Sewing and textiles with Ann
Here’s a couple of rare pictures of me wearing my trousers.
I happened to have almost exactly the right amount of fabric left over from my linen shift dress that is needed to make a pair of straight legged trousers. I could also get a collarless Jiffy dress out of it, but I don’t really want two dresses in the same material. I have devoted many hours to the Ultimate Trousers. It is very true that trousers are easy to make, but very difficult to fit, especially when you are not a perfect shape. This is lucky, given the number of mock ups that I have made.
I have also considered the capri pants in Gertie’s Vintage Sewing Book and the cigarette pants in Fashion with Fabric, but I return to the Ultimate trews, not only because of the effort already invested, but because I know it to be a simple pattern and has great potential for re-usability once I get it right.
My previous version was with a stretch denim. Linen doesn’t officially stretch, but is very slightly pliable. What sort of difference would that make?
My pattern pieces pre-date taking more out of the side seams, so they could have been still a bit too large, but too large is much better than too small. So I boldly cut into my relatively expensive fabric from these pieces. I sewed the darts, and then I sewed a quick mock up using machine basting in a contrast thread to see how they fitted. As I half expected, they were too big. In fact, about the same amount of ‘too big’ as the stretch denim version. I was particularly cautious, recalling that version 1 of the stretch denim trousers seemed to be OK until I went for a walk around Leeds town centre and found them to be falling down. Hence, I took in the side seams and created version 2.
Its not easy fitting trousers on your own, but luckily i’d made some notes about the previous alterations, and along with a bit of guesswork about what to take in, I found myself taking in the back seam, and both the side seams again. Then a re-drafted the waist facings, threw the old ones away, and then did a bit of re-engineering, by laying out my template trousers, all unpicked and pressed, onto the pattern pieces and cutting the pattern pieces to fit the fabric!
I did remember to take into account the fact that I had already sewn the darts.
So now, I might just have a trouser template ready for the next pair, and the next and so on……
A few weeks later – well, I haven’t taken them in again, and I have walked up to the local High St and back without feeling that they were falling down. Like the first pair, they are comfortable to wear. They are slightly big, but slightly big = comfort. And of course, linen does stretch a bit with wear, and then shrinks back down again with washing.
I’m still not sure, and I have some twill fabric bought on Hanoi market waiting to be made into another pair.
My biggest problem with them is that they are red, and for some reason ‘red trousers’ are a fashion faux pas this year – or is that just for men. Please let me know!