Last month I spent a few days with my parents in Italy, and inbetween the ice cream and sunshine and Campari I bought every single sewing magazine I could get my hands on. The booty:
- La Mia Boutique 05-2012;
- La Mia Boutique 01-02-03 2011 in one lovely cheap bundle (I remember knitting mags doing this when I was a teen, very civilised and rather pleasant);
- Burda Style 04-2012 and 05-2012. The May one wasn’t supposed to be released until after my return to the UK but the amazing newsagent(*) at the local railway station had it two days earlier;
- Burda Giovane & Easy AW 2011-12 and SS 2012. The AW one came with the 04 Burda Style, the other one I bought on its own;
- Diana Couture Summer or something (this one is downstairs so I can’t check);
- Modellina Facile Speciale 2-2012, immediately dubbed “Pass the Frump” by me and Mum.
(*) If you think I am excessive describing a newsagent as amazing, this is the place that stocked the foreign magazines when I was a teen, before the Internet and satellite tv. If it wasn’t for these peeps selling me Melody Maker every week I would never have learnt English. So yes, there is such a thing as an amazing newsagent.
I also bought a big roll of that poly-tunnel style tissue paper you use in gardening, and came home with a few patterns already traced in my size.
One of them was 05 from LMB 2012-05:
It’s a trouser pattern with a difficulty rating of 1 out of 5 stars. When I look at sewing patterns I am invariably drawn to dresses, but the truth is, RTW dresses fit me. There’s two wardrobes full of the stuff to prove that.
It’s normal work clothes that are the scourge of my shopping life. Trousers and skirts never fit, and I struggle to find interesting tops.
Of course when you are a beginner at this sewing game, everybody tells you “Trousers are difficult”, and admittedly there is a lot of fitting issues going on around there.
So I went out and looked for a very easy trouser pattern to fit someone with hips a lot wider than waist. The other two options were New Look 6190 and BurdaStyle 7195:
NL6190 sits a lot lower than my waistline, and the finished garment measurements for B7195 suggested more Hammer Time than “loose fitting”, even after I had subtracted the pleats. I mean, 35 whole centimetre of ease at the hips? I sure can’t touch that. At least for now.
So back I went to the pattern pieces I had traced in Italy.
On Tuesday night I made a toile out of some curtain lining. I have a lot of it lying around since I keep buying curtains to refashion, or line with proper blackout lining.
This the experiment that spawned The Unicrotch (the one buttock-two leg monstrosity), and what seemed like a rather ill-fitting pair of trousers. Imagine a pair of beige jammies with exposed seams here, there and everywhere.
Yes, I didn’t know my RS from WS. Please forgive me. I later realised that this wasn’t ill-fitting as such, the waistline was just in the wrong place for my shape. But then again it usually is. So I decided to give this another chance and re-draw the waistband.
Incidentally, at the same time I was ruminating this I happened to read a blog post called In Defense of: “Mom” Jeans, “Granny” Panties + “High” Waists on Polka Dot Overload.
Fate? Coincidence? Nah. It’s just that great minds think alike.
It’s not the high waist that makes a pair of trousers Mumsy or Grannyish. It’s the choice of fabric, the leg tapering and obviously the rest of the outfit. Just go and have a look at the denim in Marks and Spencer if you want to see what I mean. Although you might need three hours of ModCloth to recover afterwards.
I went to the local fabric shop on Thursday evening, and found it a little uninspiring. I came away with only a couple of metres of knits. I wanted some interfacing but the lady said that she wouldn’t sell me iron-on, since it’s rubbish, and she was out of the other stuff so I went home without interfacing! Thinking back it was quite a comical conversation, and I might well have been preoccupied once again, because I went in thinking I needed the stuff.
On Friday I paid a visit to my beloved remnants-by-weight, which didn’t disappoint. Suiting was half price and I picked up a massive piece of grey fabric, which wasn’t quite bottom weight, but it was cheap and there was a lot of it and it was grey, one of my favourite colour.
On Sunday I cut the legs and made an attempt at drafting a much higher waistband. Since I had no interfacing I used some leftovers from the curtains that became the Scarlett O’Hara dress. I used them to line the waistband.
Today I took a long bike ride to the remnants place to get a grey zipper. A giant bag of buttons and some fabric somehow found their way into my bag! Honestly, I have no idea how that keeps on happening.
I read some more about trousers and decided to put the zipper in the centre back rather than the side, in case I ever need to take in the side seams (I could easily lose a whole half inch from those).
I attached the zipper with Judy’s zipper foot (which is awesome!), tried them on with heels and did a blind hem with Judy’s special blind hem attachment. It’s amazing what you can learn if you just RTFI.
The end result:
The front and the back:
Am I happy with this? You bet! It provided some much-needed distraction from things happening over in Italy, and it actually fits me. I am definitely going to make this again in some fabric that’s an actual bottom weight, probably in brown. I can even see a check version for the weekend, when I am experienced enough to want to spend the time matching the checks.
Finally, the PatternReview entry:
Pattern Description: Ah! This one is funny. I’ll translate it from the Italian magazine for you: “Classic-cut wide leg trousers, almost flared, with side pockets and waistband”.
I must point out that “flared” is the English equivalent of “zampa d’elefante” (elephant paw), the Italian name of flared trousers. Even though elephant paws don’t really flare. But I digress.
More importantly, there are no pockets, side or otherwise, anywhere in this pattern. On the cutting layout or in the instructions.
Pattern Sizing: Italian 42 to 48, which is not the same as European 42 to 48 (welcome to my world!). I cut a 48, which is 31 1/2″ at the waist and 42 1/2″ at the hips. My hips are a whole 1 and 1/2″ wider than that, but the muslin fit was fine. I later realised that the crotch seam was 5mm instead of 15mm (standard 5/8″), so I added 10mm to the fabric version, but there really was no need.
I could definitely cut a 46 next time, even in a woven.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No but I can live with that. It looks like LMB pictures are of the inspiration pieces which are RTW, rather than the actual piece sewn up by someone at the magazine.
I also re-designed the waistband to make this a high-waist pair of trousers, and moved the zipper from the side to the centre back in case I ever have to take in the side seams. Not that I would know how to do that, but one day I might.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, bearing in mind I am a beginner and there are no illustrations. I also must point out that despite being a native speaker I only know about 20% of the Italian sewing vocabulary.
I referred to the instructions for BurdaStyle 7195 for the part where you put one leg inside the other, which is how I ended up with The Unicrotch monstrosity the first time round.
I also don’t agree with joining and pressing all the seams. I have checked my RTW work trousers and the side seams are joined and pressed, but the inside leg seams are neatened individually and then pressed open, which looks better on the outside.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s a lovely fit for such a simple pattern.
Fabric Used: Grey something with tiny stripes from the suiting bin at remnants by weight. It’s not quite bottom weight, more like heavy shirting weight, but I used to have a pair of summer trousers from French Connection in a similar weight fabric and I wore those to death. Pretty sure it’s polyester and cotton.
The pattern recommends a woven stretch for this but I had no problems with a standard woven, even though my hips are much wider than the size I cut.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added 3 whole inches to the waistband, moved the zipper from the side to the centre back, used curtain fabric instead of fusible interfacing. I omitted the topstitching on top of the waistband but I most definitely do it next time.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. I am going to draft the waitsband a little better next time, might do a bigger dart at the back and little ones at the front, incorporating the waistband into the pattern pieces but still having heavier facing on the inside.
Conclusion: Easy trousers pattern that don’t fit too bad even if you don’t look like a twig. Love it!