Trousers 2.0

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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! :)

Stay in touch!

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  1. They're super cool, I love the ankle ties. Creasing waistbands are a constant issue for me too; I find the best solutions are actually a more flexible lighter-weight interfacing (eg tricot/knit interfacing, even for wovens) as I find the flexibility means it bounces back from creasing better. Also I always do a curved waistband instead of straight so it conforms to the body better.

    1. Thanks Katie! It's nice to know that it's not just me struggling against creasing waistbands. I've never really thought of doing a curved waistband before, but now you mention it, it makes total sense! Might have to hunt out a tutorial and give it a go :)

  2. Your trousers are great, love the style. It was suggested to me when I had a similar problem with a skirt waistband to used curved Petersham ribbon too but I have not tried it out yet??

    1. Thank you Lynsey! A few people have mentioned Petersham to me. I think I need to give it a try :)

  3. You need a placket and button on that waistband to take the strain off the hook and bar. Also, I can't see from the picture but have you under-stitched your facing and top stitched all the way around the waistband? Both will help with structure.

    1. The pattern actually suggests using a button fastening rather than hook and bar, so that's my fault for going against the instructions! I haven't under-stitched or top stitched and now I think of it, that seems like a bit of a rookie mistake. Will definitely incorporate these steps next time! Thank you :)


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