Thursday, 7 March 2019

Lander Pants: 70s Style


Agh! My photographer (Mr SoZo) and I experienced a host of technical difficulties which has resulted in the colours in these photos being really weird. But, you know, when it takes as much luck and effort as it does to get a rare sunny day during the winter, clear sufficient space in the lounge and then placate the children long enough to take some photos, there's no way I'm going to retake them! Hopefully I'll get some more accurate pictures of these trousers during Me-Made-May later this year. 


70s style denim flared trousers are a real dream sewing project of mine. Until last year, I had a thrifted pair somewhat similar to these that were originally from Topshop. I wore them fairly regularly (pregnancies and weight fluctuation sometimes getting in the way) for about six years. Then, one day, I looked at my back view in the mirror. Oh bejeezus did they fit me badly around the bum! Even though they still felt comfy and were fine from the front, I just couldn't un-see what I had seen; the bubble was burst. Off they went to the charity shop. Ever since then, I have been plotting and scheming to make myself some replacement 70s style denim flares. 

(image source: Fabric Godmother)

Fabric: 

So what was the impetus to finally get to making these now? Well, my dream fabric landed in my lap. Well, not literally. It actually landed on a shelf at my fave fabric purveyor, Fabric Godmother. I have a very soft spot for denim in general, but this, THIS, is my one true love: broken twill denim. Seriously, I considered abusing my savings and buying the whole bolt. If you're not sure what broken twill denim is, basically, it's this: instead of the distinctive diagonal twill weave of regular denim, broken twill weave looks like zigzags (see below). Wrangler used broken twill denim a lot in the 70s, and many moons ago I found an amazing pair of vintage Wrangler jeans in a charity shop that I made into a denim mini skirt. I wore the living shizzle out of that skirt, and now that I think about it, I was wearing that skirt when I met Mr SoZo nearly eleven years ago! I digress...

(image source: Indiamart)

This broken twill denim that Fabric Godmother is currently stocking is a lovely mid-blue (in reality a bit darker than the pics of my denim trousers). It's 100% cotton and a medium-to-heavy weight, so suitably sturdy for the Lander pants pattern I planned to use. 

Pattern:

Of course, I am not the first to either make the True Bias Lander pants in denim, or to acknowledge this pattern's potential for realising your 70s denim flares fantasy. However, I did spend a sizeable amount of time researching 70s jeans pocket shapes and drafting what looked right to me (oh, and even longer positioning and repositioning them endlessly during construction!).  


This wasn't my first dalliance with the Lander pants pattern. Last year I made a very successful wearable toile of the shorts version. I spent a lot of time tweaking the pattern but used some random olive green twill in my stash that I wasn't mad about, so I really wasn't expecting to love or wear them as much as I did. 

What you won't have seen on any of my sosh medias is my second stab at this pattern. I had such high hopes for it, but the result was a massive pile of meh. I made the full length version in some navy suiting from my stash with metal buttons with little anchors on for the fly. I used the pattern's original front and back pockets, but rounded the corners for a slightly different take. Sounds alright, no? They weren't. The end result was so blah: disappointment levels were high. I forced myself to wear them a couple of times on the school run to see if I could warm to them, but no. I think the over arching problem lay with the fabric: they looked too office-wear, not cute naval officer as I'd hoped. And my doctoring of the pocket shapes hadn't been jazzy enough to elevate them. However, what they did teach me was that I could use a couple of additional tweaks to the pattern before embarking on another attempt.


The navy suiting pair taught me that I might have been a bit over zealous with my previous curving of the originally-straight waistband. I'd also been too heavy-handed by pinching out far too much from the back waist darts in my attempt to eliminate any sway back gaping. Somehow, the over-correction of these issues weren't really visible in my shorts version, but they became apparent in the full-length version. I sorted out those alterations before cutting into this beloved denim, and I feel that readdressing both was time well spent. 

Thoughts:

I love these trousers so much, and I'm so excited to see the denim age with wear and laundering. The fit is great and I've already worn them heaps. The higher waist of this pattern means that these work well with some of the garments, and in some outfit combos, that my low-rise Ginger jeans don't work so well with. And as the weather warms up, it'll be fun to discover new outfits to wear them in.   


If I were being hyper critical, I would point to two 'flaws'. You can't see the first here, but since these pics were taken, the buttons have shifted to the very edge of their buttonholes, resulting in a 1cm strip of the fly piece below now becoming visible. I thought I had positioned the buttons with due care, but I'm wondering if using a keyhole rather than regular buttonhole setting has contributed to this. Seriously though, I'm well aware that no one else in the world, aside from serious sewing nazis, would probably notice it.  

The second point that gives me slight pause is in regard to the fit through the leg. A lot of the vintage jeans I found images of were more fitted through the thigh, and flared out more from the knee. The Landers are fitted around the waist and hips and the leg shape is straight from the top of the thigh down to the ankle, which gives the illusion of a gradual flare starting at the top of the leg. This distinction is why I'd refer to these as denim trousers, rather than jeans. Someday I might scratch that itch with the Closet Case Patterns Ginger flared jeans expansion pack, but in the meantime, I'm sure I'll get much wear and joy from these. 

11 comments:

Laura said...

You did an absolutely amazing job!!

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Oh I love these! You’re a 70s sensation

Linda said...

Wow! They look lovely. Great job X

Jackie Nixon said...

I really can't believe your topshop flares are the same motivation for making these as mine! I wonder if they were the same ONES? I just fell out of love with mine and they go cleared out. I now regret that so much! I am using the the Tessa jeans from seamwork as my base. Did a very successful toile. Now I'm making them in corduroy whilst I find some denim. By that time hopefully I will have mastered the flare shape. I think it's more complex than I imagined. My topshps didn't just flare out from the knee but didn't start at hip either. Oh I'm so excited for you, and me! I nearly burst when I saw your insta post then to hear the topshop bit. Well.....!! You look fantastic in them. Enjoy! Ps look at Boden Sailor Jeans shape. x

Zoe said...

Thanks everyone!

@Jackie, good look on your quest! It's exciting to be able to make our own, isn't it?!

xxx

Jo said...

I bloody love these. I would wear them in a heart beat and they look fabulous with your blouse. Jo xxx

Caroline said...

These are awesome. Such neat top-stitching too!

Steely Seamstress said...

These are fantastic! I found it really interesting seeing them as they look just like a pair of jeans I sewed from a vintage 70s pattern a couple of years ago. They had little patch pockets at the front too. I wonder if that pattern (Butterick 3065) was one you looked at - the similarity is uncanny.

Zoe said...

@steely seamstress, oh my goodness that vintage sewing pattern is EPIC!!! I hadn't seen it before, but I just googled it and fell in love xx

Analog me said...

These are inspirational! And as someone who was a teen in the 70s and not into the flare from the knee look, this silhouette is absolutely authentic. There was even a local brand in the West that had the button fly and little patch pockets like these. Sailor pants (especially Navy surplus) was also popular at the same time and they shared a similar shape minus the double front and lace up back.

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