Saturday, 12 November 2011

School Boy Trousers

A few weeks ago, a tragic washing machine-based accident rendered my beloved black sailor trousers all shrunken, unwearable and basically dead. To be fair, they were getting really worn and faded from a lot of wear so I was ok about it. But the incident left me with only two pairs of trousers to my name (my denim sailor trousers and some secondhand Topshop black jeggings that had a rip that needed fixing to make them wearable). I spend about 80% or 90% of my time in trousers, particularly in Autumn/Winter and particularly at work, so I realised it was time to turn my attention away from making piles of baby trousers and make myself some damn trousers instead.

I carried the plan with me for a while, unsure of what direction to take. Then Ali's fantastic post chronicling her trouser-sewing endeavours not only gave me a kick up the butt by seeing all her effort, but it also reminded me that I, too, have the pattern pictured above! I'm a fan of the Built By Wendy/Simplicity patterns but had only got round to making one rushed project-fail from this pattern since I'd got it a few years ago. Time to have another bash.

I think the main thing that puts me off making lots of trousers, as Ali noted, is that it is so damn hard to achieve a successful fit without heaps of effort and toiles. And fly fronts, I avoid those like the plague usually. But the style of trouser from this pattern would look funny converted to a side zip, so I decided that if I was going to bite the bullet and make a fly front, I should at least make one toile (pictured above). Now, you rarely see pictured of toiles (muslins, mock-ups, etc.) on this blog, for two reasons: they aren't very interesting, AND I almost never make them anyway. So I've included the picture above as a testimonial to this rare occurrence.

I made a size 14, and thankfully my uncharacteristic toiling behaviour was rewarded as the overall fit came out really well. I made the toile without the pocket mouth so I could draw my own directly onto the toile where I liked it, from which I made my own pocket position pattern (why, I'm not entirely sure because the new one I created is more or less exactly the same as the pattern's original - I just can't leave things be!). From the toile I also decided to add a tiny bit of extra width to the thigh area, which I then removed again during construction when a mid-way fitting proved it unnecessary. Plus I added 1 cm extra to the front rise measurement.

I was super-intrigued to see how this pattern would look at the rear. I had my concerns because God (or whoever is responsible for these things) has been quite generous to me in that department, and the back pattern pieces have no back darts so I was concerned the shaping wouldn't be accommodating, but actually it looked fine.

As you may know, I try to sew exclusively from my stash, and this piece of synthetic blend grey stuff had been in there since I 'appropriated' it from a crappy clothing company job I had back in 2007. The fabric is pretty light weigth and really soft, and the synthetic quality means it doesn't really crease (win). I didn't quite have enough for the whole garment, so I've used some contrast floral cotton (Liberty I believe, if you happen to be one of those Liberty-print festishists) for the inside waistband and inside pocket bags. You can see the odd sneak of it when the pocket mouths crease open a bit, but I don't mind the odd flash of something being visible from the outside.

As for the finish, I have to say I created the kind of fly front that dreams are made of. Almost flawless. I bypassed the pattern's fly front instructions and instead followed the directions once given to me by a professional and incredibly experienced sample machinist. There's only one bit I don't understand in the notes I took, but I am unable to ask her to clarify as she worked at the same place I mentioned before where I got the fabric from back in 2007, and I no longer have any connection with that place. Anyways, I struggled to get a good pic so you'll have to trust me.

The overall fit is what I believe fashion lexicon would term 'boyfriend cut', by which I mean they are quite hipster-y and low slung. Though maybe not because the legs aren't particularly wide. I really like the fit of the legs actually, and the whole garment is really comfortable. Like, too comfortable. A couple of times during their maiden wearing, I panicked because it felt like I was still wearing my pyjamas! However, I don't think this will be a 'go-to' pattern for me. I may crack it open again in the Spring to make a capri version, but I probably won't make another long-legged version. I just don't think this style of trouser fits with my current style of dressing well enough that I would require more than one pair. But the main criteria of making a wearable, work-friendly pair of trousers has been fulfilled and the fact that they are actually comfy is a major bonus. I may even consider making another toile one day (though not any time soon!).

12 comments:

Stevie said...

They look pretty rad Zoe! I have been after this pattern for a little while but when I finally got it I realised low waisted wasn't for me. I think i'm in need of a few more pairs of trousers for winter too.
Can't wait to see the next pair! x

Tanit-Isis said...

Oh, good for you! I know trousers can be tricky, but they always seem so worth it to me (but then I tend to dodge fit issues by way of stretch denim...)

I am now SUPER CURIOUS about those mysterious fly-front instructions. I think I do a decent fly front, but there's always *something* to quibble at...

Congrats on filling your wardrobe hole!

khristie B said...

They look great. I am very impressed. I am on a pants making mission. I tried a front fly and failed and now I'm put off. However I am hoping to achieve a rock and roll cigarette pants look so a side or back zip is fine. I too am curious on the fly front instructions.

Cecili said...

Hey there! Your trousers look flawless and super good on you, you have achieved such a great fit! You should definitely make another pair quickly :)

StephC said...

These look great, you did a wonderful job!

the dizzle said...

reading your posts always make me feel not so scared to try following a pattern... or sew at all! so thanks and those pants do look really great!

Betty said...

I'm going to have to pester for info on your fly front method! My current way is ok but i know there's got to be an easier and cleaner way to do it, please share!

Len said...

Oh man, I don't know if I could even bear to attempt a fly front - it seems like something I'm all too likely to screw up! These are lovely though, perhaps I'll give trousers a go one day.

Ali said...

Hooray for trousers!! I think a pair of casual, comfy but good-lookin' trousers is worth its weight in gold. And since you're pleased with the leg and the fit, you could apply your impressive pattern adapting skills to make one that's more your style! (I'm just saying ;)

I totally laughed out loud when I read your post on your crocheting -- wrote a long comment and lost it, boo. But let's hear it for the boy!

Alessa said...

They look great on you! I really like the flowery details inside!

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