Trousers 2.0

I've had trouser making on my mind since finishing my first fly-fronted pair a couple of weeks ago. So much so, that I interrupted all other making plans in the quest to make a new and improved second version of these vintage pattern trousers, and I'm pretty glad I did!

Vintage pattern trousers with a twist
Again, I used the Palazzo Pants Pattern from a 1993 Me Magazine, but this pair have undergone a fair bit of hacking and the finish is pretty different from my first version. I love the fact that one pattern can be the starting point for so many different-looking versions if you're brave enough to hack it and as a bonus, I feel like I've given a vintage pattern a new lease of life!

Worn with Docs, fancy socks from COS, and RTW top on a day out in Hebden Bridge
I picked up this fine houndstooth/almost-gingham poly cotton from Fletchers in Leeds Market. It's the perfect weight for giving the trousers a little bit of body around the tucks on the front, whilst still having a nice drape around the hips/legs. I down-sized after having to take the first pair in, and the fit is spot on this time!
Ankle tie testing
The idea of adding ankle ties just came to me after making the first pair - probably subconsciously inspired by all of the street style pics that come up when browsing Pinterest and Instagram. I made a couple of belt loops and stitched one over the side seam of each leg, then threaded through a narrow tie, with D ring fastenings.

Ankle ties in action
Of course, it wasn't all straightforward. When I first pinned the belt loops in place to test out the idea, the volume of the 'palazzo' leg was more MC Hammer than chic and quirky-cool. I ended up doing some serious leg tapering from the hip down.

Interview wear - worn with the Ready to Sew Jane Shirt
Once the legs were slimmed down, the ties seemed to work a bit better. They don't look quite as perfect as I'd imagined they would, but I think they add an extra bit of edge to the trousers, and make them pretty fun to wear! My boyfriend said that I looked 'powerful' in them - I'll take that - so I felt fairly confident wearing them with my Jane Shirt to a (successful) job interview last week. The belt loops are also discreet enough that I can easily take the ties out and wear them as straight legs if I feel like a change - win-win!

Detail close up
And now, my only dislike about the finished trousers. I really thought I'd tackled the problem of forever-crumpling-waistbands this time, by using a 'firm' iron on interfacing, specifically recommended for waistbands... but then I wore them. You might notice that I'm wearing a belt in all the pictures, and that's because the waistband still squashes up and pulls where the hook and bar fastening sits, despite a good fit on the waist and the right amount of ease. So sewing friends, an appeal for help! I really want to keep making trousers and I'm determined achieve a pair with a crisp waistband, so please tell me, how do you do it?!

Thanks Alex for taking the snaps!
Despite the not-so-sturdy waistband, I love the finished trousers. They have a sort of weird and wonderful feel to them, and when I wear them, they make me feel a million times cooler than I actually am. I wore them to the opening of JW Anderson's Disobedient Bodies at The Hepworth, and felt like they were a good choice considering the trendy crowd and high fashion garments on display. The exhibition is wonderful by the way and I would definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance! Here's a little peak at some of my favourites:

Power dressing with Comme des Garçons
Clockwise from top: JW Anderson 28 Jumpers installation, clear macs by Loewe, harness by Helmut Lang, Issey Miyake pleat dresses
So pretty please throw your best sturdy waistband structuring tips my way! I'm sure I'll be making another pair of these fabulous trousers again (in one form or another) very soon! :)

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Sew Loux

You may have seen some sneak snippets and semi-cryptic captions on my Instagram recently, so I'm really excited to finally share what for me has been a project of epic proportions: making clothes for the screen! Please meet Loux, and their beautifully shot and colour-schemed video for the song Darling:
Loux shot at Victoria Baths, Manchester

More specifically meet front woman Jordan, who I first met up with last summer to begin the process of making her Wes Anderson inspired colour palette come to life (in clothing form). The vision and styling were pretty clear from the start - an cool, slightly androgynous and exaggerated silhouette, offset by a selection of well paired and carefully considered colours.

Jordan - Loux
I drew from my already existing pattern collection (vintage and present day) plus a couple of charity shop patterns that Jordan sourced. By the time the shoot came round in early February, I'd managed to sew up a capsule wardrobe of two tops, two pairs of culottes, a pair of trousers (my very first fly front ever - talk about nerve wracking!) and a vintage shirt - phew!

The specifics:

Papercut Patterns Fall Turtleneck x2
Forever a favourite pattern of mine, we made this up twice to get the exact colour spot on. The fabrics are from Minerva and Fabworks.
Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck x2 and culottes (just seen)
B6178 Culottes x2
I've blogged my love for this Butterick pattern previously here. We made these up twice to get a better fit around the hips and waist, and the 2nd pair turned out just perfect! The fabrics were both super cheap, draping, emerald greens from Bombay Stores.

Vintage New Look 6316 blouse
This was one of Jordan's pattern picks, sourced in a charity shop; a boxy, retro blouse (minus the shoulder pads) with some neat tucks and detailing. It's made up in a salmon pink cotton from Fabworks, which makes quite a bold statement in the video.

Vintage New Look 6316

Vintage Me Magazine Palazzo Pants in deep blue/green cotton drill (Fabworks)
This was my first attempt at this 90s magazine pattern and I loved the results so much that I went and made my own pair! They're made up in the perfect weight deep blue/green cotton drill from Fabworks.

My first ever fly front fastening!

Behind the scenes:
I went along to see the video being shot at the beautiful Victoria Baths in Manchester. Here are a few behind the scenes shots that were too lovely not to share:

I hope you all enjoy the video/song/clothes as much as I've enjoyed being a part of it!
For updates from Loux, find them on Facebook
and Instagram

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Ready to Sew Jane

Here is the next installment in what is turning into a bit of a shirt making saga (and a very enjoyable one): the Jane blouse by French pattern company Ready to Sew. It's not quite traditional in style, but then neither am I... I was drawn to the cool and unusual crossover front, which as a bonus, was deceivingly simple to make!

Jane by Ready to Sew
This is my first experience with Ready to Sew patterns, and I have to say, I'm really impressed. The PDF is layered so you can select the sizes you'd like to print - one of the things I really love with about most Named patterns. Something that I haven't come across before but really liked, were the click-through links in the PDF, leading to further instructions and tutorials - I didn't need to use them, but it does make the pattern feel that extra bit user friendly.

Jane by Ready to Sew
Inspecting that amazing crossover front!
The sizing threw me a little as I found that my measurements fell across 3 different sizes, which is a bit unusual for me. I recently bought my first pattern from another French pattern house, DP Studio, and similarly fell across a few sizes, but upon comparing them both with standard European sizing, I found little difference. Maybe it's just me (or maybe I've fallen into a habit of using patterns that fit me pretty well straight from the off)? Anyway the Jane blouse is loose fitting in design and I was feeling too lazy for grading, so I went for the a straight size 42.

The pattern piece for the main body of the blouse (which forms the front and back) is very large and unusually shaped, but it was at least a bit kinder to my limited floor space than cutting the V9186. The cutting layout indicates which edges need overlocking before you begin sewing, which I quite liked. Although it felt like extra prep at the time, it meant I could speed along with the making without having to shift between 2 different machines.

Worn with a shortened version of this skirt from wayyyy back, and of course, Docs.
I found the simplicity of constructing the draped crossover from one big pattern piece totally mind blowing! Essentially, you just make very long button plackets down the two curved edges, and these form both the plackets and the hem of the blouse once you've twisted it and the centre back seam is sewn. The instructions are easy to follow, which is lucky as I would've been totally clueless otherwise.

Back view
I used a textured, light-ish crepe with a slight stretch from Samuel Taylors in Leeds, originally bought for a second Ralph Pink Sahara Shirt. I realised it would be the perfect weight to get an amazing drape through the crossover front of the Jane, so it got bumped to the top of the pile. (Note: the fabric has to be the same on the right and wrong side, as the twist means you see both on the outside of the garment.)

Close up of fabric and amazing Textile Garden buttons
My only critique of the pattern is that it doesn't explicitly say to apply the interfacing (although on looking back, the illustrations do show to do it). I accidentally bypassed interfacing my button placket, which made my button hole sewing a little trickier than it should have been. Once I'd managed them though, I couldn't help but use these amazing contrast buttons from Textile Garden, (who cares if they're actually a little too big for the narrow placket?!). I'd go as far as saying they totally make the blouse.

Just finished Jane hanging at home
Had to get a sleeves down shot - they're a decent length if anyone was wondering!
In all, the Jane blouse was a really enjoyable project to work on, and I still can't quite believe how quickly it all came together! It's a little looser and boxier than I imagined, and I had worried whether the lightly gathered in sleeves stuck out a bit as the shoulder is slightly dropped, but some careful pressing sorted this out.

Thank you Sara, as ever, for the fab pictures
I'm looking forward to seeing how I can fit the finished Jane in with the rest of my wardrobe, and I'd like to try a second version in a mid weight plain crepe (I'm thinking khaki)... I'd definitely recommend!

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She wears (and makes) the trousers

I've barely worn trousers in years. Other than a few pairs of elastic-waisted casual trousers, and my beloved culottes, I've generally favoured skirts and dresses for my me-made wardrobe. But as a considered part of stepping up my sewing game, I'm finally wearing the very first pair of 'proper' trousers I've ever made for myself - including the formerly feared fly-front fastening - and I'm pretty pleased with the results!

My first 'proper' trousers
This is only my second attempt at a pair of 'proper trousers', the first being for someone else using the same pattern - for a project I can't wait to tell you about, hopefully soon! After the initial fear of the fly-front, I'd been surprised at how easily they came together, and loved the finished pair so much that I wanted my own version. The pattern is a pretty retro magazine pull out from June 1993's Me Magazine, and is a part of a wider collection that I was very lucky to inherit from my former school textiles teacher when she moved schools last year!

Me Magazine June 1993
Me Magazine June 1993
And here's a bit of Pinterest trouser inspiration which also spurred me on to make up the pattern!

Pinterest trouser inspiration
I used a soft, grey, poly/cotton mix from Lucky Fashions in Dewsbury, purchased at last week's fab #sewdowndewsbury meet up. If you're ever in the area, I'd recommend checking it out - they had a great selection of fabrics, loads of crepes (my favourite!), and the prices were really good too. This fabric was only £4.40p/m and has the feel of a lighter-weight wool - perfect for a pair of trousers to take me into spring!

Roomy legs! A different silhouette for me
Just like my until-recent-aversion to shirt making techniques (tackled with the Ralph Pink Sahara Shirt and the V9186), I'm finding that some techniques definitely aren't as hard as I've built them up to be! The slanted pockets were fun and simple to construct, and along with the front tucks, they create a great shape. And the fly-front was pretty straight forward, even with project instructions minimal enough to fit on one side of A4!

Fly fastening, and front detail
The sizing charts were definitely on the smaller end of the scale - I put this down to the pattern being 'vintage' - so I made a size 16, which should have been a little small on the waist if anything judging by the measurements given. The finished trousers actually came up with a ridiculous amount of ease. I took a 2cm side seam and adjusted the waistband to match before stitching it in place, but I can still pinch a good inch of excess. They're quite relaxed in fit anyway, so totally wearable, and I'm encouraged by the results to make another pair, but I'll probably size down next time. 

Showing off my Docs and socks
You may notice on some of these pictures that the waistband looks a little creased at the front, something which seems to happen often to my handmades with wear. I know that I've caused this in part by stitching the bar of my hook and bar fastening a bit further over than it should naturally sit (to try and get the waist to fit a little closer) but I wondered if it could be the interfacing? I used a mid-weight interfacing, but would something a bit heavier prevent this? Advice welcome!

Back view - excuse the funny bum rumples - the result of a windy day!
I skipped my original plan of turn-up legs after an unsuccessful attempt, and cropped them at (what I consider to be) a more fashionable, awkward-ankle-flashing length. I even bought myself some fancy socks now that I have the opportunity to show them off! The trousers seem to pair well with my fairly sizeable collection of Rise/Fall Turtlenecks, and the length sits nicely with my black pointed ankle boots too - a whole new world of wardrobe possibilities has been opened!

...and I can do a whole new range of poses!
Thank you Sara for braving the wind with me to take pictures (again!)
It might be unlikely, but if you ever come across the pattern I'd definitely recommend it! I know I'll be using it many times more now I'm a fully fledged trouser maker! This might just be the start of something...Can anyone else recommend their favourite trouser pattern?

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