Getting on with it

I have, at long last, had a day off! One day of absolutely nothing except the school run yesterday, on which I chose to rest completely. I watched The Phantom Thread (somewhat odd film, though beautiful) and then fell asleep with the cat on the sofa. I finished reading my book (The 1,000 year old boy) and watched some TV with Mr Jack. Perfect!

Today, feeling a little more rested, was a day of getting on with it. Despite my fabric disappointment the other day, I do still have enough of the same stretch denim I used before to make a second pair of trousers. I’ve been pondering the alterations for some time and hesitating to commit them to the scissors, so I made the decision to just get on with it. I finished the redrafting without agonising over every detail and cracked on with cutting out.

I only had time to cut one front and one back leg piece, but I’ve made a start and it feels good! And I have another day off tomorrow to continue. Bliss!

Pant-o!

I made my first pair of trousers! Oh yes I did!

They were done in time to wear them for crewing the Panto at work, which was just as well, since my previous work jeans acquired some extra ventilation in the knee department a few shifts into the run of the show. For any non-Brits around here, panto, or pantomime is a very silly theatrical tradition, which is very serious business around this time of year. Personally, I’ve always hated panto, but I’ve seen it in a different light this year, and being backstage has been an absolute blast!

Anyway, trousers.

The Bryce Cargo pattern from Hey June Handmade was a great starting point. The PDF pattern was super easy to print and piece together, and the instruction booklet was excellent. Well laid out and easy to follow.

I made several modifications to the original pattern, including redrafting the front pockets from hip-slash to jeans-style, and changing the pocket bags to a pocket stay, omitting the pocket flaps from the back pockets (and the leg pockets, though I hadn’t intended to) and redrafting the lower leg to be longer and wider.

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The finished trousers are not without their flaws, but are perfectly serviceable for the job. I now want to make a second pair and eliminate some of the imperfections of the first.

The front pockets are fab. I might be tempted to modify the depth of the pocket bags, but the redraft worked very well, the openings are a good size and the pocket stay gives extra structure to the front of the trousers.

The back pockets really don’t need a flap, but the jury’s out on the cargo pockets. I quite like them as they are without a pocket flap, but I think they may look better with one. I intended for them to have a flap, I even made them up, but sewed the buttonholes a little too small for the buttons and couldn’t be bothered to redo them. They were also quite bulky once folded over and possibly a fraction too short, and I thought the buttons might stick out a little too much and be prone to catching on things when shifting stuff about at work. At the stage that they were due to be attached, I was worried about the overall fit of the trousers – they looked like they might come up too small, so I wanted to get the leg seams at least basted so I could check the fit – so I thought I’d leave the pocket flaps and come back to them later. Of course, once I’d sewn the leg seams, it was then impossible to sew the flaps without ripping everything out again! So they got left off. I think next time I would cut them maybe 10mm longer than the pattern piece and try again with the buttonhole, or perhaps go for poppers instead.

The biggest problems with these trousers is the fit and the length. Both of which are my own fault. Firstly, I need to trust the seam allowances. That would go a long way to sorting out the slightly baggy fit at the waist/hips. I may also do a bit of a fit diagnostic on the rise before I go again. Secondly, I need to get someone to help me measure my legs as it’s very difficult to do it yourself. I added half an inch above the knee, which is about right, but I only added one and a half inches below the knee to take it from a calf length to a full length trouser leg. And I’m tall! I think an additional two inches would not go amiss, and even that is possibly too little. I think I’d also flare the leg out a bit further for preference.

Both of my female colleagues have admired them and even requested a pair already. I’m sorely tempted to oblige them, as i know women’s workwear is hard to come by, but I’m definitely making myself a second pair first.

 

Chop chop

Yesterday I paid a visit to my local yarn (and sewing) shop to pick up all the notions I need. They dont have much in the way of dressmaking fabrics, but they have a fabulous selection of quilting cottons with all sorts of fun prints.

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I chose one of these for my pockets – can you guess which one?

Today I have been placing, tracing and cutting out all of my pattern pieces. My many many pattern pieces! I’ve even omitted a few – I dont need pocket flaps getting in my way on my back pockets – but there was still a vast number of pieces. But they’re all done, and I’ve used almost a metre less fabric than the pattern stated, so I’ve got plenty left for another pair if I like these, or something else if I don’t!

I’ve started finishing the edges of the first few pieces using my overlocker this evening. I’m not going to have time to work on it for a few days now, but I’m pleased with progress so far. Next up will be the mindtangling process of assembling the pockets and getting everything to end up facing the right direction!

Pattern piecing

Today I assembled and started adjusting my pattern. The instructions for this pattern are very comprehensive and easy to follow. The taping took a little while to do, but was very straightforward.

The modifications took rather longer to get my brain around. The pattern contained instructions for modifying the pattern from a hip slash pocket to a jeans style pocket, which i thought would be more secure for keeping things in. I also used this tutorial for the Closet Case Ginger Jeans pattern to make a front pocket stay to give more structure and support across the front of the trousers. Modifications marked in red.

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Next up, i need to adjust the length and width of the lower leg to give more of a regular jeans fit. That’s a job for tomorrow, along with a trip to the local yarn and haberdashery shop for all of the notions I need – zip, buttons, and some funky cotton to make a secretly fun pocket lining!

Oh pants!

I need new trousers for work. I’m a theatre technician, so I need something practical, hard-wearing and with plenty of good size pockets. Oh, and preferably in black! I’ve been wearing an old pair of black skinny jeans in a thick denim up til now, but a.) they’re getting a bit snug and b.) I’ve got a lot more shifts than usual coming up (yay, panto season!) and so I need an extra pair to tide me over while those are in the wash.

At the Knitting and Stitching Show, I found some black denim on clearance and bought 4 metres. I also picked up a pattern for some men’s cargo trousers that was close to the style I had in mind.

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This week I sat down to start making them and spent an age trying to figure out what size to make as I gradually came to realise my mistake – a woman’s waist is a totally different shape than a man’s. I then spent ages comparing the pattern against a women’s trouser pattern (of a completely different style) and then against some of my existing jeans to work out if i could modify the waist, before concluding that I just needed an entirely different pattern.

So I have trawled and trawled every pattern site imaginable and yet still cannot find a pattern that matches what i want to make. I did find an amazing template of a pair of cargo/jeans that were exactly what I was after but it turned out to be a graphic design image template, not a sewing pattern. Gutted.

I toyed with the idea of using the Ginger Skinny Jeans pattern from Closet Case patterns, but in the end, after a bit more googling, I found these Bryce Cargo Pants by Hey June Handmade. The picture isnt great. They’re more fashion style-y than practical looking, (and i certainly won’t be rocking up to work in high-heeled open-toed sandals) but the waist looks about right for what i want, which is the most important bit in terms of a pattern. They’re definitely too short, and a bit too fitted around the lower leg for my liking, but i figure it’ll be easier to modify a leg than a waist! ┬áIt comes as a pdf pattern, so no hanging around waiting for the post, and i think I’ll feel a lot less precious about chopping and changing the pattern, since i know i can just print it again if needs be. Mind you it’s about 30 pages, so took an age to print, and i still need to assemble it, but thats a job for another day.

 

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I’m still very much a novice when it comes to sewing, so i have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I’ll do my best and keep you posted. It could be an interesting challenge.

Right, where’s my sellotape?