Category Archives: Trousers

TNT, or not TNT…

This is my second outfit using my ambassador fabric allowance from The Fabric Store, and it ties rather nicely into this month’s Sewcialists theme of TNTs, or ‘Tried and True’ – the patterns you love and reach for over and over again.

I’m a big TNT fan: once the fit is right and you’ve vouched for a pattern fitting into your wardrobe and lifestyle, why not make it again and again?! I even used to buy RTW clothing I liked in several colours so it’s sort of the same practice at work. Plus of course it’s always easier to sew a garment once you’ve made it once or twice, and you can have fun applying your own little hacks and tweaks to get it perfect.

One of these patterns is a TNT and one isn’t, and guess which was was the most fun to sew and will get more wear…?

Yep the trousers are another pair of Named Ninni Culottes. I wear my first pair in navy aaaaalll the time so really wanted a black pair to match my winter boots! (I’m really glad they pair rather well with boots, meaning I can still wear them in this fairly mild autumn weather).

These are actually a very true TNT because I used basically the exact same fabric too: a crinkle rayon from The Fabric Store. My navy ones have held up beautifully and while they go oddly crispy when the fabric is washed and wet, they straighten out again beautifully with a quick iron. I think this black fabric is slightly thicker and more structured, which makes it easier to work with and a little more suited to cooler weather. I love how smart black projects look inside with matching overlocking, and I used my yoke pocket pattern hack to make more practical pockets. Other than these I’ve made two more pairs of Ninnis, in bubblegum pink and in stripes, so it’s definitely a TNT that’s here to stay for me. The fact it takes like an hour to sew is a bonus!

The tee is the non-TNT, although it’s a pattern I’ve had for ages but hadn’t used yet: the Grainline Linden sweatshirt. I just wanted to try a raglan as opposed to my usual (and very much TNT) Plantain tee. I cut view B with the elbow-length sleeves and slightly dipped hem and eugh, it just didn’t work for me at all! The sleeves looked really dumpy and the fit around the top was poor, plus the neckline gaped like crazy. It seems like Grainline’s block fits like magic on some people and not on others, and I definitely fall into the latter camp. I’m afraid I threw the PDF straight into the recycling as I don’t think I can be bothered working on the fit to make it work for me.

In the end I cut the sleeves right down and finished them and the neckline with some proper ribbing (left over from my Joni pants): the fit is still not perfect but at least this is very wearable now and I didn’t waste the lovely fabric, which is The Fabric Store’s lightweight merino in skinny black/slate stripe. This fabric was again beautiful to work with and didn’t even complain too much about the hacking and altering I had to do to get this tee to fit. The merino should provide a cosy base layer for the cold, too.

I love the colours in this outfit and The Fabric Store’s luxurious-feeling fabrics means it’s really comfortable, and I know it will stand up to repeated wears and washes. I plan to make more TNTs this month for sure, and while I don’t often share repeated patterns on the blog I may make an exception to celebrate this month’s great Sewcialists theme.

It’s turtles all the way down

After cracking out my coat, here are some simpler sews ready for winter – lots of knits, built-in neckwarmers, and some bonus cosy pants. First up, this is a Papercut Rise, in a lovely grey marl rib that I’ve had in my stash for a while – I think it was from Woolcrest. I made this pattern up twice ages ago and both succumbed to washing fails, so I’m glad to have a new one (and to have learnt to never tumble-dry my handmades!)

This is a Sew House Seven Toaster 1 sweater. There are loads of lovely versions of this pattern in blogland but I think it was Heather’s gorgeous classic cream version that made me buy it. For a more shrunken fit I cut a size small, took a couple of inches off the body and sleeves, and brought in the neckline for a slightly closer fitting turtleneck. The neck sort of collapses because this fabric is pretty fine and drapey, but I still like how it looks. I used the reverse of the fabric – a soft knit with a slightly brushed back, also from Woolcrest I think – for most of the body, and the ‘right’ side for the cuffs and hem for a bit of subtle contrast. This pattern is so fast and has zero hemming, hurrah!

And for a bit of variety, this is Toaster with no turtle! Made from a lovely lilac marled sweatshirting from MyFabrics, with matching ribbing for the hem and cuff bands. I’m very into both cropped sweatshirts and pastel colours at the moment – rather new for me but I think these tones are actually pretty good on my colouring – so this sweater is ticking a lot of boxes.

Do you like my Pusheen mermaid socks :D

These trousers are the Style Arc Joni. I made these for a very specific use case: when you get home from work and immediately have to shrug off your awful constricting day clothes – lovely and well-fitting and handmade as they may be – and wriggle back into super comfy but definitely indoor-appropriate-only sweats or pyjamas. This pattern attracted me because they’re a bit elevated from basic track pants by the twisted lower leg seams, faux topstitched fly and little front tucks, but still pyjama-comfortable.

This pattern is easy as pie, only made a little more tricky by the drapey and stretchy quality of the fabric I used – a luxurious modal terry again from MyFabrics, again with matching ribbing for the waistband and cuffs. I’m a convert to investing in proper ribbing, it really makes it easier to get nice snug cuffs and neckbands and I think makes projects look more RTW.

I made them exactly as patterned with no fitting alterations; I could stand to take an inch or so off the leg but I don’t mind the slight slouch around the deep cuff that the extra length brings. I think I could even get away with wearing these to work on a casual/hungover sort of day. Come at me, winter!

P.S This post’s title refers to one of my favourite anecdotes

Lovely Lander

I made up True Bias’ new Lander pants pattern last weekend. I was sort of disappointed when I first finished sewing them, but a few little tweaks and I’m really digging them now.

I originally made these up in the full length, which is what threw me off knowing if I liked them or not. I was really hoping to like them in full length as I’m not sure how to translate my many pairs of cropped pants into the winter, and I find my previously-trusty skinnies really uncomfortable after a summer of breezy culottes! But alas, in the full length I couldn’t shake terrible 90s connotations of bootcut pants, especially in black as they reminded me of trousers I had to wear when I waitressed… they didn’t actually look awful, but I tried on a few pairs of shoes to test the styling and just couldn’t imagine wearing them much. So I took a few inches off and they were transformed into something I’m much more comfortable with.

The Lander’s key features are delightfully practical roomy patch pockets plus the exposed button fly, which as well as looking super cool was pretty fun to construct. Much easier than I was expecting and much more straightforward than a zip fly, although if you noticed I did manage to sew it backwards (a mirror image to what it should be), doh. You do end up with a lot of layers and seam allowances sandwiched in there, so it was a bit tricky to make the buttonholes and finish the waistband edges neatly. Next time I may cut-on the fly underlap to the front pant piece to reduce one of the seams.

I used some sweet rose-stamped jeans buttons that I’ve had kicking around for a while. They were cheap and don’t feel 100% secure, so I’m a little worried one might pop off at an inopportune moment. I did give them a good tug and they held out on my first day’s wear though so fingers crossed.

I cut a size 8 and did some pre-adjustments to the pattern before cutting my fabric to suit my shape: a full butt/thigh adjustment and switching the straight waistband for a contoured one (I think Kelli is going to cover this adjustment in the sewalong). The pattern features a generous 1″ seam allowance for the outer leg seams so there is opportunity to further fine-tune the fit through the hips at the sewing stage, which is a very nice touch. (Being me, I barely glanced at the instructions so missed this salient point, then got really confused when the waistband didn’t fit on, ha ha.)

Fabric-wise I used a very lovely selvedge denim from Ditto Fabrics that I grabbed from the shop on a daytrip to Brighton a few weeks ago. This denim feels beautiful quality – excellent for the price – and has slight stretch with good recovery. Because the inseam is straight I could use the raw selvedge edge, and I overlocked the other seams in matching white and pink thread.

In short: digging this pattern! I really like the fit I ended up with so I may do some little hacks on these in the future, and probably make the shorts version if I get somewhere warm on holiday soon.

More Landers out there: Marilla Walker, Meg, Handmade Frenzy, Dandelion Drift

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.