This post contains three pairs of my beloved TNT, Burda 7017, made over the last few months. Teamed with a cami or tee and jauntily rolled at the cuff they’re practically my everyday uniform right now.

Burda 7017 pants

Pair the first was made back in April; you might have seen them cropping up in my Me-Made May. I didn’t blog them at the time because they are pretty zzz, but I wear them loads so they deserve a place here. They’re made of a beautiful cotton twill from Cloth House in Soho. I think it was about £14 a metre and totally worth it as it’s so soft, lovely to work with and to wear. For this pair I converted the front pleats into sewn-down tucks. I tried to take some detail shots of the construction but black = nuh uh. They are very nicely made though, honest!

Burda 7017 pants

This second pair uses a poly from my Ecuador haul. These are kind of secret pyjamas: SO COMFY thanks to a bit of stretch in the fabric, and I love that they look like denim chambray. They look especially nice with this tan tee and shoes, non?

Burda 7017 pants

I used leftover ikat cotton for the inner band which I think looks super sweet and adds a bit of rigidity. I have to give a shout out to the fly front directions in this pattern again: it’s now my default method as it’s very fast and accurate. (Except these and my next pair both turned out the wrong way round, ie crossing right over left, man-style, which feels quite odd!) The facings are integrated into the pattern piece so you simply press them back and stitch the zip to each in turn – soooo easy. However, I did very stupidly pull the zip slider right off the top edge as I was testing it. I don’t usually cut the stops off until I’ve sewn on the waistband, and there’s exactly why. See the bottom of this post for how I got it back on.

Burda 7017 pants

Latest pair! These use a beaaautiful Marc Jacobs cloth that I bought from Mood NYC way back last October. I thought it was denim but working with it made me question that: it’s crosswoven with black and blue-grey yarns, frays a lot and creases/presses readily. A silk mix suiting perhaps? It’s perfect light pants weight and feels very luxurious to wear.

Burda 7017 pants

For this pair I hacked the pattern a bit, lowering the rise by 2″ or so and almost eliminating the front pleats. Having learned what I did on Alice’s class I would have approached this a bit differently now; it turned out ok but the tiny pleats left over look a bit silly so I should have transferred them into the side seams.

Burda 7017 pants

I put welt pockets into the back to break up the expanse of bum. I was a bit cocky and went straight into it without practicing, having done welt pockets once before but quite a while ago. Needless to say they are far from perfect – the corners aren’t nicely squared off and they gape pretty badly. I think I’ll sew them closed to prevent them tearing over time. This pair looks less good tucked in due to the low waist so my top will usually hide this mess, ahem.

Burda 7017 pants

The pocket bags and inner waistband are made from lovely tana lawn scraps. (I wore the pants with its matching cami the other day and had secret sewist joy that my inner waistband matched my top.) The fabric had a lovely pastel-striped selvedge which I’ve left raw on the fly shield and cuff.

Burda 7017 pants

I made the waistband a bit wider and added two buttons, as well as a concealed inner button for a snug fit. I’m going to add belt loops as well – I was feeling lazy after doing the welts so left them off but I miss them.

Fix a broken zip

Now here’s how to fix that pesky slidden-off zip pull.

Fix a broken zip

Locate the very bottom of the zip, just above the stop. Carefully (I used my sharp thread snips) snip out two teeth close to the stop.

Fix a broken zip

Do the same on the other side of the zip. Make sure you remove teeth evenly on both sides (ie two teeth up on each side), so the zip will match up when you slide it back on.

Fix a broken zip

Ease the slider back onto one side, pushing it just one tooth up – you’ll feel it ‘click’. Do the same on the other side.

Fix a broken zip

Slide it up a bit to check it’s properly aligned; if not slide it back off and try again.

Fix a broken zip

Now hand-sew a strong bar tack across the hole where you cut out the teeth.

Fix a broken zip

And quick, sew some bar tacks at the tops to stop you doing it again (which will be covered by your waistband). Phew, crisis averted.

My good old 7017s are real wardrobe winners, a bit more interesting than everyday jeans and so easy to wear and style. I hear a lots of sewists say they hardly ever make repeat patterns, but it makes total sense to me as you have all the boring pattern cutting and fitting done and can just enjoy the process of making and wearing. I am, however, going to put it to one side now and try out my block next time I make pants to see how it compares.

True Bias Hudson Pants

Hudson pants

Woo! I’m so pleased for Kelli of True Bias: her first pattern, the Hudson Pants, is now available, and it’s a cracker. I was fortunate to be asked to test for this pattern so I’ve already had time to sew up two pairs – you might have seen my first pair on Instagram right at the tail-end of Me-Made May. Trust me, if you get hold of the pattern you’ll be making multiple pairs of these babies too.

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The Hudsons are a snug-fitting, low waisted urban jogger, with trimmed yoke pockets, a topstitched wide elastic waistband finished with drawcord, and deep ankle/calf cuffs. Perfect for work at home or out and about errand kind of days – of which I have a lot.

Hudson pants

My first pair is made from a double-sided ponte knit bought locally. I used the navy side for the main trouser, with some contrast at the hip and cuff using the lighter reverse side (Hudson is MADE for fun colour blocking). I think that ponte is a perfect choice for the Hudson, as the medium amount of two-way stretch makes them super comfortable but not bag out too much.

Hudson pants

Sewing these up is really fun and from cutting to sewing you could definitely make a pair in one session. What makes them intermediate rather than beginner is having to set the cuffs in the round, and the rows of topstitching on the waistband, where keeping the elastic uniformly gathered is key (I didn’t quite nail it on this pair, and there’s a bit of puckering). The instructions are excellent and well diagrammed so a confident beginner could easily tackle them, and they’d make a great introduction to the wonderful world of sewing pants.

Hudson pants
Hudson pants

Sizing wise, my waist measured about 3 sizes smaller than my hips on the chart, but Kelli recommends you go with your hip measurement as the waistband is elasticated anyway. The fit came out pretty good, just a bit tight across the bum so I might size up if I wanted a looser fit. The only thing I noted as a tester is that the ankle cuffs were a bit tight too, but Kelli has adjusted this in the final pattern to add a tiny bit more ease. I can’t imagine the shape would not work on anyone to be honest.

Hudson pants

I loved my first pair so much I made another a week later. My second pair is in a heavy terry-backed flecked jersey from Minerva.

Hudson pants

I cut exactly the same size as before but you can see a slight difference in fit: this knit has less widthwise stretch and hardly any lengthwise stretch. The result is a snugger, almost legging-type fit down the leg and a lower rise. I’m totally ok with this because I think it makes the pants a bit smarter; I could definitely wear them with a nice tee and loafers for work, whereas the first pair are a bit too casual for that.

Hudson pants

I’m already imagining more pairs – I want some calf-length ones for the warmer weather (perhaps even shorts length too) and also want to try them in a lighter weight patterned knit, which I think could create a loose drawstring pant kind of effect. I think it’s a pattern which really fills a gap for comfortable yet not completely slobby leisurewear, and I’m sure I’ll come back to it over and over.

You can buy the PDF download Hudson pant pattern for $10 right here.

I received a free copy of the draft and final pattern as a tester; views are my own.