Category Archives: Trousers

Burda 7017 in cupro silk

I’ve had this lovely fabric earmarked for trousers for ages, and I dug out an old pattern to make ’em happen. They are Burda 7017, which are amongst some of the earliest trouser projects I ever tackled a few years ago, and now unfortunately seems to be out of print. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s embarrassing to look back at those earlier garments, but it was nice to revisit this pattern with all I’ve learned about fit, technique and fabric choices since then and see the improvements.

Having said that though, I averted a near-disaster on this pair when, after executing a lovely fly front completely from memory, I sewed up the side seams and found that I could barely squeeze myself into them. I don’t think I’ve gained a great deal of weight in the intervening years but perhaps I previously traced the pattern with extra safety seam allowance that never made it back to the paper pattern. Whoops.

After sulking for a bit I unpicked and re-sewed every single seam – inner and outer leg, the centre back and centre front below the fly – with a tiny little seam allowance, basically right next to the overlocked edge. That provided just enough extra room to allow them to fit, albeit a little slimmer than I was shooting for. I still don’t think I’ll feel too confident cycling in them in case it puts too much strain on those tiny seam allowances and they split open, but at least they feel comfortable and I can move in them.

I think the fabric makes this pair quite special and is the main reason why I was so relieved to save the fit: it’s a cupro-silk from the famous stall outside Sainsbury’s in Walthamstow market. I bought it over a year ago on a shopping trip with some other sewers; Marilla made up her Bennett dress pattern in it. I’m not sure if ‘cupro silk’ means that it’s a fibre blend or a cupro designed to look like silk, but it’s the most beautiful terracotta colour with a sort of dimensional shimmer and a slightly slubby texture, feels deliciously cool and floppy to wear, and was a dream to work with. I don’t think I’ll find fabric of this nature easily again unfortunately though I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out.

I tried out a little tweak I wanted to test based on some ready-to-wear trousers that I love of inserting elastic into the back waistband to maintain a snug, flexible fit at the waistline. To do this I eliminated the darts from the pants back and added their takeup to the length of the waistband, then stitched in some 1″ non-roll elastic before sealing up the inner waistband. It worked out great so I’m going to retrospectively add elastic to my old black cotton 7017s that have stretched out and become too baggy at the waist, which will help ping them back to life.

Final guts shots to show the waistband, that lovely fly front, and those tiny seams…

A hacky Named outfit

A new little summery outfit of two simple separates, both of which are hacked from Named patterns that I’ve sewn before.

The trousers are the Ninni culottes, sewn up in a lush indigo crinkle rayon that the Fabric Store kindly sent to me. The only thing I changed from my first pair was to convert the pockets from side seam into front yoked. I just can’t stand the way side seam pockets add bulk and flap around, and these yoked ones are actually much easier to prep and sew so it’s win-win. Here’s a quick tute; you can prepare paper pieces or cut these straight onto your fabric.

1. Cut a rectangle for the pocket bag/facing, approximately 16″ wide by 11″ long. The width will be 2x the width of the final pocket bag and the length will be the final length of the pocket.
2. Lay the rectangle on top of your front trouser piece, right sides together and matching the side seam and waistline to the rectangle edges. Cut a curved or straight line through both pieces at the trouser side seam edge. This will be the pocket opening. Mine starts about 3″ in from the edge at the top and is 7″ long.
3. Sew this pocket opening seam using a small (5mm or so) seam allowance. Clip if necessary to release curves, press seam allowances to the pocket facing piece, and understitch.
4. Fold the pocket bag in half, lining up with the trouser waistline and side seam. Sew and finish the bottom edge of the pocket bag, then baste the top and sides to the front trouser leg. Construct the rest of the pattern as written.

The blouse is a rather more extreme hack of the Reeta shirt dress. I wonder when a pattern stops being a hack and becomes essentially a self-draft?! To make this kimono-sleeved blouse from the dress pattern I:

· Merged the back yoke onto the back body piece
· Altered the shoulder seam so it wasn’t forward-facing (took some off the back piece and added to the front)
· Extended the shoulder line to create grown-on cap sleeves
· Drafted a new back facing piece to finish the back neckline
· Left off the collar piece as I did with my previous dress
· Rotated/closed the front bust dart down into added ease, which I then trimmed away from the side seam
· Cut the body and facings off about 14″ below the underarm

I’m considering this a wearable toile, as this space-print fabric (from The Textile Centre) was an impulse buy that isn’t really in my usual style stratosphere but I just couldn’t resist it. Next time I’ll raise the kimono sleeve line an extra half-inch or so as they’re a little bit snug. Otherwise I think this hack came out rather cute, and it didn’t take very long despite the amount of steps. I was sort of more in the mood for drafting than sewing so it was a nice project to try out some advanced hacking.


Faux jumpsuit

Oooh, this weekend’s project is one of my favourites for a while. It’s a fake jumpsuit, i.e. actually separates made up in the same fabric – Named’s Ninni culottes mashed up with Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank.


I wasn’t going to buy the Ninni pattern as it’s so simple and I’ve hacked this sort of wide elastic-waist pant before, but I just love their drafting and it was only 10 euros for the PDF. I was glad for the purchase as everything about the drafting is just right for me: the rise, width, waistband etc. I’m happy to pay 10 euros for someone else to deliver me what I want!

Sewing them up was fast and easy, except the part where I dozily sewed the back to back and front to front at the side seams instead of a back to a front, and had to unpick it all, on BOTH legs. Don’t sew when hungover, kids.

I was going to be extra-lazy and graft the leg pieces together as the outer side seam is pretty much straight, but decided I wanted the inseam pockets. I’ve tacked across the pocket top and bottom to try and keep them facing forwards.

The Tiny Pocket pattern doesn’t seem to be available any more; it was Grainline’s first-ever downloadable pattern and I assume the Willow tank has replaced it in the line-up. It’s a real nice well-drafted basic so I’m glad to have it in my PDF stash.

Guts shot; I’m proud I got the binding so neat and flat because this fabric was so difficult to press. I actually self-drafted an all-in-one facing but didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it and no suitable plain stash fabric; there was only just enough left to cut a few bias strips! I sewed the armhole binding flat before French-seaming the side seams, and the neckline binding was done in the round.

The fabric is a poly crepe from Minerva Crafts. Their description of it is spot on: it’s a dream to sew with (apart from not taking a press very well), has a little comfy stretch, is pretty much opaque but very lightweight with a wonderful drape. I love it! I got my culottes and top out of the two metres with very little scraps to spare.

I’m thrilled with these separates; I can see myself wearing them all summer both together and mixed up with other garments.

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!