Part of my recent stash haul from LadyP was a trouser weight cotton (drill…? Twill…?) with just the tiniest bit of stretch to it. It’s an off white/ pale cream colour and perfect for a pair of classic chinos. Summer is nearly over so (I’m hoping to wear them on bright Autumn days too, however) I knew I’d better get my skates on. 

MrA was on a train back to London from Cornwall… A whistle-stop tour that took in a family related 70th birthday party, a walk along the beach & a lot of time spent on a train. Sunday was MINE! I’d spent a rock’n’roll-Saturday-night tracing out a few future patterns, among them; the men’s trouser pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee book ‘Sew Your Own Wardrobe’

I love the Sewing Bee books, is there 3? Ive got 3. This one and the following two. They’re a great way to build your pattern collection if you’re just starting out. The progression of projects through the books, highlighting the individual skills needed for each, is a great resource for newcomers (like me) to broaden their skills & knowledge. And if you want to make things for other people, the books contain a wide variety of patterns. I’ve probably mentioned that it was watching the Bee that inspired me to sew in the first place. Every time I do a project from one of these books I feel like I’m completing another unit of my own remote sewing course. Now I’m blogging them under #bustersbee. Ive done a few already, and stepped it up with a few of the made to measure challenges from this season…

Luxury Robe

African Inspired Wax Print

Vintage (Inspired!) Jacket

Yoga Top

As well as the unblogged Fitted Skirt and Childs Cape…


 

… And the yet-to-be-finished Ball Gown & maybe not-to-be-finished Draft a Dress. (I’m doing okay with the drafting, it’s the model who’s giving me trouble!)

Anyway, this one’s about the trousers…

 

They’ve got a nice, almost vintage wide leg, no back pockets (although I may add some welts another day… We’ll see…) I like the seam in the waistband, it really helps get a good fit, especially for me as I sewed the waist part at 1cm after trying them on. The size chart is a little vague but I’m also pretty amateur, I’m also quite straight-up-and-down from the front; these trousers don’t have any waist darts, the shape is all in the side seam. It’ll probably be a good idea to switch that in the future… In the future… When I add pockets. 

I cut them out, overlocked & applied the pocket facing, then attached the pockets to the front. I wanted a minimum of visible topstitching (mainly because my ‘cream’ cotton thread wasn’t quite Cream enough) so I understitched all the seams I could. I sewed them up on my Janome DKS30 but I also overlocked almost everything as I went along. It’s a bit tight with both machines up on the table, but I do love an overlocked seam. And it’s well worth the time spent changing the thread colour on my beloved (but temperamental) Brother 1034D Overlocker. 

Then it’s on to the fly. The only confusing bit is right at the start…The rhythmic; ‘Sewing the crotch up to the notch’. The notch isn’t clear on the trouser pattern piece, but is nice & obvious on the left facing piece. Measure it from there & it all lines up.  


I don’t exactly follow the instructions in the book. I don’t do all the basting. This is the order I do it in…

  1. Sew the crotch seam to the notch. 
  2. Overlock the left fly facing curved edge & sew the straight edge to the left front, from the notch. 
  3. Fold & press a narrow allowance on the right side, fold the zip shield & overlock the raw edges. 
  4. Make a zip sandwich on the right side of the fly, position the zip with the teeth just showing under the right fly opening, then position the zip shield underneath, lining the edge with the zip. Pin/ glue & sew. 
  5. Zip up. Position, pin & sew the left side of the zip to the left fly extention. 
  6. Keep the zip shield out of the way while pinning, marking & sewing the fly topstitching. 
  7. Finally, sew the left facing and the zip shield together at the bottom edge. 

Done.

Then the side seams. Overlocked, Sewn & pressed open. 

I tripped up again on the waistband. It is now drilled into my brain to give up on tucking the top of the belt loops into the top seam. It totally gets in the way of ditch-stitching the waistband down. In my desperation to have minimal visible stitching I ended up slicing & retro-fitting the loops into the waistband and used a mixture of stitching in the ditch & hand stitching to get the waistband down. It looks great from the outside, nice and clean. But not worth the effort for the sake of a few stitches showing at the top of the belt loops. 

As I mentioned, once I’d got the waistband on, I tried them on and decided on sewing the waist seam at 1cm tapering to 1.5cm along the curve. It feels like they’ve come up a bit tight, I should fit nicely into the 32″-34″ guide but I have eaten a lot of Fabs this summer. I’ve been like a Fab Bin… Like this…

That’s me. 

So, again, respect to the back waist seam, however bulky it may be itself; it is forgiving on the waist. 

Once the back seam was done and I’d jimmied about getting the waistband sewn down it was a simple case of sewing up the inside seams and hemming them. I got the blind hem foot out for a clean finish. Here’s a few pics…





Although they’re slightly snug on the waist, that’s looked after by the little bit of stretch and they’re really comfortable. Shape-wise, I like them. They could have a lower rise, slightly more tapered legs and I know I’d appreciate back pockets. They’re a good fit around the front & seat too. 

I now have a pair of casual trousers that aren’t jeans. Very useful indeed. I hope I can keep them clean. 

I was round at my friend PhotoBobs taking pictures of a recently finished project and he took a couple of shots of me too, in my new late-summer outfit. I haven’t really put any pictures of me out there before. I suppose I’m a bit shy, also, I hate having my photo taken. But I suppose these didn’t come out too bad…




Happy sewing. 

Notes to self:

  • Sew the top of the belt loops after stitching down the waistband in future. 
  • Shift the side shaping into a back dart. Or maybe add to the waist a little at the back seam. 
  • Lower rise; don’t slash, re draft waist band & lower pockets to new waistline (keeping fit at hips)
  • Take 6cm from the bottom to use 4cm for hem. 
  • Measure a one piece waistband once size is established. 
  • Don’t eat so many Fabs. 
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